The Different Types of Dementia: Is It Alzheimer’s or Something Else?

different types of dementia - ft lauderdale caregivers

Different types of dementia share similar symptoms, but need different treatment.

A senior who exhibits loss of memory, confusion, poor judgment, repetition, and problems with performing daily activities has the distinguishing signs of Alzheimer’s disease, right? Actually, what appears to be a clear case of Alzheimer’s may really be one of several different types of dementia – in particular, one that has just recently been identified. 

Known as LATE, or limbic-predominant age-related TDP-43 encephalopathy, this diagnosis has nearly identical symptoms, but the underlying cause is another story. Instead of the buildup of amyloid plaques and tangles inherent in Alzheimer’s, LATE is diagnosed by deposits of TDP-43 protein, as reported by Dr. Julie Schneider, associate director for the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center. 

And TDP-43 protein troubles happen to be quite common in elderly people, with as many as one in four people over age 85 affected enough to cause noticeable cognitive and/or memory issues. Yet it remains an under-diagnosed condition, which could result in misdiagnoses, and therefore, inappropriate treatment. 

The newest guidelines call for people who have been determined to have LATE to be pulled from Alzheimer’s medication research, concentrating research alternatively on establishing biomarkers to better recognize LATE, to find therapeutic intervention methods, and to expand testing to include a wider variety of diverse populations, in order to improve both prevention and treatment. 

Becoming familiar with the different types of dementia is vital to proper treatment, and according to Dr. James Pickett, head of research at the Alzheimer’s Society, “This evidence may also go some way to help us understand why some recent clinical trials testing for Alzheimer’s disease have failed – participants may have had slightly different brain diseases.”  

Key aspects of LATE include: 

  • Mainly affecting seniors over age 80 
  • A much slower advancement than Alzheimer’s
  • Usually only affects memory
  • Could be accompanied by Alzheimer’s disease, which leads to a far more rapid decline 

Whether Alzheimer’s disease, LATE, or some other type of dementia, Responsive Home Careproviding the Ft. Lauderdale caregivers families trust, offers the fully customized, skilled and creative caregiving that helps seniors live the best possible quality of life where it’s most comfortable: at home. Our care aides are fully trained and experienced in assisting individuals diagnosed with dementia, along with helping family caregivers to more fully manage the varying difficulties experienced in each stage.  

Contact us any time at 954-486-6440 to inquire about more dementia care resources, discover answers to your questions, or to schedule an in-home consultation to find how we can assist someone you love with dementia. Visit our Service Area page to see if we’re available to help in your neighborhood. 

5 Tips for a Better Home Environment for Seniors with Alzheimer’s Disease

happy senior woman reading with dogAgitation is among the more difficult effects of dementia, and may be exceedingly frustrating for family members to manage. The key is in taking steps to handle agitation before it’s felt and expressed by the senior loved one, which involves keeping track of what has triggered these feelings in the past, and establishing a home environment in which those stimulants are eliminated or minimized. The following tips can help:

  1. Designate an area of retreat. When life starts to be overwhelming, having a specially created area where your loved one can go to de-stress often works wonders in restoring calm. This could be a designated room, or simply a comfortable corner with numerous soothing activities conveniently available, quiet music, a soothing scent to enjoy such as lavender or vanilla – whatever supplies peace and relaxation when it comes to the senior.
  2. Assess the house for upsetting items. Pay attention to exactly what your senior loved one is sensitive to, for example, certain decorations, mirrors (that could give the illusion of somebody else watching), window coverings that do not adequately filter out the darkening evening sky (prompting sundowning issues), etc.
  3. Minimize noise along with other distractions. Soft carpeting is frequently more comforting for people with dementia than harder floor materials, which can reverberate or accentuate the sound of footsteps. Keep the television or radio at a reduced volume, and set to a station that offers soft music instead of alarming, graphic news presentations. Close windows if outside noises seem to cause annoyance.
  4. Modify lighting. Ensure that each room the senior may enter is effectively lit, with natural light as much as possible, or higher wattage lightbulbs, carefully adjusting to eliminate any unusual shapes or shadows caused by the light.
  5. Keep regularly used items readily available. Whatever the senior has a tendency to want to make use of or hold most frequently ought to be put in a visible location where he or she can discover it easily. Attaching labels with words or pictures of what a senior loved one may want to locate in cabinets or even the refrigerator is also an excellent way to help bypass frustration.

Let Responsive Home Care’s expert dementia caregivers help preserve the most calming and peaceful environment for a cherished older adult you love, and provide the skilled, innovative, compassionate care that makes life the best it can be. Just some of the various ways we are able to enhance life for individuals with dementia include:

  • Specifically created activities centered on a senior’s particular interests and abilities
  • Companionship in order to help older adults stay socially engaged
  • Evening respite care allowing family caregivers the chance for a restful night when an older adult is challenged by sundowning
  • And a lot more

Reach out to us at 954-486-6440 to ask about an in-home consultation and to find out about our exceptional dementia care for older adults today!

Researchers Take Another Look at a Promising Alzheimer’s Disease Drug

people looking into brain

Responsive Home Care keeps you up to date with Alzheimer’s disease treatment news.

After 16 long years with no truly viable Alzheimer’s disease drug, there is some optimism on the horizon, in a stunning reversal on the previously-rejected antibody therapy, aducanumab. The latest research uncovers that high doses of this medication do, actually, lessen cognitive decline at the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s.

According to Rebecca Edelmayer, director of scientific engagement at the Alzheimer’s Association, “It could be a game-changer for the field. It could be one of the first disease-modifying therapies approved for Alzheimer’s disease.”

Biogen, the manufacturer of aducanumab, has found substantial benefits for dementia patients in a number of areas: activities of day to day living, memory, language, and orientation. Biogen stated its plans to obtain regulatory approval in the U.S., with a longer-term goal of launching the medication globally.

With an estimated request for approval from the FDA as quickly as early 2020, the drug is slated to possibly become the first treatment option to actually reduce the clinical decline of Alzheimer’s. At the same time, it should open doors to other treatment options that impact amyloid beta plaques, joining other trials that target the immune system, inflammation, blood vessels, and synaptic cell health. As discovering the most effective treatments for the disease is a complex endeavor, it is very likely that a variety of these approaches will be necessary, according to Edelmayer.

The next challenge? Persuading the FDA to approve the drug after previous unsuccessful trials. If approved, aducanumab will first be offered to individuals who had signed up for previous clinical trials, and hopefully, soon open to other people dealing with the challenges of Alzheimer’s as well.

When it comes to the nearly 6 million senior Americans fighting Alzheimer’s (and that number is expected to more than double in the next 30 years), and also the family who care for them, these most recent findings may possibly be life-changing, as there are presently just minimally successful symptom-management medications available. Even as we wait for a treatment, we at Responsive Home Care are able to help dementia patients through highly skilled, trained, and qualified caregivers who utilize innovative therapeutic approaches that center on each person’s distinct strengths and making sure that each individual is living to the fullest.

For more information on effective Alzheimer’s care which helps maximize total wellbeing in the comfort of home, reach out to the dementia care experts at Responsive Home Care at 954-486-6440 and learn more about how our team provides the kind of senior care Hollywood, FL and surrounding area families recommend most.

5 Things That Can Worsen Alzheimer’s Symptoms

Worsen Alzheimer’s Symptoms - tamarac home health careWhile there are certain commonalities, Alzheimer’s disease affects each individual differently. Our specially trained dementia caregivers know, for example, that although one individual may enjoy being outside, a different person could possibly be overwhelmed by so much sensory input and prefer a quieter indoor environment. One may enjoy a morning bath routine, while a measure of resourcefulness is necessary to help a different person maintain good hygiene.

We also realize there are specific triggers which can often worsen Alzheimer’s symptoms. Family members must be especially mindful to prevent the following:

  • Dehydration. Individuals with dementia may not be able to identify when they are thirsty, or may resist when offered fluids. It is imperative to ensure adequate hydration to prevent additional weakness and confusion. Plain water is the best; nevertheless, if rejected, try flavored waters, or try different types of cups or bottles.
  • Isolation. Individuals with dementia suffer from loneliness as much as anyone else, and without having adequate social stimulation, may become increasingly agitated or paranoid. An experienced caregiver, like those at Responsive Home Care, who are thoroughly trained in dementia care, can offer suitable socialization, giving family members a much-needed break from care.
  • Sugar. It’s common for those with Alzheimer’s disease to experience a heightened desire for cookies, cake, and other sugary snacks; however, it could also lead to greater irritability. Try offering a variety of healthier options, like fruit, yogurt, or sugar-free goodies.
  • Sleeping pills. With the challenges of common sleep disorders such as sundowning, it can be tempting for family members to supply sleeping pills to a senior loved one with Alzheimer’s to encourage a more restful night. Yet these drugs raise the risk for falls and other injuries and contribute to fogginess and confusion. Speak with the senior’s physician for a natural sleep-inducing substitute.
  • TV. Be careful of what’s on TV; shows containing crime, violence, and even the nightly news can instill fear and paranoia in individuals with dementia. It may be a good idea to leave the TV off and engage your senior loved one in alternate activities, such as games, puzzles, reading together, exercising, and reminiscing – or choose to view videos you’ve very carefully reviewed to make sure content is suitable.

Each member of our dementia care team is thoroughly trained and experienced in providing person-centered, compassionate care to effectively manage the difficulties inherent with Alzheimer’s, and to boost quality of life. Give us a call at 954-486-6440 for additional dementia care tips, and for an in-home consultation to find out how our specially trained Tamarac home health care team can make life brighter for your senior loved one. View our full service area.

Risk of Alzheimer’s: Why Is It Higher for Women?

erase Alzheimer'sResearchers are at long last starting to get a handle on why the risk of Alzheimer’s is so much higher in females than in men. Currently, up to 2/3 of people with Alzheimer’s in the United States are female, and as researchers continue to better comprehend the specific nuances behind this pattern, we are able to begin to address them.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association’s Director of Scientific Engagement, Rebecca Edelmayer, “Women are at the epicenter of Alzheimer’s disease as both persons living with the disease and as caregivers of those with dementia. Over the last three years, the Alzheimer’s Association has invested $3.2 million into 14 projects looking at sex differences for the disease and some of the findings today may explain risk, prevalence, and rate of decline for women.”

The historic notion has been that females essentially have a greater than expected lifespan, and we realize that Alzheimer’s is more prevalent as people get older. Nonetheless, the theory has shifted to also include the following further determinants:

  • Biology. Vanderbilt University Medical Center scientists found that females with mild cognitive impairment had a more accelerated spread of tau (the protein within the brain connected to loss of brain cells), along with a higher extent of tau network connectivity, than that of males.
  • Memory. An investigation carried out by the University of California at San Diego School of Medicine discovered higher scores on verbal memory tests in women than men, which may bring about the potential of women’s brains to compensate for cognitive impairments and to the postponement of a medical diagnosis and subsequent treatment.
  • Employment. Memory decline in women ages 60 – 70 who seldom were employed was greater than in females with regular employment, according to the conclusions of a report conducted by the University of California Los Angeles – indicating that “consistent cognitive stimulation from work helps increase cognitive reserve in women.”
  • Lifestyle. Since a healthy lifestyle, particularly a reduced incidence of stress, helps decrease Alzheimer’s risk, women can be especially vulnerable – since they are typically in the role of family caregiver, a known inducer of stress.

Each one of these results focus on the need for women to take care of their own overall health, and Responsive Home Care, the top providers of home health Hollywood, FL and the surrounding area can find, is prepared to assist. We offer the dependable respite care that allows family caregivers to take much recommended breaks from caring for their loved ones while focusing on self-care. Our caregivers are specially trained and experienced in meeting the unique needs of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease, giving loved ones the peace of mind in knowing their cherished older adults are getting the best care. Contact us at 954-486-6440 for more information.

Dementia Care Tips: Best Approaches to Avoid Personal Care Resistance

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Use these tips to help a senior loved one with dementia manage personal care tasks.

Of all the challenges related to providing care for a senior loved one with dementia, the Alzheimer’s Association indicates that the most prevalent difficulty is with personal hygiene, for a variety of reasons:

  • Diminished sense of vision and smell
  • Comfort associated with familiarity (i.e., wanting to wear the same clothes again and again)
  • The challenges of bathing, compounded by cognitive impairment and confusion
  • Anxiety about falling, the sounds and feelings associated with the water, and so much more

Cajoling, quarreling, and reasoning are rarely practical techniques to employ with those impacted by Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. Alternatively, consider these creative approaches in the event your loved one resists maintaining suitable hygiene:

  • Organize the bathroom ahead of time so the room is likely to be comfortable and you won’t need to juggle acquiring supplies together with helping the senior. Warm the room with a space heater, and set soap, shampoo, towels, washcloth, etc. within easy reach, plus eliminate any throw rugs or any other tripping hazards.
  • A shower chair and hand-held sprayer frequently make an even more calming bathing experience for anyone with dementia. Position the chair away from the faucet, and use towels to cover up parts of the body before and after they have been cleaned to help keep the senior warm and to prevent feelings of exposure.
  • Have the senior help with bathing tasks whenever possible to maintain independence. It could be as basic as providing a washcloth or the shampoo bottle for the senior to hold on to.
  • If hair washing is hard for either of you, forego that task during bath time, and schedule regular outings to the salon instead.
  • Arrange a special excursion together with the senior, such as a lunch date with a good friend, and center bath time around getting ready for the event.
  • Bring in the assistance of a healthcare professional, who can advise the senior regarding the increased chance of infection or skin issues without proper hygiene. Often hearing from a dependable third party holds more weight than hearing the same information from family members.
  • Engage the services of a caregiver, providing your loved one the dignity of having personal care needs tended to by a professional, rather than a relative.

At Responsive Home Care, the leaders in home health services in Pembroke Pines, FL, each of our caregivers is experienced in safe hygiene procedures for older adults, with specific training to help those with Alzheimer’s disease to feel comfortable with personal hygiene tasks, including creative approaches to safe bathing, skin, hair, and oral care, restroom assistance, and much more. Give us a call at 954-486-6440 or contact us online to discover practical solutions to the worries you and your loved one are facing!

How to Help a Loved One with Alzheimer’s when Wandering Occurs

Alzheimer's wandering - sunrise home health

Alzheimer’s disease often causes a person to wander, possibly into a dangerous situation. Learn more about how to keep your loved one’s home safe to prevent wandering.

Of the numerous ramifications of Alzheimer’s disease, perhaps one of the most worrying is the person’s tendency for wandering and also the potential dangers that can develop if the senior becomes disoriented or lost. Alzheimer’s wandering can occur any time the older adult is:

  • Frightened, confused or overwhelmed
  • Searching for someone or something
  • Bored
  • Attempting to preserve a familiar past routine (for example, going to a job or shopping)
  • Taking care of a simple necessity (such as getting a drink of water or going to the bathroom)

The objective is twofold; to help keep your loved one safe, as well as to make certain his / her needs are fulfilled to try and stop the desire to wander. Try the following safety measures if your senior loved one is likely to wander:

  • Make sure the home is equipped with a security system and locks that the senior is not able to master, such as a sliding bolt lock above his or her range of vision. A variety of alarms can be found, from something as simple as placing a bell over door knobs, to highly-sensitive pressure mats which will sound an alarm when stepped on, to GPS products that may be worn, and more. It is also wise to register for the Alzheimer’s Association’s Safe Return Program.
  • Conceal exits by covering up doors with curtains, positioning short-term folding barriers strategically around doorways, or by wallpapering or painting doors to match the surrounding walls. You could also try placing “NO EXIT” signs on doors, which can sometimes dissuade those in the earlier stages of dementia from trying to exit.
  • Another danger for those who wander is the elevated risk of falling. Go through each room of the home and tackle any tripping concerns, such as removing throw rugs, extension cords, and any obstacles which might be obstructing walkways, installing extra lighting, and placing gates at the top and bottom of stairways.

It’s important to keep in mind that with guidance and direction, wandering is not necessarily a problem. Take a walk with each other outside if weather allows and the senior is in the mood to be mobile, providing the added benefit of fresh air, physical exercise, and quality time together.

Although often difficult to manage, the dementia care team at Responsive Home Care, Sunrise home health care leaders,  is specially trained to be equally vigilant and proactive in deterring wandering and to employ creative approaches to help seniors with dementia stay relaxed and content. Reach out to us at 954-486-6440 to learn more about Alzheimer’s wandering and other dementia tips! View our full service area.

Paranoia in the Elderly: What to Do When Dad Seems Irrational

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It surprises some to learn that paranoia in the elderly is a common issue. Learn more about how to respond to an aging parent that may be acting irrational.

“Listen to me, there’s a dog inside my closet! I hear it growling all night long. We need to find its owner!”

Hearing a senior loved one voice worries that you know to be false is unsettling – but not abnormal. The initial impulse may be to try to rationalize with the individual with a response such as, “Nonsense! There’s absolutely no way a dog could have gotten into your closet!” Yet for various reasons, this is often the least successful solution to take care of paranoia in the elderly.

Instead, at Responsive Home Care, we encourage the following approaches in order to help restore a sense of calm and well-being:

  1. First and foremost, arrange an appointment with the senior’s physician. It is vital that you discover any cognitive problems in order to be certain he or she receives appropriate treatment if needed. There also could be prescription side effects at play.
  2. Find out the thinking associated with the irrationality, and then determine how to remedy the situation. For example, perhaps the heating and cooling vent near the closet is starting to become loose, or an air vent is blowing onto a row of hangers and leading to an unusual sound.
  3. In lieu of trying to correct the senior loved one, respond lovingly with assurance and empathy. Concentrate on accepting the feelings being conveyed, as well as on having the person know that you will be there to help. Accompanying the senior into another area and providing interesting distractions, such as listening to music, baking, gardening, or browsing through photos together, can help restore calm.
  4. One of the smartest ways to overcome any obstacle is as simple as finding out what has assisted others in the same situation. Think about joining an in-person or online community of family caregivers, allowing for the exchange of helpful knowledge and information. A number of choices are available, such as AgingCare.com’s caregiver discussion forum.
  5. Seek the support of a professional home care provider, such as Responsive Home Care providing home health care in Pembroke Pines and the surrounding area. Our caregivers are skilled at assisting the elderly to remain active and involved, and in helping to ease challenging and difficult behaviors. Partnering with an established and reliable caregiver also will provide you with much-needed respite to take a break from caregiving duties while being confident your loved one is receiving top quality care.

For more advice on helping your senior loved one through obstacles with growing older, dementia or chronic illness, reach out to the specialists in home health care in Pembroke Pines and the surrounding area at Responsive Home Care. We are always readily available to answer any questions, share resources specific to the challenges you are encountering, and to provide a free in-home consultation and development of a customized care plan to improve wellbeing for a senior loved one. Contact us any time at 954-486-6440.