It is well known that individuals with a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease experience disrupted sleep-wake cycles, frequently sleeping during the day and wakeful at night. However, there is new evidence that poor sleep may actually contribute to the onset, and be an early symptom of, Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.
There is a growing interest in cognitive training as a means to help maintain cognition in healthy adults, and perhaps slow the progression of dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease in those at risk. Given that a cure for Alzheimer’s appears years away, and with the record number of adults reaching age 65 each day, there is no surprise that that the growth of the cognitive training industry over the last decade is in the billions of dollars.
This past July I had the opportunity to join colleagues from across the globe as we convened in Copenhagen Denmark for the annual Alzheimer’s Association International Conference. Nearly 4,500 professionals representing organizations both large and small, from every corner of the globe, were in attendance. It’s always a great feeling to come together as one in the fight to end Alzheimer’s.
At Hebrew SeniorLife, all of our direct care staff are trained in the “habilitation therapeutic method” when caring for clients with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. Habilitation was developed in 1996 by Paul Raia and Joanne Koenig-Coste of the Massachusetts Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association and has been successfully implemented in a variety of care settings nation-wide.
My dad was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease about five years ago and while there have been many “unfunny” moments (like the day he decided to go for a walk to Foxboro Center at 4 o’clock in the morning in the middle of November). I have found that the use of laughter and humor not only helps me to keep my sanity, but it also seems to help him.
The Easter and Passover holidays provide not only an opportunity to reconnect with our faith, but also a time to enjoy delicious meals and spend time with family and friends. For adults experiencing cognitive changes due to dementia, however, holidays can be stressful. Changes in routine are difficult for persons with dementia. Care partners can become distracted by worrying about protecting their loved one’s everyday routines at events that are anything but routine.
Although there are different causes for dementia, all types of dementia get worse over time. Advanced dementia refers to the final stage of the disease. The final stage comes at different times for everyone. On average, patients reach the advanced stage of dementia anywhere from 3-6 years after they are first diagnosed. The length of time people live with the advanced stage is also different for everyone and can range from months to years.
What are typical features of a patient with advanced dementia?