Sunday, October 18, 2009

Coach Broyle's Playbook for Alzheimer's Caregiver's

I was watching Dr Phil the other day, one of his guests was Coach Frank Broyle, his daughter Betsy, and granddaughter Molly. Coach Broyle and his wife Barbara were married 50 years when she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 1999.

Molly said:”Her death gave birth to our mission and her legacy, to provide desperately needed resources to those who care for Alzheimer’s patients. Pop felt he could use his positive influence to help others."

He wrote the book “Coach Broyle’s Playbook for Alzheimer’s Caregivers” to give individual’s the support and help we need when you start taking care of a loved one and don’t know what to expect. His book goes a long way to help caregivers. This book has been translated into a number of languages.

Coach Broyle on his website generously allows individuals to download the book free of charge. What an amazing gift. What an amazing testament to his love for his wife Barbara.

Dr. Phil interview with coach Broyle, daughter and granddaughter:

Coach Broyle’s website

Monday, October 12, 2009

Who's Reality Is It?

Jacqueline Marcell on her blog posted "Top 10 Dementia Eldercare Recommendations"

#6 When dementia surfaces, live in your elder’s reality of what is true for them at the moment. Don’t argue, question, or try to force logic or reason. Agree and use calm non-threatening body language, while you distract and redirect their attention to things they are interested in. Get them reminiscing about the old days, capitalizing on their long-term memory.

I think this is such an important recommendation. It was hard in the beginning to realize that my reality and my Mother's reality were quite different after she got Alzheimer's. I eventually figured out it did absolutely no good to argue or try to change her reality.

I read several of Jacqueline's blog entries and she is an eloquent writer who comes across with great compassion and personal experience.

Until recently I hadn't made the connection of behavior problems and mirrors that some people struggle with. When people with dementia look in the mirror they see an old person, in their mind they are 20-30 and expect to see that reflection.

It would be like walking into a sci-fi movie; being your age and seeing someone else looking back at you in the mirror. How very terrifying it must be to them.

We used to play peek-a-boo in the mirror. My mother loved that game and was happy playing it. I would guess by then she had reverted back in her mind to a very young person, and so the mirror was someone to play with not fear. But I can remember her asking - "Who is that?"

But I can remember when I was little how she used to play peek-a-boo with me. I can remember mom telling me I used to ask about the other little girl. She said I would try to look behind the mirror to find her. Looking back I think my mother wondered about the person looking back at her.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

New Medical Findings

I read two articles that are examining new research on Alzheimer's Disease. In the first article "The Protective Role For Copper in Alzheimer's Disease" published at Medical News. The research suggests that copper may play a role in preventing the formation of and accumulation of plaques in the brain. New studies are being planned for the future.

The other article "Enzyme May be Key To Alzheimer's-related Cell Death" "A Purdue University researcher has discovered that the amount of an enzyme present in neurons can affect the mechanism thought to cause cell death in Alzheimer's disease patients and may have applications for other diseases such as stroke and heart attack."

There is a lot of promising research going on. Hopefully there will be effective treatments developed. It is important to encourage our elected officials and others to support research and treatment for neurological disease's.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Dental Care

One of my biggest regrets and frustrations was my Mother's dental care. She often fought me about washing her teeth. And so sometimes I just gave in. As the disease progressed she ground her teeth more. I tried to find dentists to look at her teeth and ran into problems because of her advanced AD and the fact that many dentists would not take medicaid and she had no other health insurance.

After I was hospitalized Mom spent her last 6 months in a private care facility. Mom had been diagnosed with thrush and she was having problem with her teeth. The pain in her teeth contributed to her not eating. When Mom was receiving hospice I talked to one of the nurses about the problems with her mouth. The nurse suggested talking to the doctor and asking about a compounded prescription for "Magic Mouthwash", (a compound that includes viscous lidocaine, nystatin, benadryl and sometimes corticosteroid). This compound seems to offer relief and may be worth discussing with your own doctor or dentist.

Having 20-20 hindsight I would encourage you to seek dental care early and try to find someone who can work with people exhibiting symptoms of dementia. Daily care is so critical.

The Alzheimer's Society fact sheet 448 Dental Care and dementia is a great resource. Another resource is from - Dental Care for Someone with Alzheimer's disease.

Good dental care can help prevent eating difficulties, digestive problems and extensive dental procedures down the road.