Saturday, August 25, 2007

The Validation Breakthrough: Simple Techniques for Communicating with People with Alzheimer's Type Dementia

You might get the impression from the title that this book is only for professionals; this is not the case. The validation theory works and it is simple to apply. The case studies are invaluable and provide you with specific situations that you are sure to encounter. I am convinced everyone involved with elderly parents suffering from dementia or Alzheimer's will benefit greatly from this book.

I give The Validation Breakthrough five stars and put it on my must read list. You will certainly reduce stress by learning these techniques.

The Validation Breakthrough: Simple Techniques for Communicating with People with Alzheimer's Type Dementia

Please take a moment to read the reviews on the next page.

Buyer Reviews

By Martine Davis

If you live with or care for someone with Alzheimer's or other age related dementia, you must read this book ! What an eye-opener! For the first time I finally understood why Alzheimer's patient say what they say and do what they do. It all makes so much sense now. This small book reads quickly and is full of examples of real people who have been helped with the author's techniques. It shows you how to handle the blaming, accusing, name-calling and the repetitive motions ... It also explains why the way most of us react to Alzheimer's patients actions actually worsens the situation and can cause them to progress to a more advanced stage of Alzheimer's disease ! This book could extend the relationship between the patient and caregivers and should be MANDATORY reading for all staff working in nursing homes and long-term care facilities !

By J. Summers, CNA (Alaska)

An excellent book for both the professional caregiver and families trying to deal with this sometimes unfathomable disease. Gives practical ideas and techniques for helping people with dementia deal with issues from paranoia and blaming to sadness and helplessness. I have just begun to explore these techniques and am finding they work so well that they should be mandatory training for nurses, PCAs and CNAs. Instead of treating our seniors like they are children we at last have a way to talk to them on an adult level, tap into where they are at, deal with the problem at hand and we all come out better for the experience.

Reviewer: A reader

More and more relevant as we care for aging parents. With a title like this one might think: "Boring" Absolutely not so! Right from the start, the stories of the people are so real and so touching that one of my friends said she was moved to tears. She was so sad not to have known about this way of relating to her father. "It works," she told me. "Validation Breakthrough" shows a new way of relating to people with dementia of Alzheimer's type. This approach is effective in helping the person to clear up unresolved issues in their lives. You do not have to be a professionally trained therapist to use validation. Validation will make the relationship more rewarding for both people. It is not hard to learn and makes wonderful sense. Some readers may want to ask new questions of care facilities (like nursing homes) as the validation approach will keep loved ones from slipping into a vegetative state. It will also make the care much kinder, and more rewarding for the care givers

The Validation Breakthrough: Simple Techniques for Communicating with People with 'Alzheimer's-Type Dementia'

Friday, August 10, 2007

Newly Discovered Antibody May Be Body's Natural Defense Against Alzheimer's (Gammagard)

In what could prove to be an important development in the search for a treatment of Alzheimer's disease, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center physician-scientists say the results of an initial (Phase I) clinical study provide encouraging evidence that antibodies derived from human plasma can capture the beta-amyloid protein in blood and exert positive effects on patients' thinking abilities.

Read more at the Alzheimer's Reading Room: Newly Discovered Antibody May Be Body's Natural Defense Against Alzheimer's (Gammagard)

Monday, August 06, 2007

Early signs of Alzheimer's (Dementia)

We are receiving many "hits" from people searching "early signs of dementia". I ran across this description of the "early signs of Alzheimer's" on the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center (Penn State) some time ago. I felt it might be helpful and decided to post it here.

Source Milton S. Hershey Medical Center

Alzheimer’s Disease

What is it?

Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of a condition called dementia. Dementia is a general decline in mental ability, such as memory, language skills, judgment, and concentration. Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease, which means symptoms occur gradually and become worse over time. It is named for the German doctor who first described it, Alois Alzheimer.

Who gets it?

Alzheimer’s disease affects most commonly affects those over the age of 65, although it has been diagnosed in people in their 40s and 50s.

What causes it?

The degeneration of parts of the brain, which destroys brain cells, causes the symptoms of Alzheimer’s. However, at this time researchers are not sure what causes this degeneration. Those with a family history of Alzheimer’s are more likely to develop the disease as they age, so there is a gene abnormality that causes the disease in some people. Researchers are looking for links between Alzheimer’s disease and the environment, lifestyle, nutrition, and viruses.

What are the symptoms?

Alzheimer’s usually progresses in three stages, with each lasting anywhere from one to several years. The first symptom of Alzheimer’s disease is usually mild forgetfulness. Someone in the early stages may find him or herself unable to find the right word, recall where something was placed, or recall someone’s name. It may be difficult to concentrate. At this point, symptoms are so general that they do not signal a serious problem or have a great impact on day-to-day functioning. As the disease progresses to the second stage, the forgetfulness becomes worse, making it difficult to function at work, remember directions, or to even make it through the day without difficulty. The person may be restless and unable to sleep at night. His or her personality may change considerably, with increasing anxiety and decreasing emotions. By the late stages of Alzheimer’s, patients suffer from extreme confusion and memory loss. They are unable to recall the names of close friends and family or recent events, and cannot function socially or perform basic daily personal care. Late-stage Alzheimer’s patients may have hallucinations and delusions.

How is it diagnosed?

Alzheimer’s disease is diagnosed by taking a complete medical history and performing a thorough physical examination. Alzheimer’s is generally suspected when there is a gradual deterioration in mental ability. The doctor will perform tests, such as blood tests and brain scans, to rule out other possible causes of the symptoms. The doctor will also ask the patient a series of questions to test his or her mental status. One type of test of mental status is called neuropsychological testing, which is a standardized test of memory, concentration, and visual-spatial skills. Because a definite diagnosis can only be made by performing an autopsy after death, patients are diagnosed with “probable” Alzheimer’s. An autopsy of brain tissue, however, will show areas of abnormal tissue, called plaques, made up of abnormal proteins; a loss of nerve cells; and areas of tangles in the nerve cells that remain in patient’s with Alzheimer’s disease.

What is the treatment?

At this time, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease. Treatment focuses on maintaining the best possible quality of life for the patient by providing a supportive environment. Memory aids, such as calendars and other daily reminders of time and place, can help the patient feel more secure and reduce confusion. There are some medications that, when used in the early stages of this disease, can slow memory loss in some patients for a limited amount of time. However, these drugs are used with caution because of potential side effects. Other drugs may be prescribed to treat anxiety, sleeplessness, depression, and hallucinations, as necessary. In the early stages of Alzheimer’s, it is important to help the patient maintain as much independence as possible. As the disease progresses, it may be necessary to seek the help of a home healthcare aid, an adult daycare, or nursing home. While there is currently no treatment to prevent or stop the progression of Alzheimer’s, researchers are continuing to study this disease and test new drugs. There is a possibility that certain types of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may slow the progression of Alzheimer’s.

Self-care tips

A diagnosis of probable Alzheimer’s is devastating for someone who has been accustomed to living an independent life. It is important to provide the patient with emotional and physical support as he or she adjusts to living with this disease. Keeping the daily routine consistent and as stress free as possible is helpful. Because depression is so common in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, you should be aware of the signs of depression and seek help for the patient as soon as possible. Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s can be demanding and discouraging, especially when the loved one does not remember who you are. Your doctor or local social services agency can direct you to support services to help make this time a little easier. Also seek legal advice so it is clear who has the power to make medical and financial decisions once your loved one is no longer able to do this for him or herself. If you have a family history of Alzheimer’s disease, see your doctor for regular checkups. An early diagnosis is important, especially as the medical community learns more about this disease and its treatment. While there is no way to prevent this disease, you can lower your risk and protect yourself from many illnesses by following a healthy diet that is high in fiber and antioxidants and low in saturated fat, and participating in regular physical exercise. Performing activities that stimulate your brain on a regular basis, such as crossword puzzles, word searches, or memory games, may also help maintain mental ability longer.


This information has been designed as a comprehensive and quick reference guide written by our health care reviewers. The health information written by our authors is intended to be a supplement to the care provided by your physician. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice.

What If It's Not Alzheimer's: A Caregiver's Guide to Dementia

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