The Dementia Research Milestones We Reached in 2020

 February 23, 2021 by Dean Bellefeuille

Dementia research is leading us ever closer to a cure.

With a great deal of negative news in the forefront of 2020, it is worth reflecting on a few of the remarkable achievements the year brought – including the advancements in dementia research. Katie McDonough, director of programs and services at the Alzheimer’s Association, shares, “There are many things that we’re learning and it’s an exciting time for Alzheimer’s research.”

Listed below are just some of the milestones reached that are leading us ever closer to a cure:

  • Identification of Alzheimer’s risk factors. Understanding the leading risk factors for dementia, including pollution, excessive alcohol consumption, and traumatic brain injury (among others), is estimated to lower cases of Alzheimer’s worldwide up to 40%.
  • Falling rates of Alzheimer’s cases. Over the previous three decades, dementia diagnoses in North America and Europe have declined by 13% per decade – most likely the result of lifestyle changes.
  • Advancements towards earlier diagnosis. The Early Detection of Neurodegenerative diseases initiative (EDoN) has been started, in which digital devices are increasingly being developed to diagnosis dementia much earlier – as early as 10 – 15 years before symptoms begin.
  • Greater awareness of MCI. Mild cognitive impairment, or MCI, is now being evaluated more thoroughly, making it possible for earlier strategy, diagnosis and treatment.
  • Dementia blood tests. Predictors for the risk of Alzheimer’s disease have become more sophisticated, and in a recent study from Sweden, medical researchers uncovered blood-based proteins that anticipate future thinking and memory problems.
  • Review of antipsychotic drug treatments. A recent study conducted by the University College London reported an elevated rate for the prescription of antipsychotic drugs for people with Alzheimer’s disease – potentially from the greater dependence on delirium management as well as agitation and anxiety from COVID-19 restrictions. These medications are recommended only when no alternative is available, and ways to decrease their use are being further explored.
  • Artificial intelligence. At a faster pace and less expensive, an innovative new AI solution is equipped to determine the form of proteins in the brain, helping scientists design therapeutics to help remove these proteins.
  •  Aducanumab. The FDA accepted this promising medication in 2020 for a priority review process, meaning that sometime early in 2021, we should be finding out if it’s approved for use within the general population.

With At Home Independent Living, exceptional providers of dementia care in Fayetteville, NY and nearby areas, we are focused on following the most current dementia research, and on offering the cutting-edge, highly skilled care that helps those with dementia live to their greatest potential. Whether the need is for full-time care, or just a couple of hours weekly for dependable respite services, contact us for more information about how we can help.


The Benefits of Family Counseling for Seniors and Those Who Love Them

 February 17, 2021 by Dean Bellefeuille

Family counseling benefits seniors and the rest of the family, too

There are particular milestones we might experience in our lives that, though not necessarily negative, are known stressors. Losing a job. Starting a new job. Getting divorced. Getting married. And one that we in the home care industry are especially mindful of: the physical and mental impact on family members who are caring for aging parents.

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Are Your Parents Experiencing Elderly Depression? Here’s How to Find Out.

 February 8, 2021 by Dean Bellefeuille

Elderly depression is serious and requires medical care.

The fear and isolation as a result of COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on the wellbeing of older adults, with nearly half of seniors surveyed in a Kaiser Family Foundation poll stating that their amount of stress and worry was adversely affecting their own health. Even though it still may be hazardous to visit in person with senior loved ones, it’s important to stay in regular and frequent contact, and also to look for any signs or changes that may signify a mental health concern, such as elderly depression.

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Tips for New Caregivers: Getting Started and Setting a Routine

 January 20, 2021 by Dean Bellefeuille

happy-senior-mother-with-new-caregiver

It may have come completely without warning: an unexpected fall that led to a fractured hip as well as the requirement that Mom stay at home with extra support. Or, it may have been building up over time, such as through the slow and incremental progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Whatever the circumstances, you have now found yourself in the job of family caregiver, and maybe are wondering specifically what this means and just how to navigate these new waters. (more…)


Aging With Dignity: Helping Your Loved Ones Navigate Old Age

 January 18, 2021 by Dean Bellefeuille

dignified-senior-man-sitting

It is way too easy to get swept up in the everyday tasks of caregiving for an older adult you adore. There is so much to be done, and often it’s just easier and a lot more efficient to do it all yourself, letting a loved one relax. After all, our elders have taken care of things for a lifetime; haven’t they earned a break? (more…)


Dementia Shadowing: How to Help Your Senior Loved One Conquer Fears

 January 15, 2021 by Dean Bellefeuille

adult-daughter-hugging-senior-mother

Primary caregivers for those with Alzheimer’s disease are often all too experienced with the difficulty of trying to take a quiet moment or two alone – to use the bathroom, get a brief shower, or even walk into another room without your loved one becoming anxious. Those diagnosed with dementia can experience increased fear when a member of their family is out of sight – a condition known as dementia shadowing. And the resulting behaviors can be extremely challenging to manage: crying, anger and meanness, or continuously asking where you are. (more…)


Senior Care Tip: How to Create a Memory Book for Someone with Dementia

 December 22, 2020 by Dean Bellefeuille

Memory Book Dementia

“Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.” – Dr. Seuss

Memories are the glue that bind together our past experiences with who we are today; and for someone with dementia, confusion around these memories can have a profound impact. One of our goals in caring for seniors with dementia is to help them hold onto and share memories in order to make sense of daily life. (more…)


Depression in Older Adults During the Holidays and How to Help

 December 17, 2020 by Dean Bellefeuille

Senior Depression

In spite of its reputation for being a season of joy, for some seniors, the holidays are a time of profound sadness. Longing for holidays past, grief over the loss of loved ones, and aging-related changes to health can intensify during the holiday season, and it’s important to take steps to prevent the downward spiral into depression in older adults. (more…)


Celebrating the Holidays with Seniors Safely During the Pandemic

 December 9, 2020 by Dean Bellefeuille

Holidays with Seniors Safety

Think of the most perfect holiday season you can imagine. While that image may vary a bit for each of us, it might include gifts, lights, good food, and traditions passed down through the generations. Yet what most certainly rings true for all of us is the joy in spending the holidays with seniors and other family members we love. (more…)