April 19, 2019 by Dean Bellefeuille

The Alzheimer’s Association has issued its 2019 Facts and Figures Report, and with a full 5.8 million Americans presently diagnosed with the disease – including one out of every 10 older adults – it’s vital for people to understand the latest advancements in research and treatments.

As indicated by the report, the number of Americans identified as having Alzheimer’s disease is predicted to explode from 5.8 million in 2019 to an expected 13.8 million in 2050. Even though the effects are greatest on older adults, the disease begins to create modifications in the brain a full two decades or more before signs and symptoms are observable.

If you’re among the numerous family members providing care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease, you are well aware of the investment in time required: coupled with other family caregivers, totaling 18.5 billion hours in 2018 alone. In reality, 83% of dementia care is provided by relatives and friends. And the impact on a caregiver’s health is significant, with virtually 60% revealing emotional stress and nearly 40% struggling with physical stress.

Risk factors were also updated in this year’s report, including:

  • Age: Unsurprisingly, risk rises considerably with age, from as low as 3% in the 65 – 74 age-group, to 17% in those ages 75 – 84, to an astonishing 32% for anyone age 85 and older.
  • APOE gene: Of the 3 kinds of the APOE gene (e2, e3, and e4), which carries cholesterol in the bloodstream, the e4 form is related to the highest prevalence associated with the disease.
  • Family history: Those with at least one first-degree relative (parents, siblings) are at an increased risk for being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, and the risk grows when shared lifestyle and environmental aspects are in play (i.e. unhealthy eating or obesity).

Of considerable importance is the finding that although health care providers are encouraged to routinely evaluate cognitive functioning for all seniors, only 16% of individuals over age 65 report receiving a routine assessment, and more than 50 percent have never received an assessment of any kind – despite the fact that 94% of health care professionals noted the need for such an evaluation.

Per Joanne Pike, Dr.P.H., chief program officer for the Alzheimer’s Association, “Early detection of cognitive decline offers numerous medical, social, emotional, financial and planning benefits, but these can only be achieved by having a conversation with doctors about any thinking or memory concerns and through routine cognitive assessments.”

At Home Independent Living, the Syracuse in home care company you can trust, continues to be invested in following the most up-to-date advancements in Alzheimer’s disease, and to provide the exceptional, highly skilled care that allows for the highest possible quality of life at all times for everyone diagnosed with dementia. Call us at (315) 579-HOME (4663) for additional educational resources related to Alzheimer’s, or if you want to learn more about our specialized in-home dementia care services.


 February 14, 2019 by Dean Bellefeuille

The most up-to-date Alzheimer’s data is sobering. The illness is currently the sixth leading cause of death, rising above both breast cancer and prostate cancer together. And while deaths from other chronic health conditions, like cardiovascular disease, are decreasing, those from Alzheimer’s have escalated more than 100%. The toll the disease takes on family caregivers is similarly shocking, with more than 16 million Americans providing over 18 billion hours of care for a senior loved one with Alzheimer’s disease. (more…)


 January 16, 2019 by Dean Bellefeuille

With over 325 million people residing in the U.S. alone, it’s hard to imagine that loneliness could be so widespread. Yet over 50% of seniors live alone, and over a million of them are likely to be chronically lonely. In reality, roughly 50% of seniors researched stated that their main source of companionship is the television. (more…)


 May 11, 2018 by Dean Bellefeuille

Very early on in life, we learn the story of George Washington’s misadventure with the cherry tree and his bold admittance to his parents, “I cannot tell a lie; I chopped down the cherry tree!” Honesty is integrated within our character, and in many cases telling a tiny white lie can wrack us with guilt. But could it actually be beneficial to fib when we want to communicate and provide dementia support to a loved one with Alzheimer’s? (more…)


 March 8, 2018 by Dean Bellefeuille

Dorothy had it right when she said, “There’s no place like home”, and 90 percent of seniors agree, according to AARP. The vast majority of older adults prefer to age in place in their own homes as opposed to moving to a nursing home or assisted living facility. But as increased care is needed, how can senior independence be maintained at home? (more…)


 January 11, 2018 by Dean Bellefeuille

“I do NOT have Alzheimer’s disease! There isn’t anything wrong with me!”

If you’ve ever heard a friend or family member with dementia frustratingly communicate this or perhaps a very similar sentiment, it’s possible you have believed that individual was merely in denial and not willing to accept a tough diagnosis. The truth is, however, that oftentimes people who have dementia are experiencing anosognosia – an unawareness of their impairment. (more…)


 November 7, 2017 by Dean Bellefeuille

The field of Alzheimer’s research is expanding, and today there’s a way all of us could actually help bring about the finding of a cure. With an online game, Stall Catchers, many people are dedicating time and energy going through slides of mouse brains to help researchers in establishing the effectiveness of addressing cerebral blood circulation issues to reverse loss of memory. (more…)


 October 6, 2017 by Dean Bellefeuille

The online world presents us with instantaneous answers to almost any question we’re able to imagine, learning opportunities beyond what we could have dreamed of a generation before, socialization enhancement, and much more. Among the most enjoyable web developments for those of us in the senior care industry has been brain training applications – the computerized brain games and puzzles that promote enhanced cognitive functioning. But how well do they actually succeed?

AARP has recently been studying these brain games, sharing results in a recent report, Engage Your Brain. Even though further research is needed to better comprehend the long-term benefit of brain-stimulating exercises, what we can say for certain is that neuron connections can be reinforced through learning, bringing about the brain’s ability to transform structure, function, and chemistry, a concept known as brain plasticity. This capability stays in place while the mind ages.

In one study, the Advanced Cognitive Training for Independent and Vital Elderly (ACTIVE), seniors’ cognitive functioning as well as memory revealed a fantastic improvement of close to 63% when utilizing online cognitive training programs. Additionally, elders who took part in the research exhibited a 48% less chance of causing car accidents, and could more efficiently manage such day-to-day responsibilities as money management, taking prescriptions, and more.

Dr. Michael Merzenich, co-founder of Posit Science (creators of the Brain HQ program), has managed a number of scientific trials to better identify the impact of specific online brain strengthening applications, specifically, whether cognitive decline can be minimized or slowed. Final results suggested a marked improvement in memory, with participants’ memory recall the same as those ten years their junior. In contrast, activities like crossword puzzles did not demonstrate a direct effect on cognitive decline, with the elderly who routinely engage in crossword puzzles still trailing young people in their degree of functioning. Even so, when compared to other seniors who didn’t work on crossword puzzles, functioning does appear a little enhanced. Dr. Merzenich clarifies it as, “Crossword puzzles might improve your cognitive function, but it’s equally likely that having good cognitive function encourages you to do crossword puzzles.” Dr. Merzenich discusses his studies in more depth in this TED Talk.

It is important for individuals to adequately investigate Internet-based programs that guarantee to boost a senior’s memory or cognitive functioning level, since there have been some companies recently who’ve been shown to falsely advertise such promises.

At Home Independent Living in Syracuse provides opportunities for seniors to maximize cognitive functioning through mentally stimulating games, reminiscing, socialization and much more. Contact us for in-home suggestions for your client or senior loved one!