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!


 September 8, 2017 by Dean Bellefeuille

It’s almost inconceivable – a pleasant, elderly, at times confused grandmother with Alzheimer’s disease being handcuffed and put under arrest. And yet that very scene is playing out at an alarming rate among older persons, over 100,000 of them, according to the most recent statistics – an increase of just about 30% in the past decade. This significant increase in arrests among the elderly might be in part because of the growth in the population of older adults, as well as the rise in diagnoses of Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia. (more…)


 August 14, 2017 by Dean Bellefeuille

It is a common problem for many older adults – falling and staying asleep for a full night’s rest. Apart from feeling a little foggy the next morning, however, as well as feeling the need for an afternoon snooze to catch up on lost sleep, the repercussions have felt marginal. That is, until research recently revealed a possible link between senior sleep disorders and Alzheimer’s disease. (more…)


 July 24, 2017 by Dean Bellefeuille

For those providing care for a senior struggling with the effects of dementia, a variety of complex behaviors must be very carefully managed, but perhaps the most challenging include hallucinations, illusions, and suspicions that other individuals are out to cause him problems or ill will. Mistaken impressions such as these take place most often in the late stages of progressive dementia as a result of changes within the brain. It’s essential to first understand the reason behind these emotions and actions, and to deal with the root cause. (more…)


 July 11, 2017 by Dean Bellefeuille

Like they say, there’s no place like home; but what do you do when a senior with dementia insists on going home – when he/she currently IS home? Regrettably, when caring for an elderly person with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia, this is an all too common dilemma. And the confusion and plaintive yearning being expressed are simply heartbreaking – and, if we are truthful, aggravating. (more…)