June Is Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month

June Is Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month


Learn about the inaugural Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month. It is an opportunity to raise awareness of the Alzheimer’s crisis and educate people on the realities of the disease.

There are at least 44 million people worldwide living with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.

Despite its soaring prevalence, Alzheimer’s disease is still largely misunderstood. The inaugural Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month is an opportunity to raise awareness of the Alzheimer’s crisis and educate people on the realities of the disease. The Alzheimer’s Association is asking everyone with a brain to join the purple movement this June and help protect our greatest assets.

Often thought of as minor memory loss, Alzheimer’s is a fatal disease that kills nerve cells and tissue in the brain, affecting an individual’s ability to remember, think and plan. As the disease advances, the brain shrinks dramatically due to cell death. Individuals lose their ability to communicate, recognize family and friends and care for themselves. 

On June 21, the summer solstice, people around the world will honor the strength, passion and endurance of those facing Alzheimer’s with a day of activity. Participants in The Longest Day® will complete approximately 16 hours of activity ranging from running, cooking and knitting to playing cards. To join or start a team, visitalz.org/thelongestday

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Women and Stroke

Stroke Prevention Guidelines
for Women

Each year, more women have strokes than men. A set of stroke prevention guidelines for women was recently established to outline stroke risk factors unique to women.

Stroke kills twice as many women
as breast cancer every year.

However, women in a recent survey believed breast cancer is five times more prevalent than stroke and 40 percent of women said they were only somewhat or not at all concerned about experiencing a stroke in their life.


Did you know?

  • Approximately 55,000 more women than men have a stroke each year.
  • Only 27 percent of women could name more than two of the six primary stroke symptoms.
  • Seven out of 10 women said they are not aware they are more likely than men to have a stroke, and were not at all or only somewhat knowledgeable about risk factors.
  • African-American women suffer a significantly higher number of strokes than Caucasian women, yet African-American women were less likely to correctly identify what causes a stroke compared to Caucasian women.
  • Stroke is a leading cause of death for Hispanic women but Hispanic women were significantly less aware of stroke symptoms than Caucasian women.

The survey was commissioned by HealthyWomen, the nation’s leading independent health information source for women, in partnership with National Stroke Association and the American College of Emergency Physicians. Conducted by Harris Interactive in 2010, support for the survey was provided by Genentech Inc., a wholly-owned member of the Roche Group.

Women need to be educated and empowered to take charge of their health so they not only know how to reduce their risks, but can recognize the signs of stroke.

One way you can improve your odds for not having a stroke is to learn about stroke risks for women and how lifestyle changes and medicines that can lower your stroke risk.

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DICE Method for Handling Agitation & Aggression in Dementia

DICE Method for Handling Agitation & Aggression in Dementia

A new technique called “DICE” empowers caregivers, patients & health providers to work together to reduce behavioral problems in people with dementia. Learn how it can reduce the use of antipsychotic drugs and make life easier for everyone.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — A new approach to handling agitation, aggression and other unwanted behaviors by people with dementia may help reduce the use of antipsychotics and other psychiatric drugs in this population, and make life easier for them and their caregivers, a team of experts says.

The new DICE model – for Describe, Investigate, Evaluate, and Create – seeks to reduce psychotropic medication use in dementia patients.

Publishing their recommendations under the easy-to-remember acronym of “DICE”, the panel of specialists in senior mental health hope to spark better teamwork among those who care for dementia patients at home, in residential facilities and in hospitals and clinics. In fact, the federal agency that runs Medicare and funds much dementia-related care has made the DICE approach an official part of its toolkit for reducing the use of antipsychotic drugs and other mental health medications in people with dementia. Though these drugs may still help some patients, the new paper in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society says, many non-medication approaches could also help reduced unwanted behaviors, also known as neuropsychiatric symptoms of dementia. But it will take teamwork and communication to do it. Most people with Alzheimer’s disease and other memory-affecting conditions also get aggressive, agitated, depressed, anxious, or delusional from time to time, says senior author Helen C. Kales, M.D., head of the U-M Program for Positive Aging and Geriatric Psychiatry at the University of Michigan Health System and investigator at the VA Center for Clinical Management Research . Or, they might have delusions, hallucinations, or lose inhibitions. “Often more than memory loss, behavioral symptoms of dementia are among the most difficult aspects of caring for people with dementia. These symptoms are experienced almost universally, across dementia stages and causes,” she says. “Sadly, these symptoms are often associated with poor outcomes including early nursing home placement, hospital stays, caregiver stress and depression, and reduced caregiver employment.” Doctors often prescribe these patients medications often used in patients with mental health disorders, despite little hard evidence that they work well and despite the risks they can pose — including hastening death. Meanwhile, studies have shown promise from non-medication approaches to changing dementia patients’ behavior and reducing triggers for behavioral symptoms in their environment and daily life. But too few health teams are trained in their use. Kales and her colleagues Laura N. Gitlin, Ph.D. and Constantine G. Lyketsos, M.D. from Johns Hopkins University authored the new paper on behalf of a group of experts, called the Detroit Expert Panel on the Assessment and Management of the Neuropsychiatric Symptoms of Dementia, who developed the DICE approach. Sponsored by Kales’ program, the national multidisciplinary panel of experts met in Michigan to create a comprehensive approach to behavioral management. Dubbed “DICE” for Describe, Investigate, Evaluate, and Create, it details key patient, caregiver and environmental considerations with each step of the approach and describes the “go-to” behavioral and environmental interventions that should be considered. Briefly described, the components are:

  • D: Describe – Asking the caregiver, and the patient if possible, to describe the “who, what, when and where” of situations where problem behaviors occur and the physical and social context for them. Caregivers could take notes about the situations that led to behavior issues, to share with health professionals during visits.
  • I: Investigate – Having the health provider look into all the aspects of the patient’s health, dementia symptoms, current medications and sleep habits, that might be combining with physical, social and caregiver-related factors to produce the behavior.
  • C: Create – Working together, the patient’s caregiver and health providers develop a plan to prevent and respond to behavioral issues in the patient, including everything from changing the patient’s activities and environment, to educating and supporting the caregiver.
  • E: Evaluate – Giving the provider responsibility for assessing how well the plan is being followed and how it’s working, or what might need to be changed. 
  • The authors say that doctors should prescribe psychotropic drugs only after they and the patient and caregiver have made significant efforts to change dementia patients’ behavior through environmental modifications and other interventions, with three exceptions related to severe depression, psychosis or aggression that present risk to the patient or others.  Now, the authors say, health providers of all kinds who care for dementia patients should familiarize themselves with the DICE approach – as should the spouses, adult children and others who care for dementia patients at home. “Innovative approaches are needed to support and train the front-line providers for the burgeoning older population with behavioral symptoms of dementia,” says Kales, a professor in the U-M Medical School’s Department of Psychiatry and member of the U-M Institute for Healthcare Policy & Innovation . “We believe that the DICE approach offers clinicians an evidence-informed structured clinical reasoning process that can be integrated into diverse practice settings.”  Gitlin, who directs the Center for Innovative Care in Aging at the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing, adds, “The DICE approach is inherently patient- and caregiver-centered because the concerns of individuals with dementia and their caregivers are integral to each step of the process. DICE also enables clinicians to consider the roles of nonpharmacologic, medical and pharmacologic treatments concurrently.” Lyketsos, chair of the Department of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Bayview, stresses that the approach “has tremendous utility in clinical trials of treatments for behavioral symptoms, particularly in testing new medications. DICE can be used to better subtype behaviors, or focus on particular behaviors at randomization coupled with systematic treatment approaches”.
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As a family caregiver, you play a vitally important role in the life of your aging loved one—a role that can also be overwhelming, exhausting and sometimes thankless. As our gift to you this season, and as an encouragement for all of the good work you are doing, we asked professional Home Instead® CAREGiversSM to share their best advice with you. Here are eight of our favorites.

1. Take a break without feeling guilty. Maggie, a Home Instead CAREGiver, says, “The one thing I would advise a family caregiver is to allow themselves respite time, at least a couple times each month, without feeling guilty. A refreshed caregiver is a much better provider of care when they themselves have taken a much needed break.”

2. Helping your loved one look good can help them feel good, too. CAREGiver Theresa says, “Washing their hair, getting a trim or a haircut can vastly improve how they feel and see themselves. Update their clothes as their size changes or they lose a lot of weight. Purchasing two or three brightly colored, patterned ‘senior bibs’ or ‘painting smocks’ that can be put on and washed every day can also extend the life of their clothes.”

3. Give them the freedom to forget. CAREGiver Lori says, “Do not assume your family member remembers even the simple parts of life they’ve always known. Do not assume they like what they’ve always liked: music, television, current events, travel, past favorite foods, visiting in large groups of people. Do not assume they remember the person in church greeting them, or the neighbor next door, or even you. Allow them the space to remember and forget at their own pace.”

4. Call or visit regularly. CAREGiver Renee says, “In my years as a caregiver, I have found that most seniors who do not get out much usually experience loneliness. Their phone seldom rings and the television is often left on all day for company. They want to hear the sound of other voices but that doesn’t take the place of visiting with other people or spending time out in public.” Renee suggests setting a specific day and time each week to call, to give your loved one something to look forward to. A simple letter or greeting card to let them know they are missed and loved can make their day and remind them that someone cares.

5. Allow them to change and accept when they do. “Whether it’s a physical incapability or behavioral, realize that it is okay that your loved one is not the person you remember. Step back and realize the only way they can get peace is to let them be.” – Jeannie, Great Lakes Region 2012 CAREGiver of the Year

6. Never make them feel incapable, or say “no” outright. Jeannie also advises, “Be considerate about things that may be embarrassing to them (e.g., helping them out of a wheelchair). Be as creative as you can be. If they’re confused about what is going on, ease the confusion by asking questions about their past and suggesting activities like going for a drive and pointing out all their favorite locations. Do what you can to make it feel like they weren’t denied anything.”

7. Be patient and respectful. Mariana, Central Region 2012 CAREGiver of the Year, says: “Regardless of the reasons they need care, it is important to provide loved ones care in ways that are respectful of their dignity and independence. You need to be patient.”

8. Accept help. “You need to take care of yourself to take care of someone else. If people offer to help, accept the help.” – Mariana


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Such a beautiful song and so true…

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A trip to the Hospital…to maintain health ???

lake healthSeniors often avoid hospitals. For many, the hospital is a place to be avoided at all cost, that if they enter, they’ll never come out.

Instead of addressing health concerns, they might allow the little issues to pile up. They might also ignore symptoms, or hide them from friends and family.

For example…

They might avoid seeking treatment for an arthritic knee, or another treatable malady, until something happens. Perhaps a fall from the sore knee? The knee could have been addressed with medication or exercises. But due to the fall, there is a broken hip, surgery to repair it and then a rather lengthy recovery from surgery. And probably a stay in a rehab facility.

Worse, the injured party was not at optimal strength, because they reduced their activity level prior to the fall. Those little issues that piled up, started a slow decline. Maybe they stopped getting up to cook meals, eating properly, going  grocery shopping, or even going out to pick up medications.

Many times, we don’t realize a loved one is in this place, until they are taken to the hospital after a catastrophic event sends them to the emergency room.

We can help our loved ones before this type of situation occurs…


Or at least your local hospitals website.

In Lake County, Ohio we have TriPoint Medical Center and Lake Health West Medical Center, both part of Lake Health. Also part of Lake Health, there are urgent care, physical therapy, diagnostics and other healthcare locations scattered throughout Lake County.

What type of information is on Lake Health’s website?

  • Recipes for healthy eating and cooking tips
  • Buttons to connect to Lake Health via social media
  • Classes and Events; skin cancer screenings, music therapy classes to help manage diabetes, kayaking for fitness and fun, classes to quit smoking, and so much more. (Some classes are free, some have fees.)
  • Presentations; Lake Health frequently has staff present on topics of interest, such as joint replacement surgery or heart health.
  • 2013 Arthritis Expo information
  • Details about a new walking path soon to be constructed around the TriPoint facility for both hospital staff, guests, patients and also for community use.


bookA fun event or outing is a nice way of getting everybody out of the house. But it might also help make your local hospital seem less threatening. Which can encourage a loved one to maintain scheduled doctors appointments, or even to feel more comfortable if they do require a hospital stay. The familiar is always more comfortable–less scary.

TriPoint Medical Center presents Growing up:Making the Big Girl Shoes Fit, on Thursday, June 20, 2013 at the Physician Pavilion, 7590 Auburn Road, Concord Township, OH 44077.

                 From Lake Health...

You’re invited to meet Lake Health’s Lori Stevic-Rust, PhD, ABPP, as she shares her book, Greedy for Life: A Memoir on Aging with Gratitude. Learn how her grandmother’s extraordinary lessons of love and living guided Lori on her journey to adulthood.

Discover how her multi-generational family made their big girl shoes fit. The fee of $15 includes a copy of the book.

Bring your mother, daughters and friends to this event and wear your best big-girl shoes!  

The bonus?

Gathering families and friends, or groups of mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts, grandmother’s gets people talking. Sometimes when conversations get started, we find out little pieces of information that can help us to help our loved ones.

For example, maybe we find out our grandmother needs extra help getting to the grocery store and we get the opportunity to arrange for help, instead of allowing her to struggle.


Non-medical home care  can be wonderful. A caregiver can take your loved one to doctor’s appointments, the grocery store, hair appointments and other activities. Sometimes seniors need a little more help and their children must work. At Taylor Made Home Care, its common for caregivers to fill in those gaps.

The old thinking? Staying OUT of the hospital is healthy. But these days, hospitals offer tools to help us maintain our good health. They offer a wealth of resources not only to our elderly, but to all of us.

For more information on services mentioned above or to register for an event by phone, please call the Best of Health Line at 800-454-9800.  

Please click on the provided links, take a look around, and see what services are available. If you haven’t visited these sites recently, you’ll be pleasantly surprised!!

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