According to the Mayo Clinic, its researchers at the Florida Mayo Clinic have identified an enzyme that shows promise in combating Alzheimer’s disease. The enzyme — BACE2 — destroys a toxic protein fragment known as beta-amyloid that is prevalent in the brains of patients with Alzheimer’s.

Earlier this month the findings were printed in the journal Molecular Neurodegeneration. The fact that BACE2 was the enzyme that researchers were looking for is of interest, because it’s closely related to BACE1, an enzyme involved in producing beta-amyloid.

The research team led by Malcolm A. Leissring made the discovery during a process of testing hundreds of enzymes for their ability to lower beta-amyloid levels. Of the proteins tested, BACE2 was discovered to lower the levels of beta-amyloid more effectively than all others.

The paper explained just how BACE2 destroys beta-amyloid. Beta-amyloid is only a fragment of a larger protein known as APP, which is produced by enzymes that cut APP in two places. So, BACE1 is responsible for making the first cut that generates beta-amyloid. The Mayo Clinic research showed that BACE2 has the ability to cut beta-amyloid into smallers pieces, which effectively and efficiently destroys it.

In fact, the protection that BACE2 offers is two-fold. A previous study found that BACE2 can also lower beta-amyloid levels in a second way. By cutting APP at a different spot than BACE1 — in the middle of the beta-amyloid portion — it further prevents beta-amyloid production.

In a statement released by the Mayo Clinic, first author Samer Abdul-Hay said, “The fact that BACE2 can lower beta-amyloid by two distinct mechanisms makes this enzyme an especially attractive candidate for gene therapy to treat Alzheimer’s disease.

The potential of BACE2 suggests that impairments of the enzyme could increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. This is a significant finding because certain prescriptions, like antiviral drugs used to treat HIV, work by inhibiting enzymes that are similar to BACE2.

Physicians Choice Private Duty currently serving Omaha, Eastern Nebraska and Western Iowa provides seniors and their families a complete understanding of the available care options and helps families maneuver through the challenges of the system. All Encompass services are directed by registered nurses or social workers with no long-term contracts. Contact us today for help with your senior care needs.

“Physicians Choice Private Duty solves the problems families face in finding home health care providers they can trust. Providers who will focus on strategies that keep parents in their homes. To learn more about our health care services, visit http://www.encompass-home-health-care.com.”

As reported by the Senior Journal, more than 80 percent of drivers 65 and older regularly take medications, but only half of these have talked to a doctor about the possible safety issues related to driving associated with their medications. According to the article, AAA has started promoting Roadwise Rx, a program to help older Americans understand how medications may affect their ability to safely drive a vehicle.

The program, developed by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, is an online tool detailing common side effects of prescription and over-the-counter medications.

We’ve written about methods to help the elderly avoid dangerous driving with a contract and by other methods in the past.

AAA’s President & CEO Robert Darbelnet told Senior Journal, “Roadwise Rx lets users move beyond the old-fashioned “brown bag” review with an easy way to virtually pool together their pill bottles and talk to their doctor.”

Certain types of medication, such as antidepressants, have been shown to increase crash risk by as much as 41 percent, according to Senior Journal. In addition, ingredients commonly found in over-the-counter cold and allergy medicines, like Diphenhydramine, can have a similar effect as being above the legal limit for blood alcohol levels.

AAA Foundation President and CEO Peter Kissinger also told Senior Journal that research conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that nearly one out of five older drivers use five or more prescription medications. The interactions of different prescriptions with each other can also pose a potential risk to safe driving.

Roadwise Rx is available at no cost. More information on AAA’s free resources for senior drivers and their families is available at SeniorDrivingAAA.com.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=ohzFux9D0PQ

Physicians Choice Private Duty currently serving Omaha, Eastern Nebraska and Western Iowa” provides seniors and their families a complete understanding of the available options and help families maneuver through the challenges of the “system. All Encompass services are directed by registered nurses or social workers with no long-term contracts. Contact us today for help with your senior care needs.

“Physicians Choice Private Duty solves the challenges families face in caring for aging parents, with a focus on strategies that keep them in their homes. To learn more about our solutions, visit us today..”

Photo by dougbelshaw via Flickr

Expanding on a 2007 study that revealed around 80 percent of caregivers found the experience emotionally rewarding (despite initially having a negative perception of caregiving), Caregiving Today CEO Victor Imbimbo wrote an article for the Huffington Post last week about the conditions that influence the emotional well-being of family caregivers.

As the Encompass blog has touched on before, caregiver stress is a real concern for the 55 million Americans who have provided elder care in the last five years. Consequently, Imbimbo found the happiness factor among family caregivers interesting.

In the 2007 study, 60 percent of respondents said they “felt very positive about their role as a family caregiver.” The most common emotional benefits the happy caregivers experienced included a strengthened relationship with their loved one as well as the feeling that they were returning the love they had received all their lives, according to Imbimbo.

The article revealed that these happy family caregivers naturally are:

    • Better prepared for the caregiver role

 

    • Able to make a concerted effort to take care of themselves, including eating properly, sleeping enough, maintaining work schedules, et al.

 

    • More focused on being optimistic and happy

 

So what makes a caregiver happy? It’s the exact same thing that makes any person happy in general — those who already believe that achieving happiness in their daily lives is a realistic goal. “When [happiness] becomes a way of life I guarantee it will significantly improve your ability to handle the many twists and turns you experience as a family caregiver,” Imbimbo concludes.

Whether or not a person is happy in playing the role of Family Caregiver, there will undoubtedly be times of stress and grief along the way. That’s when the services of a senior care provider, such as Physicians Choice Private Duty in Omaha, can help offer solutions to ensure the continued quality care of an aging loved one.

All Encompass services are directed by registered nurses or social workers with no long-term contracts. Contact us today.

“Physicians Choice Private Duty solves the problems families face in finding home health care providers they can trust. Providers who will focus on strategies that keep parents in their homes. To learn more about our health care services, visit http://www.encompass-home-health-care.com.”

A new device is in the preliminary stages of testing in the U.S., and is showing great promise for treating Alzheimer’s.

The first U.S. trials for the NeuroAD device were conducted at the Berenson-Allen Center for Noninvasive Brain Stimulation at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. The medical center is a teaching hospital associated with Harvard Medical School.

The device, which was originally developed and successfully tested in Israel, combines electromagnetic stimulation of the brain with cognitive training. The stimulation and the training both target specific regions of the brain affected by the disease.

The findings of these early studies are somewhat remarkable. Alvaro Pascual-Leone directed the trial at the Harvard Medical School where he is a Professor of Neurology. He told Dementia Today, “Tests have shown significant improvement of the cognitive functions, and we’ve seen increased connectivity in the brain in functional MRI scans. As a result, patients’ daily activities such as taking care of themselves, speaking, and even recognizing their loved ones have improved dramatically.”

The treatment is pain free and, according to Dementia Today, it “not only stopped patients from deteriorating, it actually improved patients’ cognitive performance to a greater extent than what is currently available with approved medications.”

The device is not a cure for Alzheimer’s. Medications to relieve some of its symptoms generally show diminished benefits within six to nine months of treatment. The NeuroAD can be used in conjunction with drug therapeis and has shown a more significant impact with long-term results, according to Dementia Today.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tdt4_14tkNE&noredirect=1

Hopefully, these suggestions are a step in the right direction, helping prevent falls for your elderly loved one.

Encompass can help

Physicians Choice Private Duty currently serving Omaha, Eastern Nebraska and Western Iowa ” provides seniors and their families a complete understanding of the available options for someone living with Alzheimer’s. All Encompass services are directed by registered nurses or social workers with no long-term contracts. Contact us today with your senior care needs.

“Physicians Choice Private Duty solves the challenges families face in caring for aging parents, with a focus on strategies that keep them in their homes. To learn more about our solutions, visit us today..”

Todays post features real-life stories of how Physicians Choice Private Duty helped an elderly person and their loved ones through a tough decision-making process that ensured each persons individual care needs were met. Names have been changed to respect privacy.

Rhonda

Photo by Rosie O’Beirne via Flickr

Rhonda is an early onset aggressive Alzheimer’s patient who was sent out of the doctor’s office with a prescription for “24-hour care.” By working with her son (who became her guardian) Encompass was able to honor her wishes of staying in her own home by setting up the prescribed 24-hour care and allowing her to continue all the activities she participated in before her devastating diagnosis. As her disease progresses, long term care plans will be made to find her suitable memory care placement — but for now, she is at home and safe.

Mona

An elderly woman fell down a flight of stairs and was brought to the ER. The hospital would not admit her but told her family she needed 24-hour care for the next several weeks. Encompass was able to develop a schedule that allowed for professional health workers to fill in the hours where the family could not provide care to the patient. In three weeks she was back to her old self and living independently.

Terri

A middle-aged woman with significant progressive illness wish to continue to stay at home, but found this difficult as she was beginning to have safety issues in the home. After contacting Encompass, recommendations were made to make her home safe and handicapped accessible, also fitting her for an electric wheelchair. Today, she remains at home safely with assistance from family and friends.

Read more Real Stories from Encompass here.

Physicians Choice Private Duty currently serving Omaha, Eastern Nebraska and Western Iowa provides seniors and their families a complete understanding of the available care options and helps families maneuver through the challenges of the system. All Encompass services are directed by registered nurses or social workers with no long-term contracts. Contact us today for help with your senior care needs.

“Physicians Choice Private Duty solves the problems families face in finding home health care providers they can trust. Providers who will focus on strategies that keep parents in their homes. To learn more about our health care services, visit http://www.encompass-home-health-care.com.”

September 21st is National Alzheimer’s Action Day and there’s an unexpected way that you can show support for the nearly 35 million people and their families affected by Alzheimer’s worldwide.

Mashable reports that an awareness campaign for Alzheimer’s Disease International is asking people on Facebook to download an app that will symbolically allow them to experience the loss of a lifetime worth of memories for a day.

The app will remain inactive until Friday when it wipes a user’s timeline — pictures, status, videos, friends — and replaces it with a message that reads: “Imagine your life without memories. For 36 million people living with Alzheimer’s disease, this is a reality.”

The information will be returned to your timeline the following day, and it’s a great way to show your support and raise awareness. People can also show support for the cause via Twitter and Google+.

For more information about Alzheimer’s Disease International, visit their website.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=iit9IAn35mM

Do you have a family member suffering from Alzheimer’s? Physicians Choice Private Duty currently serving Omaha, Eastern Nebraska and Western Iowa ” provides a complete understanding of the available options for your loved one. All Encompass services are directed by registered nurses or social workers with no long-term contracts. Contact us today with your senior care needs.

“Physicians Choice Private Duty solves the challenges families face in caring for aging parents, with a focus on strategies that keep them in their homes. To learn more about our solutions, visit us today..”

According to a neurologist from the Mayo Clinic, there are more than 200 medications that can cause hearing loss. These drugs are known as ototoxic and can cause tinnitus, temporary hearing loss and even permanent hearing loss.

What is ototoxicity?

The definition of ototoxic offered at Medscape Reference is that an ototoxic drug is one with the potential to “cause toxic reactions to structures of the inner ear, including the cochlea, vestibule, semicircular canals, and otoliths.” Drug-induced damage to these structures of the auditory and balance system can result in hearing loss, tinnitus and dizziness. The hearing damage caused can be temporary or permanent.

According to Mayo Clinic neurologist Jerry Swanson, about 200 drugs are considered potentially ototoxic. For instance, an antibiotic called Gentamicin is attributed by the American Hearing Research Foundation as causing 15 to 50 percent of cases of a certain type of hearing loss known as Bilateral Vestibulopathy.

You might not be warned if taking ototoxic drugs

And patients may not always be alerted by doctors or pharmacists that the drugs they are taking are ototoxic. Even some over the counter drugs like ibuprofen can cause hearing loss. Ibuprofen, which is the active ingredient in Advil can lead to hearing loss if taken in high doses or for a prolonged period time. Luckily, this hearing loss is often temporary and disappears when the ibuprofen is no longer taken, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Know your medications

For those already experiencing hearing loss or tinnitus, even if not caused by ototoxic medications, it is even more important to be aware of the medications that you take. Talk with your pharmacist about any ototoxic potential of your medications.

If you’re elderly loved one already has hearing loss or tinnitus, whether the cause is from ototoxic medications or other causes, it is especially important to be aware of the medications that you are taking. It can be helpful to speak with your pharmacist about any ototoxic potential of your medications.

Preventing hearing loss when taking ototoxic medications

Hearing loss might be a minor risk if the ototoxic medication you are taking is for a life-threatening illness such as cancer, according to the Mayo Clinic. However, recent studies are finding that certain minerals and vitamins may prove helpful in reducing the likelihood of hearing loss when taking ototoxic medications. There is also always the chance that there is a non-ototoxic alternative to the ototoxic medications that your parent is taking that can be just as beneficial.

Medications don’t always interact well with one another. For this reason, it’s important to let the doctor and pharmacist know all of the medications that your loved one is taking, even over the counter. It’s a given that those at risk should avoid loud noise to prevent hearing loss, but it’s even more important when taking ototoxic medication. If you are around loud noises wear ear plugs.

Physicians Choice Private Duty currently serving Omaha, Eastern Nebraska and Western Iowa provides seniors and their families a complete understanding of the available care options and helps families maneuver through the challenges of the system. All Encompass services are directed by registered nurses or social workers with no long-term contracts. Contact us today for help with your senior care needs.

“Physicians Choice Private Duty solves the problems families face in finding home health care providers they can trust. Providers who will focus on strategies that keep parents in their homes. To learn more about our health care services, visit http://www.encompass-home-health-care.com.”

September 22nd, the first day of Fall, is also recognized by 46 states as National Falls Prevention Awareness Day. In hopes of facilitating fall prevention, Kathryn Haslanger has posted eight areas for family caregivers to focus on to prevent falls for the elderly.
Age

It’s a fact that one in every three adults 65 and older has fallen. As we age numerous risk factors compound to increase the likelihood of falling. Age in turn compounds the damage that is sustained as the result of falls. According to the CDC,those who are 75 and older and fall are four times more likely than those ages 65 to 74 to be admitted to a long-term care facility for a year or longer.

Vision

It’s important for family caregivers to encourage yearly eye exams for their aging parent or relative. Studies have shown that older patients who received cataract surgery sustained less falls in the year following the surgery than those cataracts patients who did not. Based on guidance from an expert, Haslanger also recommends getting a dedicated pair of glasses with single vision distance lenses for some activities, such as walking outside.

Home environment<
There are a number of ways to ensure that the home of an elder care recipient is safe from falls. Installing rails on stairs, ensuring stairs are level and evenly spaced, and that pathways are well-lighted and free of clutter is a good start. Installing grab bars near toilets and in showers is also a good idea. If you need help fitting a home to prevent falls, consult a senior care provider, such as Physicians Choice Private Duty in Omaha, for help.

Multiple medications

Taking multiple medications — four or more — can increase someone’s risk of falls because side effects or interactions associated with certain medications such as dizziness or drowsiness. To help counteract these effects, taking medications before a meal or before bed can sometimes be ideal. You can also speak with the doctor to work on the dosage of medications.

Footwear

Believe it or not, there is research that suggests that those 65 and older increase their risk of falling if they walk around the home barefoot or in socks. If you think about it, it makes sense. Proper footwear provides traction that socks and bare feet simply can’t. There’s also the tendency of jumping back and losing balance when we step on something in bare feet or socks.

Assistance devices

It’s important to have walkers and canes properly adjusted to fit the user. If a walker is the wrong height or used improperly it can negate the benefits of using it. Also, turn the cane or walker upside down once a month to make sure the rubber tips are still in good shape. If not, replace them.

Balance

Balance is, of course, a major factor in preventing falls. If you’re having to hold onto your elderly parent while they walk, it’s probably a good idea to consult a doctor who may prescribe a balance retraining program.

Muscle strength

Declining muscle strength can cause falls. As our muscles become weaker they become less able to support our weight. There are a number of exercises that your elderly parent can do to minimize muscle loss, including walking, Tai Chi, yoga and strength training. Many fitness facilities in Nebraska also provide exercise classes for the elderly. In Omaha, there is even a fitness center called Omaha Wellbound Fitness that offers programs and exercise classes specifically tailored to baby boomers and senior citizens.

Hopefully, these suggestions are a step in the right direction, helping prevent falls for your elderly loved one.

Physicians Choice Private Duty currently serving Omaha, Eastern Nebraska and Western Iowa ” provides seniors and their families a complete understanding of the available care options and helps families maneuver through the challenges of the system. All Encompass services are directed by registered nurses or social workers with no long-term contracts. Contact us today for help with your senior care needs.

“Physicians Choice Private Duty solves the challenges families face in caring for aging parents, with a focus on strategies that keep them in their homes. To learn more about our solutions, visit us today..”

Heart disease remains the leading killer in the U.S., claiming 600,000 lives every year, according to SeniorLiving.org. With more than 84 percent of those deaths coming from people 65 years or older, as your elderly parent ages, caring for their heart becomes even more important.

There are factors that can’t be mitigated such as gender — men have twice as many heart attacks as women — race and/or heredity traits. But there are factors that you can control. It’s always wise to seek the advice of your doctor, but here are some ways to cut back on controllable risk factors.

Smoking

Your elderly parent smokes, it increases risk of coronary heart disease two to four times over nonsmokers. It can be hard to break an ingrained habit, especially one that has been present in their life for many years, but if they’re serious about preventing heart disease, quitting is a necessity. Pipe and cigar smokers also increase their risk, but not as much as cigarette smokers.

High cholesterol

The higher the amounts of cholesterol — a fatty substance found in the blood — the greater the risk of heart attack. There are two kinds of cholesterol: Low-density lipoporoteins (LDL) and high density lipoproteins (HDL). LDL is often referred to as bad cholesterol because it deposits fat (plague) on the walls of the heart’s arteries, increasing risk of heart disease. HDL is often referred to as good cholesterol because it helps remove cholesterol from arteries.

The key to controlling cholesterol is what you eat. Reducing total fat consumed is a start. Then focusing on eating foods high in fiber such as fruits and vegetables will reduce bad cholesterol. Omega-3 fatty acids–found in fish can reduce blood pressure according to SeniorLiving.org. They suggest trying herring, halibut, salmon and mackerel. In addition, they advise eating nuts like almonds and walnuts to keep your blood vessels healthy.

High blood pressure

High blood pressure can increase the hearts workload and cause the heart to thicken, increasing the risk of stroke, heart attack and kidney failure.

Being physically inactive doubles the risk of heart disease, and even moderate physical activity can help prevent heart and blood vessel disease. The added benefits of regular exercise include helping to control high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and obesity.

Obesity

When you’re heavier it causes your heart to work that much harder. Even losing 10 lbs. can help. A healthy diet and regular exercise can both affect your weight positively.

Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is contributed to by being overweight. Again,weight loss and regular exercise can have a positive impact.

Encompass can help

Physicians Choice Private Duty currently serving Omaha, Eastern Nebraska and Western Iowa provides seniors and their families a complete understanding of the options with facing an elderly person at risk for heart disease. Our professional staff can help properly implement the necessary lifestyle changes that will ensure the best quality of life for your aging parent.

All Encompass services are directed by registered nurses or social workers with no long-term contracts.

Contact us today for your family’s elder care needs.

“Physicians Choice Private Duty solves the problems families face in finding home health care providers they can trust. Providers who will focus on strategies that keep parents in their homes. To learn more about our health care services, visit http://www.encompass-home-health-care.com.”

Todays post features real-life stories of how Physicians Choice Private Duty helped an elderly person and their loved ones through a tough decision-making process that ensured each persons individual care needs were met. Names have been changed to respect privacy.

Cooper Family

Photo by Universal Pops via Flickr

A very elderly couple lived alone in a four level home. With both of them suffering from health and memory loss issues, the couple’s children grew increasingly worried about their parents’ everyday safety. The children contacted Encompass for help. A plan was soon put in place to make the elderly couple’s home a much safer place, including adding features like Lifeline, a medication reminder system, an auto turn off stove and bathroom modifications, et al. Thanks to Encompass, the children can rest assured that their parents are safe, who are happy they were able to still remain in their home of nearly 70 years.

Klaus Family

An elderly woman moved to Omaha to live with her daughter. She had been failing at home because of dementia and was in need of in-home care. The daughter, able to act as primary caregiver but unsure of where to start, called Encompass for help. A safe plan was put in place that allowed the mother to remain at home, with her daughter by providing medication management, social outings, activities, transportation to appointments and meal preparations. Pre-planning was also completed to find the appropriate long term care facility when/if needed.

Garcia Family

The family of an elderly woman was concerned about her driving abilities and her memory loss. They consulted with Encompass who in turn helped find a geriatric specialist who discovered that her confusion and inability to focus was due to her medication. Her medication was adjusted by the specialist and she is still driving safely to this day.

Read more Real Stories from Encompass here.

Physicians Choice Private Duty currently serving Omaha, Eastern Nebraska and Western Iowa provides seniors and their families a complete understanding of the available care options and helps families maneuver through the challenges of the system. All Encompass services are directed by registered nurses or social workers with no long-term contracts. Contact us today for help with your senior care needs.

“Physicians Choice Private Duty solves the problems families face in finding home health care providers they can trust. Providers who will focus on strategies that keep parents in their homes. To learn more about our health care services, visit http://www.encompass-home-health-care.com.”