Elder Guru

Ten Brain Exercises for Dementia

Dementia is a type of brain disorder that mostly affects older adults. While its causes are still unknown, brain exercises can help keep an older adult sharp and wise. The rate of dementia increases with age, and there are no medical treatments that can cure it completely. In addition to decreased memory capacity, dementia comes with many different issues that include Sundowners Syndrome, delusions, and hallucinations. But, if you do some physical and mental exercises, this could help reduce the symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease, or at least delay or reduce…

5 Tips for Communicating with Seniors Who Have Dementia

There are various things that you should keep in mind when communicating with seniors who have dementia. Individuals suffering from dementia find it hard to remember things, communicate with others, think clearly, or even to take care of themselves. Complicate that with mood swings and changes in personality or behavior. These challenges can make it hard for you to take care of someone with dementia, and even harder if you don’t know how to communicate with them. We are going to offer 5 tips on how to communicate with seniors…

6 Holiday Gift Ideas for a Loved One With Dementia

Buying a gift for a loved one with dementia can prove difficult at the holidays. That does not have to be the case, however. Here are six holiday gift ideas to consider that are ideal for those suffering from varying degrees of dementia. Puzzles: Puzzles are a fantastic way to work on cognitive skills and sharpen memory. Seek out a senior-friendly puzzle that is cut in large pieces that are easy to pick up and hold. Choose from an array of interesting and artistic images that include bright colors or…

Download the Dementia “End of Life: Helping with Comfort and Care” Document

The National Institute on Aging has published an “End of Life: Helping with Comfort and Care” document for download and distribution. Dementia, as we know, causes the gradual loss of thinking, memory, and mental capacity, which makes it difficult for providers of end of life care to know what is best. Because those with advanced dementia can no longer communicate clearly, their wishes cannot be shared. The National Institute on Aging’s publication is intended to help caregivers navigate the end of life process. Brief but informative, the publication includes: Providing Comfort at…

Are Dementia Rates Falling?

Are seniors in the United States developing dementia later and less often? One study’s results say so. The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine on February 11, followed more than 5,000 Americans for 40 years. The participants’ average age of dementia development rose from 80 to 85. They also experienced a 20 percent reduction rate in their risk of developing the condition. Study author Dr. Sudha Seshadri, professor of neurology at Boston University’s Alzheimer’s Disease Center, points out that America still has a large population of dementia…

The Cost of Dementia Care is Rising

What is the cost of dementia care? The cost of dementia care outpaces heart disease and cancer, two other leading killers, in cost over time. Researchers recently found that dementia patients on Medicare faced far more out-of-pocket expenses. The average cost to a dementia patient after Medicare pays its share was $61,522, over 80% more than heart disease or cancer patients paid. Largely, this discrepancy is due to the cost of in-home caregivers, who attend to a dementia patient around the clock. This expense is usually not covered by Medicare.…

GPS Shoes and Other GPS-Based Tracking Devices for People with Alzheimer’s and Dementia

Let me preface this post with: if you are considering a tracking device for a confused person – include them in the decision. I know there are instances where the person won’t understand, but do it out of respect. A person always has rights. _________________________ There are a growing variety of GPS-based tracking devices caregivers and non-secure long-term care facilities can use when concerned about someone wandering away. Anyone that has cared for a confused elder knows this is a serious concern. It’s not uncommon for even secured facilities to…

SLUMS Dementia Test Available in Various Languages

Nina Tumosa, Professor of Internal Medicine at Saint Louis University, gave me different versions of the Saint Louis University Mental Status exam (SLUMS), each in a different language. I converted the files into .pdf documents available for download. Unfamiliar with the SLUMS exam? Read about it here. Download the SLUMS Exam in: Chinese Deutsch English French Hebrew Romanian Portuguese Spanish Download the SLUMS Instructions in English.

Dementia Advocacy and Support Network International – Online Support Group for People with Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia

Looking for an online support group? If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times, caregivers, family, friends and the individuals themselves fair far better through the dementia process if they’re connected to a support group. For some people, they just don’t have time, or they can’t find someone to act as caregiver while they attend a support group. Others may have a hard time opening up with strangers. While I don’t think an online support group could ever replace the person-to-person contact found in a traditional support…

Virtual Dementia Tour (VDT) Experience for Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias

The Virtual Dementia Tour (VDT) is designed to simulate what it’s like to suffer from Alzheimer’s Disease or related dementias. This proprietary program is being delivered by a variety of people in long-term care settings, schools, aging conferences, etc. The idea is simple: wear goggles that disrupt your vision, pour popcorn kernels into your shoes to simulate leg and foot pain, wear gloves and tape fingers to make touching and grasping difficult, and listen to loud background noise through headphones. The person administering the event then tells the individual to…

Download the SLUMS Test -A Dementia / Alzheimer’s Exam

The Saint Louis University Mental Status Examination (SLUMS) test is a brief oral/written exam given to people that are suspected to have dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease. The exam serves as a tool to indicate whether a doctor should consider further testing to diagnose dementia. The SLUMS was created by the Director of the Division of Geriatric Medicine at Saint Louis University. Saint Louis University’s Division of Geriatric Medicine offers an integrated set of programs that offer gerontological and geriatric education to geriatricians involved in the dissemination of state-of-the-art elder care…

Nursing Home Coronavirus Safety

Senior care communities were in the news early on. For a short period in February 2020, the epicenter of the novel (new) corona virus disease 2019 (COVID-19) nationally, could be found at the Life Care Center, a nursing home in Kirkland, Washington. Nursing home coronavirus safety was an immediate concern. Since the first resident tested positive for the virus on February 19, it saw a disproportionate number of its residents affected by corona virus. Since that time, and as of this writing, 37 deaths have been linked to the COVID-19…