Alzheimer’s

[pinit]Post image for Aging Parents and Alzheimer’s Disease

What do Bruce Springsteen, Princess Jasmine Aga Kahn, Rick Steves and Candy Crowley have in common? Each has either an aging parent who is currently living with Alzheimer’s or a parent who died from the disease. Alzheimer’s and Aging Parents Rock icon Bruce Springsteen has talked movingly about what he and family members are going […]

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[pinit]Post image for Alzheimer’s Caregiving Stress, The Checklist

Mary assists her aging mother two evenings a week and almost all day on Saturday.  Her mother, who will soon turn 85, needs help with a growing list of tasks, including shopping for groceries, paying bills, doing laundry going to the pharmacy and preparing meals. During a recent conversation with Mary, I called her a […]

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[pinit]Post image for Alzheimer’s Cure! No, It’s Not Pot

A sincere “Thank You” to David Shenk and Rudy Tanzi.  A few days ago, I read your opinion piece, “Misplaced Hopes for Curing Alzheimer’s,” in The Wall Street Journal.  If you missed it, you can read it at this link. The essay is aimed at the “wishers” and “dreamers” (I’ll add scammers) who promote miracle […]

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[pinit]Post image for Capturing the Alzheimer’s Person’s History

My sisters and I made a big mistake when my father began showing the first signs of Alzheimer’s: We didn’t take the time to capture Dad’s recollections about his childhood. When he died in 1999, after living with Alzheimer’s for the better part of a decade, Dad’s six siblings were also dead.  This meant there […]

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[pinit]Post image for President Reagan & Alzheimer’s, Part 2

Did Ronald Reagan Have Alzheimer’s During His Presidency? Recently, I wrote a post about Ronald Reagan and Alzheimer’s disease.  After publishing this post, I came across a link to an interesting article in Mother Jones magazine.  I had saved the link several years ago, but couldn’t locate it when I was compiling the initial post. […]

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[pinit]Post image for Alzheimer’s Association Advocates for Research Monies and The HOPE Act

Last week, I wrote a post about my experience attending the Alzheimer’s Advocacy Forum in Washington, D.C. The forum takes place annually.  This year it brought 1,100 people to our nation’s capitol to advocate on behalf of Alzheimer’s disease. The 2015 forum goal was twofold.  First, to ask for an additional $300 million in Alzheimer’s […]

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[pinit]Post image for The Alzheimer Association’s Annual Washington, D.C. Forum

Last month I went to Washington, D.C. to attend the Alzheimer’s Association Forum, an annual event that brings together advocates from all across the country. Launched more than two decades ago, the forum’s goal is to educate regular folks, like myself, about the workings of government.  The goal is to enlighten Congress and apply pressure so we […]

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[pinit]Post image for Alzheimer’s Advocates to Congress: “Enough Talk. Show Us the Money.”

About a dozen years ago my mother first showed signs of memory loss.  I remember that awful sinking feeling you get when you can no longer ignore the warning signs. Mom lived in the same small, rural town in central Minnesota that had been her home for more than 50 years.  I was glad when […]

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[pinit]Post image for Alzheimer’s Keeps Me Awake at Night

In the dark, I toss and turn, practicing deep-breathing techniques and willing myself to think positive thoughts. Sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn’t. In the quiet of the night, there is an endless loop of questions running through my brain.  Will I get Alzheimer’s?  Could I already have it?  Would I know if I did […]

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[pinit]Post image for Sandwich Generation? Lee Woodruff Says Panini Generation Is More Accurate

Rethinking The Sandwich Generation For decades we were dubbed “The Sandwich Generation,” adult children, mainly baby boomers, stuffed between their aging parents and their own offspring or grandchildren. Sandwiched myself for many years, I recall feeling life was a continual tug of war that never ended.  I couldn’t help thinking I was always letting someone […]

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[pinit]Post image for TED Ed: Alzheimer’s Tutorial

I’m a big fan all things TED-related.  TED talks, videos and tutorials tap into my inner geek.  I’ve got a thirst for knowledge, yet I also want information imparted in a manner I can understand and easily share. Yesterday, I came across a TED Ed animated video from 2014.  Created by Ivan Seah Yu Jun […]

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[pinit]Post image for Alive Inside, A Documentary About Memory Loss & Music is Nothing Short of Remarkable

Watching the documentary, Alive Inside, I couldn’t help but think: What a simple idea, and why didn’t I think of that? Filmmaker Michael Rossato-Bennett chronicles individuals with memory loss who are revitalized through music. It’s an idea that costs very little but makes a huge difference for people those with Alzheimer’s or other progressive brain […]

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[pinit]Post image for New Study Reveals: Amyloid Found in the Brains of Young People

If there was ever a convincing argument for donating your brain to Alzheimer’s research, this is it.  “It” is a small, but surprising research study with results revealed last week.  Published in Brain, a neurology journal, you can read about the findings in Time magazine. Here is the lowdown: Researchers autopsied the brains of 48 […]

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[pinit]Post image for How to Have Those Difficult Conversations When Someone Has Alzheimer’s Disease

Aging Parents and Difficult Conversations If I could change one aspect of my Alzheimer’s caregiving journey, it would be how I handled difficult conversations. Both of my parents had Alzheimer’s disease, first my dad and then a decade later my mother.  As you can imagine  there were plenty of difficult conversations over the years.  These […]

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[pinit]Post image for Alzheimer’s – A Worldwide Epidemic?

Alzheimer’s disease affects people in every corner of the world. The global estimates are 35.5 million people now living with Alzheimer’s, with the largest number in Asia (15.9 million) and the lowest numbers in Africa (1.8 million).  Europe has just under 10 million living with Alzheimer’s while North/South America has 7.8. Latest Alzheimer’s Statistics These […]

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[pinit]Post image for Alzheimer’s Frustrates Physicians

Alzheimer’s and other progressive diseases of the brain are devastating. They are also profoundly frustrating for those living with the disease, their family and caregivers.  The healthcare professionals who treat those patients are also frustrated. Recently, I came across a New York Times essay by Dr. Danielle Ofri.  “The Silence of Doctors Around Alzheimer’s” focuses […]

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[pinit]Post image for Japan Struggles With the Challenges of an Aging Population and Declining Birthrate

In every corner of the world, countries and their citizens are struggling to care for their elders.  But no where is it more apparent than in Japan. Japan currently has an estimated 8 million who are living with Alzheimer’s disease, from individuals with mild symptoms to the most advanced stages.  This translates into a full […]

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[pinit]Post image for Alzheimer’s Disease Researchers Identify PART, Primary Age-Related Tauopathy

A scientific team announced late last year it has identified yet another type of neurological disease.  It’s called PART or primary age-related tauopathy.  While PART mimics Alzheimer’s, it follows a significantly different brain pathology. The Alzheimer’s brain shows the classic combination of tangles comprised of a protein called tau and plaques, which are the result […]

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[pinit]Post image for What I’ve Learned About Alzheimer’s Disease

The more I learn about Alzheimer’s disease, and other diseases of the brain, the more angry I become.  Some days, I feel ready to explode or implode — I can’t say which — but a “plode” would be involved. This post is really nothing more than a rant.  Thanks for indulging me. What I’ve learned […]

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[pinit]Post image for Aging Relatives and Memory Loss: The Holiday Eye-Opener for Adult Children

During the month of January, the phone lines are always busier than usual at the Alzheimer’s Association. The holidays are over and adult children have returned to their own homes after visiting aging parents and other relatives. During these visits, these middle-aged kids have often experienced an unwelcome eye-opener: Their elderly relatives are showing signs […]

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[pinit]Post image for What Julianne Moore Didn’t Mention in her Golden Globes Acceptance Speech

I was rooting for Julianne Moore to take home a Golden Globe on Sunday night and cheered when she did just that.  Moore stars in Still Alice, a film based on the best-selling book of the same name by Lisa Genova. The movie has gotten great reviews and I can’t wait to see it.  For […]

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[pinit]Post image for Are We Forcing Those With Memory Loss to Relinquish Driving Too Soon?

Last week I wrote about memory loss and driving.  When researching this topic, I learned there are no national policies or even guidelines in place regarding cognitive loss and driving.  However, a handful of states, including California, Oregon, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, have instituted mandatory reporting laws. In those states, when a physician determines a person […]

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[pinit]Post image for Alzheimer’s Disease and When to Have the Driving Conversation

Imagine how you would feel if you could no longer drive. The ability to get in your vehicle and go where you want, when you want is no longer available. Your freedom, autonomy and mobility are gone, and suddenly you must count on others for all your transportation needs. As an Alzheimer’s caregiver, I went […]

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Thankful for Mummy

by Nancy Wurtzel on November 26, 2014

[pinit]Post image for Thankful for Mummy

My mother died one year ago today.  In some ways it seems as though she left this world decades ago and at other times it feels like yesterday.  Death takes a long time to process, even if the person has been fading away for years. My relationship with Mom wasn’t an easy one.  We often […]

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[pinit]Post image for The Human Brain: A Three-Pound Wonder

The human brain.  It weighs just over three pounds and is made up of more than 100 billion neurons.  It’s often called the control center, engine or computer of the body. Whatever name you give it, the brain calls the shots. Until very recent years, the human brain was largely a mystery, but within the […]

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[pinit]Post image for Alzheimer’s Abuse Caught on Tape in Winter Haven, Florida Nursing Home

Captured on video: Two nursing assistants at Palm Gardens Nursing Home in Winter Haven, Florida repeatedly hitting and abusing a 76-year-old man who is in the latter stages of Alzheimer’s disease.  The man, unable to communicate and requiring help with the most basic of functions is seen being slapped, kicked and taunted during three separate […]

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[pinit]Post image for Alzheimer’s Awareness and Support Goes Local. What’s Happening in Minnesota

As our population ages and no cure or effective treatments for Alzheimer’s are in sight, it is apparent we have to do more to accommodate those living with the disease and their caregivers. The challenge is how to build awareness and understanding and then take action? What’s happening in my native Minnesota is a great example […]

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[pinit]Post image for A Global Perspective: The Financial Cost of Alzheimer’s and Other Dementias

Yesterday, I wrote about the Third Annual Worldwide Alzheimer’s month.  Now, I’m sharing information about the significant financial devastation for both individuals and nations around the globe. To understand the massive economic consequences of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI) has complied some sobering international figures.  This major report was published in […]

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[pinit]Post image for Teen Steps Up With His Invention to Help Those Living With Alzheimer’s

Sometimes the mother of invention isn’t necessity, it’s a 15-year old boy scout. Kenneth Shinozuka wants to become a neuroscientist and find a cure for Alzheimer’s, a disease that has nearly incapacitated his grandfather.  Someday, he may well accomplish this goal, but right now Shinozuka is still in high school, and instead of a cure, […]

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[pinit]Post image for In Retrospect: Five Lessons I Learned From My Years as an Alzheimer’s Caregiver

Why is life so much clearer in retrospect? With the passage of time, it is easy to look back, see the big picture and think: “If I’d only known then, what I know now.” I often hear caregivers voice this sentiment. And, as a long-time Alzheimer’s caregiver myself (for my mother, father and other relatives […]

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[pinit]Post image for Can a Person Ever Be Fully Prepared to Care For Someone with Alzheimer’s?

Earlier this year, I attended a caregivers conference at the University of Minnesota.  The morning keynote speaker was absolutely terrific — an engaging, informed speaker who was also funny and self-deprecating. The speaker’s bio was also impressive.  He was a physician, a teacher, an author as well as a long-time caregiver for his mother who […]

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[pinit]Post image for When Dementia Symptoms Are Not Alzheimer’s Disease

Although it was years ago, I clearly remember the phone ringing on a hot California morning.  My mother was calling from Minnesota and she sounded a bit frantic.  Earlier that morning, she had taken my dad to the emergency room.  Dad was having a “spell” as she described it, exhibiting confusion, irregular heart rate, muscle […]

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A few months ago, I attended a memory loss conference and encountered what I refer to as an “Alpha Alzheimer’s Caregiver.”  I’ll call her Deborah. Deborah is the type of women who who brims with confidence, seems to have all the answers and uses every opportunity to share her own personal experience and opinions.  Deborah […]

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[pinit]Post image for Still Alice, a Moving Novel and Soon a Movie

There are hundreds and hundreds of books on the topic of the Alzheimer’s disease, the brain and brain health.  But there are few novels that feature the disease as its central plot. One single novel stands out. Still Alice is the best-selling book written by first-time author Lisa Genova, a Harvard-educated neuroscientist.  Published in 2009, […]

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[pinit]Post image for The Sexes and Alzheimer’s Disease: Why Do More Women Develop the Disease?

Recently, I turned on the radio in my car and heard the last few minutes of an MPR All Things Considered segment about Alzheimer’s disease.  A few days later I googled the subject matter and found this MPR link to the audio and an accompanying online story. Take a few minutes to read or listen […]

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[pinit]Post image for Alzheimer’s Association Releases its 2014 Facts, Figures and Video

The Alzheimer’s Association annually releases the latest facts and figures about the disease.  In case you have not seen it yet, I’m posting their 2014 video, which will take you less than two minutes to view.  As usual, the video is incredibly moving. In my view, the Alzheimer’s Association is the thought leader for bringing […]

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[pinit]Post image for Alzheimer’s Disease and the Early-Onset Colombian Connection

I’m a huge fan of the CBS news show Sunday Morning.  It’s 90 minutes of quality programming that I look forward to every week. This week’s Sunday Morning cover story was about Alzheimer’s disease.  Titled, How One Family May Raise Hope for Alzheimer’s Patients, it was reported by Mo Rocca, one of the my favorite […]

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[pinit]Post image for Caregiver Quandry: What to Buy for Mother’s Day When Mom Has Alzheimer’s Disease?

What to Buy When Mom Has Alzheimer’s? Mother’s Day, always the second Sunday in May in the U.S., falls on May 11th this year.  This means you have a little more than a month to pick out that perfect piece of jewelry or perhaps the ideal perfume.  It’s estimated Americans will spend upwards of $2.6 […]

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[pinit]Post image for Could Identical Twins Help Unlock the Mystery of Alzheimer’s?

There is the saying in the Alzheimer’s community, If you met one person with Alzheimer’s disease, then you have met one person with Alzheimer’s disease. In other words, the disease seems to follow no one path and affects everyone differently.  However, a recent comparison of identical twins may debunk this conventional thinking. Part of a […]

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[pinit]Post image for Alzheimer’s Tool Kit for Caregivers. Cool Graphic With Tips and Ideas for Caregivers

If you’re caring for someone with dementia symptoms you’ll already be aware of the complex challenges it presents. People with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia are affected by a range of symptoms, including memory loss, difficulty communicating, changes in mood, agitation, depression, physical issues and so much more. These symptoms are not just difficult […]

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