How many people do you know who are touched by Alzheimer's? I'll bet it's a lot. I was just thinking about it today, and in almost every piece of my life, someone is touched by Alzheimer's.
As I pay a little better attention, I'll put any resources that I find in here. Also, this page will be a temporary Elder Care page until I get that up and running.
Resources for Aging Parents and Elder Care
I really like the Elder Care website. It's a great, broad resource for all aspects of what your senior needs to know and how to handle many of the issues that arise.
Overviews of Alzheimer's
As with many medical conditions, I have to recommend About.com's overview. It's clear, concise, and helpful. It says that
"an estimated 5 million people in the United States are now living with Alzheimer's, and someone is diagnosed with the disease every 72 seconds.
Most people with Alzheimer's are age 65 or older, but at least 200,000 people under the age of 65 are also living with an early-onset form of the disease. By the year 2030, the number of individuals with Alzheimer's could approach 8 million; if scientists can't find a way to cure or prevent Alzheimer's, this number could range between 11 million and 16 million by the year 2050."
Here's another statistic, which I think is phrased quite well:
* Nineteen percent of people ages 75-85 have the disease, but 81% do not!
About.com includes a video describing how Alzheimer's works.
Websites, Institutes, and Research Resources for Alzheimer's
This list of resources is "the real deal." It is straight from the medical profession and lists top, world-respected entities that are researching and combatting Alzheimer's.
This website, affiliated with Columbia University Medical Center, includes a list of recent news and awards in the Alzheimer's arena.
Preventative Therapies Against Getting Alzheimer's
Although Alzheimer's must be diagnosed by a doctor, everyone goes through the stage of wondering if there is a pattern to behavior that they see. These checklists and resources can help to inform you.
Minimally Invasive Early Detection
There are now some minimally invasive optical tests that can determine the presence of Amyloid beta proteins (found in all Alzheimer's patients) in the lense of an eye.
Resources for Living with Alzheimer's or Aging Parent
Even if your parent or elder is not sick but is just aging, checklists can be invaluable. Here are some helpful checklists:
Support Groups for Alzheimer's
I urge you to get onto an Alzheimer's support group. Today's support groups aren't just about emotional support -- they're full of smart, savvy medical consumers who can point you to the latest medical solutions and studies that tell your doctor what can be most effective for you.
Here are some of the Alzheimer's support groups that I have found. These groups look good and as though they have a healthy level of discussion.
Emotional Support through Support Groups
Here is an article from Beliefnet about how a support group can help a caregiver emotionally.
Alternative Treatments for Alzheimer's
I will include links to information (particularly reputable studies) about all alternative treatments that I run into, but you should rely on a Support Group for the best and most current information (see above.)
Some of the alternative treatments that have been shown to help slow down or reverse the effects of Alzheimer's disease include: movement therapy, increased intake of vitamins and antioxidants, nicotine patches, and a new class of drugs called cholinesterase inhibitors.
Here is an article that describes a study about using acupuncture with Alzheimer's. The study was at Wellesley College (ahem - *mainstream*) This really shouldn't be considered "so" alternative, since it's considered quite mainstream nowadays. An excerpt from the article:
"In two separate studies - one at the Wellesley College Center for Research on Women, the other at the University of Hong Kong1,2 - scientists have found that acupuncture can increase a patient's verbal and motor skills and improve mood and cognitive function."
Choosing a Facility for Your Parent
Here's an overview article of all of the different types of care options for elder or Alzheimer's patients, toegether with a discussion of their strengths and weaknesses.