Bonus – Live Episode on Driver Safety!

Senior Driver Safety image

When is the lack of driver safety an issue?

When is it Time to Take Away the Car Keys?

Driver safety is important. When to take away the car keys is a difficult yet important decisions.  It’s not to do and should not be made lightly. Most seniors see giving up their cars as the total loss of their independence. Solving this concern will go a long way in aiding them in maintaining driver safety.

The ability to drive helps older adults stay active and independent. However, the risk of being hurt or hurting someone else in an accident increases dramatically as we age.  According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, an average of 500 older adults are injured every day in crashes.

According to the NHTSA here are 20 signs we should watch out for.
  1. Drifting into other lanes.
  2. Straddling lanes.
  3. Making sudden lane changes for no reason.
  4. Ignoring or missing traffic signals or stop signs.
  5. Becoming confused in traffic.
  6. Braking or stopping abruptly without any reason.
  7. Hitting the accelerator suddenly without any cause.
  8. Coasting nearly to a complete stop in the midst of moving traffic.
  9. Presses on the brake and the accelerator at the same time while driving.
  10. Difficulty seeing pedestrians, objects, or even other vehicles.
  11. Getting more and more nervous when driving.
  12. Drives at a significantly slower speed than the posted speed or the general speed of surrounding vehicles.
  13. Backs up after missing an exit or road.
  14. Has difficulty reacting quickly as they process multiple images or sounds.
  15. Has problems with neck flexibility in turning to see traffic on the left or the right.
  16. She gets disoriented or lost easily, even if she is in familiar locations.
  17. Fails to use turn signals or even keeps the signal on without changing lanes.
  18. Has increased near misses on the road.
  19. Has been issued two or more traffic tickets or warnings in the past two years.
  20. There are dents or scrapes present on the car or on fences, mailboxes, garage doors, or even on curbs and very little understanding of how they got there.
How do we begin monitoring driving behavior?

Here are some questions you can ask your parent to help determine if they need to stop driving;

Can you read the street signs easily?

Do you have trouble looking over your shoulder?

Do you have difficulty moving your foot from the gas to the brakes?

How well do you see at night?

Are you comfortable with passengers or are they distracting?

Being honest with our loved ones goes a long way when determining if their driver’s safety is questionable. Services like Uber and Lyft will allow our loved ones to stay independent. Help them learn how to navigate these apps.

Sometimes, we have to be the “bad guy” and physically take away the car. If our loved one is determined to drive despite our serious concerns it may be necessary. Other options are to get a letter from their doctor stating that driving is no longer safe. You can also contact your local DMV and let them know a driver is unsafe.

My Dad told Mom one day that they were giving her car to my brother-in-law. For a long time, despite Alzheimer’s, Mom was still pretty angry over this “injustice”. Because of her Alzheimer’s she saw no logical reason she couldn’t drive anymore. It’s unfortunate that she was unable to enjoy the Karma when we took Dads’ car away.

Ensuring driver safety isn’t easy. A willingness to do all we can to aid in this transition is important. Having a discussion about their fears, struggles and how to address them might go a long way in getting compliance. Keeping in mind that losing even some independence is difficult is also important.

 

Assisted Living – Good Things To Know

Where Else To Find Fading Memories

Be sure to share this podcast with other caregivers! Thanks. You can find us on social media at the following links.  Facebook    Instagram    Twitter

Also, check out our new YouTube channel where you can see us in action!

Walk To End Alzheimer’s – All About Fundraising & More

Each Walk to End Alzheimer’s flower color has a special meaning.

Walk to End Alzheimer’s is the world’s largest event to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s care, support and research. The walk is held annually in more than 600 communities nationwide, In talking to Ginny Roth, walk coordinator for a Northern California walk, I learned about the importance of the fundraising in helping find a cure.

In the United States, someone develops Alzheimer’s every 65 seconds. Currently, there are more than 5 million people living with the disease. Additionally, there are over 16 million unpaid family caregivers supporting them. In 2019, Alzheimer’s disease will cost the United States $290 billion. This number is projected to rise to more than $1.1 trillion in 2050.

Tune in to this conversation, you’ll learn exactly what is done with the money raised. Fundraising is important, checking out this podcast is even more important.

Getting involved with the Alzheimer’s Association started with joining one of their support groups. I had attended a grief support session after my Dad died but that group didn’t cover everything I was going through. A Google search for support groups led me to the Alzheimer’s Association.

After I started my podcast, I interviewed Pam Jarvie, one of the legislative advocates. She persuaded me to join her advocacy team and it’s been a whirlwind ever since. Attending my first state advocacy day this year (2-5-2019) was an interesting eye-opener.

Having very little interest in politics, I found it odd that I was now lobbying politicians on behalf of people like my Mom. Alzheimer’s is no way to live the last years of your life so I do all I can to help find a cure. Lobbying politicians for money is one of the most important activities we can do.

Why I’m Walking

However, not everyone can take the time to go to their state capital and spend the day telling their stories. For those that would rather do anything else, the Walk to End Alzheimer’s is an easy way to help. Early autumn is prime “walk season”. Most walks are easy enough that everyone can manage one. The walk I’ll be attending is flat, allows dogs, and has ample parking so even mobility challenged folks can easily attend.

After my talk with Ginny, I decided on a modest fundraising goal. I’m also going to do as much recording and live streaming for the podcast as possible.  Generating as much awareness as possible is part of the mission statement I have for my podcast.

Feeling ashamed with a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s is a stigma that needs to end. Interviewing guests living with Alzheimer’s or dementia allows me to knock down some of that shame. Showing the joy and camaraderie that people at the Walk experience will help grow my local walk.

We must find a cure for this disease. Alzheimer’s disproportionately affects women, and I’m sure women will find the cure.  Please make a donation to advance the care, support and research efforts of the Alzheimer’s Association. Thank you for joining the fight against Alzheimer’s!

Where Else To Find Fading Memories

Be sure to share this podcast with other caregivers! Thanks. You can find us on social media at the following links.  Facebook    Instagram    Twitter

Also, check out our new YouTube channel where you can see us in action!

Be sure to tune in to our YouTube and Facebook pages for live streaming of this great event.

 

 

Learn more about the Alzheimer’s Association

Living With Alzheimer’s

Understanding Lewy-Body Dementia

Understanding how Lewy-Body is different than Alzheimer’s.

Lewy-Body dementia is very different than Alzheimer’s. While physical changes are similar, cognitive changes can be vastly different. Equally challenging, Lewy-Body dementia can present with a range of symptoms. These include problems with thinking, memory, moving, sleep and/or changes in behavior.

To better understand the unique challenges of LBD I spoke to Nance Tobar. Nance is caring for her father who has LBD. A misdiagnosis caused severe changes in his cognitive abilities due to the unique pathology of Lewy-Body.

Nance’s dad, Joe, fell and became hospitalized. As a result, his medications were changed. Notably, they took him off of one medication that was stabilizing his memory. Consequently, the family lost 2-3 good years with their Dad.

Early and accurate diagnosis is important because LBD patients may react to certain medications differently than other memory patients. A variety of drugs can worsen LBD symptoms. Joe was prescribed an anti-psychotic. Thankfully, Nance was warned of the danger before she gave him any. Anti-psychotics can be fatal to a person with LBD.

About Lewy-Body

Notably, LBD is the second most common form of dementia.  Generally, LBD can have three common presentations; movement issues, cognitive impairment or neuropsychiatric symptoms, which can include hallucinations. Joe had hallucinations.

Regardless of the initial symptom, over time all three presentations will develop very similar cognitive, physical, sleep and behavioral features.

The most common symptoms of LBD include:
    • Impaired thinking, such as loss of executive function (planning, processing information), memory, or the ability to understand visual information.
    • Fluctuations in attention or alertness;
    • Problems with movement such as stiffness, slowness, and difficulty walking
    • Visual hallucinations
    • Sleep disorders, like acting out one’s dreams while asleep
    • Depression, apathy, anxiety, agitation, delusions or paranoia
    • Changes in body functions, such as blood pressure control, temperature regulation, and bladder and bowel function.

 

To emphasize the lack of understandings of differences between LBD and Alzheimer’s I talked to Nance. Her story illustrates the struggles that can happen as a result of not having a proper diagnosis. Nance and I are in the same caregiver support group. During the time just after her Dads, hospitalization was a rough time for her.

The changes due to the medication trials make her feel very guilty. Caregiver guilt is common but Nance has nothing to feel guilty about. She’s caring for her father the best way she can. Sharing their stories is her way of helping other families.

Even if you are not caring for someone with Lewy-Body you’ll find this conversation insightful. Understanding all we can about senior health issues makes us all more compassionate. Realizing what challenges people are facing also makes it easier to provide help.

Podcast Housekeeping Notes

Some quick podcast housekeeping! Make sure to check out our new YouTube channel. We’re still creating it but take a look anyway. In addition to weekly video podcast episodes, there will be unique content specifically for YouTube.

Also, if you’re not following us on social media, please do! We’re on Facebook under Fading Memories podcast. Our Instagram account is Alzheimer’s podcast. Twitter is here. We post lots of interesting and fun content on all the channels. Can’t wait to see you there!

Want to suggest an episode topic? Go to our website and click on the voice memo icon. We wouldn’t mind it if you used this to send us some praise too! Don’t forget to rate & review us on Apple Podcasts. Reviews are how new listeners find us. Don’t keep us a secret! We’re here to help as many caregivers as we can.

Until next week, hang in there!

Learn More About LB

Other Insights on Dementia

Where Else To Find Fading Memories

Be sure to share this podcast with other caregivers! Thanks. You can find us on social media at the following links.  Facebook    Instagram    Twitter

Also, check out our new YouTube channel where you can see us in action!

Could Cannabis be a Cure for Alzheimer’s?

 

Cure for Alzheimer's image

Could Cannabis be a cure for Alzheimer’s?

 

Not only have  200+ trials looking for a cure for Alzheimer’s failed, a cure in my life doesn’t look likely. What if we have had one all along? According to Dementia Care Central the dementia-related conditions that can be helped by CBD include; Alzheimer’s disease, Vascular Dementia, Lewy bodies dementia, Parkinson’s, Frontotemporal dementia and Huntington’s.

Additionally, according to researchers at California’s Salk Institute, their 2017 study has found evidence that cannabinoids such as CBD could help remove dementia from brain cells. At the same time, we’re looking for a cure for Alzheimer’s, we’re ignoring a potential natural ally. At the very least it could be a preventative treatment.

In the hope that we can avoid developing the disease, or at the very least reducing its effects, are we missing out?  Why are we afraid to investigate this option?

In light of this idea, I spoke to Chela of AlzNotes about her experience with her Mom and her use of medicinal cannabis. Coupled with her personal experience, Chela has done more than her share of research on this topic. Given that I have a family history of Alzheimer’s I thought it was important to learn more on this topic.

Has There Been Research Into Cannabis & Alzheimer’s?

Notably, there has been a lot of research on cannabis as medicine. A 2014 study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease showed that small amounts of THC can slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s in patients. Additionally, the right balance of CBD-THC can greatly reduce dementia induced anxiety or aggression.

Another key point is that THC is known to be a powerful antioxidant with neuroprotective properties. However, the 2014 study reported that the compound directly affects Alzheimer’s pathology by decreasing amyloid beta levels. Obviously, this is a mind-blowing result. Additionally, as you’ll hear, Cannabis has many other potential healing properties worth looking into. Natural cures come with far fewer side effects so they’re worth researching.

In short, I’m sure you’ll find this episode as fascinating as I did. Researching this topic further is definitely on my list! Don’t you owe it to yourself to do the same? Here are the links discussed during our chat.

PubMed.com

ProjectCBD.org

Past Episodes on Alzheimer’s Prevention

Move It or Lose It – Exercise & Brain Health

This Is Your Brain on Nutrition – Diet & Brain Health

Where Else To Find Fading Memories

Be sure to share this podcast with other caregivers! Thanks. You can find us on social media at the following links.  Facebook    Instagram    Twitter

Also, check out our new YouTube channel where you can see us in action!

Alzheimer’s & The Birth of AlzAuthors

Jean Lee, founder of AlzAuthors & her book Alzheimer's Daughter

Jean Lee used her parents Alzheimer’s journey to start AlzAuthors.

 

Jean Lees parents were both diagnosed with Alzheimer’s on the same day. She was the hometown daughter, working full time. Her sister lived 1,000 miles away. What could have been a recipe for disaster became AlzAuthors.

Jeans sister suggested keeping a journal as part of caring for their parents . The result of this journal keeping was not to eventually write a book. Quite the contrary. The journal clearly described the health issues of their parents.

But keeping the journal, written words describing “private health information” made Jean feel profoundly guilty. In her own words, “Like a traitorous spy, I kept the journal for two years. It became an integral part of our parents’ diagnosis.”

Additionally, reading guided Jean through her Alzheimer’s caregiving journey. Each book, each voice, equally strengthened her for difficult times ahead. Uniquely, no story was exactly the same. Jean makes your caregiving journey easier by telling her story and adding her voice to the choir, .

How does someone go from documenting health issues to founding the largest collection of books on Alzheimer’s?  As most things, it happened in stages. As a consequence of being told by an agent that her book was loved but that Jean had no name recognition, she decided to self publish.

For example, Marianne Scuicco (a past guest) got started with Blue Hydrangeas through self publishing . Consequently, after her own publishing and receiving many positive reviews, Jean reached out to Marianne.  Jean felt she was reaching out to greatness and was shocked when she heard back.

About AlzAuthors

Connecting over a shared understanding of being Alzheimer’s caregivers is how AlzAuthors was born. Equally important to their connection was finding more like-minded authors with the same goal. Together with a shared goal in mind they reached out to more authors.

Making a difference in your dementia journey is the goal of AlzAuthors. Equally important the site is managed by six daughters who have experienced the loss of a loved one with dementia. Lifting the silence and stigma of Alzheimer’s and other dementias is their goal.

AlzAuthors write the words that serve as caregiver handbooks. In addition, they are guides through the disease process, or a catalyst for much needed conversation. A new author is featured each week and receive requests for inclusion from writers globally. Currently, they are 200 authors strong and growing.

The AlzAuthors Blog

Featuring a new author every week, the AlzAuthors blog is a fantastic resource to learning about other caregiver journeys. Together with authors and bloggers this site offers the widest range of advice in one place.

Regardless of what you’re looking for, you’re sure to find it on AlzAuthors site. Looking for books focused on advice? The memoir and non fiction titles available are sure to provide the advice you seek. Furthermore, if you’re looking for something different, there are many fiction titles available. Equally important are books for kids and teens. Young people have different questions about Alzheimer’s and AlzAuthors has many books that address their concerns.

As if books & blogs were not enough, there are opportunities to meet many the authors. By checking out their calendar of events you may find an opportunity for an in person meeting.

Where Else To Find Fading Memories

Be sure to share this podcast with other caregivers! Thanks. You can find us on social media at the following links.  Facebook    Instagram    Twitter

Also, check out our new YouTube channel where you can see us in action!