-from Blue Ridge Now
Henderson County resident Gary Stammer was part of a group that recently traveled to the state capitol to advocate for services and funding for Alzheimer’s disease.
N.C. State Advocacy Day, hosted by the western and eastern North Carolina chapters of the Alzheimer’s Association, was held March 22 in Raleigh. The day included meetings with state legislators and an advocacy session.
“I advocate for efforts to improve support services and prevent Alzheimer’s disease because of the severe challenges faced by caregivers and patients living with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia,” Stammer stated in a news release from the Alzheimer’s Association.
Stammer and other Alzheimer’s advocates shared with elected officials their top priorities, which include:
Supporting House Bill 456, which requires dementia training for all skilled nursing facilities’ direct-care workers.
Expanding home- and community-based services in response to the poor health outcomes that impact caregivers due to stress. The N.C. Alzheimer’s State Plan calls for a 10 percent additional appropriation, bringing the 2018 total to $806,000, and to be increased by an additional 10 percent a year for the next nine years.
Making Alzheimer’s a public health priority in 2018 in North Carolina in response to the large and growing burden of this disease. The group requested a budgetary appropriation of $250,000 to the N.C. Department of Public Health to include Alzheimer’s data on the N.C. Department of Health website, to introduce public health education programs on Alzheimer’s in North Carolina, and to create public awareness campaigns in rural and minority communities.
“NC State Advocacy Day 2018 was a tremendous opportunity for the public and those affected by Alzheimer’s to take action and speak up for the needs and rights of people with Alzheimer’s disease and their families,” Katherine L. Lambert, CEO of the Western Carolina Chapter, stated in the release. “We appreciate everyone who took the time to join us and participate in turning North Carolina purple for Alzheimer’s.”
An estimated 5.7 million Americans, including 170,000 North Carolina residents, are living with Alzheimer’s, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. That number is expected to grow to 16 million by 2050.
For more information about Alzheimer’s disease or the Alzheimer’s Association Western Carolina Chapter, visit www.alz.org/northcarolina or call 800-272-3900.
There are plenty of exercise DVDs that offer 10 minute workouts. These are perfect for people who have only a few minutes to spare each day or for people who are just getting into a daily routine. Check out the reviews before you purchase though, as with all things, some are significantly better than others. Reviews will often tell you whether the exercise stress a certain area.
Swimming is the best exercise for toning up your whole body as you are working almost every muscle you have. If your swimming skills leave much to be desired then perhaps try water aerobics. As you’ll be under water and essentially ‘weightless’, it will be much easier to do simple exercises and easier on the joints. Check for local classes.
Going on a walk together is one of the best basic ways to stay healthy. It is also a great time to talk with your loved one, reminiscing or just hearing about their day.
Asking about “the old times” as you stroll can be a fun thing for both parties. Enjoy pointing out the flowers and trees as they come to life this spring! Just get outside and have fun.
To Help Others, One Couple Talks About Life With
Early-Onset Alzheimer's-It’s not a fun topic when you find out that you have Alzheimer’s. But it must be discussed as a family and that’s what this couple did. They shared their experience with NPR, so that they may be of help to others who re finding themselves in this same situation.
"We're facing a lot of practical questions about finances and wills and whether Bella will keep working or retire," he says in the first episode of the podcast. "And we're facing personal questions as our relationship is challenged by this. And as we react to the changes it brings." After a pause, he adds, "It's a journey."
Holidays are great times to get the older folks in your life invigorated and enthusiastic. Here are a few ideas for the next upcoming holiday-
St. Patrick’s Day.
Put on green and take them out on the town! Go to lunch or dinner, a parade or an activity where they can be seen inter green finery.
Have an Irish-themed meal
Choose traditional Irish Foods or just choose green foods! Make sure they are foods of interest to your elders. Decorate the room or table with shamrocks or other St. Patrick’s items. Invite others over and make a party of it!
Who doesn’t love Bingo? St. Patrick’s Day bingo boards are available online, or just use regular bingo boards and have small prizes available. Shamrocks. little pots of gold candies, a four leaf clover pin are a few prize ideas.
Make a Craft
This can range from making a four leaf clover pressed bookmark to painting a flower pot and planting a shamrock. You can also consider a photo album of photos you have taken and printed out earlier in the day.
If you are caring for someone living with Alzheimer's disease, you know that as the disease progresses your loved one's ability to manage daily tasks will decline. Consider practical tips to help him or her maintain a sense of independence and dignity as he or she becomes dependent on you and other family members or caregivers.
A person with Alzheimer's disease might become agitated when once-simple tasks become difficult. To limit challenges and ease frustration:
Schedule wisely. Establish a routine to make each day less agitating and confusing. People with Alzheimer's disease can still learn and follow routines. Often it is best to schedule tasks, such as bathing or medical appointments, when the person is most alert and refreshed. Allow some flexibility within the routine for spontaneous activities.
Take your time. Expect things to take longer than they used to. Allow the person with Alzheimer's disease to have frequent breaks. Schedule more time for tasks so that you don't need to hurry him or her.
Involve the person. Allow your loved one to do as much as possible with the least amount of assistance. For example, people with Alzheimer's disease might be able to set the table with the help of visual cues or dress independently if you lay out clothes in the order they go on.
Provide choices. Fewer options are better but give the person with Alzheimer's disease choices every day. For example, provide two outfits to choose from, ask if he or she prefers a hot or cold beverage, or ask if he or she would rather go for a walk or see a movie.
Provide simple instructions. People with Alzheimer's disease best understand clear, one-step communication.
Reduce distractions. Turn off the TV and minimize other distractions at mealtime and during conversations to make it easier for the person with Alzheimer's disease to focus.
Over time, a person living with dementia will become more dependent. But there's a lot you can do to maximize the quality of your interactions and reduce frustration. Try to stay flexible and adapt your routine and expectations as needed.
For example, if your loved one starts insisting on wearing the same outfit every day, consider buying a few identical outfits. If bathing is met with resistance, consider doing it less often. Relaxing your expectations can go a long way toward self-care and well-being.