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Best Practices for Someone with Alzheimer's/Dementia
Posted: Saturday, March 3, 2012 5:02 PM
Joined: 12/6/2011
Posts: 3326

Mediterranean Diet  







Stay Mentally Active 






Posted: Monday, March 5, 2012 11:25 AM
Joined: 11/29/2011
Posts: 514

Thanks Myriam, for these links.

!!!   We all need to practice what I believe Mimi started to call Best Practices


They are proving more and more the benefits. Mimi is our living proof that it works!!  Hopefully, she will add part of her story here.


Mimi S.
Posted: Wednesday, March 7, 2012 9:21 AM
Joined: 11/29/2011
Posts: 7027

OK, Quite a while ago I developed a neurological disorder MG. There is a problem with communications between nerves and muscles. I was becoming weaker and finally using a cane, anticipating going through walking aids and eventually being in a wheel chair.

I found a new neurologist and flunked all sorts of physical tests. He ordered PT and the cane is long since gone. 

It was only later I learned that there is a connection between exercise and dementia. In fact, I recently heard of research that says that exercise can rebuild brain cells. Exactly which ones weren't noted. (It was only a side remark that I picked up on.) My thought is: if my AD is eating away and destroying brain cells than I have to exercise enough to build them back up.

About that time I met the director of a regional Memory Clinic who has become my guru. He lectures around the country and teaches at the new medical college in my area. He not only stressed physical activity but the rest of the Best Practices.

On line, I read two articles about their effectiveness, saying that doing all of them led to a multiplying effect.

I wrote to each of the authors telling of my own experience and asking, am I an anomaly? Each time, the answer came back. No, you are not. If we diagnose people early and the do those practices, they should achieve the same results.

A few years ago at the DC Forum, I was introduced to one of the big time researchers at Pittsburg. We only had a few minutes and so I also posed the same question to him.

He was emphatic. If we can diagnose people early and they follow the Best Practices regime, they should achieve the same results.

Does that answer your question?  

It , to me, explains why I push so hard for the Best Practices.

Iris L.
Posted: Wednesday, March 7, 2012 11:56 PM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 18357

Mimi, at one of the Alzheimer's Association's seminars that I attended, vigorous exercise was touted as a way of building new brain connections.  The first geriatrician I consulted recommended the Mediterranean diet.   


I've listened to your success and to the success of other patient members who also follow Best Practices.  That's good enough for me.  I'm on it! 


Three years ago, before I began Exelon patch and Namenda, I could feel my brain becoming more disoriented and disorganized.  Now I'm not like that.  I can function again.  Not like when I was 20, but enough to live independently.  I can live with this! 


Iris L. 

Mimi S.
Posted: Thursday, March 8, 2012 7:47 AM
Joined: 11/29/2011
Posts: 7027


Something I've been wondering. What is the connection between what we are losing in our brain due to dementia and the new connections we are making through exercise?

And we need some type of case study or other study on those of us who seem to be beating the odds. Are we just part of the ordinary variance in the length of time it takes to decline, or have we, in actuality, slowed down the process.

Meanwhile, like you, I'm continuing my way.

Out today is the 2012 Alz. Facts and Figures report. The last section of which deals with those of us living alone.

If you didn't get an e-mail with it, probably it's posted on alz.org.

Lane Simonian
Posted: Thursday, March 8, 2012 10:10 AM
Joined: 12/12/2011
Posts: 5140

This article suggests that exercise and intellectual activity promote the survival of neurons through increasing the body's own antioxidant defense systems.  




The Mediterranean diet certainly lowers levels of oxidants in the brain.  It is the oxidants that cause problems in short-term memory, sleep, mood, alertness, social recognition, and smell in Alzheimer's disease. 


On the clinical trials section, there are a series of antioxidants listed that should be able to not only slow the progression of the disease, but to a certain degree reverse it (the following threads are good: Axona, Alzheimer's Ayurveda may have a cure, early onset: any thing out there, OTC treatments for Alzheimer's disease, and Aromatherapy in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease).  The current medicines prescribed for Alzheimer's disease may slow down the progression of the disease for awhile, but to partially reverse the disease requires specific antioxidants many of which come from plants (interestingly two of the medications used for Alzheimer's disease: rivastigmine in the Exelon patch and galantamine are dervied from plants).  



(the common names for some of the plants listed in this study are saffron, various sage species, water hyssop, centella, and muira puama).  


I will repost here some of the initial results of the Ecumen program in Minnesota which uses physical exercise, social and personal interactions, pet therapy, and aromatherapy to help their residence who have Alzheimer's disease. 






The combination of Best Practices with certain (other) natural antioxidants should help tremendously in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease. 


Iris L.
Posted: Thursday, March 8, 2012 11:09 AM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 18357

Thank you, Lane, for the information about anti-oxidants and the other information and links.   


Much of what I read in the NYTimes New Old Age column I realize we members have already talked about extensively on our boards. The problem is that what we have learned about the dementias and caregiving is not well known amongst the general public, and that includes many professionals already caring for dementia patients. 


When the nursing home talks about decreasing poly-pharmacy and utilizing non-drug means to manage troublesome behaviors in dementia patients, my thought is, "well, they should have already been doing that from the beginning!"  


Iris L. 

Lane Simonian
Posted: Thursday, March 8, 2012 12:41 PM
Joined: 12/12/2011
Posts: 5140

You are so right on this, Iris.  Changing conventional practices and integrating new ones is very hard to do.  I admire the people who do it.  I also admire everyone here who adds to our knowledge on these boards every day.  Through practice, reading, and listening they have not only helped themselves but all the rest of us caring for someone with dementia.
Mimi S.
Posted: Thursday, March 8, 2012 3:05 PM
Joined: 11/29/2011
Posts: 7027

One of m favorite recommendations is the Validation Method of Naomi Feil. We are too quick to drug. Although sometimes, the use of meds while other therapies are introduced may be the right move.
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