"As Alzheimer's disease progresses, the need to nurture, love and be loved increases." American Assoc Geriatric Psychiatrists


Alzheimer's Disease Devastating Kentucky and Indiana

As a Kentucky-based company, we at Memorable Pets feel it is especially important to shed light on issues taking place in our area, and in this case, it is particularly disheartening to learn that the death rate for Alzheimer's in both Kentucky and Indiana has risen by over 70 percent since the year 2000. In addition, many Americans are not even being told they have the disease.

This new report comes from the Alzheimer's Association—according to the 2015 Alzheimer's Disease Facts and Figures report, Kentucky suffered from 1,462 Alzheimer's-related deaths in 2012, while Indiana suffered 2,104. The Association estimates that around 68,000 Kentucky seniors and 110,000 Indiana seniors currently have the disease.

An analysis in the report also shows that less than half of Medicare beneficiaries with Alzheimer's disease are being told by their doctors about the diagnosis, while the disclosure rates for breast cancer and prostate cancer are 96 percent and 92 percent, respectively.

DeeAnna Esslinger, executive director of the Alzheimer's Association's Greater Kentucky and Southern Indiana Chapter, says that the poor disclosure rate for Alzheimer's may be due to the stigma that's commonly associated with the disease, as well as some physicians being ill-equipped to talk about an Alzheimer's diagnosis with patients and their families.

Esslinger says the lack of effective treatments and no cure for Alzheimer's may also explain doctors' hesitance to reveal a diagnosis. However, she encourages people who think they are experiencing symptoms, or those who are concerned for a loved one, to be assertive and persistent. "Go to the doctor and ask the questions and keep asking the questions until you are satisfied that you have the appropriate answer."

Read more: Alzheimer's disease takes toll in Ky. and Ind.

At Memorable Pets, we are highly dedicated to raising funds for Alzheimer's awareness and research, which is why a portion of the proceeds from each Memorable Pet goes toward Alzheimer's care. You can learn more about our selection of pets and how you can help at our website: memorablepets.com

Actavis Launches Unconditional Love Campaign for Alzheimer's Caregivers

Leading global specialty pharmaceutical company, Actavis plc, announced the launch of their Unconditional Love campaign today, in honor of the more than 15 million Americans who act as caregivers to a loved one with dementia or Alzheimer's, and the unconditional bond and patience they develop through caregiving.

"Caregiving is a different kind of love that most people don't expect to experience," says Betsy Broyles, caregiver and partner of Actavis. "Caregiving requires you to take on many different roles; but in doing so, the unconditional love you provide ensures that your loved one is treated properly. In turn, you begin to understand, address and properly respond to your loved one's needs."

Actavis has launched its new website www.AlzheimersUnconditionalLove.com as part of its campaign, which seeks to provide awareness and education about Alzheimer's, as well as tools and resources to help and support caregivers.

"The Love Architect" expert Kailen Rosenberg, also a partner of Actavis and its campaign, reflects on the meaning of Valentine's Day, saying, "Each year on Valentine's Day, we celebrate the romantic loves in our lives, honoring them and toasting to a lifetime of love. But too often the love of a caregiver is under appreciated. I'm excited to partner with Actavis on this unique campaign to elevate the importance of caregivers and the unconditional love they provide."

To learn more about the Unconditional Love campaign, please visit AlzheimersUnconditionalLove.

Read more: Actavis launches the "Unconditional Love" Campaign to Recognize Alzheimer's Disease Caregivers

At Memorable Pets, we are highly dedicated to raising funds for Alzheimer's awareness and research, which is why a portion of the proceeds from each Memorable Pet goes toward Alzheimer's care. You can learn more about our selection of pets and how you can help at our website: memorablepets.com

Looking for a Cure for Alzheimer's in the Chastain Family Tree

Doris Crouse, from northeastern Alabama, is part of a unique genetic line in which Alzheimer's disease has affected an alarming 50 percent of her extended family.

"They are doing a study on the Chastain blood, because we have an extra Alzheimer's gene," Crouse says. "They're trying to find a cure and think it's real possible it could be in our blood. They say we're the only family in America who has this extra gene and there are only two other families in the world who do." (source)

Dr. Allan Levey, chair of the Department of Neurology at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta and director of Emory's Alzheimer's Disease Research Center, has been studying the genetics of the Chastain family tree and getting to know its family members for over 20 years as a part of this very focused study.

Levey says the key to potentially finding a cure is the studying of families prone to early-onset Alzheimer's; in these families, the disease commonly sets in during a person's 30s, 40s, or 50s. In these family-specific cases, the disease never skips generations and 50 percent of children are affected.

Though families like this account for less than 1 percent of Alzheimer's patients, Levey asserts that these families have led to the identification of three specific genes that cause Alzheimer's—unlike patients who are diagnosed with the disease at an older age, where genes are not the cause.

Read more: Alabama family part of Alzheimer's Disease study: 'The cure could be in our blood'

Aging Beagles and Humans: More Alike Than You Know

Though many scientific studies use genetically modified mice to replicate what the effects of Alzheimer's disease would be in a human brain, there are several species of animals that naturally develop brain changes that resemble Alzheimer's in humans, namely dogs.

Like people, when dogs age, some develop learning and memory problems, while some remain sharp and as capable of learning as younger dogs. Dogs even have symptoms of cognitive decline that are very similar to those in humans, such as disrupted or irregular sleeping schedules and difficulty recognizing family members and friends.

Elizabeth Head, PH.D, of the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging, said their lab began studying beagles in the early 1990s due to interest in developing a drug to treat "dog dementia", using observations from pet owners about behavioral changes in their older dogs. Not much was known then about cognitive changes in aging dogs (the study group being beagles over eight years old), and the center's research began with finding ways to record and measure these changes.

Read more: What can beagles teach us about Alzheimer’s disease?

Best Friends Day Center in Lexington, KY Looks for Male Volunteers

 Photo by Tom Eblen

Three decades ago, the Best Friends Day Center in Lexington, KY began creating a new approach to caregiving for people with Alzheimer's and dementia called the "Best Friends Approach", which is now an internationally recognized care model that has been implemented in over 30 countries.

Virginia Bell began the Best Friends program in 1984, and has co-authored several books on the subject of Alzheimer's therapy, and at 92 years old, continues to be an energetic force behind the Best Friends initiative.

The center says they are always looking for volunteers to spend time with residents (volunteers' ages range from high school students to those in their 80s and 90s), however, they are particularly looking for men, who comprise only 18 of the center's 88 current volunteers.

Bell says that male volunteers are especially helpful to male participants, who are sometimes disinterested in the center's arts and crafts sessions, and enjoy rather talking about sports and their careers or military service.

Read more: Tom Eblen: Center needs volunteers to help with therapy for Alzheimer's patients

Still Alice: Raising Awareness of Early-Onset Alzheimer's

On Sunday, actress Julianne Moore won a Golden Globe for her portrayal of a patient with early-onset Alzheimer's in the film Still Alice. In the movie, Moore's character is just 50 years old when she is diagnosed, and the narrative of the film follows both her and her family's struggle to cope with her mental decline.

Up to 5% of Alzheimer's sufferers are under the age of 65—typically in their 40's or 50's. These younger patients diagnosed with the disease are considered to have an "early onset" of Alzheimer's, which is where this form of dementia gets its name.

Consulted by Moore during her research for the film, Mary Sano, PhD, professor of psychiatry and director of Alzheimer’s disease research at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, says that the symptoms of early-onset Alzheimer’s are no different than symptoms of more typical cases; however because the disease is so rare in adults under the age of 65, the signs may not be as quickly recognizable.

Read more: What You Should Know About Early-Onset Alzheimer’s

Minnesota Nursing Home Treats Problem Behavior without Antipsychotics

Marian Grunwald, Earl Elfstrom and Verna Matheson (left to right) bounced a balloon back and forth with nursing assistant Rick Pavlisich on Dec. 13, 2013 at an Ecumen nursing home in Chisago City, Minn. Photo Credit: Glen Stubbe/Star Tribune, Minneapolis St. Paulvia NPR

Activity staffer Jessica Abbott, of Pathstone Living, a nursing home and memory care facility in Mankato, MN, is responsible for making sure patients at Pathstone have easy and natural access to activities that are both soothing and mentally stimulating.

Small comforts like making apple crisp while listening to music help calm patients and give them something relaxing and meaningful to do. These planned activities have also allowed Pathstone to reduce the number of patients taking antipsychotics--drugs the FDA says can increase the risk of death for people with Alzheimer's and dementia.

With their unique program called Awakenings, Pathstone was able to reduce its antipsychotic drug use among patients by 97 percent within one year.

Shelley Matthes, a registered nurse working for the nonprofit Ecumen, which runs Pathstone, says the changes in Pathstone's residents were as dramatic as the antipsychotic reduction itself.

"'They started interacting,' recalls Matthes, 'and people who hadn't been speaking were speaking. They came alive and awakened.'" (source)

Read more: This Nursing Home Calms Troubling Behavior Without Risky Drugs