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January 19, 2020
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Navigating the aging journey

Julie Ann Soukoulis
The state of Alzheimer’s and caregiving in the U.S.
November 29, 2019

I would like to share with you today Lakelyn Hogan, who  is a Gerontologist and Caregiver Advocate for Home Instead Senior Care, most recent engagement on the state of Alzheimer’s care in her own words.

I recently had the opportunity to join more than 250 leaders and advocates at the UsAgainstAlzheimer’s National Alzheimer’s Summit in Washington DC. to learn more about the current state of Alzheimer’s and caregiving. At Home Instead, we care for thousands of people living with dementia and we’re passionate about truly understanding the disease to provide the best home care. And, for those we can’t serve as a client, we have a website full of helpful resources for families. (www.helforalzheimersfamilies.com) Below are the highlights from leading physicians, researchers, pharmaceutical companies and advocates.

Alzheimer’s Drug to be Filed with the FDA

An announcement was recently made that a new Alzheimer’s drug will be filed with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in early 2020. This news brings hope as the drug trial was originally cancelled in March 2019 due to unreliable data. After new analysis, the data showed that after 18 months of taking the drug, aducanumab, participants in one of the studies showed anywhere from 15% to 27% less cognitive decline, compared to those receiving a placebo. The cognitive protection was most pronounced in those getting the highest dose of the drug. The volunteers who were taken off the drug in March due to the trial cancellation, will now be given the opportunity to receive the drug for at least two years. To learn more, read the recent article from Time Magazine.

Brain Health Across the Lifespan

A panel of experts highlighted that research points to the fact that Alzheimer’s disease begins to develop in the brain 20-30 years before symptoms become noticeable. Because of this, experts are pushing for a focus on brain health across the lifespan.

Experts suggest these simple things that can be done from an early age to help promote good brain health and reduce the risk of dementia.

Move more. Exercise is very important for good brain and heart health. A recent study showed that 8,900 steps daily can reduce the risk of cognitive decline. Other recommendations suggest exercising at least three times a week, doing a mix of aerobic and resistance or weight training.

Eat well. Several diets have been associated with brain health including the MIND diet or the Mediterranean diet. These diets include green leafy vegetables, nuts, berries, beans, whole grains, fish, poultry, olive oil and wine. Suggested food groups to avoid include red meats, saturated fats, sweets, and fried foods.

Get good sleep. It is important to practice good sleep hygiene, trying to get at least 7.5 hours a day. To help improve sleep quality, avoid caffeinated drinks after 1 p.m. and create a good routine of going to bed and waking up at the same time every day. It is also important to avoid electronics and screen time about 30-45 minutes before bed.

Manage chronic diseases. Chronic disease management is vital as 60% of the population with a dementia diagnosis has five or more other conditions. One chronic condition that could increase a person’s risk of dementia is diabetes. Heart disease has also been linked to poor brain health. Reducing the risk of chronic diseases can, in turn, reduce a person’s risk for Alzheimer’s.

The issue of brain health is a topic gaining momentum across all sectors. Even the Milken Institute, a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank, recently released a new report with the main goal: “Promote strategies to maintain and improve brain health for all ages, genders, and across diverse populations.”

 

Julie Ann Soukoulis is the owner of Home Instead Senior care office in Rohnert Park, mother of two and passionate about healthy living at all ages. Having cared for her own two parents, she understands your struggles and aims, through her website, www.homeinstead.com/sonoma to educate and encourage seniors & caregivers. Have a caregiving or aging concern?  She’d love to hear from you at 586-1516 anytime.