Lorenzo Mejia

The Caring Corner, presented by Acorn: Hug a Caregiver – The Importance of Unpaid Care

The Alzheimer’s Association estimates that almost 16 million unpaid caregivers – family members and friends– provide more than 18 billion hours of care per year for their loved ones, with a valued estimated at $220 billion. If your parents are at a stage where they can no longer do things for themselves, you are probably part of this group. You are aware of the challenges faced by caregivers, the stress they experience and the impact it has on their emotional well-being. The problem is exacerbated by the high cost of medical care. Procedures, doctors visits, prescriptions and copays are...

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The Caring Corner, presented by Acorn: How to find out if your loved one with dementia might participate in a clinical trial

Do Something About It! If you or a loved one has Alzheimer’s and feel overwhelmed with hopelessness, participating in a clinical trial might be an opportunity to feel like you are doing something about it. Clinical trials are a necessary step for the healthcare industry to find better treatments and understand new tools for the prevention of any disease. Better treatments can’t be identified without human testing performed on volunteers in the final stages of trials. Today, there are over 250 trials underway that focus on Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. Aside from funding, the recruitment and retention of...

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The Caring Corner, presented by Acorn: This Holiday, Put Mom to Work

During my mom’s last years as she struggled with dementia, she had a wonderful caregiver named Pat. Pat was a gem, and our first experience with people in the caregiving profession. She was warm, kind, and always taking great interest in my mother’s well-being. She had a beautiful smile. I was taken aback, however, when I’d visit and Pat would ask my mom to sweep the floor.  After all, doing the light housekeeping was part of Pat’s job description.  I was annoyed and told my mom to sit down… she did not have to do the sweeping. Since she...

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The Caring Corner, presented by Acorn: Home For The Holidays Seven Things To Look For When You Visit Your Mom

If you’re visiting your mom or dad this holiday, you might notice certain changes.  Yes, they are getting older (you are, too!), but use the opportunity to look out for those things that signal a change in their well-being and ability to live independently. Clutter One of the events that most commonly precipitates a downward spiral of hospital stays, doctors visits and declining health is a fall.  Does mom have a lot of clutter around?  Are there various throw rugs and small carpets?  All of these items become fall hazards as we age.  Read more about home safety here....

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The Caring Corner, presented by Acorn: When is Adult Day Care Right for Mom?

If your elder loved one needs watching or companionship, adult day care (or senior day care) may be an appropriate choice. Senior day care centers offer daily activities for elders. They may be for-profit enterprises, or not-for-profits run with charitable intent. Since these are group settings, they offer the benefit of mental stimulation and social interaction that comes from getting out of the house and seeing other people in a different environment. Of course, when someone goes to such activities, their caregivers get a chance for a break as well. Day care often benefits the caregiver even more that...

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The Caring Corner, presented by Acorn: Five Tips for Caring for a Loved One with Dementia During the Holidays

Five Tips for Caring for a Loved One with Dementia During the Holidays  The holidays are a wonderful, beautiful time of year.  If you’re a caregiver, you might feel it’s more challenging to enjoy the season.  Here are some suggestions to help you cope.  Include Your Loved One in the Preparations No one wants to feel like a fifth wheel.  Even when mom or dad cannot do as much, find the little things where they can help.  Some activities might be hanging decorations, arranging the table, decorating cookies… even wrapping presents.  Just as they did with you when you were...

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The Caring Corner, presented by Acorn: What Steve Jobs Did for your Grandparents: How Personalized Music Therapy Changes Dementia Care

It’s happened to all of us.  We hear a song from the past and we are instantly transported to a special time and place, rich in memories, perhaps of moments shared with a loved one or a happy time in our lives.  Perhaps it‘s the song we played again and again when we were in college.  Perhaps it’s the special song we enjoyed with our loved one Much has been written about music therapy for people with dementia.  The award-winning documentary, Alive Inside, showed how music can be a delightful therapy with no negative side effects.  The therapy documented...

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The Caring Corner, presented by Acorn: Understanding Hospice

Many think that hospice means we are giving up, and accepting death. A different way to look at it is that we want to focus on comfort, to have a better quality of life for as long as possible.  Hospice is typically paid for Medicare or Medicaid. So while it’s a personal decision, it’s important to know what it is and how it can help as you care for yourself or a loved one. In order to qualify for hospice, you must have a condition with little promise of improvement and a life expectancy of six months or less....

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The Caring Corner, presented by Acorn: Understanding Lewy Body Disease

One of the most aggressive types of dementia in terms of symptoms and challenges for the caregiver is Lewy Body Dementia, or LBD.   It is named for the German researcher, Dr. Lewy, who discovered the abnormal protein deposits (“bodies”) in the brains of people suffering from this disease. There are two types of LBD, both related to Parkinsonism due to how the disease affects the movement (muscular rigidity, tremors, stiffness) of the individual.  As LBD progresses, the two forms become more and more similar. Dementia with Lewy Bodies: in this version cognitive symptoms typically appear within 12 months of...

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The Caring Corner, presented by Acorn: Keeping an Eye on Alzheimer’s

It has long been the case that no diagnosis was possible for Alzheimer’s until you had an autopsy. Then, researchers found that they could do PET scans and draw cerebrospinal fluid to check for biomarkers of the disease. Both of these tests are expensive and invasive. They have not proven practical as a way to evaluate someone’s risk for Alzheimer’s. Now, scientists have discovered that an eye exam may provide indication for the likelihood that someone will develop Alzheimer’s. This test is much less invasive and can provide information many years earlier in the progression of the disease then...

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