Tag Archives: Health

Effective Communication Strategies for Alzheimer’s

Communication is more than just talking and listening – it’s also about sending and receiving messages through attitude, tone of voice, facial expressions and body language.  As people with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias progress in their journey and the ability to use words is lost, families need new ways to connect.  Join us to explore how communication takes place when someone has Alzheimer’s, learn to decode the verbal and behavioral messages delivered by someone with dementia, and identify strategies to help you connect and communicate at each stage of the disease.  The Effective Communication Strategies program of the Alzheimer’s Association was designed to provide practical information and resources to help dementia caregivers learn to decode verbal and behavioral messages from people with dementia.

 

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How to Sleep Like a Baby Program Recap

Thank you to Dr. Subooha Zafar, a sleep specialist from Capital Health, for revealing the intricacies of sleep and what we can do to improve as well as harm our sleep pattern.  While we will never be able to sleep like a baby, sleep is just as important as we age.  Sleep can have a tremendous impact on our immune system, our ability to focus and retain information, and can increase our risk for high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke.  In addition, lack of sleep can impact our driving the same, if not more, than drinking alcohol.

So what can we do to improve our sleep and ensure that we are well-rested?  First, we need to consistently get 7-8 hours of sleep each night.  While this is easier said than done, cutting out caffeine later in the day, resisting the urge to nap, and ensuring the bedroom environment is conducive to sleeping will all help ensure we can fall asleep quickly and stay asleep throughout the night.  We also want to practice good “sleep hygiene” which include exercise, keeping a consistent bedroom temperature, and practicing mental distraction techniques to keep our brain from running wild as we try to fall asleep.  For example, we often think about all of the things that happened during the day as well as what we need to get done the following day as we are trying to fall asleep.  Instead, process all of these things earlier in the day so that your mind is free when you lay down; additionally, if you have trouble calming your mind, a simple mental distraction technique is to focus solely on your breathing.  By paying attention to the depth and speed of your breathes, your brain activity will slow since you are now focusing on something that involuntary.

While medications can help us in the short-term to gain deep and restful sleep, your body can become dependent on them and just like with any other drug, your body can build up a tolerance which will make them less effective over long-term use.  Behavioral strategies such as relaxation training, cognitive therapy, and stimulus control (not having the television on since the changes in volume as well as the light waves emitted from the screen cause your brain to become active and can hinder sleep) can be used instead of medications.

How to Sleep Like a Baby

We all know that getting deep and restful sleep contributes significantly to our health and energy during the day.  However, many of us struggle to get enough sleep on a daily basis.  Please join us as Dr. Subooha Zafar, MD, a sleep medicine specialist from Capital Health, will explore how to get good sleep and what makes it go bad.   She will also discuss what to do to get your sleep pattern back on track.

 

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Healthy Living for Your Brain and Body Program Recap

A big thank you to Nicolette Vasco from the Alzheimer’s Association for her presentation on tips for maintaining a healthy brain and body, especially as we age.  While we constantly hear about taking care of our physical selves, we often forget that our brain is just as important and continuously engaging in cognitively stimulating activities can help keep our brain healthy and potentially lessen the impact of dementia related symptoms.  Aging well depends on genes, environment, and lifestyle and while we cannot change our genes, we can make changes to our environment and lifestyle to put ourselves on a healthier path.  Below are four areas we can work on to ensure that our brain and body remain healthy:

  • Physical health and exercise – The heart and brain and interrelated so engaging in cardiovascular activities, such as running, walking, or biking, can lead to increased blood flow to brain and may reduce the risk of cognitive decline.  Trying to become physically active can be overwhelming, especially if we try to do too much too quickly.  It is important to do something we like or enjoy and start out small to ensure that we can create a routine that works for us.  Another important aspect is to make sure we get adequate sleep which can be just as important as our exercise regimen.
  • Diet and Nutrition – Foods that are heart healthy can have positive impact on the brain as well.   Eating breakfast is an easy way to ensure that your brain is properly fueled for the day.  Foods that are healthy for our brain and body include green, leafy vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains, lean meats and fish, and vegetable oils.  Foods we should avoid in excess include processed foods, solid fats, sugars, deep-fried foods, and fast food.
  • Cognitive Activity – Keeping your mind active forms new connections among brain cells and cognitive activity encourages blood flow to the brain.WE can maintain and possibly improve our cognitive functions through reading, solving puzzles, playing challenging games, and learning new skills and hobbies, such as another language.
  • Social Engagement – Social engagement is associated with living longer with fewer disabilities.  Joining clubs, organizations, and support groups can help us develop a routine that encourages exercising or cognitive activities.  Remaining socially and mentally active may support brain health, offer you an opportunity to maintain your skills, and possibly delay the onset of dementia.

For more information on tips to stay healthy or anything related to dementia and the aging brain, please visit the Alzheimer’s Associate at www.alz.org.

Healthy Living for Your Brain and Body

We often associate healthy living with proper diet and regular exercise to ensure that our physical body is healthy.   However, we often forget that our brain is just as important and maintaining cognitively healthy can be just as difficult.  While we would all like to maintain a healthy lifestyle, it is often very difficult to make time to ensure that we eat properly and exercise regularly.  However, the Alzheimer’s Association is committed to ensuring that everyone is able to optimize their physical and cognitive health.  Please join us as the Alzheimer’s Association will present about:

  • Research in the areas of diet and nutrition, exercise, cognitive activity and social engagement
  • Hands-on tools to incorporate these recommendations into a plan for healthy aging – at any age

 

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Legal and Financial Planning for Alzheimer’s Disease – Part 2

Please join us for a 2 part informational session on legal and financial planning regarding caring for someone with Alzheimer’s.  The legal and financial dimensions of caring for someone with Alzheimer’s can be just as difficult as dealing with the progression of the disease itself.  Attendees will learn:

  • Legal and medical instructions and advance directives, legal declarations (guardianship and conservatorship) and documentation, role of legal advisors and how to access their services
  • Financial instructions, directives, documentation, means of paying for long term care (LTC), and role of financial advisors and how to access their services
  • Ethical issues surrounding decision making for care, including truth in diagnosis, therapeutic goals and aggressive care, legal capacity, personhood and autonomy

Part 2 will focus on financial issues related to caring for someone with Alzheimer’s Disease.

 

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Legal and Financial Planning for Alzheimer’s Disease – Part 1

Please join us for a 2 part informational session on legal and financial planning regarding caring for someone with Alzheimer’s.  The legal and financial dimensions of caring for someone with Alzheimer’s can be just as difficult as dealing with the progression of the disease itself.  Attendees will learn:

  • Legal and medical instructions and advance directives, legal declarations (guardianship and conservatorship) and documentation, role of legal advisors and how to access their services
  • Financial instructions, directives, documentation, means of paying for long term care (LTC), and role of financial advisors and how to access their services
  • Ethical issues surrounding decision making for care, including truth in diagnosis, therapeutic goals and aggressive care, legal capacity, personhood and autonomy

Part 1 will focus on the legal issues related to caring for someone with Alzheimer’s Disease.

 

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Coping with Behavior Changes in Alzheimer’s Disease Program Recap

Thank you to Mary Anne Ross from Alzheimer’s New Jersey for her presentation Coping with Behavior Changes in Alzheimer’s Disease in honor of National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month.  Caring for someone who has Alzheimer’s or other dementia related diseases can be a full-time job as well as overwhelming psychically and emotionally, especially when the person we love develops challenging or harmful behaviors.  Mary Anne suggests a 5 step protocol to help manage challenging behavior:

  1. Assess the situation
  2. Analyze possible causes
  3. Determine ways you can respond
  4. Intervene
  5. Evaluate

In some cases, a change in a person’s behavior can be indicative of them trying to communicate in a different way; for example, if a loved one starts becoming agitated at a certain time or becomes restless, that may indicate that they are hungry, but have just forgot how to communicate that verbally.  When dealing with any behavior, here are some tips:

  1. Stay calm and approach from the front
  2. Look for triggers to understand the behavior
  3. Don’t argue or reason
  4. Redirect to an enjoyable and safe activity

For more information, please visit the following links.

Coping with Behavior Changes in Alzheimer’s Disease

 

In honor of National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month, the NJSL is partnering with Alzheimer’s New Jersey to bring you “Coping with Behavior Changes in Alzheimer’s Disease.”  Behavioral changes in Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia can pose concerns for family caregivers.  As the disease progresses, behavior often becomes the primary way people with the disease communicate their needs.  Learn why people with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia experience behavior changes, what those behaviors mean, and how to cope when behaviors are challenging.

 

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Breast Health Lecture Recap

Thank you to Patricia Tatrai for speaking on breast health during Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  Her talk focused on several different aspects of breast health and cancer including:

  • Risk factors, including hereditary occurrences of caner and certain genetic markers
  • Different types of breast cancer
  • Different types of screenings for breast cancer
  • Ways to reduce the risks of breast cancer including diet, exercise, and preventative mastectomy

Please consult with your doctor about any questions you have about breast cancer, including risks, tests, and treatments.

Breast Health Lecture

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the NJSL is proud to host a presentation on breast health on Friday, October 27th.  Patricia Tatrai, a certified health navigator at Capital Health Medical Center-Hopewell and oncology nurse for over 30 years will be presenting on a variety of topics surrounding breast cancer and overall breast health, including:

  • Breast Cancer Incidence
  • Risk Factors
  • Screening Guidelines
  • Screening Modalities
  • Cancer Genetics

Please join us for this informative session and spread the word about breast cancer!

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