Choosing the right home

SENIOR ABUSE: Care workers Charged

senior abuse copy

Colleen Schmidt, CTV Calgary, reported a disturbing incident at a senior facility in Calgary.  Unfortunately our vulnerable seniors are at the mercy of some abusive Health Care Aids.

“Three women who worked at a Calgary seniors home have been charged with assaulting a man who was in their care.

Police say the man’s family complained to police about concerns of physical abuse by staff at the Carewest Garrison Green facility.

The police Elder Abuse Response Team investigated the allegation along with Alberta Health officials.

Police say the three staff have been fired and were arrested Wednesday.

Maria Dumo, Angelina Borga and May Casimero each face one charge of common assault.

They have been released from custody and are to appear in court April 23. (The Canadian Press)”


DEMENTIA: CARE – The Person behind Dementia

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An article written by Julia Corbett outlines some ideas for dealing with persons with dementia in a caring and nurturing way from a study done in collaboration with the Alzheimer’s Society.  

“Seeing the person behind the dementia is ‘perhaps the most crucial aspect of care’

Helping a person to live well with dementia does not only mean treating the illness, but ensuring their physical and mental wellbeing is maintained to allow them to continue to have fulfilling life experiences.

When someone is diagnosed with dementia, the diagnosis can provide key answers to someone’s concern about their health problems. However, it was found people with dementia were too often finding their other health needs were not being addressed, with some health professionals readily blaming unrelated health issues on the dementia.

Specific areas where people with dementia were sometimes treated differently to a person without the illness, included dental health and mobility issues.

Sensory pleasures such as listening to something from their favourite music collection or eating something enjoyable can help someone with dementia to continue getting enjoyment from activities and maintain their sense of own personal identity.

Dr Graham said: “It is important to bear in mind that the course of the illness is a long one, and towards the later stages of the disease it can become much more of a challenge to enable people to have experiences they can enjoy. However things like eating or music can still be enjoyable, even though they cannot carry on doing some things they used to be able to do.

Over 90 per cent of people in a survey of 2,300 UK adults claimed ‘being independent’ was important to happiness, and was a vital element in helping people with dementia to lead fulfilling lives.

The report wants carers to prevent people with dementia from becoming ‘the safest humans who ever lived’ and work to empower them to be able to continue carrying out some independent activities through a sharing of responsibility between home carers, care organisations and the person with dementia themselves.

“The crucial thing is that all activities that might involve risk are fully discussed with the person with dementia, relatives and staff together before they are undertaken. The sharing of responsibility reduces the stress for everybody.”

With the number of people with dementia expected to rise to over one million by 2021, the need for informed information and advice about helping someone to live well with dementia will become a vital debate for the whole community and will be necessary to respond well to the impact of an aging society.”



Smelling Flowers

Early detection of Alzheimer’s can help families make better and more informed choices for the future. Sarah Barnes for Express looks into the sense of smell or lack of smell,  as being a possible link to Alzheimer’s.

“The sense of smell, or olfaction, can be easy to overlook, no longer as essential to our daily lives as other senses.

But smell can be a fast-track to a person’s past, and losing the ability to pick up scents, which can be an early effect of diseases like Alzheimer’s, can mean losing emotions associated with the smell – with lifetime memories ultimately vanishing forever.

The Perfume Shop and Alzheimer’s Research UK have been working with University College London (UCL) expert Dr Jason Warren to discover how scent and memory are linked. “It has been widely reported that loss of the sense of smell can be an early sign of degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s,” Dr Warren told us.

At UCL’s Dementia Research Centre, Dr. Warren is spearheading research into olfaction, memory and dementia. One element of his work harnesses pupilometry – technology that measures physiological brain responses to stimuli by monitoring pupil dilation. Dr. Warren has some early results revealing that significant smells in people’s lives, such as a favourite perfume, have a strong effect on memory centres in the brain, dilating the pupil markedly.

“Pupil dilation like this is of the kind we otherwise see with strong emotional arousal, as occurs in response to pain or loud noises, or indeed, romantic interest. Women in various cultures over the centuries have used compounds like belladonna to enhance their attractiveness and these also exploit pupil dilation,” he says. “We only have very preliminary results from this test, but together with mounting evidence in the field, we believe odours may be much better facilitators of memory and emotions than, for example, pictures and trigger quite different parts of the brain.”

With more research and a better understanding of the disease of Alzheimer’s and other related memory loss conditions, society will be able to someday find a cure.



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As stated by Tom Blackwell, earlier diagnosis opens the door to important information, resources and support through local Alzheimer societies, which help people with dementia focus on their abilities to remain independent in their homes and communities longer.

With early diagnosis, people can access medications that, although not effective for everyone, have the greatest impact when taken early. On a practical level, an early diagnosis gives someone the chance to explain the changes happening in their life to family and friends and allows families to plan ahead.

“Seventy-four per cent of Canadians know someone with dementia and more and more Canadians will continue to develop the disease. We want to make sure they’re getting the help they need at every stage of the disease,” says Mimi Lowi -Young, CEO, Alzheimer Society of Canada. “As devastating as the news can be, early diagnosis brings relief to families, gives them control over their situation and adds more years of living active and fulfilling lives.”

Online memory test developed by Toronto medical clinic aimed at a society increasingly worried over Alzheimer’s.

Doctor Angela Troyer is a neuropsychologist at Baycrest Health Sciences and leader of its online Alzheimer’s test project. “The large majority of people who take the test are going to have a normal score,” she said. Peter J. Thompson/National Post


DEMENTIA: Supplements to help prevent memory loss

senior nutrition

Yes to good nutrition! Many sceniors are finding that supplements are an affordable and easy way to make sure their diet is benefiting them in the aging process. The following article can show how such supplements can benefit us all.

Please put curcumin, the active ingredient of the common spice turmeric, at the top of your list of Alzheimer’s preventives. Seriously. Researchers have published hundreds of scientific studies on the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin. A recent Japanese study showed symptom improvement for those who supplemented with turmeric capsules for one year. Two participants who had severe cases were even able to recognize family members by the study’s conclusion.

Back in 2008, researchers in India published a paper reviewing the major research done on curcumin as a treatment for Alzheimer’s. They noted that curcumin apparently has the ability to help a component of the immune system (macrophages) clear away amyloid plaques from the brain. They concluded that “ … based on the main findings above, curcumin will lead to a promising treatment for Alzheimer’s.” What they’re saying is that, in time, someone will turn it into a drug. Then it will take years to study the new drug on animals and people before it’s brought to market for a hefty price. Well, duh!

The take-home point is that turmeric and curcumin supplements are readily available, affordable and worth a try. Since supplements are hard to absorb, you can eat the spice. It’s popular in curry dishes. Sprinkle it on everything like I do, because it’s good for heart disease, arthritis and breast health, too.

Other food items you should add to your shopping list are colorful fruits and vegetables, with a special emphasis on blue and purple, which indicates the presence of anthocyanins, a pigment that scientists are looking at as a possible Alzheimer’s preventive. In fact, I suggest eating blueberries several times a week. Other memory-boosting supplements include citicoline, phosphatidylcholine and Acetyl L-carnitine.

What else can you do? There’s a tight association between memory loss and damage from popular foods, so I often recommend either a paleo diet or Doug Kaufmann’s “Phase One” Diet. You could read about the dangers of gluten in the new book “Grain Brain” by Dr. David Perlmutter.

I would absolutely include at least two teaspoons of organic coconut oil in your diet each day. Get plenty of exercise to turn on life-extension genes and increase production of memory molecules.”

Suzy Cohen, at