Dementia

Marijuana Could Be An Effective Treatment For Alzheimers

Brett Levin

Image via Brett Levin

A trip to the dispensary for your Alzheimer’s clients might be on your to-do list in the near future.


A study published this month in Aging and Mechanisms of Disease suggests marijuana might eventually be an effective treatment for Alzheimer’s disease. The study, published in Popular Science, studied the effects of THC on lab-grown neurons.


Researchers found that the cannabis compound hampered the plaque buildup that is associated with Alzheimer’s. The buildup, caused by the amyloid beta protein, can cause inflammation of the cells in the brain, hampering communication between neurons.


The study reports that THC reduced the amount of amyloid beta proteins in the neurons and prevented inflammation. The THC worked similarly to the effects of physical activity. By affecting the same receptors in the brain, Alzheimer’s can be slowed.


In addition to showing marijuana could be used to treat Alzheimer’s, it may clarify the connection between amyloid beta proteins and inflammation.


Read the full study— Amyloid proteotoxicity initiates an inflammatory response blocked by cannabinoids— here.

How far back and deep should you delve ?

Image via hobvias sudoneighm

Image via hobvias sudoneighm

As the years have gone by, we have learned the many twists that can come up when becoming the guardian for a person who has had dementia for years or decades. It is often surprising how deep and far back we need to go to resolve issues.

Case in point — we became the guardian for a windowed gal, Cynthia, in 2013. She was a retired civil servant who had worked for decades as a government contracts-comptroller and in an H.R. pension support position.

She was very astute to the business world, to how pensions worked and how life and health insurance worked. She was a very detailed bookkeeper who had appeared to be organized, disciplined and methodical in her personal business affairs by the old records we found.

However, we also found that in the more recent years, she wrote reminders to herself,  hundreds and hundreds of reminders, for the same actions: pay a bill, call the tax office, file a claim form. But it appeared that she did not take those actions,  she just kept reminding herself to-do’s, still leaving them undone.

So after many months of fighting with the pension provider to accept the letters of guardianship, we finally got a copy of her pension check stub with the gross amounts and the details of the amounts being withheld from her retirement check and for what.

We were shocked to find that there was an ongoing deduction, each month, for a spouse’s life insurance policy.

Why were we shocked? Her spouse had been deceased since 2005, and she had never remarried.

In speaking with her friends, they could not understand why she was still paying life insurance premiums for her husband, who had been dead for 8 years. Since she worked in H.R and in pension support in her career, she would have understood how this all worked.

This made us wonder: had she ever filed the claim on his life insurance(s) when he passed? We dug in and, as it turned out, NOPE.

So we filed the claim for $ 25,000, and then we started the fight to get the years of premiums (paid on a dead fella) back from the federal government.

So, back to the question: how far back and deep should you delve? You decide. :)

Dental Implants or Dentures: Which Option is Best for the Elderly? – October, 2015 Newsletter

Chronicles of a Professional Guardian

 

Serving as Care Managers, Elderly & Disabled Life Care Plan Assessors, and providing Professional Guardian services in Central Florida for over 20 years, we have discovered unique solutions to many difficult problems.

 

We are continuing our tradition of giving back by sharing our knowledge in the hopes that this information can help others to better serve and care for our elderly and disabled population.


Dental Implants or Dentures: Which Option is Best for the Elderly?

 

OrlandoGuardian.com Dental Implant for the Elderly

Image Credit: Flickr.com/Mike Stanley

When you want to replace missing teeth, there are generally two main treatment options – dentures or implants. But which one of these options is best for seniors?

 

Traditionally, dentures have been the go-to option for seniors. But it might surprise you to learn that this isn’t always the best option. That’s because conventional dentures can cause irreversible damage to the jaw bone, and can significantly compromise the wearer’s chewing function. This is important to note for people who may have swallowing issues.

 

However, the benefits of dentures include cost, and fewer dental visits. A full set of dentures generally runs around $600 – $1,000 using standard materials. Dentures require an initial appointment with a general dentist to get an impression. This mold is sent out to the lab, and the final product is returned in as little as one week. Then, there is a final fitting, and adjustments are made. As long as there are no issues, the person is free to go back to routine dental visits as needed. The entire process takes about 2 – 4 weeks.

 

In contrast, implants carry a much heftier price tag, costing $6,000 – $8,000, and take longer to complete. However, the materials are usually more high-end than dentures, and should last the person for the rest of their life.

 

With an implant, the individual is assessed by their general dentist first. Often, they are referred to an oral surgeon, who will determine if bone grafting is necessary. Grafting is needed when a significant amount of bone has been lost at the implant location. When this happens, a bone graft is performed. Some grafts use synthetic material, and other’s use part of the patient’s own body. It is interesting to note that Osteoporosis, which is common in older folks, does not negatively affect bone grafting. Sometimes, even with bone loss, dental implants can be placed successfully without grafting.

 

From here, the next set of appointments vary by person. If grafting is needed, then surgery is scheduled. The person will be put under sedation for the procedure. At this time, the oral surgeon may also decide to do the insertion of the abutment (implant post), but depending on the individual, the surgeon may schedule a second appointment to complete this step.

 

If the implant is to be done at another appointment, the person must wait for at least 3 to 6 months after the grafting to allow for the jawbone to bond with the grafting material. Once this has healed, the abutment is placed by the oral surgeon. Then, the patient returns to their general dentist, to have the crown fitted on the abutment. The average course of treatment for an implant is 9 – 12 months.

 

So which option is best for an elderly person? It depends on many factors, including how much mobility the person has, how well they can care for their teeth, if there is any dementia, and how advanced the dementia is.

 

When budget is not an issue, and the person has good mobility and the ability to brush and floss their teeth, implants might be the better option. Dental implants have been shown to be a benefit to people up to 95 years of age, and heal with the same predictability expected with younger patients.

 

However, if the individual has a hard time with dental hygiene, dentures could be the better option, as the teeth can be removed, and soaked overnight for cleaning.

 

Ultimately, it is up to the individual and their dentist to determine which option is best for them, based upon their ability to perform good oral hygiene, their budget, and other factors such as age, bone loss, and even their ability to handle multiple dental visits.


Did You Know?

 

That death certificate options vary by state? For example, in Georgia, they only provide death certificates with the cause of death, whereas in Florida a death certificate can come with or without the cause of death.

 

Additionally, in Georgia to get a death certificate on someone who has passed away, you have to prove that you are an interested party. However, in Florida, you only have to prove that you are an interested party if you are requesting the cause of death.


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Allowing Alcohol in a Facility Setting

 

OrlandoGuardian.com Allowing Alcohol in a Facility Setting

Image Credit: Davide Restivo

Often times, aging brings about big changes. What was once a healthy, capable body becomes worn and frail, and suddenly the things we used to do pose risks, including living alone.

 

When your aging loved one has moved to an Assisted Living setting, it can be a difficult transition. Aside from a physical location change, there is now a whole new cast of people demanding their attention from the residents at the facility, to the facility staff members.

 

Changes like this can cause your loved one to feel out of place and out of sync. Sometimes, they become stubborn and refuse to do the things they should do, because saying “no” is the only way they have any control of the situation.

 

When a big change happens, like a facility move, how can you help your loved one feel a sense of normalcy? As weird as it sounds, sometimes it’s as simple as letting your loved one have some alcohol every now and again.

 

Don’t get us wrong, we are not advocating drinking particularly when there is a history of alcohol abuse, or when it poses a danger to the individual, such as the potential for medication interaction.  However, in some cases, allowing someone to have a drink every now and again could be exactly what they need to feel normal and in control of their choices.

 

Here is a story about one of our clients, and how drinking helped her adjust to life at an Assisted Living Faculty. It is our hope that it gives you some ideas about how to help your loved one if you are faced with a similar situation.

 

Vickie is a client who loves to have things her way. She has always enjoyed outings with friends, including the occasional glass of wine to relax at the end of the day.

 

After a fall, Vickie was moved to an ALF for health and safety reasons. She wanted to return home, and was having a hard time understanding that her home was no longer a safe environment. As a reaction to the change in her situation, she started refusing to follow through with some important things, like bathing.

 

Knowing Vickie’s history of socializing and having an occasional drink, we decided to see if providing her with the occasional glass of wine would help her have a sense of normalcy again.

 

We went about checking with the facility and her physician to see if this plan could be worked out. And, once everyone was in agreement, we had the doctor write an order for allowing the client to drink since she was under guardianship.  Then, we provided single serve bottles to the facility staff, instructing them to give them to Vickie at their discretion.

 

We have found that this allows Vickie the occasional treat, just like she would have treated herself if she was still at home and following her normal routine. But, even better, we have found that we can use the drinks as a reward, particularly when she accomplishes something that she’s been refusing to do, such as bathing.

 

Vickie seems happier now that she can participate in some of the things she used to enjoy, such as having the occasional glass of wine. We continue to monitor her to make sure that the drinking is not issue and that it doesn’t become an everyday habit. Should it ever become an issue, we are ready to obtain an order from the doctor to discontinue drinking, and will remove the alcohol from the facility.

 

But for now, we’re happy with how allowing Vickie the pleasure of enjoying an occasional glass of wine has helped her transition to her new life at the assisted living facility.

 

When You Love Someone with Dementia, Then You Know

OrlandoGuardian.com Angus Young

 

When you love someone with dementia, then you know the moments of confusion that occur. But every once in a while, you get a moment of clarity, and it’s usually something deep and personal that’s revealed.

 

Like when a mother remembers a child’s name. Or when a grandfather begins to tell a story about his younger days of dancing as you drive past the familiar dance hall. Or when dad demonstrates his hobby with ease for the first time in a long time after being given painting supplies.

 

In early February, 2015, at the 57th Grammy Awards, in front of a live audience, AC/DC’s own guitar player, who suffers from dementia, was on stage playing some of their classic songs. And guess what? He did it flawlessly.

 

Cherish those moments, and remember that when they happen, everyone wins. Mom, grandpa, artist, rock star – four words, four wins. Cherish those wins, because dementia is one word, and no wins.