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The Smallest Things

By: Michelle Remold

“Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.” This quote is attributed to Winnie the Pooh and was on a thank you card I recently sent. This quote caught my attention and caused me to think about it a little more. I have previously written that when it comes to Alzheimer’s and dementia, it is truly the small things that can mean the most.

I have written a lot about my grandpa who passed away when I was 17 after having Alzheimer’s for more than 10 years. I however, haven’t really written about my grandma who has dementia as well. Today happens to also be my grandma’s birthday.

With Alzheimer’s it can become increasingly difficult to find things to do for the person with the disease. So for my grandma’s birthday this year, I made her a blanket. I know that Alzheimer’s progresses differently in everyone. I think that this is something that can be difficult to see when you have already watched the disease progress in someone.

The more I interact with individuals who have Alzheimer’s or dementia, the small things are truly what make me smile. It might be a witty statement or a story. I worked this weekend, but my parents took pictures of my grandma’s birthday and in each one, she looks happy. These are the moments we need to look for when it comes to Alzheimer’s or dementia. These are the moments that make the disease a little easier to handle and they end up taking up the most room in your heart.

???????????????????????????????Michelle graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with her Bachelor of Arts in Gerontology: Social Sciences and a minor in Family Studies. She is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Aging Studies and Nursing Home Administration from Minnesota State University Mankato.

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Alzheimer’s and Nutrition –

What You Deserve to Know

There have been many studies recently linking Alzheimer’s disease and nutrition. More and more, the evidence overwhelmingly indicates that proper nutrition is essential to maintaining a healthy brain: it plays a major role in cognition, memory, and various neurological disorders — including Alzheimer’s disease.

I am a strong proponent of the link between Alzheimer’s and nutrition. I have found that a proper diet is one of the main keys to Alzheimer’s prevention and that a proper diet should consist of the following:

1. 20% “good” fat, such as extra virgin olive oil, avocado, and flax seed oil

2. 40% lean protein, such as fish, chicken, turkey, and soy

3. 40% complex carbohydrates, such as fresh vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and fresh fruits

4. “Super foods” for the brain, such as blueberries, spinach, and seaweed

Furthermore, it is important to avoid a diet high in trans-fat and saturated fat, since these fats produce free radicals in your body. High quantities of free radicals have been known to damage and even kill brain cells.

Omega-3 fatty acids, found primarily in fish, have been shown to drastically decrease your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. In fact, simply eating one fish meal per week can result in a 60% reduction in your risk of developing Alzheimer’s.

I also recommend that everyone should take a high potency multiple vitamin containing vitamin C and folic acid.

Get Your Antioxidants

A diet rich in antioxidants is also important. It has been found to drastically lower your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Antioxidants eliminate free radicals from your body. Your body naturally produces free radicals as a by-product of normal cell functioning. However, when produced in large quantities, free radicals can cause such debilitating diseases as cancer, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s.

Vitamins C and E are both an excellent source of antioxidants. Vitamin E is fat soluble, and can be found in vegetable and nut oils, spinach, and whole grain products. Vitamin C is water soluble, and can be found in citrus fruits, tomatoes, spinach, and red peppers

These vitamins more effectively help prevent Alzheimer’s when obtained from actual foods instead of from supplements. Research shows that when taken together, vitamins C and E can reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s disease by 20%.

Diets that are low in fat and cholesterol and high in fiber will also help prevent Alzheimer’s by reducing oxidative stress. Oxidative stress can cause an increase in the production of free radicals in your body.

High fat and cholesterol diets impair learning and memory performance. Plus, diets high in fat and cholesterol have been shown to triple your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

A diet rich in niacin will help prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s. However, research indicates that it is more beneficial to receive niacin from foods than from supplements. Niacin-rich foods include lean meat, fish, poultry, peanuts, omega-E-enriched eggs, whole grain products, beans and peas, avocados, dates, figs, and prunes.

Supplements to Know About

Ginkgo biloba extract is an excellent antioxidant and works well to improve cognitive performance.

The following supplements have also proven very effective in improving cognitive functioning and memory: alpha GFC (alpha glycerylphosphorylcholine), N-acetyl-L-carnitine, lipoic acid, DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), and phosphatidylserine.

Medical researchers are still hard at work trying to determine the exact cause of Alzheimer’s disease. But one thing has already been determined with certainty: there is a strong link between Alzheimer’s and nutrition.

The mission of the non-profit Alzheimer’s Research and Prevention Foundation is to help you prevent the development of Alzheimer’s. Paying careful attention to your diet is one important way you can drastically reduce your risk for this debilitating disease.

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Dharma Singh Khalsa, M.D.

President and Medical Director

Alzheimer’s Research and Prevention Foundation

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A big THANKS goes out to HealthStar Home Health and the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America for providing this great resource.

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Heart Felt Speech Regarding

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Michael and Shari Ellenbogen speak so openly and honestly about living with dementia.  What is working and what is not.  What the people need and why it is so critical.

What are your thoughts?  We would love to hear from you.

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