604.998.1628 northshore@retireathome.com
Customized Home Care for Seniors!North Shore: 604-998-1628

Caring for a Loved One With Lewy Body Dementia – North Shore – North Vancouver, West Vancouver

Most people generally tend to think of Alzheimer’s disease when they hear the word dementia. Dementia is comprehensive term that is used to explain damage to areas of the brain, resulting in memory impairment. There are several strains of dementia, including the second most prevalent type of dementia to affect seniors: Lewy Body Dementia (LBD). What is Lewy Body Dementia? Like Alzheimer’s, LBD is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder that gets worse over time, and there is currently no cure. Lewy Body dementia is characterized by abnormal protein deposits that develop in the brain in the areas associated with memory, thinking, and movement. These proteins are known as Lewy bodies, named after the German researcher, or by the technical name: alpha-synuclein. Symptoms of Lewy Body Dementia The signs and symptoms caused by LBD can be difficult to decipher because they appear as similar to some symptoms found in Alzheimer’s and schizophrenia patients. Symptoms that may indicate the onset of LBD, include: Cognitive issues Visual hallucinations Impaired movement Autonomic nervous system impairment Sleep problems Affected attention Apathy Depression Cognitive Issues All types of dementia are associated with some level of cognitive impairment. Cognitive issues typically experienced by LBD sufferers, may include: Confusion and disorientation Visual-spatial issues Lack of focus Impaired memory Illogical thinking patterns Visual Hallucinations Sensory hallucinations often appear as early symptoms of the disease. This can involve seeing people, animals, or objects that are not there. It can also encompass auditory, olfactory, and tactile hallucinations. Impaired Movement LBD is also characterized by Parkinsonian-like symptoms that affect movement and motor skills. Some of the symptoms associated with movement, are: Stiff...

Can the MIND Diet Help Improve Brain Function? – North Shore – North Vancouver, West Vancouver

Maintaining a good level of overall health is generally of great importance to older adults living at home and looking to sustain an independent lifestyle. It is widely known that regular exercise and a nutritious diet create the cornerstone for good health. This is true for both the body and mind, as new studies continue to emerge demonstrating the relation between healthy eating and cognitive function. You may be a bit wary of all these miracle diets that are constantly being promoted to solve various health problems, and improve fitness and appearance. When most people think about diets, it tends to be more about effects on the body. However, the right diet can also have positive effects on the brain. Trendy diets focused on weight loss and improving physical appearance are often void essential nutrients and proteins necessary for providing the brain with the fuel it needs to function at a high level. What is the MIND diet? MIND stands for Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay. As the name would suggest, the diet is focused on foods that stimulate cognitive activity to help prevent or delay neurodegenerative decline. The MIND diet combines two diets that have been touted by many experts as being amongst the healthiest on the planet: the Mediterranean and the DASH diets. Mediterranean Diet Most people have heard about the Mediterranean diet and its abundance of purported health benefits. The Med diet focuses on whole foods, and healthy fats and carbs, without sacrificing flavor. Foods to target with a Mediterranean diet, include: Vegetables, fruit, legumes, nuts, seeds, herbs, spices, extra virgin olive oil, potatoes, whole grain...

What is Vascular Dementia and What are the Risks? – North Shore – North Vancouver, West Vancouver

There are many types of dementia that become a greater risk as we get older. The most common form is Alzheimer’s, but there are also several other strains of dementia that can cause cognitive impairment, including vascular dementia. What is Vascular Dementia? Vascular dementia is characterized by brain cells being damaged due to insufficient blood flow. The brain requires a steady flow of blood to deliver the necessary oxygen and nutrients required for proper function. When the flow of blood to the brain is inhibited by damaged blood vessels or arteries, then the neurons being deprived of oxygen and nutrients will eventually atrophy and die. These neurons being destroyed are responsible for specific brain functions, and when they die and are no longer able to complete those tasks, cognitive impairment or dementia results. Risk Factors for Vascular Dementia The risk factors for developing vascular dementia are very similar to the factors leading to cardiovascular disease or stroke. Age As is true with a high number of chronic health conditions, the risk of developing vascular dementia is more serious with age. People over the age of 65 are subject to a decreased elasticity in the blood vessels and arteries. High Blood Pressure Hypertension is another risk factor for vascular dementia, as higher blood pressure puts excess strain on the blood vessels throughout the body. High Cholesterol High levels of LDL cholesterol, which is known as the bad cholesterol, is also a contributing factor. LDL cholesterol accumulates on the walls of the blood vessels, restricting blood flow. Obesity Being overweight puts undue strain on the heart, arteries, and blood vessels. Diabetes...

Getting Educated in January for Alzheimer’s Awareness Month – North Shore – North Vancouver, West Vancouver

Cases of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia are steadily on the rise in Canada and around the globe. There are currently over half a million people in Canada living with Alzheimer’s, and every day roughly 68 more people are diagnosed with the disease. Canada’s ailing public health care system is not anywhere near equipped to handle the magnitude of this debilitating illness, leaving Alzheimer’s sufferers to turn elsewhere for help and support. One of the best places to get started with dementia awareness is by learning more about how the disease works, and methods and techniques to manage it to minimize damage and cognitive impairment. What is Alzheimer’s Disease? Alzheimer’s is the most widely prevalent from of dementia in Canada, and throughout the world. It is a neurodegenerative brain disorder that directly affects memory and cognitive function. Alzheimer’s disease actively destroys brain tissue, cutting off connections between neurons. This impactful damage attacks various areas in the brain, including the hippocampus which plays a large role in memory function. As the neurodegenerative suggests, the illness gets worse over time and the damage inflicted is irreversible. That is why it is extremely important to catch the disease in its early stages, as soon as possible, to minimize detrimental effects. Preventative Measures to Decease the Risk and Manage Alzheimer’s While Alzheimer’s is not completely preventable, there are certain steps that can be taken and lifestyle practices that can be implemented to ward off the disease and slow its progression. As Alzheimer’s cases steadily increase, and will only continue to rise significantly in the future, it is important to become educated and...

Why is Alzheimer’s Being Touted as Type 3 Diabetes? North Shore – North Vancouver, West Vancouver

If the harmful physical effects of eating too much sugar aren’t enough to scare you off it, then maybe the added negative mental effects will do it. It is widely known that a diet high in sugar intake can lead to type 2 diabetes, among many other physical health issues. The more studies being done on the detrimental effects of sugar are showing that it is also very bad for the brain and cognitive function. Alzheimer’s disease is now being called Type 3 Diabetes because eating an excess of sugary foods can contribute to dementia. High blood sugar levels are directly related to an increased risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease. Seniors are at an even greater risk, due to a declining immune system that already has to work much harder to fight off illness and disease. Cutting sugar out of your diet is one of the best things you can do for your health as an older adult. How does sugar affect the brain? Eating too much sugar has several detrimental effects on the brain, including: Memory impairment Increased cognitive decline Diminished ability to recall information Doubles the risk of developing Alzheimer’s Studies indicate that upwards of 80% of people with Alzheimer’s also have a higher level of insulin resistance. Why High Blood Sugar Levels are Bad for the Brain Aside from contributing to physical health problems like obesity, tooth decay, liver disease, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, sugar can also cause problems for brain function. Some of the ways sugar can impact the brain, include: Chronic inflammation Excess glucose in brain cells Sugar increases insulin resistance Amyloid...

Memory Problems Should Not be Ignored – North Shore – North Vancouver, West Vancouver

Many older adults are hesitant to visit a doctor about memory issues because they feel it just a normal part of aging. While some degree of memory loss is typical as we get older, memory failure that impacts daily living may be a symptom of the onset of Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. The cognitive decline associated with dementia is often quite gradual, so it can be tough to recognize as it is happening. A lot times when memory lapses occur is just chalked up as a “senior moment”. Minor lapses like misplaced keys, or forgetting to pay a bill may seem insignificant, but they could be an indication of a larger, developing condition. Just like the rest of our bodies, our brains begin to deteriorate slowly as we age. Age-Related Memory Loss Mild memory impairment associated with aging, is associated with 3 main elements: Hippocampus Hormones Circulation Hippocampus The hippocampus is the area of the brain associated with memory. This region of the brain actually shrinks as we get older, and so too does the frontal lobe which is involved with high level cognitive function. Hormones Hormone production also tends to decrease with age, and in particular the hormones and proteins responsible for protecting, repairing, and stimulating new neurons, generally decline. Circulation Blood flow often decreases with age as well, as you may have noticed many seniors experience chronic pain or coldness in feet and hands from lack of blood and oxygen. Seniors that don’t get enough physical exercise may have more serious circulation problems that can result in reduced blood flow to the brain, leading to...