Alzheimer’s Patient Paints Self-Portraits Over The Years

 Alzheimer’s is a mysterious disease capable of stealing memories and time from our loved ones. British artist William Utermohlen was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 1995. Utermohlen decided to document the progression of the disease by doing self-portraits until he no longer remembered his own face. As terribly sad as these portraits are, they show how rapidly—and with such fury—Alzheimer’s can affect the human brain. Utermohlen’s widow, Patricia, said, “In these pictures we see with heart-breaking intensity William’s efforts to explain his altered self, his fears and his sadness.” William Utermohlen passed away in 2007. MAN WITH ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE DREW A SERIES OF SELF-PORTRAITS OVER THE YEARS 08.20.2014 12:17 pm William Utermohlen’s self-portrait from 1967 1996 1996 1997 1997 1998 1999 2000 Below, Louis Theroux’s eye-opening and poignant 2012 documentary Extreme Love: Dementia. I highly, highly recommend this documentary if you have a loved one with Alzheimer’s or just want to learn more about the disease. You won’t soon forget it.   To see the original article, click...

Are You Ready for the At-Home Care Industry Boom? We Are!

I couldn’t help but share this little gem I found. A brief video clip from Good Morning America about the changes in healthcare and its At-Home care policies.Although it is not the complete special,  the panel of guests provide the viewer with a great deal of helpful information in the 3 minute clip.  In the accompanying article, the author writes. “By 2020, the ranks of home health and personal care aides will have swelled by more than 1.3 million—a 70 percent increase from 2010, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That compares with a growth rate of 14 percent for the U.S. job market at large.” This is wonderful news! Not only will it ensure a surge in clientele, but the community is beginning to understand the importance, and variety in their senior care options.   Another quote I found to be particularly interesting is the one I have included below: “Getting care at home, Tourian tells ABC News, can be less costly than getting it in a nursing home or other non-home venue. The average Synergy client pays $18,000 a year for 20 hours a week of care. The average annual cost per patient for a year’s stay in a nursing home, he says, is $70,000.” What better way to avoid that awkward “We think you should move into a nursing home” discussion than with an alternate solution. Read the whole article here: Boom Predicted in At-Home Care...

Tasing the elderly? Seriously?

Hello everyone, I hope you had a wonderful weekend. Did you hear about the 77 year old Korean War veteran who was tased in Montana? If you are not familiar with the article, I have included a link at the bottom of the blog. Just to give you a small overview, an Alzheimer’s patient who also happened to serve in the Korean War was tased by police, fell face-first onto the pavement and died in a Montana hospital 3 weeks later. Here is a short version of the story. The victim was admitted to a state-run nursing home for severe Alzheimer’s-related issues. He wandered off of the property so the staff called 911. When the man refused to cooperate, an officer zapped him with a stun gun and he fell onto the pavement and hit his head and face. Once he was back in the nursing home’s care and everything calmed down, the family was notified. HOWEVER, the family was told the man tripped while running. Two days later the family found out about the real incident and roughly three weeks later the man passed away due to injuries from the “fall.” Now his family has filed a lawsuit against the city police and the nursing home. Can you believe it! I was blown away after seeing the article this past weekend. Who in their right mind zaps an elderly man with a stun gun let alone an elderly man with Alzheimer’s? There are so many wrongs happening in this story. What do you think should happen to those responsible? State sued when man, 77, dies after being “tased”;...

Fading Memories: What is Athazagoraphobia

Athazagoraphobia is the fear of being forgotten. What a mouthful right? The word itself seems like a jumble of letters you would see floating around in your alphabet soup. Granted, Athazagoraphobia is a severe and debilitating fear of being forgotten- but what family member wants to be completely erased from the life of their loved one? This is an all-too-common occurrence in the lives of those who have a family member with Alzheimers or Dementia. We have included a few tips to make the visits you have with your loved one more meaningful and less stressful. 1: Timing is Everything You may not believe it, but there are better times of day to visit your loved one. Plan your visit for the morning or early afternoon.They are more alert, awake and observant. In our field, we have a term call “sundowning.” Essentially, patients with memory issues tend to become more confused or agitated later in the day.If at all possible, visit in the morning when they are fresh, and are not feeling tired. 2: Try Not To Play “Do You Remember…..?” Most family members and friends play this game while visiting with their loved one. The unfortunate truth is…most often…No. This questions usually brings about painful response for all those around. One thing to keep in mind- Never take memory loss personally. If you begin questions with “I was thinking about….” or “I’ve heard that you….” When you begin with these openers, the person you are visiting is less likely to become overwhelmed or frustrated when they can’t remember what you are asking them. 3: If you can’t beat...

Wandering Family Members And How You Can Help

We have all seen them. The notices on the news, alerting the community to a wondering Alzheimer’s or dementia patient. It makes my heart break when I hear about these incidents. Imagine going outside for a walk and eventually your surroundings do not even look vaguely familiar. You keep walking, trying to find some place that you recognize, but it never arrives. Unfortunately this is just one of the instances of wandering. Some happen while in a car, some are out shopping at a mall or supermarket, others can happen right in your own home while looking for the bathroom or bedroom. The Alzheimer’s Association has produced a helpful guide to prevent wandering. We have included a few of their tips below. Tips to prevent wandering Having a routine can provide structure. Identify the most likely times of day that wandering may occur. Plan activities at that time. Activities and exercise can reduce anxiety, agitation and restlessness. Ensure all basic needs are met. Has the person gone to the bathroom? Is he or she thirsty or hungry? Avoid busy places that are confusing and can cause disorientation. This could be a shopping malls, grocery stores or other busy venues. Place locks out of the line of sight.  Camouflage doors and door knobs. Camouflage doors by painting them the same color as the walls, or cover them with removable curtains or screens. Cover knobs with cloth the same color as the door or use childproof knobs. Use devices that signal when a door or window is opened. This can be as simple as a bell placed above a door or as sophisticated...

“If I Only Had A Brain”…Pacemaker

Hey Per Diem fans out there. We stumbled across this intriguing article while surfing the web and decided it was too good not to share…What do you think? If you had the ability to give a friend or relative an Alzheimers-relieving cranial implant, would you? ‘Brain Pacemakers’ Try to Zap Alzheimer’s Posted: Jan 25, 2013 1:58 PM by AP, posted by Kirsten Bennett It has the makings of a science fiction movie: Zap someone’s brain with mild jolts of electricity to try to stave off the creeping memory loss of Alzheimer’s disease. But it’s real life for 57-year-old Kathy Sanford, who has early-stage Alzheimer’s that is gradually getting worse. Her father noticed changes. “There just seemed to be little memory things that would pop up. You know, where did I put something? I’ve lost this,” said Joe Jester from his daughter’s home in Lancaster, Ohio. Sanford was desperate to try and help others from feeling the anxiety she does knowing the disease could one day rob her of her memories, independence and ability to think. She volunteered for a clinical trial at Ohio State University to implant a pacemaker in her brain that would send constant, tiny shocks to a part of it affected by Alzheimer’s. “I said, ‘Yeah. I’ll do it,” said Sanford, eager to do something to try and combat her condition. Surgeons implanted the device, which is very similar to those used to treat heart problems, back in October, and a team of researchers has been monitoring her since. “It’s believed that because of the plaques that are causing the Alzheimer’s, the brain networks or connections are...