Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Alzheimer's News

It's been a little while since we've written about Alzheimer's; two recent news items on the subject caught my attention.

First, it appears that researchers at the "Barcelona Biomedical Research Institute have hailed a natural hormone linked to the sleep cycle as an important new weapon in the fight against" Alzheimer's. Combined with an active lifestyle (exercise), melatonin seems to be effective in slowing deterioration of the brain.

Nothing conclusive yet, but it seems promising.

The second item relates more to those providing care to folks already suffering from the disease. As we've noted, a major problem for family members as caregivers is that they can "cost themselves major chunks of their own nest-eggs; giving up their ability to contribute to 401(k)'s and the like means that there's less available to them when they need it."

That's the financial side, which is pretty important, No less important, though, is the physical toll this can have on these selfless folks. And that's where "the Hebrew Home at Riverdale's ... ElderServe at Night" comes in. The program offers "a structured series of singalongs, crafts and therapy sessions that lasts until dawn." and is available to folks suffering from dementia. That's the good news.

Here's the bad:

"While many nursing homes offer temporary "respite care" so caregivers can catch up on sleep or go on vacation, the overnight-only program at the Hebrew Home fills a niche. But costs are high, and such programs are rare. An official at the Alzheimer's Association said she knew of no other."

Here's hoping that the phenomenon takes off.
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