Research at Brandeis on Alzheimer’s & Parkinson’s

June 30, 2009

Filed under: Alzheimer's — Tags: , — Alexis @ 1:13 PM

Researchers right in our own back yard at Brandeis University in Waltham are conducting fascinating research on the causes and prevention of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, and other neurological disorders.  You can watch a lecture by Professor Petsko here.  He introduces some intriguing research concepts – one idea they are exploring is whether all of these various neurological disorders are really one and the same – perhaps they are all different manifestations of one underlying disease or disorder, since there is so much about them that overlaps.

His practical advice confirms what we already know (but we all need to hear again) – eat right, eat fish, exercise your body and brain, and keep your blood pressure low.

Caregiver: Care for Yourself, Too

June 1, 2009

Filed under: Caregiver Issues — Tags: , , — Alexis @ 9:34 AM

Caregiver burnout is a dangerous side-effect of dedicating your time and energies to the care of a loved one. All the physical activity, combined with the worry, isolation, and frustration, make for a dangerous recipe. Families frequently come to me when Mom got sick from the exhaustion of caring for Dad.  Another common scenario is a child becomes worn down and finds herself spending lots of time in doctors’ offices for her own ailments, and the family asks me to make different arrangements for the parents’ care. 

It’s hard work caring for another – physically, emotionally, mentally. If you are a caregiver, you must take time for yourself. Go for walks, take an art class, join a support group where you can let off steam and also get some ideas and encouragement from other souls in the same boat. To take time for ourselves, most of us need it to be compulsory: so sign up for an exercise class or a walking group, or find your own buddies to cycle with a few mornings a week. Whatever the activity, if you’ve scheduled a time and others are expecting you, it’s more likely you will follow through. 

There are many places to look for support and ideas, just spend a few minutes online and you will find them. One good place to start is the Alzheimer’s Association Caregiver Stress Check. Joining a caregiver support group is an excellent thing to do and can often result in long-lasting friendships. Call your local senior center for a list. 

Most importantly, get outside! It’s the perfect time of year for that. Take good care.