Alzheimer’s Disease: A Practical Guide

Alzheimer’s Disease: A Practical Guide

Alzheimer’s Disease: A Practical Guide is a new 3-hour online continuing education (CE/CEU) course that offers healthcare professionals a basic foundation in Alzheimer’s disease prevention, diagnosis, and risk management.

This course will present practical information to aid healthcare professionals as they interact with clients who are diagnosed with any of the many types of dementia. We will review what is normal in the aging process, and what is not; diagnostic criteria for Alzheimer’s disease; testing cognition and gene testing; risk factors; and clinical research. We will then discuss the struggle caregivers face and provide strategies for how best to support them.

The next section will provide practical guidance for caring for a person with Alzheimer’s disease, including daily care activities, keeping the person safe, and unwanted behaviors. Next we will review prevention and compensation strategies to help people protect their cognitive health as they age, including modifiable risk factors that have the potential to reduce the prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease. A final section on protecting our elders from scams and how to find reputable resources for information is included. Course #31-12 | 2018 | 56 pages | 20 posttest questions

Click here to learn more.

Course Directions

Our online courses provide instant access to the course materials (PDF download) and CE test. Successful completion of the online CE test (80% required to pass, 3 chances to take) and course evaluation are required to earn a certificate of completion. Click here to learn more. Have a question? Contact us. We’re here to help!

Professional Development Resources is a nonprofit educational corporation 501(c)(3) organized in 1992. We are approved to sponsor continuing education by the American Psychological Association (APA); the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA); the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA); the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR); the Alabama State Board of Occupational Therapy; the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy, Psychology & School Psychology, Dietetics & Nutrition, Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, and Occupational Therapy Practice; the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board and Board of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology; the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs; the Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists and State Board of Social Worker Examiners; and are CE Broker compliant (all courses are reported within a few days of completion).

Target Audience: PsychologistsCounselorsSocial WorkersMarriage & Family Therapist (MFTs)Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs)Occupational Therapists (OTs)Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs)School Psychologists, and Teachers

Earn CE Wherever YOU Love to Be!

When Aging Becomes a Challenge

When Aging Becomes a Challenge

They are supposed to be your golden years. Your work is done, your finances are in order, and now you can enjoy your life. However, for many people, reaching retirement age brings many new physical and psychological issues.

In a paper published in June in the journal Aging, scientists from the institute’s Medical Informatics and Systems Division found that spontaneous mutations occur in our bodies constantly, but the rate of change differed dramatically among various people.

These changes are often associated with diseases such as diabetes, kidney failure, cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, and Alzheimer’s disease, and are linked to exposure to various environmental stressors (Bavarva et al., 2014).

“We observed that certain portions of our genome age 100 times faster than others. Microsatellites, once considered ‘junk DNA,’ are known to be associated with many diseases. They change much faster than individual DNA bases (known as single nucleotide polymorphisms, or SNPs), so it is important that future studies look at this very dynamic part of the human genome,” explains Harold Garner, a professor of biological sciences and computer science at Virginia Tech and a professor of medicine at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and Research Institute (Garner, 2014).

Things are not as simple as we once thought, and aging doesn’t seem to follow any sort of predictable pattern. Nor are the changes simply physical.

According to a longitudinal study of men and women ranging in age from 25 to 104, self-esteem rises steadily as people age but starts declining around the time of retirement.

Self-esteem, which is related to better health, less criminal behavior, lower levels of depression and, overall, greater success in life was found to be lowest among young adults but increased throughout adulthood, peaking at age 60, before it started to decline (Orth et al., 2016).

Further, on average, women had lower self-esteem than did men throughout most of adulthood, but self-esteem levels converged as men and women reached their 80s and 90s. Blacks and whites had similar self-esteem levels throughout young adulthood and middle age. In old age, average self-esteem among blacks dropped much more sharply than self-esteem among whites – even after controlling for differences in income and health (Orth et al., 2016).

Even more interesting was the finding that people of all ages in satisfying and supportive relationships tend to have higher self-esteem, however, despite maintaining higher self-esteem throughout their lives, people in happy relationships experienced the same drop in self-esteem during old age as people in unhappy relationships. Explains Kali H. Trzesniewski, PhD, of the University of Western Ontario, “Although they enter old age with higher self-esteem and continue to have higher self-esteem as they age, they decline in self-esteem to the same extent as people in unhappy relationships” (Trzesniewski, 2016).

While there are numerous theories as to why self-esteem peaks in middle age and then drops after retirement, such as a change in roles, an empty nest, retirement and obsolete work skills in addition to declining health, not one theory accurately explains the decline. However, through understanding the common physical and psychological challenges that the aging population faces, professionals who treat them can help ensure the highest levels of functioning, and a well-earned retirement.

Related Online Continuing Education (CE) Courses:

Aging: Challenges for CliniciansAging: Challenges for Clinicians is a 3-hour online continuing education (CE) course that provides a review of the aging process, illustrating potential challenges and effective solutions. Americans are living longer and there are proportionately more older adults than in previous generations due to the post-World War II baby boom. Many Americans are now living into their eighties and beyond. In healthcare, the volume of older people may soon outnumber the supply of healthcare professionals trained in geriatrics. Aging presents many challenges for people as they encounter new physical and psychosocial issues. It is vital for healthcare professionals to be familiar with the challenges of aging in order to effectively treat the aging population. This course will provide information on the normal process of aging, and point out problems commonly thought to be normal that require medical or psychological evaluation and treatment. Case examples will illustrate scenarios of aging persons who may be at risk but are not aware there is a problem. Use this information for referral as appropriate to ensure the highest level of functioning for your patients. Course #31-01 | 2017 | 54 pages | 20 posttest questions

Biology of AgingBiology of Aging: Research Today for a Healthier Tomorrow is a 2-hour online continuing education (CE/CEU) course that reviews the research on aging and provides insight into where the science is heading. What is aging? Can we live long and live well—and are they the same thing? Is aging in our genes? How does our metabolism relate to aging? Can your immune system still defend you as you age? Since the National Institute on Aging was established in 1974, scientists asking just such questions have learned a great deal about the processes associated with the biology of aging. Technology today supports research that years ago would have seemed possible only in a science fiction novel. This course introduces some key areas of research into the biology of aging. Each area is a part of a larger field of scientific inquiry. You can look at each topic individually, or you can step back to see how they fit together, interwoven to help us better understand aging processes. Research on aging is dynamic, constantly evolving based on new discoveries, and so this course also looks ahead to the future, as today’s research provides the strongest hints of things to come. Closeout course #20-85 | 2012 | 30 pages | 15 posttest questions

Alzheimer’s - Unraveling the MysteryAlzheimer’s – Unraveling the Mystery is a 3-hour online continuing education (CE/CEU) course that describes the risk factors, effective steps for prevention, strategies for diagnosing and treating, and the search for new treatments for AD. Alzheimer’s dementia is a growing concern among the aging Baby Boomers; yet, modern science points the way to reducing the risks through maintaining a healthy lifestyle. This course is based on a publication from the National Institute on Aging, which describes healthy brain functioning during the aging process and then contrasts it to the processes of Alzheimer’s disease. Strategies for reducing caregiver stress are also briefly discussed. Closeout Course #30-54 | 2008 | 45 pages | 21 posttest questions

Course Directions

Online courses provide instant access to the course materials (PDF download) and CE test. Successful completion of the online CE test (80% required to pass, 3 chances to take) and course evaluation are required to earn a certificate of completion. Click here to learn more. Have a question? Contact us. We’re here to help!

Professional Development Resources is a nonprofit educational corporation 501(c)(3) organized in 1992. We are approved to sponsor continuing education by the American Psychological Association (APA); the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA); the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA); the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR); the Alabama State Board of Occupational Therapy; the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy, Psychology & School Psychology, Dietetics & Nutrition, Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, and Occupational Therapy Practice; the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board and Board of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology; the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs; the Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists and State Board of Social Worker Examiners; and are CE Broker compliant (all courses are reported within a few days of completion).

Target Audience: PsychologistsCounselorsSocial WorkersMarriage & Family Therapist (MFTs)Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs)Occupational Therapists (OTs)Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs)School Psychologists, and Teachers

Earn CE Wherever YOU Love to Be!

Head Trauma and Alzheimer’s May Share Some Similarities

By Agata Blaszczak-Boxe

Head Trauma and AlzheimersStudy finds that people with traumatic brain injury have the same plaque buildup as people with Alzheimer’s disease.
 
People with brain injuries from trauma to the head may have a buildup of the same plaques seen in people with Alzheimer’s disease in their brains, a small, new study suggests.

Moreover, the areas of the brain where the plaques were found in people with brain injuries overlapped with the areas where plaques are usually found in people with Alzheimer’s. However, the people with the brain injuries also had plaques in some other brain areas, the researchers said.

“People, after a head injury, are more likely to develop dementia, but it isn’t clear why,” study co-author David Sharp, a neurology professor at Imperial College London in the United Kingdom, said in a statement. “Our findings suggest [that traumatic brain injury] leads to the development of the plaques which are a well-known feature of Alzheimer’s disease.”
 
In the new study, the researchers scanned the brains of nine people who all had a single traumatic brain injury (TBI) that was moderate to severe. The average age of the people in the study was 40, and their brain injuries occurred between 11 months and 17 years before the start of the study. For comparison, the researchers also scanned the brains of nine people without a TBI and the brains of 10 people with Alzheimer’s disease.

The researchers found that both the people with brain injuries and the people with Alzheimer’s disease had plaques in a brain area called the posterior cingulate cortex, which is affected in the early stages of Alzheimer’s.

However, only the people with brain injuries had plaques in the brain’s cerebellum, according to the study, published February 3rd in the journal Neurology.

Moreover, the buildup of the plaques was greater in the patients with brain injuries who had more damage to the brain’s white matter, the researchers found.

These findings suggests that “plaques are triggered by a different mechanism after a traumatic brain injury,” than they are in people with Alzheimer’s, Sharp said. “The damage to the brain’s white matter at the time of the injury may act as a trigger for plaque production.”

In the study, the researchers also examined the subjects’ thinking abilities. They found that the people with brain injuries performed worse on tests of attention, information-processing speed and cognitive flexibility, compared with age-matched people in the control group.

“The patients we studied here had a single, moderate-severe traumatic brain injury, for example, from motor vehicle accidents,” said lead study author Dr. Gregory Scott, a clinical research fellow who is also with Imperial College London. “Our results suggest the consequences of such an injury can be very prolonged and potentially lead to [the] development of dementia,” he told Live Science.

“If a link between brain injury and later Alzheimer’s disease is confirmed in larger studies, neurologists may be able to find prevention and treatment strategies to stave off the disease earlier,” Sharp said.

Over the past decade, the rate of visits to emergency departments due to traumatic brain injury has increased by 70 percent, and “was estimated in 2010 at a staggering 2.5 million visits,” neuroscience researchers Ansgar J. Furst of Stanford University School of Medicine and Erin D. Bigler of Brigham Young University, who were not involved in the study, wrote in a related editorial.

According to some estimates, 3 to 5 million people in the United States live with disabilities related to TBIs, they said in their editorial.

Furst and Bigler noted that, though the new findings are exciting, the number of people with TBI in the current study was small, and therefore more research is needed to confirm the results.

Follow Agata Blaszczak-Boxe on Twitter. Originally published on Live Science.

Continuing Education Courses

This course is presented in two parts. Part 1 offers strategies for managing the everyday challenges of caring for a person with Alzheimer’s disease, a difficult task that can quickly become overwhelming. Research has shown that caregivers themselves often are at increased risk for depression and illness. Each day brings new challenges as the caregiver copes with changing levels of ability and new patterns of behavior. Many caregivers have found it helpful to use the strategies described in this course for dealing with difficult behaviors and stressful situations.Part 2 includes tips on acute hospitalization, which presents a new environment filled with strange sights, odors and sounds, changes in daily routines, along with new medications and tests. This section is intended to help professionals and family members meet the needs of hospitalized Alzheimer’s patients by offering facts about Alzheimer’s disease, communication tips, personal care techniques, and suggestions for working with behaviors and environmental factors in both the ER and in the hospital room.

 

A diagnosis of dementia can be frightening for those affected by the syndrome, their family members, and caretakers. Learning more about dementia can help. This course provides a general overview of dementia and specific types of dementia along with their signs and symptoms; lists risk factors that can increase a person’s chance of developing one or more kinds of dementia; describes how the disorders are diagnosed and treated, including drug therapy; and offers highlights of research that is supported by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke and the National Institute on Aging, both part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

 

This course is based on the public-access publication, Caring for a Person with Alzheimer’s Disease: Your Easy-to-Use Guide from the National Institute on Aging. The booklet discusses practical issues concerning caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease who has mild-to-moderate impairment, including a description of common challenges and coping strategies. Advice is provided regarding keeping the person safe, providing everyday care, adapting activities to suit their needs, and planning ahead for health, legal, and financial issues. Chapters also discuss self-care for caregivers, sources of assistance for caregivers in need, residential options for care, common medical issues, and end-of-life care. This course is relevant to clinicians who work with elderly individuals, their families, and their caretakers.

 

This introductory course, from the National Institute on Aging (NIA), describes what is known about frontotemporal dementia and other brain disorders that affect personality, behavior, language, and movement. It is meant to help people with frontotemporal disorders, their families, and caregivers learn more about these conditions and resources for coping. It explains what is known about the different types of disorders and how they are diagnosed. Most importantly, it describes how to treat and manage these difficult conditions, with practical advice for caregivers.

Professional Development Resources is approved to offer online continuing education by the American Psychological Association (APA); the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA); the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA); the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR); the Alabama State Board of Occupational Therapy; the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy, Psychology & School Psychology, Dietetics & Nutrition, Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, and Occupational Therapy Practice; the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board and Board of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology; the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs; and by the Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists and State Board of Social Worker Examiners.

Assessing Cognitive Impairment in Older Adults: A Quick Guide

From the National Institute on Aging

As a healthcare professional, you are often the first to address a patient’s complaints—or a family’s concerns—about memory loss or possible dementia. This quick guide provides information about assessing cognitive impairment in older adults.

With this information, you can identify emerging cognitive deficits and possible causes, following up with treatment for what may be a reversible health condition. Or, if Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia is found, you can help patients and their caregivers prepare for the future. Brief, nonproprietary risk assessment and screening tools are available.

Why is it important to assess cognitive impairment in older adults?

alzheimer'sCognitive impairment in older adults has a variety of possible causes, including medication side effects, metabolic and/or endocrine derangements, delirium due to intercurrent illness, depression, and dementia, with Alzheimer’s dementia being most common. Some causes, like medication side effects and depression, can be reversed with treatment. Others, such as Alzheimer’s disease, cannot be reversed, but symptoms can be treated for a period of time and families can be prepared for predictable changes.

Many people who are developing or have dementia do not receive a diagnosis. One study showed that physicians were unaware of cognitive impairment in more than 40 percent of their cognitively impaired patients. Another study found that more than half of patients with dementia had not received a clinical cognitive evaluation by a physician. The failure to evaluate memory or cognitive complaints is likely to hinder treatment of underlying disease and comorbid conditions, and may present safety issues for the patient and others. In many cases, the cognitive problem will worsen over time.

Most patients with memory, other cognitive, or behavior complaints want a diagnosis to understand the nature of their problem and what to expect. Some patients (or families) are reluctant to mention such complaints because they fear a diagnosis of dementia and the future it portends. In these cases, you can explain the benefits of finding out what may be causing the patient’s health concerns.

Pharmacological treatment options for Alzheimer’s-related memory loss and other cognitive symptoms are limited, and none can stop or reverse the course of the disease. However, assessing cognitive impairment and identifying its cause, particularly at an early stage, offers several benefits.

Benefits of Early Screening

If screening is negative: Concerns may be alleviated, at least at that point in time.

If screening is positive and further evaluation is warranted: The patient and physician can take the next step of identifying the cause of impairment (for example, medication side effects, metabolic and/or endocrine imbalance, delirium, depression, Alzheimer’s disease). This may result in:

  • Treating the underlying disease or health condition
  • Managing comorbid conditions more effectively
  • Averting or addressing potential safety issues
  • Allowing the patient to create or update advance directives and plan long-term care
  • Ensuring the patient has a caregiver or someone to help with medical, legal, and financial concerns
  • Ensuring the caregiver receives appropriate information and referrals
  • Encouraging participation in clinical research


When is screening indicated?

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, in its recent review and recommendation regarding routine screening for cognitive impairment, noted that “although the overall evidence on routine screening is insufficient, clinicians should remain alert to early signs or symptoms of cognitive impairment (for example, problems with memory or language) and evaluate as appropriate.” A Dementia Screening Indicator can help guide clinician decisions about when it may be appropriate to screen for cognitive impairment in the primary care setting.

How is cognitive impairment evaluated?

Positive screening results warrant further evaluation. A combination of cognitive testing and information from a person who has frequent contact with the patient, such as a spouse or other care provider, is the best way to more fully assess cognitive impairment.

A primary care provider may conduct an evaluation or refer to a specialist such as a geriatrician, neurologist, geriatric psychiatrist, or neuropsychologist. If available, a local memory disorders clinic or Alzheimer’s Disease Center may also accept referrals.

Genetic testing, neuroimaging, and biomarker testing are not generally recommended for clinical use at this time. These tests are primarily conducted in research settings.

Interviews to assess memory, behavior, mood, and functional status (especially complex actions such as driving and managing money are best conducted with the patient alone, so that family members or companions cannot prompt the patient. Information can also be gleaned from the patient’s behavior on arrival in the doctor’s office and interactions with staff.

Note that patients who are only mildly impaired may be adept at covering up their cognitive deficits and reluctant to address the problem.

Family members or close companions can also be good sources of information. Inviting them to speak privately may allow for a more candid discussion. Per HIPAA regulations, the patient should give permission in advance. An alternative would be to invite the family member or close companion to be in the examining room during the patient’s interview and contribute additional information after the patient has spoken.

Brief, easy-to-administer informant screening tools, such as the short IQCODE (PDF, 62K) or the AD8 (PDF, 565K), are available.

Points to Remember

Patients should be screened for cognitive impairment if:

  • the person, family members, or others express concerns about changes in his or her memory or thinking, or
  • you observe problems/changes in the patient’s memory or thinking, or
  • the patient is age 80 or older.(12)
  • Other risk factors that could indicate the need for dementia screening include: low education, history of type 2 diabetes, stroke, depression, and trouble managing money or medications.
  • Instruments for brief screening are available and can be used in an office visit.
  • Patients, particularly those who express a concern, likely want to know what the underlying problem is.
  • Refer to a specialist if needed.


Professional Development Resources
is approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) to sponsor continuing education for psychologists; by the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC ACEP #5590); by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB Provider #1046, ACE Program); by the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA Provider #3159); by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA Provider #AAUM); by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR Provider #PR001); by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences (#PCE1625); by the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy (#BAP346), Psychology & School Psychology (#50-1635), Dietetics & Nutrition (#50-1635), Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, and Occupational Therapy Practice (#34); by the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board (#RCST100501); by the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs (#193); and by the Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists (#114) and State Board of Social Worker Examiners (#5678).

Professional Development Resources offers a variety of online Alzheimer’s and Dementia-related continuing education (CE/CEU) courses to help healthcare professionals stay current on the science and research to support evidence-based practice.

Holiday Hints for Alzheimer’s Caregivers

By the National Institute on Aging

Holiday hints for Alzheimer’s caregiversHolidays can be a wonderful time to visit and reconnect with family, friends, and neighbors for people with Alzheimer’s and caregivers. Balancing special holiday activities with everyday care for a person with Alzheimer’s disease may also seem overwhelming. Here are some tips for making things a little easier:

  • Set your own limits, and be clear about them with others. You don’t have to do everything you used to do.
  • Encourage friends and family to visit even if it’s difficult, but limit the number of visitors at any one time.
  • Explain to guests ahead of time that memory loss is the result of the disease and is not intentional.
  • During the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, be sure to take care of yourself. Guard against fatigue and find time for adequate rest.

For more tips on how to prepare ahead of time and find a good balance during the holidays, download Alzheimer’s Caregiving Tips: Holiday Hints. This free tip sheet is available as a PDF and an eBook.

Get the Facts About Alzheimer’s

By the National Institute on Aging

Alzheimer's DiseaseAlthough there are not yet any medications that can stop Alzheimer’s disease, several prescription drugs are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to help with some symptoms of the disease at various stages. Treating the symptoms of Alzheimer’s can provide patients with comfort, dignity, and independence for a longer period of time and can encourage and assist their caregivers as well.

NIA’s Alzheimer’s Disease Medications Fact Sheet describes the different drug treatments currently available, along with information about dosage and potential side effects. You can read this publication online, order copies on the ADEAR Center website, or call toll-free 1-800-438-4380. This information is also available in Spanish.

Be a part of the solution! Volunteers—people with Alzheimer’s or mild cognitive impairment and healthy individuals—are needed now to participate in Alzheimer’s clinical research. Find clinical trials and studies on the NIA Alzheimer’s Disease Education and Referral Center website.

Related Online Continuing Education (CE/CEU) Courses:

Alzheimer’s Disease Progress Report: Intensifying the Research Effort is a 3-hour online continuing education (CE/CEU) course that reviews basic mechanisms and risk factors of AD and details recent research findings.

Alzheimer’s Disease – Overview is a 1-hour online CEU course that provides an overview of the prevalence, causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and progression of Alzheimer’s disease, as well as information about caregiving and caregiver support.

Alzheimer’s: Unraveling the Mystery is a 3-hour online CEU course that describes the risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease, effective steps for prevention, strategies for diagnosing and treating Alzheimer’s disease, and the search for new treatments.

Caring for a Person with Alzheimer’s Disease is a 3-hour online CEU course that discusses practical issues concerning caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease who has mild-to-moderate impairment, including a description of common challenges and coping strategies.

Lewy Body Dementia: Information for Patients, Families, and Professionals is a 1-hour online continuing education (CE/CEU) course that explains what is known about the different types of LBD and how they are diagnosed. Most importantly, it describes how to treat and manage this difficult disease, with practical advice for both people with LBD and their caregivers.

These online courses provides instant access to the course materials (PDF download) and CE test. Successful completion of the online CE test (80% required to pass, 3 chances to take) and course evaluation are required to earn a certificate of completion. You can print the test (download test from My Courses tab of your account after purchasing) and mark your answers on while reading the course document. Then submit online when ready to receive credit.

Professional Development Resources is approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) to sponsor continuing education for psychologists; the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC ACEP #5590); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB Provider #1046, ACE Program); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA Provider #3159); the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR Provider #PR001); the California Board of Behavioral Sciences (#PCE1625); the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy (#BAP346), Psychology & School Psychology (#50-1635), Dietetics & Nutrition (#50-1635), and Occupational Therapy Practice (#34); the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board (#RCST100501); the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs (#193); and the Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists (#114) and State Board of Social Worker Examiners (#5678).

Frontotemporal Disorders: Information for Patients, Families, and Caregivers

By the National Institute on Aging (NIA)

Few people have heard of frontotemporal disorders, which lead to dementias that affect personality, behavior, language, and movement. These disorders are little known outside the circles of researchers, clinicians, patients, and caregivers who study and live with them. Although frontotemporal disorders remain puzzling in many ways, researchers are finding new clues that will help them solve this medical mystery and better understand other common dementias.

The symptoms of frontotemporal disorders gradually rob people of basic abilities—thinking, talking, walking, and socializing— that most of us take for granted. They often strike people in the prime of life, when they are working and raising families. Families suffer, too, as they struggle to cope with the person’s daily needs as well as changes in relationships and responsibilities.

Frontotemporal Disorders: Information for Patients, Families, and CaregiversFrontotemporal Disorders: Information for Patients, Families, and Caregivers is a 1-hour introductory online continuing education (CE/CEU) course based on the NIA booklet that explains what is known about the different types of disorders and how they are diagnosed. It is meant to help people with frontotemporal disorders, their families, and caregivers learn more about these conditions and resources for coping. Most importantly, it describes how to treat and manage these difficult conditions, with practical advice for caregivers. Course #10-67 | 2014 | 36 pages | 10 posttest questions

This web-based online course provides instant access to the course materials (PDF download) and CE test. Successful completion of the online CE test (80% required to pass, 3 chances to take) and course evaluation are required to earn a certificate of completion. You can print the test (download test from My Courses tab of your account after purchasing) and mark your answers on while reading the course document. Then submit online when ready to receive credit.

Professional Development Resources is approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) to sponsor continuing education for psychologists; the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC ACEP #5590); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB Provider #1046, ACE Program); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA Provider #3159); the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR Provider #PR001); the California Board of Behavioral Sciences (#PCE1625); the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy (#BAP346), Psychology & School Psychology (#50-1635), Dietetics & Nutrition (#50-1635), and Occupational Therapy Practice (#34); the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board (#RCST100501); the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs (#193); and the Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists (#114) and State Board of Social Worker Examiners (#5678).

How the Aging Population Is Changing the Healthcare System

By Susan E. Matthews, Everyday Health Staff Writer

By 2030, one in five Americans will be over age 65, and the healthcare system is just beginning to feel the burden.

How the Aging Population Is Changing the Healthcare SystemThanks to the baby boomers, who began turning 65 in 2011, the population of older Americans is expanding. By 2030, one in five Americans will be a senior citizen, nearly double the 12 percent in 2000, according to “The State of Aging and Health in America,” a 2013 special report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Not only are there more seniors, they’re also living longer. In the past century, life expectancy has increased by nearly 30 years. Men born in 1900 could expect to live until age 48, but by 2000, men’s life expectancy had jumped to 74. In 1900, women could expect to live 51 years, but as of 2000, their life expectancy had also jumped to 74 years, and by 2050, the average woman may make it to age 86 (men can expect to live to age 80).

This massive shift in the country’s demographics will put new pressures and demands on the healthcare system — even Google knows it. The search engine giant has ventured into new territory with Calico, a company it launched in September 2013 to address the “challenge of aging and associated diseases.” Doctors will have to rethink every aspect of care for the older population, even rethinking how we die. In addition to the big picture, the country will also have to figure out how to pay for this extra care and how to support an older population. “It’s a vulnerable segment with the largest care needs,” says Thomas Gill, MD, a geriatrician and director of the Yale Program on Aging. “This will be a very important issue to address from a policy standpoint. We’re probably going to need to be a little more creative with how we finance and provide care to that segment of the population.”

How We Die – Then and Now

As the number of people living into their seventies and eighties has increased, so have incidences of the diseases that cause their deaths. In 1900, infectious disease was the leading cause of death in America, with influenza, pneumonia, tuberculosis, and gastrointestinal infections accounting for almost half of all deaths, not to mention being a relatively quick way to go. Today, however, only pneumonia and influenza even crack the list of leading causes of death, and while this is for the entire population, the shift also applies to the elderly, says David Jones, MD, PhD, professor of global health and social medicine at Harvard University. Instead, chronic conditions — heart disease, cancer, non-infectious airway diseases (such as fibrosis) have taken over the top spots. In 2010, the CDC reported that accidents and Alzheimer’s disease were the fifth and sixth leading causes of death, showing how modern medicine has conquered certain diseases, causing a shift in how we die.

Eventually, a whole other slew of diseases might do us in, suggests an analysis published by Jones and his colleagues in the 200th anniversary edition of the New England Journal of Medicine in December 2012.

“By the time antibiotics and vaccines began combating infectious diseases, mortality had shifted toward heart disease, cancer, and stroke,” they wrote. “Great progress has been made to meet these challenges, but the burden of disease will surely shift again. We already face an increasing burden of neuropsychiatric disease for which satisfying treatments do not yet exist.”

Jones says he believes that in the near future, heart disease may fall below cancer, which will take over as the leading cause of death. “One thing we’re sure of is that the human body, left to its own devices, will deteriorate over time,” he says. Doctors may be very successful at prolonging life by preserving the physical body, but the brain will decline, as will essential functions like hearing and eyesight. For example, Jones’ grandmother lived until she was 102, he says, but by the time she was a centenarian, she suffered from failing vision and hearing, which caused her to be cognitively isolated. “It’s very easy to imagine a world where people will have limited quality of life because of vision or hearing or bone structure,” Jones says.

Rethinking the Healthcare System

Two-thirds of all people over age 65 experience multiple chronic conditions, making specialized geriatric care even more critical. In fact, according to the CDC, 95 percent of older Americans’ healthcare costs are for managing their many chronic conditions. Facing several chronic conditions at once is called multi-morbidity, and having geriatricians who are trained to handle these scenarios is critical, says Gill. Otherwise, an older adult could end up receiving medications for each condition — possibly as many as 15 or more daily medications — which geriatricians work to avoid. Geriatricians help to not “miss the forest for the trees,” according to Dr. Gill. “Geriatricians keep the forest in mind in trying to address things in a broader approach rather in this disease-oriented approach,” Gill says.

Sometimes, the decisions behind treatment are made even more complicated by the cognitive decline that often accompanies aging — one in every eight adults over age 60 has cchanges in thinking, including confusion and memory loss, the CDC reported. Nearly 5 million Americans currently suffer from Alzheimer’s disease. This often requires caregivers to fundamentally rethink the relationship between quality of life and length of life. The field of palliative care has come about during McGee’s time as a practitioner, which she says is promising. Palliative care focuses treatment on reducing the amount of pain a patient is experiencing, rather than traditionally trying to treat the diseases the patient may have.

Jones notes that physician-assisted suicide is consistently a controversial topic, and was voted down in his home state of Massachusetts. He supports the idea, however, particularly considering his grandmother’s last two years of life, when she was blind and deaf. “Every night she went to bed thinking she hoped she died in her sleep,” he says. He also cites research that showed that in states where it is legal, most people who take advantage of doctor-assisted suicide are doctors themselves. “We could all get to a point where our quality of life is miserable because of neurodegenerative diseases,” says Jones. “We should all be able to say enough is enough — ‘I want to die with dignity.’”

The Yale Program on Aging helps to educate physicians on how to address the elderly’s unique needs, and even more, to encourage them to conduct more research on older adults’ health needs, using older adults as subjects. “This is a population that often isn’t included in clinical trials,” Gill says, but if more research is conducted now, treatment may improve down the road. For example, some older adults are retaining much of their cognitive function, and later in our package you can read about what researchers have found is different in these super-agers’ brains.

Read more @ http://www.everydayhealth.com/senior-health/aging-and-health/pressures-on-healthcare-from-booming-senior-population.aspx

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Simple Steps to Keep Your Brain Sharp As You Age

By Consumer Reports

Consumer Reports: Simple steps can help keep your brain sharp even as you ageYou go into the kitchen to get something, only to forget what it was once you get there. You misplace your reading glasses, can’t find your car in a parking lot or draw a blank when trying to remember a friend’s name. It’s normal to have occasional episodes of minor forgetfulness. But “some types of memory loss are more substantial than others as we age,” says Arthur Kramer, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “One aspect of memory relates different pieces of information and puts them all together, and that’s the type that isn’t quite what it used to be.” But the brain is surprisingly adept at compensating for aging, and other types of memory can improve or remain intact over time. Even more encouraging is that a set of relatively simple and inexpensive lifestyle changes can go a long way toward maintaining a vigorous mind.

Take a Walk

In late adulthood, the hippocampus, which is the brain region responsible for forming some types of memories, shrinks 1 to 2 percent annually, leading to memory problems and an increased risk for dementia. But regular aerobic exercise encourages the growth of new brain cells there, even if the workouts aren’t strenuous. Aim for at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week, of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise, such as brisk walking or biking.

Lead an Active Social Life

Social butterflies are more likely to retain their brain vitality. A 2011 study in the Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society followed 1,138 older people who were initially free of dementia. Researchers assessed their cognitive function and social interaction every year, recording how often they went to restaurants and sporting events, played bingo, did volunteer work, took short trips, visited relatives or friends, participated in social groups and attended religious services. Over an average of five years, the rate of decline on a broad range of cognitive abilities, including several types of memory, was 70 percent lower in the most socially active people compared with the least socially active.

Play Mind Games

Activities that challenge the mind can help keep it sharp by stimulating brain cells and the connections between them. Studies indicate that participation in a variety of activities — such as joining a book club, seeing a play, listening to presidential debates, attending lectures and playing board or card games — helps preserve acumen. Any engaging pastime counts, including needlepoint, gardening, playing the piano, studying a language, bird-watching or memorizing dance steps — and the more, the better.

Eat Food for Thought

Regular consumption of fish, fruit and vegetables might protect mental agility. Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh tracked the diets and, using MRIs, the brain volume of 260 older people with normal cognitive function in a study presented at the Radiological Society of North America last November. After 10 years, those who ate baked or broiled fish at least once a week had larger and healthier cells in brain areas responsible for memory and learning than did those who ate fish less often.

Control Blood Pressure

Chronic diseases that damage the arteries, thereby disrupting blood flow to the brain, might also injure the mind. That’s another reason to treat high cholesterol, hypertension and Type 2 diabetes and to lose weight, if needed.

Get Some Sleep

We need sleep to create memories, think clearly and react quickly; insufficient shut-eye hampers our ability to remember and reason. To combat sleeplessness, keep your bedroom cool and dark, avoid alcohol, caffeine and smoking, don’t exercise in the evening and turn off the television and all technology a few hours before you go to bed.

Reduce Stress

Stress prompts the release of hormones that can weaken memory and even damage brain cells. Just 12 minutes of daily yoga for two months improved cognition among people with memory disorders in a 2010 study in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. Other stress relievers include aerobic exercise, listening to mellow music, meditating or praying, and writing in a journal.

Stop Smoking

Smoking increases the odds of memory loss in later life, but quitting at any age can halt the decline, evidence suggests. In an April 2011 study in the journal NeuroImage, researchers recruited older adults who were smokers and people who had never smoked, and invited the smokers to join a 12-week cessation program. Two years later, the rate of cognitive decline for successful quitters was similar to that of participants who never smoked, but those who were unable to quit declined more than those in either group.

Limit Alcohol

One drink a day for women and two for men is associated with reductions in cognitive decline and the risk of dementia. But heavy drinking can diminish memory by changing chemicals in the brain and causing deficiencies in Vitamin B1 (thiamin). And several studies report greater brain shrinkage among alcoholics.

Source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/consumer-reports-simple-steps-can-help-keep-your-brain-sharp-even-as-you-age/2012/04/23/gIQAxm5mcT_story.html

 

How Books, Puzzles Might Help Ward Off Alzheimer’s

Via Scoop.itHealthcare Continuing Education

Doing puzzles and reading books have been linked with a decreased risk of Alzheimer’s disease, and a new study may explain why — it reduces the accumulation of harmful proteins in the brain.
Via www.myhealthnewsdaily.com