You Are Not Alone: Now Is the Time To Talk About Alzheimer's Together

(BPT) - Throughout his career, Rod Stephenson, 73, of Savannah, Georgia, wore many hats. He worked in television broadcasting, the retail pizza industry, in manufacturing and quality assurance — and most recently, he was ordained as a pastor. But after Stephenson decided to retire from his eventful and successful career, his wife Deb started to notice some changes.

For their family, the turning point was a simple one — a conversation about a family vacation they had taken the previous summer. Rod could not recall the trip.

“I felt like I had holes in my memory,” Rod said. “My wife, Deb, made a reference to a family vacation from the previous summer, but I could not recall the trip. I looked through photos and recognized people in the photos, but I had no recollection of being there."

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Sadness, Depression, or Dementia?

Most of us can identify with feeling sad now and then, sometimes for days at a time. These brief episodes can be brought on by major life changes and disappointments. Symptoms may include loss of appetite, sleeplessness, and apathy toward activities we normally enjoy. These feelings usually fade after time, and although they may recur, they do not overwhelm us.

Although golden-agers tend to become happier as they age, the blues can often tarnish the glow of contentment. This is natural, but when certain persistent signs appear, an older person may be exhibiting symptoms of depression or even dementia. These conditions can be confused and need to be clarified.

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3 Ways To Stay Active and Keep Your Mind in Shape

(BPT) - Aging brings about many changes. Beyond graying hair and wrinkles, your brain is also changing as you grow older and wiser. According to McKnight Brain Research Foundation, 87% of people 65 and older experience cognitive changes associated with normal aging. The good news is that these changes don’t have to be a normal passage of aging. You may find that you can combat some cognitive decline through exercise.

Beyond staying physically fit and healthy, exercise can benefit your mental health. Physical activity improves cognitive function as people age through neuroplasticity, which allows the brain to compensate for injury and disease and adjust in response to new situations. Exercise also helps alleviate stress and depression.

Here are three ways you can stay physically active and reap the mental benefits.

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Don’t Let COVID Make You Lose Touch During the Holidays

As the Lehigh Valley works its way through what we call “the holiday season,” there is increased activity as friends, family, and neighbors gather together to celebrate their traditions. After a season of relief from some restrictions, fears of a new wave of COVID-19 restrictions may make it difficult to visit family and friends in care communities, which can take an emotional effort to begin with. During the holidays, people with Alzheimer’s can feel especially lonely, a feeling magnified by the weirdness of the current pandemic and its conditions.

According to a recent survey, almost half of the public thinks it’s pointless to keep in contact with dementia patients who cannot recognize familiar faces or remember anything “meaningful.” When visitation restrictions are in place, it is easier to become complacent about visiting your loved ones. This is a sad state of affairs because, although memories of events may fade, they can still feel and remember feelings long after events. Holiday blues can affect people with Alzheimer’s, so this is not the time to neglect them.

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Home Fire Threats Increase During Cold Weather

FireAs temperatures drop in the Lehigh Valley, thermostats go up and the possibility of a home fire increases. As “home heating season” arrives, the American Red Cross reports that they respond to 30% more home fires during this season than at other times. They consider home fires the nation’s most frequent disaster.

November through March is a critical time because people spend more time indoors and depend more on cooking and heating equipment. The Red Cross, along with South Mountain Memory Care of Emmaus, encourages everyone to take these steps to help protect your loved ones and your home.

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