IT HAS BEENalmost five years since I first began my study of dementia after my mother passed away from the effects of dementia and what was probably the beginning stages of true Alzheimer’s. I wanted to know its causes as well as what is being done to find a cure. Though I have found answers to my many questions, it still holds my interest and continues to be a major concern of mine.
When I first began my quest, my focus was on my parents’ generation and the toll it was taking on them, but I am now starting to see the advent of dementia and Alzheimer’s in my generation. Two acquaintances of mine appear to be in the beginning stages and a close relative has died from Lewy Body disease. This is why I believe it crucial that we stay informed about it even if it does not directly affect our immediate families. It is, and will be, until a cure is found, society’s problem. As more of our population moves into their elderly years, solutions must be found to help them. These involve not only problems with insurance and the high cost of drugs, but with safe housing and need for more caregivers that are paid a decent wage.
I have studied many scientific books and articles in my search over the years, but have found the internet to be a key source of information; in fact it is probably better able to offer the latest findings about dementia from scientific studies or advice from experts on caregiving. After years spent searching and reading through innumerable sites, I have come to rely on several that offer reliable, professional, scientifically based facts or guidance. Rather than my trying to keep you up-to-date on the latest research or finding articles that address problems a caregiver of a dementia or Alzheimer’s patient may have, I will share these sites with you in hopes that you save them as a Bookmark or Favorite and go back to them if you want to find the latest research news or have a caregiver question.
nia.nih.gov National Institute on aging/National Institute on Health is a a governmental agency under the Department of Health and Welfare. There are 31 funded laboratories around the country studying the problems associated with aging, most at Medical schools or Universities. (The knowledge that so many institutions and dedicated individuals are working on this is heartening.) They also have a wealth of information on caregiving.
alz.org The Alzheimer’s Association is a good resource for information on support groups. They also offer research and caregiver guidance.
aarp.orgAmerican Association of Retired Persons is an excellent source for help with decisions that need to be made like what to look for in a caregiving facility or home, weighing in-home care with placement in a facility, finding an elder law attorney, etc. It also gives support and advice for caregivers.
agingcare.com is a private site but has articles on caregiver topics as well as a forum where questions can be answered by others who have had similar experiences.
And don’t forget the two downloadable booklets I have listed under the Resources tab at the top of the page!
Of Interest:Researchers at the University of California Davis and San Francisco have developed a program using a computer with the ability to learn and improve, known as machine learning, that can help analyze amyloid plaques in human brain tissue. This technique automates the process of measuring plaques and their different characteristics which, inevitably could enable larger-scale analysis of brain tissue to help accelerate research on the possible causes of Alzheimer’s and how the disease progresses. I’m sure we will see more instances of the pairing of science and the learning computer in the coming years.