12 WAYS TO HELP AN ALZHEIMERS CAREGIVER

One in 10 Americans over age 65 years and almost half of those over age 85 years have Alzheimer’s disease or a related type of dementia.  Alzheimer’s disease (AD), the most common form of dementia, involves a gradual breakdown of nerve cells in the brain. Affected persons lose the ability to interpret information and send messages to their bodies to behave in certain ways. Over time they experience mental, emotional, behavioral and physical changes, necessitating increasing amounts of….

PROBATE BASICS

Probate is the legal process of transferring ownership of property from the decedent to his or her heirs either by accepting the validity of their last will and testament or by following the Kentucky laws of intestacy.  For a will to be valid, it must be “self-proven” or proven as valid in court by at least one of the witnesses.  A valid will can also be holographic: written entirely in the handwriting of the decedent, signed, and dated.

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CONTAINER GARDENING

Gardens are great, but they require a lot of time, labor and money. They also require land space and good soil. Container gardening skirts all these obstacles, offering reduced time, effort and costs, and can be enjoyed in an apartment or other home lacking a yard. Vegetables and herbs can be grown in containers on a balcony, patio or walkway.

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The University of Kentucky’s Sanders-Brown Center on Aging hosted its seventh annual Markesbery Symposium on Aging and Dementia on Nov. 4 at the Lexington Convention Center. The program offered sessions for both scientific and community audiences. Clinicians and researchers from UK and other institutions came together to share current findings and trends and the latest updates on dementia and aging disorders, particularly as they relate to Alzheimer’s disease.


Among the research studies presented was one conducted by Dr. Claudia Kawas, a geriatric neurologist at the University of California-Irvine. Kawas has been working on the 90-Plus Study, a longitudinal study of people age 90 years and older, since 2003.


Kawas said in the United States today, 2 million people are older than 90 years. That number could hit 10 million by 2050. About 30 years ago, University of Southern California researchers sent a 14-page questionnaire to residents of Leisure World, now Laguna Woods. About 13,000 people ranging from age 55 to 100 years responded and also answered four follow-up questionnaires about lifestyle benefits and exercise. Results of the 90-Plus Study found what we have come to understand about aging may have a different twist. The study did not show much benefit in taking vitamins A, E, C or calcium for longevity. Tea and soda also had no effect on aging. However, people who drank a modest amount of alcohol – about one or two drinks a week to

STUDYING THE OLDEST OLD

one daily drink – seemed to live longer on average. People who consumed 200 to 400 milligrams of caffeine per day (about one small Starbucks coffee) lived longer on average than those who did not. Physical activity, including exercising at least 15 minutes a day, helped aging. Exercising for 45 minutes was even better.


The study also found body mass index has an interesting effect on longevity. Being overweight was a negative until age 80 years, but beyond that age it showed a benefit of a 3-percent reduction in mortality. Beyond age 80 years, underweight individuals had a 50-percent increase in mortality.


The 90-Plus Study also addressed cognition and dementia. With 1,600 people older than 90 years who entered the study, the researchers began finding interesting details. From age 65 years, a person’s risk for developing symptoms of dementia doubles with every five years of life. Kawas’ research showed this trend continued past age 90 years. She noted high blood pressure has an effect on a person’s risk for dementia but probably not in the way you’d expect. In subjects who developed hypertension in their 80s or 90s, researchers actually saw a reduction in the risk for dementia by as much as 60 percent. Read more about the 90- Plus Study at www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/ or access the community session handout at www.uky.edu/coa/research-resources.   

DR. THOMAS W. MILLER, PH.D, ABPP

Thomas W. Miller, Ph.D., ABPP, is a Professor Emeritus and Senior Research Scientist, Center for Health, Intervention and Prevention, University of Connecticut and Professor Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine and Department of Gerontology, College of Public Health, University of Kentucky.

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