Driving Safety and Alzheimer's Disease Good drivers are alert, think clearly, and make good decisions. When a person with Alzheimer's disease is not able to do these things, he or she should stop driving. But, he or she may not want to stop driving or even think there is a problem. As the caregiver, you will need to talk with the person about the need to stop driving. Do this in a caring way. Understand how unhappy the person may be to admit that he or she has reached this new stage. Safety First A person with some memory loss may be able to drive safely sometimes. But, he or she may
not be able to react quickly when faced with a surprise on the road. Someone could get hurt or killed. If the person's reaction time slows, you need to stop the person from driving. Here are some other things to know about driving and memory loss: The person may be able to drive short distances on local streets during the day but may not be able to drive safely at night or on a freeway. If this is the case, then limit the times and places the person can drive.
Some people with memory problems decide on their own not to drive, while others may deny they have a problem. Signs that the person should stop driving include new dents and scratches on the car. You may also notice that the person takes a long time to do a simple errand and cannot explain why, which may indicate that he or she got lost. To find out if a person with Alzheimer's is still competent to drive, watch him or her drive at different times of the day, in different types of traffic, and in
different road conditions and weather. If riding with the driver is not possible, follow the driver in another vehicle. Over time, a picture will emerge of things the driver can and cannot do well….Read More
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Study: A Social Circle is Key to Protecting the Aging Mind KEEP YOUR FRIENDS CLOSE as you age, because they may be the key to keeping your brain healthy, according to a new study. The study, published Thursday in the journal Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, found mice housed in groups had better memory and healthier brains than those living in pairs. The findings influence "a body of research in humans and animals that supports the role of social connections in preserving the mind and improving quality of life," according to Elizabeth
Kirby, assistant professor of behavioral neuroscience at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and lead author of the study. The study used mice that were 15 months to 18 months old during the experiment – a time of significant memory decay. Some of the mice lived in pairs, while others were housed in groups of seven for three months. The first test required the mice to recognize that a toy, such as a plastic car, had been moved to a new location.
A mouse with a healthy brain would recognize something has been relocated, and mice that lived in larger groups generally fared better on this assessment, according to Kirby. "We found that mice housed in groups remembered objects better," Kirby says. In another maze-based memory test, mice were placed on a table with holes, and both groups of mice were tasked with finding new escape routes every time. With four total trials a day, it was noted that both groups
improved their escape routes each time. However, the coupled mice did not complete the test faster when it was repeated several times. But the group-housed mice improved performance with each trial, suggesting they used their hippocampus, an area of the brain associated with memory. "One of the holes had an escape hatch," Kirby says. "Every day we'd place the hatch in a new location. We found that all mice [found the hatch] quickly, but the difference was in how they did it."...Read More
How much should seniors exercise to improve brain function? To boost their reasoning skills and the brain's processing speed, seniors may need to exercise for 52 hours over a period of 6 months, concludes a new study. The good news is that lowintensity exercise such as walking has the same benefits — as long as it's carried out for this length of time. As more and more research keeps pointing out, exercise does wonders for our brain. For instance, a recent study
that Medical News Today reported on shows that running protects our memory from the harmful effects of stress. Additionally, research has shown that exercise helps to prevent the aging of the brain and to keep mild cognitive impairment (MCI) — a precursor of dementia in seniors — at bay.
But exactly how much exercise do seniors need in order to fully reap these cognitive benefits? And for how long do they have to do it? To find out, researchers led by Joyce Gomes-Osman, Ph.D. — from the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine in Florida — set out to conduct a meta-analysis of existing studies.
More specifically, they examined all of the randomized controlled trials in which a group of seniors exercised for a minimum of 4 weeks and had their memory and reasoning skills compared with those of a control group at the end of the intervention....Read More The findings were published in the journal Neurology: Clinical Practice.
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RI ARA June 10, 2018 E-Newsletter