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Posts Tagged ‘memory care’

Could We See a Cure for Alzheimer’s in 2020? An Update on the Latest Research

Cure for Alzheimer’s in 2020?A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s is one of the scariest scenarios imaginable, not just because there are few things more frightening than losing our mental faculties, but also because there is currently no cure for the disease. But researchers have been hard at work for decades trying to find a cure, and recent discoveries could bring us a cure sooner than you might think.

Our Genes

The first factor that determines your likelihood of getting Alzheimer’s in the first place is your genes. Most people know that if they have a relative with Alzheimer’s, they’re significantly more likely to develop the disease themselves, so we know genes play a large role in determining who comes down with Alzheimer’s and when.

On the one hand, we have the presenillin 1 gene, and we know that people with a mutation in that gene are significantly more likely to develop early-onset Alzheimer’s, meaning they start to show early symptoms in their mid to late forties and have full-blown Alzheimer’s in their fifties.

On the other hand, we have the APOE gene, which is linked to regular, late-onset Alzheimer’s and has three different forms that are most commonly seen. Roughly three in four people have APOE3, about one in five people have APOE4, and only about one in ten have APOE2.

We already knew that people with an APOE4 gene were 3x to 4x more likely to develop Alzheimer’s compared to people who only have the APOE3 gene. On the other hand, if you have on APOE2 gene, you’re slightly less likely to develop Alzheimer’s compared to people with only APOE3 genes. But a mutation of the APOE4 gene has recently been discovered and it could change everything.

Harvard researchers have been studying a very large family in New Zealand with the presenillin 1 genetic mutation that predisposes them to early-onset Alzheimer’s. Many of them have, in fact, developed early-onset Alzheimer’s, but one woman didn’t show symptoms of Alzheimer’s until she was in her 70s. Although she had the presenillin 1 genetic mutation, she also had an unusual mutation in her APOE gene, which has been named APOE3Christchurch (APOE3ch) after the New Zealand city in which the mutation was discovered. Furthermore, this woman had two versions of this same mutation, meaning she inherited it from both her mother and her father, and researchers think it could be the key to her resistance to Alzheimer’s.

Our Proteins

In addition to our genes, another factor in developing Alzheimer’s has to do with a protein in the brain, called tau, which is responsible for destroying brain cells. Researchers think that tau builds up in the brain after amyloid protein forms plaque in the brain, but this woman in New Zealand has a relatively small amount of tau in her brain, despite the fact that her brain was full of abnormal amyloid plaques (even more so than most people with Alzheimer’s).

Researchers suspect that this woman’s APOE3ch mutation could be the key to the relatively small amounts of tau built up in her brain. This research is still in the preliminary stages, but so far, they have been able to create a special protein in the lab that mimics the effects of the APOE3ch mutation and reduce the uptake of tau in the brain.

We probably won’t see a definitive cure for Alzheimer’s in 2020, since researchers have to conduct experiments to make sure they can reproduce the results before they can put anything on the market, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Here at Stillwater Senior Living, we treat our residents like family. Our apartments include studio, one bedroom, and two bedroom suites, and we are pet friendly. They are designed with security features, maximum accessibility, and include walk-out patois with a full range of amenities for the entire family. We are also excited to open our Memory Care Neighborhood in the Spring of 2020.

CONTACT US today for more information and a tour of our beautiful state-of-the-art community.

Memory Care Therapies in Assisted Living

memory careIt’s safe to say that there are a wide range of assisted living communities available, and finding the right one means making sure it meets all your specifications when it comes to taking care of your loved one. There is no one path to aging. The journey is different for everyone, so how do you make sure an assisted living facility will be able to help your loved one with their unique needs?

Many people looking for assisted living worry about memory care, but not all assisted living communities offer memory care – or the same level of memory care. So how can you make sure your loved one will receive the care they need? Here are some things you might want to look out for (or ask about) when touring assisted living communities.

Color and Visual Aids

Sometimes, something as simple as using a color-ringed plate, or putting the toilet in front of a brightly colored wall can go a long way towards helping seniors with cognitive decline navigate their world and perform their day-to-day tasks. When visiting assisted living communities, look for signs that they make proper use of color and other visual aids to help residents navigate their space.

Architecture and Interior Design

Assisted living communities that make areas distinctive from one another (even if it’s just by using a different color scheme for each area) and clear walking paths make it easier for residents to navigate the building on their own. Exit doors can also be decorated with murals in order to distract residents from leaving (in addition to an alarm that will let staff know if a resident has, in fact, exited through one of the doors).

Light Therapy

Studies have shown that regular exposure to a specific spectrum of light throughout the day can help decrease anxiety, agitation, depression, and other symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder. It can also help slow the decline of cognitive abilities for those with dementia or Alzheimer’s. As a result, some assisted living communities have started using light therapy programs as a way to help residents regulate their circadian rhythms using dawn simulators inside their apartments, adjusting the colors and level of lights throughout the community during the day, and encouraging residents to go outside and get some exposure to the sun.

Sensory Stimulation

Have you ever walked into a room and forgotten what you came for, then returned to your spot, only to immediately remember what it was you needed? Returning to the location where you originally had that idea can help prompt it. It’s the reason why students are often advised to study in the same room where they’ll be taking the test.

Those same tricks can be used to help stimulate memories in those suffering from memory impairment. Memory boxes containing photos and mementos can be a great way to help residents remember certain events – they can also be placed outside of rooms in order to help residents identify which room is theirs.

Other assisted living communities have added other senses, such as taste, smell, music, and tactile art in order to help residents improve their memory and remain active members of the community. Some have even successfully incorporated residents into the cooking and baking process by using taste and smell to help them recall some of their early days in the kitchen.

Here at Stillwater Senior Living, we treat our residents like family. Our apartments include studio, one bedroom, and two bedroom suites. They are designed with security features, maximum accessibility, and include walk-out patois with a full range of amenities for the entire family.

CONTACT US today for more information and a tour of our beautiful state-of-the-art community.