Alzheimer’s, dementia issues focus of Female Factor

Published 6:31 pm Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Messenger Photo/MONa moore Shane Cantrell, Unit Manager at Troy Health and Rehab, discusses hospice care at Wednesday’s Female Factor.

Messenger Photo/MONa moore
Shane Cantrell, Unit Manager at Troy Health and Rehab, discusses hospice care at Wednesday’s Female Factor.

Video games aren’t just for the younger crowd – or at least, they shouldn’t be.

During a Female Factor presentation on Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, registered nurse Jane Lambert stressed the importance of stimulating the brain daily. Video games, dancing and puzzles were some of the prescribed activities.

She also suggested limiting alcohol and smoking, exercising regularly, maintaining social contacts and finding a trusted doctor.

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Lambert’s presentation included the stages of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia as well as early symptoms. Catching the illnesses early is important because there are drugs available that will slow down memory loss.

Lambert works at East Central Mental Health. She said dementia is not a normal part of aging, but a progressive disease that kills the brain.

“Normal is we forget a name. Dementia is we forget our daughter’s face,” she said.

She discussed end-of-life issues that families should address in the early stages of Alzheimer’s or dementia. For instance, living wills and hospice care.

Registered nurse Shane Cantrell shared tips and experiences he’s picked up working with Alzheimer’s and dementia patients at Troy Health and Rehab.

His advice was to go with the flow when dealing with someone who is confused or reliving something from the past. Correcting them often upsets them and can do more harm than good.

He and Lambert recommended caregivers take care of themselves. Most caregivers are daughters and wives.

Ann Marie Hussey leads a support group for caregivers of Alzheimer’s and dementia patients. The group meets on the first Thursday of each month at noon at Troy Regional Medical Center. Lunch is provided.

Hussey said she liked that Cantrell recommended people go along with the script when dealing with people suffering from the disease.

“They need to make them feel loved and safe,” she said.

Most people would prefer to be cared for at home, but Cantrell said hospices offer a safe, controlled environment for those who suffer from either disease.

“I applaud people who take care of their loved ones at home,” he said. “Sometimes placing someone in a controlled, structured environment like that is the best thing for them.”

Female Factor meets on the second Wednesday of each month at noon at The Studio. Next month’s free meeting will cover active shooters and feature guest speakers Lt. Greg Wright of the Troy Police Department and Jonathan and Kimberly Sellers, a Troy couple who experienced a home invasion.