Illinois Cognitive Resources Network

Connecting to resources throughout your dementia journey

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Lorenzo’s House Shifting the Narrative Event Shines the Spotlight on Younger-Onset Dementia

CALLING ALL HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONALS, THOSE LIVING WITH OR AFFECTED BY YOUNGER-ONSET DEMENTIA, & INDIVIDUALS INTERESTED IN LEARNING MORE! Please bring your questions, experience and ideas to share with our expert panelist!

Click here to register today:

LA BROCHA Hosting Art Event for People Living With Dementia and Parkinson’s Disease

LA Brocha and community partners are excited to welcome attendees to this in-person event that will be loaded with beautiful art and art activities.

Artist to offer art activities: Luz Elivier Godina

Mark your calendars for:

Saturday, December 17th, 11am to 2pm

National Museum of Mexican Art, 1852 W. 19th St., in Chicago

To register call 708-858-1323 or email us at LaBrochaChicago@gmail.com

Caring for Yourself as an Alzheimer’s Caregiver

Being a caregiver can be extremely rewarding, but it can also be overwhelming. Caring for a person with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia takes time and effort. It can feel lonely and frustrating, so it is important to find time to take care of yourself. Consider these tips:

  • Ask for help when you need it. Reach out to family members and friends for help or contact local services for additional care needs.
  • Take breaks each day. Try making a cup of tea or calling a friend.
  • Join a caregiver’s support group online or in person. Meeting other caregivers will give you a chance to share stories and ideas and can help keep you from feeling isolated.

Find more ways you can care for yourself as an Alzheimer’s caregiver.

Nearly 40% of Older Adult Brains in an NIA-funded Study Showed Signs of LATE, a Form of Dementia

A recent NIA-funded study found that nearly 40% of participants had brain changes associated with limbic-predominant age-related TDP-43 encephalopathy (LATE). LATE is a recently characterized brain disorder that causes symptoms similar to Alzheimer’s disease but with different underlying causes. There is currently no way to diagnose LATE in living people.

In this study, a team of researchers tried to estimate how many older adults may experience LATE. Researchers analyzed the brains of 6,196 people with an average age of death at 88 years. The donated brains came from participants in 13 community- or population-based aging studies conducted in five countries. The study found that almost 40% of participants had clusters of the protein TDP-43, indicating they may have had LATE. In addition, about 55% of the participants who had high levels of amyloid plaques, a hallmark of Alzheimer’s, also had TDP-43 clusters, suggesting that LATE may be even more common in people who have Alzheimer’s.

The results support the idea that recognizing LATE as a distinct disorder may ultimately help researchers better understand and develop treatments for those who experience dementia. The results also highlight the value of participation in brain donation studies, such as those conducted by the NIA Alzheimer’s Disease Research Centers.

Learn more about the research study.

NIA”s Holiday Hints for Alzheimer’s Caregivers

Holidays can be meaningful, enriching times for both the person with Alzheimer’s disease and his or her family. Maintaining or adapting family rituals and traditions helps all family members feel a sense of belonging and family identity. For a person with Alzheimer’s, this link with a familiar past is reassuring.

However, celebrations, special events, or holidays, which may include other people, can cause confusion and anxiety for a person with Alzheimer’s. He or she may find some situations easier and more pleasurable than others. The tips below can help you balance busy holiday activities with everyday care for a person with Alzheimer’s disease.

Finding the Right Balance

Many caregivers have mixed feelings about holidays. They may have happy memories of the past, but they also may worry about the extra demands that holidays make on their time and energy.

Here are some ways to balance doing many holiday-related activities while taking care of your own needs and those of the person with Alzheimer’s disease:

  • Celebrate holidays that are important to you. Include the person with Alzheimer’s as much as possible.
  • Set your own limits, and be clear about them with others. You do not have to live up to the expectations of friends or relatives. Your situation is different now.
  • Involve the person with Alzheimer’s in simple holiday preparations, or have him or her observe your preparations. Observing you will familiarize him or her with the upcoming festivities. Participating with you may give the person the pleasure of helping and the fun of anticipating and reminiscing.
  • Consider simplifying your holidays around the home. For example, rather than cooking an elaborate dinner, consider a smaller dinner with close family. Instead of elaborate decorations, consider choosing a few select items.
  • When health and safety provisions allow, encourage friends and family to visit even if it’s difficult. Limit the number of visitors at any one time. Plan visits when the person usually is at his or her best. Virtual visits through video or phone calls are also a great way to connect over the holiday season.
  • Prepare quiet distractions to use, such as looking at pictures or going for a walk, if the person with Alzheimer’s becomes upset or overstimulated.
  • Make sure there is a quiet space where the person can rest and have time to recharge.
  • Try to avoid situations that may confuse or frustrate the person with Alzheimer’s, such as changes in routine and strange places.
  • Try to stay away from noise, loud conversations, loud music, lighting that is too bright or too dark, and having too much rich food or drink (especially alcohol).
  • Find time for holiday activities you like to do. For example, go for a walk in the neighborhood and look at holiday decorations, or bake holiday cookies.
  • If you receive invitations to events that the person with Alzheimer’s cannot attend, consider going yourself. Ask a friend or family member to spend time with the person while you’re out.

Download Your Copy of Rush Alzheimer’s Latest Caregiver Resource Guide

This year’s RADC General Resource Guide includes a Caregiver Resource List as a bonus edition!

Designed by social worker, Charon Cannon, MSW, LSW, the fifth edition of this guide was written with the family unit in mind, regardless of structure. Worksheets are provided to caregivers to assist them in identifying areas where additional assistance may be beneficial and in navigating the senior services available.

Click here to download your copy today!

Healthy Aging Tips for the Older Adults in Your Life

If you have older family members or loved ones, you may worry about their health as they age. The good news is that adopting and maintaining a few key behaviors can help older adults live longer, healthier lives. Ways you can support healthier habits among your loved ones include:

  • Preventing social isolation and loneliness. Consider scheduling weekly or biweekly phone calls or video chats.
  • Promoting physical activity. Help them brainstorm ways to work movement into their daily lives.
  • Encouraging healthy eating. Discuss their favorite traditional recipes and talk about ways you can make those recipes healthier.

Find more tips on how to help support healthy aging in older family members.