U.K. Way Ahead in Dementia Awareness

I get tons of email about dementia everyday. I signed up for it though. Much of it comes from those folks across the ocean in England. For some reason which I have yet to discover, they seem to be so far ahead of the U.S. when it comes to providing care and information to patients with memory loss. If I ever find out I’ll let you know.

Poisonous algae squirting toxins into lake water.ALGAE  I am always a bit astonished at some of the things they think of over there. Today’s mailbox had a headline “Is lake water causing a rise in DEMENTIA?  Poisonous algae linked to Alzheimer’s“. They don’t exactly explain the link to dementia, but any algae produces toxins, each with its own unique effect. ‘Red Tide’ here in the states is an algae bloom that is very toxic – but no one has linked it to dementia.  http://goo.gl/MH0WAm

STATS – New statistics from the UK Alzheimer’s Society show dementia and Alzheimer’s to be the leading cause of death in women over 80. They also report “‘Whilst better research to find treatments and cures is needed, we frequently hear of people with dementia not dying in the manner they wish. All staff caring for those nearing the end of their lives need to receive specific training to provide the best care possible to support people with dementia to die with dignity.” I’ll have to ask some local hospice friends to see if we do that training in Maine. Be sure you ask – if you use hospice that is.   http://goo.gl/5sqDxy

HOSPICE – What is ‘hospice’ you ask? Most professionals answer that with “it is palliative care.” Say what? I don’t know why they use big words like that. For simplicity sake, hospice is end of life care intended to keep someone comfortable with little pain or suffering.

PREVENTION – “there are lifestyle factors that can slow down and even prevent your cognitive decline” – “diet, exercise, weight loss, avoiding multitasking and living a life rich in intellectual activity.” Here are some interesting facts from reputable medical sources: http://goo.gl/9bqM7h

  • A diet high in carbohydrates results in an 89 percent greater risk of MCI.
  • A diet high in (good) fat results in a 44 percent lower risk of MCI. Saturated and trans fats are not good.
  • Over half the cases of Alzheimer’s in America could have been prevented.
  • A diet low in carbohydrates and high in fats reduces blood sugar and encourages weight loss.
  • Even small blood sugar elevations increase the risk of dementia.
  • Long-term meditators experienced less gray matter loss compared with matched control persons who did not meditate.

I often draw an analogy between the dementia care paradigm and a bicycle wheel with hundreds of spokes. Each spoke represents one of the many pathways to understanding or treating dementia. There really is way too much to know for the average person seeking answers. All I hope to do in this blog is to help people find clues to what works for them. Believe me when I say that everybody is struggling to find answers, and that there is currently no single source for everything you need to know in order to make informed decisions.

I’ll keep feeding you tidbits and reference sources and hope you will also explore your way through the Journey. Please share your stories. People want to know how to survive the long trip.

Remember to keep your chin up – it keeps your teeth from falling out when you laugh.


Kenneth Capron

About Kenneth Capron

Ken Capron comes from a medical background. His Dad was Maine’s 3rd radiologist. His Mom a Mass General nurse. His sister a Physical Therapist in Maryland. His oldest sister was a Resident Manager of a senior housing facility in Maryland. Ken himself was trained as a CPA with a focus on non-profits and healthcare. He worked as Controller at Wentworth-Douglas in Dover and then six years as Director of Accounting at Maine Med. Ken likes to say he’s had 16 different careers – from Real Estate Broker to hobby store owner. Ken also is a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer. In 2013, Ken founded MemoryWorks to provide support to people with dementia, their caregivers and all the providers that care for PWD.