Balancing Holiday Traditions with Dementia Changes

Recent health news from across the Web: dementia and holiday traditions, brain fitness, medication management tips, and more.This compassionate piece centers on one family adapting to a mother’s advancing Alzheimer’s disease, and how it has changed their holiday customs. They make fewer social appearances and do extra preparation to preserve her routines, while still missing her old presence. The article includes some helpful tips for including loved ones with dementia in the holiday hubbub while minimizing potential agitation.

(When Mom Has Alzheimer’s, A Stranger Comes For Christmas; NPR)

On the same topic, author Marguerite Manteau-Rao raises some tough points about the difficulties of factoring a loved one with dementia into a busy holiday schedule. Pointing out that individuals with dementia may not remember a visit the day before or after, but can feel hurt when external cues remind them of the holiday, she pulls no punches.

(How to Be With a Loved One With Dementia During the Holidays; Huffington Post)

Linking Brain Fitness to Physical Fitness

A fascinating new study out of Japan examines the relationship of aging to brain function. In youth, we use certain regions of our brains to complete difficult tasks; as we age, other regions chip in and work harder to achieve the same result. But the most physically fit subjects in the study showed brain activity in the ‘young’ regions, and much more efficient than their physical ages would suggest. Although the researchers did not prove that exercise makes the brain act younger, the results demonstrated some link between physical and mental fitness.

(Does Exercise Help Keep Our Brains Young?; NYT Well blog)

The Consequences of Keeping Death Out of Mind

This examination of death in our society unpacks how our traditions, practices, and even language have distanced us from death and dying. The author speculates that we have developed a distaste for death that may actually be a drawback at the end of life. She argues that unfamiliarity breeds fear, which may lead to unnecessary treatments that diminish quality of life, as well as discomfort with the natural process of grieving.

(The Problem with Death Avoidance; Pallimed)

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