Living with Alzheimers

These Ohio assisted living facilities are designed to look like neighborhoods from the 1940s, with front-porch rocking chairs, ‘grass’, and a fiber-optic sky that transitions from day to night instead of sterile walls and doors. For patients suffering from Alzheimer’s and dementia, the setup can remind them of early memories and reduce anger, anxiety, and depression. Source

Please fire me. The next time some elderly resident asks me what they’re name is and where they are I’ll probably lose it and finally cry.


Living With Alzheimer’s - Episode One

Best-selling author Terry Pratchett has early-onset Alzheimer’s, a disease he is prepared to tackle head-on.

In the first of a two-part series, Terry confronts living with his uncertain future and facing a world ultimately without words. Following Terry’s progress through his first year with Alzheimer’s, this programme explores some cutting-edge science and weird treatments to reveal what it is like to be diagnosed with this terrifying illness.

Study: Women disproportionately affected by Alzheimer’s

NBC News: Women in their 60s and older are approximately twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease as they are to develop breast cancer, a newly released study found. 

The study from the Alzheimer’s Association found that women are disproportionately affected by the disease. In addition to accounting for three out of five of those living with Alzheimer’s, women are also more likely than men to care for afflicted loved ones. 

“So women are at the epicenter of Alzheimer’s disease today, not only by being most likely to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, but also by being the caregiver most of the time,” said Maria Carrillo, vice president of the Alzheimer’s Association.

Photo: Courtesyof Angie Carrillo and John Wallace via Alzheimer’s Association


Falling into the Day is an ongoing project about David Blackburn, an accomplished artist living with Alzheimer’s disease. For the last 5 years, Christopher Nunn has been photographing David in his home, his studio, and subsequently the care home where he now lives.

The photos reveal the subtle ways in which the condition can manifest itself - a note with instructions on how to open and lock the door, a forgotten and misplaced lightbulb, and a long dead plant left in the vase. It’s quite heartbreaking.


Cognitive test can differentiate between Alzheimer’s and normal aging

Researchers have developed a new cognitive test that can better determine whether memory impairments are due to very mild Alzheimer’s disease or the normal aging process.

Their study appears in the journal Neuropsychologia.

The Alzheimer’s Association estimates that the number of Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease will increase from 5 million in 2014 to as many as 16 million by 2050. Memory impairments and other early symptoms of Alzheimer’s are often difficult to differentiate from the effects of normal aging, making it hard for doctors to recommend treatment for those affected until the disease has progressed substantially.

Previous studies have shown that a part of the brain called the hippocampus is important to relational memory – the “ability to bind together various items of an event,” said Jim Monti, a University of Illinois postdoctoral research associate who led the work with psychology professor Neal Cohen, who is affiliated with the Beckman Institute at Illinois. Being able to connect a person’s name with his or her face is one example of relational memory. These two pieces of information are stored in different parts of the brain, but the hippocampus “binds” them so that the next time you see that person, you remember his or her name, Monti said.

Previous research has shown that people with Alzheimer’s disease often have impairments in hippocampal function. So the team designed a task that tested participants’ relational memory abilities.

Participants were shown a circle divided into three parts, each having a unique design. Similar to the process of name-and-face binding, the hippocampus works to bind these three pieces of the circle together. After the participants studied a circle, they would pick its exact match from a series of 10 circles, presented one at a time.

People with very mild Alzheimer’s disease did worse overall on the task than those in the healthy aging group, who, in turn, did worse than a group of young adults. The task also revealed an additional memory impairment unique to those with very mild Alzheimer’s disease, indicating the changes in cognition that result from Alzheimer’s are qualitatively different than healthy aging. This unique impairment allows researchers to statistically differentiate between those who did and those who did not have Alzheimer’s more accurately than some of the classical tests used for Alzheimer’s diagnosis, Monti said.

“That was illuminating and will serve to inform future work aimed at understanding and detecting the earliest cognitive manifestations of Alzheimer’s disease,” Monti said.

Although this new tool could eventually be used in clinical practice, more studies need to be done to refine the test, he said.

“We’d like to eventually study populations with fewer impairments and bring in neuroimaging techniques to better understand the initial changes in brain and cognition that are due to Alzheimer’s disease,” Monti said.

Thank you for honouring me among these wonderful women. One thing I know about myself for sure is I am a girl’s girl. I love talking to women, hanging out with women, and acting with women. One of the things about being an actress is the hardest part is you never get to act with other women… or very rarely. But anyway that doesn’t mean that I’m not watching and constantly inspired by everything they do. Inspired by Reese and her walk through grief, and Jennifer and that extraordinary pain, and Rosamund and her rage, and Felicity and her endurance. I’m so inspired by you all and honoured to be in your company. I’d also like to thank all the women that I spoke to who are living with Alzheimer’s Disease. They are truly truly amazing. I want to thank them for their time and generosity and sharing their experience and I really hope I did you justice.
—  Julianne Moore accepting the award for Best Actress at the Critics Choice Awards

The Heartbreaking And Beautiful Faces Of People Living With Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease is a far-reaching condition, one that rips through not only the lives of those who have personally suffered through the diagnosis, but the lives of family members, friends and caretakers who brush up against the illness as well. It can transform a loved one into a stranger, tunneling through relationships, memories and routines until the familiar slips bleakly into the unknown. A brother, grandmother or husband’s descent into dementia becomes an identity in itself. They are no longer themselves; they are a captive to disease.

Amsterdam-based photographer Alex ten Napel became captivated with the dissolution of dignity so often associated with dementia. In his series of black-and-white portraits, simply titled “Alzheimer,” he sought to explore the experience of “wasting away,” in order to ponder existence in such a state. The results are equal parts heartbreaking and beautiful, shedding light on the very human qualities of encroaching mortality.

(Continue Reading)

Researchers tackle one of the biggest questions in dementia research

Researchers in Southampton are tackling one of the biggest questions in dementia research; why might current approaches in Alzheimer’s trials be failing? The new study is published in the Journal of Pathology and funded by Alzheimer’s Research UK and the Medical Research Council.

The researchers, led by Dr Delphine Boche at the University of Southampton, wanted to understand the results of a clinical trial that took place over a decade ago. The original trial involved a vaccine, which employed the body’s own defence mechanisms to remove amyloid – a hallmark protein in Alzheimer’s disease. Unfortunately, despite clearing the culprit amyloid protein from the brain, the vaccine did not improve symptoms experienced by people living with Alzheimer’s and even caused brain shrinkage in those taking the drug. This finding raised many important questions about the future of Alzheimer’s drug development. Dr Boche has been investigating what happened in the trial, to fully understand the effects of the treatment and learn lessons that could be invaluable for the newer treatments in development today.

By looking at brain tissue generously donated by 11 people who took part in the original trial, Dr Boche found that as well as removing amyloid from the brain, the vaccine caused nerve cell death, which could explain the brain shrinking observed in response to the drug. Although the shrinkage was originally viewed as a devastating side effect of the drug, the new research demonstrates that it was caused by already damaged cells being killed and cleared from the brain.

Closer investigation suggests that it is the brain’s immune system, activated by the vaccine, which kills and clears the damaged nerve cells. Encouragingly, detailed analysis of the brain tissue also revealed that this ‘detoxification’ system of clearing damaged cells improved the health of nerve cells that remained. The team behind the work believe that if the vaccine had been given earlier in the disease, then these improvements in nerve cell health could have translated into improved symptoms.

Dr Delphine Boche, Associated Professor in Clinical Neurosciences at the University of Southampton, said: “These new results illustrate the complexities involved in developing treatments for Alzheimer’s disease. By looking at brain tissue donated by people who took part in the original clinical trial, we have learnt so much about the effects of removing amyloid, the hallmark protein in Alzheimer’s, from the brain. We have shown that this vaccine led to the death of damaged nerve cells and also improved the overall health of remaining nerve cells in the brain. This raises the possibility that if the treatment had been given to people at earlier stages of the disease, then its effects in the brain could have slowed the deterioration of symptoms.

“This work highlights the importance of not considering clinical trial failures as lost causes. Although it is always disappointing when a potential therapy doesn’t help patients so desperate for treatment, we can learn so much from these studies. The next step is to build on this knowledge and develop better treatments for people living with Alzheimer’s".

Dr Laura Phipps, Science Communications Manager at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “Half a million people in the UK are living with Alzheimer’s, without effective treatments that can stop the spread of damage in the brain. The constant narrative about the past failures of drugs in clinical trials is a sobering read for people with dementia and their families, but research helping us find new and better solutions. Investing in work like this at the University of Southampton is crucial if we are to move forward in our efforts to defeat dementia. This study suggests that timing is everything when it comes to treatment and these findings will help the design of future trials. Alzheimer’s Research UK has just launched a Global Clinical Trials Fund, which will support the initial stages of trials to fast-track the development of new treatments to help people living with dementia.”
In Support of the Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s
Our beautiful senior community in Western Billings includes 36 secure suites for those with memory impairment due to Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.

The MorningStar Senior Living of Billings community was proud to take part in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s at Zoo Montana in September.  Our team members, residents and family members joined hundreds from the broader community to raise awareness for this devastating disease.  We are also pleased to report that our efforts paid off as we helped to raise $7,280 through the Mulligans for Memories golf tournament.

This year the national Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s took place on November 12, 2016 and was held in more than 600 communities across the country.  The annual event helps to raises awareness and money for Alzheimer’s care, support and research and has participants of all ages joining in the fight.     

The organization uses the money to provide face-to-face support and online education programs as well as to support worldwide research initiatives.  One example of the important work they do is provide more than $350 million to support 2,300 scientific proposals that are searching for answers to the disease.  The organization also brings the global research community together to work on challenges such as developing “the first new diagnostic guidelines for Alzheimer’s in 27 years.”

The first Memory Walk® was in 1989 and started with nine Alzheimer’s Association chapters.  It raised $149,000 and had 1,249 participants.  By 1993, Memory Walk was a nationwide event and was in 167 locations and raised $4.5 million.  Last year, more than 50,000 teams in over 600 locations across the country participated and raised more than $75 million. 

With over 5 million Americans living with the disease, and the sixth-leading cause of death in the U.S., this is a critical fight and MorningStar Senior Living communities are proud to play a part.  Contact us to learn more about MorningStar of Billings’ exceptional memory care.  We have 36 secure suites for residents with Alzheimer’s disease and other memory impairments as well as 32 cottages and 72 bright suites for independent living and 70 assisted living suites.   

MorningStar Senior Living of Billings represents the finest in senior living with our unique mission statement “to honor, to value, to invest.”  Our foundation is built on honoring God, valuing our seniors and hiring staff with a felt calling to serve in order to provide a true home for residents.  Please schedule a tour to experience firsthand our comfortable, home-like atmosphere.      




Inspired by her late grandmother’s struggle with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, Taiwanese industrial designer Sha Yao volunteered at adult day care centers in an effort to better understand the disease. Through observing daily activities and speaking with caregivers, she discovered that mealtime was a particularly difficult time for individuals living with Alzheimer’s, and in turn, she developed the Eatwell tableware set to help alleviate the issues.

“Eating should be a simple task for most people,” Yao writes on the company’s website. “However, the cognitive and various sensory impairments of Alzheimer’s may result in a variety of eating problems. I realized there were many people who have the same problems as my grandma. They often ate less than they should, and accidents with spilled food and tipped cups were common.”

As explained on Eatwell’s Indiegogo page, Yao designed the Eatwell set with three goals in mind - 1) to increase food and drink intake for better health and nutrition, 2) to maintain dignity and independence during meals, and 3) to reduce the burden on caregivers. Dishes and cups are equipped with various elements to prevent tipping, and colors were selected based on a Boston University study that determined individuals with dementia consume 24% more food and 84% more liquid from red or blue tableware.

Learn more about Eatwell and Yao’s carefully thought-out design here.
Pope in blistering critique of Vatican bureaucrats

VATICAN CITY (AP) – Pope Francis issued a blistering critique Monday of the Vatican bureaucracy that serves him, denouncing how some people lust for power at all costs, live hypocritical double lives and suffer from “spiritual Alzheimer’s” that has made them forget they’re supposed to be joyful men of God.

Francis’ Christmas greeting to the cardinals, bishops and priests who run the Holy See was no joyful exchange of holiday good wishes. Rather, it was a sobering catalog of 15 sins of the Curia that Francis said he hoped would be atoned for and cured in the New Year.

He had some zingers: How the “terrorism of gossip” can “kill the reputation of our colleagues and brothers in cold blood.” How cliques can “enslave their members and become a cancer that threatens the harmony of the body” and eventually kill it by “friendly fire.” About how those living hypocritical double lives are “typical of mediocre and progressive spiritual emptiness that no academic degree can fill.”

“The Curia is called on to always improve itself and grow in communion, holiness and knowledge to fulfill its mission,” Francis said. “But even it, as any human body, can suffer from ailments, dysfunctions, illnesses.”

Francis, who is the first Latin American pope and never worked in the Italian-dominated Curia before he was elected, has not shied from complaining about the gossiping, careerism and bureaucratic power intrigues that afflict the Holy See. But as his reform agenda has gathered steam, he seemed even more emboldened to highlight what ails the institution.

The cardinals were not amused. The speech was met with tepid applause, and few were smiling as Francis listed one by one the 15 “Ailments of the Curia” that he had drawn up, complete with footnotes and Biblical references.

Today. Breakfast with my gma, who is in a home living with Alzheimer’s. I made her laugh. It’s something special when that happens. On to cut grass in the gorgeous Fall weather, the wind blowing, the leaves jumping wildly in the air. Crocheting a funny scarf just because I haven’t crocheted in awhile. Tonight; painting and new ideas, perhaps a whole new line of products that are out of my normal range. Life is good. & sweet. & wonderful, amazing. New work 🔜
#window #livefolk #folkcreative #vsco #vscocam #vscogood #peoplescreatives #justgoshoot #thatsdarling #letsgosomewhere #midwest #midwestiscooltoo #throughthewindow (at Main Street)

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These two right here……..came together to bring characters in a book to life…….the subject of the book… one that affects most of our lives……alzheimer’s

I am so proud of them………..and I can’t wait to see this movie!!!!

At the end of the day………………this is what is important…..relevant.