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A Mari de Villa resident recently celebrated her 90th birthday with a large group of family and friends in the new Waterford Room private party suite, overlooking the same sparkling lake her mother did 30 years ago.
For many people, a wrinkled rug corner is nothing of importance; while walking, they’ll step over it or brush it back into place. If that person trips on the rug, they may pop back up immediately and only suffer a bruised ego. But if that person is an older adult, the rug might go unnoticed, the fall could be catastrophic—and the damage to the ego might be the least of the concerns.
Helping older adults transition from drivers to passengers can be a sensitive topic. “The loss of independence is what they fear most,” notes Mark Blum of BrightStar Care.
The year 2012 was tumultuous in many respects, so perhaps fittingly Wicked is the title of the production that brings down the curtain on the last 12 months. A record drought plagued the St. Louis area, temperatures sweltered in an elongated summer and the area’s economy staggered toward a slow but steady recovery. All of this took place in the face of impending doom predicted centuries ago by the Mayan calendar.
Clue to Alzheimer’s Found in Brain Samples
Alzheimer’s disease is a slow decline. Most people who develop it survive for years after diagnosis, gradually losing memory and the ability to care for themselves. Families and caregivers can become overwhelmed. Fortunately, help is available.
Among the concerns of older Americans, Alzheimer’s disease tops the list. And that’s understandable. Researchers are making strides in understanding Alzheimer’s, but a cure remains elusive for the progressive, memory-robbing disease.
Story: John Halder’s life is structured by music. He’s moved and controlled by melodies, compositions and rhythms that bring form and orderliness to the arbitrary nature around him. Of course, the music is within his head and doesn’t permeate the external world. Still, he relies upon its beauty and consistency as he rationalizes who and what he is.
I think if I were a filmmaker and someone described one of my movies as nice, I would be insulted. But I can honestly say, when I describe this film as nice, I mean it as a huge compliment. It’s a creative, funny, weird—yet human—story about families and life, oh, and a robot.
Watching a loved one slip into oblivion can be painful to the point of despair. Yet Jolene Brackey, author of Creating Moments of Joy, says there’s another way to experience time with someone who has Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia. Brackey’s work is based on her experiences as activity director for an Alzheimer’s special care unit, and she recently spoke at Garden View Care Centers in St. Louis to share her message that “it’s impossible to create a perfectly wonderful day, but you sure can create perfectly wonderful moments.”
It’s not easy to watch a loved one grow old, and for the families of people with dementia, it’s heartbreaking. It’s hard to know what to say and do as a relative becomes increasingly forgetful and unable to perform daily tasks without help. Fortunately, caregivers and loved ones are not alone: In 2008, there were an estimated 9.9 million caregivers providing 8.5 billion hours of care to Alzheimer’s patients, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.
Maryville Talks Books, the signature author series from MARYVILLE UNIVERSITY, kicks off this month with actress/ singer VANESSA WILLIAMS and her mother, HELEN WILLIAMS. The pair will appear on May 10 at Christ Church Cathedral for a discussion and signing of their book, You Have No Idea. The rest of the lineup includes former Democratic presidential candidate BILL BRADLEY (May 11), sportswriter FRANK DEFORD (May 30), author and historian DOUGLAS BRINKLEY (June 4) and Friday Night Lights and Three Nights in August author BUZZ BISSINGER (June 11). Except for the Williams event, all other appearances take place at Maryville University Auditorium and are free and open to the public. Ticket packages for the Williams event are $30, and include seating for two, as well as a copy of the book (brownpapertickets.com).
As the population ages, an increasing number of Americans are looking at their options for aging in a healthy and comfortable environment. For many, the ideal solution is ‘aging in place’ —living at home and maintaining independence for as long as possible. To meet this need, home health care agencies provide skilled medical care and additional household help for the elderly. Here’s a look at three local companies and the people behind them who are doing just that.
Just like so many, when Jane Snyder’s mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, she and her family lived through years of denial before accepting the diagnosis. And when the realization finally happened, the Ladue native became proactive in her relationship with her mother, searching for ways to hold onto the connection.
No golfer in our town has a better resume than 51-year-old Ellen Port. No one. Port has won 12 Metropolitans, seven Missouri Amateurs and five national tourneys, including four U.S. Mid Amateurs. Not bad for a woman who played exactly one year of high school golf and no golf at all in college.
I was absolutely convinced that the reason this movie was getting mixed reviews was due to the fact that Margaret Thatcher was a political conservative and occasionally—just occasionally—critics let their politics sway their opinion of a film. Yes, politically this film does play like a campaign ad for anyone running in the Republican primary. But unfortunately, the film just misses the mark.
When a physical therapist at St. Alexius Hospital asked Liz Aurbach to bring her dog, Tommy, into a patient’s room, she wasn’t expecting great results. The patient had been non-responsive to all other therapy attempts. However, when Aurbach set the little Cairn Terrier onto the bed, the patient woke up and began brushing and petting him. “A month later, the physical therapist told me that patient perked right up and starting doing rehab and was out of there in two weeks,” says Aurbach, therapy dog coordinator at C.H.A.M.P. Assistance Dogs. “It was pretty dramatic.”
Bingo. When retirement communities are mentioned, a few of us picture seniors sitting around playing the game for hours on end. While admittedly bingo still is a popular activity in communities around St. Louis, a variety of programs abounds to keep residents entertained.
MRI Scans Offer Clues for People at Genetic Risk for Alzheimer’s
Valentine’s Day brings with it special issues that require some forethought. If you’re married you know what works for/against you—knowledge often gained with some pain. While it is usually considered a day for fostering romance, it has also been known as a day in which many promising relationships have ended. If you wish to preserve the relationship, read on. If you prefer to use the occasion to end it, take the ideas in reverse. This guidance is for single guys. Heck, women don’t need advice. They have it down to a science. But ladies, if the need is there, extrapolate as you see fit.
Dementia has two faces: the clinical and the personal. Researchers and physicians work constantly to try to track down the causative factors in dementia, particularly Alzheimer’s disease, because as we live longer, the numbers afflicted go up. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, more than half of all Americans know someone with Alzheimer’s, and almost 30 percent of them have a family member with the disease.
Here we come, that 76 million-strong boomer bubble, moving toward, among other things, Alzheimer’s disease. By age 80, more than 30 percent of us likely will be afflicted. Dr. John Morris, director of the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center at Washington University, says current thinking is that by the time symptoms are present, it may be too late to give a single drug that will have any meaningful benefit. “We believe amyloid beta protein is a significant factor, but to get any meaningful benefit may require combining different drugs with different targets. The research we are doing at Washington University indicates that the symptomatic phase is an end phase of a disease that begins years, even decades, earlier,” he says.
Play: “Man of La Mancha”
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