Two Important Articles for Alzheimer's Caregivers

Craig Stoltz Health Guide
  • Today I want to point Alzheimer's caregivers to two extremely valuable news articles by Lauran Neergaard of the Associated Press.

    Training Helps Alzheimer's Caregivers

    This article summarizes research by New York University's Mary Mittelman that shows a program of brief, simple, customized caregiver training can keep Alzheimer's patients out of nursing homes longer than patients whose caregivers didn't get the training. 

    From the article:

    "[Mittelman] tested 406 elderly New Yorkers caring for spouses with Alzheimer's. Half received training tailored to their family's unique needs. Half got today's standard: a list of Alzheimer's resources.

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    ["Importantly, the training was simple: Social workers met with caregivers once a week for six weeks, to assess each family's circumstances, discuss how Alzheimer's worsens, and teach coping skills. Caregivers were given phone numbers to call counselors for more advice whenever they wanted."]

    "Mittelman tracked these families for up to 17 years. Custom-trained caregivers kept their loved ones out of a nursing home for an average of 1 1/2 years longer than their untrained counterparts.

    "With annual nursing home costs now averaging $60,000, that's a savings of $90,000 per patient."

    The Alzheimer's caregiving study results appeared last year in the journal Neurology.

    Helping Find Alzheimer's Patients

    This article provides a brief overview of various technologies on the market and in development that can help locate patients who "wander"--one of the most frightening and dangerous side effects of dementia and Alzheimer's disease.

    The article points out that there is little research to demonstrate the value of different technologies, and it's hard to know which method is best matched with particular circumstances.
    The Alzheimer's Association offers an overview of wandering, and describes its Safe Return program. This simple effort provides an identification band for the patient, which information that helps a finder return the patient home.

    One of our Alzheimer's experts, author and speaker Jacqueline Marcell, has a journal entry on wandering which discusses two programs to help find missing loved ones.

Published On: August 13, 2007