Top ten lists are "hot" these days. This week, one of great interest to all of us hit the headlines. It was bad news in the news. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released its annual list of the leading causes of death in the United States. For years, we've watched Alzheimer's disease climb the ladder, but this year it took a significant step: it moved into position as the sixth leading cause of death; while up just one rung from the prior year, what is especially noteworthy is that Alzheimer's deaths increased while all other 14 of the top 15 leading cause of death decreased.
The U.S. statistics unveiled that Alzheimer's disease resulted in the deaths of 72,914 Americans in 2006. Let me repeat that: 72,914 deaths. The rate knocked diabetes out of sixth position. Deaths from influenza and pneumonia dropped the sharpest from the previous year.
At the same time, the agency noted that life expectancy for Americans is at an all-time high...
Jim Nantz Jr., the father of CBS Sports anchor Jim Nantz III, died Saturday, June 28. The Houston Chronicle reported that Mr. Nantz, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 1995, died with his son by his bedside.
I had heard about Mr. Nantz's struggle with Alzheimer's during interviews given by Jim Nantz III this past spring. When asked by U.S. News and World Report what the most difficult aspect of his father's demise had been, the son said, "When it came time to move him out of the family house into a facility in 2000. That was the hardest decision I ever had to make. I'd had this dream that I was going to have my dad out there on the road with me, with a purpose. This magical three-event journey (calling Super Bowl XLI, the Final Four, and the Master's golf tournament in 2007) in 63 days-that would've been the greatest father-son road trip ever. But he has no recognition of anyone or anything in the word around him."
The U.S. News and World Report also noted the heartbr...
Research continues to show that these family members spend more
time on care and are more stressed than relatives of those with
other illnesses. A study, for example, by the Metlife Mature Market
Institute shows that caregivers of those with Alzheimers
disease or other dementias commit an average 47 hours per week to
personal care activities and other tasks, versus 33 hours by
caregivers of those with physical impairments. Activities of daily
living, which includes eating, bathing, dressing, and going to the
bathroom, demand additional time.
Caregivers of individuals with Alzheimers disease may find
caregiving less stressful if they learn how to best handle their
loved ones personal care needs. When caregivers face
roadblocks with these activities, they should explore possible
underlying problems in order to find solutions. For instance,
difficulty using silverware, a fear of being poisoned, or a dental
condition might make a person stop eating. Medical problems, an
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