6 Ways Caregivers Can Show Themselves Much-Needed Self-Care

Being a caregiver is a noble position that requires a kind heart. However, it often leaves little time to think about or care for yourself. If you spend the majority of your time taking care of a senior loved one, consider these six ways (presented by Cadbury Commons) you can show yourself some love.


  1. Get Outside Help When You Need It

Caregiving is a full-time job, but you don’t have to take on every task yourself. If you feel overwhelmed, look for tasks you can delegate to someone else, either a family member or a professional. For example, hire someone to take care of landscaping. That’s a tedious task you can take off of your checklist. Get quotes and talk about your lawn needs before you meet with someone and read as many reviews as you can. You can even find companies that offer discounts and credits to help you save money.


  1. Make Time for Exercise

Exercise is a great way to relieve stress, boost your mood, and feel better overall. Research shows exercise is a natural way to treat anxiety and depression. You don’t have to include an extensive workout or join a gym. You can get your heart rate up with some normal, everyday moving activities. For example, take the stairs when you have the opportunity or go for a walk during lunch on a beautiful day. Join a morning yoga class or get your family to join in for a fitness challenge. You can make exercise fun.


  1. Spend Time with Your Friends

Nurturing personal relationships that contribute positively to your life is an excellent form of self-care. If you haven’t seen your friend in a while, call them up and make plans. You can suggest a weekly dinner where everyone can catch up and spend time together. The same is true for your family. Schedule a date night with your spouse or have a family game night. Quality time with loved ones is good for overall wellbeing.


  1. Eat a Healthy Diet

Eating a healthy diet is a significant part of general wellness. If you’re supplying your body with a well-balanced meal, three times a day, you’ll have more energy and mental clarity. If you’re not sure what adjustments you need to make, start with something simple, such as making sure you meet all the major food groups with each meal.


  1. Go on an Overnight Trip

Sometimes getting away on a short trip is a great way to reset. It can be as simple as scheduling a night in a nearby hotel to order room service and watch your favorite shows. A new environment where someone serves you gives you the chance to relax and feel pampered. If you’re worried about cost, check Groupon for great deals.


  1. Start a New Hobby

Taking on a new hobby can be very fulfilling and a great way to turn off your mind for a moment. What is something you’ve always wanted to try but never did? Now is the time to try it. It can be as simple as knitting or as adventurous as skydiving.

Remember to be kind to yourself as you care for someone else. You will have good days and bad days, but you’ll be thankful you spent them with someone you love. As long as you make time to nurture your mental health, you’ll be able to appreciate each day.

For the highest standard of assisted living available, visit Cadbury Commons today!

Written by Harry Cline

The Benefits of Pet Therapy for Seniors

Our minds and bodies typically change as we age, which can affect our lives. From problems with their bodies to problems with their minds, seniors face many problems that make daily activities harder. But there is a straightforward solution that makes a big difference in the health and happiness of seniors: pet therapy.

In this blog, we’ll address the advantages of pet therapy for the elderly and how it can enhance their mental and physical wellbeing, relieve stress and solitude, and bring them joy and companionship.

Makes the Body Healthier

Pet therapy is an excellent way for seniors to improve their physical health, which is one of its main benefits. Studies have shown that being around animal companion can lower blood pressure, decrease the likelihood of coronary diseases, and even make people less likely to need medicine. In addition, petting a furry friend releases oxytocin, a hormone that makes you feel calmer and less stressed.

Pets can also help seniors feel like they have a reason to stay active and do physical activities. For example, walking a dog can help seniors get outside, get some oxygen and exercise, and even meet other pet owners. This routine can significantly affect seniors’ physical health and lower the likelihood of serious illnesses that come with being inactive.

Decrease Anxiety and Social Isolation

Older people face loneliness, and being away from others is among the most significant problems. This can result in depression, anxiety, and other mental health problems. On the other hand, pet therapy makes people feel less stressed and lonely and encourage them to talk to others.

Research has shown that spending time with a pet reduces the stress hormone cortisol . This can calm seniors down and make them feel less anxious and tense. Pets can also give seniors company and help them meet new people, which makes them feel less isolated and lonely.

Provide Joy and Companionship

The most crucial thing pet therapy can do for seniors is bring them happiness and company. Pets love and accept their owners no matter what, which can significantly affect how seniors feel about themselves. This is particularly true for older people with possibly lost friends or family members or who live alone.

Pets can give seniors a sense of responsibility and purpose, increasing their sense of worth and incentivizing them to get out of bed in the morning. Also, pets are an excellent source of joy and entertainment, which can make seniors laugh and make their day better.

Various Pets Used for Therapies

Cats and dogs are the most common pets used in therapy, yet numerous additional animals can also be helpful to seniors. Some examples include:

Birds: Seniors can feel calm and relaxed when watching and caring for birds.

Fish: Just observing fish swim can be relaxing for seniors and make them feel less stressed.

Rabbits: Rabbits are gentle, social animals that can make seniors feel at ease and give them company.

Bottom Line

Pet therapy can significantly impact seniors’ physical and mental health, make them happier and less lonely, and provide happiness and companionship. If you’re older and want to improve your health, consider adopting a pet or volunteering with a pet rescue group. In addition, pets, like dogs, cats, birds, or rabbits, can give seniors unconditional love and acceptance, significantly impacting their quality of life.

memory care exercises

Top Ten Memory Care Exercises for the New Year

10 Brain-Boosting Memory Care Exercises

(excerpt from Everyday Health)

Research suggests that exercising your mind can help you stay sharp, but building and maintaining healthy habits is key. Stopping smoking, regular exercise, moderate alcohol consumption, and a healthy eating – especially a Mediterranean diet – can all help both body and brain and may also lower your risk of developing Alzheimer’s. So for 2023, why not make a New Year’s Resolution to keep or improve your skills with these memory care exercises?

A study, published in Neurology in July 2020, found that people who participate in multiple healthy behaviors significantly reduce their risk for Alzheimer’s disease….For about six years, the study tracked five healthy lifestyle behaviors — nonsmoking, regular physical activity, low to moderate alcohol consumption, adherence to a Mediterranean-style diet, and engagement in activities that boost cognitive skills — in nearly 2,800 adults and found that those who followed at least four of the behaviors were about 60 percent less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease.

  1. Test your recall. Make a list — grocery items, things to do, or anything else that comes to mind — and memorize it. An hour or so later, see how many items you can recall. Make the list as challenging as possible for the greatest mental stimulation. One small past study suggested that writing and organizing lists helped older adults recall word lists more effectively.
  2. Let the music play. Learn to play a musical instrument or join a choir. Learning new and complex skills is good for the aging brain, and a past review published in The Gerontologist suggested that musical activities (like playing a musical instrument, singing in a choir, or taking piano lessons) showed particular promise for healthy brain aging, though research is limited.
  3. Do math in your head. Figure out problems without the aid of a pencil, paper, or computer. One small study, published in Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology in 2021, suggested that solving math problems had a positive effect on participants’ cognition. You can make this exercise more difficult — and athletic — by walking at the same time.
  4. Take a cooking class. Learn how to cook a new cuisine. Cooking uses a number of senses — smell, touch, sight, and taste — that involve different parts of the brain. Plus, you’ll use cognitive skills like planning the meal, problem-solving, crafting a grocery list, multi-tasking, and organizing, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
  5. Learn a foreign language. The listening and hearing involved in learning a new language stimulates the brain. Plus, being bilingual was associated with a lower risk of developing dementia in one meta-analysis published in October 2020 in Psychonomic Bulletin & Review.
  6. Create word pictures. Visualize the spelling of a word in your head, and then try to think of other words that begin (or end) with the same two letters.
  7. Draw a map from memory. After returning home from visiting a new place, try to draw a map of the area. Repeat this exercise each time you go somewhere new. One past study, which focused on London taxi drivers (who are expected to memorize the complex layout of the city), found that drivers who successfully memorized the city map showed permanent changes to brain structure and better cognitive function.
  8. Challenge your taste buds. When eating, try to identify individual ingredients in your meal, including subtle herbs and spices.
  9. Refine your hand-eye coordination. Take up a new hobby that involves fine motor skills, and can help you keep your hand-eye coordination sharp. Per Harvard Health Publishing, this could include racquet sports, tai chi, knitting, drawing, painting, or playing video games.
  10. Learn a new sport. Start doing an athletic exercise. A review published in Frontiers in Psychology in December 2019 noted that boosting your balance, strength, and aerobic capacity — that is, your body’s ability to use oxygen for energy — can help protect your brain as you age. Morley specifically suggests yoga, golf, or tennis as exercises that boost brain health, while Harvard Health Publishing recommends swimming for its brain-boosting benefits.

Visit our Memory Care page to learn about our program at Cadbury Commons >

new alzheimer's drug study

New Alzheimer’s Drug Cuts Symptoms by 30 Percent, New Study Says

Researchers are excited by the results of a new Alzheimer’s drug—delivered in the form of twice weekly infusions—which appears to slash symptoms nearly 30 percent in about 18 months of usage. This breakthrough could help to improve millions of individuals living with Alzheimer’s both in the United States and across the world.

“This is an unambiguously statistically positive result and represents something of an historic moment when we see the first convincing modification of Alzheimer’s disease,” Rob Howard, PhD, a professor of old age psychiatry at University College London (UCL), as reported in The Guardian. “God knows, we’ve waited long enough for this.”

New Alzheimer’s Drug Lecanemab Show Promise and Provides Clues

The drug companies Eisai and Biogen recently announced results their phase 3, 18-month clinical trial involving the Alzheimer’s drug lecanemab, which is classified as an anti-amyloid antibody treatment. The data shows that lecanemab slowed the rate of the decline in cognition by 27 percent in patients with early stage Alzheimer’s. Moreover, experts say the trial’s success sheds more light on how Alzheimer’s disease may develop and progress.

One theory, called “amyloid hypothesis,” postulates that a sticky compound disrupting communication between brain cells and eventually kills them. “Some researchers believe that flaws in the processes governing production, accumulation or disposal of beta-amyloid are the primary cause of Alzheimer’s,” explains a report from the Alzheimer’s Association.

Researchers caution that some trial participants did experience side effects of the new Alzheimer’s drug. Roughly 21 percent of study subjects reported adverse effects as opposed to nine percent of those taking a placebo. 3 percent of patients experienced brain swelling or brain bleeding according to PET scans.

With more time beyond the 18-month trial period, researchers believe that more benefits may take effect. The National Institute on Health (NIH) is currently funding two additional trials which in order to evaluate people that are NOT diagnosed with dementia but have varying amounts of amyloid brain deposits.  In other words, they hope to see whether or not the new Alzheimer’s drug can slow the rate of cognitive decline in people who are asymptomatic.

When is the New Alzheimer’s Drug Available?

Eisai and Biogen have announced that they plan to file for traditional approval for the drug in the U.S. by Mar. 2023.  To learn more about interventions and treatments that are currently available to improve dementia and Alzheimer’s symptoms, please see your healthcare provider.

Learn more about our Memory Care program >

Read also this article about the possible Alzheimer’s vaccine nasal spray >


New study hints as to why Women’s Alzheimer’s Risk is higher than men’s

Newly identified mechanism may explain Women’s Alzheimer’s risk

According to the CDC, women are nearly twice as likely as men to develop Alzheimer’s disease, but doctors and scientists aren’t sure why Women’s Alzheimer’s risk is greater.

The most common form of dementia, Alzheimer’s affects nearly 6 million people in North America. With the population aging, this number is expected to grow and could even reach as high as 14 million people in 30 years from now in just the United States.

Discovering why and how the disease occurs – especially in women who are more at risk – is essential for early intervention and developing new therapeutics. Researchers have tried to understand why Alzheimer’s, but not other forms of dementia, is more prevalent in females and have hypothesized that menopause, longer life expectancy, and the immune system are all factors.

Researchers at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland now believe they have found some genetic variants on the X chromosome that may be linked to Women’s Alzheimer’s risk.

Medical News Today had a detailed article on this study if you want to read more, but – in essence – researchers found that some genes on the X chromosome do not ‘shut off’ as they should, which can be a contributing factor in women developing the disease.

All human females have a pair of X chromosomes. Early during embryo development one of the X chromosomes will be inactivated, and all cells in the female human body have just one X chromosome that is transcriptionally active. [Researchers have] proposed that one of the genes that escape X chromosome inactivation could contribute to an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s in females. It appears in CellTrusted Source.

Getting Closer to Understanding Women’s Alzheimer’s Risk

These novel findings are helping researchers target new genes for additional studies.

Learn more about Cadbury Commons Memory Care Program

best smart watches for seniors

5 Top Smartwatches For Seniors Of 2022

Which Smartwatches for Seniors Make the Cut this year?

Forbes Health Lists Their Top Five

Smartwatch technology might seem a bit daunting—or even redundant to people who are already laden with smart devices—but smartwatches can be life-changing and potentially life-saving pieces of equipment.

Benefits to seniors are features such as medical alerts, fall detection technology, health monitory (heart rate, oxygen level) and deep breathing or stretching reminders. There are many other health and medical metrics as well.

The Forbes Health editorial team researched  nearly 60 top brand products and, after analyzing the data, ranked them on the following criteria:  price, storage, battery life, customer ratings, etc. See the list below to find out smartwatches for seniors stand out as their top picks.

Summary: Best Smartwatches For Seniors

Product Forbes Health Ratings Price Battery Life Has an emergency feature Learn More
Samsung Galaxy Watch4
Samsung Galaxy Watch4


$199.99 40 hours Yes Buy Now

On Amazon

Apple Watch SE
Apple Watch SE


$279 18 hours Yes Buy Now

On Amazon

Amazfit Bip U Pro
Amazfit Bip U Pro


$54.99 216 hours No View More

Apple Watch Series 7 GPS
Apple Watch Series 7 GPS


$399 18 hours Yes Buy Now

On Amazon

Amazfit Bip S
Amazfit Bip S


$69.99 360 hours No View More

Learn more about Cadbury Commons Memory Care Program.

Read more about other Senior Gadgets

10 Tips for Family Alzheimer’s Caregivers

Family Alzheimer’s Caregivers – Especially Women – Need Self-Care

According to the National Institute on Aging, there are an estimated 11 million unpaid family Alzheimer’s caregivers in the United States for patients with dementia, including the most prominent form of the disease, which is Alzheimer’s disease.

More than one in four Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers are both caring for a child or grandchild AND for someone with dementia at the same time; they are the “sandwich generation.” Over 66 percent of caregivers are women with nearly 50% looking after at least one parent or in-law.  Self-care for these family caregivers – is extremely important not only for themselves but also for their charges. We’ve found a resource for caregivers called the Caregiver Action Network (CAN) which is an excellent organization to find more information, network, and participate in support forums.

Caregiver Action Network (CAN)

CAN is the nation’s leading family caregiver organization working to improve the quality of life for the more than 90 million Americans who care for loved ones with chronic conditions, disabilities, disease, or the frailties of old age. CAN serves a broad spectrum of family caregivers ranging from the parents of children with significant health needs, to the families and friends of wounded soldiers; from a young couple dealing with a diagnosis of MS, to adult children caring for parents with Alzheimer’s disease. CAN (the National Family Caregivers Association EIN 52-1780405) is a non-profit organization providing education, peer support, and resources to family caregivers across the country free of charge. Here are some quick tips with links to their site for more in-depth articles, plus a shareable infographic.

10 Tips for Alzheimer’s Caregivers

  1. Seek support from other caregivers. You are not alone!
  2. Take care of your own health so that you can be strong enough to take care of your loved one.
  3. Accept offers of help and suggest specific things people can do to help you.
  4. Learn how to communicate effectively with doctors.
  5. Caregiving is hard work so take respite breaks often.
  6. Watch out for signs of depression and don’t delay getting professional help when you need it.
  7. Be open to new technologies that can help you care for your loved one.
  8. Organize medical information so it’s up to date and easy to find.
  9. Make sure legal documents are in order.
  10. Give yourself credit for doing the best you can in one of the toughest jobs there is!


CAN Offers A Caregiver Help Desk:

  • Have confidential conversations with caregiving experts about your caregiving questions
  • Reach out by phone, email and live chat—whatever is most convenient for you
  • Access experts Monday through Friday, from 8:00 AM – 7:00 PM Eastern time.

For More Information Family Alzheimer’s Caregivers Can Contact CAN:

Caregiver Action Network
Caregiver Help Desk: (855) 227-3640
Office Phone: (202) 454-3970
E-mail: [email protected]

(Read also: Compassion Fatigue – What is it?)

Learn more about Cadbury Common’s Memory Care Program >

Alzheimers Association International Conference

Alzheimer’s Association International Conference 2022 Highlights

SAN DIEGOAug. 3, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — New research reported at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference® (AAIC®) 2022 covered the breadth of Alzheimer’s and dementia research, including the basic biology of aging and the brain, risk factors and prevention strategies, and caregiving and living well with the disease.

AAIC is the premier annual forum for presentation and discussion of the latest Alzheimer’s and dementia research. This year’s hybrid conference event took place both virtually and in-person in San Diego and attracted over 9,500 attendees and more than 4,000 scientific presentations.

“With record public and private research investment it’s an exciting time for Alzheimer’s and dementia research,” said Heather M. Snyder, Ph.D., Alzheimer’s Association vice president of medical and scientific relations. “Researchers are advancing our understanding of the disease by exploring biomarkers, discovering potential ways to reduce risk, and working to move promising treatments and diagnostic tools forward into clinical testing. The Alzheimer’s Association is leading the fight through funding, convening, publishing, partnerships, advocacy and services.”

Advances in Treatments, Clinical Trial Results

The Alzheimer’s Association highlighted results from a variety of clinical trials at AAIC 2022. Encouraging and supporting a diverse treatment pipeline is essential to achieving the Association’s vision of a world without Alzheimer’s and all other dementia. Here are two examples:

The EXERT Study is the longest-ever Phase 3 study of exercise in older adults with mild cognitive impairment (MCI). The results, first reported at AAIC 2022, are especially noteworthy since the trial was conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic  80% of participants complied with their exercise regimen and completed the study. After 12 months, people with MCI in both the aerobic exercise intervention arm and stretching arm showed no cognitive decline. A comparison group of other older adults with MCI showed significant cognitive decline over 12 months. The findings from EXERT suggest that regular physical activity, even modest or low exertion activity such as stretching, may protect brain cells against damage.

At AAIC 2022, T3D Therapeutics reported positive interim results from their Phase 2 trial of T3D-959, which seeks to overcome insulin resistance in the brain and restore the brain’s metabolic health. These encouraging preliminary results are a positive sign, and final results are anticipated in 2023. As understanding of the biological underpinnings of Alzheimer’s expands, the opportunity to advance novel approaches such as T3D-959 will also expand.

Also at AAIC, the Alzheimer’s Association announced the launch of the Alzheimer’s Network for Treatment and Diagnostics (ALZ-NET), which will collect long-term clinical and safety data from patients treated with FDA-approved Alzheimer’s disease therapies in real world clinical settings. ALZ-NET is the first network developed specifically for new FDA-approved Alzheimer’s treatments, collecting evidence on effectiveness and side effects over a long period of time.

Experiences of Racism Associated with Poor Memory, Increased Cognitive Decline

Experiences of structural, interpersonal and institutional racism are associated with lower memory scores and worse cognition in midlife and old age, especially among Black individuals.

  • In a study of nearly 1,000 middle-aged community-dwelling adults (55% Latinx; 23% Black; 19% White), exposure to interpersonal and institutional racism was associated with lower memory scores; the associations were strongest in Black individuals. Experiences of structural racism were associated with lower episodic memory among all racial and ethnic groups included in the study.
  • In a study of 445 Asian, Black, Latino, White and multiracial people age 90 and above, individuals who experienced wide-ranging discrimination throughout life had poorer long-term memory in late life compared to those who experienced little to no discrimination.
History of Hypertensive Disorders During Pregnancy Linked to Increased Risk of Dementia

Hypertensive disorders of pregnancy (HDP) — conditions of high blood pressure including chronic/gestational hypertension and preeclampsia — have been strongly linked to heart disease in later life, but before today, little research has connected these disorders with cognition. Experiences of high blood pressure disorders during pregnancy are associated with an increased risk of vascular dementia and accelerated brain aging, according to several studies at AAIC 2022:

  • Women with a history of HDP were more likely to develop vascular dementia — a decline in thinking skills caused by conditions that block or reduce blood flow to the brain — later in life, compared to women with non-hypertensive pregnancies.
  • Experience of HDP, specifically high blood pressure during pregnancy, was associated with white matter pathology, a predictor of accelerated cognitive decline, 15 years after pregnancy.
  • Women with severe preeclampsia had significantly higher levels of beta amyloid, an Alzheimer’s-related brain change, as measured in blood compared to those with non-hypertensive pregnancies.
Persistent Loss of Smell Due to COVID-19 Closely Connected to Long-Lasting Cognitive Problems, and ICU Stays May Double Risk of Dementia in Older Adults

New insights into factors that may predict, increase or protect against the impact of COVID-19 and the pandemic on memory and thinking skills were revealed by multiple studies at AAIC 2022. A research group from Argentina found that persistent loss of the sense of smell may be a better predictor of long-term cognitive and functional impairment than severity of the initial COVID-19 disease. In a large study population from nine Latin American countries, experiencing a positive life change during the pandemic, such as more quality time with friends and family, reduced the negative impact of the pandemic on memory and thinking skills. Finally, hospitalization in the intensive care unit (ICU) was associated with double the risk of dementia in older adults, according to Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center in Chicago. These findings could be significant given the tremendous upsurge in ICU hospitalizations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ultra-Processed Foods May Speed Cognitive Decline

A study presented at AAIC 2022 finds that people who eat large amounts of ultra-processed foods have a faster decline in cognition. Researchers studied 10,775 people over eight years and found that high consumption (more than 20% of daily intake) of ultra-processed foods led to a 28% faster decline in global cognitive scores, including memory, verbal fluency and executive function. Ultra-processed foods go through significant industrial processes and contain large quantities of fats, sugar, salt, artificial flavors/colors, stabilizers and/or preservatives. Examples include sodas, breakfast cereals, white bread, potato chips and frozen “junk” foods.

Lower Socioeconomic Status, Persistent Low Wages Linked to Dementia Risk and Faster Memory Decline

Socioeconomic status (SES) — reflecting both social and economic measures of a person’s work experience, and of an individual’s or family’s economic access to resources and social position — has been linked to both physical and psychological health and well-being. Socioeconomic deprivation, including neighborhood disadvantages and persistent low wages, are associated with higher dementia risk, lower cognitive performance and faster memory decline, according to several studies:

  • Individuals who experience high socioeconomic deprivation — measured using income/wealth, unemployment rates, car/home ownership and household overcrowding — are significantly more likely to develop dementia compared to individuals of better socioeconomic status, even at high genetic risk.
  • Lower-quality neighborhood resources and difficulty paying for basic needs were associated with lower scores on cognitive tests among Black and Latino individuals.
  • Compared with workers earning higher wages, sustained low-wage earners experienced significantly faster memory decline in older age.
  • Higher parental SES was associated with increased resilience to the negative effects of Alzheimer’s marker ptau-181, better baseline executive function and slower cognitive decline in older age.
About the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference® (AAIC®)

The Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC) is the world’s largest gathering of researchers from around the world focused on Alzheimer’s and other dementias. As a part of the Association’s research program, AAIC serves as a catalyst for generating new knowledge about dementia and fostering a vital, collegial research community.
AAIC 2022 home page: www.alz.org/aaic/
AAIC 2022 newsroom: www.alz.org/aaic/pressroom.asp
AAIC 2022 hashtag: #AAIC22

About the Alzheimer’s Association®

The Alzheimer’s Association is a worldwide voluntary health organization dedicated to Alzheimer’s care, support and research. Our mission is to lead the way to end Alzheimer’s and all other dementia — by accelerating global research, driving risk reduction and early detection, and maximizing quality care and support. Our vision is a world without Alzheimer’s and all other dementia®. Visit alz.org or call 800.272.3900.

SOURCE Alzheimer’s Association

Learn more about Cadbury Commons’ Memory Care Program >

Mayo Clinic Q&A on Memory Loss

Recently, the Mayo Clinic News Network put out an interesting article about signs of memory loss based on a question from one of their readers. Are you wondering about a loved one’s memory? Take a read and learn about possible changes in memory and steps to take:

DEAR MAYO CLINIC: My mom is in her 80s, and I’ve noticed that her memory seems to be slipping. Sometimes she forgets a person’s name or can’t recall what she did the day before. Is it normal to have these types of lapses at her age or should I be worried they are signs of something more serious?

ANSWER: It is understandable that you are concerned about changes in your mother’s memory. Memory lapses and modest decline in thinking skills are common as people age. There’s a difference, however, between normal changes in memory and  associated with  such as Alzheimer’s disease and Lewy body dementia. And some memory problems are the result of treatable conditions.

It may help to think of  as running on a continuum, with each person’s memory and cognitive functioning falling somewhere along it. Some people have sharp memories and can recall even the smallest details, while others struggle to remember big events. Memory changes can be viewed as movement along this continuum.

Minor changes in memory as a person ages are considered normal. This includes misplacing reading glasses or occasionally having difficulty finding the right word. These situations are common and within the range of normal memory changes. These types of lapses don’t interfere with daily life and are not considered signs of dementia.

Mild cognitive impairment is a larger change along the memory continuum. This occurs if a person is experiencing memory changes in addition to cognitive changes, such as thinking or reasoning skills. Symptoms could include short-term memory problems, repeating conversations and questions, and increased reliance on lists. However, people with mild cognitive impairment usually can manage their own finances, medications and household chores, and drive without concern.

For some people,  does not worsen. Their memory and function remain constant for the rest of their lives. For others, it is an early symptom of a neurodegenerative condition such as Alzheimer’s disease.

You may be concerned that your mother is developing dementia. It’s important to know that dementia is not a specific disease, but rather a group of symptoms that affects memory, thinking and social abilities severely enough to interfere with daily life. Unfortunately, dementia has a negative connotation. What it really means is that a person’s brain function is impaired enough that the person cannot live alone and requires help with some daily tasks. Memory loss that disrupts daily life is one of the first and more recognizable signs of dementia.

Other early signs can include:

    • Asking the same questions repeatedly.
    • Forgetting common words when speaking.
    • Mixing words up, such as saying “bed” instead of “table.”
    • Taking longer to complete familiar, simple tasks, such as operating a microwave or washing machine.
    • Being unable to perform complex tasks with many steps, such as following a recipe or playing a board game.
    • Misplacing items in inappropriate places, such as putting a wallet in the refrigerator.
    • Getting confused while walking or driving in a familiar area.
    • Transposing numbers, such as when balancing a checkbook or dialing a telephone number.
    • Limiting participation in conversations.

I recommend that you schedule an appointment for your mother with a memory care expert. Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative conditions cannot be diagnosed by completing a one-time memory test.

Regardless of diagnosis, here are a few things that you can do to help your mother’s memory:

    • Encourage independence and purpose. Every person wants to feel purposeful, so help your mother remain active and performing  for as long as possible. You may need to modify some activities. For example, labeling cabinet doors or writing instructions for household appliances can provide a sense of independence.
    • Foster social interaction. Research has shown that regular social interaction slows cognitive decline. However, when people start to have memory problems, they often pull back socially to avoid embarrassment. Schedule social time with a small, safe group who is familiar with your mother so she doesn’t need to worry or feel self-conscious about repeating stories or asking questions.
    • Talk about preferences. Some people want to know if they have already asked a question or be gently reminded. This could agitate others. Ask her which option is preferred and recognize that this could shift as conditions change. Identify a way to confirm that she would like help. A simple nod or finger flick could signify that it is OK to lend support or assistance.
    • Create a predictable and soothing environment. Establishing and strengthening routine habits and minimizing memory-demanding tasks can make life easier for all. Keep her keys, purse and regularly used items in the same place. Post a large calendar in a common area to track daily schedules and appointments. Remove excess clutter to create a restful environment.
    • Encourage exercise. Your mom may not be able to run a marathon anymore, but regular movement improves blood flow, moderates mood and improves sleep. Gardening, walking and dancing are low-impact, safe activities for many people.
    • Plan healthy meals. People with memory concerns may forget to eat, lose interest in preparing meals or not eat a healthy combination of foods. Make every calorie beneficial by planning nutritionally dense meals that are rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes, fish, healthier fats, and herbs or seeds.

It can be challenging to cope with cognitive and memory changes. Remember to surround yourself with a care team that includes neurology, neuropsychology and psychiatry, as well as other practitioners who can offer more advice.

Learn more about Cadbury Commons Memory Care >

2022 Walk to End Alzheimer’s – Greater Boston

Walk to End Alzheimer’s – Register / Volunteer

Are you passionate about putting an end to Alzheimer’s? Are you looking for ways to give back? Would you like to meet new people while supporting a great cause? The Alzheimer’s Association is moving forward with planning for October’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s which is the world’s largest event to fight Alzheimer’s. Details below about how to register, volunteer, or simply attend to cheer on in the Greater Boston area.

Schedule of Events:
Walkers Welcome & Route Opens at 8:30 a.m. | Ceremony at 10 a.m. | Walk begins after Ceremony

DCR North Point Park | Map it
Route Length:

Melissa Shirtcliff | 617.393.2094 | [email protected]

General Information:
Where do the funds go?
All funds raised through Walk to End Alzheimer’s further the care, support and research efforts of the Alzheimer’s Association. The Alzheimer’s Association is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization. All donations are tax-deductible as allowed by law.

Do I have to register in order to Walk?
Yes, we want to know you’re walking with us and need every participant to sign a standard waiver through their official registration. There is no registration fee for Walk. However, we ask every participant to make a personal donation and commit to raising funds in the fight against Alzheimer’s.

Do I need to register my children for Walk?
Yes, children should register. Parents/guardians can register children online or complete an offline registration form and sign the waiver on behalf of the child.

Does every participant get a T-shirt?
Every registered participant who achieves the fundraising minimum of $150 will receive an official Walk to End Alzheimer’s T-shirt via USPS. To receive a shirt in time for Walk day, participants must raise the T-shirt minimum at least four weeks prior to the event.

How do I get my offline donations to show up on my personal fundraising web page?
Donations can be made offline by submitting a check or money order by mail or hand-delivering to the local Alzheimer’s Association office. Be sure to include your offline donation form, which can be found in your Participant Center or on your fundraising web page, to make sure you receive credit for the donation. Donations typically take one to two weeks to show up on your web page. Don’t want to wait? You can also deposit checks directly to your Walk page from the Walk to End Alzheimer’s mobile app for iPhone or Android.

Event Specifics
Will there be COVID-19 safety measures in place at Walk?
The health and safety of our participants, staff and volunteers are our top priorities. Walk events will be designed with this in mind including a venue layout that allows for physical distancing, hand sanitizer stations, contactless registration and more. The Association will continue to closely monitor Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), state and local guidelines and make adjustments to our event-day safety protocols as needed.

Are pets, strollers, bicycles and skates allowed on Walk day?
We do allow strollers, but for everyone’s safety, we discourage skateboards, bicycles, inline skates and wheelie footwear. Depending on the Walk location rules, well-behaved dogs are welcome, but must be on a leash at all times.

What happens if it rains?
Walk is a rain or shine event. However, in the case of severe weather, we will cancel. If this is the case, we will update our Walk homepage on or before the morning of the event.

We need volunteers! Know anyone who might be interested in helping us on the day of the event?
We need volunteers to help with set-up, clean-up, registration, water stops, Promise Garden and so much more. All interested volunteers should visit our volunteer page for more information about event day roles and responsibilities.

How do I get a Promise Garden Flower?
Each registered participant will receive a Promise Garden flower. Please choose the color that best represents your connection to the disease.

Blue represents someone living with Alzheimer’s or another dementia
Purple is for those who have lost a someone to the disease.
Yellow represents someone who is currently supporting or caring for a person living with Alzheimer’s.
Orange is for those who support the cause and the Association’s vision of a world without Alzheimer’s and all other dementia.

Still have questions?

Check out our FAQs page, or contact:
Coordinator: Melissa Shirtcliff
Phone: 617.393.2094
Email: [email protected]

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Learn about Cadbury Commons’ Memory Care Program >