AOS & Friends Care: What Can WE Do to Help?

Dedicated to Serving Direct Care Needs and Supporting Programs and Events for Those Affected by Dementia

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3 Ways to Increase Your Cognitive Reserve

by Karen D. Sullivan, PhD, ABPP

Cognitive reserve is an important multi-dimensional concept that is beneficial to understand for preserving the health of your brain for as long as possible. It provides the best chance for fighting back against normal brain aging and age-associated brain disorders, like dementia.

Cognitive reserve is an evidence-based idea proposed by Columbia University neuropsychologist Dr. Yaakov Stern in the mid 1990s. It was inspired by a series of autopsy studies that revealed advanced pathological symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease (amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles) in the brains of some subjects who did not show symptoms of the disease in real life. Researchers initially thought this was due to a type of physical brain reserve after realizing that the people had larger brains than their counterparts. This was based on the assumption that they had more brain cells to lose and could, therefore, tolerate more brain disease before they showed the effects in life.

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Recognizing and Providing a Compassionate Approach to Caregiver Burnout

by Amy Natt, MS, CMC, CSA
Q: My dad has had multiple small strokes over the past three years, and my mom has been taking care of him at home. She does a great job, and my dad is doing well. They both want to stay in their home, and my mom insists she is capable of managing everything. When we visited a few weeks ago, we noticed mom slowing down a bit. She looked exhausted and has stopped golfing, because she doesn’t want to leave my dad alone. How can we encourage her to get more help?

A: Taking care of the caregiver is an important job and often one that gets overlooked until something happens to alert those around them that there is a problem. Caregivers are often so entrenched in the day-to-day care that they do not see how it is impacting their life and overall health.

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