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Alzheimer's Info - Carers UK Forum

Alzheimer's Info

For issues specific to caring for someone with dementia.
Hello all,
Unfortunately my grandfather has recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer's. Whilst this wasn't a shock to us this news has been devastating and left us with much anxiety for the future as he has always been a very central part of our family.

This diagnosis also made me realise how little I know of the disease, despite having known about it for many years. It also made me think about the causes, especially as it isn't the first diagnosis of a male in my family. Being a male myself this has only added to my stress!

In order to learn a bit more about the disease and where it comes from I have decided to do a project for school based around the question 'Is the development of Alzheimer's in later life a result of biological or lifestyle factors and to what extent do these factors guarentee development?' and I am looking to see if I can interview anyone who may be close to someone or who is generally knowledgable about the disease in order to find out a bit more about it. Primarily about the lifestyle elements as these are the hardest to research in other ways.

Obviously I do not want to overstep my boundaries at all, I do not want to pry into the lives of people affected by the disease, all it would be is a set of questions reguarding family history and lifestyle habits of sufferers (smoking, etc). If anyone would like to help me please do reply and equally if anyone has any suggestions for how I could find out any more information, anything would be of help.

Thank you all for your time.

- Christy
Hiya, that is an ambitious project but I wish you luck! The thing is, medical and pharma and statistical research etc worldwide has not yet come up with many of the answers you seek.

Sorry about the diagnosis....do bear in mind anyone living with dementia (Alz included) will experience it differently, speed of deterioration etc.

You could also try researching wider...try some of the many concerned organisations including Alzheimer's.org.uk
And Dementia.uk....find more for yourself ok?
Are you still studying at school or are you a teacher? I am concerned because this forum is meant for over eighteens, I think.....sorry if that sounds patronising I happen to be fairly ancient myself (70) so it seems to come with the territory :blush: being protective and all that stuff.
I lost my Husband last year, it was Vascular dementia (mixed with Alz probably) which contributed to his end of life. Though I hasten to we still found tiny ways to help him enjoy life almost to the very end. :) music etc when can be appreciated even in the very very last stages.

He never ever smoked, seldom drank alcohol, played golf, was a keen gardener and had a fulfilling and worthwhile career.

That answer any of your questions? Hope so. :)
Good luck.
In respect of vascular dementia, keeping physically fit and exercised seems to be one way of 'warding it off', yet the experience of Danced's husband might counter that (maybe depends how much golf he played!). The theory I believe is that a high level of general fitness through exercise will keep our heart-lung function good, and that will supply the brain well with blood/oxygen/nutrients, and that will keep the brain healthy. That's the hope, anyway!

My MIL has vascular dementia, and although she lived very well in terms of good nutrition (took lots of supplements etc etc) and was very independent,the one thing she didn't do was exercise much (other than going shopping!). That said, she didn't develop dementia until she was nearly 90, so she did pretty well (such a shame it got her in the end - would have been kinder if she'd died of stroke or something before her mind went, sigh.) (the 'blessing' for her now is that she does not know how bad she is....she would be appalled to think this was to be her fate.)
I'm sorry to hear of your grandmother's diagnosis and hope that you will gain some insight and support from this forum. I would also recomend you look at the Alzheimers Society's website and their forum Talking Point but you no doubt are aware of that anyway. Dad has Vascular Dementia and I'm happy to answer your questions. I know a lot of reasearch students get brushed aside as time wasting as others have tried before but one day some one will find something useful.... Please PM me to get in touch.
BEen thinking about you and your Grandfather :)

Here's something for you:-"Many risk factors have been discovered from studying large groups of people and looking at what those with dementia have in common. However, just because something is linked to dementia does not mean that it causes the condition. The link may be the other way round, ie dementia increases a person's chances of having the apparent risk factor - for example, depression in later life. Or they may share an underlying cause.
Something is more likely to be a genuine risk factor if there is a plausible way in which it might make dementia more likely, based on our understanding of how dementia develops. A good example is the clear way that, because high blood pressure can cause strokes and strokes can cause vascular dementia, high blood pressure is a risk factor for vascular dementia.
Overall, the best kind of evidence for identifying risk factors comes from clinical trials. These look at what happens over time when some people in the trial are given a medicine (eg to lower blood pressure) or adopt different behaviours (eg various diets). Such dementia 'prevention' trials are increasing but are still not common. In order to show an effect on dementia, they generally need to run for many years and involve hundreds or even thousands of people. Even trials that assess smaller changes - for example, by testing mental abilities - can be very complicated to organise and expensive to do.
Very few studies of dementia risk factors have looked specifically at the less common dementias such as frontotemporal dementia (FTD) or dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB). This factsheet, unless stated otherwise, is about the risk factors for the more common types of dementia. These are Alzheimer's disease, vascular dementia and mixed dementia (when someone has more than one type of dementia, most often Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia).
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Nicked from Alzheimer's Soc website!!! I expect you need the ref.
Here are some ALTERNATIVE areas of research which might be of interest to you....for your project :)

Identify (and evaluate?) initiatives to increase dementia awareness in this locality.

Identify NUrsing care homes within 30 miles approved and licensed to care for those living with dementia through to end of life care.

The role of the voluntary sector for supporting those living with

AN overview of Funding for dementia research nationwide.

ACtivities used in dementia care to prolong interests and hence avoid boredom, restlessness and agitation.

What training and/or qualifications for dementia care is offered in local colleges and or in the work place.

I could go on and on but risk boring you lol

(By the way if you ARE under 18..... nobody is gonna bite you we just need to be aware, ok?) ;) no doubt you know at least as much as any of us do about Internet Security blah blah blah.
Enjoy your project and I think your interest will help you with your Grandfather too. :D
@Jenny....lots of golf plus four acres of land!!!! ;)
Danced, well, that should have kept him pretty fit! It really is, in a way, to my mind scarier when one CAN'T identify a 'good reason' why someone gets dementia. I think it's the 'lack of control' that is scary - as in, lack of the knowledge of how we CAN control whether we develop it. Maybe genetics will shed light, but that has its own downside - no one likes to think they are 'doomed' to dementia (or anything else that is currently uncurable).

It can't just be for lack of mental stimulation either - some very bright 'intellectuals' get it, and surely they are the last people to have 'dull brains'.
My hubby had a thirst to learn all of the time. Played golf, was a football ref many years ago. Did all sorts. Parachute jump for charity. He smoked years ago but gave up about 25yrs ago. Did like a drink but he drove so had to exercise control.
So , why I've asked myself did he have strokes, and now has vascular dementia? ?
Bitter, sometimes yes. Retirement for us both wasn't meant to be like this. Bitterness won't change it though and won't do me or my family any good.