Alzheimer's blogs can help to prepare people with Alzheimer's and their families for the road ahead.
According to the Alzheimer's Association, someone in the U.S. develops Alzheimer's disease every 66 seconds. Due to the rising population in the U.S. of people aged 65 and older, the number of new cases of Alzheimer's and other dementias is set to soar.
Alzheimer's is a progressive and irreversible brain disorder. The disease slowly destroys memory and thinking capacity, and it eventually prevents the ability to complete even the simplest of tasks.
Alzheimer's disease is currently ranked as the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S., although recent reports state that Alzheimer's-related deaths may have been underreported and may, in fact, rank third, just behind heart disease and cancer as a leading cause of death for people aged 75 and older.
Blogs written by associations, people with Alzheimer's, and caregivers of people with Alzheimer's may help to support both those living with Alzheimer's and their families, and they could help to prepare them for the road ahead.
Below are the top blogs selected by Medical News Today that focus on Alzheimer's disease. These blogs showcase the most recent research, provide a day-in-the-life account of living with the disease, and share perspectives from caregivers.
Alzheimers.net is an online community that supports people affected by Alzheimer's disease. The Alzheimers.net blog includes a wide range of articles that cover Alzheimer's research, discuss dementia therapies, provide tips and resources for caregivers, and give up-to-date information on the ongoing research to determine causes, treatments, and prevention of dementia.
Sensory therapies including art therapy, music therapy, and gardening therapy may benefit people with Alzheimer's.
"Alzheimers.net was created in 2013 to give caregivers and those with Alzheimer's a place to share a passion for change and a cure for the disease," the Alzheimers.net team told MNT. "We are dedicated to advocacy, education, and supporting those whose lives have been impacted by Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia."
We were drawn, in particular, to the articles that focus on innovative dementia therapies and the benefits they have for people with Alzheimer's.
"All types of sensory therapy have a positive impact on those with Alzheimer's; we have several blog articles on the topic, such as how art therapy enhances the quality of life for dementia patients, using music to enhance the quality of life of people with Alzheimer's, and gardening therapy tips for people with Alzheimer's," said the Alzheimers.net team.
"Reminiscence therapy is also beneficial for both those with Alzheimer's and their caregivers. Articles that cover this area include how reminiscence therapy improves the lives of Alzheimer's patients, reminiscence books to help people with Alzheimer's, and 5 reasons to make a memory box for Alzheimer's."
"The environment in which a person with dementia lives can have a large impact on their quality of life. Articles such as how positive environments dramatically affect Alzheimer's, the importance of building dementia-friendly communities, and how model towns help those with Alzheimer's go into more detail," they add.
Here are the Alzheimers.net blog's three most popular articles:
- 10 stimulating activities for Alzheimer's patients
- Can coconut oil prevent Alzheimer's?
- The connection between UTIs and dementia
Cognitive Vitality is a program of the Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF), and it is dedicated to empowering people to make informed decisions about their brain health. The Cognitive Vitality blog has the aim of "examining issues that are on your mind."
"Alzheimer's is a complex disease and will likely require several drugs to treat it effectively," Yuko Hara told MNT.
The Cognitive Vitality blog was started because "there is a lot of misinformation. Headlines tout everything from maple syrup to jellyfish proteins," Yuko Hara, Ph.D., acting director of Aging and Alzheimer's Prevention at the ADDF, explained to MNT.
"We started Cognitive Vitality to give people access to credible, science-backed information about brain health. Our goal is to empower people to make smart choices for their brains. In addition to our in-house neuroscientists, an external Clinical Advisory Board reviews all our ratings before we post them to the site," she added.
Articles on the Cognitive Vitality blog fit neatly into categories, making it easy to find information. For example, there are "Get the Science" articles such as light therapy for Alzheimer's disease and could Alzheimer's be treated with an anti-viral drug?, which present evidence-based information backed up with scientific studies, and "Avoid Risks" articles such as danger in the air and more medications, more risks.
The blog reports on promising research to prevent, treat, and cure Alzheimer's. "Many areas of Alzheimer's research are promising. Alzheimer's is a complex disease and will likely require several drugs to treat it effectively," said Hara.
"The [ADDF], our parent nonprofit, is investing in drugs targeting its many underlying causes, including neuroinflammation, epigenetics, vascular issues, mitochondrial dysfunction, and misfolded proteins. We also invest heavily in drugs to protect neurons from all those factors."
Here are the Cognitive Vitality's blog's three most popular articles:
- What APOE means for your health
- Three promising diets to improve cognitive vitality
- Can brain training lower your risk of dementia?
The Caregiver's Voice
Brenda Avadian founded The Caregiver's Voice in 1998 to serve caregivers and professionals who work with adults with cognitive impairment or dementia. "In 1996, my husband and I moved my father, who was diagnosed with dementia, into our home," Avadian informed MNT.
"Family caregivers and professionals value our original articles authored by both professionals and family caregivers," said Brenda Avadian to MNT.
"I actively participated in online chats, worldwide and in-person support groups. While we had access to helpful resources, caregiving families hungered for information by fellow family caregivers - those who walked the same road."
"After filling the void by writing a best-selling memoir about my father's walk through Alzheimer's, TheCaregiversVoice.com became the go-to source for both professionals and family caregivers seeking a deeper perspective of caring for a loved one with dementia while maintaining a sense of humor."
The Caregiver's Voice exudes a lighthearted, friendly tone and is filled with engaging articles laced with a little humor, such as I am not your sweetie! and 8 ways a caregiver can maintain a healthy level of insanity, and tips for caregivers, such as pureeing palatable meals for a loved one with dysphagia.
"Family caregivers and professionals value our original articles authored by both professionals and family caregivers that cover seven categories, including Caregiver Tips, Inspiration, Book and Product Reviews, Humor, and a whole column featuring Voices with Dementia," said Avadian.
Here are The Caregiver's Voice's three most popular features:
- Pharmacist Robert Bowles engages life with dementia
- The five-minute respite for caregivers by Brenda Avadian
- Finding the JOY in caregiving for Mom
Alzheimer's Universe is a website created to educate family members and caregivers of people with Alzheimer's, provide the most up-to-date Alzheimer's disease information, and offer help for people with mild memory loss due to Alzheimer's, through interactive lessons and engaging activities.
In addition to the blog, Alzheimer's Universe has an activities page with cognitive assessment tools, links to resources, and surveys.
The Alzheimer's Universe blog extends this Alzheimer's education using easy-to-read articles that cover anything from "quick Alzheimer's prevention pearls" - such as how a daily walk promotes brain health and regular exercise may protect against depression in Alzheimer's disease - to therapeutic pieces detailing how canine companionship can help with Alzheimer's.
"We aim to educate the public about the latest evidence-based information on Alzheimer's disease prevention, treatment, and caregiving," Richard S. Isaacson, director of the Alzheimer's Prevention Clinic, associate professor of neurology, and director of the Neurology Residency Program at Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, told MNT.
"We have a team of medical experts from Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian, and other academic institutions around the globe, that help to review the content and choose topics of highest interest. We have found that the blog is a gateway to joining AlzU.org and that members have uniformly been satisfied with the free content on the site. Also, we have presented our research findings on outcomes on the course at scientific conferences nationally and internationally."
"We try to cover the latest information and incorporate questions submitted on our Ask the Experts page," continues Isaacson. "In addition to the free course offered after joining AlzU.org, we have an activities page with sample cognitive assessment tools, links to resources, and surveys where we collect user feedback. The blog helps to cover suggested topics that are not contained within the course as per member input."
Here are the Alzheimer's Universe blog's three most popular articles:
- Benefits of clinical trials for Alzheimer's prevention and treatment
- What caregivers should know about alcohol use and Alzheimer's disease
- Proper body mechanics for Alzheimer's caregivers
Dealing with Dementia
The Dealing with Dementia blog is the creation of Kay Bransford and was inspired by her experience of looking after her parents: "My mom stopped liking her favorite foods, and my dad stopped joking around. Some changes were subtle while others were so overwhelming and no one else seemed to notice."
"The person with dementia is struggling to find meaning and purpose and the people that support them are all worried that they will be taken advantage of as well as for their safety," Kay Bransford told MNT.
"When I was working full-time, a colleague shared her fashion blog with me. She wanted us to do one for the company," Kay Bransford told MNT. "When I saw it, I realized it would allow me to share some of the things with my siblings that all lived out of the area. I was exhausted telling and re-telling my three siblings when they called what was going on."
"When I started writing, I realized I could more clinically absorb the situation and process what was happening and what I could learn from my experience. Things I had trouble talking about, I could freely write about," she added.
The blog contains anecdotes (including grief is a sneaky beast), step-by-step guides (such as how to fight elder fraud), and advice (including articles such as caregiving or enabling?), gained through personal experience - all articles that are worthy of helping in real-life situations for people with dementia and their families.
Kay's advice to families that are dealing with the early stages of dementia is: "Hang on! I talk to many adult children in this stage and share that I still feel like it's the worst. The person with dementia is struggling to find meaning and purpose and the people that support them are all worried that they will be taken advantage of as well as for their safety."
"Most of those diagnosed don't recognize their diagnosis or how their behavior is changing. We just got this program to the metro-DC area, and I hope to have a few of my clients go through it. It helps counsel the individual and provides a neutral third party to help navigate next steps."
Here are the Dealing with Dementia blog's three most popular articles:
- My mom repeats herself, but she doesn't have dementia
- What happens when Adult Protective Services is called
- Will Wells Fargo accept your DPOA?
If you are concerned about your health or a family member's health, it is always advisable to get advice from a healthcare professional as soon as possible.