Make a Wine Cork Ball

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Wine cork balls are decorative, yet inexpensive and easy to make. Your biggest obstacle may be finding enough wine corks for your project! Consider collecting any wine corks that you, friends, family, or neighbors may use. Another option is to purchase wine corks in bulk from such vendors as Amazon.

Step-by-step instructions for this craft can be found at the website below:

http://www.imbored-letsgo.com/diy-wine-cork-ball/

As you work through the steps of this project, be mindful of safety concerns, such as use of the hot glue gun. This project may not be suitable if your person might attempt to bite or swallow the wine corks. Provide supervision, guidance, and reassurance throughout the process. Also, consider breaking up the activity into multiple sessions over many days, versus doing everything at once. You can use your finished product as a decorative accent to your living space or as a centerpiece. If you are feeling adventurous, you could add ribbon or faux vine, leaves, berries, grapes, etc. to change the look.

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Practice Mindfulness Based Meditation

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Mindfulness refers to being fully aware of the present moment — on purpose and without judgment. When we focus our full attention on the present, we are less likely to worry about past or future events. In addition, some research suggests that practising mindfulness routinely may provide significant benefits, such as a greater sense of well-being, reduced stress level, and better physical and mental health outcomes.

In a society that places high importance on multi-tasking and non-stop streaming of information, focusing on one moment at a time is a challenging feat! Follow along with the mindfulness-based meditation exercise below, or make modifications in order for it to be a meaningful experience for you.

Mindfulness

Try it out!

Sit in a comfortable position.

Close your eyes and take a few slow breaths in and out.

Slow down your mind and bring your focus to the sound and feeling of your breath.

Pay attention to the rising and falling of your stomach with each full inhale and exhale.

Calmly assess your current physical state. Are there any muscles that are tighter than normal? Is your body still carrying any weight or stress from the day?

Let go of these thoughts and feelings.

Do not burden your body and mind with negative thoughts.

You are relaxing in this moment. 

Breath out the discomfort and focus on the tranquility of your body.

Focus on how good your body and mind feel to relax.

Want to learn more? Look into the work of Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn (the pioneer of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction) or check out this website for more ideas on how to incorporate mindfulness into your day.

References

Christopher A. Pepping , Analise O’Donovan & Penelope J. Davis (2013) The positive effects of
mindfulness on self-esteem, The Journal of Positive Psychology: Dedicated to furthering research and promoting good practice, 8:5, 376-386

Kabat-Zinn, J., & Gazella, K. (2005). Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD: bringing mindfulness to medicine. Alternative Therapies In Health & Medicine, 11(3), 56-64.

Marion Martin (2010) Mindfulness- and acceptance-based behavioral therapies in practice, British Journal of Guidance & Counselling, 38:1, 133-135

http://www.themindfulword.org/2012/mbsr-mindfulness-based-stress-reduction/

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Start a Team for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s

To learn more to register for the Greater Michigan Chapter’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s, click here.

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Namaste! Do Some Yoga

yoga for senior citizens

The benefits of yoga are well-documented by research. In fact, some researchers suggest that yoga may have the ability to improve sleep [4], decrease chronic inflammation [5], and even slow the aging process [2]. One study [1] found that over the course of an 8-week yoga and compassion meditation intervention, familial caregivers of persons with dementia had statistically significant decreases in reported stress, anxiety, and depression, in addition to lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

Still looking for a reason to try yoga? Recent research [3] suggests that regular participation in yoga may be rather beneficial for individuals with dementia. Some of the benefits cited include decreased behavioral issues, increased physical functioning, and improved muscle strength and agility.

So what is yoga? “Yoga is an ancient East Indian practice that utilizes mind, body, and spirit to balance our systems. Yoga combines flexibility, balance, strength, breathing, and meditation through a series of stationary poses that use isometric contraction and relaxation of different muscle groups to create specific body alignments” [3] Yoga’s definition is very broad and can be interpreted in different ways. For instance, someone with limited mobility can implement yogic exercises in the form of chair yoga. Yoga instructors and enthusiasts can often recommend adaptations to traditional yoga exercises, if certain movements are problematic.

Try out some of the yoga poses below at home. If you prefer to follow along with an instructor, consider renting a yoga DVD for free from your local library or find free YouTube videos online. Be very mindful of physical limitations, and if necessary, consult a physician to ensure that this type of exercise is appropriate for you and your person.

Lily Pads

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My favorite….don’t forget to…

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Rest in savasana when you need to take a break or at the end of your yoga routine. Let the tension from your body sink into the floor. Let all of the stresses from the day melt off of your body. Concentrate on the rhythm of your breathing as you deliberately and consciously take full breaths in and out. If your mind wanders, gently redirect your attention to your breath and the stillness of your body. Become aware of how good your body feels to rest and restore.

Namaste!

References

 1 Danucalov, M. D., Kozasa, E. H., Ribas, K. T., Galduróz, J. F., Garcia, M. C., Verreschi, I. N., Oliveira, K.C., Romani de Oliveira, L., &  Leite, J. R. (2013). A Yoga and Compassion Meditation Program Reduces Stress in Familial Caregivers of Alzheimer’s Disease Patients. Evidence-Based Complementary & Alternative Medicine (Ecam), 1-8. doi:10.1155/2013/513149

 2 Lavretsky, H. M. (2013). A pilot study of yogic meditation for family dementia caregivers with depressive symptoms: effects on mental health, cognition, and telomerase activity A pilot study of yogic meditation for family dementia caregivers with depressive symptoms: effects.. International Journal Of Geriatric Psychiatry, 28(1), 57-65.

 3 Litchke, L. G., & Hodges, J. S. (2014). The Meaning of “Now” Moments of Engagement in Yoga for Persons With Alzheimer’s Disease. Therapeutic Recreation Journal, 48(3), 229-246.

 4 Staples, J. K., Hamilton, M. F., & Uddo, M. (2013). A yoga program for the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder in veterans. Military Medicine,178(8), 854-860. doi:10.7205/MILMED-D-12-00536

 5 Yadav, R. K., Magan, D., Mehta, N., Sharma, R., & Mahapatra, S. C. (2012). Efficacy of a Short-Term Yoga-Based Lifestyle Intervention in Reducing Stress and Inflammation: Preliminary Results. Journal Of Alternative & Complementary Medicine, 18(7), 662-667. doi:10.1089/acm.2011.0265

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Celebrate Black History Month by Spreading Alzheimer’s Awareness

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During Black History Month, we celebrate some of our nation’s greatest achievements and honor remarkable, inspirational individuals from all walks of life. This February, spread Alzheimer’s awareness in your effort to recognize Black History Month.

Did you know…

  • Although whites make up the great majority of the over 5 million Americans with Alzheimer’s disease, available research shows that African Americans are at a higher risk. In fact, African Americans are about two times more likely than white Americans to have Alzheimer’s and other dementias.
  • Although the rate of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia in African Americans is higher than whites, they are less likely than whites to have a diagnosis of the condition.
  • When they are diagnosed, African Americans are typically diagnosed in the later stages of the disease, when they are more cognitively and physically impaired — and therefore need more medical care.
  • Genetic factors do not appear to account for the greater prevalence of — or greater risk for developing — Alzheimer’s disease. Better management of chronic health conditions, such as hypertension and diabetes, may play an important role in controlling one’s risk.

Do your part by sharing the facts about Alzheimer’s disease. Find everything in the 2014 Facts and Figures report or check out this webpage about African Americans and Alzheimer’s disease.

There is a critical need for African American clinical trial participants. Join a study today through the Alzheimer’s Association TrialMatch program and help move research forward tomorrow. Don’t just hope for a cure. Help us find one!

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What’s the Deal with Aluminum?

aluminum pot

Have you ever heard that using aluminum pots or drinking from aluminum cans can increase your risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease? Despite the prevalence of this myth, very few experts believe that everyday sources of aluminum pose any threat. In fact, several studies have failed to confirm any role of aluminum in Alzheimer’s disease.

Some key points to consider:

  • Most researchers and mainstream health care professionals believe, based on current knowledge, that consumption of aluminum is not a significant risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease.
  • It is unlikely that people can significantly reduce their consumption of aluminum by avoiding aluminum containing cookware, foil, beverage cans, medications, or other products.
  • The exact role (if any) of aluminum in Alzheimer’s disease is still being research and debated.
  • If aluminum exposure had a major impact on risk, scientists would have already gained a clearer picture of its involvement over the decades that they have been studying the issue.
  • Research studies since the 1960s have failed to document a clear role for aluminum in causing Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Although the results of some studies have suggested that consumption of aluminum may be linked to Alzheimer’s, just as many studies have found no link between aluminum consumption and Alzheimer’s.

To learn more about myth and Alzheimer’s disease, click here.

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Check Out Still Alice in Theatres

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Julianne Moore portrays a woman living with Younger-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease in the newly released film Still Alice (based on a best-selling novel written by Lisa Genova). The movie provides a frank and open portrayal of the devastating effects of the disease. Moore’s character, Alice, represents a terrifying reality that more than 5 million Americans can relate to. Women in particular are largely impacted by this disease as they sit at epicenter of the Alzheimer’s crisis. In fact, women are more likely to develop the disease and are more likely to be a caregiver for someone living with memory loss during their lifetime.

Still Alice is released in theatres January 16th. Check out the trailer below or learn more about the women behind Still Alice by clicking here.

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