Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Allowing a Little Risk Back into Nursing Homes

I recently spent several weeks living at two nursing homes in Toronto to better understand what it truly feels like to be a resident.  The inside perspective was invaluable, both confirming and disputing many of the beliefs and observances I had made on the occasions I had been a visitor.

It led me to rethink my view on risk and our tolerance of it in society.  Read more about my thoughts in my article published in the Globe & Mail here

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Do House Husbands Live Longer?

It’s no secret that regular physical exercise has many protective effects in all age groups. It’s been linked to reducing the risk of several diseases including coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, depression and overall mortality. But what about housework? A study recently published in PLOS ONE, the largest scientific open-access journal in the world, showed that older men who report doing heavy housework had a lower risk of overall mortality. That’s right folks, men who do more heavy chores around the house live longer. And the kicker? There’s no such association in women.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Where Do Superheros Go When They Grow Old?

Meet Frederika, photographer Sacha Goldberger’s anything but frail 93-year-old Hungarian grandmother. In his new book ‘Mamika My Mighty Little Grandmother’, Sacha unveils his muse in a series of hilarious and affectionate colour photographs taken over a three-year period.

Frederika, better known as Mamika (Hungarian for "my little grandmother") had retired in the late 80’s, but as the years went by found herself feeling lonely and depressed. In an effort to lift her spirits, Sacha, who is also her caregiver, came up with a brilliant idea: an outrageous photo-shoot with Frederika posing in colourful superhero costumes in less that superhero like situations. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Quit Playing Games with My Heart - The Backstreet Boys and Dementia

Do you sometimes hear a song on the radio that takes you back to the place you were when you first heard it? The emotions well up, even the sounds and smells of that place? When I hear ‘Quit Playing Games with My Heart’, I still go back to my living room, my best friend and I sitting on a beige shag carpet in front of the stereo singing our hearts out while clutching two halves of a towel that our favourite Backstreet boy had used to wipe the sweat off his face (I shudder to think of the hygienic implications of that now). It was an autumn day and sunlight was streaming in through the balcony door. I can still feel the heat on my face and the bubble of teenage excitement bouncing around in my chest cavity.

Well, music not only soothes the teenage spirit, but also soothes behavioural outbursts in dementia patients and may help recall memories that appear all but lost.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Scientists Found Guilty for not Predicting an Act of God

Today's post breaks from my usual themes on senior healthcare or dementia, but I feel very strongly about this issue. I know most people have other thoughts on their mind (like the US Presidential debate which Canadians seem to pay more attention to then their own elections!), but yesterday, scientists in Italy were found guilty of manslaughter for not predicting an earthquake!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Junk Food and Alzheimer's - Yet Another Link to Diet

This very interesting article was recently passed on to me and I thought it was worth a share.  It explores the potential link between junk food (synonymous with high fructose corn syrup and unhealthy fats) and Alzheimer's Disease/dementia (AD). 

There has been a lot of research done in the area of insulin and AD, focusing on AD as primarily a metabolic disease.  These studies have shown that insulin and insulin-like growth factors are lower in the brains of people who died with AD compared to those that did not.  So why is insulin so important?  It is a hormone produced by the pancreas to prod the liver, muscles and fat tissues to absorb glucose (sugar) from the blood.  Following that logic, type 2 diabetes occurs in people who develop insulin resistance resulting in extremely high blood glucose levels that become toxic.  Researchers who examine AD as a metabolic disease believe AD may be the next type 3 diabetes.

Monday, July 9, 2012

The Pink Elephant - Preparing for the Possibility of Dementia

Heart breaking stories about dementia are becoming frighteningly more frequent in the media, but the majority of people stalwartly persist in denial; “it will never happen to me”, “there will be a cure” or “I’m eating right and exercising my brain to prevent it”.  Unfortunately, the statistics are pretty damning.  In Canada alone, 1.12 million individuals are expected to be living with dementia by 2038.  In fact, one person is diagnosed with dementia every five minutes.  Those are intimidating numbers even for the strongest optimist.  Perhaps it is time to start talking about the pink elephant in the room, preparing for the possibility of developing dementia.