The Aging Brain and What the Faith Community Can Do International Association of Ministers‟ Wives and Ministers‟ Widows, Inc. July 1, 2009
Health Power’s Definition of Health Physical Health + Mental Health + Spiritual Health .
Health Power‟s Key Focus Disease Prevention Early Disease Detection Disease Control
Hallmarks of Health Power’s Approach Customized health information and promotion messages that are: Authoritative - user-friendly - culturally relevant Focus on physical, mental and spiritual health
Hallmarks of Health Power’s Approach (Continued)Focus on diseaseprevention, early detection andcontrolWeb-based and other multi-media health communications
Risk Factors for Alzheimer’s• Age 10% of persons over 65 years of age; 50% of persons over 85 years of age. Since the number of African Americans over 64 years will double in the next 30 years, it‟s a coming silent epidemic.
Risk Factors for Alzheimer’s• Family History A history of Alzheimer‟s in a first degree relative is consistently associated with Alzheimer‟s. Yet, one can never know for sure.
A Rapidly Changing Demographic Picture Growth of Multicultural Populations40 36 U.S. Trend1:35 29.330 24.8 Increasingly, a racially and ethnically diverse nation;25 Result: Unless major action is20 taken to eliminate racial and ethnic health disparities:1510 - A less healthy workforce and society, 5 0 - A further increase in the spiraling cost of health care, 1990 2000 2015 for all2. Source 1: U.S. Census Bureau; Source 2: Multiple Reports
How Alzheimer’s Affects the African American Community• A “Silent epidemic” in the African American community• May disproportionately affect African Americans• There’s often later diagnosis and treatment, if at all.
What Alzheimer‟s Is (Continued)• Alzheimer‟s is not a normal part of the aging process.• Alzheimer‟s is a progressive disease that gets worse over time.
What Alzheimer’s Disease Is• The most common form of dementia;• A progressive, degenerative brain disease with gradual onset;• The disease can last from 7 to 20 years. The average duration is 7 to 12 years.
Key Alzheimer’s Information:Causes brain damage as a resultof: Fragments of plaques and tangles causing nerve cell death, and Decreased levels of chemicals being involved in sending brain messages.
What Happens During Alzheimer’sThere’s a steady decline in the ability to: Remember and Learn Think and Reason Communicate and Respond Live independently
Three Key Causes of Dementia Alzheimer‟s Disease Vascular Dementia* Alcohol-Related Dementia** Related to lifestyle and health practices
Alcohol-Related DementiaAlcohol-related dementia results frombrain damage. Key causes of damage:- Toxic effects of alcohol on the liver and brain;- Secondary damage to other organs from alcohol abuse, increased vitamin deficiency, risk of stroke.
About the Normal “Aging Brain” A slower pace of learning. Need for new information to be repeated, and possible tendency to repeat past experiences. Some also have some cognitive decline (have greater risk of dementia.
Ten Warning Signs of Dementia• Memory loss• Difficulty in doing familiar tasks• Problems with language• Confusion about time and place• Poor or decreased judgment
Ten Warning Signs of Dementia (Continued)•Problems with abstract thinking•Misplacing things•Changes in mood or behavior•Changes in personality•Loss of initiative
Importance of Early Diagnosis of Dementia May help the person with dementia: Educate him/herself on the disease to decrease fear; Participate in their own care planning Make legal and financial arrangements
Importance of Early Diagnosis of Dementia Although there is no cure for Alzheimer‟s, with early treatment some medications can improve symptoms or slow the disease down.
Ways to Help a Loved One with Alzheimer‟s/Dementia Be flexible about the way the person talks or what he or she says. Make connections through songs or old hymns. Have a quiet room where the caregiver can take the person if he/she becomes anxious during the service.
Ways to Help a Loved One with Alzheimer‟s/Dementia Plan short frequent (home) visits. Encourage the person to continue taking part in service and social events (choir, etc).
Ways to Help a Loved One with Alzheimer‟s/Dementia Createa memory box with old family pictures and other special events. Create an atmosphere of joy, trust and comfort.
Helping the Caregiver Care-giving with dementia can be very stressful. Clergy and other faith community presence and support help a lot. Encourage respite care. Encourage use of support groups.
Special Care Issues Agitation, often associated with difficulty in carrying out usual personal care tasks. Wandering, or getting lost. Difficulty getting to sleep at night.
How to Decrease One’s Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease?• Stay informed and active.• Maintain healthy lifestyle• Partner to support research:• Become a volunteer – to an individual or organization.
Recent Research Findings on Improving Brain Health Stay physically healthy. Controlyour hypertension (high blood pressure) Participate in social activities.
Tips to Keep the Memory Sharp- Make, and use „Things To Do‟ lists.Planning tasks in advance. It exercisesthe mind. - Use note pads and calendars. - Exercise regularly. - Limit alcohol intake. Heavy drinking over time can cause permanent memory loss & brain damage.
More Tips to Keep the Memory Sharp- Develop hobbies and stay involvedin them. If they stop, being enjoyable,select new ones.- Do activities that reduce stress,anxiety, and depression. If they don‟twork, or stop working, talk to yourdoctor.
Joint Organizational Opportunities Cross-linking our web-site with yours: - For Information Exchange and - To help narrow the “Digital Divide. Other possible collaborations; Membership in “The Health Power Network”.
Health Power looks forward to working with you and yours. Remember:Knowledge + Action = Power !www.healthpowerforminorities.org