89 Year Old Relives Cheerleader Days

89 year old cheerleader

courtesy: WBTV News

89 year old Pauline Heafner was a cheerleader at Belmont High School (Belmont, NC) back in 1943.  They were some of the happiest days that she can recall given her dementia diagnosis of late. As  WBTV’s Kristen Hampton reports –  “The best memories of your life are sometimes the oldest ones.  For some people, those are the only memories left.”

In an act of absolute kindness, staff members at Abernethy Laurels asked the cheerleading squad at South Point High School to come visit the residents, and to do a few cheers.  The girls were especially ready for Pauline…

The whole squad of girls brought special pom-poms for Pauline and the staff made her a uniform complete with a huge “B” on the front just like the old days. Pauline gave the girls some good advice on keeping the crowds enthused and even let them hear some of her old cheers. – Kristen Hampton, WBTV

89 Year Old Relives Cheerleader Days


A good life is about give-and-take, but when you have dementia there’s a great deal of taking.  Only a week later, Pauline’s recall of the recent visit down memory lane is no more.  Shaylyn Ladd, PR Director for the retirement community told WBTV “Anytime with dementia it’s typically their short-term memory that goes first”.  That’s the bitter cruelness of dementia, it robs us of one of our most precious resources, our memories.

What Is Dementia?

What is Dementia

Teepa Snow on Dementia

Dementia is defined as “a chronic or persistent disorder of the mental processes caused by brain disease or injury and marked by memory disorders, personality changes, and impaired reasoning”.  But how much do you really know about dementia? Where does Alzheimer’s Disease fit into the dementia discussion?  Should I be worried about mom if she’s exhibiting memory lapses?

These are all questions that come up when discussing dementia with friends, family and many times when we’re in professional circles.  This brain disease is hitting a huge swath of aging individuals these days.  Did you know that 1 in 3 seniors die with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia?  We wanted to share one of the most comprehensive talks you’ll ever hear on the topic of Dementia.  The talk is given by Teepa Snow, one of America’s leading educators on dementia.  Her seminar is entitled “What is dementia”?  Watch the video below and let us know what you learned!New test for Alzheimers Disease

What Is Dementia?

A Father Teaches Son Valuable Lesson

father teaches sonYou’re allowed to cry while watching this video… There are many moments that provide teaching opportunities for parents, and this is certainly one of those moments.  In this beautiful short video directed by Constantin Pilavios, a father teaches his son a most valuable lesson in humility and patience.

Sometimes it’s easy to get impatient with elderly friends or family members, especially when memory is fading, or dementia like symptoms begin to set in.  Pilavios does a marvelous job reminding us that patience is indeed a virtue… His story is both heart warming and inspirational.

Father Teaches Son Valuable Lesson

If you were moved by this heartwarming story, you’ll love A Letter From a Mother to her Daughter.  But just a word of advice beforehand… better get a fresh kleenex. :)

3 New Studies Show Impact Of Exercise On Alzheimer’s Disease

Exercise and Alzheimer's DiseaseOn Thursday the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC) reported that 3 new (randomized controlled) trials demonstrated the positive impact aerobic exercise plays in patients with varying degrees of dementia. The new well-controlled trials provide further hope to millions that we can impact the progression of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.

From the AAIC press release: “There is a convincing body of evidence that regular physical activity can reduce the risk of cognitive decline, and possibly reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. In healthy older people, studies suggest physical exercise can improve cognition. However, until now, whether physical exercise could improve symptoms in people with Alzheimer’s, or beneficially impact the physical changes in the brain caused by the disease, was unknown.”

“Based on the results we heard reported today at AAIC 2015, exercise or regular physical activity might play a role in both protecting your brain from Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, and also living better with the disease if you have it,” – Maria Carrillo, PhD, Alzheimer’s Association Chief Science Officer

Impact of Exercise on Alzheimer’s Disease

The 3 studies involved in the research were:

  • The Danish ADEX Study, the first large, controlled trial of moderate to high intensity exercise in people with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s in Denmark. Steen Hasselbalch, MD, and colleagues from the Danish Dementia Research Centre (DDRC), Copenhagen, Denmark
  • A Tau Protein Study, a 6-month randomized controlled trial of moderate-to-high intensity aerobic exercise in 65 sedentary adults 55-89 years old with MCI (mild cognitive impairment) to test whether aerobic exercise might also lower tau levels in the brain.  Researchers Laura Baker, PhD and colleagues from Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston Salem NC, USA
  • An Aerobic Exercise in VCI Study, a six-month study of 71 adults 56-96 years old with confirmed cases of mild VCI (vascular cognitive impairment).  Teresa Liu-Ambrose, Canada Research Chair, PhD, PT, University of British Columbia and researcher at the Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health

Each of the 3 studies showed a positive correlation between exercise and the impact it can have on certain dementias.  The Alzheimer’s Association further reports that “There is a growing body of evidence that certain lifestyle choices, such as staying mentally active, eating a heart-healthy diet and staying socially engaged, can slow cognitive decline as people age.” It’s never to late to improve your health!

Click here to see the Alzheimer’s Associations new infographic titled 10 Ways to Love your Brain!

ALZ.ORG: 10 Ways To Love Your Brain

There was a great deal of positive news reported at The Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC) last week.  Among many topics discussed, 3 studies demonstrated the positive impact that exercise can have on dementia.  These studies further reinforce the notion that WE CAN impact this devastating disease in a number of ways.  Eating right, getting enough aerobic exercise and staying actively engaged with our communities seem to yield positive results for aging adults (with or without Alzheimer’s Disease).

The Alzheimer’s Association recently published a great infographic titled “10 Ways  To Love Your Brain”.  Given all of the new developments of the week, we thought it was appropriate to pass along.

10 Ways To Love Your Brain

impact of exercise on Alzheimer's Disease

Courtesy Alz.org

If you like the infographic make sure you pass it along to a friend!

Living With Dementia

Living With Dementia

Dementia is defined as “a chronic or persistent disorder of the mental processes caused by brain disease or injury and marked by memory disorders, personality changes, and impaired reasoning.”  For anyone who’s life has been touched by dementia, you know how difficult it is for the afflicted, and their loved ones.

To put this growing epidemic into context, The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that the number of people living with dementia (worldwide) is currently estimated at 47.5 million.  Incredibly it’s predicted to increase to 75.6 million by 2030.  Are you listening Baby Boomers?  We’re facing a crisis that is going to affect someone you love, in your lifetime.  You can bet on it.

A new case of dementia is diagnosed every 4 seconds.  The total number of new cases of dementia each year worldwide is nearly 7.7 million, implying 1 new case every 4 seconds. The number of people with dementia is expected to increase to 75.6 million in 2030 and 135.5 million in 2050. – World Health Organization

What’s it like living with someone afflicted with dementia?  In many cases, it’s like watching someone slip away before your very eyes.  There’s a tipping point to dementia where family members become more burdened than their loved one who is suffering.  Dementia sufferers can become so sick that they simply don’t recognize you, their surroundings, or even themselves.  They simply fall into a void.

Let me introduce you to Reddit user vingverm (otherwise known as Jake from Australia).  Jake’s  photo journal shares the decline of his 58 year old mother Jacquie.  Jacquie had been suffering from Pick’s Disease, which manifests with Dementia like symptoms, and leads to death (often in 2-5 years). The photos speak louder than words, so I’ll let his powerful lens give you a glimpse into his loving family.

Living With Dementia

Living with Dementia

“This was taken in 2005 or so. At this point, Jacquie had Pick’s Disease, but it had been misdiagnosed as menopause. She would be about 48 here.” – Vingverm/Reddit

Living With Dementia

“On the beach, around 2010. Lots of Jacquie around. She can’t remember too much though.” – Vingverm/Reddit

Living with Dementia

“2010 again. Riding on the back of dad’s motorbike was one of her favourite things to do. She got quite terrified when the helmets were on, but once moving had a blast. This had to stop in 2011, when an on-bike paranoia attack nearly caused an accident.” – Vingverm/Reddit

Living with Dementia

“Beach-time walks. Weight is falling off. Conversation is non-existent.” – Vingverm/Reddit

Living with Dementia

“The birth of her first grandchild. She had been looking forward to being a grandmother for years. ” – Vingverm/Reddit

Living with Dementia

“Still knows how to party. #yolo.” – Vingverm/Reddit

Living with Dementia

“Cuddles with her 14 month old grandson. He’s very careful with her, knows she’s special.” – Vingverm/Reddit

Living with Dementia

“She doesn’t walk very much anymore. And she has lost a large amount of weight.” – Vingverm/Reddit

Living with Dementia

“Fun times at the beach. She’s 58 here. Her eyes aren’t always open, and if they are, she’s staring into the void.” – Vingverm/Reddit

Living with Dementia

“Sometime’s we’ll move to her to beanbags on the floor.” – Vingverm/Reddit

Living with Dementia

“She still smiles and laughs sometimes. I have no idea why. I really hope she dies soon.” – Vingverm/Reddit

Are you caring for someone with Dementia? Do you know someone who is? Would you be willing to share your story with us? Our comment section (below) is an open forum for you.

New Study Finds Correlation Between Diabetes and Alzheimer’s Disease

A new study published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation (JIC) found a correlation in both diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease.  Researchers from the Washington University School of Medicine found that elevated blood glucose levels stimulate the amyloid-β (Aβ) peptide, which is a key factor implicated in sufferers of Dementia (and specifically those with Alzheimer’s disease).

While the relationship between diabetes and Alzheimer’s has long been suspected and studied, the newly discovered link could help researchers develop treatments that reduce the harmful effects of elevated blood sugar on brain function, lead author Shannon Macauley, Ph.D., told reporters. — John Hall (McKnight’s)

This isn’t the first such research to suggest the link between diabetes and Alzheimer’s Disease.  In December 2006, Edward R. Rosick (DO, MPH, DABHM) wrote a compelling article for Life Extension Magazine suggesting a”Deadly Connection Between Diabetes and Alzheimer’s“.  In his research nearly 10 years ago, Dr. Rosick noted that “those with insulin resistance or diabetes are at significantly higher risk of developing one of today’s most devastating and incurable neurological disorders: Alzheimer’s disease”.

Research like the diabetes studies noted above, inch us closer to treatments that could stave off or even cure somebody of Alzheimer’s Disease.  More focus, funding and analysis is necessary however, in order to scale back the growth of these pending epidemics.  Did you know the Alzheimer’s Association reports that 5.3 million Americans have Alzheimer’s Disease?  200,000 of those people are under the age of 65!  We encourage you to take good care of yourself (and your loved ones), to get yourself educated on Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease, and support your local community advocates (like the good folks at alz.org).

Diabetes and Alzheimer's Disease

What is Alzheimer’s Disease?

What is Alzheimer's Disease?This is the best video I’ve seen describing exactly what happens inside the brain of an Alzheimer’s Disease sufferer. While there is a great deal being done to understand Dementia related diseases, we need to do more. Did you know that 1 in 3 seniors dies of Alzheimer’s or another dementia related illness? The Alzheimer’s Association predicts that in 2015, Alzheimer’s and other Dementia related illnesses will cost $226 Billion dollars.  By 2050, these costs could rise to as much as $1.1 Trillion dollars (an unfathomable sum).

For more information about Alzheimer’s Disease, feel free to poke around our site here at The Senior List.  Also, we’d encourage you to visit alz.org where you’ll find all sort of great educational resources, and caregiver assistance.  We hope you find this video as informative as we did!

What is Alzheimer’s Disease?

Alzheimer’s Facts and Figures

Alzheimer's Facts and FiguresWe found a great new video posted recently by the Alzheimer’s Association. It notes the latest Alzheimer’s facts and figures for this debilitating disease, which is now the 6th leading cause of death in the United States.  While progress has been made on the Alzheimer’s research front, there is much to be done.  Awareness of the so called “memory thief”, caregiver training, and future care options all need to be understood and discussed further.

As you can see from the infographic above (courtesy of alz.org) Alzheimer’s Disease is now the only cause of death in the top 10 that cannot be prevented, cured or slowed (yet).  If you have aging parents, it’s important to look out for the early warning signs of Alzheimers.  Familiarize yourself with the many resources available to you for both education and caregiving support.   And know that you’re not alone!

Alzheimer’s Facts and Figures

The Alzheimer’s Association has a great resource that’s just a click away.  It’s called the Alzheimer’s and Dementia Caregiver Center, and it’s full of great caregiver assistance.  Whether you need day-to-day help, someone to relate to, or some care training – This is a wonderful place to start.  For additional support, or somewhere to turn we invite you to come back to The Senior List often, or visit us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/TheSeniorList

Life With Alzheimer’s Disease

Life with Alzheimer's DiseaseLife with Alzheimer’s Disease can be pretty tough.  It’s tough on sufferers of this debilitating disease and it’s tough on caregivers too.  Although much progress has been made researching Alzheimer’s Disease, it still remains a bit of a mystery to us all.  It’s been called “the memory thief” and affects half of all people over 85.  In an effort to educate the public on Alzheimer’s and Dementia, The Senior List (as well as other publishers) have shared the 10 early signs of Alzheimer’s Disease which was put together by the good folks at the Alzheimer’s Association (alz.org).

In a wonderfully presented video, Lisa Cerasoli invites us into her world of caregiving for her grandmother Nora Jo.  Nora Jo suffers from Alzheimer’s Disease.  One of the many things that Alzheimer’s Disease steals from sufferers are the most profound memories of our lives.  In this case, Nora Jo relives the terrible news that her husband has died.  She relives this realization every single day.

This is the first video in a mini series that Lisa Cerasoli has put together entitled “Life With Alzheimer’s Disease”.  She uploaded this video (entitled “Truth”) in 2011.

Life With Alzheimer’s: “Truth”

If you or your family members need more information on Alzheimer’s Disease, we invite you to visit alz.org for more information and resources. If you’d like to share your story, we’d love to hear from you below.