Tuesday, 25 April 2017


To:  Family Caregivers and Care Workers

ADFM will be conducting another DEMENTIA CARE SKILLS (DCS) Workshop on:

Date:     Saturday, 29 April 2017 (900 a.m. - 500 p.m.)
              Sunday, 30 April 2017 (900 a.m. - 100 p.m.)

This 12-hours training covers the following 4 Modules:

Module 1: Impact of Dementia and Person Centred Care
Module 2: Effective Communication
Module 3: Behavioural and Psychological Symptoms of Dementia (BPSD)
Module 4: Purposeful and Meaningful Engagement

This 4-Module Course is designed to provide family caregivers and their care workers with an introduction to dementia focusing on:

•     Understanding the principles of Person-Centered Care
•     Communication techniques for interacting effectively with people with dementia
•     Recognizing and responding to behavior that may be exhibited by people with dementia
•     Understanding the importance of engagement through activity for the person with dementia.
Learning Outcomes

Module 1: Impact of Dementia and Person-Centred Care
•     Identify the principles of Person Centred Care
•     Recognize the impact of dementia on person with dementia, and family caregivers
•     Identify your own level of stress and self-care strategies
•     Identify community resources available to support family caregivers

Module 2: Effective Communication
       Describe the impact of dementia on communication
       Identify strategies for effective communication with a person with dementia, including:
Reality orientation, Validation, Reminiscence

Module 3: Behaviour and Psychological Symptoms of Dementia (BPSD)
•     Understanding behaviour associated with dementia
•     Identify potential triggers for behaviour associated with dementia
•     Identify a range of options for supporting the person with dementia

Module 4: Purposeful and Meaningful Engagement
•     Recognize the value of promoting engagement with life for a person with dementia
•     Recognize the value of activity for a person with dementia
•     Identify ways of adapting activities to meet individual needs

It is hoped that all the family caregivers and their care workers will benefit from this training through video play, dynamic group activities and sharing of experiences in order to provide good quality care to their loved ones living with dementia.

Day One
29 April 17 
0830 -- 0900
0900 -- 1100
1100 -- 1115
1115 -- 1300
1300 -- 1330
1330 -- 1600
1600 – 1615 
1615 – 1700

Module 1:  Impact of Dementia and Person-Centered Care
Coffee break
Module 2 – Effective Communication
Lunch break
Module 3 – Behavioral & Psychological Symptoms of Dementia (BPSD)
Tea break
Interactive Session
Q & A
Photo Session 
Day Two
30 April 17
0830 – 0900
0900 – 1100
1100 – 1115
1115 – 1200
1200 – 1300 
Module 4 – Purposeful & Meaningful Engagement
Coffee break
Cont’d Module 4
Interactive Session
Q & A

ADFM Team of Trainers / Facilitators:

(1)    Ms Satiapoorany Subramaniam
(2)    Felix Kong Hon Sen
(3)    Leong Sik Wai

NO Registration Fees.  Registrations are open to all family caregivers, care workers, and significant others of persons with dementia
For registration, email jenny@adfm.org.my, and copy jennyho8@gmail.com providing:

(1)    Full Name/s
(2)    Mobile contact
(3)    Email address
(4)    Indicate whether family caregiver or care worker, and
(5)    To whom you are caring for.

Any questions, please WhatsApp or call Jenny at mobile +016 608 2513.

Please Register Early for logistic arrangements.

Kind regards.

Monday, 24 April 2017

How A Healthy Lifestyle Protects Memory

Scientists who study memory and other cognitive functions like to say that what's good for the body is good for the brain, too, and proof for that axiom continues to grow.

A wealth of research shows that people who eat right, stay trim, and follow other well-established healthy habits have the best shot at remaining sharp-witted as they grow older.

Recently, several clinical trials have provided even more powerful evidence that adopting a healthy lifestyle can protect your brain and reduce the risk for age-related cognitive problems.

The FINGER Study

A number of population studies have found that people who engage in regular exercise, eat a healthful diet, and keep mentally active (with mentally challenging activities, for instance) have a reduced risk for cognitive decline.

But an association between a behavior and a health outcome doesn't prove that one causes the other. For that level of evidence, scientists conduct clinical trials, randomly choosing one group of participants to receive a therapy or other intervention, then comparing their outcomes with other study participants who don't receive the treatment being studied.

To determine whether healthy habits truly benefit the brain, a team of scientists in Finland set up an experiment called the Finnish Geriatric Intervention Study to Prevent Cognitive Impairment and Disability (abbreviated as FINGER), which they reported on in The Lancet in 2016.

The study included 1,260 men and women aged 60 to 77 who were generally healthy, though many had risk factors closely linked to dementia, including high blood pressure and high cholesterol, which may both be improved through diet changes and exercise.

At the outset of the study, all subjects had their memory and other cognitive skills tested, and only those whose scores were average or slightly below average were invited to participate.

Half of the FINGER subjects were enrolled in a comprehensive program of lifestyle changes. They were encouraged to eat a healthful diet that included plenty of fruit, vegetables, and whole grains, but avoid sugary treats and artery-clogging fats.

Men and women in the active treatment group were asked to follow fitness regimens that included both aerobic exercise (such as walking or jogging) and strength training. They were also required to use computer-based cognitive-training programs three times a week.

The other half of the subjects in the FINGER study were given basic health advice and served as a control (or comparison) group.

After two years, all FINGER participants took a second battery of cognitive tests. Men and women who adopted lifestyle changes showed a 25 percent improvement in memory and other thinking abilities compared to subjects in the control group.

According to the authors, the FINGER study is the first long-term clinical trial to show that lifestyle changes can help prevent cognitive decline.

Obesity and other risk factors
In another 2016 study, published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, Brazilian researchers focused specifically on the role of obesity, which studies have linked to an increased risk for dementia.

The authors of this study recruited 80 obese people aged 60 and older who had been diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment, which is a subtle, but noticeable age-related decline in thinking ability, and another known risk factor for dementia. Could shedding some pounds help protect these men and women from memory loss and other cognitive woes?

To find out, the researchers randomly chose half of the participants to receive weight-loss advice from a nutrition counselor. After one year, participants who lost even a modest amount of weight showed improvements in their overall cognitive capacities, ability to recall words, language skills, and executive function (or ability to focus attention and multi-task).

In addition to eating well and staying fit, keeping your brain busy may help stave off the loss of mental acuity, too, according to some studies, though most were small and the benefits of cognitive training remain controversial. On the other hand, one recent trial found evidence that seniors who become socially engaged may improve brain health.

As part of the ongoing Brain Health Study, researchers from the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins performed magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans on the brains of 111 men and women aged 60 and older.

Next, about half of the subjects were assigned to work as volunteer tutors and teachers' aides in inner city kindergartens and elementary schools. The remaining men and women acted as a control group.

Two years later, a follow-up set of MRIs showed that men and women in the control group had experienced slight shrinking in several brain regions, including the hippocampus; loss of volume in the hippocampus has been linked to memory problems and an increased risk for Alzheimer's disease. Meanwhile, men and (to a lesser extent) women volunteers who worked in schools showed increased volume in this important brain region.

What you can do
There's plenty of proof that the same steps that reduce the risk for common diseases can also help keep your mind sound and functioning at a high level.

A major 2015 review by the Alzheimer's Association found convincing evidence that you can reduce the risk for age-related cognitive decline, and possibly dementia, by exercising regularly and taking steps to curb cardiovascular risk factors. That means watching your weight, avoiding or managing diabetes and high blood pressure, and not smoking.

Consuming a healthful diet and staying mentally engaged through learning may help, too.

There's really no downside to habits, so the only question that remains is: What are you waiting for?

(Source:  HealthAfter50)

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Xanax, Valium May Boost Pneumonia Risk in Alzheimer's Patients

Researchers suspect people may breathe saliva or food into their lungs due to fatigue from the drugs

Alzheimer's patients given sedatives such as Valium or Xanax may have an increased risk for pneumonia, a new study warns.

People with Alzheimer's disease are often given these drugs, called benzodiazepines, over the long term, the researchers said.

Examples of benzodiazepines include alprazolam (Xanax), clonazepam (Klonopin), diazepam (Valium), and lorazepam (Ativan).

"An increased risk of pneumonia is an important finding to consider in treatment of patients with Alzheimer disease. Pneumonia often leads to admission to hospital, and patients with dementia are at increased risk of death related to pneumonia," Dr. Heidi Taipale, of Kuopio Research Center of Geriatric Care at the University of Eastern Finland, and co-authors wrote.

For the study, the researchers reviewed data from nearly 50,000 Alzheimer's patients in Finland. The patients' average age was 80 and about two-thirds were women.

The study found that people with Alzheimer's who took benzodiazepines were 30 percent more likely to develop pneumonia than those who weren't given the sedatives.

The risk of pneumonia was highest in the first 30 days after starting the drugs, the findings showed.

The researchers said their findings are consistent with previous studies.

Because benzodiazepines are sedating, it's possible that people taking them may breathe saliva or food into the lungs, increasing the risk of pneumonia, the study authors suggested.

Dr Heidi Taipale's team said the benefits and risks of these drugs -- including pneumonia -- need to be carefully considered before giving them to someone with Alzheimer's disease.

The study was published April 10 in the CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

The study is "a good reminder to clinicians to 'first do no harm' when prescribing these drugs for frail older women and men with dementia. Non-drug "approaches should be the starting point when managing neuropsychiatric symptoms in this patient population, which should help to limit inappropriate use of these drugs," the editorial authors said.

(Source:  HealthDay News, 10 April 10 2017) 

Cracking the Coconut Oil Craze

(Source:  Julie Corliss, Executive Editor, Harvard Heart Letter, 10 April 2017)

If you Google “coconut oil,” you’ll see a slew of stories touting the alleged health benefits of this solid white fat, which is easy to find in supermarkets these days. But how can something that’s chock-full of saturated fat — a known culprit in raising heart disease risk — be good for you?

Coconut does have some unique qualities that enthusiasts cite to explain its alleged health benefits. But the evidence to support those claims is very thin, says Dr. Qi Sun, Assistant Professor in the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

“If you want to lower your risk of heart disease, coconut oil is not a good choice.  It’s true that coconut oil tends to raise beneficial HDL cholesterol more than other fats do, possibly because coconut oil is rich in lauric acid, a fatty acid that the body processes slightly differently than it does other saturated fats.”, he said.

Coconut Oil’s Effect On Cholesterol 
But there’s no evidence that consuming coconut oil can lower the risk of heart disease, according to an article in the April 2016 Nutrition Reviews. The study, titled “Coconut Oil Consumption and Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Humans,” reviewed findings from 21 studies, most of which examined the effects of coconut oil or coconut products on cholesterol levels. Eight were clinical trials, in which volunteers consumed different types of fats, including coconut oil, butter, and unsaturated vegetable oils (such as olive, sunflower, safflower, and corn oil) for short periods of time. Compared with the unsaturated oils, coconut oil raised total, HDL, and LDL cholesterol levels, although not as much as butter did.

These findings jibe with results from a study by Dr. Sun and colleagues in the November 23, 2016, issue of The BMJ, which examined the links between different types of saturated fatty acids and heart disease. Compared with other saturated fats (like palmitic acid, which is abundant in butter), lauric acid didn’t appear to raise heart risk quite as much. But that’s likely because American diets typically don’t include very much lauric acid, so it’s harder to detect any effect, Dr. Sun notes.
Tropical Diets Are Different 
Coconut oil proponents point to studies of indigenous populations in parts of India, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, and Polynesia, whose diets include copious amounts of coconut. But their traditional diets also include more fish, fruits, and vegetables than typical American diets, so this comparison isn’t valid, says Harvard Medical School Professor Dr. Bruce Bistrian, who is chief of clinical nutrition at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

Some of the coconut oil available in stores is labeled “virgin,” meaning that it’s made by pressing the liquid from coconut meat and then separating out the oil. It tastes and smells of coconut, unlike the refined, bleached, and deodorized coconut oil made from the dried coconut meat used in some processed foods and cosmetics. Virgin coconut oil contains small amounts of antioxidant compounds that may help curb inflammation, a harmful process thought to worsen heart disease. But to date, proof of any possible benefit is limited to small studies in rats and mice, says Dr. Bistrian.

Unsaturated Fats 
In contrast, there’s a wealth of data showing that diets rich in unsaturated fat, especially olive oil, may lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, Dr. Sun points out. The evidence comes not only from many observational studies (like those in the aforementioned BMJ report) but also a landmark clinical trial from Spain, which found that people who ate a Mediterranean-style diet enhanced with extra-virgin olive oil or nuts had a lower risk of heart attack, stroke, and death from heart disease than people who followed a low-fat diet.

Of course, there’s no need to completely avoid coconut oil if you like the flavor. Some bakers use coconut oil instead of butter in baked goods, and coconut milk is a key ingredient in Thai cooking and some Indian curry dishes. Just be sure to consider these foods occasional treats, not every day fare.