Richard Taylor, a retired Psychologist, was diagnosed with Alzheimer's-type dementia in 2001 at the age of 58. Originally, he started to write to better understand for himself what was going on inside of him. When he isn't out speaking, he writes for two or three hours every day. Even as the disease progresses, he thus far has maintained his ability to look at and attempt to understand himself. Richard is an articulate, thoughtful, and thought-filled speaker to caregivers. Hundreds of them have used his insights as the basis for conversations and insights into what might be going through their loved one's minds. While Richard still leads a vibrant life, control of his concentration is sometimes elusive. His language facility is still mostly intact, although he increasingly searches for the right word.

A book has been written by Richard Taylor:

Receiving a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease profoundly alters lives and creates endless uncertainty about the future. How does a person cope with such a life-changing discovery? What are the hopes and fears of someone living with this disease? How does he want to be treated? How does he feel as the disease alters his brain, his relationships, and ultimately himself? Richard's book provides illuminating responses to these and many other questions in this collection of provocative essays. He shares an account of his slow transformation and deterioration and the growing division between his world and the world of others.

With poignant clarity, candor, and even occasional humor, more than 80 brief essays address difficult issues faced by those with Alzheimer’s disease, including:

• the loss of independence and personhood
• unwanted personality shifts
• communication difficulties
• changes in relationships with loved ones and friends
• the declining ability to perform familiar tasks

This rare, insightful exploration into the world of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease is a captivating read for anyone affected personally or professionally by the devastating disease. Individuals with early-stage Alzheimer’s disease will take comfort in the voice of a fellow traveler experiencing similar challenges, frustrations, and triumphs. Family and professional caregivers will be enlightened by Taylor’s revealing words, gaining a better understanding of an unfathomable world and how best to care for someone living in it.



Instead of focusing on what they cannot remember, residents at the Newton and Wellesley Alzheimer Center are learning something new: Yoga.

"Yoga is new to all of them," said instructor Maggie Sky of Roots & Wings Yoga and Healing Arts in Natick, which offers the classes at the center. On a recent afternoon, 15 people chatted, laughed and happily anticipated a yoga class. Sky turned on soft music and encouraged the group to relax and breathe slowly. Everyone began to focus. "Often they don't remember the poses between classes," she said. But there's repetition in the postures and breathing, and the structure of the class repeats itself each time, helping the residents to remember. "We focus on what they can do," added Sky. "Everything is modified, even the deep breathing. The essence of it is the same as any yoga class."

The concentration of the residents in the yoga class defied stereotypes about people with this common form of dementia. "It's good for the memory. It's good for the body," said Sky. "Doing the breathing and the postures, they are connecting with the inner self and each other. "The class members sat in chairs and on couches. Some had walkers; one was in a wheelchair. They listened. They moved their arms and legs with Sky's encouragement. They breathed deeply.

Dr. William Wiener, a neurologist with MetroWest Medical Center, said while Alzheimer's patients can continue with activities they were involved in before their symptoms began, it's unusual for them to learn a new activity because of their memory impairment. "I have Alzheimer's patients who swim every day, but they did that before," he said. He was intrigued to hear that yoga was new for these patients. "This is unique, at the very least. I'm an open-minded doctor. I don't immediately shut out alternative (therapies)." Weiner said it is important to keep Alzheimer's patients active. Patients with the disease often display impaired cognitive function but their bodies are sometimes still healthy and strong, and need exercising. "(They) should be encouraged to do anything that's safe to do within their capacity," he said.

The idea to offer yoga classes at the Newton and Wellesley Alzheimer Center was spearheaded by activities director Louise Arreano. "Corporate (Kindred Healthcare) wanted more exercise" for the residents, Arreano said. Some exercise programs in the past have been successful, others have not. "With this, they really participate," she said. Arreano called Roots & Wings director Karen Kuhl to ask if there was a teacher who could provide classes at the center. Kuhl and Sky wanted to give it a try and decided, with Arreano, to offer a bimonthly class through the summer. There are already plans to continue the classes in the fall. "We've been developing classes for underserved populations," said Kuhl, explaining that Roots & Wings offers varied programs, such as chair yoga for multiple sclerosis patients and therapeutic yoga for youngsters with special needs. "This was such a good match."

At the class, the residents listened intently to Sky. "Notice how the music feels in your body," she said. Encouraging them to breathe slowly and deeply "from your belly," she said, "(notice) the belly expands when you breathe in and falls when you breathe out." As the participants stretched their arms over their heads, Sky told them to "reach for the stars....This keeps your back flexible." Sky said sometimes the participants are engaged and active, other times they sleep or doze through the class, depending on medication they might be taking or other activities or treatments they had that day. Wiener said some patients with Alzheimer's may remember the poses or the breathing exercises better than others. And some may not remember them at all. "If the patients don't carry over the skill, it's not so bad because they have the benefit of the experience," he said.

Back in the class, Sky encouraged the participants to give lots of love to themselves and to "give yourself a hug, give yourself a kiss." Perhaps not moves found in a conventional yoga class but ones that suited these patients and their needs. "A lot of this is touch with them," said Arreano, the center's activities director. "That's the most important thing with them is the touch."

Sky has received positive feedback from caregivers, too. Some participate in the class with their elders. "It gives them a connection," Sky said. "That's my observation. Several of them are expressing interest" in yoga for themselves. But the widest smiles belong to the residents. "It's like yoga was made for them," Arreano said. "They know, they know, they really do, that it is good for their bodies and minds. And they love, love Maggie."

Newton and Wellesley Alzheimer Center is at 694 Worcester Road (Rte. 9), Wellesley. For more information, visit www.nw-alzheimer.com.

Roots & Wings Yoga and Healing Arts is at 317 North Main St., Natick. For more information, visit www.rootsandwingshealingarts.com or call 508-315-8088.

Framingham, MA - The MetroWest Daily News



Small signs of pre-dementia can do much to address in time a better diagnosis of the neurodegenerative diseases.

A study done by a team of researchers at the University of Oxford, studied, for 20 years, a group of 241 healthy elderly volunteers with specially designed tests to measure their intellectual abilities and cognitive skills. After reviewing the results, the researchers realized that there were small signs on some of those people who betrayed a subsequent health problems.
There is apparently little indicative factors that are easy to detect. These are related to language. In particular, patients who developed mild cognitive impairment or predemencia "had problems with tasks requiring speech, language learning and memorization.
Simple things like difficulty remembering the names of common objects or problems in terms of expressing an idea or meaning of a word are evidence to consider. The fact is that this takes its meaning: in Alzheimer's disease, the first symptoms start with these little details. Hence the importance of locating early in order to start as soon as possible the appropriate treatment.



In 2050, 115 million of people could be affected by Alzheimer's Disease


Next year, 35,6 millions of people will suffer Alzheimer. According with Daisy Acosta, Alzheimer's Disease International's president, Goverments and Health Systems arround the wold must face up to social, medical and economic issues related to this disease.
But, from my point of view, they should be in mind not only these macro-dimensions but the people who make up these dimensions as well (micro-dimension). I mean, people affected by AD (person, family, caregivers...) should be approached in a global way by researchers and all those who are involved in understanding this reality.

- The cause of the disease,
- How the life style of the person living with AD was before the diagnosis and how it is after,
- How he/she feels (physically and psychologically) in a pervious and a mild stage,
- How the person interact with others and with his/her environment
- How his/her memory is but also how the person is able to do and to feel at present (the real abilities in the right moment)
- What the caregivers and family need and feel
- How they should be interact with people with AD

We should have in mind all the dimensions of the people affected by AD, in order to understand the needs of all them or even in order to contribute modestly to know why AD is developed and in this way to be able to prevent it.