Simple Hearing Device Makes Big Difference for Dad

When Dad was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, I knew he would need all of his senses to help interpret the world around him and balance his changing cognitive abilities. But he has hearing impairment and limited vision (glaucoma plus visual-processing problems associated with Alzheimer’s). Even though there is only so much I can do about the visual issues, I assumed hearing aids would solve his auditory problems. I was wrong. The good news is that  we eventually discovered a surprisingly simple …

The Greatest Gifts of All

The way Alzheimer’s disease has ravaged my dad’s capabilities is especially hard to bear during holidays. I wish he could more fully participate in and enjoy our family traditions. So often it seems that he just doesn’t understand, and the meaning is lost for him. Recently, though, he gave me my most unexpected and treasured Christmas gifts … and taught me invaluable lessons at the same time. Dad always used to lead us in Advent services during the weeks leading up to Christmas. …

What the Spending Bill Means for Older Americans

The $1.1 trillion spending bill will do more than keep the federal government open well into next year. Nearly half of the appropriations will go toward non-defense programs, and in some cases, the bill directs more money to programs that benefit the lives of Americans age 50 and up. “This bill not only avoids the deep cuts to scores of critical programs, it provides noteworthy increases for many services critical to older Americans, including health, nutrition and caregiver services, as …

Kirk Douglas Turns 99…and Larry King Turns Producer

Larry King Unwraps a Seasonal Comedy Talkmeister Larry King has appeared in more than 60 movies, but he had never produced one until this year. His ensemble holiday comedy, Christmas Eve, is now in theaters and on iTunes. The large cast includes Patrick Stewart, Cheryl Hines, Gary Cole and Shawn Southwick — that fourth name being King’s wife, who showed him the script after she’d been cast in the movie. “I loved the script,” King told me yesterday. “It’s about people …

Slow Walking May Be a Sign of Early Alzheimer’s

Good news for speed walkers. Many studies have shown that walking and other exercise helps protect the brain as we age. Now a new study finds that slow walking speed may be a sign of early Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers in France studied 128 people in their 70s who did not have dementia but were considered high risk because they had concerns about their memories. The participants had scans to measure amyloid plaques in their brains. (The buildup of these plaques …

Study: Hearing Aids May Help Protect Brain Health

For several years, studies have linked hearing loss and dementia, but no major study has addressed the big question: Could using hearing aids reduce the risk of cognitive decline? Now an important new French study finds that older adults who use hearing aids experience the same rate of cognitive decline as their peers with normal hearing. In other words, while hearing loss is associated with accelerated cognitive decline, hearing aids can slow that from happening, researchers say. The study, published …