If You’re 65, You Have 18 to 20 More Years to Live

Older Americans are living longer than ever, with a life expectancy at age 65 of about 20 more years for women and 18 more years for men, according to a new government report. Americans’ life expectancy from birth also reached a record high in 2012 — 78.8 years, said researchers with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). We can thank a healthier lifestyle — as well as fewer deaths from major diseases including Alzheimer’s, heart disease, cancer, stroke …

MRI Scans Could Detect Alzheimer’s Early

An MRI scan can detect signs of cognitive decline in the brain before symptoms of memory loss appear, according to a new study published in the online journal Radiology. This new use of a well-known technique has the potential to be used in the very early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers in Switzerland gave MRI brain scans to 148 healthy older men and women — average age, 76 — as well as 65 people with mild cognitive impairment. The researchers then …

Stress, Anxiety Raise Risk of Alzheimer’s for Women

Middle-aged women who are worried, moody, jealous and stressed have double the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease later in life as do those with calmer personalities, according to a new Swedish study published in the journal Neurology. Swedish researchers followed 800 women — average age, 46 — for nearly 40 years and gave them personality tests to judge whether they were neurotic, stressed, introverted or extroverted. The researchers also studied hospital records and the results of neurological exams to determine whether …

Moments That Keep Caregivers Strong

This week, like so many others, I was deeply touched by a precious moment — captured on video — between Georgia resident Kelly Gunderson and her 87-year-old mother, Daphne, who suffers with Alzheimer’s disease. As mother and daughter converse, lying side by side in what appears to be a hospital bed, Daphne recognizes her daughter — for the first time in a long while. Having been a family caregiver myself, I know moments like this keep us strong and help …

Jackson on the Job: Service Dog Plays Crucial Role in Caregiving Team

At less than a foot tall and under 25 pounds, Mr. Jackson might not seem like the powerhouse that he is in our family. His floppy ears and big brown eyes make him adorable, but it’s the intelligence and sensitivity that are apparent through those eyes that have made him my constant, loyal and vital partner in caregiving for my parents over the past five years. As caregivers, we all need to build a caregiving team - no one can do …

Dementia Caregivers Especially Stressed, Report Finds

Family caregivers who are caring for loved ones with cognitive and behavioral health conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease and depression, face particularly demanding challenges, according to a new report from AARP and the United Hospital Fund. As a result of all the demands on them, a majority of these caregivers say they feel stressed much of the time as they try to juggle their caregiving responsibilities with other work or family obligations. As primary caregiver for my dad, who has Alzheimer’s disease, I can …