Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Celebrity Power Two

It sure doesn’t hurt to have a celebrity, journalist and California first lady, Maria Shriver, help the Alzheimer’s cause.

"We're trying to take it out of the closet and put it into the living room." Maria Shriver said in this week’s ABC special. ABC News Video Video is so moving.

 Shriver’s report according to Time (see Time article) says that we still do not know a lot and more needs to be done. We do know that there are risk factors for dementia and preventative behaviors as reported by Duke University:
"When we applied rigorous but consistent standards to review all the studies, we found that there was not sufficient evidence to recommend any single activity or factor that was protective of cognitive decline later in life," says Plassman. [Brenda Plassman is the leader of the study.] However weakly, though, the review did support what doctors know about risk factors for cognitive decline: smoking, diabetes, depression, metabolic syndrome (the constellation of conditions including high blood pressure, obesity and high cholesterol that are associated with heart disease and diabetes) and specific gene variants were all linked with increased risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. In addition, preventive behaviors such as eating a Mediterranean diet (high in fruits and vegetables, omega-3 fatty acids and unsaturated fats), exercising, maintaining cognitive engagement (doing puzzles, learning new things) and fostering extensive social relationships were linked to a lower risk. The problem is that none of these relationships were particularly robust, the authors say. And none were strong enough to justify recommending the behaviors to people who want to prevent or slow down the onset of dementia.
Next year we have the “Community Living Assistance Services” a voluntary long-term care provided by the government. I do not know the specifics. Shriver says more needs to be done for the enormous financial costs involved. Long-term care insurance is costly, and Medicare does not pay for nursing home care. The Community Living Assistance Services and Supports Act became law as part of President Obama's health care reform, and it will provide voluntary long-term care insurance provided by the federal government starting in 2011. Despite this new law, the Shriver Report says it's not nearly enough to offset much of the financial burden of long-term care, and urges the government to make more financial assistance available. The costs will only rise with the baby boomers coming into retirement. I did buy $58.20 a month coverage for myself which I could get because I am healthy, but can’t get for my husband because of his heart history, diabetes and Mixed Dementia diagnosis. I may need that coverage myself because of the stress that I have as a caregiver and I am definitely looking into the voluntary government coverage for my husband.

For more see these links:
Meanwhile I am going to enjoy the abilities of my husband that he currently has and daily put our future in the Lord's hands.
Thank you, thank you, thank you, Maria.
Yes to more research,
yes to more help for us caregivers,
yes to more public awareness.

1 comment:

  1. It makes my heart sing to see these programs on TV about Alzheimer's, and also about the concerns for the care givers. It does seem like there's more awareness going on.......... and like you said....the stress of financial burdens....etc, etc, etc.... it is and can be so overwhelming!

    I pray for a cure..... and we have to take one day at a time in order to survive.

    Thanks for a great post!