The Importance of Breast Cancer Awareness

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Did you know that breast cancer is the second leading cause of death for women in the United States and one in eight women will die from breast cancer? (breastcancer.org)

Those are statistics you don’t want to mess around with, that’s why breast cancer awareness is so important!

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Breast cancer affects men and women of any age, however it affects older women more than it does young or middle-aged women.

Your risk of developing breast cancer increases significantly with age and as we continue to grow older the number of diagnoses will rise as well.

It is recommended that women ages 45 to 54 get a mammogram every year and those 55 and older can switch to every two years if they’re comfortable with that. The main reason breast cancer is more prevalent in senior women is because those over the age of 70 tend not to get their annual screenings.

Ladies, this is so important!

Please have your mammogram, even if it’s only every two years!!

The best chance of surviving breast cancer is early detection!!

Make sure you perform self-examinations and get regular mammograms; these two simple things can literally save your life!

Signs and symptoms of breast cancer

  • Lump in the breast or underarm (most common)
  • Persistent breast pain
  • Nipple discharge
  • Any kind of change in size or the shape of your breast
  • Irritation of the breast skin
  • Redness or thickening of the nipple or skin
  • Any kind of skin irritation on the breast area

Breast cancer risk factors

Some risk factors are out of our control, like family history, race, menstrual period history and breast density.

However, some are very controllable, such as obesity, alcohol intake and not being physically active.

Know the signs and symptoms, know the risk factors, know how to prevent breast cancer and know how and where to get screened for breast cancer.

As I say in almost all of my blogs, EARLY DETECTION IS THE KEY!!

Want to help promote breast cancer awareness? Here are some ways YOU can help in the fight!!

1. Volunteer at one of the many organizations that promote breast cancer awareness. Relay for Life, American Cancer Society and Making Strides Against Breast Cancer are just a few. There are always local groups doing breast cancer events so I’m sure you can find something in your neighborhood.

2. Wear pink, pink is the color for breast cancer awareness. Anything pink, a ribbon, shirt, shoes, or maybe paint a few pieces of hair pink, it doesn’t matter how you choose to wear your pink as long as you wear it!

3. Participate in a run or a walk. This is a great way to meet others and learn more about breast cancer. You will meet those who have been affected by breast cancer and others who just support those who have been affected by breast cancer.

4. Help a breast cancer patient. This can be so rewarding and really help you see the impact breast cancer has on a person. It may be difficult to find a patient because of the privacy acts in place, but if you are able to do this, it will be amazing for you and them!

5. Create your own fundraiser to promote awareness and raise money for research!! What a fun idea!! Think of something new and go with it; it doesn’t have to be difficult, it can be simple. Have a “pink” bar-b-cue where everyone who comes has to wear pink and the food is $10.00 a plate with all the money going to breast cancer awareness. If you’re really good, you can get sponsors to donate the food.

October is breast cancer awareness month!

Let’s show our support for everyone who has been affected by this awful cancer by doing everything we can!!

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Safety Products for Alzheimer’s Patients

Safety Products for Alzheimer Patients

Assisted Living Made Simple holds (3) three Alzheimer’s Caregiver Support Groups a month and are often asked what are some good products to keep our loved ones engaged and safe?

We’ll start with some items to keep them engaged.

Products to keep them engaged

Fidget quilts – these are lap throws that have things to keep them busy like zippers, buttons, belts and ties. However, if you see they start to get frustrated or it becomes too difficult for them, take it away from them gently.

Fidget Quilts

Larger size puzzles – wooden puzzles designed to make it easier for the person to complete it and have a sense of accomplishment.

Large size puzzles

Therapy pets – these pets are designed to have a calming and soothing effect on Alzheimer’s patients. They are so life-like and give the person a sense of purpose again as they must care for the pet.

Therapy pets for alzheimer patients

Twiddle muff – almost like a fidget quilt on the outside, it too has buttons, ribbons and beads, but on the inside in a squishy ball for them to squeeze to keep their hands busy.

Twiddle Muffs

Safety products:

Senior Cell Phone w/ Picture Dialing + GPS – they won’t have to remember phone numbers, only look at the picture and push the one they want to call. These cell phones come with a GPS tracking system so you will know where your loved one is at all times.

Phone for seniors with picture dialing

Wander alert alarm – if your loved one lives with you and not in a memory care facility yet and they tend to wander, you must have an alarm on the doors. The alarm alerts you when a door is being opened and most of them do not require the internet.

Wander alert alarm system

Door confounding lock – this is a special Alzheimer’s door lock that does not look like a lock. It opens by sliding the inner tab to unlock; caregivers will be able to open the lock, but those with Alzheimer’s will not be able to figure it out.

Door Confounding lock for alzheimers patients

Mats with wireless remote sensors – you can place these mats in chairs and/or beds and if the person tries to rise without help it will alert you. This is an easy way to prevent falls.

Wireless remote mat sensors

Do not enter signs – these signs can be placed on doors leading outside or where combustible materials could be stored to deter loved ones from opening the door.

Do not enter signs

Safety in the Home

    • Have emergency numbers and home address clearly visible by the telephone
    • Avoid using extension cords; they are a huge trip hazard
    • Cover unused electrical outlets
    • Turn the phone ringer on low when not home and use an answering machine to ensure you receive your messages and the Alzheimer’s person doesn’t fall prey to scammers
    • Make sure you have smoke detectors installed in the kitchen and bedroom areas
    • Avoid clutter and keep walkways free of furniture
    • Clearly mark all medications with the person’s name, drug name and strength, dosage and expiration date. Locking them up will ensure no accidents can happen.
    • Keep steps outside sturdy and place textured strips on them to prevent slips in icy or wet weather
    • If you have a swimming pool, consider fencing it in with a locking gate
    • Remove propane tanks and lighters from grills
    • Set a small bench by the front door to place items on while unlocking the door
    • Install motion sensor lights outside to light the path while the person walks
    • Make sure bushes are well away from walkways
    • Place a no soliciting sign at the front door

There are many things you can do around the house to keep your loved one suffering with Alzheimer’s or a related dementia safe. It’s as simple as purchasing products or making simple adjustments to rooms around your home.

Should you find that Alzheimer’s or dementia has declined so far and you just can’t take care of your loved one anymore, please reach out to us; this is what we do and we would be honored to assist you!

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Preserve Your Family Memories

Preserving Family Memories with these resourses

We often hear family members say, I sure wish I could hear mom or dad’s voice again, or if only I could hear that story one more time.

Well, you can, next time your parents or grandparents start telling a story, push record or video them on your phone.

This way you will have it forever; you can download it to a computer, or a jump drive and have it for the rest of your life and your children’s lives.

Preserving Family Memories with these resourses

What are some of the stories you will want to record?

If you have something specific you want to know about, be sure to ask them and make sure you record it; don’t depend on your memory!

In case you don’t have anything specific in mind, here are some key topics that may help:

  • Lifelong lessons and anecdotes
  • Treasured stories
  • Funny stories
  • Turning points
  • Joyful times
  • Sad times
  • Family traditions
  • Struggles and challenges
  • Proud moments
  • Things they wish they could change
  • Family history of other children
  • Family history of grandparents

The above are just some of the things that have probably made the largest impressions on your parents and they have made the biggest impact on their lives. You may find you have a lot in common or find things about them you didn’t even know.

If you are downsizing your parents or having to move them to a memory care facility, you may come across some of the following items that you want to hold on to since they play a large part in your family history.

  • Family photos, albums
  • Diaries
  • Mementos
  • Letters
  • Books
  • Family records
  • Photographs
  • VCR tapes/DVDs/CDs
  • Scrapbook, memory books

Once you have the above gathered, consider digitizing everything.

Old photos and letters fade, VCR tapes can be turned into DVDs or CDs and mementos can be stored in a safe place so you can go back to them whenever you’d like.

On Facebook, they have this link where you can view your past year in photos. I have done this several times and think it is a fabulous idea!

It shows everything I have posted for the year and I get to look back at all of the milestones and memories! It then gives you the option to create a photo book and I did this three years in a row.

It was the best thing I ever did; those three years held some of the most precious memories I had and now I can look back on them whenever I choose, not just when Facebook decides to throw them up on my wall.

This is a very inexpensive way to preserve your memories and keep a lasting record of all your accomplishments. The photos are very good quality and the cover of the book is a nice glossy coating. If I remember correctly, I think my books were only around $25.00 and I had approximately thirty pictures in each book.

The next book will be one of my mother and myself; I want those photos forever!

As you can see, there are many ways to preserve family memories; no matter how you choose to preserve yours, please preserve them. That is the important thing, that you preserve your family memories and history.

Your children, their children, their children and their children may want to know all about the history of their family one day and YOU will have preserved it for them to cherish.

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Alzheimer’s vs Dementia: What’s the Difference

What's the difference between alzheimer's and dementia

Dementia is the term for a decline in mental ability severe enough to interfere with daily life.

Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of dementia.

Alzheimer’s is a specific disease. Dementia is not a disease.

What's the difference between alzheimer's and dementia

What is Dementia

Dementia represents symptoms associated with a decline in memory, reasoning or other thinking skills. There are many types of dementia and many factors lead to its cause. Mixed dementia is a condition in which brain changes of more than one type of dementia occur at the same time.

Dementia is not a normal part of aging.

It is caused by damage to brain cells that affects their ability to communicate, which can affect thinking, behavior and feelings.

A disorder grouped as dementia is caused by abnormal brain changes; these changes cause a decline in thinking skills severe enough to interfere with your daily life and independence. These changes also affect your behaviors, feelings and relationships.

Before dementia was understood as it is now, which still isn’t very good, is was considered a normal aging process and referred to as senile. Dementia is NOT a normal aging process, so if you notice any signs and symptoms, please seek medical attention immediately.

Signs of dementia can vary greatly. Examples include:

  • Problems with short-term memory.
  • Keeping track of a purse or wallet.
  • Paying bills.
  • Planning and preparing meals.
  • Remembering appointments.
  • Traveling out of the neighborhood.

Many conditions start out slowly and gradually get worse. If you do find yourself at the point of having to place your loved one in a memory care facility please don’t hesitate to give us a call. 

If you or someone you know is experiencing memory difficulties or other changes in thinking skills, don’t ignore them!

Early detection is key!

Explaining Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia, accounting for 60-80% of dementia cases.

Alzheimer’s is a degenerative brain disease that is caused by complex brain changes following cell damage.

It leads to dementia symptoms that gradually worsen over time.

The most common early symptom of Alzheimer’s is trouble remembering new information because the disease usually targets the part of the brain related to learning first.

As Alzheimer’s advances, symptoms get more severe and include disorientation, confusion and behavior changes. Eventually, speaking, swallowing and walking become difficult.

Though the greatest known risk factor for Alzheimer’s is aging, the disease is not a normal part of getting older. And although most people with Alzheimer’s are 65 and older, younger-onset Alzheimer’s has become more prevalent with approximately 200,000 Americans under 65 years-old suffering.

Signs of Alzheimer’s disease are:

  • Memory loss that disrupts daily life
  • Challenges in planning or solving problems
  • Difficulty completing familiar tasks
  • Confusion with time or place
  • Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships
  • New problems with words in speaking or writing
  • Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps
  • Decreased or poor judgment
  • Withdrawal from work or social activities
  • Changes in mood and personality

If you notice any of the symptoms in yourself or someone you know, PLEASE seek the help of a medical professional!! Early detection is the KEY!!

If you are caring for someone suffering with Alzheimer’s or a related dementia, we hold 3 caregiver support groups a month. Please don’t go it alone, we are here for you!!

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