Welcome back. As one of the country’s prominent healthcare staffing companies, Advanced Home Care Solutions is passionate about raising awareness of World Alzheimer’s Month in September, and how it plays into the dynamics of aging in general. As we discussed previously, Alzheimer’s Disease and related dementias should NOT be considered a “normal” condition of the aging process. There are checks and balances in place to identify the differences, and a range of highly qualified healthcare professionals to support the process of diagnosis, treatment, and management of all aging conditions. There have also been some incredible advancements in the field of brain health and aging, and our AHCS health care teams are keenly aware of the importance and impact of these new data and metrics.
Changing the conversation around aging is key. Understanding the difference between normal memory loss associated with aging and symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease is the starting point, and can transform the lives of individuals at the community and institutional level. In recognition of World Alzheimer’s Month, let’s take a look at some of the “what are’s” and “what ifs”, and some of the cutting-edge approaches to supporting brain health in the aging.
What if relationships for the aging could be framed by creative expression and community building? New studies are showing that a combination of theatre, memoir, narrative, and collaborative public performance is providing an alternative concept of aging – one that focuses on its possibilities as well as its challenges. It has been proven that engaging in meaningful and creative work helps people realize their existing capacity and strengths, and in doing so reduces the stigma, isolation and loneliness that is increasingly common with aging and fragility. When considering that many facilities associated with an aging population are designed to manage behavior, not to bring people into meaningful engagement with one another, introducing the arts as a therapeutic protocol can present enriching substitutes for lost memories. What a concept.
Aging research is growing faster than ever on all fronts, with breakthroughs in basic science and multiple compounds being tested in clinical trials. Many biopharmaceutical companies are prioritizing this type of research to identify therapeutic targets important to aging and related diseases. There are many studies taking place to analyze the human aging rate at the molecular, cellular, tissue, organ, system, physiological and psychological levels. As we move forward, we expect to see extraordinary discoveries related to understanding and supporting the function of the human “deep aging clock”, which in turn will impact the health, well-being, and longevity of aging populations, and lead to massive returns for humanity.
In the same vein, experts are cautiously hopeful about the development of Alzheimer’s treatments that will stop or significantly delay its progression. Growing understanding of how the disease disrupts brain function is leading to potential treatments that short-circuit the basic disease process. Future treatments of Alzheimer’s may include a combination of medications, in much the same way that many cancer treatments include more than a single drug. These might include medications that take aim at plaques – a characteristic sign of the disease – by triggering the immune system, preventing the destruction of cells, and blocking the activity of certain enzymes. Other strategies being studied include the reduction of low-level brain inflammation, studying the effect of insulin on brain cell function, and studying the connection between brain health and heart/blood vessel health.
As we move into an exciting future for the enhancement of aging and treatment of related diseases, Advanced Home Care Solutions considers itself a significant industry stakeholder. Our carefully curated teams of healthcare professionals are as skilled as they are passionate when it comes to enriching the aging process.