Letter: All should be aware of Alzheimer’s toll

We have to wake up.

James Carville, political commentator and media personality, spoke at the Alzheimer’s Services 30th Anniversary Gala earlier this year and remarked Alzheimer’s disease is “contagious.” Carville, along with his other siblings, cared for their mother, “Nippy,” with the disease, and was simply expressing that the disease was contagious in the sense that the whole family suffers on its own terms when one family member is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

So true. Caregivers and a network of family and friends are all affect ed by this debilitating brain disorder which affects 5.2 million Americans of all ages annually.

The disease is reaching epidemic proportions with mounting costs. In 2013, the direct costs of caring for those with Alzheimer’s to American society will total an estimated $203 billion, including $142 billion in costs to Medicare and Medicaid.

Alzheimer’s Services of the Capital Area serves a 10-parish area, and recent numbers revealed more than 21,000 individuals in these areas alone have developed Alzheimer’s, with a calculated 100,000-plus individuals statewide.

Full story of waking up to Alzheimer’s at The Advocate

Occupational therapists produce care home activity toolkit

For too long activity has been seen as an add-on in care homes, despite being a minimum requirement in care home standards throughout the UK.

I’ve seen some excellent care homes that support residents to be involved in the life of the home, but many still struggle to balance the demands of daily tasks and patient-focused care.

Having worked as an occupational therapist for nearly 25 years, I believe moving into a care home means a person needs 24-hour support but that doesn’t mean they want, or have to, give up doing the activities that are important to them. Occupational therapy’s core belief is that activity is essential to our health and wellbeing and it’s this expertise that can lead a change in culture. To offer a practical resource to the sector, I worked with my colleague Julia Roberts to develop the College of Occupational Therapists’ Living well through activity in care homes toolkit.

Since the toolkit launched, we’ve been overwhelmed by the response with over 1,200 care home staff, commissioners, health and social care professionals signing up to support it. We are already seeing examples of its use – as a resource for commissioning a care village in Leeds and for training care staff in London.

The toolkit calls for activity as a shared responsibility between managers, staff, residents, family and friends. Its design has been carefully considered. Different sections for each group can be viewed online or printed off in bite-sized chunks. We asked: What can we produce that is accessible, influences culture and is flexible to meet the needs of different audiences?

Full story of occupational therapy take home kit at The Guardian

Occupational therapists produce care home activity toolkit

For too long activity has been seen as an add-on in care homes, despite being a minimum requirement in care home standards throughout the UK.

I’ve seen some excellent care homes that support residents to be involved in the life of the home, but many still struggle to balance the demands of daily tasks and patient-focused care.

Having worked as an occupational therapist for nearly 25 years, I believe moving into a care home means a person needs 24-hour support but that doesn’t mean they want, or have to, give up doing the activities that are important to them. Occupational therapy’s core belief is that activity is essential to our health and wellbeing and it’s this expertise that can lead a change in culture. To offer a practical resource to the sector, I worked with my colleague Julia Roberts to develop the College of Occupational Therapists’ Living well through activity in care homes toolkit.

Since the toolkit launched, we’ve been overwhelmed by the response with over 1,200 care home staff, commissioners, health and social care professionals signing up to support it. We are already seeing examples of its use – as a resource for commissioning a care village in Leeds and for training care staff in London.

The toolkit calls for activity as a shared responsibility between managers, staff, residents, family and friends. Its design has been carefully considered. Different sections for each group can be viewed online or printed off in bite-sized chunks. We asked: What can we produce that is accessible, influences culture and is flexible to meet the needs of different audiences?

Full story of occupational therapy take home kit at The Guardian

Making sure HIV-positive women get the care they need

In the back of a skid row community health center, a woman with teardrop tattoos under her eyes begins to tell her story.

Making Sure HIV Postive Women are Getting CareTo a circle of other women, she says she ran away from home and joined a gang at 13. She started injecting PCP, and as a teen spent time in jail. By 22, she worked as a prostitute. At 37, she was diagnosed with HIV.

Now 50, the woman known as Hilda tells the circle that the only time she took her HIV medication was when she was in jail. “Why?” someone asks. “I wanted to die,” she answers.

Welcome to a weekly support session sponsored by the Ladies of Diversity, a federally funded program that works to give HIV-positive homeless women of color a reason to stay connected to medical services. Leaders allowed the Los Angeles Times to attend one gathering on the condition that clients be identified only by their first names.

The organization aims to better understand the challenges that keep infected black and Latina women from connecting to HIV care, said Tina Henderson, an HIV/AIDS researcher for 20 years and the program manager of the Ladies of Diversity.

California is one of eight states where such a project has been given money by the federal Health Resources and Services Administration.

Full story of care for HIV positive women at the Los Angeles Times

Photos courtesy of and copyright PhotoPin, http://photopin.com/