When It’s Time To Face The Facts About Alzheimer’s And Where To Turn

Amy Aquino first encountered dementia when she was a kid. “I had 11 aunts and uncles on my father’s side, and about half of them had Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, so it became part of my life early on,” said the TV, screen and stage actress.

Amy’s Aunt Rose, who taught her how to garden, was “smart, curious, interested and active, like all dad’s siblings,” but started acting a little strangely when she was in her late 50s.  Her odd behavior continued for about five years, when the family began to see big changes. “She lived alone, and we’d get calls from one of her daughters that she was missing. My father would jump in the car to look for her,” Amy remembers vividly.

Aunt Rose was too young to be considered “senile,” the term that was used back in the 70s when our grandparents would become forgetful. “Everyone was completely bewildered and struggling to find out what was going on. Aunt Rose was perfectly healthy, perfectly smart, and never suffered mental illness. But, she was acting like a mentally ill person,” Amy says. Rose’s behavior, however,  didn’t have a name at the time, and her family tried everything to help her, from changing her diet to hiring a caregiver. “They were afraid she was going to get hurt,” Amy explains. “It was difficult to comprehend and accept. It was very, very painful.  Watching Aunt Rose lose her life was shocking and difficult to accept.”

Later on, Amy’s uncle Mike developed memory and cognitive issues in his early 70s, but by then his condition had a name: Alzheimer’s Disease.  “Uncle Mike was a physically healthy man who had traveled all over the world. His brain simply stopped functioning the way it should. He could no longer perform daily tasks. He didn’t recognize people,” Amy says.

When Aunt Florence, a third sibling of Amy’s dad, developed Alzheimer’s in her 80s, she never accepted that her brain wasn’t functioning properly, and she fought it. “It became extremely painful for my cousin Katherine, who was Florence’s caregiver,” Amy recalls.  Eventually, Florence had to “be tricked” into being moved to a facility that could properly care for her.

After witnessing Alzheimer’s rob the identities from her loved ones, Amy partnered with the Alzheimer’s Association, during Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month, to help advance the national conversation about this horrific disease and give patients and caregivers tools for them to better deal with it.

“A stigma still is associated with Alzheimer’s, so although it’s a big challenge to put it out there and start talking about the disease and it’s signs, it’s also one of the biggest contributions the Alzheimer’s Association can make,” Amy explains. “As long as it’s stigmatized, you don’t want to say it’s happening to you, as you would with other physical illnesses. But, it’s important to recognize it is, and to make plans. After Glen Campbell was diagnosed with the disease, for example, he told us he wanted to cut his last album because he knew he wasn’t going to be able to do it forever.
“Every time my sister and I forget something, we say: ‘Is this the beginning?’ It’s terrifying because you don’t want to be helpless and a terrible burden to those around you. Your caregivers are devastated because they lose you, and yet you’re there.  They have to worry about you all the time.”

But unlike decades ago, we now have the Alzheimer’s Association to give us directions.  It’s funding and promoting the research that gives us the paths to help stave off the disease as long as possible, Amy reports. Everything is on its website, including 10 Ways to Love Your Brain, “Your brain acuity can be improved with certain activities, like exercising to get your blood flowing; making sure you stay social, so you don’t isolate yourself; pushing your mind to do something it hasn’t done, such as learning a new language. My husband got his pilot’s license, for example,” Amy adds. “Keeping your body healthy will decrease your risk of cognitive decline.”

Learn as much as you can,  the actress advises. “Call the Alzheimer’s Association 24-hour helpline –1.800.272.3900. Start having the conversation there. It can be your partner and give you direction.  Make sure you’re doing everything you can, because once it hits, there’s nothing you can do.”

Rather than guess or worry that you or a loved one has the disease, contact the Alzheimer’s Association and check these 10 Early Warning Signs and Symptoms of Alzheimer’s.  The association tries to distinguish between typical and atypical age-related changes, such as “sometimes” forgetting names or appointments, versus consistently having to rely on aids or others to remember them. Early detection and diagnosis can be beneficial because they allow you and your loved ones to plan ahead and include the Alzheimer’s patient in the process, which also takes the stress off the caregiver.

And, by all means see a doctor if you believe your concerns are real.  “Start to have a gentle, honest conversation about the signs you’re seeing,” Amy says. “You’ll want to rule out things like a brain tumor or other life threatening issue.” The person you suspect of having Alzheimer’s might instead have something as simple as hearing problems. “If you don’t accept that your hearing is going, you will become isolated and stop being engaged,” Amy adds. “That hurts your cognition.”

It’s also crucial for the caregiver to “accept for herself that the Alzheimer’s patient has a different reality,” Amy emphasizes.

“When you don’t accept this basic fact, it can make you crazy, which is transmitted to the person receiving the care,” she wisely explains.”The worst thing you can say to someone you suspect has Alzheimer’s is, ‘Come on, you remember i just told you that. We just talked about this.’  You should try to be in their world and make them comfortable. You never want to make them feel bad about what they’re doing because they can’t help it,” Amy says.”If you make them feel good, they’re more likely to function a little better.

“Just change the subject if you feel you’re going around and around in circles with someone. It won’t matter to the person.  As long as she’s safe and seems happy, that’s what counts.”

Are You In Control Of Your Bone Health?

I was diagnosed with osteoporosis 14 months ago, and my endocrinologist prescribed a bisphosphonate to treat it.

I asked her if she thought lack of estrogen was the reason for my declining bone density, but she didn’t have the foggiest idea. All she knew what that I had osteoporosis, and she didn’t seem to give a whit about the cause. But, after having interviewed some of the smartest doctors in the field of women’s health, I learned that loss of estrogen can absolutely precipitate bone loss. No wonder 61 percent of women over 60 years old take a bisphosphonate drug. (more…)

Sleeping Superbly With Sapira

FabOverFifty partnered with Sapira to bring you my review of its new luxurious and heavenly mattress.

Remember when you could fully function on a scanty amount of sleep?

Now, those zzzzz have become as important to your mind, body and soul as what you eat and how you exercise. But lately, everything from your husband’s snoring to your cat’s pouncing, is robbing you of the sleep you absolutely need. And, the mattress you bought seven years ago, after testing it out for five whole minutes in the store, isn’t doing you any favors, either.  It’s a lumpy mess.

I couldn’t remember when I last slept through the night. Over decades, I’ve tried Ambien, melatonin, and a parade of mattresses, including a ridiculously expensive, memory foam number that wouldn’t budge when I changed the sheets.  So, when the folks at Sapira offered to have me try their “luxury hybrid mattress,” a marriage of pocket springs and foam, I jumped at the opportunity. (By the way, you can only order Sapira online and it’s shipped, free, from UPS.)

Reading about the Sapira mattress before it arrived, I learned that it’s engineered by the same people who created the popular Leesa mattress, and is filled with (1) 1,000 individually wrapped steel spring coils, sandwiched between (2) high-resiliency, stabilizing foam. This core support layer is topped by (3) a layer of high-performance memory foam, which is then covered with (4) a “cooling performance” layer of high-density foam. The final layer is punched with holes to allow air flow cooling and provide “bounce.”

This great big foam and spring ‘sandwich’ creates the ideal amount of pressure relief, body contouring, cooling, and support that “you have to experience to believe,” the company states. What’s more, you don’t need pillow tops to enhance Sapira’s performance! That’s a pretty big build-up, I thought. The proof would be in the sleeping. (more…)

The Italian Beauty Secret Revealed!

I started learning about the intriguing beauty and fashion habits of European women, especially Italian and French women, when I was an editor at Women’s Wear Daily and W Magazine in the early 1980s.  

I say ‘intriguing’ because these ladies not only pay painstaking attention to the way they look and dress; they make no apologies for their femininity. An Italian woman is an “enchantress, an irresistibly fascinating woman, who exudes sensual, physical, emotional and intellectual beauty–qualities that Italian women have been associated with for centuries,” writes Raeleen D’Agostino Mautner, Ph.D, whose doctoral research focused on a cross-cultural study comparing Italy and the US on body image and other lifestyle factors.

“Italy’s ancient Latin culture has always encouraged the fairer sex to devote guilt-free time to their inner and outer well-being,” Dr. Mautner explains. “Even before the Roman Empire, a long soak in a thermal bath was considered as necessary to a woman’s psyche as beautiful clothes were for her social confidence.  Amiche mie, don’t wait for permission to dedicate a bit of time each day to your inner and outer bellezza.  You are worth it!” she adds.

Although you won’t find many Italian women today soaking in thermal baths, the modern Italian lady continues to meticulously care for her inner and outer beauty, including how she cleanses her body in the bath or shower. That accounts for the success of a product called Lubrigyn Cleansing Lotion, not only in Italy, but throughout Europe. “Lubrigyn is a creamy lotion that cleanses, lubricates and moisturizes, and can be used every single day, in the shower, instead of soap, which is terribly drying. You even can apply it with a tissue, without water, says Sara Olmo, the chemist who helped create it.

“Lubrigyn contains all natural oils, like jojoba and olive oil, to soothe, soften and refresh. And, it’s the only product of its kind with sodium hyaluronate, used in many of today’s skin care formulas. It’s considered the ultimate moisturizer for our faces, and also helps our vaginal tissue to stay supple, moist and keep its elasticity,” adds Sara.  

I’ve been using Lubrigyn Cleansing Lotion for the last two years, and my vaginal tissue became more hydrated after just a couple of weeks. 

So we created the video below to introduce this exceptional product to American women. I also use Lubrigyn Cleansing Lotion on my entire body. It’s so reasonably priced, I even make sure to keep a couple of extra tubes in my vanity drawer.  I’ll never again put soap or shower gel anywhere near my vaginal area.

This post is sponsored by Lubrigyn. To learn more and receive a coupon for this special cleansing lotion, click here. Scrap the soap!

What’s Your Snacker Profile And How To Change It, Pronto!

Disclosure: FabOverFifty is a sponsored Meta Influencer, but all opinions are its own. Please see additional disclosures, below.

Think about all the times you reach the bottom of a bag of tasty chips, and scold yourself for being so undisciplined.

Or, you start devouring cookies and ice cream when you’ve had a stressful day at work. Before you tear into the next bag of goodies or dip into a new pint of chocolate chocolate chip, take this clever, quick Meta Snack ID Quiz on POPSUGAR, created by Meta Appetite Control and Jessica Fishman Levinson, registered dietitian and nutritionist.

The quiz will tell you which of six snacker profiles fits you best, from Break-Room Binger and On-The-Go Grazer to Late-Night Looter and All-Or-Nothing Nosher.  It also will offer sensible tips, no matter which profile reflects your snacking style, so you can make progress in leading a healthy lifestyle. (more…)

Meet The New Man In My Life

Do you publicly moan and groan, at least once in awhile, when things aren’t going as smoothly as you’d like?

You might have a bad cold or developed a big, bad cavity. Maybe the thermostat isn’t working on a bitter winter day.  Or UPS can’t locate the rug you ordered for the living room. When things like this happen, and you’re feeling under the weather or hate the weather, think about Santos.

doorI met 40-something Santos a few months ago, when he came to my new (old) house to draw up plans to build a kitchen, from scratch. Santos definitely has a way with wood. He created the striking kitchen on the parlor floor, two beautiful closets on the second, as well as new doors for every room (each in a different design). What’s more, he’s self taught, and one of the hardest working men I’ve ever met. He’s dedicated to his two sons and crazy about his six-month-old grandson. You should know, his life has not been easy, not easy at all.

Most recently, Santos was working on bringing back an ancient (1899) entry door in my house from the dead. Then he took ill and almost died himself.

Ignoring the pain he was feeling in his stomach, for a few weeks, Santos continued to work in his shop. He finally went to the doctor when he developed severe diarrhea and couldn’t keep food down. The doctor told him he had a stomach virus and prescribed antibiotics. A week later, Santos wasn’t feeling any better and the pain became so bad, he asked his son to take him to the hospital.


Join The Joint Movement

Dear FOFriends    Osteo Bi-Flex has compensated FabOverFifty for this blog.
I can assure you that the content is completely factual and valuable, and all opinions are totally my own!

I knew I was in trouble a couple of years ago, when it suddenly became harder to rise from the seat on the subway or get up off the floor after playing with my then one-year old grandson. I could no longer pop up from a chair or the ground. I needed my hands to help boost me into standing position. And, if I sat in a chair for a long time–say a few hours–my joints felt stiff when I got up!  Winter weather only made it all worse.

lead (more…)

Geri Meets PeriCoach, And Actually Has Fun Doing Kegel Exercises

I think of myself as a pretty self-disciplined person, at least when I want to be.

But, I’ve had to depend on outside resources to help me achieve a number of important goals: I went to a hypnotist to help me stop smoking over 30 years ago, and I haven’t smoked a single cigarette since (or even physically touched a cigarette); I signed up with a trainer almost two years ago, who specializes in getting people over 50 in tip-top shape, and my strength, balance and cardio endurance have definitely improved.


Most recently, I turned to a smart, smart device, called PeriCoach, to help me train a group of muscles that Vann Duke, my trainer, doesn’t address:
my pelvic floor muscles.

productLike nearly 18 million women who leak when they laugh, sneeze, run or jump, I experience bladder incontinence. Mine is a result of a total hysterectomy in 1991, two childbirths, and menopause, which have thinned my vaginal tissue and weakened my pelvic muscles, as well as the ligaments which help support the bladder. These weakened structures can cause the bladder to shift downward, and prevent the urethra from closing properly, resulting in urine leakage during moments of physical stress like coughing, laughing, jumping, lifting or running. (more…)

The 5 Simplest Things You Can Do To Stay In Tip-Top Shape For A Long, Long Time!

This is a “sponsored post.” ProHealthspan compensated FOF with an advertising sponsorship to write it. Regardless, we only recommend products or services that we believe will be helpful for our readers. All insights and expressed opinions are our own. —Geri Brin

Follow these recommendations and there’s a pretty good chance you’ll lose weight, become healthier and live LONGER. They’re not only invaluable; they’re easy to do.  Really, really easy. Get going today!


Yep, I know that crisp bacon, pepperoni on your pizza, and hot dogs from the grill are yummy, but their saturated fat, nitrites, sodium, and even some carcinogens, aren’t going to do your ticker, or any other organ, any favors.

Countless studies have bashed or boosted red meat, but most of them have unequivocally determined that regularly eating processed beef is linked to chronic illnesses such as heart disease and cancer. Consuming a portion of processed red meat every single day can boost your risk of premature death by up to 20 per cent, revealed a 28-year US study of over 120,000 participants, conducted by experts at the esteemed Harvard University.   (more…)

An Anti-Aging Pill– For Real

This is a “sponsored post.” ProHealthspan compensated FOF with an advertising sponsorship to write it. Regardless, we only recommend products or services that we believe will be helpful for our readers. All insights and expressed opinions are our own. —Geri Brin

No matter how many anti-aging lotions and potions I rub into my skin, it’s unlikely that I’m going to wake up one day soon, glance in the mirror, and see my 30-old-face staring back at me. But the burgeoning nutritional supplement market, estimated at a whopping $20+ billion, consistently promises it can help me live healthier–and feel younger. Although I’d be willing to keep my crow’s feet and laugh lines, in exchange for feeling as tip-top as I did decades ago, so many supplement claims seem downright absurd, even if Dr. Oz is making them!

It got my attention, however, when I heard that a Stanford-educated PhD, with his advanced degree in cancer biology, had discovered a vitamin that actually could reduce the effects of aging and prompt our cells to act like they did when we were younger. Was this for real?  

I wanted to learn more, so I arranged for an interview with Dr. Charles Brenner, the scientist behind this discovery, and asked him to explain his discovery in non-scientific terms. If a highly educated scientist hoped to teach me anything, he had to make it simple. Biology was my worst subject in high school!


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