June 19, 2015 |
Lawyers for Dorothy June Brown, a charter school founder scheduled to be retried next month on federal fraud charges, have filed new medical reports that they say bolster their contention that the 77-year-old educator has dementia. Lawyers said in court documents that they are not seeking to delay Brown's retrial, scheduled to begin July 7 with jury selection on June 29. Instead, they have asked the judge to evaluate Brown's mental competency "at every stage at which it is raised" because physicians at the Cleveland Clinic have concluded that Brown has Alzheimer's-type dementia.
May 21, 2015 |
The first clue that something was wrong with his grandmother came when Bill Mikus walked with her to a restaurant in Reading that she often visited. "You want your regular?" the waitress asked. It turned out the regular was just coffee. "She doesn't come here to eat?" Mikus asked the waitress, flabbergasted. He took some time off work to investigate. His grandmother, who had helped raise him after his mother died, was then in her mid-80s and lived alone. Her refrigerator was nearly empty.
May 8, 2015 |
It is not surprising when older people with dementia make poor financial decisions or are fleeced by con artists. But even "normal" brain aging, which causes changes in cognitive and social abilities, can make people vulnerable later in life to financial disaster. A conference at the University of Pennsylvania this week tackled how to figure out whether older people are capable of good decision-making, and what can be done to protect elders from fraud and abuse. Sponsored by Penn's Institute on Aging and Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy, the event drew people from academia, law enforcement, and social services.
March 7, 2015 |
Empathy - the kind where you try to think your way into understanding how others feel - only gets you so far. The leaders of the Watermark at Logan Square, a senior-living high-rise in Philadelphia, recently helped the children of two residents take their empathy to a new level. After just a few minutes of being "garbed" with some low-tech handicapping devices, Richard Abraham, 59, a stock trader who lives in Havertown, and Becky Jones, 53, a Widener University political science professor who lives near the Art Museum, developed a new appreciation for what it's like to be old and have dementia.
February 20, 2015 |
Barbara Bitros has a lovely life. She lives in a beautiful restored barn in Langhorne, dates a kind man, sees her grandchildren twice a week. She woke up on a recent Monday and found her frying pan in her refrigerator. She has no idea when or why she put it there. Bitros, 64, is a former hospice nurse and educator who has seen many people with dementia die. She was so concerned about her own memory losses - entire blocks of time vanished, what she called intermittent amnesia - that she had herself tested by three neurologists: brain scans, a spinal tap, the full workup.
November 4, 2014 |
John B. "Jack" Hagner, 83, of Bala Cynwyd, a longtime public accountant, died Monday, Oct. 20, of dementia at Symphony Square Assisted Living & Memory Care. His wife of 27 years, Mary Ellen Yuhas Hagner, said Mr. Hagner started suffering memory loss in 2011 and was diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia. In 2013, he was admitted to Symphony Square. Mr. Hagner worked as a public accountant for 41 years at Ratke, Miller, Hagner & Co. in Philadelphia. It was formerly known as Hagner & Co. after his grandfather and father, who founded the company during the 1930s.
August 5, 2014 |
Through a work of art, the two women were hoping to save a connection that is slipping away. Their husbands, who have Alzheimer's disease, are becoming more distant, their marriages more solitary and fraught with worry. But in a discussion of a painting called The Immigrants , those husbands - Jack Williams and Dick Force - virtually carried the conversation at the Woodmere Art Museum, in Chestnut Hill. The two men, whose wives had met through their mutual experience as caregivers, found the story in the brushstrokes and shared their thoughts about the discovery.
June 9, 2014 |
For several years, Sylvia Gentry noticed that her husband, Louis, was behaving oddly, but she didn't suspect he might have a brain disease. Their saga began about 10 years ago. He left the table midway through dinner with guests he'd liked for 30 years - they were boring, he told her. One Thanksgiving, he threw an artificial log in the fireplace, still wrapped in plastic. Oddest of all, he began to cross social boundaries. He'd ask embarrassing questions and hug strangers. He became overly flirtatious with young women.
May 25, 2014 |
Can antidepressants help ward off Alzheimer's disease? That's the tantalizing question raised by new research from a University of Pennsylvania psychiatrist. She's says it's way too early to answer it. "I am not advocating that people take [antidepressants] at this point in time for anything other than depression," said Yvette Sheline, a professor of psychiatry, radiology, and neurology and director of the Center for Neuromodulation in Depression and Stress. Her latest work explored the link between amyloid beta, one of the hallmark proteins in Alzheimer's disease, and the antidepressant citalopram (Celexa)
April 16, 2014 |
Dementia is terrible for everyone, but elderly people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) face extra problems, says Ed Bomba, communications chair for the LGBT Elder Initiative in Philadelphia. Many have spent much of their lives in the closet and fear discrimination by medical or social service providers or even the people they might live with in nursing homes. "We don't have children, as a rule. We don't have partners, as a rule, as we age," Bomba said. Many older LGBT people were rejected by their families and have created support systems of friends.