Archive for July, 2015

Now that 70 is in my rear-view mirror, I am increasingly attracted to articles with tittles like “A Plan For Successful Aging” ( I am officially one of those “geriatric” clients with whom I have worked for nearly three decades. I am one of the “young old.” I feel that the quality of the rest of my life requires that I don’t focus on the past – I can’t change it. I am the result of my genetics and cumulative experiences (the easy and the difficult, the mistakes and the successes). What follows is my general outline to protect my future as well as I can. 1) Be proactive. Don’t wait for the first fall to take action. I have been “thinking about” getting a medical alert device for my mother-in-law. She recently fell in the bathroom and was unable […]


Benzodiazepines such as Klonopin (generic = clonazepam), Xanax (generic = alprazolam), Ativan (generic = lorazepam) have a long and controversial history of use to treat behavioral challenges in those with Alzheimer’s disease. These disturbances range from agitation, anxiety, delusions, and hallucinations to sleep disturbances. The controversy deepened with the recent finding of a correlation between benzodiazepine use and risk of dementia. This risk appears to develop with chronic (i.e., daily) use of these medications for three or more months. At this time there is no agreement on use benzodiazepines as an alternative to antipsychotics, which have potentially serious side effects in the elderly. Current guidelines recommend use of benzodiazepines be limited to a few weeks despite the fact that they are often used for years. Long-term daily use of benzodiazepines is associated with increased risk of falls, dependence, and withdrawal […]


Memory loss can result from a number of neurological conditions. Alzheimer’s disease is not the only cause of memory loss. There are at least three clinically important memory systems: 1) Episodic 2) Semantic 3) Working 4) Procedural Episodic memory is the most common clinical memory complaint and most thoroughly researched and assessed (e.g., recall of lists of words). Episodic memory involves the recall and recognition of personal episodes and experiences. What did you eat for breakfast? What was the most recent movie that you saw? Where did you go for vacation? Episodes are the scripts of your life that involve the sense of time and self. Episodic memory involves three steps: 1) Encoding. Awareness and attention are required for an event or episode to be recorded. 2) Consolidation. The brain process that actually lays down the memory “trace” for later […]


Howard Gardner proposed the theory of multiple intelligences in 1983 ( to more broadly interpret intelligence than can be done by standard IQ tests, which often best measure the likelihood of doing well in school. But as we all know, intelligence is far more than doing well in school. The idea, as I understand it, is that the brain has multiple skills, ways of understanding and knowing the world. At the beginning of life, these skills allow us to develop and learn to competently master tasks and information. According to Gardner, there are eight “intelligences.” These are: 1) Verbal-linguistic intelligence: ability to analyze written and verbal information. 2) Logical-mathematical intelligence: ability to use and understand calculations, symbolism, and mathematics. 3) Visual-spatial intelligence: ability to use and understand maps, design, visual arts, and architecture. 4) Musical intelligence: ability to produce and […]

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