disease, is the most common form of dementia that
affects millions of people world wide.
Alzheimer's is a progressive brain disorder in
which brain tissue deteriorates and dies. When
examined at autopsy the brain shows abnormal
fibers that appear to be tangles of brain tissue
filaments (neurofibrillary tangles) and senile
plaques (patches of degenerative nerve endings).
This damage is believed to cause disruption to
transmission of impulses amongst brain cells. It
is this damage that is thought to produce the
symptoms of the disease.
Causes Alzheimer's Disease?
are still trying to fully understand the cause
or causes of Alzheimer’s disease. In the
meantime, it’s helpful to understand the
hallmarks of Alzheimer’s –- plaques and tangles–-
and the risk factors that affect a person’s
likelihood of developing the disease.
Alzheimer's disease is characterized by a build-up
of proteins in the brain. Though this cannot be
measured in a living person, extensive autopsy
studies have revealed this phenomenon. The build-up
manifests in two ways: Plaques – deposits of the
protein beta-amyloidthat accumulate in the
spaces between nerve cells; and Tangles –
deposits of the protein tau that accumulate
inside of nerve cells. Scientists are still studying how
plaques and tangles are related to Alzheimer’s
disease. One theory is that they block nerve
cells’ ability to communicate with each other,
making it difficult for the cells to survive.
Autopsies have shown that most people develop
some plaques and tangles as they age, but people
with Alzheimer’s develop far more than those who
do not develop the disease. Scientists still
don’t know why some people develop so many
compared to others.
the Alzheimer's risk factors?
Advancing age is the number one risk factor for
developing Alzheimer’s disease. One out of eight
people over the age of 65 has Alzheimer’s
disease, and almost one out of every two people
over the age of 85 has Alzheimer’s. The
probability of being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s
nearly doubles every five years after age 65.
Family History: People who have a parent or
sibling that developed Alzheimer’s disease are
two to three times more likely to develop the
disease than those with no family history of
Alzheimer’s. If more than one close relative has
been affected, the risk increases even more.
Scientists have identified two kinds of genes
that are associated with this familial risk
factor. The first is thought to be a “risk
gene,” ApoE 4, wich increases the likelihood of
developing Alzheimer’s, but does not guarantee
it. In addition to ApoE 4, scientists think
there could be up to a dozen more risk genes yet
to be discovered.
The second kind of gene is a “deterministic
gene” and is much rarer than risk genes.
Deterministic genes are only found in a few
hundred extended families around the world. If a
deterministic gene is inherited, the person will
undoubtedly develop Alzheimer’s, probably at a
much earlier age.
the Signs and Symptoms of Alzheimer's Disease?
memory, especially memory of recent events is
the number one sign of Alzheimer’s disease.
Another sign is the loss of language skills;
these include an inability to remember a noun or
name, apparent ‘nonsense’ speech, repeating the
last sound or word said by someone else. Other
signs include: personality changes, an inability
to recognize people and things and loss of
spatial skills; these changes can affects many
everyday tasks such as dressing, sitting down,
setting a table. Loss of initiative, being
uninterested and unable to involve themselves
with activities that were previously important
or regular features of their life.
Alzheimer's Disease Infectious?
cannot catch Alzheimer's disease from your
affected relative or friend.
people with Alzheimers Disease behave so
you may only notice small changes in Alzheimer’s
patients, often to do with memory loss or
impairment. These behaviors expressed by your
friend or relative will change over time. All of
us experience changes in mood, in the way we act
and speak, that is normal. For someone with
Alzheimer’s disease that will be true too, but
their brain is damaged and that damage increases
as time goes on. Imagine yourself in a situation
where you cannot remember your name, you are not
sure if the person talking to you knows you, but
is making you go to the bathroom. Imagine that
you are not familiar with your surroundings -
your behavior might also be a bit strange and
you might be frightened. It would certainly be
group does Alzheimers Disease Affect?
disease is mostly seen in older people but very
occasionally it develops in middle age, in the
30’s (this represents about 10% of all
Alzheimer’s cases). People over the age of 65
are most commonly affected. The incidence of
Alzheimer’s disease increases with age and by
the age of 85 years the disease affects nearly
half of all people.
do People with Alzheimers live?
Alzheimer's can live for a long time. A lot of
their longevity depends on the physical fitness
of the person prior to the disease developing.
The rate Alzheimer's disease advances is highly
variable from person to person. Survival rates
vary from 2 to 20 years from onset of the
own memory loss mean I have Alzheimer’s?
forgets information sometime. I regularly forget
what I have gone upstairs to do - that sort of
thing. Getting older does increase the incidence
of forgetfulness, but that does not mean that
you are suffering from any disease. A diagnosis
of a dementia, such as Alzheimer's disease, must
be made by a doctor or clinician and will
require a number of tests.
Assisted Living for seniors differ from a Board
and Care Home, Nursing Home, or Congregate
Living Facilities offer help with activities of
daily living, personal or custodial care, but
offer no or very little medical care. Board and
Care Homes and Congregate Housing have been
around for many decades, and offer about the
same services as an Assisted Living Facility.
Many Board and Care homes are set up to serve
just two to six residents in a converted single
family home though some are converted apartments;
but Congregate Housing and Assisted Living
Facilities generally serve larger numbers of
residents. Congregate Housing was originally
government subsidized housing, but nowadays
various types of senior communities call
themselves "congregate housing." In recent
decades, as more and more Assisted Living
facilities have been created with different
combinations of services, the differences
between Board and Care, Congregate Housing, and
Assisted Living have become blurred to the point
that all three are often considered varieties of
choose an Assisted Living Facility?
The’Comparison’ section offers several
comprehensive checklists to use when visiting
different Assisted Living Facilities. In
general, keep these points in mind. 1) Living
area and accommodations: Is the community well
designed for residents' needs? Does it include
safety features? What types of units are
available and how much does each cost? Does the
staff greet you warmly? Do they call residents
by name? Do residents socialize with each other
and appear happy? Talk with some of the
residents. Do they seem like people whom you'd
enjoy getting to know? Do residents have a
choice of eating in common dining areas or their
own units? Is the food nutritious, appetizing,
and prepared according to dietary restrictions?
If you have a pet, find out whether pets are
welcome in your residence. 2) Personal care/services:
What professionals are on staff? What are their
qualifications and availability? Are the
custodial care services offered what you want
and need? What social, recreational and fitness
programs are available? 3) Licensing and costs:
Does the facility meet local and state licensing
requirements? Is government, private, or
corporate assistance available? What are the
costs, including any additional fees for extra
services? Do residents receive a written service
plan that is periodically reviewed and adjusted?
an Assisted Living Facility?
Living Facility provides care for seniors who
need some help with activities of daily living
yet wish to remain as independent as possible. A
middle ground between independent living and
nursing homes, Assisted Living Facilities aim to
foster as much autonomy as the resident is
capable of. Most facilities offer 24-hour
supervision and an array of support services,
with more privacy, space, and dignity than many
nursing homes—at a lower cost. There are
approximately 33,000 Assisted Living Facilities
operating in the U.S. today. The number of
residents living in a facility can range from
several to 300, with the most common size being
between 25 and 120 individuals. Assisted Living
Facilities are also called: Residential care
facilities, Personal care homes, Domiciliary
care, Sheltered housing, Community residences.
An Assisted Living Facility helps seniors with
personal care (also called custodial care), such
as: bathing, dressing, toileting, eating,
grooming, getting around.
types of Assisted Living Facilities are
Assisted Living Facilities are residential in
character, there is no standard blueprint
because consumers' preferences and needs vary so
greatly. Assisted Living residences can range
from a high-rise apartment constructed as an
Assisted Living Facility, to a converted
Victorian home, to a renovated school. They can
be free standing or housed with other options,
such as independent living or nursing care. They
may be studio apartments, or one-bedroom
apartments with scaled-down kitchens. An
Assisted Living complex will typically be built
with 25 to 110 units, varying in size from one
room to a full apartment. This larger type of
Assisted Living Facility may have a group dining
area and common areas for social and
appropriate candidates for Assisted Living?
estimated that one million Americans currently
live in Assisted Living Facilities. Assisted
Living residents can be young or old, affluent
or low income, frail or disabled. A typical
resident is a widowed or single woman in her
eighties. Residents may suffer from memory
disorders, or simply need help with mobility,
incontinence or other challenges. Assisted
Living is appropriate for anyone who can no
longer manage to live on their own but doesn't
require medical care. If a senior needs a number
of services, an Assisted Living Facility may
become a more economical alternative to home
care services. An Assisted Living Facility is
often the first stop for an elder who needs to
get help with daily living. Some residents move
on to a Nursing Home; others may come to
Assisted Living from a Nursing Home or hospital
after a period of rehabilitation.
treatments are available?
there is no cure for Alzheimer's disease (AD).
However, there are medications that can help
control its symptoms. In addition, treatments
are also available to help manage agitation,
depression, or psychotic symptoms (hallucinations
or delusions), which may occur as the disease
progresses. Consult a physician before taking
there drugs that can delay the onset of
an Alzheimer's disease treatment appears to have
a slowing effect—though limited—on the
progression from mild cognitive impairment (MCI)
to Alzheimer's disease, according to a study
published in April 2005 by the New England
Journal of Medicine. Those with MCI, such as the
study participants, experience memory problems,
but are able to function independently; however,
MCI is often a transitional stage that leads to
the serious cognitive decline of Alzheimer's
disease. Over the first year of the three-year
trial, MCI patients treated with Aricept had a
reduced risk of progressing to Alzheimer's
disease compared to patients who took a placebo,
an inactive pill. The study found the effect of
the Aricept treatment lasted longer (up to two
to three years) in those patients carrying the
ApoE4 gene. Previous studies have shown that
those with the ApoE4 gene have a higher risk of
developing Alzheimer's than the general
population. Source: Mayo Clinic, Rochester and
the National Institute on Aging
a link between Alzheimer's disease and
aluminum or other metals?
been implicated in neurodegenerative diseases,
although it is unlikely that any are the sole
cause. For example, interest in a possible
connection between aluminum and Alzheimer's
disease arose over 40 years ago, and the
toxicity of aluminum has been the subject of
much controversy since that time. However,
aluminum has never been proven to be a direct
cause of Alzheimer’s, and increasingly, evidence
shows that Alzheimer’s disease is likely caused
not by one, but by a combination of factors.
Zinc, copper and iron have also been implicated
in the formation of beta amyloid protein plaques
that are part of Alzheimer’s disease. Zinc and
copper interact with amyloid beta precursor
protein (APP) and beta amyloid itself, although
their role is not clear. While copper promotes
free radical formation, zinc is an antioxidant.
However, high levels of zinc may contribute to
the aggregation of beta amyloid. One particular
way in which copper binds to beta amyloid
appears to be toxic. Further research is
necessary to determine the exact role of metals
in Alzheimer’s disease.
should I go to if I suspect I may have
visit your regular family physician. The
physician will probably do a variety of tests to
determine the probability of Alzheimer's.
Specialists such as neurologists, gerontologists
and geriatric psychiatrists may also be involved
in the evaluation process.
kind of information should I bring to my first
visit to the doctor?
visit a new doctor, bring your medical records;
for any doctor, bring a list of over the counter
and prescription medicines you are currently
taking. If you don't know the names of the drugs,
bring the pill bottles with you. A medication or
a combination of medications can sometimes cause
symptoms that resemble Alzheimer's disease. Also
make a list of current medical problems. It's a
good idea to show the doctor a list of symptoms,
behaviors and any problems carrying out routine
activities (for example, paying bills).
the stages of Alzheimer's disease?
three general stages of Alzheimer's disease:
Stage 1 (Mild): Early in the illness, those with
Alzheimer’s tend to be less energetic and
spontaneous. They exhibit minor memory loss,
moods swings and are slow to learn and react.
They may become withdrawn, avoid people and new
places and prefer the familiar. Individuals
become confused, have difficulty organizing and
planning, get lost easily and exercise poor
judgment. They may have difficulty performing
routine tasks, and have trouble communicating
and understanding written material. If the
person is employed, memory loss may begin to
affect job performance. They can become angry
and frustrated. Stage 2 (Moderate): In this
stage, the person with Alzheimer’s is clearly
becoming disabled. Individuals can still perform
simple tasks independently, but may need
assistance with more complicated activities.
They forget recent events and their personal
history, and become more disoriented and
disconnected from reality. Memories of the
distant past may be confused with the present,
and affect the person’s ability to comprehend
the current situation, date and time. They may
have trouble recognizing familiar people. Speech
problems arise and understanding, reading and
writing are become more difficult, and the
individual may start to invent words. They may
no longer be safe alone and can be known to
wander. As Alzheimer’s patients become aware of
this loss of control, they may become depressed,
irritable and restless or apathetic and
withdrawn. They may experience sleep
disturbances and have more trouble eating,
grooming and dressing. Stage 3 (Severe): During
this final stage, people may lose the ability to
feed themselves, speak, recognize people and
control bodily functions. Their memory worsens
and may become almost non-existent. Constant
care is typically necessary. In a weakened
physical state, the patient may become
vulnerable to other illnesses and respiratory
problems, particularly when bedridden.
memory problems an indication of Alzheimer's
forgetfulness and memory delays often occur as
part of the normal aging process. Older
individuals simply need more time to learn a new
fact or to remember an old one. We all have
occasional difficulty remembering a word or
someone's name; however, those with Alzheimer's
disease (AD) will find these symptoms
progressing in frequency and severity. Everyone,
from time to time will forget where they placed
their car keys; an individual with Alzheimer’s
may not remember the purpose of the keys. There
has been recent interest in a condition called
mild cognitive impairment (MCI). Individuals
with MCI have memory impairment (pronounced
forgetfulness), but are able to perform routine
activities without assistance. However, MCI has
been identified as a major risk factor for
developing AD. While all patients who develop
some form of dementia go through a period of MCI,
not all patients exhibiting MCI will go on to
develop AD. Many conditions can contribute to
the development of memory problems and dementia;
AD is just one of them. A decline in
intellectual functioning that significantly
interferes with normal social relationships and
daily activities is characteristic of dementia,
of which AD is the most common form. AD and
multi-infarct dementia (a series of small
strokes in the brain) cause the vast majority of
dementias in the elderly. Other possible causes
of dementia-like symptoms include infections,
drug interactions, a metabolic or nutritional
disorder, brain tumors, depression or another
progressive disease like Parkinson's disease.
If memory loss increases in frequency or
severity, makes an impression on friends and
family, begins to interfere with daily
activities (employment tasks, social
interactions, and family chores, for example),
seek out qualified professional advice and
evaluation by a physician with extensive
knowledge, experience and interest in dementia
and memory problems.
a test to detect a predisposition to Alzheimer's
There is a
test currently available that can identify which
forms of apolipoprotein (ApoE) are present in
the blood. One form, ApoE4, is associated with
an already well-studied condition, heart disease,
and appears to increase the risk of developing
Alzheimer’s as well. However, this blood can
only detect whether ApoE4 is present, not if and
when the person will develop Alzheimer's. In
2007, researchers at Stanford University
published some promising study results in which
18 blood proteins (and resultant chemical
signals) were tested to determine the risk of
advancement from mild cognitive impairment (MCI)
to Alzheimer’s disease. In the study, the
scientists were able to predict whether the
subjects would progress to Alzheimer’s with 90%
accuracy. However, this study tested a
relatively small number of people, and larger
studies will need to be undertaken.
The Peaceful Mind Institute located?
republic of Guatemala, situated between the
modern Guatemala City and the colonial town of
Antigua (with an expat population estimated at
Flight time from:
Miami 2hr. 45 min.
Houston 2 hr. 50 min.
LAX 4 hr. 45 min.
make reservations for a suite or villa?
the primary language of The Peaceful Mind
staff will all be bilingual; either American
residents & US trained Guatemalans.
Medicare cover me in Guatemala?
Part A and B does not cover patients outside of
the United States except in certain emergencies.
However it can be arranged to maintain patients
prescription drug coverage and have the
prescriptions shipped to the patient on a
regular basis. This may be considered
unnecessary by many patients die to the fact
that many prescription drugs are much less
expensive in Central America (or due to the fact
that the patient doesn’t really use that many
Regarding the Part A and B coverage, the patient
would certainly want to maintain their coverage
with Medicare so if a medical situation arose
they would have choices;
patient may choose to be treated locally; PMI
has a contractual agreement with Centro Medico
(20 min from PMI), one of the finest medical
facilities in Central America, with many U.S.
trained physicians and nurses. Many times
patients will find that the total cost of the
treatment at Centro Medico is less that the
patient’s out-of-pocket deductible in the United
States (That is the reason that Medical Tourism
has become so popular and is growing
exponentially every year).
2. To return to the United States temporarily
for treatment; Houston and Miami are only two
guests and visitors be transported within
transportation within Guatemala will be provided
by our in-house ground transportation services.
Any guests or visitors arriving from the airport
will be brought to The Peaceful Mind Institute
as well as needed off-site doctors visits.
type of weather is typical at The Peaceful Mind
experience spring like weather year round.
type of daily activities will be available for
will have access to a variety of classes and
activities, including, but not limited to:
dancing, singing, art, knitting, gardening
puzzles, movies, religious and spiritual
guests need to become Guatemalan residents? What
do visitors need to enter Guatemala?
be provided with the necessary services under
medical tourism. Guests from the USA can enter
Guatemala on a 3-month tourist visa for no cost.
time zone is Guatemalan in?
family and friends contact their loved ones at
The Peaceful Mind Institute?
Peaceful Mind Institute provides modern
technology for our guests to keep in touch. For
example, in-room video conferencing as well as
daily log-ins to check on your loved ones well-being
the food like in Guatemala?
trained dietician/chef will prepare a tailored
meal plan for each guest.
Peaceful Mind Institute accommodate spouses?
villas are available for couples to live
together. The non-afflicted spouse will have
access to; golf. Hiking. Biking. Volunteering.
Gardening, and more…