Early Dementia – Warning Signs and Treatments

woman leaning against a wall in dim hallway

Dementia is a neurodegenerative condition that is more serious than age-related memory loss. In the United States alone, more than 5 million people are diagnosed with some form of the condition. The most common cause is Alzheimer’s; however, dementia can also result from other factors.

Although the most significant risk factor for dementia is advanced age, there are underlying conditions that can cause dementia-like symptoms. If identified early, dementia symptoms can be halted, or in some cases reversed.

It can be difficult for people to identify the signs of dementia in themselves. For this reason, family and caregivers often recognize early symptoms first. Many signs of early-stage dementia affect temperament: the individual may avoid social situations and become depressed.

While it is normal for older people to misidentify unfamiliar people or forget very recent events, the inability to recall more familiar people and objects can be a sign of dementia. People who suddenly become disoriented, especially in places that are familiar to them, should be screened for the condition. Increased irritability and halting communication can also indicate a cognitive problem.

If a person shows signs of dementia, they will need to go through a medical evaluation to determine the cause. The physician or specialist will identify whether the dementia is reversible through treatment.

During the diagnosis, the medical professional will review the patient’s family history and look for any genetic susceptibilities to dementia. The patient’s medical history is also considered, as medications and heavy alcohol use can cause dementia-like symptoms.

Patients may also undergo a brain scan to look for any changes or lesions. Since some viruses, like HIV, can appear as dementia, patients may undergo testing for infections. If the individual was recently involved in an accident, the physician may scan for traumatic brain injuries.

For example, people with B12 vitamin deficiency have many symptoms that mirror dementia, like memory loss. Increasing B12 intake through dietary changes and supplements can reverse some of these symptoms.

An overactive or underactive thyroid can also contribute to poor coordination and cognitive decline. Most people will regain their abilities after treatment.

While there are some causes of dementia that cannot be reversed, lifestyle changes and medication can slow neurodegeneration. Exercise is one of the most effective ways to reduce cognitive decline. Physical activity supports blood flow and ensures an adequate supply of oxygen to the brain, which can preserve neuron health. Likewise, exercise reduces many of the risk factors for dementia, including stroke and hypertension.

Heart-healthy diets rich in fresh produce and low in fat can have a protective effect on the brain. Food with high levels of antioxidants help protect neurons against damage from toxic particles known as free radicals. Healthy diets also facilitate neural growth by promoting blood flow and stimulating brain areas associated with memory.

In addition, mental stimulation proves effective in slowing dementia, whether achieved through learning a new skill or playing challenging games or puzzles. Some evidence exists that mentally stimulating activities can slow neuron degeneration and encourage the brain to build new connections. This fortifies brain matter, making the individual more resilient to dementia symptoms.

Outstanding Caregivers to Be Recognized by Alzheimer’s Orange County

Based in Irvine, California, Miriam Galindo is a licensed clinical psychologist and social worker who provides reunification and co-parenting counseling services through her private practice. In addition, she serves as a psychologist with Families in Transition and as a member of an approved panel of experts that is used in child custody cases for the Orange County Superior Court. In her free time, Miriam Galindo volunteers with Alzheimer’s Orange County.

Established in 1982, Alzheimer’s Orange County provides information, education, resources, and support to local families impacted by Alzheimer’s disease and other memory loss conditions. One of the organization’s many events is the annual Visionary Women Caregivers Luncheon. The event is designed to honor caregivers in Orange County who have demonstrated outstanding compassion for people with Alzheimer’s and dementia. The level of care carried out by the honorees far exceeds expectation and serves to inspire others. The 2019 Visionary Women Caregivers Luncheon is scheduled to take place in mid-September 2019 in Silverado, California. Emmy-nominated actress Eva LaRue will attend the luncheon as a special guest speaker.

There are five categories in which women caregivers are nominated for the Visionary Women Caregivers Luncheon. These categories are Youth/Young Adult Caregiver, Family Caregiver, Medical/Clinical Professional, Professional Caregivers, and Administrative Professional. Each category distinguishes a different facet of dementia and Alzheimer’s caregiving, thereby ensuring that the Visionary Women Caregivers Luncheon recognizes outstanding individuals from varying segments of the field.

Facilitating Forgiveness Lecture at CAMFT’S 2019 Fall Symposium

California Association of Marriage and Family Therapistspic

California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists
Image: camft.org

Psychologist Miriam Galindo is a member of a panel of experts used in family cases by the Orange County Superior Court in Southern California. Running a private practice with her husband, Dr. Jorge Galindo, she focuses on cases involving child custody and high-conflict divorce. Dr. Miriam Galindo is a member of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT).

With over 32,000 members, CAMFT is dedicated to promoting the cause of licensed marriage and family therapists. As part of its continuing-education endeavor, CAMFT will be holding its 2019 Fall Symposium November 8-9, at the Hilton Irvine/Orange County Airport, in Irvine. One of the sessions to be presented is by Carla Rather, LFMT, who will introduce participants on how to effectively handle “Forgiveness Conversations” founded on the Attachment Injury Repair Model (AIRM) of Emotionally Focused Therapy.

It has been factually substantiated that 90 percent of couples experienced reduced relational distress using AIRM. Hostilities occur in relationships, and without a forgiveness process, the probability for connection and closeness with others diminishes. Aside from relationships, AIRM can also be used to facilitate healing in societal conflicts. To learn more about this session and the 2019 Fall Symposium, visit www.camft.org/fs19.

Supporting the CAMFT Educational Foundation

California Association of Marriage and Family Therapistspic

California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists
Image: camft.org

Since 2004, Miriam Galindo, PsyD, has provided co-parenting, child, family, and reunification therapy to clients in Irvine, California, through her own private practice. Active in her professional community, Dr. Miriam Galindo belongs to such organizations as the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT).

An independent professional organization, CAMFT establishes and promotes high ethical standards and advances the marriage and family therapy profession. Toward this end, it maintains the CAMFT Educational Foundation.

Established in 1977, this charitable organization awards grants and scholarships to help professionals earn their license as a marriage and family therapist. It also offers other assistance to people pursuing a job or conducting research in the field. This financial support largely comes from donations from members and other committed individuals. These gifts can be made in the form of a monetary gift using a credit card or check. Gifts of this kind provide immediate funding to grants and scholarships.

Individuals can also support the CAMFT Educational Foundation by shopping through Amazon Smile. Or they can make a bequest to the organization. Both methods are simple to establish. However, bequests have the added benefit of either establishing a new scholarship, donating in honor of a loved one, or designating funds for a specific purpose. Regardless of the method used, contributions made to the organization are entirely tax deductible.

Why Staying Unhappily Married May Be as Bad for Children as Divorce

 

Dr. Miriam Galindo pic

Dr. Miriam Galindo
Image: galindopsychology.com

Dr. Miriam Galindo, a diplomate of the American Board of Forensic Social Workers, offers counseling services from her practice in Irvine, California. In addition, Dr. Miriam Galindo provides child and family therapy to clients involved in high-conflict divorces.

Many adults believe divorce should be avoided at all costs, but staying in an unhappy marriage may be as damaging to children as a turbulent divorce. As children develop, they naturally internalize both of their parents. When their parents are constantly at odds, children internalize those conflicts.

Over time, children start believing they are responsible for their parents’ unhappiness. Researchers believe this occurs because children are egocentric and believe they are more powerful than they actually are. Combined with the other stressors of living with parents who do not get along, this problem may result in a child’s fear of intimacy, mood issues, self-esteem issues, or mental health concerns, such as depression.

How Can Single Parents Handle a Child Custody Evaluation?

 

Dr. Miriam Galindo pic

Dr. Miriam Galindo
Image: galindopsychology.com

California-based psychologist and social worker Dr. Miriam Galindo serves at-risk children and families through her own practice in Irvine. A diplomate of the American Boards of Forensic Social Workers and Forensic Evaluators, Dr. Miriam Galindo has been working as a child custody evaluator for more than a decade.

For single parents, child custody evaluations can be extremely nerve-wracking. But they don’t have to be. When such an evaluation is ordered by the court or requested by the other parent, individuals should talk to their lawyer about the experience. They will have more information about the evaluation process and will give single parents information to guide them during the process. It’s important that single parents follow this guidance.

In preparation for an evaluation, single parents must make sure they have clear answers about any question the evaluator asks. All answers must be honest and directly address the question. Parents must avoid going off on tangents during their answers and must avoid lying. Part of an evaluator’s training is to spot behaviors associated with lying and it will not reflect well when a person is caught being untruthful.

Beyond that, it’s important that single parents make a good impression when visiting with an evaluator. This involves making sure the house is clean and orderly and that their child’s medical and school records are easily accessible. Meanwhile, single parents must never bad mouth the other parent or make an accusation without evidence to support their claim. Instead, they should share the strengths and weaknesses that they’ve seen from their ex.

Play Therapy Techniques

 

Play Therapy pic

Play Therapy
Image: playtherapy.org

Dr. Miriam Galindo is a licensed psychologist and social worker in California. Helping families involved in divorce, Dr. Miriam Galindo is a registered child play therapist.

The goal of child play therapy is to assist children in sorting through and communicating complicated feelings. A variety of play therapy techniques include:

Baby dolls. 

Typically involving a therapist and a child with dolls, the play gives the therapist an opportunity to observe the child’s treatment of the doll. For example, mistreatment of the doll suggests that the child may have been mistreated.

Coloring. 

In this creative arts technique, therapists may ask children to draw a timeline of their life and add colors to show their feelings during those times. Common colors may include red for anger and blue for sadness.

Games.

Designed to help kids express their emotions, games such as pick-up sticks, checkers, chess, and other strategy games may build a bond between therapists and children and help children feel a higher level of control and focus in their lives. This, in turn, helps them feel happier.

CAMFT Political Action Committees

 

Play Therapy for ADHD Children

 

Licensed psychologist and social worker Miriam Galindo, PsyD, has worked with the Orange County Superior Court as part of its approved panel of experts regarding child welfare issues. One area Dr. Miriam Galindo works in, play therapy, can be used to treat a variety of issues, including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Play therapy can help children with ADHD express themselves, making a connection with their parents or professionals through play that they might not otherwise make. Even neurotypical children can often hide their thoughts, and play therapy affords them the chance to express themselves without aggravation or intrusion. Allowing them to play freely during play therapy helps ADHD children even more than neurotypical children, as aggressive imposition of structure can make a child feel abnormal or unwanted.

Some techniques that can help children with ADHD include helper toys and fantasy play. A helper toy, such as a puppet or doll, can help redirect emotions when a child is upset or struggling. Fantasy play, meanwhile, can turn a disappointment such as a missed opportunity or sad day into a chance to explore one’s mind and diminish irritation.

CAMFT Partnership Addresses Parent-Child Separation at the Border

 

California Association of Marriage and Family Therapistspic

California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists
Image: camft.org

For more than two decades, Miriam Galindo, PsyD, has provided a range of child and family therapy services to clients in California. An active member of her professional community, Dr. Miriam Galindo belongs to such organizations as the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT).

An independent professional organization, CAMFT advances the science and art of marriage and family therapy while maintaining high standards and ethics for licensed professionals. Toward this end, it recently partnered with Give an Hour, an organization dedicated to providing hope and help to people who have been faced with challenges resulting in emotional pain, to address the issue of parent-child separation at the Mexico-U.S. border.

Through this partnership, CAMFT hopes to create a network of licensed marriage and family therapists (LMFTs) that can provide mental health services to people affected by the situation at the border. According to the organization, children who are suddenly separated from their parents have a greater chance of developing numerous cognitive, behavioral, and psychological issues, such as anxiety and attachment disorders. Fortunately, LMFTs are experts in handling this sort of trauma.

Both CAMFT and Give an Hour encourage California LMFTs to volunteer their time to serve immigrant and refugee children and families. While Give an Hour plans on calling on its own volunteer network, CAMFT plans on reaching out to members who can either volunteer to assist those who are affected by parent-child separation at the border or help the organization find mental health providers who speak Spanish and are willing to volunteer their time.