Monthly Archives: November 2014

When the sun goes down

Sundown (a.k.a. Sundowner’s) syndrome. It’s a term used to describe the onset of confusion and agitation for people with dementia and for some residents of hospitals and nursing homes, usually occurring in late afternoon or early evening. Symptoms can include argumentative or demanding behaviour, confusion, agitation, paranoia, anxiousness, restlessness, or requests to “go home.”

Sundown syndrome is still a bit of a mystery to doctors and researchers. Some believe it is an accumulation of sensory stimulation throughout the day. Some believe it is caused by hormonal imbalances that occur at night. Some attribute it to fatigue. Others believe it is caused by anxiety resulting from the inability to see well in darkness.

It is certainly stressful to watch someone suffer from sundown syndrome, but know that it’s even more stressful on the individual experiencing it. It’s also not something that he or she can control.

My first encounter with sundown syndrome was uncomfortable, dare I say even a bit scary. Continue reading

Remembering isn’t always easy

Each November 11th, we stop our busy lives and remember our veterans, past and present, and honour their courage, service, and sacrifices. Hundreds of ceremonies take place across the country to commemorate Remembrance Day. It’s a day that unites us as Canadians.

For the generations that follow veterans, we want to learn as much as we can from them and their missions, partly to honour them and partly in the hope that we can prevent future wars. But for many veterans, remembering isn’t easy … not because their memory is failing, but because it’s so excruciating. Continue reading

Would you want to live forever?

Scientists have successfully altered the life span of fruit flies, worms, and mice, and some believe we are not far off being able to do the same with humans. Pardon?!

In a recent episode of The Nature of Things with David Suzuki called, “Living Forever: The Longevity Revolution,” scientists from around the world explore whether we can repair the human body and perhaps increase the human life span another 100 years, 500 years, even more. The documentary is not about wanting to look and feel younger. It’s about stopping, slowing down, and even reversing the aging process. It’s about the modern quest to create a longer, healthier old age, even eliminating old age altogether.

It’s a controversial subject, and one that’s fascinating to ponder. Continue reading