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Struggling to Understand Behaviors

In Kentucky alone it is estimated that 70,000 individuals have Alzheimer’s disease and 271,000 people are their caregivers. 271,000 caregivers are dealing with strange behaviors that they may not know how to deal with.  Wandering, hallucinations, paranoia, aggression, shadowing, the exaggerated use of curse words.  These are just a few of the many behaviors that can accompany a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia.  What causes them? What can we do about them?

What caregivers do not always understand is that these behaviors communicate messages from our loved ones because of the inability to verbalize their wants, needs, and feelings and because the person with the disease now has a reality all their own.  Many caregivers think that their loved one is being difficult on purpose, but in reality, their loved one is having a very difficult time.  Rather than being defensive when blamed for something by their loved one, it is much better to apologize, even if the caregiver did nothing wrong. It can quickly ease the situation.

Wandering may often communicate boredom, hunger or thirst or even a need to go to the bathroom.  Sudden changes in behaviors may be linked to changes in the person’s routine or an infection.

What should caregivers do when their loved ones experience these behaviors? Put on your detective hat.  Detect and connect.  Join their reality.  What might be causing the behavior?  Look at the physical needs of the person. Is the person hungry, thirsty, or need to go to the restroom? Is the person sick? Once these needs have been ruled out look at the environment. Has the person’s routine changed? Is the person overstimulated? Is the person stimulated enough?  What are the person’s emotional needs?  How does the situation feel to your loved one? Try to identify the feelings behind the behavior of your loved one.”   

To learn more about behaviors, join in on a Telehealth program: MANAGEMENT OF BEHAVIORAL SYMPTOMS IN DEMENTIA that will be OFFERED ON THURSDAY, JULY 27TH at the Center for Health Education and Research in Morehead from 6-7:30pm EST.  This program is offered through an interactive telemedicine system to connect with persons who are impacted by Alzheimer’s disease and related memory disorders, providing education and supportive services across the state of Kentucky.  A panel of experts from the University of Kentucky Sanders Brown Center on Aging and the Alzheimer’s Association will answer audience questions.  This event is free and open to the public.  To register, please contact Hardin Stevens at 859-323-2997 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

About the Alzheimer’s Association

The Alzheimer’s Association is the world’s leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s care, support and research. It is the largest nonprofit funder of Alzheimer’s research. The Association’s mission is to eliminate Alzheimer’s disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health. Its vision is a world without Alzheimer’s. Visit or call 800.272.3900.

UK Sanders Brown Center on Aging

The University of Kentucky Sanders-Brown Center on Aging (SBCoA) basic and clinical scientists work together to improve the health of the elderly in Kentucky and beyond through research dedicated to understanding the aging process and age-related brain diseases, and education, outreach and clinical programs that promote healthy brain aging.

Over the past three decades, SBCoA has flourished and has emerged as one of the nation's leading centers on aging. Major foci of the Center are basic and applied research in Alzheimer's disease and related neurodegenerative disorders.  Visit or contact 859.323.6040.


Beshear: Opioid painkiller being pulled by pharmaceutical company ‘first step’ in fighting epidemic

Opana Is Taking Over For Oxycontin among opiode usersOpana Is Taking Over For Oxycontin among opiode users

Beshear sent concerns on OPANA to FDA

FRANKFORT, Ky. (July 7, 2017) – In 2015, more than 225 Kentuckians died from a drug overdose with Opana in their blood.

Now that the makers of the opioid painkiller announced July 6 that it will no longer sell the drug, Attorney General Andy Beshear is calling the move a “first step” in fighting against what he believes is the single greatest threat to Kentucky – the state’s drug epidemic.

Beshear sent his concerns on the potential for abuse by Kentuckians on a reformulation of the drug, Opana ER (extended release), to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in February during an open comment period on the drug.

“The FDA previously determined the reformulated Opana ER can still be readily prepared for injection and can be crushed with common items for snorting,” Beshear said in his comments to the agency. “‘Snortable’ or injectable drugs have crippled Kentucky, ranging from the widespread abuse of Oxycontin to the return of heroin. Where the reformulation has merely been found to impede one of many means of abuse, approving labeling Opana ER as ‘abuse deterrent’ may mislead patients and providers.”

In his comments, Beshear said he was “encouraged that the agency is taking a hard look at the safety of this powerful drug.”

The FDA requested on June 8 that Endo Pharmaceuticals remove Opana ER from the market.

Beshear’s comments to the FDA on Opana ER is part of his ongoing efforts to address the opioid crisis in Kentucky.

“Opana ER has already taken the lives of Kentuckians,” Beshear said. “Louisvillian Emily Walden, whose son, T.J., died of an Opana ER overdose in 2012, has led the charge to have the reformulated drug removed from the market. By working hand-in-hand with dedicated Kentuckians like Emily, we can and will end our opioid epidemic.”

On June 28, Beshear announced that his office intends to file multiple lawsuits against drug manufacturers, distributors and retailers where there is evidence that they contributed to the opioid epidemic by illegally marketing and selling opioids to Kentuckians.

To support this litigation, Beshear issued a request for proposal (RFP) for legal services to assist the Commonwealth in multiple lawsuits and to ensure that Kentucky tax dollars are not used for the costs of the litigations.

Beshear is co-chair on the National Association of Attorneys General Substance Abuse Committee.

The AG’s office previously settled a $24 million lawsuit with Purdue Pharma regarding OxyContin. Beshear’s office has provided $8 million from that settlement directly to 15 substance treatment centers across Kentucky.

From a different drug company settlement, the office dedicated $2 million to expand and enhance Rocket Docket programs that expedite drug cases, generate significant cost savings and allow select defendants rapid access to substance abuse treatment.

Recently, Beshear joined a multistate lawsuit alleging the drugmaker of Suboxone, a drug used for treating opioid addiction, tried to monopolize the market.

Beshear is currently working with local law enforcement and community leaders to host substance abuse awareness forums across the state. The office has also been instrumental in numerous drug related arrests, including working with federal authorities on arresting a fentanyl dealer whose drugs had killed several Kentuckians.

“The abuse and diversion of Opana and other strong opioids is devastating the health of many of our Commonwealth’s citizens, and they, as well as our Medicaid and corrections departments, pay an enormous financial price in the attempt to treat this epidemic,” Beshear told the FDA. “It would benefit public health for the FDA to create and implement deadlines for the pharmaceutical industry to develop more robust abuse deterrent formulations for these high-dose opioids and to require that development before granting abuse deterrent labeling.”


Lawrence County Health Department earns CDC Recognition for its Diabetes Prevention Program

June 15, 2016

The Lawrence County Health Department has earned Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Full Recognition for its National Diabetes Prevention Program. This designation is reserved for programs that have effectively delivered a quality, evidence-based program that meets all of the standards for CDC recognition.

The health department’s Change for Life Diabetes Prevention Program is a one-year community-based program designed to enable adults to make lifestyle changes that will improve their overall health and reduce their risk of developing type 2 diabetes. “Nine out of ten people with pre-diabetes don’t know they have it,” said Ashley Wilks, diabetes prevention program lifestyle coach. “Without weight loss and physical activity, 15 – 30% of those with pre-diabetes will develop type 2 diabetes within five years.”

In a classroom setting, a trained lifestyle coach will help you change your lifestyle by learning about healthy eating, physical activity and other behavior changes over the course of one year. Topics covered include nutrition, getting started with physical activity, overcoming stress, staying motivated, and more. The program consists of 16 weekly sessions followed by six monthly sessions.

While a year may sound like a long commitment; learning new habits, gaining new skills, and building confidence takes time. As you begin to eat better and become more active, you’ll notice changes in how you feel, and maybe in how you look. “It’s not a fad diet or an exercise class or a quick fix,” said Wilks. “It’s a year-long program focused on long-term changes and lasting results.”

Research led by the National Institutes of Health showed that people with pre-diabetes who take part in a structured lifestyle change program can cut their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 58%. Even after 10 years, people who completed the program were 1/3 less likely to develop type 2 diabetes.

For more information, call Ashley Wilks at 606-638-9500 or visit

Take the Diabetes Risk Test at


Lawrence County Health Department is located at 1080 Meadowbrook Lane, Louisa, KY 41230. Visit our website at or find us on Facebook.


Ashley Wilks


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Ky. Health Care coalitionKy. Health Care coalition

The region 10/11 Healthcare Coalition will hold its EQUIPMENT SHOWCASE at the Lawrence County Community Center in Louisa, Kentucky from 9am to 12pm on June 27, 2017. This meeting will feature a response equipment showcase of Region 10/11 assets, and assets from non-Coalition partners. Some of this year’s displays will include Zumro tents, communication equipment, Med-Surge trailer, 100 surge bed trailer, towable generators, Ambu bus, PPE and Trans-Star Ambulance Ebola/Infectious Disease patient transport containment unit. We would like to invite all of the public, healthcare providers, officials, law enforcement, EMS, fire departments, emergency managers and all other ESF 8 Partners to see what assets are available in the event of an emergency response or disaster. For more information please contact Gina M. Porter, Region 10/11 Healthcare Coalition Coordinator at 606-886-2788 Ext. 247.


Farmers market early sale Farmers market early sale

Farm Home Field Day Farm Home Field Day


Laura Opell Maggard
ANR Extension Agent
Lawrence County Extension Office
249 Industrial Park Road
Louisa, KY 41230
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