Tune into our event below as we explore an expert analysis of the connection between dementia and menopause.
Two experienced professionals from Columbia University Irving Medical Center and Weill Cornell Medical Center will be a part of Kensington Park’s continuing series of virtual events that seek to enlighten caregivers everywhere.
If someone is caring for a person with Alzheimer’s or dementia, there is a 60% chance they are a woman. Moreover, there’s a two-thirds chance that the person they care for will be a woman.
These stats show that caregivers are at a higher risk of brain impairment, making it especially important to study and become familiar with the statistics and risk factors.
Kensington Park Senior Living hopes to share important steps to help you reduce the risk of developing these degenerative diseases, protect your brain health, and reduce the odds of experiencing cognitive decline.
What is the goal of this event?
Although most professional and some non-paid caregivers are aware of the connections between hormone changes in women and the risk of developing dementia, many are not.
Our goal is to help bring understanding and assistance to those who have taken up this responsibility.
Through our memory care community, Kensington Park Senior Living has seen the negative side effects that families can undergo when caring for an elderly parent or relative with dementia.
Even though we do not yet know what the main causes of dementia or Alzheimer’s are, medical professionals are constantly making discoveries that might help.
That is why we asked two experts in the field of aging and neurology to help increase our knowledge and understanding of this condition and, hopefully, learn how to avoid the chances of developing it ourselves.
Our expert panel on aging and mental health
Kensington Park Senior Living is very pleased to welcome two experts to discuss the connection between menopause and Alzheimer’s. Let’s meet our guests.
Dr. Susan E. Loeb-Zeitlin
Dr. Loeb-Zeitlin graduated from the great University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey and now works directly with NewYork Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center. Susan has more than 29 years of experience from her practice as an Obstetrics & Gynecology Specialist in New York.
Dr. Stephanie Cosentino
Dr. Stephanie Cosentino is an Associate Professor of Neuropsychology teaching at the Cognitive Neuroscience Division/Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer’s Disease, part of Columbia University’s Medical Center.
Dr. Cosentino has investigated several neurodegenerative illnesses’ intellectual, behavioral, and metacognitive features, particularly Alzheimer’s and frontotemporal dementia. Her current project’s primary targets are to:
- Recognize the elements that explain metacognitive diversity in the range of regular to unhealthy aging
- Spot the practical outcomes of metacognitive impairment on daily decision-making and way of life
- Develop instruments to measure subjective cognition and metacognition in seniors
With these targets in mind, Dr. Cosentino hopes to find the predictive importance of mental complaints in healthy senior adults, as well as the nature of disturbed metacognition in neurodegenerative diseases.
The deeper connection between women and caregiving
As mentioned above, women make up 60% of all caregivers and two-thirds of those in need of care. This division shows that women are more affected by Alzheimer’s and caregiving in general.
Women tend to begin the transition from perimenopause to menopause between the ages of 45 to 55, a process that can last anywhere from 7 to 14 years.
During this important life event, a woman’s ovaries steadily decrease their reproductive hormones, like progesterone and estrogen, that normally fluctuate during menstruation.
Once having reached menopause, typically about one year after the last period, a woman’s ovaries cease to function.
At the same time, the brain also begins to change, generating new symptoms like night sweats, so-called “brain fog,” memory difficulties, anxiety, depression, and insomnia.
While many of these symptoms are similar to ones faced by those with Alzheimer’s disease, there is still no definitive way to associate menopause with the development of dementia.
The connection between estrogen and dementia
Estrogen is believed to have a more important part in safeguarding the female brain from dementia than any other sex hormones.
For instance, estrogen-related proteins are present in brain regions associated with memory and learning—like the prefrontal cortex, hippocampus, and amygdala.
According to leading experts, estradiol (a type of estrogen) is regarded as the “overseer” of the female brain as it regulates brain energy, boosts immunity, and promotes cellular growth and communication.
When a woman goes through menopause, the reduction in estrogen may increase her chances of having Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, according to Christian Pike, Ph.D., a Gerontology professor at the University of Southern California who focuses on sex-related differences in Alzheimer’s.
This idea, sometimes called the estrogen hypothesis, is becoming more widely accepted among researchers as a potential reason women are more vulnerable to Alzheimer’s.
Reminding caregivers to also care for themselves
Many caregivers find themselves inadequately prepared for their role when beginning to take care of a loved one, frequently without any assistance either.
One-third of caregivers will remain caring for someone else while physically or mentally compromised. Physical, emotional, and mental well-being obstacles have a greater opportunity to emerge when you are in a stressful, challenging situation.
Using available online, family, and community resources for caregivers can help overcome some of these hurdles.
Kensington Park resources for caregivers
As part of Kensington Park’s Promise, we strive to bring as much valuable information and insight to caregivers as possible. Caregiving is not just part of our model—it is also our passion.
From our sophisticated and comfortable senior living communities to our rehabilitation services and three tiers of memory care – Connections, Haven, and Kensington Club, Kensington Park Senior Living looks to be an uplifting resource for you and those you care for.
If you would like more information about dementia, menopause, or Alzheimer’s disease, as well as information on Kensington Park Senior Living, reach out to us or explore our services more online.