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Episode 124 - Amanda Hunsaker: Advances in Dementia Diagnostic Technology: Preparing Social Work for a Changing Practice

Monday, August 05, 2013, 9:25:28 AM

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In this episode, Amanda Hunsaker discusses the current landscape related to the diagnosis and treatment of Alzheimer's Disease and how advances in diagnostic technology associated with dementia will provide the potential for new insights in the care of these patients. Challenges and opportunities for social work practice are reviewed.

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Average Rating: 4.5 stars (2 listener reviews )

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Average Rating: 5stars  podcast review of alzheimer's research, Saturday, February 08, 2020

By Brianna Rine :

Knowing that 5.4 million adults in the U.S. have Alzheimer’s back in 2013 is not only alarming, but also one of the most interesting diseases to me. I cannot imagine what the rates are as it is most likely increased far greater than those numbers now. As someone that is very interested in working with Alzheimer’s patients in a Social Work setting, it is crucial to society that Social Workers are not just there to fulfill housing requirements and medical needs. We need more Social Workers to get involved in geriatric mental health, as about half of the elderly population is affected by Alzheimers, among other diseases. I know that more research has been done with Alzheimer’s research by now, but this affects not only the elderly population, but eventually, us as well. Imagine how much of the population will have Alzheimer’s when generation Z is 65, and how much more of them will be diagnosed after they are 85 as more people are now living into their late nineties.
I agree with merging models of care between care management, medical assistance, and mental health issues being influential to slowing Alzheimer’s progression, however I am not sure that is the problem. Being in the MSW program at UB, many of my classmates are not at all as interested in working with the geriatric population as I and a few others are. Many want to work with beginning-of-life care, but it is hard for me to understand how so many people will get less care due to the lack of workers specializing in geriatric social work care. It takes a lot of mental capacity and resilience to specialize in Social Work alone, and having to handle as much grief and loss that comes with geriatric services must be even harder, especially those who have worked with the elderly specifically for long periods of time. I cannot wait to see how the future research of Alzheimer’s influences how people, and Social Worker’s especially, desire to assist these patients in need.

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Average Rating: 4stars  podcast review, Sunday, February 01, 2015

By Ashley :

This interview was very insightful. As a new school work student with and interest in geriatrics I learned a lot from this interview. I was shocked to hear about the 66% increase in the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s over an 8-year period. That is not a good statistic with soon to be influx of baby-bombers. I was glad to see that there is research being done to help determine if a person has early signs of Alzheimer’s disease. I think it is important to Mrs. Hunsaker stressed the importance of making the patient as involved in their treatment and making their wished known while they are still cognitively able to make their own decisions. This will give the person a sense of autonomy and control. It will also give their loved ones and care givers peace of minding knowing they are caring out decisions the person wanted. The loved ones and caregivers are already under enough stress caring for the person with Alzheimer’s they do not need the added stress of second guessing their decisions. When my grandmother had Alzheimer’s the family had previous discussed living arguments and keeping my grandmother in her home with added supports. Although, the whole situation was stressful for the family, knowing what my grandmother’s wishes were took off that added stress to the family.
I also like the idea of showing brain imaging to help the person better understand what is happening with them. The idea of Alzheimer’s is sometimes hard to picture and fully comprehend. I know I did not fully understand the effects Alzheimer has had on the brain until I examined a health brain and an Alzheimer’s brain. There was a huge difference in the size and pronouncement of the ridges in the brain. The idea of showing brain scans I think with give people a more tangible concept and idea of what Alzheimer’s is doing to them and how exactly it is effecting the brain.

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DISCLAIMER: The content shared by the presenter(s) and/or interviewer(s) of each podcast is their own and not necessarily representative of any views, research, or practice from the UB School of Social Work or the inSocialWork® podcast series.