Alzheimer’s may be the most common type of dementia, but there are many other forms of it. Some dementias are even reversible with the proper medical care. While the individual is recovering, specialized dementia care can help families meet their loved one’s needs. Reversible dementias and dementia-like symptoms can be caused by the following health issues. Dehydration Sudden changes in a loved one can be alarming, but in some cases, temporary, dementia-like symptoms may simply be the result of dehydration. A person’s awareness of thirst declines with age. This means that seniors are at a higher risk of dehydration, which can cause confusion. Nutritional Deficiencies Individuals who suffer severe malnutrition may develop reversible, dementia-like symptoms. Memory loss and confusion may be attributed to deficiencies in vitamin B1 and B12. People with alcohol use disorder are at an increased risk of this complication, as alcoholism has a strong association with chronic malnutrition. Alcoholism treatment and mental health counseling may be appropriate. Medication Reactions If memory loss and problems with word recall developed after a change in medications, it is possible that this change is responsible for these dementia-like symptoms. Some medications that can cause cognitive issues include the following: Cholesterol-lowering statins Chemotherapy drugs Pain medications Anti-anxiety medications Sleeping pills Of course, it is important for individuals to take medications as prescribed. However, any troublesome side effects should be brought to the doctor’s attention. The doctor may be able to adjust the dosage or prescribe a different medication to reverse the dementia-like symptoms. Anoxia Anoxia or hypoxia is a state of oxygen deprivation. When the organs are not receiving enough oxygen, the person may experience problems such as memory loss and confusion. Oxygen deprivation may be a [...]
Medication safety is a major issue for seniors and for those receiving Alzheimer’s care, it looms even larger. Memory loss can make medication management nearly impossible, which in turn can lead to serious consequences. These strategies can help all seniors and their families with medication management, especially those who are living with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia. Create a Medication Routine Working with doctors and pharmacists, you should find out how each individual medication should be taken, and then create a routine for taking the medicines at the appropriate times. For instance, some medications should be taken with food in the morning, and the routine could be to take those pills after breakfast. To maintain the routine and ensure that no doses get skipped or taken twice, use a pill organizer. If you have a loved one that is transitioning to a memory care home, discuss the routine with the staff there so that it can be maintained. Practice Safe Storage Leaving medications out and readily available can be dangerous for someone living with dementia, who may not remember if he or she has already taken the pills or may not know how many to take. Keep medications stored in locked cabinets so that only the pills necessary for that day are available. This will reduce the risk of overdoses. Periodically check the supply of medications and discard any expired pills or medicines that your loved one no longer needs. Consider How the Medicine is Taken For people with Alzheimer’s disease, swallowing can become difficult. If your loved one is struggling to take his or her medicine, talk to the doctor or pharmacist about using a different form, such as a liquid, or [...]
Habilitation is a unique approach to caring for individuals with Alzheimer’s that focuses on each person’s remaining capacities. This approach recognizes some of the most critical insights about the condition, including the fact that an individual’s emotions remain adult even when his or her verbal abilities have declined. This video provides an informative look at how habilitation can be used to provide more effective treatment for people who have the disease. At Avalon Memory Care, we can offer the safe and professional mental health services that your family is looking for to support your loved one with Alzheimer’s. If you would like to learn more about our award-winning program, call (214) 752-7050.
Despite the prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease, there are many popular misconceptions about the illness and its origins. One of the most commonly heard myths, for instance, is that Alzheimer’s is linked to contact with objects made of aluminum, such as pots, pans, and even foil. While researchers did once suspect that there might be such a link, no evidence has ever developed showing that aluminum has any negative effects on the body. While the factors that lead to Alzheimer’s are still being studied, there is no reason to believe that handling aluminum will make you susceptible to the disease. At Avalon Memory Care, we always put the well-being of our residents first. If your loved one comes to stay at one of our assisted living locations in Dallas, Arlington, or Houston, you can count on us to treat them like a member of our own family. If you have any questions for us, call (214) 752-7050.
According to the latest statistics, as many as 5.5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease, and its prevalence is only expected to rise in the next few decades. At the same time, however, research into treatments for the condition is accelerating. With every passing year, we move a little further down the road toward the goal of a universal treatment for this nearly universal ailment. What treatments currently exist for Alzheimer’s? Today, individuals who have Alzheimer’s have access to five medications that have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. These treatments are donepezil, galantamine, memantine, rivastigmine, and a combination of donepezil and memantine. These treatments work by blocking the process by which Alzheimer’s destroys the neurons in a person’s brain. What is the goal of the treatments being developed? The treatments that are available now can provide relief for Alzheimer’s symptoms, but they do not treat the condition itself. The focus of much of the current research into Alzheimer’s is the actual disease, and the hope is that eventually we will be able to slow down its progress in individuals. What are the most promising areas of research for future treatments? As we have learned to better understand the brain, we have moved closer to a better understanding of how Alzheimer’s damages it. This has helped researchers identify some treatments that can work against its effects. Some of the treatments being studied are Aducanumab, which can slow the growth of plaques in the brain; AADvac1, which can spark an immune system reaction against the proteins that harm neurons; and Sargramostim, a medication currently used for treating leukemia, but which may have promise as a treatment for Alzheimer’s. Avalon Memory Care provides [...]
It is not uncommon for individuals receiving dementia care to experience delusions. Delusions are firm beliefs in something that is not true. They are not the same as hallucinations, which refer to hearing, seeing, or smelling something that is not real. Some common delusions include the belief that someone is out to harm the individual, someone is stealing from the individual or the individual’s spouse is having an affair. Watch this video to hear some essential tips for dementia caregivers on dealing with delusions. Firstly, never argue with the individual, and never tell him or her that the belief is not true. Offer words of reassurance. Second, consider joining in the delusion. You could tell your loved one that you just spoke with the police, and the person who was out to harm your loved one is now in jail. When it is no longer possible to provide continuous care for your loved one at home, you can rely on Avalon Memory Care for compassionate assisted living services. Call (214) 752-7050 to discuss our mental healthcare for individuals with dementia in Dallas, Arlington, and Houston.
When you have a family member who is suffering from dementia, it’s not unusual to find yourself experiencing sharp and sudden emotions. The gradual loss of a loved one is, in many ways, comparable to experiencing the death of someone close to you. With progressive dementia, this sense of loss is accompanied by another emotion known as anticipatory grief. What is anticipatory grief? Anticipatory grief is a term coined by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, the psychologist famous for developing the notion of the five stages of grief. It is the grieving we experience prior to the death of someone close to us, as we become aware that our loved one will leave us soon. As you notice the gradual disappearance of your family member’s mind and personality, you may begin to feel that the person you knew is already gone. When does anticipatory grief begin and end? The experience of anticipatory grief is different for every person. Many people begin to experience it as soon as they realize that they are losing their loved one, while others begin to grieve once their family member’s dementia symptoms have become difficult to overlook. Most of the time, anticipatory grief only ends at the death of the loved one. Is anticipatory grief normal? It is completely normal to experience anticipatory grief. Many people find that they have already gone through the grieving experience by the time their family member passes away, while others still feel the grief of bereavement just as vividly. Other people find that going through anticipatory grief provides them with a greater sense of closure in the end, as they are given the time to come to terms with their loved one’s death before it happens. Avalon [...]
Parkinson’s disease is an incurable neurological disorder, with progressively worsening complications. Perhaps the most well-known symptom of Parkinson’s is a hand tremor, but it can also cause speech changes, muscle rigidity, and impaired posture. Eventually, as the disease progresses, more than half of all individuals with Parkinson’s will require dementia care. This particular type of dementia is referred to as Parkinson’s disease dementia. Parkinson’s disease causes devastating changes of the brain. These changes first begin in the area of the brain responsible for movement. Eventually, the effects spread, and begin to affect executive function. Specifically, people with Parkinson’s disease have abnormal deposits called Lewy bodies. Lewy bodies are primarily comprised of a protein called alpha-synuclein. Lewy bodies are also a hallmark of Lewy body dementia, although this type of dementia and the dementia associated with Parkinson’s disease are not necessarily the same. In addition to Lewy bodies, Parkinson’s disease dementia is characterized by the development of plaques and tangles, which are both also present in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease. Symptoms On average, people with Parkinson’s disease who develop dementia do so in about 10 years after the initial diagnosis. Some of the common signs and symptoms of this type of dementia include: Problems with visual information interpretation Muffled speech Visual hallucinations Irritability and anxiety Depression Problems with concentration, memory, and judgment Sleep disturbances Diagnostic Guidelines There is no single test that can definitively diagnose Parkinson’s disease dementia, nor is there a combination of tests. Primarily, a diagnosis is based on a doctor’s observation of the symptoms, and the timeframe in which those symptoms developed. For example, if dementia symptoms developed within one year of the onset of the movement symptoms of Parkinson’s [...]
A suspicion of a problem with a loved one’s health should be acted upon. It is difficult to bring up the subject of Alzheimer’s with an aging loved one, but doing so is necessary to ensure that he or she gets the proper care. If you suspect that your mom needs Alzheimer’s care, the first step is to keep track of your observances. Keep a written record of memory loss problems. Memory loss is the hallmark characteristic of Alzheimer’s, but everyone experiences it from time to time. It is when memory loss is significant enough to impair everyday functioning that doctors begin to suspect someone needs dementia care. Look for the following issues: Problems managing money Poor judgment Forgetting to go to appointments Forgetting how to navigate to a frequently visited destination Repeating herself frequently Talk to your mom’s doctor. Adult children are often unsure about the extent to which they can involve themselves with an elderly parent’s healthcare. Everyone in the U.S. has the legal right to keep their medical records private. However, it is not a violation to meet with your mom’s doctor, with or without her presence. If you are not ready to discuss your concerns with your mom yet, you can share them with her doctor. The doctor can consider whether your observations about your mom’s memory loss warrant referring her to a neurologist for screening. Discuss the idea of getting screened for Alzheimer’s. It is common for older parents to resist the idea of getting tested for Alzheimer’s. If your mom is among them, try saying something like this, “You are right, mom. I am sure there is nothing wrong. I think getting screened would give us both some peace [...]
Families often find that celebrations with their loved ones in memory care are easier when they embrace new traditions. For instance, it may not be practical to expect your loved one to stay up until midnight on New Year’s Eve. Instead, consider throwing a New Year’s Day celebration, complete with a countdown to the first noon of the year. Bring the festivities to your loved one’s assisted living home, with an array of holiday foods and beverages. Give every resident a party hat and party horn. Toast to the New Year with champagne glasses of milk or sparkling juice instead of alcohol. You could even show a pre-recorded New Year’s Eve countdown on the TV. Other possible activities include writing lists of New Year’s resolutions and doing simple craft projects. Families are always welcome to visit their loved ones at Avalon Memory Care, a home-like dementia care location in Dallas, Arlington, and Houston. Questions about our Alzheimer’s care services may be directed to a friendly staff member at (214) 752-7050.