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Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior. Symptoms usually develop slowly and get worse over time, becoming severe enough to interfere with daily tasks. Here are the most recent articles on Alzheimer’s from Avalon Memory Care.

Preparing for Your Future with Alzheimer’s Disease

An Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis can be extremely overwhelming. It can be emotional, exhausting and scary, but preparation for the future can help take away some of the stress that comes along with the diagnosis.   Get Educated Educating yourself on you or your loved ones’ diagnosis can help you plan for the future. There are so many ways you can learn about Alzheimer's disease, whether it’s online or talking to your health care provider. It might also be helpful to hire a planning consultant to cover all of your bases. Doing the research will help prevent fears and worries about what is to come and will also help you know what to look for in a caregiver or memory care provider. Avalon Memory Care offers free consultations and advice for senior living planning. Email nurseholly@avalonmemorycare.com for assistance.   Create a Legal and Financial Plan This step is very important for not only the Alzheimer’s patient, but also the patient’s family members. Doing this early on will allow the patient to be involved in the decision making process before they lose their ability to do so. Someone will need to be appointed as the Power of Attorney which means they will be the one making medical decisions for the patient when they no longer are able to. Other important steps include creating a last will and testament, a living will and a living trust. Making these financial and legal decisions early on can help take some of the burden off of the diagnosis.   Caregiver and Long-Term Care Planning In the early stages of the diagnosis you or your loved one probably won’t need constant supervision. Simple steps such as, a daily plan for activities and [...]

By |2021-07-21T15:54:00-05:00July 21st, 2021|Categories: Alzheimer's, Avalon Memory Care|0 Comments

Caregiver’s Guide to Dementia

June is Alzheimer’s and Dementia Awareness Month. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, “worldwide, 50 million people are living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias.” As we raise awareness of those who are living with memory loss and brain issues, we also want to acknowledge the people who provide support and care for those with dementia each and every day. Dementia and Memory Care: A Guide for Helpers If you’re the primary caregiver of someone with memory loss, you’re not alone. In March 2021, helpguide.org reported that over 16 million people in the United States are taking care of someone with dementia or Alzheimer’s. In one year, caregivers will provide 18.5 billion hours of care. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), “Approximately two-thirds of dementia caregivers are women, about one in three caregivers (34%) is age 65 or older, and approximately one-quarter of dementia caregivers are ‘sandwich generation’ caregivers, meaning that they care not only for an aging parent, but also for children under age 18.” How to Care for Someone with Dementia Being a caregiver to someone with memory loss can be deeply rewarding for both you and the person with dementia. However, it can also be stressful and emotional. As your loved one’s mental, emotional, and physical state deteriorates, it can take a toll on your own psyche and well-being.  Many caregivers stop taking care of themselves in favor of spending more time and focus on their loved one. This can lead to caregivers developing anxiety, depression, and burnout. The CDC reported that 53% of caregivers “indicate that a decline in their health compromises their ability to provide care.” How can you take care of someone else while still taking care of yourself? [...]

By |2021-06-11T09:19:06-05:00June 11th, 2021|Categories: Alzheimer's, Avalon Memory Care, Dementia, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Memory Loss, Food Scarcity, and How Senior Living Communities Can Help

By Jeff Kauffman, Community Liaison at Avalon Memory Care During one of my recent visits to our Allencrest Lane community in Dallas, the first thing that hits me when I walk through the doors is the smell of cookies baking. For a moment, I am transported back to my childhood coming home from school when my mom would have baked a special snack just for me. I walk down the hallway and beeline for the kitchen. I am so excited to see the chefs not only baking cookies but also preparing lunch for the residents. Each plate has baked chicken, vegetables, and—one of my personal favorites—mashed potatoes with the skins, just like Grandma used to make. It looks so good I ask if I can join the residents for a meal. “When will the cookies be done?” I ask. Nurse Olivia laughs and says, “Save room for dessert!” I sit down in a comfy red chair in the dining room next to a lovely couple eating with one of the residents. I introduce myself, and learn they are Gary and Linda, visiting Louise (Gary’s mother). Gary spoons potatoes into Louise’s mouth, and her eyes light up. “My dad died about five years ago,” Gary tells me, “so Mom lived alone for a while. We thought everything was fine, and that my mom was fine, but it turns out my dad was hiding my mom’s dementia from us.” Gary says that with his dad gone, his mom was home alone most of the time, and with no one to cook for, she stopped cooking altogether. Because she stopped making fresh meals, her dementia worsened, and some days she would forget to eat. “She was wasting away, [...]

By |2021-06-01T11:16:09-05:00June 1st, 2021|Categories: Alzheimer's, Avalon Memory Care, Dementia, Memory Care|0 Comments

Why Wandering Happens and How to Prevent It

Wandering can be a serious concern for Alzheimer’s patients- even those in the early stages. It’s not uncommon for people living with the disease to become lost or confused about where they are or what they’re doing. More than half of those who have the disease will wander at least once and most will do so quite often. Several things can lead an Alzheimer’s patient to wander. Stress or fear about their surroundings, searching for someone or something, and not getting basic needs met are all risk factors. In order to prevent wandering off, some specific steps need to be taken. It’s important that those with Alzheimer’s have a daily routine and activities that keep them busy. Also, identifying when a person is most likely to wander and planning an activity during that time could help prevent it. If someone is prone to wandering, then a home security system might be needed. A busy and confusing environment can be a trigger for wandering, so avoid crowded, confusing environments. It’s important to find a memory care community that is dedicated to following these basic guidelines in order to prevent wandering. Avalon Memory Care provides structure and excellent staff to keep residents safe and comfortable. Staff prevents wandering by reducing triggers, such as making sure personal needs are met, providing structure and meaningful activities as well as creating a calm environment. There is 24-hour security that monitors patients without making them feel restricted but still keeps them safe and secure. You can count on Avalon Memory Care to make safety a number one priority for patients with Alzheimer’s disease and other related dementias. With round-the-clock continuous care and a commitment to working closely with families, you can [...]

By |2021-05-20T15:27:48-05:00May 20th, 2021|Categories: Alzheimer's, Avalon Memory Care, Dementia, Memory Care|0 Comments

What to Look For in a Quality Alzheimer’s Community or Group Home for Your Loved One

Alzheimer’s disease is a difficult diagnosis - for both the patient and their family members. When symptoms like memory loss and the declining ability to do simple tasks worsen, patients and family members may feel defeated. This is why quality care is so important to consider early in the journey. Certainly, good Alzheimer’s support is vital to a patient’s quality of life while they are still in their home. It is possibly even more important if and when the family is seeking care outside of the home.  When selecting a community for an Alzheimer’s patient, the following attributes and amenities are important considerations:   Social Engagement and Activities Daily socializing and stimulation are an essential component of Alzheimer’s care.  Just like the majority of people prior to their diagnosis, having hobbies and maintaining relationships helps Alzheimer’s patients feel happier and less anxious. Daily activities such as puzzles, games, and mental/physical exercises for seniors can boost patients’ confidence and create structure which ultimately keeps them from feeling isolated.   Family Support Family members need to be the main source of guidance when it comes to the patient’s care journey.  When family members truly want what is in the best interest of their loved one, they will be heavily involved in creating a plan for the patient, and deciding what is most beneficial, enjoyable and attainable for their loved one. Family members are highly encouraged to come and visit as often as they would like. Maintaining close family connections is vital for both patients and family members, so an open-door policy is important.   Consistent Staffing Familiar staff members and caregivers create structure for already confused and often disoriented residents.  Consistent staffing helps develop close relationships between [...]

By |2021-05-10T08:21:25-05:00May 10th, 2021|Categories: Alzheimer's, Avalon Memory Care, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Everything You Need to Know About Taking Part in Alzheimer’s Clinical Trials

An Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis is never easy- for you, or your loved ones. With no cure available, it can be daunting and scary. However, there are clinical trials and studies that can be effective in altering the entire course of the disease. Participants are often needed. Clinical trials for Alzheimer’s disease are basically research studies using people to determine whether treatments work and if they are safe. Without them, there wouldn’t ever be a treatment or cure. There are usually four phases in a clinical trial: test a treatment, find the correct dosage and look for any side effects. After the initial three phases, if researchers find a treatment that is safe and that works, then the FDA approves it for clinical use and continues to monitor it. There are two types of Alzheimer’s treatment trials. One is treatment aimed at reducing Alzheimer’s and dementia symptoms. This one involves new drugs and variations of current drugs that are used to weaken symptoms. For example, current drugs can be tested by altering the dosage, altering what time of day the dose is taken or combining the dose with other medications. The other type of treatment trial is similar, but it’s aimed at slowing or stopping the disease altogether with new drugs. There are also clinical studies which are basically the same thing as clinical trials. However, studies cover any and all types of research surrounding the disease- not just on preventing and treating it. Besides clinical research there are also diagnostic studies, prevention trials, quality of life studies and other online studies. So, there are plenty of avenues to go down when looking to take part in a trial or study. It’s important to note that [...]

By |2021-03-29T10:09:28-05:00March 29th, 2021|Categories: Alzheimer's, Avalon Memory Care, Dementia|0 Comments

Alzheimer’s Symptoms Can Worsen Depending on The Time of Year

Seasons can play a huge factor in most anyone’s mood. Rain, snow and sunshine can alter your day in a good or bad way. A recent study showed that those who suffer from cognitive deficits, such as dementia and Alzheimer’s can be greatly affected by the time of year. A 2018 research study done on over 3,300 Alzheimer’s patients in the U.S., Canada and France found that their cognitive ability -or their thinking ability- changes based on the season. Cognition was higher in the fall and summer and lower in the spring and winter. The study also found that there was a 30% higher chance of being diagnosed with a condition called mild cognitive impairment, which can often turn into dementia, in the spring and winter. So why is this? Daylight plays a huge role in why this happens. When daylight savings ends in November that means shorter days and longer nights. This can make what’s called sundowning worse for Alzheimer’s patients. Sundowning includes an assortment of symptoms such as anger, aggression and irritation that happen at the end of the day when the sun goes down. So when the sun’s going down earlier, these symptoms arise earlier and can last longer. Less daylight and changes in weather can sometimes lead to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), also known as seasonal depression. Winter brings snow and spring brings rain so gloomy cold days mixed with less sunlight can cause anyone to feel down. Alzheimer patients are even more at risk for this because of the nature of the disease. Other reasons why weather and the time of year can affect Alzheimer patients include altering their sleep schedules. Shorter days can cause Alzheimer’s patients to become confused [...]

By |2021-03-18T13:54:20-05:00March 18th, 2021|Categories: Alzheimer's, Avalon Memory Care, Dementia, Memory Care, Senior Health|0 Comments

How Dementia is Diagnosed

Dementia is an umbrella term that covers a wide range of medical conditions caused by abnormal brain changes.  These changes cause a decline in cognitive abilities that impair daily activities and affect behavior. Since there is no one way to definitively diagnose Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, the process can be complicated.   A few common approaches to memory loss diagnosis are: Examining medical history Past and current medical conditions, medications and family history are discussed to try to identify medical issues that can cause symptoms of dementia. Be prepared to answer questions about psychiatric history, as well as cognitive and behavioral changes. Physical exam This is similar to a routine physical, but with an extensive review of medications and a collection of blood and urine samples. Family members might also be asked to answer questions about changes in your behavior or a decline in abilities. Neurological exam Reflexes, muscle strength, speech, coordination and sensation are tested to rule out other conditions that impair memory, like a stroke, Parkinson’s disease, or brain tumors. Mental cognitive tests Tests are given to evaluate function, judgement, attention and language. Brain imaging Magnetic resonance imagining (MRI) and computed tomography (CT) are used to rule out tumors, stroke, severe head trauma, and fluid in the brain—all which cause symptoms similar to Alzheimer’s, but are treated differently. Watch the following video to get a more detailed look at dementia diagnosis. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LieVEfI4luw&feature=emb_logo Believe it or not, there are advantages to early detection. The earlier the diagnosis, the more options one has to manage their symptoms and possibly benefit from treatments and/or clinical drug trials. An early diagnosis also allows an individual more time to plan for their future---they can actively participate [...]

By |2021-03-05T08:52:41-06:00March 5th, 2021|Categories: Alzheimer's, Avalon Memory Care, Dementia, Memory Care, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Keeping it Positive – An Atmosphere to Reduce Anxiety

People with Alzheimer’s disease regularly experience disorientation, confusion and anxiety. Creating a positive space at home or at a care facility can reduce the severity of anxiety and help them feel more confident about their surroundings, experience less confusion, and increase their sense of well-being and quality of life. Reducing distractions and playing soothing music may help, plus, there are many other ways to create an environment to reduce anxiety for your loved one. What causes anxiety in seniors with dementia? The disease itself - As a direct result of degenerative dementias like Alzheimer’s, people with dementia gradually experience a loss of their ability to effectively process new information and stimuli. To a person with Alzheimer’s, a moving light or shadow may appear to be a stranger lurking in a corner of the next room. Nearby voices from a television may be interpreted as people conspiring to do them harm. Medications - Some medications intended to treat Alzheimer's or other common diseases may exacerbate the existing tendency of Alzheimer’s patients to become anxious or combative. Environment - To people with Alzheimer's, even familiar environments can turn from familiar and home-like to foreign and threatening. Add in noises like construction noise, loud music, or nearby voices,  or distractions like the light and shadows of nearby car headlights and a person with Alzheimer’s can quickly become overwhelmed with anxiety and become agitated or display disruptive behaviors. Creating an anxiety-reducing environment At home . . . Organize your home and maintain a simple, familiar routine so your loved one with Alzheimer’s feels “at home.” De-clutter - especially in walkways to make your home easy to navigate. Remove all rugs. Eliminate or reduce shadows with drawn curtains or better [...]

By |2020-12-29T10:56:09-06:00December 29th, 2020|Categories: Alzheimer's, Dementia, Memory Care, Senior Health|0 Comments

Dementia and the Holidays Top 10 Tips

At a time when most of us are stringing lights, trimming trees and jingling the bells, our friends and family diagnosed with dementia may be struggling to understand it all.  December can be an exceptionally stressful month for people living with dementia, even in typical years. Adding the social isolation required to avoid a virus running rampant in the land adds another element to the weirdness and can make the holidays even more difficult. Not surprisingly, how to help people with dementia enjoy (or at least best tolerate) holiday celebrations is a common topic. So, we decided to conduct an informal survey of the advice experts give for helping people with dementia and their caregivers during the holidays. The results are a list of the greatest hits, best-of-the-best, top-ten dementia care tips and advice for the holidays. And, of course, since it’s still the time of COVID, we’ve also summarized some tips for celebrating during a pandemic. We surveyed advice from the Mayo Clinic, the Alzheimer’s Association, the National Institutes of Health, and several independent expert organizations. Top 10 Holiday Dementia Care Tips Plan and Prepare - Every organization and expert had a lot to say about the benefits of being prepared. Involve the person with dementia in preparation, or just let them be present while you prepare. Whether or not they participate, they will feel more a part of the celebration and be able to anticipate and reminisce. Focus on the activity, not the outcome. Create a safe and calming space for everyone to celebrate in. Decorate using simple decorations with no flashing lights or gaudy displays. Avoid clutter or rearranging furniture. Avoid lighted candles, fragile decorations, or any other hazardous decorations. Set up [...]

By |2020-12-17T14:17:47-06:00December 17th, 2020|Categories: Alzheimer's, Avalon Memory Care, Dementia, Memory Care, Senior Health|0 Comments

Beginning in January 2021, Avalon has made great efforts to ensure our residents and staff are vaccinated against COVID-19 with continued vaccination clinics. Click here to find an updated visitation policy.