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 [...]
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 [...]
Natural disasters can affect any state in the country, but many families are unprepared to deal with things like evacuation, sheltering in place, and handling the aftermath. If your family has a loved one in memory care, it is even more critical to have a disaster plan in place. First, know the types of disasters that could affect your area. Families in Dallas may encounter heat waves, flash floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, and even the occasional earthquake. You can use this information to find solutions that will keep your loved one safe. Contact the assisted living location. If your loved one is receiving continuous care at an assisted living location, get in touch with the administrative staff to inquire about how natural disasters are handled. Find out what you need to do if an evacuation order is issued for your loved one’s area. Will the residents be relocated as a group, or will your family take the resident to a safer location? Identify evacuation destinations. If you will be evacuating your loved one, you will need to handle the agitation and confusion that may accompany sudden changes in routine and surroundings. It is preferable to evacuate to a family member’s or friend’s home in a safer zone, since evacuation shelters are not ideal environments for individuals with Alzheimer’s. Alternatively, your region may have special needs shelters available. Contact the appropriate municipal agency to find out where these shelters are, and to register in advance, if need be. Assemble the emergency supplies your loved one needs. Every family should have basic emergency supplies available, including potable water, non-perishable food, flashlights, extra batteries, and a battery-operated radio. When a loved one needs continuous care because of Alzheimer’s disease, [...]
After being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, you have a lot of decisions to make. You will need to make arrangements for long-term care, and consider your treatment options. Alzheimer’s disease is not currently curable, although top-notch memory care locations can support the quality of life and overall health of the residents. It might be years before you need to move to an assisted living location, as Alzheimer’s progresses slowly. In the meantime, consider becoming a participant in a clinical trial to advance scientific knowledge of this devastating disease. Your participation may play a part in finding a cure someday. Purpose of Clinical Trials The primary purpose of clinical trials is to find new treatment options for the disease. These may include drugs intended to slow the progression of brain damage, halt the brain damage entirely, or manage the symptoms more effectively. During any clinical trial, the researchers focus on the treatment’s safety profile and effectiveness. Only drugs that are proven effective and have a favorable safety profile can be approved for use in the U.S. Types of Clinical Trials There is a slight difference between clinical trials and clinical studies. Clinical trials only test the effectiveness and safety of medications or other medical interventions. Clinical studies involve people too, but they may research other aspects of the disease. Diagnostic studies look for more effective and accessible ways of diagnosing Alzheimer’s as early as possible. Prevention studies are aimed at looking for new ways of preventing Alzheimer’s. And quality of life studies examine ways of improving quality of life for people with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers. Participants in Clinical Trials People who join clinical trials after a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease generally do so because they recognize [...]
As time passes, Alzheimer’s disease erodes a person’s memories and robs him or her of a self-identity. Regardless of the extent to which an individual is disabled and dependent because of this disease, he or she is just as deserving of respect and compassion as anyone else. The following core elements of high-quality Alzheimer’s support can serve as an assessment tool for families who are looking for an assisted living home for their loved ones. Soothing Environment Large, institutional buildings are not appropriate settings for individuals with Alzheimer’s. The harsh glare of overly bright lights, maze of hallways, and décor befitting a hospital only serve to confuse and overwhelm these people. Instead, seniors should be able to live comfortably within a specialized memory care location that mimics a normal home as much as possible. A soothing environment allows residents to live out their days with the dignity they deserve. Meaningful Activities A person’s work, interests and hobbies give him or her a sense of purpose. Meaningful activities are not merely “busy work,” but rather they are any activities that a resident genuinely finds joy in. High-quality Alzheimer’s care locations give their residents daily opportunities for social connectivity and mental stimulation. Family Relationships No family should ever need an appointment to visit their loved one. High-quality assisted living homes maintain an open door policy for their residents’ family and friends. Families should feel free to visit as often as they wish to enjoy the company of their loved ones in a peaceful setting, or to share a meal together. Caregiver Engagement One of the most important elements of quality care is the caregiver. Memory caregivers should be highly trained and skillful individuals, but also genuinely compassionate [...]
Beloved relatives who live in assisted living locations always benefit from visits with their family, even if they cannot remember the names of their loved ones. The need for social connectivity is a basic human instinct, and socialization is considered therapeutic in Alzheimer’s care. To make your visit with your loved one more meaningful, you can become familiar with the dos and do nots of interacting during the latter stages of Alzheimer’s. Arriving at the Memory Care Home Verbal communication becomes less effective and impactful during the late stage of Alzheimer’s disease. When you visit, bring meaningful items that will stimulate the senses. Bring a CD with your loved one’s favorite song, a plate of baked treats prepared with family recipes, or a family photo album. Try to plan your visit for the morning hours, when your loved one will be less likely to be agitated. Introducing Yourself Assume that your loved one will not remember your name. As you approach him or her, try to keep yourself in his or her field of vision. Use your loved one’s name and introduce yourself. You could say, “Aunt Sarah, it is so nice to see you! I am Becky.” Having a Meaningful Conversation As your loved one loses the power to communicate through speech, the nonverbal cues he or she uses become more important. If you cannot understand what your loved one is trying to say, ask him or her to gesture or point. You should continue to speak to your loved one in regular language, without resorting to “baby talk,” but do use short, simple sentences. Keep your tone of voice positive, show your love with a smile and offer a comforting touch. Avalon Memory [...]
Each September, countries around the globe recognize World Alzheimer’s Month. This annual campaign was first started in 2012 for the purpose of raising awareness of this disease and fighting against the stigma of dementia. Whether your loved one is currently receiving dementia care or has already passed on, there are plenty of impactful ways you can honor him or her during World Alzheimer’s Month. Raise awareness about Alzheimer’s disease. Use credible websites and books to become better informed of Alzheimer’s disease. Use your social media profiles, if applicable, to help spread the word about the warning signs of dementia and the importance of an early diagnosis. Consider organizing a public educational event. You could approach your local library about using a public meeting room there, and then invite speakers to talk to the public about Alzheimer’s. Spread the word at the workplace. This September, arrange a casual dress day at your office, and encourage everyone to wear something purple in honor of World Alzheimer’s Month. If you are an employer, consider joining the Alzheimer’s Workplace Alliance, which is comprised of nearly 2,000 companies dedicated to raising awareness and improving work/life balance for family caregivers. Become an advocate for Alzheimer’s research. There is no cure for Alzheimer’s—yet. Join thousands of others in raising your voice in support of funding the crucial research that may one day lead to a cure. Call your Congressional representatives, start and sign petitions, and request one-on-one meetings with elected officials to urge them to increase funding for Alzheimer’s research. Join your local Alzheimer’s Association chapter. Local chapters of the Alzheimer’s Association bring together families affected by Alzheimer’s. They connect families to resources and support, and in turn, families often contribute to [...]
Alzheimer’s disease can be tricky to diagnose. When a diagnosis is finally made, you will have challenging emotions to come to terms with and some difficult decisions to make. As you begin planning for your future memory care needs, you may wish to consult your loved ones, doctor, an attorney and a long-term care, planning consultant. Get important documents drafted. Alzheimer’s disease progresses very slowly. It is quite likely that you will be able to continue to make major financial, legal, and healthcare decisions for a long time. However, it is always best to err on the side of caution and make arrangements in advance. An estate planning attorney can provide guidance on the important documents you need to have drafted. These will likely include the following: Last will and testament Advance directive or living will Healthcare proxy designation Living trust Do not resuscitate order (DNR) Make arrangements for your business. If you own a business, you will need to consult a lawyer about the future of your company. If you are the sole owner of your company, then selling it when the time is right might be a fairly straightforward process. Or, you may wish to pass ownership of the company to other family members. Consider your future living arrangements. It is never too early to begin considering arrangements for your care. In the beginning stages of the disease, your family members may be able to provide all the care that is necessary. As your health condition and abilities decline, it will almost certainly be necessary to move to a memory care home. Make a list of the available memory care residencies in your area. Take your time touring the grounds before making your [...]