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.

When is it time to take the keys away?

It’s human nature to make our own decisions, take charge of our personal schedules, and be independent. When dementia is diagnosed, however, patients become limited in doing many of the activities that came with adulting. It’s a tough reality, but there are resources that can help ease our senior loved ones into this unknown world. Driving is one of the most autonomous things we can do, and for some people, giving up that freedom brings them to absolute obstinance. This is for good reason, though. Especially when dementia robs an individual of so many other aptitudes, removing the joy of driving is like another kick to the spirit. There are ways to delicately address the driving dilemma, but it might take an equal amount of patience and austerity. Because unsafe senior drivers are a danger to themselves and others, this is a very important issue to handle. Here are some tips: Check your parent’s car for blemishes. Things like scratches, dents, windshield cracks, untidy spills that aren’t cleaned up, or missing parts such as tire hubcaps are all warning signs that your mom or dad is having trouble. Do an online assessment. AARP has a free online seminar called We Need to Talk to help families decide if it’s time to take the car keys. Hire a professional driver occupational therapist for an evaluation. They’ll do a series of tests to determine if your aging parent is still competent and cognitively fit to drive. It’s a safety measure that can prevent a lot of heartache down the road. Talk to your parent candidly. See how they feel about having others pick them up or learning public transportation. Offer them alternatives like virtual doctor visits, massage [...]

By |2023-04-11T11:39:57-05:00April 11th, 2023|Categories: Alzheimer's, Avalon Memory Care, Dementia, Memory Care|0 Comments

Music Therapy

Music has a remarkable effect on those with dementia, and here at Avalon Memory Care, we love incorporating music into our activity programming. “It is clear that music does something magical that words cannot do at certain points in the dementia brain,” says Holly Bagwell, former Outreach Coordinator. Part of our residential caregiving plan is professional music therapy. Like any other member on a resident’s healthcare team, these musicians are highly-trained in their field, which includes neuroscience principles and the use of melody and rhythm to activate brain function. Music therapists can determine the best songs and instruments based on an individual’s needs and health conditions. “We have visiting music therapists join us for interactive sing-along time, invite residents to join in the music-making with percussion instruments, and put up a permanent activity at our Quarterway location we call the "Can you name them?” board.” The board has names like Sammy, Frank, Elvis, Patsy, and Dolly, and residents are challenged to see if they can remember the artist’s names and music. The best part of the activity is when the staff pulls up a popular song from those artists. “Suddenly our residents remember their favorite songs and sing along!” According to the National Institute on Aging studies, activities that can be both calming and stimulating, like music therapy, reduce reliance on medication and dementia behaviors like wandering, aggression, and restlessness. Psychology Today reports that music therapy can even improve sleep and lower blood pressure. It can also be helpful in treating depression and it’s even beneficial for better communicating our wants and needs. Especially with those who are living with lapses in memory, music can reactivate some of the language and interactive areas of the [...]

By |2023-03-27T15:20:29-05:00March 27th, 2023|Categories: Alzheimer's, Avalon Memory Care, Dementia, Memory Care|0 Comments

How to Talk About Making a Move

How to Talk About Making a Move: Tips for Discussing a Caregiving Plan with Your Parent  In a perfect world, dementia wouldn’t exist and we’d never have to face tough decisions about leaving a beloved home. But with so many aging adults being diagnosed with cognitive diseases each year, some of us will have to address an inevitable caregiving need for a parent. It isn’t easy to bring up alternative living arrangements with Mom or Dad because most people’s dream is to live out their lives at their family house or condo—a place full of memories and heirlooms, a gathering hub for kids and grandkids to visit, a space they’ve invested in and put their heart into making a home. It’s emotional to give up these comforts and consider a big unknown, which is why it takes thoughtfulness and empathy when talking about making a move. There are many low-key ways to start the conversation with your parent. However you approach it, put yourself in their position, and proceed with gentleness and respect.   Include All of the Siblings and Don’t Go Rogue Before you even mention your concerns to your parent, gather your siblings to share your thoughts and get their perspective. See if they see similar behaviors or issues and get their ideas on next steps. There will probably be disagreements and differing opinions, but try to overcome any sibling rivalry for the greater good—your parent(s). Even if you spend more time with your parent and think you know best, it’s a show of respect to your brothers and sisters that you value their input and help. Try to agree on a plan together and keep each other in the loop with major [...]

By |2023-03-07T13:09:14-06:00March 7th, 2023|Categories: Alzheimer's, Avalon Memory Care, Dementia, Memory Care, Senior Health|0 Comments

What might Alzheimer’s look like?

Noticing the early signs in your parents. Over the past few years, families have had to forgo a lot of together time due to COVID restrictions, so it’s no surprise that many of us can go months without being in the same room as our aging parents. If you’ve been communicating with your mom or dad primarily by phone or FaceTime, you might notice some worrisome changes when you’re finally in the same room together. With more families finally getting to gather for the holidays, catching up with each other might evolve into getting caught up on mom or dad’s wellbeing. We all want our parents to stay vibrant and healthy, but disease can slowly and unfairly creep in. It can be unsettling to witness a significant change after long periods—and even more perplexing as to what to do. And while the most active parent will naturally slow down a bit over time, some signs warrant further investigation. If something feels wrong, know the symptoms and trust your intuition: Repeating the same question or story. Everyone has moments when they forget they've told an account already, but if you notice your mom asking you the same question repeatedly or that your dad is telling you about the neighbors for the third time in an hour, they could be struggling with short term memory. It might also present in the form of forgetting how to do simple tasks, like dialing a number or using a fork. Confusion about how much time has passed, problems with time management. Alzheimer’s disease damages the part of the brain responsible for processing the passage of time, so your parent might think you’ve been gone hours when it’s only been a [...]

By |2023-02-28T12:37:19-06:00February 28th, 2023|Categories: Alzheimer's, Avalon Memory Care, Dementia, Memory Care, Senior Health|0 Comments

Long Distance Caregiving: How to help from afar

Living far from our parents might present an unforeseen challenge when they begin to age and need more assistance. While we want to be physically present to help them each day, it might not be an option when jobs are located hundreds of miles away from where an elder parent or parents live. Most caregivers are in their late 40s, working on the middle of their careers, and sandwiched between responsibilities in their own home and those of a senior parent(s). It can feel overwhelming to juggle it all. Having a plan in place is a good way to prepare for any health, mobility, or cognitive situations that arise. The following are some tips that can get you started.   Make a Contact List Brainstorm a list of people both you and your parents trust. Begin with the obvious family members and friends, then branch out. Especially if your parents are homebodies and don’t interact much with the outside world, you’ll have to get a little creative. Family: This includes relatives who live close by, like your siblings, your parents’ siblings, and any other members of the family who are responsible and trustworthy. Friends: If your parents have a core group they socialize with, get their contact info in case you need them to check on your parents in the future. This can be church friends, book club members, or old college buddies who live in town. Even add your own local friends to the list. Neighbors: A trusted neighbor is a wonderful lookout for an elder parent. Find out who lives close and has a friendly rapport with your parents. Introduce yourself and exchange phone numbers. In the case of an emergency, they might [...]

By |2023-02-07T10:00:11-06:00February 7th, 2023|Categories: Alzheimer's, Avalon Memory Care, Memory Care, Senior Health|0 Comments

How to Know When It’s Time for Memory Care

If your loved one lives with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, you know that their symptoms progress over a long time, making it hard to know what kind of care they need.  At first, you may think, “I should be able to handle this.”  But as cognitive function significantly declines, you may find yourself considering memory care for your senior. It’s normal for family members to feel guilt and grief when they realize they can’t manage the increasing care needs of loved ones with dementia.  It’s a decision no person wants to make but can quickly become the new reality.  As much as it hurts to consider moving a loved one from the familiarity of their home, handling all of the caregiving yourself takes a toll on your own physical and mental health, plus it’s not always the best choice for your loved one. Typically, memory care is an option for people suffering from mid to late-stage Alzheimer’s disease or dementia when the condition creates more significant changes and challenges in a person’s life.  The disease will eventually progress, and at some point, your loved one will need 24-hour supervision.  To know where you are on this journey, working closely with your loved one’s medical team will help you determine when the time is right. If your senior lives alone, it can be harder to see the changes.  You may visit and discover that their appearance, cleaning regimen, and social schedule have changed dramatically.  Sometimes, you’ll find out things are worse than you imagined if your loved one has a medical emergency or a life-threatening accident. If you’re worried about your senior’s safety or the safety of others, it could be time to get the family [...]

By |2022-11-29T11:08:32-06:00November 29th, 2022|Categories: Alzheimer's, Avalon Memory Care, Dementia, Memory Care|0 Comments

Accepting the Need for Memory Care

It’s typical for families to discuss finding care for a loved one in the mid-to-late stages of dementia, but it isn’t easy. Moving a family member to a memory care community can cause a wave of grief, guilt, and sadness. The notion of pulling someone you love out of their daily routine often feels wrong at that moment. It feels like abandonment. It feels like a weak decision. It seems so final. But caring for someone we love means making sure they’re safe, protected, and healthy, and sometimes we can’t do that alone. Accepting that your loved one needs memory care is a difficult process, but one that will enable you to focus on enjoying your relationship and your time together. How Do You Know It’s Time for Memory Care? According to U.S. News, 5.8 million people in the U.S. have Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia. They list six distinct behaviors that indicate a genuinely needed move to a memory care community like Avalon. Changes in behavior. Someone who was always calm and collected may suddenly show signs of aggravation or irritation. Changes in appearance. Someone who has always dressed meticulously may be disheveled or unwashed. People with Alzheimer’s disease can forget how to bathe or style their hair. Confusion and disorientation. Confusion can become dangerous if your loved one drives or wanders from the house. It’s critical to address safety issues for your loved one's sake and the safety of others. A decline in physical health. A decline could mean that your loved one forgot to go grocery shopping or forgot how to cook. It could also mean they haven’t taken their meds or have taken too much. A caregiver’s deterioration. When a [...]

By |2022-01-27T15:44:23-06:00January 25th, 2022|Categories: Alzheimer's, Avalon Memory Care, Memory Care, Uncategorized|0 Comments

What might Alzheimer’s look like?

What might Alzheimer’s look like? Noticing the early signs in your parents. Over the past two years, families have had to forgo a lot of together time due to the Covid restrictions, so it’s no surprise that many of us can go months without being in the same room as our aging parents. If you’ve been communicating with your mom or dad primarily by phone or facetime, you might notice some worrisome changes when you’re finally in the same room together. And while the most active parent will naturally slow down a bit over time, some signs warrant further investigation: Repeating the same question or story. Everyone has moments when they forget they've told an account already, but if you notice your mom asking you the same question repeatedly or that your dad is telling you about the neighbors for the third time in an hour, they could be struggling with short term memory. Confusion about how much time has passed, problems with time management. Alzheimer’s disease damages the part of the brain responsible for processing the passage of time, so your parent might think you’ve been gone hours when it’s only been a few minutes, or they might say that they hadn't seen you in several years when it was just last month. Failing to recognize or remember people. We all know how much family members can change, especially children, but if your parent struggles to remember loved ones, they could be showing signs of dementia. Changes in appearance. Is your ordinarily polished mom looking disheveled? Has your dad lost a lot of weight? Check the refrigerator and cupboards for fresh food or signs of a recent trip to the grocery store. They may [...]

By |2022-01-11T13:39:16-06:00January 11th, 2022|Categories: Alzheimer's, Avalon Memory Care, Memory Care|0 Comments

What You Can Do For World Alzheimer’s Month

Taking a moment to recognize World Alzheimer’s Month can not only help reduce the stigma about the disease, but it can show your loved one whose been diagnosed how much they mean to you. By honoring them you are also spreading awareness about this difficult disease. This September the theme for the 2021 campaign is “Know Dementia, Know Alzheimer’s.” According to Alzheimer’s Disease International, the theme is all about the power of knowledge. The campaign is aimed at raising global awareness through social media. The website has a campaign toolkit to help you figure out how to do your part in spreading the word. Raising awareness about the disease is an opportunity to educate others on signs and symptoms and reduce fears that can come with an Alzheimer’s diagnosis.  Urge families to get involved in Alzheimer’s research, too. Create attention about the disease to generate support for more science which could benefit generations to come. There is so much you can do but here are a few examples to get you started.   National Fundraising Participating in national funding helps the Alzheimer’s Association to fund care, support, and research. You can do any number of things including, participating in the Alzheimer's Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s, make a donation or create a team for The Longest Day which is an event created to raise funds and awareness for Alzheimer’s. Go to the Alzheimer’s Association website to see other ways to raise money.   Join an Alzheimer's Association Chapter Finding a local Alzheimer’s Association Chapter is the perfect way to stay connected to those who have been affected by the disease. You will find others who completely understand the life journey you are on. Plus, coming [...]

By |2021-08-23T11:17:22-05:00August 23rd, 2021|Categories: Alzheimer's, Avalon Memory Care|0 Comments

Coming to Terms with Your Loved One’s Need for Memory Care

The diagnosis of a loved one with memory loss usually hits like a ton of bricks even when little signs of the disease are evident.  No one wants to hear that diagnosis. Even a conversation about moving a family member to a memory care community can feel like a gut punch coupled with emotional guilt and sadness. The notion of pulling someone you love out of their known daily routine often feels wrong at that moment. It feels like abandonment. It feels like a weak decision. It seems so final. Acceptance takes education, new understanding and medical expertise.  Wrapping our minds around this change with knowledge means we can get back to simply loving them again and honoring our own self-care. The journey is a difficult process but it’s a critical one toward finding the safest, the healthiest, the most loving path for everyone involved.   How Do You Know It’s Time for Memory Care? According to U.S. News, 5.8 million people in the U.S. have Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia. They list 5 distinct behaviors that indicate a move to a memory care community like Avalon is truly needed. Changes in behavior – Visual evidence of this may be their appearance.  Someone who has always been meticulous in their dress style may develop a disheveled appearance or a lack of hygiene.  They may have literally forgotten how to bathe or style their hair.  Their personality may change. Someone who was always calm and collected may suddenly show signs of aggravation or irritation. Confusion and disorientation – This may not seem like a big deal until someone with memory issues becomes confused while driving or may even wander away from the house.  [...]

By |2021-08-05T10:19:53-05:00August 5th, 2021|Categories: Alzheimer's, Dementia, Memory Care, Senior Health|0 Comments