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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

Top 7 Reasons to Receive the Covid-19 Vaccine

As Avalon actively rolls out the Covid-19 vaccine to our residents and staff, there are many seniors still living at home who haven’t yet received it.  While a poll done by AARP shows that older adults are warming up to the idea of receiving the vaccine many of them still have questions. Healthcare professionals understand everyone has a different comfort level, yet there is a unison voice that is loud and clear coming from the medical community encouraging seniors to get the vaccination immediately. Here are the top 7 reasons to roll up your sleeve: All Covid-19 vaccines currently available in the U.S. have proven to be highly effective at preventing Covid-19. Clinical trials are showing that if you get the vaccine and yet still fall into that very low percentage who contract Covid-19, it may also prevent you from becoming seriously ill. Getting the vaccine not only protects you but protects others around you. Preventing Covid-19 means avoiding a potential life-threatening experience and long-term complications. Currently no one knows how the virus will affect them. Receiving the vaccine will NOT cause you to get the virus. Temporary side effects of the vaccine, like injection site pain, fatigue, headache, muscle pain, chills, joint pain and fever, affect 10-15% of those who have received the vaccine. However, the Centers for Disease Control found that those over 65 experienced fewer side effects. Note: If you have a history of severe allergic reactions to other vaccines, the agency advises to ask your doctor if you should get a COVID-19 vaccine. Perhaps the biggest reason to receive the Covid-19 vaccine is to be able to hug those we love Medical experts estimate it will take 70%-90% of us getting [...]

By |2021-02-17T13:12:22-06:00February 17th, 2021|Categories: Avalon Memory Care, Senior Health|0 Comments

Avalon Cultivates a Family-Like Environment

There are so many emotions around a decision to move a loved one to memory care. By the time a person with dementia reaches the point that extra care is required, chances are they’ve spent a lifetime taking care of their family and participating as an active citizen in their community. At Avalon Memory Care, we have always believed that all seniors with dementia deserve more than mediocre care.  We believe they deserve to live comfortably in a home-like environment that cultivates a close-knit community.  We believe that caring for them with love, positive energy, and meeting them at whatever level of support they need is not only the right thing to do but it is a life they’ve earned through decades of caregiving to others. The memory care environment we create at Avalon is critical to providing a level of comfort for families and care for our residents.  Our community becomes your loved one’s cozy home designed with private rooms and common areas – all that mimic the look and feel of living within a typical home. When they need some time to themselves, our residents will find the soothing privacy they deserve in their own spacious rooms, which they can furnish and style to their personal desire. One of the most important components of Avalon Memory Care however are the caregivers and the other residents they interact with.  Our residents get to know each other and, yes, even find new friendships enabling a family-like community to develop naturally.  Our team of 24/7 caregivers work together to fully get to know your loved one and develop a care plan just for them.  These exceptionally warm and compassionate individuals want to meet your loved one [...]

By |2021-02-03T09:28:45-06:00February 3rd, 2021|Categories: Avalon Memory Care|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

Is there anything good about dementia?

You’re probably thinking “what a strange question.” We all know that dementia presents daunting challenges for both caregivers and for people living with dementia. According to a study conducted by the National Institutes of Health, family caregivers of people with dementia have more anxiety, stress, and depression than non-caregivers, and caring for someone with dementia has more negative impacts than caring for other disorders. True. Though there is proof of a way to positively influence the experience. Good Experiences of Caregivers A huge body of research agrees that caring for people with dementia gets more and more difficult as the disease progresses. However, people who report better, more positive experiences and outcomes start with a different attitude and perception of what it is to care for people with dementia. Generally, caregivers who take a less traditional view of their role and the desired outcomes of their efforts reported a higher quality of life than other caregivers. In fact, 90% of them were more likely to report positive aspects of caregiving for those with dementia. Researcher and author Geofrey Tremont compared 41 of the most meaningful cases from a 1,000 case studies and found that “Most caregivers report some degree of satisfaction with providing care, including feeling needed and useful, feeling good about oneself, learning new skills, developing a positive attitude and appreciation for life, and strengthening relationships with others.” Good experiences of people with dementia. Life changes with dementia but can continue on in meaningful and sometimes surprising ways. One former musician who now has dementia recently became famous for improvising a beautiful composition on four notes that was later arranged for the London Philharmonic Orchestra. An interesting note: the part of the brain that [...]

By |2020-12-04T19:50:19-06:00November 20th, 2020|Categories: Alzheimer's, Avalon Memory Care, Dementia, Memory Care, Senior Health|0 Comments

You’ve Earned It: The Veterans Aid & Attendance Benefit

Where to start? Many veterans and spouses of veterans have little or no idea what benefits are available to them and how to apply for them. If that sounds like you or someone you know, call the Veteran’s Benefit Hotline at 800 827-1000. Thousands of VA Benefits are available for those people who are still serving, for those just transitioning out of the service, to those whose spouses served long ago, and for everyone in-between. Available benefits run the gamut from the obvious, like pension and healthcare benefits, to the less well known like financial support for your veteran owned small business and, of interest to most readers of our blog, the Veterans Aid & Attendance Benefit. As with many government-related benefits, there can be a lot of confusion and misconceptions surrounding it. We’ve broken down some of the most frequently asked questions (and answers) to help clarify and bring understanding to this helpful benefit. What Is the Aid & Attendance Benefit? The Aid & Attendance benefit, also known as “VA assisted living benefit,” “improved pension” or “veterans elder care benefits,” is a monetary benefit available to eligible veterans and their surviving spouses. It can be used to pay for home health care assistance, the cost of living in an assisted living community or other services that the individual needs for their everyday functioning. Who qualifies for the Aid & Attendance Benefit? If you currently receive a military pension and require help with ADLs (“Activities of Daily Living” such as eating, drinking, bathing, dressing, toileting, paying bills, homemaking, etc.), you may qualify for the benefit. To qualify, seniors must meet two requirements: a military-related requirement and a health-related requirement. First, the individual must be a [...]

By |2020-11-11T15:49:54-06:00November 11th, 2020|Categories: Alzheimer's, Avalon Memory Care, Dementia, Memory Care, Senior Health|0 Comments

Veterans Recognized on a New Wall of Honor

This month Avalon is excited to kick off a new tradition to honor residents who are veterans from the various branches of the military and first responders like police officers and fire fighters. In all Avalon communities, a Wall of Honor is going up in dining halls or other common areas as an expression of our gratitude for those residents who have served and sacrificed so much for our freedom and safety. We are asking current residents and new residents from every branch of service to share a photo in uniform which will be framed and displayed for proper recognition. Veterans Day 2020 marks the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II, the 70th anniversary of the beginning of the Korean War, and the 30th anniversary of both the end of the Panama Invasion and the beginning of Desert Shield. Veterans Day evolved from Armistice Day, which was proclaimed in 1919 by President Woodrow Wilson. Armistice is when warring parties agree to stop fighting; Armistice Day recognizes the end of World War One when hostilities ceased on the 11th day of the 11th month at the 11th hour. “We are so excited to start this new tradition at Avalon this year,” said Holly Bagwell, Community Liaison at Avalon Memory Care. The original goal was to have it up and running by Memorial Day, 2020 until COVID-19 caused the quarantine and lockdown from March to May. “We have so many veterans at all of our communities and especially here at Irving. It feels good to honor them this way.” Holly says going forward, veterans in the Avalon communities will be honored twice a year with a proper ceremony, recognition certificates and a celebratory breakfast. [...]

By |2020-11-06T08:47:52-06:00November 6th, 2020|Categories: Avalon Memory Care, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Should You Be Tested for Alzheimers?

Should You Be Tested for Alzheimers? The idea of being tested for Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia is often scary. Even if you or a loved one have noticed issues that don’t go away – like memory lapses, mood changes or difficulty using language – many of us hope that the issue will go away in time, or we simply put off getting tested because we don’t want to hear the news. While this is a natural reaction, experts say that it’s best to detect Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia as early as possible. There are medicines and treatments available on the market that can help slow and temporarily halt the progression of the disease, but they are most effective when treatment is begun during the early stages of the disease. It’s also possible that the symptoms you or your loved one are experiencing are not due to dementia at all, but are a side effect of medications, underlying illnesses, infections or other issues that can be treated. Whether that is the case or not, it is always a good idea to visit your doctor to determine the cause of any unusual or concerning symptoms before they get worse. There is no one specific test that is used to determine if you or a loved one have Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia. Instead, doctors will use a series of tests and exams to help make a diagnosis. While physicians can almost always determine if an individual’s issues are due to dementia, it may be difficult for them to pinpoint the exact type of dementia the individual has. It’s often wise to have another family member go with you or your loved [...]

By |2020-09-24T10:38:29-05:00September 8th, 2020|Categories: Alzheimer's, Avalon Memory Care, Memory Care, Senior Health|0 Comments

Avalon’s accelerated efforts to be one of the first in the state to secure access to the coronavirus vaccine is working. New and established residents and our staff here at Avalon are among the very first in line to receive the Covid-19 inoculation. Check back for more vaccine updates.