Dementia is the loss of cognitive functioning and behavioral abilities to such an extent that it interferes with a person’s daily life and activities. Here are the most recent articles on Dementia 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

Planning Your Future After a Dementia Diagnosis

A dementia diagnosis is distressing for any family. Even when so much feels unknown, there can still be some comfort in knowing what steps to take to prepare for the days ahead. Updating vital information, proofing the home for any safety issues, and supporting your loved one’s emotional wellness are ways to get ready. It’s just as important to keep self-care in your own routine, too. Dementia affects the entire family’s mental health, so now’s the time to plan solutions that will give your mind and body much-needed hiatus moving forward. Our team at Avalon Memory Care know this prep time is a critical stage in the dementia journey. We’re here to help.   Here are some tips to get you started: Gather Important Paperwork Circumstances can change rapidly for any major life event, especially when there’s a dementia diagnosis. That’s why keeping necessary documents in an accessible place is essential.   Follow this guide to start building your loved one’s personal file. Consider including: Your loved one’s current medications, health conditions, immunizations, and doctors’ names and numbers Covid immunization card Dental records or procedures, including if dentures are worn Emergency numbers Copy of health insurance card Current photo of your loved one (additionally, one photo with you and other family, for any identification purposes) Hard copy of an estate will Location of family heirlooms A living will with your loved one’s wishes for their medical care Financial records, like current bank statements, pension info, life insurance, credit cards, loans, and 401k accounts House deed Property deeds Vehicle titles Relevant court documents Passwords to online accounts + your loved one’s computer where they store important files Pet records, including the pet’s medications, vet’s name and [...]

By |2023-01-26T11:41:57-06:00January 26th, 2023|Categories: Avalon Memory Care, Dementia, Memory Care|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

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

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, 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