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Dementia

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.

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

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

Making Spirits Bright: Celebrating The Holidays When A Loved One Has Dementia

Mistletoe and holly, fa-la-la-ing and jingle-belling and one-horse open sleighs...the holidays conjure up all sorts of memories and feelings for all of us. They are special moments in the year to gather with friends and family, share the joy and make memories. This is especially important if you have a loved one in your family living with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia. The holidays are a unique time to surround them with beloved traditions, the caring of others and the sensory delights of the season. However, the holidays can also be busy and stressful, which can be overwhelming for someone with dementia. Large groups of people can be scary and disorienting, while the disruption to their routines can leave them cranky and agitated. If you’re a caregiver, the holidays pile on additional responsibilities on top of your existing, extensive to-dos. How can families find balance this holiday season? The answer lies in understanding, patience and grace – for you and others – and a little extra coordination and planning. By knowing what to expect, taking steps to navigate potential pitfalls and plan for all sorts of situations, the holidays can be happy, merry and bright for everyone, including your loved one with dementia. Here are some of Avalon’s top tips for helping make the season holly-jolly for all your family members. Scale it back. It’s hard to get past the idea of throwing a picture-perfect holiday – all you have to do is turn on the television to see Norman Rockwell-esque scenes of snow falling, families laughing and the halls decked just so. Many of us put extra stress on ourselves to make the season as spectacular as possible, which leads to burning the candle at [...]

By |2019-12-23T17:24:08-06:00December 23rd, 2019|Categories: Dementia|0 Comments

The Seven Stages Of Dementia: Understanding The FAST Scale

If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with dementia, you may have heard the disease discussed as having “stages.” These different stages are used to signify how the disease has progressed and what is happening currently to their mind and body. This helps caregivers, medical professionals and family members understand what is happening with their loved one and prepare them for the current and future changes. There are several different tools memory care professionals use to determine an individual’s dementia progression. The most commonly used scales are the Global Deterioration Scale (GDS), the Clinical Dementia Rating (CDR) and the Functional Assessment Staging Test (FAST). Each of these scales has a different system for determining the stage and severity of an individual's mental decline. At Avalon, we tend to use the FAST Scale to help us determine the progression of memory loss so we know best how to treat our residents – and help family members. In order to serve you, we’ve put together some of our most frequently asked questions about the FAST Scale to help bring some clarity and understanding about this useful tool. What is the FAST Scale? FAST stands for Functional Assessment Staging Tool. This scale was developed by Dr. Barry Reisberg, who is a leading expert in Alzheimer’s disease. It’s used to help doctors, medical professionals and family members understand, talk about and follow the progression of dementias such as Alzheimer’s disease. How does the FAST scale determine a person’s level of functioning? Unlike other scales that focus primarily on cognitive decline, such as the GSD, FAST focuses on a person’s ability to function and perform tasks of daily living. How does the FAST Scale break out the stages of [...]

By |2019-10-17T09:33:02-05:00October 16th, 2019|Categories: Dementia|0 Comments

Dietary Challenges for Individuals with Memory Loss and Alzheimer’s

Avalon Memory Care provides comprehensive care for all of our residents. Without continuous care, many individuals with memory loss or dementia may struggle to get the nutrients their bodies desperately need. Our Avalon Memory Care team is ready to help you and your loved one with these challenges. Many memory care providers report that individuals who have been diagnosed with memory loss struggle to keep up their appetites. While some individuals may be simply less hungry, there is often an underlying reason they are not eating as much. For example, he or she may no longer recognize the food on the plate or may have lost a sharp sense of smell or taste. At Avalon Memory Care we work with you to insure your loved one is still getting enough nutrients and food.  Our locations offer three home-cooked meals every day.  To deal with poor appetite, we make sure to offer various options and snack and shakes as supplements. If you would like a home-like environment, compassionate care, and superior health services for your loved one with Alzheimer’s, look no further than Avalon Memory Care. Find out more about our locations by calling us at (214) 752-7050.

By |2018-09-13T08:19:57-05:00September 13th, 2018|Categories: Alzheimer's, Dementia|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.