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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.

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

Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias: Myth vs. Fact

It’s important to know the facts about Alzheimer’s because it is a progressive disease — meaning it worsens over time. Knowing the signs, and being able to tell fact from fiction, can provide clues to help you or your loved one get the support you need sooner. Here are some common misconceptions about Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. Myth: Memory loss is just a part of aging for everyone. Fact: While it’s true some short-term memory function declines as we age, Alzheimer's is more than occasional memory loss. When someone has Alzheimer’s, their brain cells malfunction and eventually die. When this happens, the person may forget the names of friends and family members or even how to get home. Myth: Alzheimer’s and dementia are pretty much the same thing. Fact: While Alzheimer’s disease is a form of dementia, not all dementia is Alzheimer’s. Only a doctor may be able to tell the difference. Sometimes similar problems are caused by medication, vitamin deficiencies, other types of dementia or related conditions, and some can be reversed with treatment. Myth: There are treatments to prevent the progression of Alzheimer's disease and other dementias. Fact: There is currently no treatment to cure, delay or stop the progression of these diseases. But there are medications for memory loss, and other treatments that can be helpful in managing cognitive and behavioral symptoms. Researchers continue to look for treatments to improve quality of life for individuals with dementia or Alzheimer’s. Myth: Only elderly people can get Alzheimer’s and other dementias. Fact: Younger- or early-onset Alzheimer's can strike people as young as 30 years old. It is estimated 200,000 of the over 5 million people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s are under 65 years old. Myth: Alzheimer’s can be caused by aluminum cans or [...]

By |2018-09-12T10:57:48-05:00September 12th, 2018|Categories: Alzheimer's, Dementia, Memory Care|0 Comments

Common Causes of Reversible Dementias

Alzheimer’s may be the most common type of dementia, but there are many other forms of it. Some dementias are even reversible with the proper medical care. While the individual is recovering, specialized dementia care can help families meet their loved one’s needs. Reversible dementias and dementia-like symptoms can be caused by the following health issues. Dehydration Sudden changes in a loved one can be alarming, but in some cases, temporary, dementia-like symptoms may simply be the result of dehydration. A person’s awareness of thirst declines with age. This means that seniors are at a higher risk of dehydration, which can cause confusion. Nutritional Deficiencies Individuals who suffer severe malnutrition may develop reversible, dementia-like symptoms. Memory loss and confusion may be attributed to deficiencies in vitamin B1 and B12. People with alcohol use disorder are at an increased risk of this complication, as alcoholism has a strong association with chronic malnutrition. Alcoholism treatment and mental health counseling may be appropriate. Medication Reactions If memory loss and problems with word recall developed after a change in medications, it is possible that this change is responsible for these dementia-like symptoms. Some medications that can cause cognitive issues include the following: Cholesterol-lowering statins Chemotherapy drugs Pain medications Anti-anxiety medications Sleeping pills Of course, it is important for individuals to take medications as prescribed. However, any troublesome side effects should be brought to the doctor’s attention. The doctor may be able to adjust the dosage or prescribe a different medication to reverse the dementia-like symptoms. Anoxia Anoxia or hypoxia is a state of oxygen deprivation. When the organs are not receiving enough oxygen, the person may experience problems such as memory loss and confusion. Oxygen deprivation may be a [...]

By |2020-10-26T19:06:51-05:00January 30th, 2018|Categories: Dementia|0 Comments

A Family’s Guide to Delusions and Dementia

It is not uncommon for individuals receiving dementia care to experience delusions. Delusions are firm beliefs in something that is not true. They are not the same as hallucinations, which refer to hearing, seeing, or smelling something that is not real. Some common delusions include the belief that someone is out to harm the individual, someone is stealing from the individual or the individual’s spouse is having an affair. Watch this video to hear some essential tips for dementia caregivers on dealing with delusions. Firstly, never argue with the individual, and never tell him or her that the belief is not true. Offer words of reassurance. Second, consider joining in the delusion. You could tell your loved one that you just spoke with the police, and the person who was out to harm your loved one is now in jail. When it is no longer possible to provide continuous care for your loved one at home, you can rely on Avalon Memory Care for compassionate assisted living services. Call (214) 752-7050 to discuss our mental healthcare for individuals with dementia in Dallas, Arlington, and Houston.

By |2020-10-26T19:07:08-05:00January 24th, 2018|Categories: 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.