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.

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, helpguide.org 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

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