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Memory Care

Memory care is a special kind of care provided to those with varying degrees of dementia or Alzheimer’s. Here are the most recent articles on this topic from Avalon Memory Care.

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

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

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

Is Memory Care the Right Choice During COVID-19?

Is Memory Care the Right Choice During COVID-19? The coronavirus pandemic has been, in a word, life-changing. Everyone’s life has been touched in some way to different extents, but perhaps the hardest-hit demographic are those with senior loved ones. This is especially true for family caregivers who care for a senior loved one with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia. In a smaller sense, individuals whose loved ones reside in a memory care community like Avalon Memory Care also share a similar sense of worry and stress. Your family’s main priority is to keep your loved one safe and healthy. How is that possible in an enclosed community that’s filled with high-risk individuals? We want you to know, we understand. The idea of moving your loved one into a memory care community right now can seem scary and impossible. Even if your loved one is already in a memory care community, you may wish to pull them out so you can care for them at home in a safe, responsible manner. We at Avalon Memory Care will never stand in the way of family members doing what they think is best for their senior loved ones. However, we wanted to take this article to talk to you about how safe a memory care community can be, particularly at this time in our society. Although it may seem counterintuitive, individuals with memory issues can actually live more safely and with less risk at a community that’s been designed specifically for them.   Enhanced sanitization and health practices. As a commercial business – one that is dedicated to the care and safety of seniors with memory care – we are required to follow strict guidelines laid out by [...]

By |2020-09-24T10:33:00-05:00August 24th, 2020|Categories: Alzheimer's, Avalon Memory Care, Memory Care|0 Comments

Beginning in January 2021, Avalon has made great efforts to ensure our residents and staff are vaccinated against COVID-19 with continued vaccination clinics. Click here to find an updated visitation policy.