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Senior Health

As we age, our bodies and minds change. There are things you can do to stay more healthy as you age. Here are the latest articles on senior health from Avalon Memory Care.

7 Tips to Prepare for a Move to a Senior Living Community

You’ve seen the signs--your mom doesn’t know how to dial 9-1-1 in an emergency, your father calls you over and over to ask you the same question, or both forget to do their dishes or eat nutritious meals. These could be signs of memory loss or a major sign of anxiety, or a combination of both, and also, are very good reasons that you may start to consider moving your loved one. It’s a difficult decision to make, but once you know it’s time for your loved one to move into a senior living community, it can be even more difficult knowing what to do next. How to Help a Loved One Move to a Senior Community If you think your loved one may need to move into a senior living community, it’s important to take the following steps to get them into a place that is best suited for their needs. 1.  Gather legal documents It’s recommended that you gather all of your documents ahead of time. This way you’ll be ready to go once you’ve chosen the best place for your loved one and are working on getting moved in. Once you get deep into the process of looking for the best community for your loved one, you’ll be happy the documents are there. Beyond filling out a document with your loved one’s personal information, you’ll need copies of the following: Insurance Cards Medicare Cards ID Card Power of Attorney Medical Power of Attorney Guardianship Documentation Advanced Directives DNR 2.  Call Primary Care Physician Contacting your loved one’s PCP is the second thing you should do. Ask them for two things: History and Physical records and a medication list. The facility is going [...]

By |2021-07-09T08:06:04-05:00July 9th, 2021|Categories: Avalon Memory Care, Senior Health, Uncategorized|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

Top 7 Reasons to Receive the Covid-19 Vaccine

As Avalon actively rolls out the Covid-19 vaccine to our residents and staff, there are many seniors still living at home who haven’t yet received it.  While a poll done by AARP shows that older adults are warming up to the idea of receiving the vaccine many of them still have questions. Healthcare professionals understand everyone has a different comfort level, yet there is a unison voice that is loud and clear coming from the medical community encouraging seniors to get the vaccination immediately. Here are the top 7 reasons to roll up your sleeve: All Covid-19 vaccines currently available in the U.S. have proven to be highly effective at preventing Covid-19. Clinical trials are showing that if you get the vaccine and yet still fall into that very low percentage who contract Covid-19, it may also prevent you from becoming seriously ill. Getting the vaccine not only protects you but protects others around you. Preventing Covid-19 means avoiding a potential life-threatening experience and long-term complications. Currently no one knows how the virus will affect them. Receiving the vaccine will NOT cause you to get the virus. Temporary side effects of the vaccine, like injection site pain, fatigue, headache, muscle pain, chills, joint pain and fever, affect 10-15% of those who have received the vaccine. However, the Centers for Disease Control found that those over 65 experienced fewer side effects. Note: If you have a history of severe allergic reactions to other vaccines, the agency advises to ask your doctor if you should get a COVID-19 vaccine. Perhaps the biggest reason to receive the Covid-19 vaccine is to be able to hug those we love Medical experts estimate it will take 70%-90% of us getting [...]

By |2021-02-17T13:12:22-06:00February 17th, 2021|Categories: Avalon Memory Care, Senior Health|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

Top 10 Things to Consider Before you Purchase Long-Term Care Insurance

Should I get long-term care insurance? Pros and cons of a common option to pay for senior living Long-term Care Insurance covers the costs of prolonged health care services for chronic illnesses, disabilities or conditions that leave a person requiring daily assistance. It can fill gaps in coverage from employer-based health plans or private health insurance policies, and it covers ongoing long-term care while Medicare does not. Where can I use it? Most LTC insurance policies cover care in a wide range of settings, including the policyholder’s home, adult day care centers, assisted living, memory care and nursing homes. Many policies also help cover the costs of modifying a home to make it more accessible. Do I need it? While it can be a financial lifeline for some policyholders, long-term care insurance can be a significant expense - especially purchased later in life -- and isn’t the best option for every case. Here are some things to take into consideration: What are the upsides? Senior care can be expensive and can burn through a person’s savings very quickly. Having a policy that covers some or all of these costs can help a senior keep a nest egg intact and stay financially independent. Having insurance may also give a senior more options for long-term care, including choices that Medicaid does not cover. A long-term care policy can’t be canceled because of the policyholder’s age, physical condition or mental health. Once started, policy will continue until the holder stops paying premiums or exhausts the benefits.   What are the downsides? Long-term care insurance premiums can be a big added expense, especially if budgets are tight. Some insurers have hiked premiums by double digits in the past -- [...]

By |2020-04-09T09:18:20-05:00April 9th, 2020|Categories: Avalon Memory Care, Senior Health, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Heart Smarts: Tips to Keep Your Heart (And Brain) Happy and Healthy

In literature and popular culture, we often talk about our hearts and our heads: the two being often diametrically opposed to one another. Use your brain! one may say. Follow your heart! says another. It would make sense to think that these two organs would be completely separate when it comes to health, too. However, the connection between the brain and the heart is much closer than you might expect...in fact, you might say that you can’t affect one without affecting the other. It turns out that our hearts and our brains are the yin and the yang that keep our body moving. Our heart pumps oxygenated blood throughout our body – which is what fuels our brain – which sends signals to the heart to keep pumping, and so on, and so forth. When your cardiovascular system is working at peak performance, your brain is more likely to be firing on all cylinders. However, when blood vessels become damaged, this can lead to a slew of health complications like heart disease, stroke...and even cognitive issues like memory loss and dementia. Since February is American Heart Month, we at Avalon wanted to put together some tips on how to practice heart-healthy – and brain-healthy – habits that will help people of all ages keep their systems in tip-top shape. By working to keep your heart healthy, you will also lower your risk of cognitive diseases like Alzheimer’s, lessen your risk of a stroke or arterial disease and increase your well-being in innumerable ways. Preventing Dementia Through Heart-Healthy Habits Yes, we know – there are no hard-and-fast ways to prevent dementia. In fact, you may have heard it said that dementia isn’t really preventable at all. That’s both true and [...]

By |2020-02-24T17:59:37-06:00February 24th, 2020|Categories: Senior Health|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.