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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

Challenges Surrounding the Sandwich Generation

Being a part of the “Sandwich Generation” can be extremely challenging. These are family members who are “sandwiched” between their elderly parents and their young adult children. Typically, it accounts for people in their 40s or 50s. In recent years, the traditional “Sandwich Generation” has expanded the “menu.” Now, there’s the “Club Sandwich Generation” which are older adults in their 50s and 60s who are wedged between their older parents, their adult children who are in their 30’s and 40’s and then their grandchildren. There’s also the “Open Faced Sandwich Generation” which is anyone who is non-professionally involved in elderly care, which is estimated to be 25% of us at some point in life. All three of these terms encompass hard challenges. Statistics show that the financial burdens that come along with being a part of these generations are rising. A survey (conducted in 2012) found that 48% of adults between 40 and 59 have provided some type of financial support to at least one grown child in the past year. In comparison, 21% have provided financial support to a parent age 65 or older in the past year. The crossover between the two can cause troubling financial issues. Besides the financial issues, the stress of being a part of the Sandwich Generation can lead to burnout, depression, isolation and guilt. Those who are a part of the Sandwich Generation might struggle with balancing other relationships, their families, their job and time for themselves. The survey also found that among all adults with at least one parent age 65 or older, 30% say their parent or parents need assistance handling their affairs or care for themselves. This can be a huge task when also caring [...]

By |2021-06-23T16:28:13-05:00June 23rd, 2021|Categories: Avalon Memory Care, Uncategorized|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

What to Look For in a Quality Alzheimer’s Community or Group Home for Your Loved One

Alzheimer’s disease is a difficult diagnosis - for both the patient and their family members. When symptoms like memory loss and the declining ability to do simple tasks worsen, patients and family members may feel defeated. This is why quality care is so important to consider early in the journey. Certainly, good Alzheimer’s support is vital to a patient’s quality of life while they are still in their home. It is possibly even more important if and when the family is seeking care outside of the home.  When selecting a community for an Alzheimer’s patient, the following attributes and amenities are important considerations:   Social Engagement and Activities Daily socializing and stimulation are an essential component of Alzheimer’s care.  Just like the majority of people prior to their diagnosis, having hobbies and maintaining relationships helps Alzheimer’s patients feel happier and less anxious. Daily activities such as puzzles, games, and mental/physical exercises for seniors can boost patients’ confidence and create structure which ultimately keeps them from feeling isolated.   Family Support Family members need to be the main source of guidance when it comes to the patient’s care journey.  When family members truly want what is in the best interest of their loved one, they will be heavily involved in creating a plan for the patient, and deciding what is most beneficial, enjoyable and attainable for their loved one. Family members are highly encouraged to come and visit as often as they would like. Maintaining close family connections is vital for both patients and family members, so an open-door policy is important.   Consistent Staffing Familiar staff members and caregivers create structure for already confused and often disoriented residents.  Consistent staffing helps develop close relationships between [...]

By |2021-05-10T08:21:25-05:00May 10th, 2021|Categories: Alzheimer's, Avalon Memory Care, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Why You Don’t Want to Miss Out on a Lewisville Journey

By Taryn Crouch, Community Liaison at Avalon Memory Care I am so excited to share what’s going on in Lewisville, Texas. Not far from the water tower is Avalon Memory Care’s brand-new community, and it’s stunning! The architects and designers – both interior and memory care experts - seem to have thought of it all, and Avalon has placed one of my favorite people at the helm.  Sue Boyd has been in senior care for 33 years, 16 of them with Avalon.  I stopped in recently to get the full tour from Sue whose vivacious personality is already welcoming new residents at the front door. As she lets me through the secure double doors, and takes me to the center of the community, the open concept kitchen grabs my attention. The upgraded finishes make it feel luxurious yet most importantly it feels like home.  There’s a walk-up bar with multiple juice dispensers, snacks available 24/7…and did someone just put chocolate chip cookies in the oven?  It smells like my childhood!  The good smells are intentional at all of our Avalon Memory Care communities. We know that creating aromatic food stimulates the appetites of residents who may not feel much like eating otherwise. In the living room commons area is a large flatscreen television that sits just above an elegant electric fireplace – it looks like it’s 8 feet long!  This bright, comfy room is full of electronic recliners for group gatherings in this 27- person residence. Sue says a lot of fun takes place in here! As Sue walks me toward the bedrooms, I notice 3 things: the incredible artwork on the walls, the long hall with a secure beginning and end (so residents don’t [...]

By |2021-05-07T08:41:46-05:00May 7th, 2021|Categories: Avalon Memory Care, Uncategorized|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

Coronavirus Vaccine Brings High Hope to Avalon

It is a busy 2021, so far, with Avalon’s accelerated efforts to not only be one of the first senior living companies in *Texas to secure access to the coronavirus vaccine but one of the first to actually get the vaccine to their residents. Our new and established residents along with our staff of caregivers are now rolling up their sleeves to receive the Covid-19 inoculation. Avalon has a partnership with CVS Drug Stores which is supplying and administering the Pfizer vaccine that comes in two doses a few weeks apart. Medical personnel are coming to the community to provide the inoculation. Avalon’s first round of shots started December 29, 2020 and so far, according to Community Liaison, Holly Bagwell, everyone has tolerated it well. The second round of the vaccine will be given at the end of January or early February. Holly says, “Many families have expressed great enthusiasm for the rollout of the vaccine at Avalon.” For any family that has been considering a move for a loved one into Avalon, now is the time! Those who sign an agreement to secure their space at Avalon now and before the second dose of the vaccine on February 1st, will be included in this early senior living vaccine round. Reach out today to Holly Bagwell who will immediately get the process rolling. After both phases of the vaccine have been administered, at the recommendation of Health and Human Services, Avalon will continue the CDC’s Infectious Disease Protocol for preventative measures anyway. Typical screenings upon entry will stay in place and family visitations will still be allowed under these conditions: * outdoor visits (weather permitting) * visits with a designated family member who agrees to [...]

By |2021-01-27T12:29:15-06:00January 27th, 2021|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

Dementia News Summary of 2020

COVID-19 overshadowed much of the news around dementia related discoveries and advances in 2020. However, some important research and development did occur including important advancements in the early detection, control, and even in the treatment of dementia. Below is a brief summary of the pages (and pages and pages) of dementia news for 2020. Research News Medications Aducanumab While there are no medications to prevent or cure dementia yet, several new drugs are showing some promise results, including one called Aducanumab. It is now under FDA review (after some initial doubt re: its efficacy). The makers of Aducanumab provided additional evidence in 2020 that the drug can delay the onset of dementia by reducing aggregated amyloid beta – a protein that normally plays an essential role in memory loss later in life. If approved, Aducanumab will be the first therapy shown to slow dementia-related cognitive decline. Besides ongoing doubts about its efficacy, the therapy is also very pricey (about $50,000 per year per patient, not including imaging and other medical costs to monitor its effects) and its impact to Medicare funding. Early detection initiatives The PET scan is the gold-standard for detecting tau tangles, which are a pre-symptomatic predictor for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.  The tau proteins – are typically found in brain cells– is associated with multiple brain diseases. Researchers are developing faster, less expensive, and more widely-available alternative methods to detecting tau using blood or cerebrospinal fluid sampling and analysis. The newer methods can result in earlier disease detection which is important for patient care and treatment decision. Via blood and plasma-based biomarkers Several new blood-based biomarkers are in various stages of testing. These blood-based biomarkers are more accurate than previous technologies for early [...]

By |2021-01-06T09:56:48-06:00January 6th, 2021|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

National Hand Washing Awareness Month

December - National Handwashing Awareness Month Nine months ago, many of us suddenly started standing over the sink with our hands full of suds singing a couple of rounds of the song Happy Birthday as we scrubbed.  National Handwashing Week has never found such notoriety! Little did most of us know that it takes place each year during the first full week of December. With record numbers of new Coronavirus cases and deaths spiking across the U.S., it’s more important than ever to recognize the critical role hand washing and learning to keep your hands away from your face play in preventing the spread of COVID-19 and other communicable diseases. Let’s take a quick quiz to see what you already know (many months into a pandemic!) about hand washing hygiene. Handwashing Pop Quiz Which of the following (according to the CDC and the latest research) is the most effective way to prevent the spread of Coronavirus and other communicable diseases? Observing social distancing (at least six feet, no touching, cover coughs and sneezes). Washing your hands with soap and water frequently and correctly, following CDC guidelines. Using hand sanitizer frequently and correctly, following CDC guidelines. Answer: 2 Approximately ____ % of communicable diseases are believed to be transmitted by human hands? 25% 50% 80% 95% Answer: 3 The U.S. is currently experiencing which of the following that can be mitigated by regular hand washing? A novel influenza virus pandemic. A national measles outbreak. A novel coronavirus pandemic. All of the above. Answer: 3 Scrub is one of the 5 steps in proper hand washing. To be most effect you should scrub your hands for at least ___ seconds. 10 20 30 40 Answer: 2 The [...]

By |2020-12-15T14:22:38-06:00December 15th, 2020|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

The Holidays, The Virus, and Dementia

For the 2020 holidays, the CDC says it’s best to stay home and celebrate on your own or with the people you already live with. Hospital beds are more full now than they were in March and there aren’t enough nurses and technicians to operate the ventilators we have, so to avoid a third wave, we should all comply, especially if we have or live with someone who is at risk for developing complications from the virus. We have to be careful to avoid the third surge overwhelming our hospital system. So . . . What do we do instead? For Everybody This year, ideally, we celebrate in person only with people we already live with day-to-day. If you want to prepare a traditional meal, go ahead! But consider maybe just a turkey breast, or switch to baked chicken or start a new tradition for your family! Consider hosting or attending a virtual dinner. Watch your favorite sports (college basketball starts Thanksgiving week!). Watch the Macy’s parade on Thanksgiving, and Disney Christmas parade (both of which have changed formats and made other changes to keep people safe during COVID). Watch your favorite Thanksgiving and Christmas movies from home. Instead of braving the unprotected crowds of Black Friday in person, shop Black Friday online to avoid the crowds and COVID exposure. See the sidebar for more ideas. For households or other groups with family members with dementia . . . It’s a curious year. Many of the aspects of celebrating the holidays that normally make people with dementia uncomfortable (large gatherings, conversations with strangers, being left alone in a crowd) are missing! Some advice still applies this year, though: Talk to family and friends (whether they’ll [...]

By |2020-12-04T20:56:17-06:00November 25th, 2020|Categories: Uncategorized|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.