Uncategorized

The Challenges of 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. A recent 2021 survey reported most are in their 40s, at the heart of Generation X. An additional study found that the average caregiver is a 49-year-old woman. 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 30s and 40s 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 2022 study of yearly, monthly, daily, and hourly caregiving costs provided average expenses per state and type of care. Depending on the need, from in-home care to community and assisted living to nursing home residences, the numbers were steep—some exceeding six figures annually. Even before formal care options, these overwhelmed caregivers are spending an average of $10,000+ per year providing for both their children and parents. Even with many Generation X being employed, they’ve taken a reduction in savings and some have increased their debt. 55% of Gen Xers can count on retiring with enough money, a significantly lower percentage versus their younger, more universally recognized rival, the Millennials, at 67%. 43% of Gen Xers say [...]

By |2022-07-29T18:03:06-05:00July 29th, 2022|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

How to keep your loved one safe with hydration

Seniors are more susceptible to dehydration due to a number of factors. Per an article by NPR, we naturally lose water as we age. At birth, our bodies are made up of about 75% water, but by the time we’re elders, our body makeup decreases to about 50% water. Along with this fact, you may notice that your loved one doesn’t always feel as thirsty, therefore inadvertently not drinking enough fluids during the day. The National Library of Medicine says, “Elderly individuals are prone to dehydration as a result of blunted thirst sensation.” Other factors, like blood pressure and heart medications and fears of falling when going to the restroom in the middle of the night, contribute to a lack of sufficient hydration for seniors. The UCLA School of Nursing recently conducted a study reporting that “up to 40 percent of community-dwelling elderly people may be chronically underhydrated, which can lead to more severe dehydration and ultimately life-threatening infections and other health problems.” It’s important for the aging population to stay hydrated, so here are some commonsense tips that’ll help your loved one drink more water throughout summer and into fall.   Keep a full water bottle within your senior’s reach. You may want to invest in a reusable water bottle with reminder markers that state the hours in the day or inspire your loved one with fun quotes. If replenishing them each day is a struggle, set aside a week’s worth in your senior’s fridge and label individual water bottles with the day of the week. Ask their care team to help you make this happen. According to the National Council of Aging, older adults are at a higher risk for dehydration due to [...]

By |2022-07-12T12:23:40-05:00July 12th, 2022|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

Caregiver’s Guide to Dementia

June is Alzheimer’s and Brain 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 One in 10 people aged 65 and older have Alzheimer’s Disease. So, If you’re the primary caregiver of someone with memory loss, you’re not alone. According to the Alzheimer's Association Facts and Figures Report, by 2050, the number of people age 65 and older with Alzheimer's dementia is projected to reach 12.7 million. 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 The amount of potential caregivers per person with Dementia is on the decline. According to the CDC, there are currently 7 potential family caregivers per adult. By 2030, there will be only 4 potential family caregivers per adult. If you take on the care work as a family member or friend of someone with Dementia, it’s important to know the day-to-day care work involved with your loved one’s activities. The CDC cites many positive impacts of caregiving, such as a sense of fulfillment, feeling needed and useful, and learning about yourself, others, and the meaning of life. However, caregiving for someone [...]

By |2022-06-21T13:44:51-05:00June 21st, 2022|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

The Magic of Music Therapy

Music has a remarkable effect on those with dementia, and here at Avalon Memory Care, we love incorporating music into our activity programming. “It is clear that music does something magical that words cannot do at certain points in the dementia brain,” says Holly Bagwell, Outreach Coordinator. “We have visiting music therapists join us for interactive sing-along time, invite residents to join in the music-making with percussion instruments, and put up a permanent activity at our Quarterway location we call the "Can you name them?” board.” The board has names like Sammy, Frank, Elvis, Patsy, and Dolly, and residents are challenged to see if they can remember the artist’s names and music. The best part of the activity is when the staff pulls up a popular song from those artists. “Suddenly our residents remember their favorite songs and sing along!” According to the National Institute on Aging studies, activities that can be both calming and stimulating, like music therapy, reduce reliance on medication and dementia behaviors like wandering, aggression, and restlessness. How does this magic work? Here are 5 reasons why music is such a reliable therapy for people with dementia: 1) Music exercises strengthen people's remaining aptitudes. Music appreciation and aptitude remain active in the brain longer than other capabilities. According to the Mayo clinic’s Johnathan Graff-Radford, M.D., “Musical memories are often preserved in Alzheimer's disease because key brain areas linked to musical memory are relatively undamaged by the disease.” The brain stores musical learning as a procedural memory like many other routines and repeated actions. Dementia primarily affects episodic memory, or our memory of non-routine events, leaving much of the procedural memory intact. 2) Music awakens positive memories and emotions. Who hasn’t heard [...]

By |2022-06-14T09:26:28-05:00June 14th, 2022|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

The Surprising Reality of What It Means To Be a Senior Living With Food Insecurity

By Jeff Kauffman, Community Liaison As a community liaison here at Avalon Memory Care, I visit our community members regularly, but one visit, in particular, stands out among so many. As I entered the Allencrest Lane community, the smell of delicious food transported me back to childhood. Like a kid coming home from school to a special treat, I made a beeline for the kitchen to find the chefs making lunch and baking cookies for dessert. There was baked chicken, vegetables, and—one of my grandmother’s specialties—mashed potatoes with the skins for lunch. It looked so good I asked if I could join the residents for a meal. "When will the cookies be done?" I asked. Nurse Olivia laughed and said, “Save room for dessert!” I met Gary and Linda in the dining room, visiting Louise (Gary's mother). "My dad died about five years ago," Gary told me, “so Mom lived alone for a while. We thought everything was fine, but my dad hid my mom's dementia from us.” Gary’s mom was home alone most of the time, and with no one to cook for, she stopped cooking altogether. Because she stopped eating well-balanced meals, her dementia worsened, and some days she forgot to eat. "She was wasting away, and you can see mom is not a very big person," Gary said. “Her skin was pale,” Linda interjects. “And she was tired all the time. Her health took a rapid downturn.” “The turning point for us,” said Gary, "is when we visited her, and the gas burner was on…for how long, we don't know. There was very little in her fridge, plus her milk was expired, and she typically drinks milk every day. I was like, 'Mom, when's [...]

By |2022-05-24T09:51:29-05:00May 24th, 2022|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

Amazing Animals: How Pet Therapy Can Help People With Dementia

After two decades of research, we know the facts: Pet therapy benefits those living with dementia in more ways than one. Many smaller studies and one large-scale study in 2019 have proven that pet therapy has significant benefits for patients with dementia. How can pet therapy help? Increased Interaction. Animal companionship gives us joy and comfort, but it also encourages withdrawn dementia patients to interact with their environment. Perhaps it’s because animals communicate non-verbally and offer affection without demands. Who can resist a furry friend who wants to play or needs a pat? Therapy dogs know that putting their heads on someone's knee will lead to lots of attention and petting. Calmer Days. If you have a pet, you know that (usually) they’re a source of calm. A 2019 study showed that pet therapy triggers a patient’s automatic relaxation response, which reduces rates of anxiety and agitation. Patients in the study had lower stress hormones and lower blood pressure during their pet therapy sessions. Increased overall memory recall. Some patients in the 2019 study had improved short-term memory. Some recalled having pets in the past, a form of nostalgia therapy. Fewer Behavior Issues. In 2002, researchers found a significant decrease in behavioral issues like agitation and aggression after adding a full-time resident dog to a memory care center. A 2019 study found the same result and a reduction of sundowner's behavior (agitation and distress that occurs near nightfall) when people were offered pet therapy. Better Nutrition and Weight. Even fish aquariums benefit people in memory care communities. In 2002 Purdue University researchers found an increase in nutritional intake and an average 1.65-pound weight gain among the patients who enjoyed fish aquariums in the dining area. [...]

By |2022-05-03T11:42:35-05:00May 3rd, 2022|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

What Should Memory Care Look Like?

Having a loved one in the mid-to-late stages of dementia is overwhelming. And when families look for memory care they can trust, they often don't know where to start. What should quality memory care look like? How do you know if a community will suit your loved one? Let us help you sort through the confusion around memory care. As time passes, Alzheimer's disease erodes a person's memories and robs them of their self-identity. But regardless of their health condition, your family member deserves as much respect and compassion as anyone else. The following core elements of high-quality Alzheimer’s support can serve as an assessment tool for families looking for an assisted living home for their loved ones. Strengthening your family relationship is a high-priority and a community should work with you and your loved one to make that happen. A well-designed community must support the health and well-being of your loved one, and the programs offered must be customized to your loved one’s individual needs. What else should you look for when you find a community that meets those essential needs? You should see these crucial features in a high-quality community: A Soothing Environment Large, institutional buildings are not appropriate settings for individuals with Alzheimer's. The harsh glare of overly bright lights, a maze of hallways, and décor befitting a hospital confuse and overwhelm them. A specialized memory care location that mimics a traditional home is better for your loved one. A soothing, secure environment designed by memory care design experts allows residents to live out their days with the dignity they deserve, in a cozy and comforting space. At Avalon Memory we pride ourselves in our home-like environment. And don’t let our homey and warm community fool [...]

By |2022-04-19T10:26:13-05:00April 19th, 2022|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

The Carrollton Buildings

Welcome to Avalon Memory Care in Carrollton, located near the Prestonwood Baptist Church in Willow Bend's West Plano/Carrollton neighborhood. Carrollton ranks as one of the best places to live in Texas, and the Willow Bend area is a close-knit community where residents enjoy a high quality of life, abundant parks, good schools, and safe neighborhoods. It’s a place with a small-town, neighborly feel. As part of this vibrant community, Avalon brings the Carrollton Buildings, two award-winning communities that provide the highest quality care for families in need of memory care. The two buildings, Carrollton One and Carrollton Two are our "classic" Avalon design, which features an open concept multipurpose living and kitchen area to offer residents a more stimulating environment. The beauty of these two buildings is that their inviting and homey environments promote independence for each resident. The Carrollton buildings are anything but institutional. They're tastefully decorated but still warm and welcoming with several notable features: • Beautiful hardwood floors • Gathering areas with oversized, comfortable, individual chairs and several televisions for residents to enjoy together • Updated oversized, fully accessible showers with room for assistance • Accessible design in every area for varying levels of mobility • Comfortable dining rooms with smaller tables and a soothing atmosphere • Manicured lawns and bright, landscaped grounds with blooming flora • Beautiful artwork • Cozy kitchens for gathering and community events • Spacious private or semi-private bedrooms • Secured grounds and walking paths, covered decks, and garden areas • Warm, sunshine-filled sitting areas Carrollton Two focuses on the more independent, active, or social residents of the two buildings, while Carrollton One caters to residents with more care needs. Care Ratios can change according to individual needs, [...]

By |2022-04-07T12:27:34-05:00April 6th, 2022|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

Is a clinical trial right for you or your loved one?

Clinical trials and clinical studies use human volunteers to learn more about the cause, treatment, and prevention of diseases. There can be no cure for Alzheimer's and dementia without clinical trials. But is participating in a clinical right for you or your loved one? The answer depends on the kind of trial and what you hope to gain by participating. What are the types of clinical trials? There are two types of Alzheimer's treatment trials: Treatment aimed at reducing Alzheimer's and dementia symptoms and treatment aimed at stopping disease. The first kind one involves new drugs and variations of current medications symptoms. For example, a trial might test a new dosage of a current drug, a new timing of administration, or its effectiveness when combined 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. But volunteers don’t need to enroll in drug trials to participate in the search for a cure for Alzheimer's. Clinical studies are the same as clinical trials, but they cover more than drug treatment. Studies can test preventative measures, cognitive stimulation, exercise, diet, and supplementation. Besides clinical research, there are also diagnostic studies, prevention trials, quality of life studies, and other online studies. Why would my loved one or I want to participate in a clinical trial? One of the main reasons people volunteer for clinical trials is to access treatments unavailable to the public or an experimental approach using existing treatments. Such trials don’t guarantee a different outcome, but for many patients, playing an active role in their treatment gives them a sense of greater control. Most studies offer excellent healthcare at well-known centers, so [...]

By |2022-03-22T09:37:23-05:00March 22nd, 2022|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

Over-the-counter Allergy Treatments can Harm Seniors.

Spring is a glorious season filled with lovely weather and blooming foliage. But with all that greenery comes pollen and the inevitable allergies. An estimated 40% of the population suffers from seasonal allergic rhinitis (hay fever) every year. Allergies can occur at any stage of life, but for the elderly, seasonal allergies can pose unique challenges. As the immune system ages, seniors are more prone to inflammation and infections of all kinds, including allergies. In addition, seniors are more likely to be taking multiple medications, which can interact with over-the-counter medications. Need to help a senior navigate the allergy season safely? Follow these tips: Note and track all allergy symptoms. Common symptoms include sneezing, coughing, congestion, runny nose, wheezing, itchy and watery eyes, and itchy skin. Are these symptoms consistent with high pollen counts? Do they occur when you've spent an extended amount of time outside or when the windows are open? Note any changes to report when you and your loved one see the doctor. Bring it up at the next appointment. Often seniors have multiple health conditions, so a physician may spend appointment time addressing more significant issues. But managing allergies is essential, especially for seniors with cardiovascular problems or lung disease. Seniors with dementia may not communicate their discomfort to the physician, so be on the lookout for signs of allergy discomfort and alert the doctor if necessary. Avoid first-generation antihistamines. According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (AAAAI), seniors should avoid taking first-generation antihistamines. Popular first-generation antihistamines are diphenhydramine (Benadryl) and chlorpheniramine (Chlor-Trimeton). They're not only in allergy medications but also popular sleep medications like Tylenol PM and Nyquil. The side effects—possible anxiety, confusion, drowsiness, urine retention, dry [...]

By |2022-03-08T10:49:11-06:00March 8th, 2022|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments