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Planning Your Best Future After an Alzheimer’s Diagnosis

Alzheimer’s disease can be a tricky diagnosis. It takes ruling out many other possible problems like vascular issues, trauma or other medical causes in order to reach that conclusion.  Then, there are screenings to determine if the decline in memory and reasoning are issues of aging or are specifically caused by Alzheimer’s disease. Receiving an Alzheimer’s diagnosis comes with many challenging emotions and some difficult decisions.  It is time to pull together a team of people who care about the one diagnosed, to help plan for their future and the future of caregiving family members.  Seek assistance and advice from family members, doctors, long-term care specialists, and an attorney. No one should do this alone. An early diagnosis allows more time for planning.  Since Alzheimer’s progresses slowly, there will be time to make major decisions for the future around finances, legal matters and healthcare directives, however, working out those details sooner rather than later is best. Make arrangements early and get important documents drafted while you are still of sound mind. Documents you will need are: Last will and testament Advance directive or living will Healthcare proxy designation Living trust Do not resuscitate order (DNR) It is possible to live at home with a family member in those early stages of the disease. However, it is never too early to consider arrangements so proper care can be delivered as the disease progresses. When mental and physical abilities have declined significantly, a memory care community is truly the best place to be. Alzheimer’s treatment and care specialists provide quality of life in a safe environment tailored to the unique needs of each resident. Make a list of the available memory care residencies in your area. Take [...]

By |2020-07-23T12:35:16-05:00July 23rd, 2020|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

5 Common Misconceptions about Memory Care

Moving your senior loved one into memory care is a big and often agonizing decision. Not just because it’s an emotionally charged situation – but also because there are many misconceptions floating around that shed a negative light on memory care communities. And this makes sense – think of some of the language that people use about these types of communities. “Nursing homes.” “Facilities.” All of these phrases have negative connotations because, in the past, memory care was institutionalized and something that families tried to avoid at all costs. Thankfully, science and research has enabled us to learn more about dementia and allowed us to move past those dark days in the past. However, society still has some catching up to do when it comes to breaking down the stereotypes of what memory care is and can be. At Avalon Memory Care, we’ve taken research-based practices and pioneered a unique model of care that’s designed to meet the individual, specific needs of individuals living with cognitive diseases like Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. Here are some of the myths and misconceptions we’ve encountered in our years of service, as well as the realities of what life is like at our communities.   Myth 1: Memory care communities are institutional-like settings. Say the word “facility,” and you conjure up an image of white walls, tile floors and steel bed frames – in other words, a cold, sterile place. However, that’s not what you’ll find at a memory care community. There has been a lot of research done over the past decade about the importance of the environment and how it affects quality of life for those living with dementia. It should come as no surprise that researchers and [...]

By |2020-07-15T13:48:36-05:00July 15th, 2020|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

Asking the Right Questions of a Memory Care Community

Asking the Right Questions of a Memory Care Community Alzheimer’s is a disease that slowly erodes a person’s memories and truly robs them of their self-identity. The rate of progression varies for everyone who suffers from the disease, even the pattern of progression can be different for each individual. It can also be difficult for the loved one caring for person with the memory disease. Sometimes the safest care for everyone involved is a Memory Care Community. When exploring Memory Care use a list of quality questions to best determine which community is right for your loved one and their care needs.  We have compiled a list of questions we believe will help you reach the right conclusion.   What type of training has the staff received? There are many wonderful caregivers, but certified dementia care providers are specially trained to care for and respond to the various behaviors of the residents with memory loss. For example, at Avalon, our staff is certified and trained to observe changes in cognitive, physical, emotional and social functioning so care can be adjusted to meet the resident’s needs.  Find out how the staff accommodates special care needs, such as diabetic care, mobility issues, physical aggressiveness or wandering. And, find out the ratio of staff to residents during the day and night.   What is the monthly rate for housing and care? What services does that rate include? There are the basics like housing, daily care, food, housekeeping, clothes and linen laundry service, activities, medication management, etc.  Find out what the community does beyond the basics like health promotion and exercise, mental health care and counseling, assistance with necessary medical and dental needs and continuous communication with family, physicians [...]

By |2020-07-06T09:56:38-05:00July 6th, 2020|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

Preventing Malnutrition in Seniors

Malnutrition for seniors is serious stuff. Food is everyone’s fuel for optimal physical and mental health. For the elderly, it is critical. Older adults who consume a poor or low nutrient diet are at a greater risk of causing major health concerns, like: * a weak immune system which can increase the risk of infection or illness * wounds that won’t heal * muscle weakness and decrease in bone mass (which can cause fractures and falls) * greater risk of a hospital admission * increased risk of death The cause of malnutrition may seem obvious – not enough food, or not enough nutrient rich foods.  The truth is, for seniors it’s much more complicated than that.  There are several factors at work here as we age. * Sense of taste and smell change with age.  When foods don’t taste as good the appetite declines.  It’s just not as enjoyable so a senior may not consume as much as they need. * Disease of any kind can cause a decline in appetite. Discomfort makes food less appealing. Disease can also change how the body processes nutrients. * Dental issues can make eating difficult. If someone has a hard time chewing or swallowing or even handling silverware can eating unappealing. * Dementia or related memory problems can cause people to simply forget to eat, and even forget to buy groceries. * Medications can affect appetite or the ability to absorb nutrients. * Medically restricted diets that limit seasonings that enhance taste like salt, fat or sugar might make eating less desirable. * Limited income may make it difficult to afford nutrient rich foods or any groceries, especially if expensive medications are necessary. * Without others to enjoy [...]

By |2020-06-02T14:46:14-05:00June 2nd, 2020|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

Protecting Our Seniors: COVID-19, Senior Living and You

We don’t need to tell you that Coronavirus – COVID-19 – is at the forefront of everyone’s minds these days. That’s definitely the case here at Avalon Memory Care. As a memory care provider, we’re responsible for the health and well-being of individuals who are the most vulnerable for catching the virus, with the most serious results. We want you and your loved ones to know; we are here for you. We understand (better than anyone) how important safety measures are at this point, and the health and safety of our residents, staff and family members are our top priority. However, we also understand the importance of the emotional and mental well-being and happiness of our residents. Obviously, being quarantined is both stressful and boring – and for many memory care residents, they may not remember or always understand why we’re doing what we’re doing. It can be scary, too, when staff members and care providers are wearing masks and other protective gear, particularly for seniors who are experiencing cognitive issues due to dementia or other forms of memory loss. So, our other challenge – besides protecting the health and safety of our residents – is to make sure that life in our communities remains fulfilling, enriching and enjoyable for those who call us home. And that’s where people like you come in. We’ve spoken before about the importance of emotional connection from friends and family members for our residents. Now, more than ever, we need your help to make sure the seniors in our care are receiving the support, love and care they need – not just physically, but emotionally and mentally as well. And although our long-term memory care communities are on lock-down in order to flatten the curve [...]

By |2020-04-17T09:19:01-05:00April 17th, 2020|Categories: Uncategorized|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