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Daily Life With Dementia

While life with dementia is hard for patients, its toll on caregivers can be just as significant, especially for those faced with never-ending care while trying to earn a living, maintain their own health needs and have a life outside of caregiving. In this video, we hear from Gloria and her aging mother, Geraldine, who has vascular dementia. Gloria is her mother's primary caregiver. At the time the video was recorded Geraldine was relatively high functioning, but Gloria knows that her mother's health will continue to decline and her needs will grow as her dementia progresses.  At some point, families like Geraldine's will have difficult decisions to make, including whether to provide continuing care at home or move a loved one to a dementia care location. Emotional and financial support from the rest of the family plus some outside assistance help Gloria manage her mother's care. As she states, providing continuous care is all-consuming, and she feels that her life is not her own. This situation puts Gloria at high risk for caregiver burnout, a serious condition affecting many caregivers.  Symptoms of burnout include social withdrawal, depression, irritability, sleeplessness, inability to concentrate, and a host of other health problems. A report from the family caregiver alliance states that clinically significant symptoms of depression appear in 40-70% of caregivers, with many of them meeting the diagnostic criteria for major depression. Are you at risk for caregiver burnout? The American Psychological Association recommends a caregiver self-assessment called "How Are You?" developed by the American Medical Association. As hard as it may be to accept, caring for yourself is another way to care for your loved one.  Support groups can be a lifeline that can help you feel [...]

By |2021-10-19T13:19:12-05:00October 19th, 2021|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

How to Know When It’s Time for Memory Care

If you have a loved one with Alzheimer's disease or dementia, you know that their symptoms progress over a long time, making it hard to know what kind of care they need.  At some point, you may find yourself considering memory care for your senior.  You may be thinking, "I should be able to handle this." It is common for family members to experience guilt and grief when they realize they can't manage the increasing care needs of loved ones with dementia. As much as it hurts to consider moving a loved one from the surroundings they know, handling things yourself isn't easy, nor is it always the best choice for your loved one. Typically, memory care is an option for people suffering from mid to late-stage Alzheimer's disease or dementia when the condition creates more significant changes and challenges in a person's life.  The disease will eventually progress, and at some point, your loved one will need 24-hour supervision. If your senior lives alone, it can be harder to see the changes.  You may visit and discover that their appearance and environment have changed dramatically, or your loved one may have a medical emergency or a fall.  You might worry about your senior's safety or the safety of others. Many seniors express a desire to live at home for as long as possible, but it's wise to have a plan in place before a move is necessary.  Discussing possible changes before the more significant challenges occur allows your senior to participate in the decision and feel better about the future. If your loved one lives in a retirement community, professionals who see them frequently can make a note of changes and let you know [...]

By |2021-10-05T14:36:53-05:00October 5th, 2021|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

Planning for a Natural Disaster When Your Loved One Has Alzheimer’s

Natural disasters, such as tornadoes, hurricanes, heat waves, fires and blizzards can be scary, but they can seem even scarier to someone with Alzheimer’s. It’s very important to have a disaster preparedness plan for these kinds of emergencies so that your loved one feels secure, and if your loved one is in a memory care community, then you need to know the specific facility’s plan.   Disaster Preparedness Plan If your loved one is in memory care, then knowing their disaster plan is a must. Contact the community to find out who coordinates disaster evacuations, and make sure they have copies of the patient’s medical history and any medications they might need, should something happen. If the Alzheimer's resident has other special devices such as a walker, wheelchair, or an oxygen tank, then make sure the person in charge knows that. Also, find out where your loved one will be moved should a disaster occur, and how the community would communicate with you and others in your family. If your loved one is not at a memory care community, then you will be in charge of their evacuation plan. Know that during a natural disaster your loved one might have an increased risk for wandering or becoming agitated. If you are evacuating to a specific location, then make sure that people around you know about their diagnosis so they can better assist you. Also, do whatever you can to stay together. This will help make sure your loved one won’t get lost and become even more confused. Most importantly- stay calm. If you are calm, it will help your loved one remain calm, too.   Emergency Supplies Your Loved One Might Need This extensive list [...]

By |2021-09-21T11:15:48-05:00September 21st, 2021|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

Memory Care vs. Skilled Nursing

Memory Care vs. Skilled Nursing Facilities: What's the difference? Advice for families in search of the right care for their loved ones Finding long-term care for a loved one can be overwhelming. You want them to be safe, happy, and well cared for, but what kind of care community do they need? Skilled nursing and memory care facilities do cover similar care needs. Still, the focus and scope of care are different, so it's essential to know the difference between each community.   Let's start with similarities Skilled Nursing Facilities (also known as SNF) and memory care communities provide 24-hour caregiving with meals, housekeeping, social activities, and help with daily tasks. They both typically coordinate care with physical rehabilitation and sometimes have in-house therapists who come to the patient's room.   The differences: Skilled Nursing  If a patient does not require hospitalization but cannot care for themself, a physician may order a stay in a skilled nursing facility where they can receive additional therapies. Due to health complications, patients may be confined to a bed or a wheelchair or have medical issues requiring a healthcare professional instead of an aide. Skilled nursing patients may be in residence on a long or short-term stay, depending on their condition. Many eventually move to a nursing home because they need less medical attention or return home for the duration of their recovery. Medicare provides good short-term coverage for patients in skilled nursing who have transitioned from a hospital stay, but not for those admitted otherwise or those who choose to stay when their coverage ends.   The differences: Memory Care Memory care programs are designed specifically for those with Alzheimer's disease or other forms of dementia. They have [...]

By |2021-09-02T08:57:34-05:00September 2nd, 2021|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

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

Beginning in September 2021, Avalon will be initiating boosters for the COVID-19 vaccine for all staff and residents.
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