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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 includes most [...]

By |2022-09-27T16:53:59-05:00September 27th, 2022|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

World Alzheimer’s Month

September is World Alzheimer’s Month and a good time to learn more about what this disease is and how to raise awareness. While having a loved one with dementia gives family a behind-the-scenes look at the effects of Alzheimer’s, others are still not as knowledgeable about the difficulties of living with and caring for someone with severe memory loss. World Alzheimer’s Month is an important occasion to share educational information and show our love to all of those affected.   What is Alzheimer’s? You may find yourself being asked this question or something similar. Alzheimer’s isn’t just normal memory loss that comes with age. It’s the most common type of dementia, a degenerative brain disease that affects thinking functions such as reasoning, understanding, memories, and basic life skills. Currently, there isn’t a cure for Alzheimer’s or any other form of dementia, and treatment usually assists the individual through daily activities versus working to improve the outcome. We hope that, one day, that through discovered prevention methods and a viable cure, dementia will be extinct. We hope the future is free of this debilitating and distressing disease.   What are Some Symptoms of Alzheimer’s? If Alzheimer’s is a concern for your or your family right now, we recommend you do research, but also talk to a doctor or healthcare professional. Our Avalon staff is additionally on-hand to answer questions or guide you to the proper resources. While Alzheimer’s can start subtly, then quickly progress, here are some symptoms to consider. Many symptoms are identical to other illnesses, like depression, anxiety, or autoimmune conditions. However, this is a place to start on your family’s health journey: Loss of interest in social connection or activities Mood swings that [...]

By |2022-09-21T08:37:14-05:00September 21st, 2022|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

Avalon Culture & Atmosphere

People with Alzheimer’s disease regularly experience disorientation, confusion and anxiety. Creating a positive space at home or at a community 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 [...]

By |2022-08-23T13:13:04-05:00August 23rd, 2022|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

Our Dallas Residential Care Homes

While home is what you make it, we know your loved one has built their home over many years and even more memories. It’s not easy to say goodbye to familiar rooms, cherished keepsakes, and the places where our stories began. We realize the emotional nature of moving into a new home in the later years of life, especially when it comes with the added challenge of Alzheimer’s or early onset dementia. Our number one priority is to welcome your parent or relative into a safe, comfortable, and loving environment. That’s why our Dallas locations are designed to feel like single family homes. The moment you arrive to one of our residences, you’re greeted by a spacious, one-story ranch house, constructed with beautiful brick or stone and framed with lush landscaping and outdoor gathering places.   What is it Like Living at Avalon Memory Care? We have eight Dallas locations, giving you many options for your loved one to live near the places in which they’ve nurtured strong connections throughout their life. The small, family-like atmosphere eases our residents into a routine that feels similar to what they’ve been accustomed to for many years. Private bedroom suites with roomy baths are always an option for your family member, so they can relax amongst special family photos and heirlooms, have a sense of security, and enjoy time to themselves. For residents who want to interact with others and form friendships, there are also common social spaces. Plush, reclining sofas, dining tables for friends to gather, and professionally decorated living areas add an organic, homey ambiance. Even the kitchen feels just like home, where everyone can meet around the island and share a homecooked meal. The gorgeous [...]

By |2022-08-10T10:38:56-05:00August 10th, 2022|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

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