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Understanding Situational Dementia Behavior in Seniors


August 28, 2018 in: Memory Care (dementia/alzheimers), Senior Health,

Dementia comes with numerous challenges. It can be especially difficult if it's a loved one who becomes difficult to communicate with. It can be frustrating for you, the care taker and the ones suffering from it.

Nevertheless, it is important to know the different scenarios that can play out in daily care and how you should deal with those situations if your loved one is suffering from dementia. Your loved one with dementia isn’t acting out on purpose. The changes in their brain account for the changes in their behavior.

Here are some of the situations where you need to effectively respond:

1.  Where Am I? What Time is it?

You may face situations where your parent is anxious and will ask such questions of you. They'll say that they want to go home, ask why they are at the house, or they may even fail to recognize it altogether.

Just remember that the reason for this confusion and loss of memory is deteriorating cognitive ability. Your parent may want more control over the situation. By saying these statements they're attempting to take back that control.

One way you deal with this is to politely remind them with photos and videos of where they are. Maybe the pictures and videos will help them remember where they are.

Take them towards a comfort and safety zone. Don't go into long explanations. That might get the wrong responses from them, making the situation even worse. You do not want that to happen.

2. Repetition and Accusation

If your parent says someone stole their possessions, has problems doing basic math, keeps collecting things or repeats things after the conversation has moved on, this is another situation where you need to practice patience. Deteriorating brain cells may be the cause of these repetitive behaviors and baseless accusations.

Sometimes it's obvious and sometimes it's not. Stockpiling and accusations may be obvious signs. But having trouble with simple calculations without realizing it is not so obvious, especially for the senior.

You have to be very diplomatic about it. If they're having troubles with their taxes, you might mention slight overdrafts in their bill, and ask if the bank was making a mistake. If they voluntarily own up, encourage them by telling them that it’s alright, and oblige if they ask for your help. Questioning them out right would make matters way worse, so avoid that.

If you would like to know more, visit Montecito Santa Fe.

Brain-Friendly Foods to Keep Alzheimer’s and Dementia at Bay


August 06, 2018 in: Memory Care (dementia/alzheimers), Nutrition (hydration/food/etc), Senior Health,

You are what you eat. The food that you consume plays a vital role in your health. Meanwhile, the number of people suffering from diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia has increased. You have to wonder – am I next?

These diseases can affect anyone, and you should take every precaution. Did you know that you can do that with food? Yes, there are some foods that can actually reduce the chances of you getting dementia or Alzheimer’s.

Here are some brain-healthy foods that will help you stay healthy and happy:

1.Milk

Milk can help make your bones stronger. But did you know that it is also brain-friendly? Consuming milk regularly can help raise glutathione – an antioxidant that naturally occurs in older healthy people. This antioxidant is known to prevent oxidative stress, which is responsible for causing damage to the brain.

2.Cherries and Berries

These fruits are not only delicious, but also brain-friendly. They are rich in vitamin C and E. Eating cherries and berries protects your brain from damaging free radicals as they are rich in anthocyanin. These berries also have anti-inflammatory properties, which are vital for brain health.

3.Leafy Greens

Uncle Vernon from Harry Potter may call it, “rabbit food”, but they are a perfect food for your brain health. No matter what age you are, finishing your greens is good for your health. Spinach, collards, kale, broccoli, and other green leafy veggies are rich in vitamin A as well as vitamin C.

4.Nuts

Do you like snacking on potato chips? Well, how about you snack on something that is equally delicious and also brain-friendly? Nuts are filled with antioxidants, fiber, and healthy fats that not only keep your brain healthy but also your heart.

5.Beans

Beans should be a regular part of your diet. This miraculous food is a perfect package when it comes to keeping Alzheimer’s and dementia at bay. They are low in fats and calories and high in protein and fiber.

6.Fish

Fish is not only delicious, but also healthy. Consuming fish protects the function of your brain and keeps it healthy. And when your brain is healthy, you are at less risk of getting dementia or Alzheimer’s.

7.Olive Oil

Instead of cooking your food in regular oil, cook it in olive oil people who eat olive oil are less likely to face cognitive decline.

How many of your favorites made the list? Even if they didn’t, you should eat these brain-friendly foods as they will lower the risks of you getting these awful diseases. Stay healthy!

Facts about Dementia Treatment


May 25, 2018 in: Memory Care (dementia/alzheimers), Senior Health,

This had been going on for a week straight. My mother wasn’t just forgetting things she kept on the table but at times, she would ask me the same thing over and over again. At first I thought it was the stress talking because she was upset over my father’s health but deep down, I knew something sinister was lurking. I had my doubts, which were in fact proven true when I took my mother for a check-up. The doctor believed that these were the starting signs of dementia and things would progress slowly as she would age.

There are millions of stories like these, which family members of a loved one suffering from dementia have experienced. The moment when a doctor confirms that your loved one is going through this stage of life where they will lose their ability to think, speak or write, years of hardship flash in front of your eyes that are to come.

Dementia can be pretty overwhelming not just for the person who is living with it but for the family members too. Sadly, people figure it out too late that their loved one is suffering from this disease. The lack of understanding and awareness of this disease leads to barriers in diagnosis and care.

Following are some facts to help you understand what exactly the term “dementia” means:

The Term “Dementia” Is Not a Disease

Dementia is an umbrella term used to describe the symptoms experienced in diseases related to the brain such as personality change, confusion and memory loss. The most common type of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease. Others include:

  • Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome
  • Vascular dementia
  • Frontotemporal dementia
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Mixed dementia
  • Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease
  • Huntington's disease
  • Normal pressure hydrocephalus
  • Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB)

Dementia Is Not Just a Part of Aging

Many people believe that dementia is a part of aging. However, this syndrome is mostly of a progressive or chronic nature that is caused due to brain illnesses such as a stroke. In rare cases, it might be genetic too, which is most common in Huntington’s disease.

Dementia Is One of the Most Progressive Kinds of Disease

Dementia is categorized under those diseases that cannot be cured and 1 in every 3 seniors die from this syndrome. In fact, currently 44 million people suffer from some sort of dementia all over the world. Another alarming fact is that in every 65 seconds, a person in the US develops this disease. This is the reason, it is predicted that by 2050, people suffering with Alzheimer’s will rise to 88 million.

Dementia Has a Huge Economic Impact

According to World Health Organization, it is estimated that every year, around $818 billion US dollars are spent on this disease. With the rates on medical care rising every year, it is predicted that the money going into the awareness, treatment and care for this diseases will reach an astronomical figure. While the money might be pouring in to find a cure for dementia, its prevalence will be much faster.

Early Diagnosis Can Improve Quality of Life

The principal goals that can help slow down dementia are:

  • Early diagnosis
  • Optimising cognitive skills, well-being and physical health
  • Treating behavioural and psychological symptoms
  • Providing long-term care in a memory care facility

It’s possible for a patient suffering from dementia to live in the comfort of their home. As long as the dementia is spotted early and the right medication is provided to the patient, they can live a normal life.

Additionally, the Montecito, a Santa Fe, NM senior living community is adding a memory care unit for patients living with dementia. It will be available sometime in 2019. To learn more please call 505-428-7777

How to Keep Respect and Dignity for Someone Living with Dementia


May 18, 2018 in: Memory Care (dementia/alzheimers),

There are around 5.3 million people who currently suffer from Alzheimer’s disease. It is one of the most common forms of dementia that affects people mostly at the age of 65. One problem that many families face when they are taking care of their loved one who has dementia is that they have no idea what might trigger their outburst.

At times, their behavior might seem a little childish that changes the family members’ or the nurse’s perception on how they should treat them. However, as their sanity and other skills begin to slip away, a loved one should exercise self control on how they should treat them. You might become short tempered or answer in monosyllables, which to them, feels like disrespect. So, in order to treat them with respect and dignity, there are certain things that you must not do.

After all, they are not children! They might have lost their identity but it is up to you to treat them the same way you used to do before. Treating them as a normal person will not only make them acceptable but also prevent mood swings, which is the most common symptom of dementia.

Following are four ways you should follow when dealing with patients with dementia:

1.Include them in Conversations

Just because you think their cognitive skills might not be up to the level of conversation you are having does not mean that you cut them out of the conversation. When sitting in a room with them and talking with another person, ask them questions and seek their advice to make them feel valued. When having a one on one conversation with them use a softer tone and make eye contact when talking.

2.Don’t Take Away Their Identity

At the second stage of dementia, patients often find difficulty in communicating. While their communication skills become limited, they still have emotions and their sense of empathy is heightened. Using terms such as “sweetie” might seem condescending to them. So, address them with their name when you are talking with them.

3.Give Them Privacy

As dementia progresses, people find difficulty in performing ordinary tasks such as clothing, eating, bathing or toileting. They might even say no to assistance when going to the toilet, which can be very dangerous. So, instead of hovering over them when they are in the toilet, take protective measures to ensure their safety. Install handle bars in the room, as well as in the bathroom and install a walk-in handicapper tub that allows them to shower in privacy.

4.Give them Choices

Whether it’s something as simple as the clothes they want to wear or the food they want to eat, give them the option to make a choice. This gives them a sense of control that they still have power over their life and the decisions they make.

Patients living with dementia must not be coddled or babied due to the stage the life has brought them. It’s your compassion and patience that will help them to lead a normal life. Treat them with respect and dignity, so that they feel they are still part of the family.

Memory Care Defined


May 14, 2018 in: Memory Care (dementia/alzheimers),

“Safety and Comfort Offered in a Caring Environment”

This statement fully describes in a few words memory care. A senior who has reached a certain age and can no longer function properly is often shifted to an assisted living facility by his family members. One element that changes what kind of care an elderly must be given is dementia.

Here’s what memory care means:

“A special type of care provided in a structured environment to seniors who suffer from a type of dementia that renders them incapable of functioning in their daily life. The memory care facility in question has set routines and schedules that offer safety in a stress-free environment to ensure the senior’s health. Furthermore, the facility designs different programs for each senior to cultivate their cognitive skills”.

There are various types of dementia and up until now, there’s not a cure for any one of them. Enter memory care facility that aims at providing people with a free environment where they can live their lives in a normal manner.

What Makes Memory Care So Important?

Let’s say that a loved one of yours suffers from dementia. Your hectic schedule does not give you enough time to take care of them so, you hire a nurse. While the nurse might be able to cook food and administer medications, she is not equipped to handle the violent outburst that patients of dementia are prone to. Any object or word might trigger an outburst, which can make it difficult to handle the elder on her own.

Seniors dealing with dementia often require expert and attentive care, which cannot be provided in a house. There’s a possibility that you might forget to give them their medicine, which has dangerous consequences. The problem can progress to such an extent that they might forget how to do normal daily tasks. They might need to be taught things from scratch, which you or a nurse has no experience of how to do.

What Does a Memory Care Facility Offer?

A memory care facility aims at slowing down the progression of dementia. The facility gives the seniors purpose, satisfaction and teaches them special skills to enjoy the little things in life. They have expertly crafted therapies and activities that are headed by trained staff.

What a memory care offers is not something simple that people can get in assisted living facilities or nursing homes. The environment here is specially created for people who cannot function on their own. From bathing to clothing, escort assistance, meal delivery and assistance in eating, administering medication, housekeeping and much more is offered.

To keep up with the challenges that dementia presents, staff at a memory care facility is trained to deal with all kinds of problems. Unique therapy techniques are used to help these patients gain their “self” back.

While dementia may become the only defining point of the senior battling from this disease but a memory care facility works at maintaining their identity that comes from living and enjoying a normal life filled with purpose and meaning. 

In Santa Fe, NM, The Montecito is building a memory care facility. It will be available hopefully during mid to late 2019

The Stages of Dementia


May 11, 2018 in: Memory Care (dementia/alzheimers),

Dementia is often discussed in “stages”.

The stages refer to the progression of the type of dementia in question, which helps physicians determine what course of action should be taken. There are various types of dementia, out of which the most common is Alzheimer’s disease. A few others include:

  • Vascular dementia
  • Mixed dementia
  • Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB)
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease
  • Frontotemporal dementia
  • Normal pressure hydrocephalus
  • Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome
  • Huntington's disease

Usually, dementia attacks a person who is older than 65. As people age, their overall health and cognitive abilities start to deteriorate. However, the trajectory that the patient’s health follows is the same from the start to its unmerciful end.

On the other hand, the number of stages that dementia follow is somewhat arbitrary. The universal model of dementia can be applied to all types of dementias whereas, when it comes to the “7 Stage Model”, the depths of dementia, Alzheimer to be exact, are explained in detail.

The 3 Stages of Dementia

In dementia, different parts of the brain are affected. There are a total of 14 symptoms that a person experiences during the three stages of dementia. These include:

  1. Cognitive decline
  2. Disorientation and confusion
  3. Difficulty in recognizing people
  4. Mood swings: depression, anxiety, anger
  5. Decreased physical movement and mobility
  6. Problems with memory
  7. Fear and paranoia
  8. Forgetfulness: difficulty with everyday activities
  9. Problems in planning and organizing
  10. Decreased awareness and attention
  11. Hallucinations
  12. Problems with speech and language
  13. Changes in behaviour that is uncharacteristic or inappropriate
  14. Changes in sleeping pattern

Stage 1

Early Stage

At the first stage, the problems are unnoticeable and mild. They are often attributed to age and therefore, dismissed easily. The symptoms may vary depending on what area of the brain is affected by the dementia. On the outside, the person might look perfectly healthy but this is the stage where a lot of things stop making sense. The 8 symptoms that start appearing at this age include mood swings: depression, anxiety, anger, problems in planning and organizing, decreased physical movement and mobility, cognitive decline, hallucinations, decreased awareness and attention, problems with speech and language and changes in behaviour that is uncharacteristic or inappropriate

Stage 2

Middle Stage

At the second stage, the symptoms become prominent to those people who are living with the senior. The three most common symptoms that become a part of the person’s life include change in sleep patterns, paranoia and fear and changes in behaviour that is uncharacteristic or inappropriate. The occurrence of other symptoms increases in frequency, which effect their relationships and daily life. Frustration is more prominent because they find difficulty in even doing small tasks.

Stage 3

Late Stage

By this stage, the dementia has done extensive damage to the brain, so much so that the mood swings reach their peak. It becomes difficult to handle and calm them down in a situation, which set them off unexpectedly. All 14 of the symptoms come out in the clear, which takes a toll on their physical health and appearance. Their ability to do tasks vanishes completely and so does their interest in life and willingness to talk.

While there is no cure for dementia, there are medicines available that can slow down its progress. However, to improve the senior’s quality of life, these medications must be administered in a controlled environment such as a memory care facility.

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