Maybelle Carter Blog
Memory Care

Memory Care (4)

Monday, 25 April 2016 17:32

Memory Lapses or Alzheimer’s?

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memory care nashville tn

There are times when our loved ones have memory lapses, and it can be difficult to determine whether or not it is a display of early dementia.

According to Alzheimer’s Association, “Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior. Symptoms usually develop slowly and get worse over time, becoming severe enough to interfere with daily tasks.”

How do you differentiate between a typical “senior moment” and a sign of Alzheimer’s?

- While it is normal for most seniors to occasionally forget a name or a scheduled appointment, a person with early signs of Alzheimer’s will forget important dates, newly learned information, and have an increased need to rely on memory aids.

- Seniors may also need assistance operating a microwave or television sometimes, but difficulty in completing normal and familiar activities (balancing budget, playing a favorite game) is another symptom.

- Being at a loss for a word is a very normal occurrence. However, an inability to follow or continue conversations, repetition of thoughts, and struggling with overall vocabulary is yet another warning.

- Losing track of dates, how much time has passed, what season it is, and forgetting where they are.

More Alzheimer’s common signs and symptoms to watch for include:

  • Finding difficulty in working with numbers, developing or following a plan, and ability to concentrate
  • Visual problems that can cause issues determining color, distance, and reading
  • Regularly losing track of where things are placed, and being unable to retrace steps in order to find them
  • Making poor decisions and changes in ability to judge situations clearly, which can also result in poor personal grooming
  • Withdrawing from hobbies, activities, and social interaction, which may be due to symptoms being experienced
  • Changes in the normal personality and temperament, such as increased confusion, anxiety, depression, and fearfulness

It may be difficult to determine if any or all of these signs are normal for a loved one, as opposed to being symptoms of early Alzheimer’s. The important thing is not to ignore these signs, and to make an appointment with your doctor for a thorough examination. This can help rule out other causes of symptoms, as well as determine if the symptoms are being cause by treatable conditions such as depression or drug interactions.

When a decision is made to have a family member checked for Alzheimer’s, it may be difficult to approach your loved one because they could feel judged and persecuted. Emphasizing routine visits for wellness checks at any age can help you approach this more delicately if the time does come.

Complete transparency is very important when you and your loved one do seek professional help regarding the changes being experienced. Symptoms during the early stages of Alzheimer’s can be mild and can leave a senior relatively functional in their daily life, despite their memory loss. However, early diagnosis is important in order to plan ahead and get treatment that could prolong levels of independence.

The caregivers at Remembrance Village at Maybelle Carter Senior Living are specifically trained and receive continuing education to care for memory impaired residents. Secured accommodations create a stress-free, comfortable environment with less confusion.

Alzheimer’s can hit at any age, even though it is most frequently associated with people 65 and older. Alzheimer’s also has many myths and stereotypes associated with it, unfortunately, but the Alzheimer’s Association is a helpful resource for families and loved ones. Their website contains information regarding signs and symptoms, treatment information, and places to turn for support.

You can further educate yourself and others by visiting http://www.alz.org/.

To learn more about Maybelle Carter, call us at (844) 602-2602.

Written by Kristen Camden

memory care nashvilleWe all want to imagine that our futures will be filled with better days than our pasts, but a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s is tough to accept because it brings with it a lot of uncertainty. The positive is that the sooner the condition is discovered and arrangements for caregiving established, the lesser the disruption in the lives of the affected senior and his or her family.

After the diagnosis, families should take steps to prepare, according to the Alzheimer’s Association (AA). These processes include:

  • Locating important documents with contact names and account numbers, insurance policies, investments, bank accounts, safe deposit boxes, property deeds, and any paperwork such as pre-paid funeral arrangements.
  • Talking about medications the senior is prescribed and any needs such as home maintenance that a caregiver will need to take responsibility for handling if and when the person with Alzheimer’s can no longer manage this.
  • Discussing the senior’s wishes as far as long-term care and how he or she wants to be treated if no longer able to communicate wishes and seriously ill. Senior advisors recommend having an attorney draw up a living will for this purpose. A trusted individual may be designated with durable power of attorney. Copies of a living will should be given to caregivers, attorneys and physicians so they can refer to it when needed.
  • Researching long-term care options and how to pay for them.
  • Reviewing home safety and coming up with a plan for how to manage the activities of daily living.
  • Designating a caregiver or caregivers who will be responsible for taking care of the aging parent. In some cases, this will be a family member. Other times, those affected decide to get help from a dedicated community like Maybelle Carter Senior Living, offering solutions and resources that maximize strengths and promote independence.

At Maybelle Carter’s Remembrance Village, our caregivers are specifically trained and receive continuing education to care for memory impaired residents. We have licensed nurses on staff 24/7. And our newly designed secured accommodations create a stress-free, comfortable environment with less confusion.

These can be difficult conversations to have, but according to the Alzheimer’s Association, waiting until a crisis hits to get affairs in order can make the process even more arduous and emotionally taxing on everyone involved. They recommend involving well-qualified medical and legal advisors for the initial diagnosis and pulling together resources after.

The Alzheimer’s Association offers a free, customized planning tool called Alzheimer’s Navigator that can help families map out a plan. It can be found at https://www.alzheimersnavigator.org/ The organization also offers online resources that let people know they are not alone in facing such challenges.

To learn more about Remembrance Village, call (844) 602-2602.

Written by Steven Stiefel

Thursday, 31 July 2014 15:40

What Do I Do If I Have Alzheimer's?

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cxnIf you have difficulty remembering words and names or recalling once familiar places or people, you might need to see your doctor.

It's a scary thought, and diagnosis is best left to medical professionals who conduct a physical examination, review family history and do a blood test to rule out other causes for common symptoms.

Alzheimer's is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Those with Alzheimer's live 8-20 years after their symptoms become noticeable to others, depending on age and other health conditions.

If you have it in the early stages, you'll find that memory loss is mild and you will have good days and bad days. One of the most important things you can do if diagnosed with early-stage Alzheimer's is to get legal, financial and care plans in place. Doing so allows you to share your wishes for future decisions, and also allows time to work through the complex issues that are involved in long-term care.

This is also the time to consider future safety topics, such as what to do when driving is no longer an option.
As Alzheimer's worsens, there's a danger of becoming confused and wandering off.

For this reason, you might want to accept the unpleasant reality that you need help.

That help is available at Maybelle Carter Retirement Life Community's Remembrance Village, where caregivers are specially trained to help seniors faced with dementia and Alzheimer's disease.

We have licensed nurses on staff 24/7 and 3 dietitian-approved meals, plus snacks, throughout the day. We help the senior manage their medication and assist with dressing, bathing and grooming. State-of-the-art security protects residents from wandering off, and our newly designed accommodations create a stress-free, comfortable environment with less confusion. Residents can enjoy our private outdoor secured courtyard. Weekly personal laundry and linen services are also included.

For more information about Maybelle Carter Senior Living's Remembrance Village, visit http://maybellecarter.com/nashville-retirement-living-amenities/memory-care-madison-tn or call (615) 868-2290.

The Alzheimer's Association is organizing the 2014 Walk to End Alzheimer's in Nashville on Oct. 11 at the Public Square Park. The event raises money to help advance Alzheimer's support, care and research. To donate and/or participate, visit http://act.alz.org/site/TR/Walk2014/TN-MidSouth?fr_id=5429&pg=entry or volunteer with Andrew Jackson at (615) 315-5880.

Further reading:

Alzheimer's Association: http://www.alz.org/

The Alzheimer's Disease Education and Referral Center: http://www.nia.nih.gov/alzheimers

Alzheimer's Reading Room: http://www.alzheimersreadingroom.com/

The New York Times "New Old Age" Blog: http://newoldage.blogs.nytimes.com/

Photo Credit: emdot via Compfight cc

Monday, 29 April 2013 14:34

Keep Your Memory Young, Think Like a Kid

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Canadian neurologist Kenneth Rockwood noted "As our brains age, we must prepare them to resist injury — equip them with good education, train them thoughtfully with challenging regimens, support them with nurturing environments and be prepared to refresh them from time to time." When we are children we learn to use our memories by studying the alphabet and the times tables. As adults we have plenty to remember—appointments, names, dates, procedures, events, feelings, and more. It’s important not to neglect that life’s work of memory development simply because of retirement or old age.

  • Think like a kid. Focus intently on one thing at a time. Multitasking makes it harder to take in any of the information well, and reduces your ability to remember it later. Embrace curiosity too, and keep up a love for learning. The more you learn the more you will build new synapses and connections in your brain tissue, keeping your mind young.
  • Embrace routines, with a purpose. Routines can do a lot to help you remember all your regular tasks. However, they also take away some of the necessity for remembering. If routine helps keep your day on track, try shaking things up just a little bit. For example, brush your teeth at the same time you always do, but try using the opposite hand you usually do. Or trying taking a new route to the store on the same day you always do your grocery shopping.
  • Experience new things. Yes, we just talked about the power of routine. While routine is great for remembering the day to day, you don’t want to get in a rut. Attend a symphony performance you haven’t heard before, take up dance classes, meet new people, or take a trip somewhere different.  New experiences give you new things to remember.
  • Take care of your physical health. Talk to your doctor, physical therapist, or another trusted medical professional about how you can improve your approach to diet and exercise. Maybe you need to cut back on sodium, or take up swimming for joint pain. Even if it’s to address another medical issue, or just to feel healthier, physical improvements are also great for your brain, making you more able to remember information.
  • Practice remembering. Try recalling events a year at a time. For example, where were you in 1968? Who were the people in your life? Who was president? What were some major political and cultural events? Where did you work? What kind of car did you drive? Bring as many details as possible to the forefront of your mind, starting with the most personal and moving out to the most global.

These strategies can all work together to improve your memory well into your senior years. Even if you are already showing signs of memory disorders, there is a possibility that these tips could slow your rate of memory loss. No matter your current state of memory function, approaching memory care proactively  can make a big different in your quality of life.

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