Conversations with Dementia Consultant-Navigating the Transition

Alzheimer’s and related dementia’s have a profound impact on family members and the experiences of loved ones living with dementia. As neurodegenerative medical conditions progress they often demand increased attention to needs and environmental transitions can be imminent, but helpful.  The stress and duress of change requires decision making, a lot of detail, and typically a period of adjustment for everyone involved.

Orchard Senior Living recognizes change for some families can be emotionally and physically overwhelming or challenging.  We want to help by offering you the provision of a Transitional Counselor who will support your transition beginning to end.

When living with dementia, we face transitions that are accompanied by a desire and longing to find our way to “well-being.”  We want to feel in control, confident, comfortable with ourselves, and valued by those who are important to us. Talking to someone who understands, creates courage and elicits new ideas when managing change or challenges.

I’m Robin Andrews, a solution focused communications consultant specializing in transition for families living with dementia.  I have a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy and have worked in behavioral healthcare and aging services for 15 years. My collaborative counseling model is based on personal competency and solution-building rather than problem solving. Minimizing emphasis on past failings and problems, I instead focus on a persons’ strengths, abilities and successes.  I would be honored to assist you in a journey toward hope, healing, and self-discovery.skydd

Navigating Your Transition- 3 Step Transition Strategy for Dementia & Alzheimer’s

Orchard Senior Living Introduces Navigating Your Transition; Orchard’s custom program designed to help families during a difficult transition. Evaluate – Plan – Live is our recommended 3 step Transitions Strategy for families.  The three 60-minute telephone or in-person appointments will provide conversation needed to discuss any lingering fears or concerns and then help you plan […]

The 7 Stages of Alzheimer’s Disease

Every person with Alzheimer’s disease experiences the disease differently, but patients tend to experience a similar trajectory from the beginning of the illness to its merciful end. The precise number of stages is somewhat arbitrary. Some experts use a simple three-phase model (early, moderate and end), while others have found a granular breakdown to be a more useful aid to understanding the progression of the illness.

The 7 Stages of Alzheimer's Disease

The most common system, developed by Dr. Barry Reisberg of New York University, breaks the progression of Alzheimer’s disease into seven stages. This framework for understanding the progression of Alzheimer’s disease has been adopted and used by a number of healthcare providers as well as the Alzheimer’s Association.

Here is summary of the seven stages of Alzheimer’s disease based on the ideas of Dr. Resiberg:

Stage 1: No Impairment

During this stage, Alzheimer’s disease is not detectable and no memory problems or other symptoms of dementia are evident.

Stage 2: Very Mild Decline

The senior may notice minor memory problems or lose things around the house, although not to the point where the memory loss can easily be distinguished from normal age related memory loss. The person will still do well on memory tests and the disease is unlikely to be detected by physicians or loved ones.

Stage 3: Mild Decline

At this stage, the friends and family members of the senior may begin to notice memory and cognitive problems. Performance on memory and cognitive tests are affected and physicians will be able to detect impaired cognitive function.

Patients in stage 3 will have difficulty in many areas including:

  • finding the right word during conversations
  • remembering names of new acquaintances
  • planning and organizing

People with stage three Alzheimer’s may also frequently lose personal possessions, including valuables.

Stage 4: Moderate Decline

In stage four of Alzheimer’s disease clear cut symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease are apparent. Patients with stage four Alzheimer’s disease:

  • Have difficulty with simple arithmetic
  • May forget details about their life histories
  • Have poor short term memory (may not recall what they ate for breakfast, for example)
  • Inability to manage finance and pay bills

Stage 5: Moderately Severe Decline

During the fifth stage of Alzheimer’s, patients begin to need help with many day to day activities. People in stage five of the disease may experience:

  • Significant confusion
  • Inability to recall simple details about themselves such as their own phone number
  • Difficulty dressing appropriately

On the other hand, patients in stage five maintain a modicum of functionality. They typically can still bathe and toilet independently. They also usually still know their family members and some detail about their personal histories, especially their childhood and youth.

Stage 6: Severe Decline

Patients with the sixth stage of Alzheimer’s disease need constant supervision and frequently require professional care. Symptoms include:

  • Confusion or unawareness of environment and surroundings
  • Major personality changes and potential behavior problems
  • The need for assistance with activities of daily living such as toileting and bathing
  • Inability to recognize faces except closest friends and relatives
  • Inability to remember most details of personal history
  • Loss of bowel and bladder control
  • Wandering

Stages 7: Very Severe Decline

Stage seven is the final stage of Alzheimer’s disease. Because Alzheimer’s disease is a terminal illness, patients in stage seven are nearing death. In stage seven of the disease, patients lose ability to respond to their environment or communicate. While they may still be able to utter words and phrases, they have no insight into their condition and need assistance with all activities of daily living. In the final stages of the illness, patients may lose their ability to swallow.

Aromatherapy at the Orchard

aromatherapy at the orchard

Aromatherapy uses pure essential oils to improve physical, mental, and emotional health. The sense of smell connects directly with emotions, memories, and instincts. Because of the neuro-associative conditioning process, aromas have the power to evoke states of well being.

Peppermint is an essential oil used as an energizer. It’s best used in the morning, to help stimulate the mind and at the same time calm the nerves. Peppermint is used as a morning pick-me-up and a natural boost for our residents to start their day. Lavender is an essential oil used to calm feelings of anxiety, depression, and general mood swings. Lavender has also been shown to help treat insomnia resulting in a better night’s sleep.

Aromatherapy draws upon the healthing powers of the leaves, flowers, stems, bark, seeds, roots, or peels of plants. When you inhale a scent, that aroma travels directly to the hypothalamus, which regulates a variety of functions such as sleep and emotion. Each morning between 7 am – 8 am, we diffuse Peppermint throughout The Orchard at Tucker. We hope to stimulate appetite and diffuse a postivie aroma into our reidents’ daily morning routine.

Each evening between 7 pm – 8 pm we diffuse Lavender throughout both of our Season’s Neighborhoods. Lavender helps with our residents’ mental fatique, anxiety, as well as aches and pains. Levender’s calming powers aid our residents to a blissful nights sleep.

To schedule a tour of the Orchard at Tucker, click here or call (770) 938-5600.

Residents Experience Our Multi-Sensory Room

orchard assisted senior living in tucker, georgia

Here at the Orchard, we have an incredible Multi-Sensory Room that provides our residents with a gentle stimulation of sight, sound, taste, smell, and movement in a controlled way. We use it to enhance feelings of well-being, reduce stress, relieve pain, and to maximize their potential to focus, all of which help improve communication and memory.

Our room includes soft textiles, familiar objects, and an interesting visual environment. Numerous studies show that multi-sensory rooms have an immediate positive effect on residents with dementia. The room is designed to create a feeling of soothing comfort and safety in a therapeutic surrounding for all residents regardless of their cognitive or physical deficits.

A Sensory Room can brings a person back to a place of safety, relaxation, and control. Read more about it here or contact us today and schedule a tour of our Orchard Community located in Tucker, Georgia here.

Dementia and Difficult Behavior

When you think of dementia you typically think of memory loss first. What many are not prepared for is how other behaviors can change too. In many cases, it is these difficult behaviors that families report as more troublesome than memory loss.

What is difficult dementia behavior? Difficult behavior includes actions that are destructive, highly upsetting, or unsafe for themselves or others. Difficult behavior does not include behavior that seems unusual or bothersome, such as asking questions repeatedly or preferring particular foods, clothing or routines.

As friends and family, it’s important to change our attitudes, behavior, and habits to prevent and even reduce any difficult behavior. Start with these valuable tips:

Focus on your nonverbal communication.
Make yourself aware of your facial expressions, posture, and tone of voice. People with dementia will reflect your nonverbal communication. Make sure the nonverbal communication you bring into the room matches what you want to see in them.

Model positive emotions.
Put aside strong feelings that may distract or trouble you. People with dementia generally understand your emotions.

Keep it simple.
Provide clear instructions and ask yes/no questions. Limit options to two choices.

Pay attention to body language.
It will provide clues about your loved one’s emotional state what they need. Respond before difficult behavior begins to ultimately evade any difficult behavior.

Avoid even small arguments.
Adding conflict to the situation only makes things worse. Do not argue, correct or try to convince using facts and logic.

Caring for someone with dementia can be tiring, stressful, and confusing without the right help and knowledge. Consider getting extra aid from our compassionate caregivers at the Orchard, we offer excellent dementia care services that can help reduce and prevent difficult behavior. Contact us here for more information and schedule a tour of our assisted living community in Tucker, Georgia!

Senior Sun Safety

sun safety outdoors - tucker, gaSummer weather is great for relaxing with family and friends. Too much outdoor time for seniors, however, can lead to problems like sunburn or dehydration. By taking a few precautions, these problems can be avoided so you can get the most out of long summer days.

Wear the right clothing
The best summertime clothing for seniors is lightweight and made out of breathable fabric such as cotton. Shirts should be long-sleeved, and seniors should wear wide brimmed hats.

Apply sunscreen early and often
Sunscreen takes time to work, so doing wait until you’re poolside to apply sunscreen. Try to apply about an hour before you head outside and reapply every two hours.

Drink plenty of fluids
Seniors are less likely to feel thirsty and dehydration can come on unexpectedly. Try to drink between 6 and 8 glasses of water a day, especially on days involving physical activity, or if the weather is particularly hot.

Stay indoors during the hottest hours
The sun is most intense during the middle of the day. Save activities like gardening or walking for the early morning or evening when the weather is cooler.

Weather can get extremely hot during the summer in Tucker, GA. Do your best to follow these tips so you can get the most out of your time outdoors this year. Our assisted living community offers gardening programs, great outdoor recreational areas, and plenty of seats in the shade. Contact us today to schedule a tour and experience the Orchard difference.

Tips to Know When Moving into Your New Home at Orchard

Orchard-Deluxe-Bedroom-1030x688It’s no secret that moving is both difficult and time-consuming. The trick is to feel comfortable in your new home quickly and get your routine back. These 3 big tips can give you the right guidance when moving into your new home into the Orchard community.

Contact movers, or assistance, 3 – 4 weeks in advance

Once you have a confirmed date for your move, it is important you contact your movers as early as possible in advance. This way you aren’t rushing last-minute, or revising your personal schedule. If you are not hiring professional movers, it is still important to inform anyone who is helping you in advance so they can take time out of their schedule to help.

Unpack with organization

Mark each box you pack with what room or where you want it to be placed in your new home. When your boxes are placed in specific rooms, you’re already ahead in the unpacking game. One way to make the entire process easier is to start with essentials. Unpack the absolute necessities, such as bedding, clothes, toiletry, and towels, first.

Meet the neighbors

After all the unpacking, you’ll need a break, and some fresh air will do you well. Take a walk around the community, and stop by, and introduce yourself to the new neighbors. You’ll begin the process of fitting into your new atmosphere and feeling at home right away.

Moving doesn’t have to be an undesirable experience, with these tips, you can make it all that much easier. To schedule a tour of the Orchard in Tucker, Georgia contact us here.

How does Parkinson’s disease progress?

Parkinson’s disease does not affect everyone the same way. Symptoms of the disorder and the rate of progression differ among people with the disease. Early symptoms of Parkinson’s disease are subtle and occur gradually. For example, affected people may feel mild tremors or have difficulty getting out of a chair. They may notice that they speak too softly or that their handwriting is slow and looks cramped or small. This very early period may last a long time before the more classic and obvious symptoms appear.

As the disease progresses, symptoms may begin to interfere with daily activities. The shaking or tremor may make it difficult to hold utensils steady or read a newspaper. Tremor is usually the symptom that causes people to seek medical help.

People with Parkinson’s often develop a so-called parkinsonian gait that includes a tendency to lean forward, small quick steps as if hurrying forward (called festination), and reduced swinging of the arms. They also may have trouble initiating or continuing movement, which is known as freezing.

Symptoms often begin on one side of the body, or even in one limb on one side of the body. As the disease progresses, it eventually affects both sides. However, the symptoms are often less severe on one side than on the other.p progression

Who gets Parkinson’s disease?

brainAbout 60,000 Americans are diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease each year. The disease strikes more men than women. The average age of onset is 60 years, and the risk of developing the disease increases with age. Parkinson’s disease is also more common in developed countries, possibly because of increased exposure to pesticides or other environmental toxins