Tips For Reducing Dementia Risk

Tips For Reducing Dementia Risk

Dementia, which affects the parts of the brain that control thought, language, and memory can tremendously hinder a person’s ability to function normally on a day to day basis. While there is no formula to follow to make sure you or a loved one is not diagnosed with dementia, there are several steps you might take to reduce the risk. In this article we cover some tips for reducing dementia risk.

1. Stay Physically Active

Being physically active is one of the most effective ways to reduce your risk of getting dementia. Physical activity is a great way to keep your heart healthy, blood pressure low, weight under control, and even weight stable.

One thing that is important to find early on is a way to exercise that you enjoy. Not all types of exercises are for everyone. It can be very beneficial to exercise in small increments of time and then building up endurance. No one is expected to be able to run a marathon without training for it first!

2. Maintain A Health Diet

A healthy, balanced diet may reduce your risk of dementia, as well as other conditions including cancer, type 2 diabetes, obesity, stroke and heart disease. Eating a balanced diet can include any of the following: Eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, eat protein (such as oily fish, beans, pulses, eggs or meat) at least twice a week, limit your sugar intake, and look out for hidden salt, drink 6–8 glasses of fluid (such as water, lower fat milk and sugar-free drinks) a day.

3. Cut Out Smoking

If you smoke, you’re putting yourself at much higher risk of developing dementia. You’re also increasing your risk of other conditions, including type 2 diabetes, stroke, and lung and other cancers.

Smoking does a lot of harm to the circulation of blood around the body, including the blood vessels in the brain, as well as the heart and lungs.

4. Limit Alcohol Intake

Drinking too much alcohol increases your risk of developing dementia

At most, you should aim to drink no more than 14 units each week. If you regularly drink much more than this, you’re at risk of alcohol-related brain damage.

If you drink as many as 14 units in a week, try to spread them out over at least three days.

5. Exercise Your Mind

Keeping your mind active is likely to reduce your risk of dementia. Regularly challenging yourself mentally seems to build up the brain’s ability to cope with disease. One way to think about it is ‘Use it or lose it’.

Find something you like doing that challenges your brain and do it regularly. It’s important to find something that you’ll keep up. For example:

Talking and communicating with other people may also help to reduce your risk of dementia. Make an effort to keep in touch with the people who are important to you, such as friends and family.

Communication Techniques For Dementia

Communication Techniques For Dementia

Dementia is not an easy thing to deal with. Many times diagnoses are unexpected and this can make it difficult for families to handle. When we take the time to adapt to our new situation, it can make life a lot more enjoyable and pleasant. Below are listed 10 steps you can take when communicating with someone who has dementia. Following these steps can make the lines of communication much more clear and understandable.

10 Communication Techniques For Dementia

  1. Create a positive environment for conversation. Set a positive mood by speaking to your loved one in a pleasant and respectful manner.
  2. Make sure the person is focused. Limit distractions and noise.
  3. State your message clearly. Use simple words and sentences. Speak slowly, distinctly, and in a reassuring tone.
  4. Ask simple, answerable questions. Ask one question at a time; those with yes or no answers work best.
  5. Listen with your ears, eyes, and heart. Be patient in waiting for your loved one’s reply.
  6. Break down activities into a series of steps. This makes many tasks much more manageable.
  7. When the going gets tough, distract and redirect. If your loved one becomes upset or agitated, try changing the subject or the environment.
  8. Respond with affection and reassurance. People with dementia often feel confused, anxious, and unsure of themselves. Avoid trying to convince them they are wrong.
  9. Remember the good old days. Avoid asking questions that rely on short-term memory, such as asking the person what they had for lunch. Instead, try asking general questions about the person’s distant past.
  10. Maintain your sense of humor. Use humor whenever possible, though not at the person’s expense.

Learning to communicate with someone who has dementia may take a significant amount of time and practice. Once you have mastered the basics, it can become a lot easier for you and the person you are caring for. Here at Orchard at Athens, we support our residents in as many ways as possible. We are always searching for new and best ways to communicate with each person. If you think this may be the right place for someone you are caring for, please contact us to learn more about about our community!

Bathroom Incontinence With Dementia

Bathroom Incontinence With Dementia

As dementia progresses, a person will have less and less control over their physical self. Memory, fine motor skills and ability to complete simple tasks are all parts of a person’s life that will change when he or she has dementia. One of the most difficult to deal with is going to the bathroom. It is not uncommon for people who are in the late stages of dementia to lose control over their ability to control when, where and how they go to the bathroom. In this article we discuss in more detail the bathroom incontinence dementia suffers may experience.

Bathroom Incontinence With Dementia

Dealing with these changes can require quite a bit of management. When a person is unable to control their need to go to the restroom, this is called incontinence. There are a multitude of causes for incontinence including, but not limited to

  • A person may already have underlying medical issues and these issues, along with dementia can really affect someone’s ability to relieve themselves properly.
  • A person may no longer be able to react quickly enough to their need to use the toilet.
  • A person may start to struggle with fine motor skills. This could result in not making it to the toilet on time.

Reducing Accidents From Dementia Caused Incontinence

There are many steps that you can take to help manage and reduce the number of accidents someone has. Below are listed a few.

  • Create a sign on the toilet or bathroom door with words or a picture that can help someone identify where the toilet is.
  • Create a clear, uncluttered path to the bathroom so that getting there is easy
  • Make sure that the person with dementia is wearing clothes that are easy to remove when the time comes to use the toilet.
  • Ask the person regularly whether they need to use the toilet and look for any signs they want to go to the toilet, such as fidgeting, pacing or pulling at their clothes
  • Regulate when the person drinks liquids throughout the day, particularly at night.
  • Use a cover on the toilet that is easy to spot so that the toilet is easier to see.

If a person does have an accident, try to remember that it’s not their fault. Try to be as patient and understanding as possible. You can also seek help from a medical professional on the best ways to handle a person who is in your care. Orchard at Athens is here to help provide you and your family the best support possible. Please contact us to learn more about our community and programs.

Talking Therapy For Dementia

Talking Therapy For Dementia

Dementia, a cognitive disease that affects the brain unfortunately can affect so many parts of someone’s life. Luckily, there are therapies that exist specifically for helping with communication. Talking therapy is a service that is provided by a trained professional such as a counsellor, a clinical or counseling psychologist, a psychotherapist, or a psychiatrist.

Benefits of Talking Therapy For Dementia

There are many different benefits of talking therapy. Most of these therapies take place in the early to middle stages of dementia. Because late dementia can really start to affect the way the brain focuses, it is best to begin talking therapies early on. Below are some of the main benefits of talking therapy:

  • Affords the opportunity to discuss feelings about recent diagnosis
  • Creates a safe space to explore many different feelings
  • Extended therapy (over several weeks) can reduce the onset of depression or anxiety
  • Provides comfort for individuals
  • Allows individuals to learn how to maintain healthy relationships with others

Types Of Talking Therapies For Dementia

There are different types of talking therapies that can help with dementia. The type you or a loved one may choose will depend on the desired results and at what stage of dementia the patient is.

Counseling For Dementia

Counseling is often used to help a person cope with events they’ve found difficult. It can be particularly helpful for people who have recently been diagnosed with dementia. Being assessed for suspected dementia can be confusing, stressful and make the person feel anxious.

Psychotherapy For Dementia

A psychotherapist will help a person understand how their personality, beliefs and experiences influence their thoughts, feelings, relationships and behavior. This can change the way they think and behave. It can also help them deal with problems and difficult situations more successfully.

Cognitive Behavioral therapy (CBT)

This is one specific type of psychotherapy. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is based on the fact that the way we think about something (our ‘cognition’) affects how we feel and then how we behave. CBT is most effective for people who are in the early stages of dementia. Their brain is less affected by the disease and therefore they are more apt to engage with the therapy.

Caring for a person with dementia can be burdensome and rewarding at the same time. This type of commitment can come with a lot of stress. It is best to seek out as many aids as possible to help you care for someone. Therapies are a great way to do this.

Orchard at Athens is here to help our residents through their journey. Please contact us to learn more about our programs to help you or your loved one.

Dementia & Relationship Changes

Dementia & Relationship Changes

If someone you love is diagnosed with dementia, it is highly likely that your relationship with them will eventually be impacted. Dealing with these changes can be difficult and uncomfortable. It is always important to remember that you are doing the best you can for them and yourself. 

Dementia & Relationship Changes

As a person’s dementia progresses and you provide them with more support, your roles in the relationship are likely to change. This change will occur depending on your relationship to the diagnosed individual (parent, spouse, friend, sibling, etc.) You will find the many adjustments that are necessary difficult. Some aspects of this may provide you with comfort and support and you may be able to talk about many of the same things you used to. If you need to start doing tasks that the person with dementia used to do – such as paying the bills, driving or cooking – you might find this difficult to accept or get used to. 

Dementia & Romantic Partner Changes

If you’re caring for a partner with dementia, your romantic relationship is likely to change as their condition progresses. Some people find it very difficult to maintain a romantic relationship with someone who requires so much. It is no longer a two-way street, and therefore feelings change. Sometimes you might even feel guilty for wanting to continue your romantic relationship with a partner – though it’s natural to continue to want intimacy. 

Common Feelings For Dementia Caregivers

Many people have mixed feelings about being in a caring role. The relationship between you and the person you’re caring for might be complex. Positive emotions are a possibility when you are caring for a partner with dementia. If your relationship with this person has always been strong, you may feel a desire to continue to love and support them just as you always have. You may also feel a sense of accomplishment for being able to take on such a large responsibility. Negative emotions can also be a result of caring for a partner with dementia. Some of those emotions would include, but are not limited to guild, grief, anger, resentment, exhaust, embarrassment, or anger. 

It is important to remember that all of your feelings are valid. You should not try to suppress anything that you are feeling. If you can’t talk to your partner about it, you should find someone who you can speak with. Orchard at Athens is here to help you on this journey. Please contact us today to learn more about our community! 

Strategies For Managing Dementia Behavior Changes

Strategies For Managing Dementia Behavior Changes

Dementia is a progressive disease. As time goes on, the brain’s functionality decreases resulting in a decrease of a multitude of other bodily functions (physical and mental). One of the most challenging aspects to handle is the changes in behavior. In this articles we’ll discuss some strategies for managing those dementia behavior changes.

Strategies For Managing Dementia Behavior Changes

There is no right way to deal with changes in behavior. The changes and needs of a person can vary depending on many different factors. Below are listed some general tips for dealing with behavior change.

  • Help them stay in touch with loved ones- facetime, write letters, call, text, etc.
  • Encourage the person to do things they enjoy or find useful- hobbies are always a great outlet.
  • Make changes to their environment if necessary.
  • Be aware of the person’s beliefs and thoughts and try not to argue with them
  •  Ask the person’s doctor to check for any possible physical causes, including pain, and advise on any treatments.
  • Try to remember that the person is not behaving this way on purpose. Try not to take it personally.
  • Even though a person with dementia may have problems with their memory, they still feel and respond to emotions.
  • Offer the person gentle reassurance. If you need to, try stepping away from the situation to give you both time to calm down.
  • Try not to show feelings of frustration as it may make things worse.

Changes in behavior can be very difficult for you. They may make you feel frustrated or distressed and affect your relationship with the person you’re caring for. You may also worry that people are judging you or expecting too much of you, or that they don’t understand the challenges you face.

Orchard at Athens helps our residents and their families manage changes in behavior. Our highly effective staff is flexible and willing to work individuals for what they need. Please contact us today to learn more about our community and how we can help you or your loved one.

Stages of Dementia

Dementia: Scientific Stages & Treatment

Do you ever wonder how Grandpa remembers everyone’s birthday? I can barely keep up with what day of the week it is. Some research has shown that as people age, they begin to forget more recent people, places and things because their brain has actually run out of room! This is very characteristic of dementia.  Dementia can be defined as “Dementia, a neurocognitive disorder, refers to a range of progressive mental and behavioral changes caused by cerebrovascular or neurological diseases that permanently damage the brain by impairing the activity of brain cells.” Basically, a change in our brain and how it works, thus how the rest of our body works.

Stages of Dementia

Aging becomes much more prominent in individuals who suffer from dementia. There are many stages of dementia with specific symptoms noticed at each stage. Also, at each stage, there are very specific changes happening in the brain. Here is a progression of what happens to the brain at each stage of Alzheimer’s (one type of dementia).

Mild – The disease spreads to the part of the brain that controls our memory of personal events and factual information. This stage still allows individuals to live on their own, however they may require help with more simple tasks.

Moderate – Disease spreads to the part of the brain that controls our language comprehension, hearing, visual processing, and facial recognition.

Severe – The disease spreads to the part of the brain that controls movement, so most patients become bed-ridden. It can also affect one’s ability to eat, thus making swallowing difficult.

How To Treat Dementia

Keeping in mind that there are no cures for dementia, there are several ways to treat the disease that makes life easier and more enjoyable for those who are diagnosed. Below are listed a few ways you can treat someone who has dementia.

  • Medicine that helps with cognitive ability
  • Medicine that lessens the symptoms of dementia
  • Occupational therapy
  • Cognitive Stimulation
  • Behavioral therapy
  • Sensory therapy
  • Physical therapy
  • Physical activity
  • Animal therapy
  • Music therapy
  • Exercise

As a caregiver, it will be up to you and your loved one as to which treatment you decide on. This can vary case by case. It is important to choose treatment that is realistic and attainable for you and the person who may be in your care. Orchard at Athens is a senior living community in Athens GA that offers many opportunities that fall under several of the treatment categories listed above. If you are interested in finding out more about how our community can help, please contact us.

Maintaining Independence With Dementia

Maintaining Independence With Dementia

Oftentimes what comes with a dementia diagnosis is a loss of independence. Now, someone is counting on another person or people for tasks they are used to doing alone. The good news is that there are several ways to help an individual remain independent in some ways. This article will discuss ways for people with dementia to practice independence and ways for caregivers to encourage independence in the people they care for.

Tips For Keeping Your Independence With Dementia

Here are the many ways that people with dementia can play an active role in keeping their sense of independence in their homes.

  1. Create a daily, weekly or monthly schedule.
  2. Use your phone, a bulletin board or sticky notes to set reminders.
  3. Utilize technology to help with simple tasks such as directions, cooking or communicating.
  4. Label the things in your house that you might have trouble remembering.
  5. Write things down that you know you won’t want to forget.
  6. Volunteer in your community.

Tips for Dementia Caregivers

Caregivers can play an active role in assisting someone with dementia keep their sense of independence. Not only is this important for the patient, but it is also important for the caregiver.

  • Provide opportunities for social engagement
  • Coordinate care between all caregivers .
  • Create a safe, comfortable environment that reflects the person’s preferences and personality.
  • Encourage participation in daily activities
  • Focus on the person’s abilities
  • Encourage physical activity

Many people do not look forward to a day and age when we have to ask others for help. We don’t like to think about depending on others for basic needs such as paying bills, going to the grocery store or getting dressed. Keeping this in mind, independence is very important to maintain for elderly people. It helps preserve their sense of purpose in life. Orchard at Athens works together to help our residents keep their individuality. We even have jobs for people if they want them! If you think our community would be a good fit for you or a loved one, contact us today!

Sensory Therapy As Dementia Treatment

Sensory Therapy As Dementia Treatment

Sensory therapy has been used primarily for learning disabilities, but has been adapted in the United States as a treatment for patients with dementia.

Benefits of Sensory Therapy For Dementia

As someone who has dementia becomes less verbally expressive, sensory therapy provides patients different ways to express themselves. Sensory therapy can affect the following:

  1. Attitude
  2. Self-worth
  3. Well-being
  4. Memory Recovery

How Sensory Therapy Works

Sensory therapy relies on isolating one sense at a time. Examples include:

  • Familiar meals and clothing
  • Natural materials, such as flowers
  • Sensory-rich materials, such as leathers and brushes

For example, a therapist might have a cup of coffee. The person then smells the coffee or holds the warm cup. The therapist would then ask a question about the coffee and offer the patient a taste.

Sensory Stimulation Activities For Dementia

Many sensory activities can be performed at home.

  • Bringing in foreign objects
  • Giving a massage
  • Taking a quick walk
  • Reading stories or passages aloud to the senior
  • Taking the patient to a different location

Sensory therapy is meant to replace stress and sadness with happiness and positive thoughts. If you are not getting these results, please consult a professional.

Many people find that incorporating these kinds of activities into their daily routine is difficult. Here at Orchard at Athens, we have the time and the resources to help your loved one or someone you may know who has dementia. If you think this would be the place for the person in your care, call us to schedule a tour or get more information on our community.

Dementia & Effective Communication

Communicating Effectively With A Person Living With Dementia

Communicating with someone living with dementia can be difficult, but this does not have to be the case. When someone has dementia, many things are changing in their brain and one of them is the temporal lobe which is the primary place of language location. When the temporal lobe is affected by dementia, people will begin to have difficulty finding words, understanding what words mean, and also talking and forming words. And yet, even though people living with dementia may not be able to understand others or express themselves, they are still able to communicate with us. We must make a few, simple adjustments with how we communicate. In this article we’ll discuss some dementia communication techniques to help you communicate more effectively.

Step 1 – Understand What’s Happening

The first step to effectively communicate with someone living with dementia is to understand what is happening to the brain. When someone is living with dementia they may:

  • Misremember events or people or may use the wrong name for people
  • They may misunderstand what you are saying
  • Lose every fourth word you say
  • Lose nouns
  • Lose comprehension, vocabulary
  • Lose the ability to produce speech, may misname something or someone, may use words that have no meaning to you
  • Speak in words salads (this sounds like a bunch of mixed up words)

Step 2 – Recognize Abilities

The second step is to recognize the abilities of that person.

Understanding brain change and having the skill to notice and support the abilities that people still have is extremely important to the quality of life for people living with dementia. Therefore it will be important, if considering senior living for someone with dementia, to look for communities that have specific training. Orchard at Athens is a senior living community in Athens GA that has specialized training. This highly qualified staff will understand and support the abilities of people living with dementia.  These abilities of people living with dementia include:

  • Rely on visual information much more than verbal information
  • Expresses themselves in actions
  • Retain the ability to sing and pray
  • Can use social chit chat
  • May use profanity to show displeasure especially it they have never used these words
  • Know their likes and dislikes

Step 3 – Make Adjustments

The third step is to make adjustments based on their abilities.

Making adjustments based on someone’s abilities does not have to be a difficult process but it will take some practice.  The suggestions below are some easy ways to make adjustments that may make a big difference for someone living with brain change. Try practicing one of the steps listed below and practice until it feels natural.  Set a goal that you can reach before you try to do each of these steps.

  • Use less words
  • Use more visual aides
  • Slow down and give more time for the person to respond  (as the dementia progresses, give more time for a response)
  • NEVER say remember
  • Be in their field of vision
  • Help them talk about something rather than try to find the word
  • Ask them to show you what they want rather than trying to get them to find the specific word

Step 4 – Continued Support

The fourth step is to never give up because we can make a big difference in the lives of people living with dementia as long as we keep trying to support them.

It can be stressful being a caregiver. Orchard at Athens is a new luxury assisted living community in Athens that is committed to supporting people living with dementia and their caregivers. Whether you have someone living in our community or are looking for support as a caregiver in the home, our staff is here to help. Please contact us to learn more.