10 Tips For Transitioning To An Assisted Care Community

There will come a time when you, as a caregiver, are unable to give your loved one the care they need. There might come a time when they have to find a new living space and you will play a role in deciding where that is. Once you have carefully considered the best place for your loved one, you will also play a role in transitioning them there. While you will see the benefits of this move, it may still be difficult to accept emotionally. In this article we’ll provide 10 tips for transitioning to an assisted care community.

10 Tips For Transitioning To An Assisted Care Community

  1. Choose the best community. – Do a lot of research on the kind of community you want for your family member. Discuss the options with your family members to make sure it’s a good fit.
  2. Don’t tell your loved one they need more help. – Don’t make your loved one feel like they are the problem. Help them to understand that you are the one who actually needs more help and that their new caregivers will take good care of them.
  3. Recognize the transition will be challenging. – Living in a new community will have many, many benefits, however it cannot be denied that the transition will be hard. Check in on your loved ones to make sure they are okay.
  4. Don’t include your loved one in planning or packing for the move. – These decisions can require extra challenges and stress. You decide on what to take and what to get rid of. Spend time noticing what things around their home they use and enjoy regularly.
  5. Be prepared to take some time off. – Just as you would for your own move, take some time off to spend moving and getting your loved one settled. Also, keep in mind that you might be spending some extra money upfront in order for your loved one to move.
  6. Make regular visits to ease the transition. – Remember that in the first few weeks after the move, an individual will still be adjusting to the move. It might help to see a familiar face to ease up the transition.
  7. Align moving time with your loved one’s best time of day. – schedule the bulk of the move for the time of day that matches with their schedule. This will allow you time to make sure they are comfortable and settled before leaving for your home.
  8. Don’t feel guilty. – Most caregivers have an extreme amount of guilt leaving their loved one with other people to care for them. Making the choice to leave a loved one at a care facility is not the “worst case scenario”. Many times, in fact, it is the best case scenario.
  9. Avoid being emotional. – “Transitioning your loved one to a memory care community can be a very emotional time. You may have spent years of your life supporting and caring for each other. When moving your loved one, it is extremely important that you not show your sadness or cry. Try your best to be upbeat and happy.
  10. Recreate as much of the home environment as possible. – Being in a familiar environment is beneficial for people with dementia. If you can set up their new home to remind them of their previous home, they may feel more comfortable. This set up can also decrease anxiety or feeling upset.

Overall, moving into a place can be scary for anyone. There are several things you can do to help a person transition from one environment to another. Please contact us to learn more if you’re currently looking for a new assisted living community for your loved one.

Telemedicine Benefits For Dementia

Telemedicine Benefits For Dementia

In light of recent global events, one new way of treating patients is making its way to the forefront of medicine. Telemedicine has become very common in treating patients of all kinds. Telemedicine requires the use of an interactive audio and video telecommunications system that permits real-time communication between a patient and physician. Telemedicine involves transmitting medical information to a physician or practitioner who is able to review or diagnose on the spot. There are many benefits of telemedicine for dementia, and we’ve listed a few of them below.

No Transportation Time Or Costs

When you see your doctor on your mobile device or computer, you can save money on gas, parking, and public transportation. Even better, you don’t waste time traveling or risk running into a traffic jam that makes you late for your appointment.

On-Demand Options

There is an ever expanding variety of physicians who are offering telemedicine these days, so there’s a good chance that you’ll be able to see your regular doctor via video. If you can’t, but still need remote access to care, there are a number of online-only, on-demand options on the market today. They can’t treat every condition, but can tackle a wide variety of problems. Some insurance companies pay for this type of care.

Access to Specialists

Some people who need the care of a specialist have to travel long distances and make an appointment well in advance. There is no guarantee that you will be able to see the specialist at a time that is convenient for you. Telemedicine makes it possible for you and your primary care physician to leverage the expertise of specialists who are not nearby. 

Less Chance of Catching A New Illness

Doctor’s offices are crawling with germs and illnesses. Becoming more sick is always a possibility if you are visiting the doctor. Telemedicine eliminates these dangers and risks to exposure. Staying home ensures that you are not contracting anything new or passing on what you might already have. 

Less Time in the Waiting Room

If you choose a video visit via telemedicine technology, you’ll eliminate all that time spent waiting in a room at the office. Even if you don’t use telemedicine, choosing a practice that offers it will reduce your wait time by letting other patients be seen from home.

Better Health

When you are able to see your doctor as often as you need to, without the challenges of getting into the office, you can practice better management of your medication, lifestyle, and any chronic conditions you might have. This is great for people with dementia who may have issues come up unexpectedly. 

Keeping all this in mind, telemedicine is a great option for the elderly who have dementia. Telemedicine offers convenience and safety during this time of global pandemic.

Orchard at Brookhaven is a luxury assisted living community in Atlanta that’s here to help. Please contact us if you have any questions about our community or our care programs.

Legal Planning for Dementia Caregivers

Legal Planning For Dementia Caregivers

Caregiving for someone with dementia can come with many challenges. One of the biggest challenges is money and legal issues. Americans spend roughly $190 billion per year on their care recipients for out-of-pocket expenses. And, in order to do so, 63% of these caregivers are forced to dip into savings or sell and cash in on assets. Below, you will find 10 legal tips to help family caregivers navigate the confusing legal and financial landscape, get the necessary legal documents in order, and cope with financial challenges.

10 Legal Planning Tips For Dementia Caregivers

  1. Plan ahead – Before a loved one becomes too sick, create a plan with them that includes their wishes and input. This will prevent you from having to make decisions on their behalf later on.
  2. Review the plan frequently – Changes to the plan can happen overnight. A death in the family, relocation or changes to insurance can all be cause for a shift in the plan. If these issues arise, make sure they are addressed.
  3. Make smart decisions – Weigh out all your options before making big decisions. You can seek professional advice if it becomes necessary.
  4. Know the difference between ‘guardian’ and ‘conservator. – “A caregiver of an individual who no longer has the legal capacity to execute powers of attorney or trusts might have to become that individual’s guardian or conservator. A guardian has the legal authority to make decisions about the lifestyle and well-being of another person. The decisions a guardian may make include where a person may live, what care and medical treatment will be provided, and what religious and educational activities will be made available.
  5. Sell or rent property that is not being used – If your loved one is living in a care facility, there’s no reason for an empty house to just be sitting unused. Consider renting or selling the property for funds that can be used to care for the individual with dementia.
  6. Investigate credits for veterans – Some V.A programs offer discounts or other forms of financial support are possibly available. Some veteran programs are free, while others require some sort of payment.
  7. Know when to seek legal help – If there is a disagreement in the family, or you are unsure of how to handle a certain situation, know when you need the advice of an expert.
  8. A financial power of attorney must be set up while your loved one has the capacity for decision-making -most courts require that legal forms are in order. This is best to take care of during the early stages of dementia.
  9. Include the will and power of attorney in the same document. – This is your ‘health care representative’ or ‘attorney-in-fact’ for healthcare. Make sure you choose someone who you trust and who will have your loved one’s best interest in mind.
  10. Gather all insurance-related information. – Consider any insurance documents that you own that might pay out if you have a medical emergency, disability, illness or death. You’ll want to list any disability policies, life insurance, health care directive and long-term care policies for reference.

Taking on the financial and legal responsibilities of someone with dementia can be very daunting as the system that can be difficult to navigate. It is best to be as proactive with this as possible. At Orchard at Brookhaven is a luxury senior living community in Atlanta, and we are are here to help you navigate these difficult times. If you have questions about our community or services we offer, please contact us and speak to someone.

Sensory Therapy Treatments for Dementia

Sensory Therapy Treatments for Dementia

Sensory therapy, originally used to help individuals with learning disabilities, originated in Europe but has been prominently used in the United States to treat patients of dementia. This type of therapy involves using every day or familiar objects to appeal to one of the five senses. The feeling that is created by this interaction creates positive feelings and thoughts and thus has many benefits for an individual with dementia.

Benefits of Sensory Therapy For Dementia

As someone who has dementia becomes less capable of expressing themselves through words, sensory therapy allows them to still express themselves thus making them feel more in control and less stressed. Sensory therapy can have the following affects:

  • Mood
  • Self-esteem
  • Well-being
  • Memory Recollection

How Sensory Therapy Works For Dementia

In sensory therapy for dementia, the therapist uses one object or stimulus at a time. Examples include:

  • Familiar foods and clothing
  • Natural materials, such as flowers
  • Sensory-rich materials, such as wood grains and grooming tools

For example, a therapist might have a cup of coffee. The person then smells the coffee or touches the warm cup. The therapist would then ask a question about the coffee and help the senior drink the coffee.

Sensory Stimulation Activities For Dementia

If you wanted to try these activities at home, there are several activities you could practice with your loved one or someone in your care.

  • Bringing in objects the senior does not normally have around, such as sand, seashells or other items
  • Giving a hand massage
  • Taking a short walk
  • Talking and reading aloud to the senior
  • Providing a change of scenery by taking the senior outdoors

Sensory therapy is meant to create positive, happy feelings to reduce anxiety and depression. If you notice that what you are doing is not having this kind of effect, it would be best to stop the activities you are doing and seek professional help.

Many people find that incorporating these kinds of activities into their daily routine is difficult. Orchard Brookhaven is a senior living community in Atlanta with the resources to help your loved one with 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 about our community programs.

Cognitive Function With Age

Maintaining Cognitive Function With Age

Dementia is one of the major causes of disability and dependency among older people worldwide. As the disease progresses, individuals are able to do less and less on their own. Oftentimes, the caregivers are also family members. This can cause a great deal of strain and strife for families. One way to combat the rapid decline of cognitive function is to keep the brain active.

Benefits of Cognitive Stimulation While Aging

Keeping the brain active can yield great results. Some ways that this helps individuals with dementia are:

  • Encourage self-expression
  • Foster emotional connections with others
  • Lessen any anxiety and irritability that Alzheimer’s may bring
  • Make people with Alzheimer’s feel more engaged
  • Stir memories

Ways to Stay Cognitively Active

Some ways to keep a person’s mind active is by engaging in simple activities. Some of those activities are, but not limited to:

  • Bake or cook simple recipes together.
  • Clean around the house. Sweep the patio, wipe the table, fold towels or try other household tasks that help the person feel a sense of accomplishment.
  • Do arts and crafts, such as knitting and painting. Keep patterns and tools simple.
  • Look at books the person used to enjoy.
  • Organize household or office items, particularly if the person used to take pleasure in organizational tasks.
  • Read the newspaper.
  • Play music or sing songs.
  • Tend the garden or visit a botanical garden.
  • Watch family videos.
  • Work on puzzles.

These types of simulations are enjoyable for the senior as well as the caregiver. It gives them a time to bond while being able to do something good for the brain.

Orchard at Brookhaven is dedicated to keeping our residents’ brains active and healthy. We offer daily activities that foster the use of the mind to keep our residents thinking. For more information about our community and programs, please contact us.

Music Therapy For Dementia

Music Therapy Benefits For Dementia

We all have that one song that takes us back to a single moment in time. Or a song that when we hear, we can immediately picture someone’s face. Research has shown how listening to music while studying can help increase performance on tests or exams. Clearly there is a link between music and our minds. This is the same for individuals with dementia. Music therapy is one way that medical professionals are suggesting to use with the elderly. In this article we’ll discuss the music therapy benefits on dementia.

Music Therapy Benefits For Dementia

Doctors have stated that because music touches so many parts of the brain, when a person hears the music, it may be reaching parts of the brain not affected by dementia and bringing them to the forefront. Here are some of the effects music can have on people with dementia.

  • Memory recollection
  • Increased ability to communicate
  • Recognition of people
  • Procedural memory increase (routines)
  • Emotional memory recollection

Why Music Enhances Brain Function

  1. Music Evokes Emotions- these emotions can trigger memories. Pairing music with every day activities can help individuals remember how to do things.
  2.  Musical aptitude and appreciation- these are two of the last remaining abilities in dementia patients.
  3. Singing is engaging- Singing can help the elderly feel connected to the world and people around them.
  4. Music can bring emotional and physical closeness- music allows for people to dance with other people.
  5. Music can shift a mood- Mood changes can make a person feel more happy, confident and less stressed.

As you can see, there are many benefits of music for individuals with dementia. It is a great way for people to tap in to their past and memories at a time when this becomes very difficult.

Creating a Playlist

Consider making a playlist for your loved one or someone you know who has dementia. You could put the playlist on a CD or an iPad. This playlist should be personalized with songs that remind them of all the good parts of their life. Here are some events/memories you might consider targeting with a playlist.

  • High School
  • Movie soundtracks
  • Wedding songs
  • Vacations/Road trips
  • Songs from important milestones (births, graduation, new jobs, etc.)
  • Favorite songs of people they love

Music is a great and universal way for people to connect. People with dementia can benefit from it in so many ways. Orchard at Brookhaven is dedicated to doing everything we can for our residents. We offer music therapy multiple times a week as well as sing a longs. This is a great time for our residents to enjoy one another and all those memories they have! If you or someone you know would like more information on all we have to offer, contact us today.

Most Common Types of Dementia

Most Common Types of Dementia

Most people associate dementia with older adults, however any dementia can affect any age of persons. While there is no cure for this disease, scientific research has revealed that there are a multitude of causes for the disease. Another common misconception is that dementia is specific to memory loss and while it is a specific disease itself, it is more accurate to note that dementia is a group of psychological and behavioral symptoms associated with a variety of diseases and conditions that affect the brain. While there are many different types of dementia, there are a few that affect the majority of individuals. We’l discuss the most common types of dementia in this article.

Alzheimer’s Disease

Majority of individuals who have dementia are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. This disease is progressive and is caused by amyloid plaques (proteins that clump together between nerves) and neurofibrillary tangles (another type of protein) in the brain. Early stages of Alzheimer’s disease include memory problems, followed by impairments in language and the ability to do daily tasks. In later stages, impairments in memory, communication, and physical ability become quite severe. While some doctors have found a way to slow down this process, there is no known cure. 

Cerebrovascular disease

This disease is related to blood vessel damage in the brain thus causing brain tissue to be damaged. Poor judgement and inability to make plass are the first signs of cerebrovascular disease. In addition to changes in cognitive function, people with vascular dementia can have difficulty with motor function, especially slow walking movement and poor balance. 

Lewy’s Disease

Lewy’s Disease is a progressive deterioration of the brain due to proteins named Lewy bodies. The buildup of such proteins causes issues with motor coordination that is closely related to the issues seen in Parkinson’s disease. In early stages, forgetfulness, walking instability, and depression may be seen. In the middle stages, cognitive impairments seem to fluctuate but become more frequent at night. The final stage is characterized by rapid cognitive decline, delusions, and hallucinations.

Is There A Cure For Dementia?

While there is no actual cure for dementia, there are medications that people can take to help with and reduce the amount of symptoms. Medicinal remedies can change as a person’s condition worsens, but it is important to remember there are medicines to help. Non-medicinal treatments include therapies that can help individuals with movement, motor skills, daily tasks, speaking, and even eating. Essentially, these therapies remind or show the brain what the body is still capable of. Just like medicinal treatment, these therapies do not stop the progression of the disease, rather they can help an individual to live a more “normal” life. 

While the three mentioned diseases are the most common forms of dementia, having a mixture of dementia related diseases is also possible. Whatever the diagnosis may be and whatever treatment is being used, Orchard at Brookhaven is ready and willing to help with making life as enjoyable as possible for diagnosed individuals. We strive to help our residents enjoy the last stages of their life. If you are considering a senior living community in Atlanta for your loved one with dementia, please contact us to get more information about our approach.

How to Travel With Dementia

Traveling With Dementia

Part of dealing with dementia or dealing with someone you know or love who has dementia is adjusting to “normal” life activities. One aspect that people may not often think of is travel. Is it possible for individuals with dementia to travel alone? Are they able to care for themselves enough to get on an airplane or boat? Research shows that there is a shift in people’s perspective of how to deal with dementia. Instead of conversations that center around curing the disease, there is more of a focus on how to help people live a full life when they have been diagnosed with the disease. In this article, we will explore how to successfully travel with someone who has dementia.

Successfully Traveling With Dementia

Below are listed several habits to maintain when traveling with someone who has dementia.

  • Travel often (at least twice a year)
  • Plan ahead
  • Keep the same routine
  • Have a set itinerary
  • Discuss the trip often before leaving

Airport’s and Dementia

Traveling itself will present a multitude of challenges, but navigating the airport can be particularly difficult for someone with dementia. The airport presents its own unique set of challenges, it’s crowded, busy and can be very confusing for someone who gets lost easily. After checking in, security checkpoints are a place of stress for individuals who do not have dementia. One thing to remember is that dementia presents issues with cognitive and language abilities. Because the security checkpoint is a concentrated place of communication (that can be confusing) it can be particularly difficult for someone with dementia. One way to make this process more smooth is to have an airport employee assist the individual with dementia through the process of checking in, security, and making it to the gate. This will help the entire process run smoothly. Once you or your loved one has check in to the gate, make sure that the flight staff is aware of the person traveling with dementia. This can be helpful should anything else go wrong.

Dementia Travel Tips

Here are several other tips to keep in mind when traveling with someone who has dementia.

  1. Arrive to the airport well before the flight leaves.
  2. Make airport personnel aware that someone you are traveling with has dementia.
  3. Don’t have too many hand bags.
  4. Allow the person with dementia to go through security first.
  5. Try to find quiet, less busy areas to sit and wait.
  6. For longer trips, have more than one companion
  7. Use headphones once the flight has begun.
  8. Bring familiar snacks
  9. Communicate with the flight attendants

While traveling can be very fun, for someone who has dementia, it can be stressful. Make sure you are the most prepared before, during and after your travel time. Orchard at Brookhaven is here to help our residents and their families. If you are interested in finding out more about our services and approach, please contact us and schedule a visit.

Moderate Stage Dementia

Moderate Stage Dementia

Dementia can be defined as the acquired deterioration of the brain from a previously higher level of functioning that impairs the successful completion of daily tasks. Because this is a gradual change, there are multiple stages of dementia. This article focuses on moderate dementia. This is considered the middle stage and also has been found to last the longest. This stage of dementia is most commonly characterized by difficulties completing daily tasks such as cooking or cleaning and needing some assistance with living.

What to Expect With Moderate Stage Dementia

During the moderate stage of dementia, the disease spreads to the frontal lobe of the brain. This section of the brain helps us with our higher level thinking. It controls our abilities to problem solve, think logically, speak, plan, take initiative and control impulses. When this portion of the brain begins to become affected by dementia, it becomes more difficult to make judgments and pay attention for extended periods of time.  Other common symptoms include:

  • Forgetfulness of recent events or names
  • Communication problems
  • Difficulties with time and orientation
  • Issues with instrumental activities of daily living
  • Inability to safely live alone
  • Behavioral changes such as wandering, aggression and interrupted sleep.

Treatments for Moderate Stage Dementia

While there is no existing cure for dementia, there are a number of options to ease this process as it progresses in the brain.

  1. Medication – medicinal remedies can reduce symptoms by adjusting chemicals that carry signals to the brain. Prescribed medications may change over time as a patient’s needs evolve.
  2. Memantine – This is a specific drug that targets language, thinking and memory function.
  3. Therapy – There are a number of therapies that exist (occupational, physical, music) that can improve an individual’s quality of life. As the disease progresses, a medical professional would be able to assess the need for such treatments on a case by case situation.

Living with dementia can often be challenging for individuals and their caregivers. As symptoms progress, more care becomes necessary. Here at Orchard at Brookhaven, we are prepared to provide you and/or your loved one with the assistance you may need. Our senior living facility in Atlanta offers a multitude of amenities that will help you feel right at home. If you are interested in finding out more about us or to schedule a tour, please contact us.

Scientific Stages of Dementia

Scientific Stages Of Dementia

Have you ever noticed how many stories older people are able to tell? Honestly, some of the events in their lives that they are able to remember are fascinating. Some scientists believe that as people age, their brain is so full of memories, that they become unable to remember new ideas. This results in them not being able to remember as much and seemingly being forgetful. 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. These changes can affect memory, speech, reasoning, and the ability to perform the activities of daily living. Dementia is one of the leading causes of disability and dependency among older people worldwide.” In this article we’ll discuss the scientific stages of dementia.

Scientific Stages of Dementia

The natural part of aging is only heightened when an individual has 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).

Disease spreads to the medial temporal lobe. This part of the brain controls our memory of personal events and factual information. This stage still allows individuals to live on their own. They require help only for smaller tasks.

Disease spreads to lateral temporal and parietal lobes of the brain. The lateral temporal lobe controls our language comprehension, hearing, visual processing, and facial recognition. The parietal lobe helps to process sensory from various parts of the body.

This stage includes the most severe symptoms of dementia. The disease has now spread 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.

Treating 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
  • Behavioral therapy
  • Physical therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Exercise
  • Cognitive Stimulation
  • Physical activity
  • Animal therapy
  • Music therapy
  • Sensory therapy

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. At Orchard at Brookhaven, we offer many opportunities that fall under several of the treatment categories. If you are interested in finding out more about all we have to offer, please contact us.