Challenging Situations & Dementia

Challenging Situations & Dementia Part 2

The changes that happen in neurocognitive disorders can create challenging situations for both the person and those who care for them. Frustrating situations are common and can cause loved ones to wonder why people do what they do. Below are four of the most common situations that can be difficult for caregivers.

Orchard at Brookhaven understands situations such at these and care partners are trained and skilled in supporting people when confronted with unexpected surprises. Orchard chooses to acknowledge persons are doing the best they can with what they have, at any moment, and we believe people are working to problem solve their own needs even if we are not able to always understand their motive.

#1 Wandering

Some people living with a neurocognitive change will wander. The Alzheimer’s Association reports that 6 out of 10 people living with dementia will wander. Programs designed to assist in the monitoring and return of those who wander include MedicAlert® and Safe Return.®

Anyone who has trouble with memory is at risk for becoming lost even if they are in the early stages of a condition that causes dementia. This happens because people can get disoriented and confused about time and/or place.

The area in the brain that helps with wayfinding, navigating direction, and awareness of time (time of day, time of life, time of year) becomes affected by dementia and may no longer work as it used to.
Signs to look for that raise someone’s risk for potentially wandering or becoming lost include:

  • Returning from a regular walk or drive later than usual
  • Forgetting how to get to familiar places
  • Talking about fulfilling former obligations, such as going to work
  • Wanting to “go home,” even when they are already at home
  • Feelings of restlessness or physically pacing
  • Having difficulty locating familiar places inside their home
  • Looking for friends or family who live elsewhere
  • Acting as if they are doing a hobby or chore, but nothing gets accomplished
  • Becoming nervous or anxious in crowded areas, such as shopping malls or restaurants

#2 Paranoia

The medical dictionary defines paranoia as an unfounded or exaggerated distrust of others sometimes reaching delusional proportions. If a person is feeling paranoid, they will constantly suspect the motives of others around them and may believe certain individuals or others in general are, “Out to get them.”

Some probable causes of paranoia due to conditions of dementia include:

  • Attempting to fill in “story” for short term memory details that are no longer able to be remembered
  • Mistaking information that wasn’t comprehended accurately
  • Misidentifying people that I think I know or don’t know
  • Creating reasonable and rational conclusions to mistaken information or misidentified people
  • Forgetting where items have placed or hidden
  • Experiencing a generalized anxiety due to changes in cognitive ability

#3 Shadowing

Often, shadowing appears to be driven by the person’s anxiety and uncertainty. They may feel like their caregiver is the one safe and known aspect of their life; like a physical “life line” or “security blanket.” The minute a caregiver walks into a different ​room, or goes outside, or shuts a door to use the bathroom for example, the person with dementia may become afraid, unsure and upset.
Things that may help if you are someone’s lifeline:

  • Remember you provide a sense of safety and security
  • Provide a routine and structure for the day
  • Bring in other support people early on so it is normal to have other people around
  • Provide meaningful things to do that create give a sense of purpose and importance for a person throughout their day

#4 Sun-downing

Sun-downing is a symptom of many forms of dementia. It is also known as “late-day confusion.” If someone you care for has dementia, confusion and agitation may get worse in the late afternoon and evening often because a person is more tired and the brain is having difficulty with this transitional time of the day.
Reasons for sun-downing can include:

  • A feeling that I am supposed to go somewhere or change locations
  • A need for increased activity during the day
  • Observing or seeing other people leaving or ending work and going home
  • A change in diet –eating lighter evening meals can help
  • A need to reduce stress I might be experiencing throughout my day

The Orchard’s approach to care considers what is underneath behavioral expressions that can create challenging situations as described above. To find support or learn more about helpful approaches to these and other situations contact the staff of Orchard at Brookhaven.

Challenging Situations

Challenging Situations

There are many reasons why challenges occur when people are living with chronic health conditions or dementia. Body and brain change create frustrations that often present in behavior expressions that confuse or surprise us. Taking the time to assess what might be underneath a challenging situation can help.

The staff of Orchard at Brookhaven are both knowledgeable and trained with skills to minimize challenging situations and create more supportive environments. The following 7 factors are key considerations to use when working to problem solve an unexpected behavioral expression. Often there is more to the situation than meets the eye.

#1 Think About Who A Person Has Been Throughout Their Life

  • What type of personality do they have?
  • What are some of their personal preferences?
  • What family, friends, or kind of people do they feel most comfortable with?
  • Is the person an introvert or an extrovert?
  • Do they enjoy large group, small group, or one on one experiences?
  • Do they need alone time?
  • Do they really benefit from being around others?
  • What is their previous social history?
  • What is their professional history?
  • Are they early risers or do they prefer to stay up late?
  • What sort of activity do they like or dislike?
  • Do they enjoy music?
  • Do they enjoy animals?
  • Do they enjoy being outside?

Knowing who the person has been throughout their life is essential in supporting a person and discovering how to best meet their need.

#2 Remember The Body & Brain Are Changing

Part 2 of this blog will explore what could be happening suddenly, unknowingly, to a person’s physiology and causing unexpected change or challenges.

#3 Assessing The Living Space

  • Is a person set up for success in their living area?
  • Is it functional and safe at the same time?
  • Can they move around simply and safely?
  • Is there signage and is it easy to understand and follow?
  • Is the space adequate for multiple people?
  • Are the sound, light, surfaces or sitting areas, calming and supportive?
  • Are there unnecessary distractions?
  • Does the furniture and décor match the needs and abilities of the people living there?
  • Are there corridors or corners where someone may get lost or stuck?
  • Does the flow of space allow people to walk and move freely without getting terribly lost or confused?

#4 Review The Daily Routine & Planned Use Of Personal Time

  • Is there a flow or routine to a person’s day?
  • Are there opportunities for novel and new experiences?
  • Does the program offer lifestyle balance and allow a person to spend time in a variety of activities such as:
  • Rest and relaxation
  • Health and wellness
  • Leisure and fun
  • Productive and meaningful work/activities
  • Are there opportunities seven days a week and outside of 9-5 business hours?
  • How many support persons or staff members are participating?

#5 Care Partners & Family

  • Is continuing education provided for care partners or families who need to learn more?
  • Are there therapeutic support group opportunities for the person, family, or care partners?
  • What is the experience or skill level of those helping with a challenging situation?

#6 Healthcare & Wellness

  • What is the current status of the health condition?
  • Is a person in pain?
  • Are there taking new medications?
  • Are side effects developing due to long use of a medication or changing conditions?
  • Could vision, hearing, mouth or foot care be creating agitation or affecting quality of life?

#7 Type Of Dementia Or Changing Stage Of A Medical Condition’s Progression

  • Different conditions present different challenges.
  • Could there be something new developing?
  • Progression of a current condition can trigger new challenges.
  • Remember while diagnosis may be the same, experiences are always unique.
  • Solutions for one person may not work for another.

There are a lot of factors that come into play and need to be tuned into when someone is living with a chronic or progressive condition. There are senior living communities and professionals dedicated to problem solving and helping people thrive and have a wonderful quality of life no matter their health challenges or physical condition.

Orchard at Brookhaven is one such community. The executive director of Orchard is an aging and dementia specialist and has coached and trained front line professionals for over 10 years. The community development director serves residents and families as their personal advocate and has established unique affiliate partnerships to assure Orchard will provide ongoing support and education for community care partners, volunteers and families.

If you or someone you know is struggling with a challenging situation due to aging or a chronic condition such as dementia, Orchard can help. Schedule a complimentary consultation or contact the community for more information.

Music Benefits For Dementia

Music Benefits For Dementia

When someone is living we dementia we tend to look at how they are declining and where they are having difficulty. Orchard at Brookhaven is a new and dynamic senior living community in the Atlanta area that is focused on what people can do, and helps support people living with dementia or in need of assistance continue to be as active and in control of their lives as possible. In order for the staff to understand what someone can do, and how best to support them in their life, they must be trained and educated. The staff at Orchard will have intentional and directed on-going training to ensure that the residents in our community are supported and live a full life.

Many communities say that they provide and rich engagement program, however, on closer look, one may find that the activities that are provided look more like being on a cruise ship rather than living a fully engaged life. There are four categories of engagement to look for in senior living. Below is a short list to help determine if a community has a full engagement program.

Productive Engagement

Most people have been productive all of their life, going to work, raising a family, volunteering, etc. Are there opportunities to be productive and do these opportunities suit your interests and abilities?

Health and Wellness

Examples for health and wellness include:

  • Exercise
  • Meditation
  • Spirituality
  • Brain fitness
  • Educational opportunities

Rest and Restoration

This area covers opportunities and spaces to relax.


Examples of leisure include:

  • Social activities
  • Games
  • Outings
  • Concerts
  • Performances/ guest entertainers

Music can be included in each one of these categories because music is often a big part of our life. Music can remind us of special days or events. It connects us with emotions, helps us energize and also reduces stress.

Music Benefits For Dementia

One of the specific things that Orchard will provide to the residents are specific music programs. Why music? Because music has many benefits.

  • The part of the brain that involves music is less affected by dementia.
  • Dementia stimulates memory
  • People living with dementia are able to connect to music.
  • People living with dementia are able to sing even when they are unable to speak.
  • Music is a way to stay engaged and connected
  • Rhythm is used to help people move and communicate.
  • Music is connected to emotional memories.
  • Music has been proven to reduce stress.

Read more about how music boosts brain activity here

Types of Music For Dementia

Not just any music will do. Music is individual.

Most people have strong connections to music from their teenage years and young adulthood because this is the time in life when big events happen and when our hormones are changing. So even if the events were not really big, they felt like big events.

  • If someone was born in the 40’s, the music that they may resonate with the most will be music of the 50’s and 60’s.
  • If someone has been part of a religious community, this music can be a significant part of their life.
  • Music is individual and finding out which music a person likes is important.

An April 2018 study reports that “objective evidence from brain imaging shows personally meaningful music is an alternative route for communicating with patients who have Alzheimer’s disease.”

Orchard at Brookhaven believes it’s important to incorporate music for dementia care, and will incorporate the Music and Memory program. Music and Memory is an individual program designed to promote memories, engagement and a sense of well-being. Please contact us for more information about this program.

Dementia Holiday Tips

Holiday Tips For People Living With Dementia

When the holidays approach it can be a time of stress or of excited anticipation. When someone is living with dementia, the fact that there are a lot of expectations that come with the holidays, may add some extra stress. There are other things that may add stress to the holidays and being aware of these will help you prepare so that you can have the best possible outcome.

Dementia & The Holidays

Here are some things to consider for the holidays:

  • People living with dementia are more able to participate and connect with others in a familiar environment.
  • A change in environment is difficult for people living with dementia.
  • Travel can be stressful for people living with dementia
  • People living with dementia are more able to participate and connect with others with limited distractions
  • A change in routine is difficult for people living with dementia
  • People living with dementia may tire more easily due to the variety of activities and increased number of people at holiday events.
  • For the 50% of people living with dementia who know that they have more difficulty with things, it is important to provide a forgiving environment.

Tips For The Holidays

Here are some tips for people living with dementia:

  • Take some time out to relax
  • Do what you enjoy
  • Consider letting people know when you need a break or are having trouble
  • Make a list with your partner of what you would like to do this season
  • the list to help keep on track
  • Consider saying – “I know I know you, but I just can’t place you…” when someone greets you and you aren’t sure who they are to you
  • Watch or listen to old, familiar music, movies, TV programs that make you feel good
  • Get some exercise every day
  • Get plenty of water each day
  • Be careful about eating more sugar than normal

Holiday Tips For Dementia Care Partners

Here are some tips for care partners:

  • Keep gatherings smaller & visits shorter
  • Provide times for rest and ways to help the person living with dementia excuse themselves if feeling overwhelmed
  • Make a list of things you and your loved one can do
  • Help visitors know what is helpful for the person living with dementia
  • Encourage going out and doing something fun together rather than just talking
  • Ask visitors to bring old pictures, old familiar items or props, and be prepared to reminisce about old times
  • Take breaks from each other
  • Consider cutting back on traditions if they seem distressing
  • Help visitors out by introducing them with some orienting information, if they forget to do so
  • Get some exercise & take care of your stress levels
  • Get a ‘friend’ to help the person with dementia select gifts, shop, or do something special for loved ones, including you.

Visitors & The Holidays

Here are some things that visitors should consider:

  • Start your greeting by offering your hand in a handshake
  • Give people living with dementia approximately 9 seconds, giving them time to respond
  • Introduce yourself by name, if the person still doesn’t seem to ‘know’ you, give them a little more background
  • Use shorter phrases
  • Talk about the old times more than recent information
  • Keep memories positive if possible
  • Accept ‘general comments’, and don’t push for specifics
  • Go with the flow of the conversation, even if there are errors in speech or information
  • Be prepared to hear old stories over and over
  • Do something with the person rather than just talking to them
  • If the person says something distressing or seems worried about something, realize it may not be true, but they are not lying to you, their brain is lying to them. Check it out with the care partner before acting on it.

Knowing things that might increase stress will help you be prepared and proactive in helping everyone enjoy the holidays. Orchard at Brookhaven will be offering a special holiday event that will help you prepare a positive event for everyone. This session will be led by Dementia Specialist, trainer and consultant Leslie Finkely. Leslie has helped senior living communities and care partners create moments of joy for people living with dementia for over 15 years.

Dementia & Keeping Holiday Tradition

Dementia & Keeping Holiday Traditions

Holidays can be times filled with joy for many reasons, one being that we have the opportunity to participate in traditions. These traditions can be unique to our family, social organizations or groups, and community of faith. Traditions are kept for a reason. One of the best reasons to keep a tradition is because it fosters a sense of community, belonging, and connectedness. Often we are taught these traditions by our parents or grandparents, elders in our community, or family. So what happens when the people who have held and taught these time honored traditions begin to experience brain change? Do the changes and difficulties that can come with brain change impact our traditions? The answer is yes if we believe that our traditions must look the same to have the same outcome. But we all know that to help someone live well with brain change also means that those around them must do their best to make the necessary changes to help this happen.

How To Keep Holiday Traditions When Someone Has Dementia

Traditions can be extremely important to helping families living with brain change continue to stay connected and promote a sense of wellbeing within the family unit. This is also the case for social and religious communities. Because, after all, the most significant part of a tradition is connectedness.

If your family or community is experiencing brain change, meaning, if there is someone in that family or community who has brain change, then it will be important to look at the tradition and person with two sets of glasses.

One set of glasses is to look back at the past:

  • What has been important to the person living with brain change?
  • How they have participated in the tradition?
  • Is person was and is an extrovert or introvert and if they liked being the leader or spectator of the tradition?
  • Did they like to read the sacred story or say the prayers?
  • Did they like to light the candles or put the star on top of the tree?
  • Did they prepare the food or host the event?
  • Who have they been and who are they now?

The other set of glasses is to look at the present person:

  • Who are they now?
  • How does the person living with brain change respond to crowds of people?
  • Are they sensitive to light and noise?
  • Are they able to manage being around a lot of conversation or would they rather be with just one person?
  • What is their energy level and when would it be best to engage in an activity?
  • What kind of assistance do they respond to and will the people around them be able to engage appropriately?

We also want to look at the tradition itself.

Visual Symbols, Sights & Sounds


Someone living with brain change will need more visual cues, less verbal communication, and they will also benefit from our ability to tap into what is retained long into the process of brain change which includes prayer, rhythm, music, and poetry. Old familiar songs are retained until end of life. Singing the first verse to a familiar song may seem repetitive to you but it allows the persons living with brain change a way to tap into emotions, have moments of joy, and connect to what has been important to them throughout their life. Does your tradition have these pieces and therefore opportunities for the person to be involved and connected?

Think of your tradition, who the person has always been, how they have changed, and where they can be involved and connected. Can a person who has prepared food all of their life be involved in the preparation even if it is in mixing up a bowl of cookies that we may never eat or to tell us if the food smells good? Can the person hold onto the star and tell you if you have placed it properly on top of the tree? Can they hold and hand you the candles as you light the menorah?

Traditions, time honored ways of connecting to what is important in our life, and ways in which we keep families and communities together, can be used to fill our days with meaning and find moments of joy when we keep in mind what is most valuable about life.

Take a few moments and think about the traditions that you have in the holiday seasons ahead and plan for adjustments that will make your tradition be special. Remember that we have the healthy brains and are the ones that will be able to make the adjustments and changes that will help the person living with brain change continue to be connected to the traditions and people that they love.

Dementia – Evaluating & Adjusting Your Tradition

Questions to think about ahead of time as you prepare for a holiday season with brain change:

  • Who is the person living with brain change?
  • What kind of brain change is present? Abilities, needs such as different ways of communicating, assistance needed and ways to be engaged.
  • What is happening with health and wellness?
  • Are there new physical challenges that will need some adjustments like time of day, energy level, medication interaction, and/or side effects that may change someone’s ability to be part of the tradition?
  • Who has been involved and what was their participation?
  • Does any of this require adjustments and what would those adjustments look like?
  • Can the person living with dementia participate in the same way or do they require the just right assistance so that they still feel valued and important?
  • Is the environment friendly, familiar, functional, and forgiving?
  • What are the sights, sounds, smells, and feel of the environment, and will they be overwhelming to the person living with brain change or can you modify them to help make the experience positive?

Finally, we want to think about time:

  • The time of day and is it the best time of day for the person living with dementia?
  • What is their energy level and need for rest?
  • How will you help the person living with dementia transition into and out of the tradition and what will the flow of the day look like?

Remember that we all like to spend our days in a combination of rest, wellness, productivity, and leisure. For the person living with dementia, being able to spend time in all four of these ways of engagement is important as well. However, people living with brain change will need assistance for this to happen and for them to spend as little time waiting for us to help them stay engaged is of vital importance.

Our relationships and connectedness to who and what holds value and meaning can remain a source of joy when we take into account what we know about our past, when we make accommodations for and celebrate our present, and when we acknowledge and adjust for our future. The staff of Orchard at Brookhaven hope that you have a wonderful season of meaningful and happy traditions and invite you on December 12 at 7:00 pm to Strategies to Increase Joy and Decrease Stress during the holidays. This special session will be Led by Executive Director, Leslie Finkley, who is a dementia specialist.

Dementia & Faith

Dementia & Communities of Faith

If you or your loved one are a person who has always been involved in a community of faith, it will be important to look for senior living that enables you to stay connected to your home community of faith or be given the opportunity to be part of a new community of faith. Many times communities that provide support for people living with dementia either neglect this important aspect of life or only provide one type of service for their residents. There are many different types of faith communities even within the same religion, so finding a community that provides a variety of experiences is key. And finding a staff that is committed to finding ways to be involved in spiritual life can be a significant factor in a person’s overall well-being.

Importance of Spirituality

Spirituality is very important to people living with dementia. If a person has been involved in a faith tradition throughout their life, this faith tradition continues to be important even when they are living with dementia.

Here are some practical reasons why these traditions continue to be important include:

  • Routine and rituals provide opportunities to utilize memories that are attached to emotion.
  • Routine and rituals provide opportunities to utilize memories that are held in long term memory.
  • People living with dementia are more successful in activities that have a routine.
  • People living with dementia are able to sing familiar songs even when they have difficulty with speech.
  • People living with dementia are able to say familiar prayers even when they have difficulty with speech.

Some other reasons why these traditions continue to be important include:

  • Spirituality is the experience of something greater than our- selves and this is not affected by dementia.
  • Our spirit is not affected by brain changes.
  • Spiritual experiences can be both communal and individual.
  • Feeling connected is important for all people.
  • Being with people who offer a safe place to be, such as a community of faith is very nurturing and promotes health.

Faith Communities & Dementia Support

Here are some reasons why it’s important for faith communities to be involved with people living with dementia:

  • Provides the community the opportunity to live out their message of the tradition.
  • Provides the community the opportunity to practice forgiveness and love.
  • Helps dispel the myth that people living with dementia are “not in there”.
  • Provides the opportunity to learn from others and learn how to be with someone who has different abilities.
  • Providing support to families.

Stories of Those Living With Dementia

Above are some practical reasons why faith traditions are important for people living with dementia but the reasons that have the most impact are the stories of people living with dementia, which include:

  • When I had a stroke and was confined to a wheelchair no one acknowledged me when I went to church.
  • When I left my job because I had dementia I lost my purpose in life but I find purpose in my community of faith.
  • The music is very important to me.
  • I just want to be greeted and treated like a real person.
  • I cannot do all of the things I used to do at my church but I still sing in the choir and when I make a mistake we just keep singing.
  • Listen to us and hear what we are going through.
  • I just need someone to help me know what to do during the service.
  • Know that I am still here, I am the same person you knew before dementia.

Communities of faith have the opportunity to help these statements turn into positive experiences. Orchard at Brookhaven recently offered a community event on spirituality and dementia because Orchard is committed to providing a holistic approach to senior living in Atlanta. We will provide transportation for residents to continue to be part of their community of faith and also provide in house services of various traditions.

Dementia Support Atlanta

Dementia Support Tips

There are a lot of communities that say they provide dementia support. Many of these communities are called Memory Care because one of the abilities that changes when someone is living with dementia is that they lose recent information and memory. But what makes a good dementia care community and what questions do you want to be sure to ask when interviewing a potential Memory Care community in Atlanta? Below are categories of questions and tips to consider when searching for a dementia care community in Atlanta.

Purpose of the Community

Here are some things to consider in regards to purpose for memory care communities:

  • What is the mission of the community?
  • What will I see in this community that is consistent with this mission?
  • Where are the offices of the leadership and how often will I see them in the living areas when visiting the community?


Here are some things to consider in regards to staffing for memory care communities:

  • What is the retention rate of staff?
  • What is the ratio of staff to resident and does this exceed the state and national standard?
  • What is the training for the staff and does this exceed the state and national standard?
  • Is there continuing education for the staff?
  • What can I expect to see from the staff when supporting my loved one?
  • What qualifications do the different staff roles have and does this exceed the state standard?
  • Does the staff ratio vary on different shifts?
  • What does the staffing look like on weekends?
  • Are there opportunities for staff to engage with families?
  • Is there consistency of support from staff with the residents that is supported in their schedule and assignments?
  • Does that staff do more than personal and medical care such as various types of engagement opportunities throughout the day?
  • Who from the staff communicates with the family and how often?

Additional Support

Here are some general things to consider about memory care communities:

  • What outside services are provided and is this included in our monthly fee?
  • When is additional support needed?
  • Who provides this support?
  • What is the cost of this support?
  • Is the family notified if additional support is needed?
  • What is the procedure when a resident may be in need of additional support?


Engagement is an important part for dementia support, here are some things to consider when searching for a memory care community in Atlanta:

  • What is the staffing that provide engagement for the residents?
  • Are the families provided the schedule for the month?
  • Are families encouraged to participate in celebrations and daily activities?
  • Are the residents provided the opportunity to be engaged in activities that promote well-being; leisure, rest, health and wellness and productive activities?
  • Does the programming reflect individual preferences, and skills?
  • What is the method to discover and match these preferences and skills?


Many dementia support communities in Atlanta state that they are secure, but what does that really mean?

  • What are the measures that the community has to ensure security and safety when someone is living with dementia?
  • Is the community secure with locked doors that have access to the outside?
  • Is there a pass code?
  • Do the doors open when pressure is maintained on the door?

There are a lot of variables to consider when looking at senior living in Atlanta. Orchard at Brookhaven is an intentional community that is being developed to provide the best dementia support in Atlanta. We are also committed to being a community resource and welcome any and all inquiries for assistance and support with your search to find the community that is right for you.

Communicating with someone living with Dementia

Dementia Communication Techniques

Communicating Effectively With A Person Living With Dementia

Communicating with someone living with dementia can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. When someone has dementia, many things are changing in their brain and one of them is that dementia affects the temporal lobe which is the primary place where language is located. When the temporal lobe is affected by dementia, people will begin to have difficulty finding words, understanding what words mean, and also have more difficulty talking and forming words. And yet, even though people living with dementia may not be able to understand others or express themselves like they were able to before they had dementia, they are still able to communicate with us, if we know how to make some simple adjustments to how we interact. 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 Brookhaven is a senior living community near Atlanta that has specialize 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 – Keep Providing Support

The forth 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 Brookhaven is a new assisted living community in Atlanta 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.

Different Types of Dementia

Different Types Of Dementia

What is Dementia?

The changes that happen in the brain with dementia affect the way someone experiences life and affects the way someone is able to interact with the world around them. Orchard at Brookhaven is a dedicated assisted living community that specializes in dementia care in Atlanta. The staff will be specifically trained and prepared to support someone living with dementia.

Dementia is a neurocognitive disorder that encompasses over 100 types of brain change. This article will touch on the four main categories of dementia including:

  1. Alzheimers
  2. Lewy Body
  3. Vascular
  4. Frontal Temporal


Alzheimers begins with damage to the hippocampus and the person usually begins to have difficulty with learning new information and forming new memories. People living with Alzheimers may also have difficulty with directions and can get lost easily as well as have difficulty with time. Difficulty with time could involve being accurate about how much time has passed, time of day, and also being accurate about the time of life. Someone living with Alzehimers may, for instance, think that they are in a different time of their life and become confused about the people in their life. For example, someone may think that their grandson is their husband. This can be a very difficult thing for families.

Alzheimers can include:

  • Loss of new information
  • Decline of recent memory
  • Problems finding words
  • Getting lost
  • Becoming indecisive

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Vascular Dementia

In vascular dementia, the brain is affected by events such as TIA, or what is commonly called a mini stroke. This can be caused by cardiovascular issues that affect the blood and oxygen flow to the brain. Vascular dementia varies depending on where the event has occurred.

Vascular Dementia is a result of cardiovascular issues and can include:

  • Sudden changes in abilities
  • Emotional and energy shifts
  • Change in judgement

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Frontal Temporal Dementia

Frontal Temporal Dementia affects the prefrontal cortex that controls judgement, impulse control, self- awareness, decision making and being able to start and complete a task. People living with FTD may lose their initiative to take part in past hobbies or tasks. The Temporal lobe controls language and people may have non fluent aphasia or fluent aphasia. A person with non- fluent aphasia has difficulty forming words.  A person with fluent aphasia has difficulty with comprehension, they make errors such as pointing to their mouth when asked to point to their foot.

Frontal Temporal Dementia can include:

  • Loss of Impulse control
  • Saying mean or rude things to others
  • Change in behavior
  • Dis-inhibition with food, sex, emotions, actions
  • Difficulty with finding words
  • Difficulty with understanding the meaning of words
  • Difficulty saying words
  • Forms words that we cannot understand

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Lewy Body

Lewy Body can resemble Parkinson’s disease. It affects the ability to move and use fine motor skills and can create sleep disturbances such as nightmares and hallucinations. It is important to know if your loved one has Lewy Body because this dementia reacts differently to commonly used medications for dementia and can have a toxic effect.

Lewy Body Dementia can include:

  • Sleep disturbances and nightmares
  • Movement problems
  • Fine motor problems with hands and swallowing
  • Episodes of syncope and rigidity
  • Hallucinations
  • Drug interactions can be extreme with Lewy Body

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If you have any questions, please go to the links shared in this article. For those looking for an assisted living facility in Atlanta, you can contact Orchard at Brookhaven and someone will be able to share more information with you and guide you to the appropriate support.

Dementia and Wandering

Dementia And Wandering

Have you ever wondered why people living with dementia wander and get lost? There can be several reasons why people living with dementia wander and can get lost, and in this article we look to cover a few of them.

Brain Change Impacting Navigation

One reason is that the part of the brain that helps in navigation starts to have difficulty and the person is unable to find their way from a familiar place to an unfamiliar place and back. They can also have directional challenges that cause confusion and disorientation.

Brain Change Impacting Assessment of Time

Difficulty with understanding, recognizing and measuring time can be another reason why someone wanders. If a change occurs in the ability to measure time, someone may not know how much time has passed since they left the house, or may think that their loved one has been away for a long time when in fact it could only be that they just left the house. They might also have trouble knowing the time of day and think it is time to go to work or the store, club, or church when it is the middle of the night. They also might think that they are in a different time of their life and think they need to pick up their children from school or go to work, or think they are on vacation and set out to go to the beach.

Unfilled Relationship Need

Someone living with dementia may wander and get lost because they are looking for someone or something to do. We all have the need to be in relationship and to be engaged in different kinds of activities throughout our day. If someone is lonely, sad or scared, they may begin to look for someone to fill that need. If someone is bored, or is looking for something to engage them, they may set out to fulfill that need.

Wandering happens for a reason and it is important to try and find out what the person is thinking and or looking for in order to be able to help them stay safe and in the home. If you have someone who has wandered away from the home, it is time to call a professional to help make the assessment of whether that person is still safe in the home before a crisis happens. Orchard at Brookhaven can help you make this assessment.