College Park Retirement Blog
Memory Care

Memory Care (8)

We never grow too old to laugh, or to savor life’s little moments. The way we respond to stimuli may change through the years, but it’s always possible to find joy in the present moment. That’s why a good senior living community focuses, not only on physical health and wellness, but quality of life, too. Like author Phillip Pullman said, “After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.”

That’s why many retirement communities are starting to incorporate storytelling as a way to engage seniors with dementia and Alzheimer’s. Instead of focusing on the stress of recalling facts and details that might be just out of reach, storytelling is a more expansive process that embraces the imagination. That creates an easy way for seniors to share their thoughts, feelings, sense of humor, and even distant associations, without as much pressure to fulfill expectations, social roles, and keep track of shifting memories.

One of the major benefits of assisted living is the opportunity to socialize, communicate, and avoiding the isolation and loneliness that can limit seniors quality of life. Storytelling is a great way to include memory care patients in the community and help them avoid becoming withdrawn from the stress of word acquisition and recalling names, dates, or other details.

Indianapolis dementia care activitiesThe process works like this: a trained professional, or even just an enthusiastic caregiver, can show individuals or groups pictures of people, animals, or different situations. Participants can then be invited to imagine a world around each image. What are the people in the pictures are doing? What their lives are like? A man in a business suit, for example, might be imagined to be on his way to work. Or residents might picture him on a top secret spy mission. Or headed home to his family. The possibilities are endless—as diverse as the seniors participating in the exercise.

Participants might not be able to tell you the name of their former coworkers, but they may remember how they felt about their business partner and ascribe that to the man in the photo, for example, or give him some of the same characteristics. Talking through those possibilities provides a great topic of discussion that is not only a cognitive workout, but keeps residents grounded in the present moment.

Similar storytelling exercises can incorporate music or even dance—anything that uses seniors’ natural creativity to share what they’re thinking and feeling with their friends and loved one. You could try painting or drawing what a song makes you see or feel. Or take a trip to a local museum and talk about what the people in the portraits on display are thinking about, while they were being painted. There are so many different possibilities, and such simple activities can have a surprisingly big impact on retirement home residents’ sense of agency and joy.

Written by: Meghan O’Dea

memory care indianapolisThere are many theories as to why human beings evolved to play, listen to, and love music. Some think it was a way males to attract mates or for mothers to sooth children. Others think music has always been the way we communicate oral history or stay awake on guard shifts around the camp fire. One thing’s for sure, scientists have found evidence of musical instruments that are over 40,000 years old. There are specific centers of the brain that are primed to not only respond to music, but stimulate other areas of the brain and body when music is playing.

At all ages and stages of life, we as humans have a developed a profound affinity for music. Babies who have not yet learned to talk will giggle, babble, and dance when listening to their favorite songs. Anyone who has ever had a toddler knows how much little ones’ love to repeat their favorite tunes over and over. As adults, we love to turn on a song that matches our mood after a bad day or amp up a workout with a motivating playlist. And as seniors, music can help us stay in touch with our long and middle term memories, which provide much needed access to parts of the brain that often slow down or shrink with age.

All sorts of cognitive stimulation are crucial to those living with memory care disorders. That’s why many memory care facilities are carefully designed to minimize potential of confusion, to have bright, stimulating colors, or to even evoke familiar settings from residents’ pasts, like old soda shops or mid-century towns. Many who work with dementia and Alzheimer’s patients recommend surrounding those affected with familiar objects—favorite clothes, pillows, photographs, and other personal affects. Even if the senior is having trouble remembering certain details, like who is in the photo, it still has positive associations.

Because dementia and Alzheimer’s can affect language processing, memory, and the ability to handle daily routines, it can be very isolating. In addition, studies have identified self-perception of loneliness and isolation contribute to the buildup of amyloid in the brain, which is linked to dementia, linking to a lack of socialization and stimulation. That’s where music can come in. Because music is quite possibly such a huge part of the human experience because it enhances communication, emotion, and memory, it is also a great way to bridge the social gap that many with memory disorders find between themselves, loved ones, and caregivers. Caregivers of those with dementia often find themselves feeling someone isolated, too. Music can be a point of connection that eases the stress and strain for everyone involved.

Listening to a loved one’s favorite songs can literally make them feel young again, lighting up old memories, feelings, and associations. Listening to music together can also provide talking points that are free from the mundane of daily routines and medication schedules. You can dance together, draw pictures of what the lyrics and sounds make you feel or think of, or chat about the musician, the rhythm, etc. You can even sing along!

Studies and stories from memory care providers have shown that even deeply withdrawn patients can become quite animated when their favorite songs are played, sharing details and opinions about the music when they rarely speak up on any subject. While not everyone is guaranteed to have such a dramatic response, it is amazing to see how music can affect us at all stages, and the way it can bring joy to everyone from youth to seniors.

Monday, 25 April 2016 17:47

Alzheimer’s Early Detection – What to Know

Written by

While Alzheimer’s is not the only form of dementia, it is the most common, accounting for 60 – 80% of all dementia cases. Seniors 65 and older are typically the group of people affected by this type of dementia, but that does not make it a normal part of aging. It only means that increased age is the greatest risk factor known at this time.

Typically, age-related memory loss is normal to a certain extent. While many of these lapses in memory are normal, it is important to be aware of signs and symptoms of early Alzheimer’s, as it may be difficult to otherwise distinguish between the two. Alzheimer’s can cause a loved one to develop memory, thinking, and behavioral problems, which increasingly worsen over time and can eventually affect their ability to function in daily life.

So, how do you differentiate between them? Here are a few examples:

Symptoms of early Alzheimer's                                 Typical age-related memory loss

Changes in decision-making abilities/ Poor judgment       Occasionally making a poor decision  

Difficulty managing a monthly budget                           Forgetting to pay a bill once

Difficulty keeping track of what season it is                   Forgetting what day it is then remembering

Difficulty following or maintaining a conversation            Difficulty with trying to find the right word

Placing things in unusual places and then not                Misplacing things occasionally 
being able to retrace steps to locate them

More warning signs include: difficulty completing familiar daily tasks, spending more time than usual to do familiar things, forgetting how to play a favorite game, not knowing where they are or how they got there, difficulty retaining newly learned information, problems with vision and judging distance, personality and mood changes, and withdrawing from social activities and hobbies.

You may be thinking to yourself that your loved one has exhibited one or more of those signs. Before assuming the worst, it is also important to note that there are many reasons that a senior could be experiencing abnormal memory loss. For example, some seniors may be experiencing symptoms that are caused by a treatable condition like thyroid problems, drug interactions, substance or alcohol abuse, depression, and even a vitamin deficiency.memory care indianapolis

Individuals can experience one or more of these signs to varying degrees, and they develop slowly over time, making early detection very important. That is why it is essential to call your doctor if you notice a loved one exhibiting any of these symptoms, as well as be completely open with the doctor during the examination.

Although there is not yet a cure for Alzheimer’s, there is continued research and treatment that is available to slow the progression and worsening of symptoms. If diagnosed early enough, this will help improve the quality of life for your loved one and caregiver, as well as prolong levels of independence.

Broaching the topic takes delicacy, and may be uncomfortable for your loved one. But early diagnosis is key in order to plan ahead and allow the senior to make their wishes known regarding their future medical care and living arrangements.

Morningside of College Park Retirement Community offers our experience and resources to care for those with Alzheimer's and other memory-related challenges. The Reflections Centre offers the finest care for your loved one, and our staff is trained by our local Alzheimer's Association.

Alzheimer’s is only one form of dementia, and it has many myths and stereotypes associated with it, so it is always best to seek a professional opinion in order to determine the cause of the memory loss. The Alzheimer’s Association also offers helpful information regarding symptoms, research, treatment, and support.

Visit their website for more information: http://www.alz.org/ 

To learn more about Morningside of College Park, call (844) 511-3456.

Written by Kristen Camden

Monday, 30 November 2015 17:26

Reflections Centre Provides Indianapolis Memory Care

Written by

alzheimers care indianapolisWhen a senior’s confusion and memory loss advances from mild to more serious, it’s important to see a doctor and get a diagnosis so that planning for the challenges of the future lessens the stress of uncertainty for those concerned.

Planning after the diagnosis allows the person with Alzheimer’s to participate in making decisions that help family and friends to know his or her wishes. Research helps the person know what to expect. Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, a general term for memory loss and other intellectual abilities serious enough to interfere with daily life. It goes beyond simply having a few “senior moments” of forgetfulness.

Symptoms include:

  • Memory changes.
  • Difficulty planning or problem solving.
  • Difficulty completing familiar tasks.
  • Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps.
  • Social withdrawal.
  • Changes in mood and personality.

The Alzheimer’s Association recommends consulting a medical doctor as soon as possible after recognizing symptoms for a thorough examination to rule out other possible causes for symptoms, then, once a diagnosis is confirmed, an attorney to assist with getting affairs in order.

It’s possible for someone with Alzheimer’s to live for several years after the first symptoms appear, but as the disease progresses, a person may lose his or her capacity to understand the appreciate the consequences of any executed legal document. Legal documents help ensure wishes are followed and make it possible for others to make decisions on a senior’s behalf when he or she no longer can. “Power of Attorney for health care” is a status that allows a designated person to make decisions regarding doctors, treatments, care facilities, end-of-life care decisions, and do not resuscitate orders.

It’s also important, according to the Alzheimer’s Association, to choose a trusted person to give durable power of attorney for finances and property. Failing to do this until a crisis hits can complicate matters in managing assets. AA also recommends drafting a living will and a standard will.

Gather all important documents that family may need to refer to. Having handy access to critical information can help family who may feel overwhelmed with the changes. It is completely normal, according to AA, for the adjustment to produce a variety of emotions, but there’s no reason to feel alone with resources and solutions available to help.

One such solution is Reflections Centre, our secure community for memory care with staff specially trained by the local Alzheimer's Association. Reflections Centre offers a safe, secure environment, complete with an enclosed outdoor courtyard. In a structured setting, the affected senior can maintain their dignity and comfort.

“Getting people to help you with certain tasks works better with a well-thought-out plan rather than trying to find help in an emergency situation. This plan will provide you — and the people assisting you — with confidence that the assistance you need will be there when you need it,” states advice on the Alzheimer’s Association website, www.alz.org
To learn more about Reflections Centre at MorningSide, call (844) 511-3456. To learn more about your local Alzheimer’s Association, the Greater Indiana Chapter, visit http://www.alz.org/indiana/

Note: The advice offered here is not a replacement for medical care or legal counsel. Always seek an expert opinion from your physician and attorney in such matters.

Written by Steven Stiefel

Tuesday, 22 September 2015 17:52

Save the Date

Written by

savethedate1

 

 

savethedate2

Friday, 29 August 2014 12:19

Regency Morningside Offering Respite Care

Written by

Indianapolis retirement communityMorningSide of College Park is proud to offer Respite care among our services. Respite refers to short-term, temporary relief to those who are caring for family members who might otherwise require permanent placement in a facility outside the home. Respite gives family members a break and support so they can continue to take joy in providing care to their loved ones so they can remain at home.

MorningSide opened our new memory care unit, Reflections, earlier this year. “We offer respite for families who need somewhere for their loved one to be safe and cared for while they take a vacation, go to a business meeting, etc.  Our respite rooms are beautifully furnished and those who participate in our program receive the same love, care and support as our residents,” said Susan Albers, the Executive Director of MorningSide of College Park.

She said families feel comfort knowing they aren’t in their situation alone. “Many families have faced the challenge of seeing a loved one decline due to dementia.  There is a great deal of support, encouragement and care for both the person with dementia and his or her loved one(s) dealing with it,” Albers said.

The first step to providing compassionate care to those needing respite care is understanding what’s happening. It is such a challenge because often the people we love who become forgetful aren’t aware.  The greater opportunity is understanding. 

“The brain is amazing. The one thing it isn’t is a library,” Albers said. “I remember hearing a geriatrician speak one time about this. He offered the following analogy: ‘There is no Dewey Decimal System in our brain.  When our brain hears a piece of information, it stores it anywhere it can find a place.  As we age our brain becomes increasingly filled with all sorts of information, helpful or not. When we try to retrieve that information, it just isn’t there. Later — and it can be even hours or days — that word or name you were trying to remember suddenly pops into your mind. And you didn’t think you were still trying.  It just took longer to find!  All of that time your brain was searching.’

A person’s thinking process changes when they develop dementia. “The way they understand and communicate information becomes foreign to us, so it is hard for us to accept.  They find it hard to make decisions, put the correct combinations together or follow a process.”

She said some ways the staff at MorningSide can help include offering them a choice of two things (“Would you like to wear the green blouse or the yellow one?”). Or helping them make choices or cue them on a process. 

“And all through this transition, we as family members and friends are grieving the person he or she once was. The journey doesn’t have to be dismal. There are wonderful times to be had… especially if you don’t try to go it alone. A lot of stress is placed on a family that is facing a loved one diagnosed with dementia. As the disease progresses it becomes a 24/7 job. However, there are great opportunities for assistance and support.”

For a list of support groups, go to www.alz.org/indiana. For information about MorningSide’s Reflections Memory Care, please call us at (317) 872-4567 or see our website at http://www.morningsideofcollegepark.com.

Thursday, 31 July 2014 16:52

Coping with an Alzheimer's Diagnosis

Written by

memory care IndaianapolisThey are referred to as “senior moments”, but everyone is forgetful some of the time.

In contrast, Alzheimer’s and dementia cause significant impairment of memory, ability to communicate, ability to focus and pay attention, reason and judgment, and visual perception. People suffering from dementia have problems with their short-term memory, keeping track of their wallet, remembering doctor’s appointments, or taking care of themselves.

Other symptoms include withdrawing from social activities, confusion with time or place, difficulty completing familiar tasks, and changes in mood and personality.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, more than 5 million Americans are living with the Alzheimer’s disease, two-thirds of them female. About 11% of Indiana seniors have Alzheimer’s disease.

By 2050, the number of people age 65 and older with Alzheimer's may nearly triple, from 5 million to as many as 16 million, barring the development of medical breakthroughs to prevent, slow or stop the disease.

The diagnosis of dementia is scary and tragic, but there is hope and you aren’t alone.

At Morningside of College Park Senior Living Community, we operate a special unit for those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. We call it the Reflections Centre.

The specially trained, compassionate caregivers at Reflections listen to family members and learn as much as possible about their loved one so we can create a program of care and support for them. Research shows that people with memory impairments function better in an environment of simplicity, with less confusion and a structured routine.

The Reflections Centre offers a safe, secure environment, complete with an enclosed outdoor courtyard. Visitors may only enter through our front atrium entrance. All the side doors are locked and secure. The main entrance is open until 10 p.m. each day. Our building is staffed 24-hours a day. This is important because people with Alzheimer’s disease have been known to wander off in a confused state and end up in places they did not plan to go.

Reflections Centre helps the person with dementia keep track of things in the absence of good judgment. Residents enjoy three delicious meals and snacks daily, assistance with dressing, bathing & grooming, medication management, weekly housekeeping and laundry services, and daily activities.

Family members are invited to participate in a thorough evaluation of a resident’s physical needs when we talk with the primary care physician or specialist to learn about any recent or long-standing medical conditions. Some treatable conditions such as depression can occasionally be mistaken for dementia, so a thorough evaluation and the proper care plan are vital.

For more information about our Reflections Centre, call our director, leasing and marketing at 317-872-4567 or visit http://morningsideofcollegepark.com/index.php/indianapolis-retirement-home-amenities/memory-care-retirement-facility-indianapolis for more information.

Further reading:

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

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

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

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

Photo Credit: Kyrre Gjerstad via Compfight cc

Monday, 29 April 2013 11:59

You Can Get Smarter As You Age

Written by

Richard Restak, author of Think Smart: A Neuroscientist's Prescription for Improving Your Brain's Performance explained that aging and memory loss do not have to go hand in hand. In fact, according to Restak, “as we get older, we can still get smarter.” How you accomplish this is a matter of approaching memory as a skill you can develop with practice, or a health condition you can maintain with the right balance of self-care. Here are our top tips for maintaining your memory:

  • happy Senior couple using tablet pcMake self care a priority. That means embracing stress-reducing treatments like yoga, meditation, or massage. Don’t think of it as indulgence, but as therapies to help you function physically, emotionally, and mentally at your best. The less stress, the more mental energy to have to dedicate to things like taking in your surroundings, living fully in the present moment, and remembering the world around you.
  • Make exercise part of your routine. Some level and type of physical activity every day will improve your overall health, physical AND mental. Not only will exercise reduce stress and flood your body with positive chemicals like endorphins, it will increase the rate at which your body circulates oxygen and nutrients, including through your brain. A little effort goes a long way.
  • Make room for your social life. There’s no end to the benefits of an active social life, even for introverts. People introduce you to new ideas, situations, activities, and events. They give you someone to talk to and make new memories with. The pleasure of companionship can also reduce stress. The more you engage with the world around you, the better your memory function will be. Isn’t it better to engage with a friend?
  • Make time to for learning. Think about how much toddlers learn each and every day, at the exact same time their brains are physically growing and developing at an unprecedented rate. Learning gives our brains a reason to grow new connections and increase electrical activity, which is wonderful at any age. Give your brain a reason to grow and stay strong by picking up a new hobby, learning a new skill like a musical instrument or crafts, reading new books, or taking classes at your local college.
  • Make something new every day. Whether it’s taking different streets on your way to your grand children’s house, working on a painting, trying a new recipe, gardening, or meeting new friends, make something new and exciting happen every day. While routines can help you remember things, new experiences give your mind the exercise and stimulation it needs to stay healthy and strong.

You have a wonderful opportunity in your seniors years—the time for new pursuits and explorations, and the chance to take on new challenges. These opportunities are wonderful not only for enjoying yourself, but also for preserving your memory function and even improving it. Try one or all of these suggestions today to make the most of each day.

Written by Meghan O'Dea

Request Information