Monthly Archives: September 2015

Glossary of Alzheimer’s & Related Terms

Activities of Daily Living (ADLs)
Personal care activities necessary for everyday living, such as eating, bathing, grooming, dressing and using the toilet.

Adult Day Services
Programs that provide participants with opportunities to interact with others, usually in a community center or dedicated facility.

Advance Directive (also called as a living will)
A document written when in “good” health that informs your family and health care providers of your wishes for extended medical treatment in times of emergency.

Alzheimer’s Disease
A progressive and fatal disease in which nerve cells in the brain degenerate and brain matter shrinks, resulting in impaired thinking, behavior and memory.

Medications used to treat depression. Antidepressants are not addictive; they do not make you “high,” have a tranquilizing effect or produce a craving for more. They can cause drowsiness and other side effects.

A feeling of apprehension, fear, nervousness or dread accompanied by restlessness or tension.

Lack of interest, concern or emotion.

Difficulty understanding the speech of others and/or expressing oneself verbally.

Case Management
A term used to describe formal services planned by care professionals.

The loss of mental functions, such as thinking, memory and reasoning, severe enough to interfere with a person’s daily functioning. Dementia is not a disease itself, but rather a group of symptoms that may accompany certain disease or conditions. Symptoms also may include changes in personality, mood and behavior. Dementia is irreversible when caused by disease or injury, but may be reversible when caused by drugs, alcohol, hormone or vitamin imbalances, or depression. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia.

A clinical mood disorder that prevents a person from leading a normal life. Types of depression include: major depression, bipolar depression, chronic low-grade depression (dysthymia) and seasonal depression (seasonal-affective disorder or SAD).

Early-onset Alzheimer’s Disease
An unusual form of Alzheimer’s disease in which individuals are diagnosed before age 65. Less than 10 percent of all Alzheimer’s disease patients have early-onset. Early-onset Alzheimer’s disease sometimes is associated with mutations in genes located on chromosomes 1, 14 and 21.

An individual appointed by the courts who is authorized to make legal and financial decisions for another person.

A sensory experience in which a person can see, hear, smell, taste or feel something that is not there.

Loss of bladder and/or bowel control.

Aimless wandering or walking back and forth, often triggered by an internal stimulus, such as pain, hunger or boredom, or by some distraction in the environment such as noise, odor or temperature.

Suspicion of others that is not based on fact.

Parkinson’s Disease
A progressive, neurodegenerative disease with an unknown cause characterized by the death of nerve cells in a specific area of the brain. People with Parkinson’s disease lack the neurotransmitter dopamine and have symptoms such as tremors, speech impediments, movement difficulties and often dementia later in the course of the disease.

Unsettled behavior evident in the late afternoon or early evening.


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What is Memory Support?

Memory Support is a set of services specifically designed to assist patients with Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia. These services will differ from one provider to another, but will generally focus on neurological support and care, helping patients to maintain their quality of life.

Memory support services include:

  • Residential living communities designed for ease of navigation, safety and comfort.
  • Resident participation in everyday routines like setting the table, cooking, baking, folding clothes, etc. to promote skill retention
  • Assistance with personal hygiene.
  • Structured social activities such as gardening and group discussions.
  • Structured activities to encourage sensory engagement: fitness, cognitive stimulation; music, art, horticultural and pet therapies, group discussion, and more.
  • Assistance with medication.
  • Qualified professionals for physical, occupational and speech therapists therapies, if required.

Residences for individuals needing memory support are specifically designed to be a comfortable home environment with unobtrusive safety features, including:

  • Nurse call and wander management systems.
  • Easy-to-navigate open plan spaces.
  • 24-hour home emergency alert systems.
  • Fire safety sprinkler systems and smoke alarms.
  • Licensed nursing staff on duty 24-hours a day.
  •  Monitoring of residents’ condition.

Flexible, High Quality Memory Care and Support Services in New Jersey

At United Methodist Homes in New Jersey, our priority is the comfort, safety and independence of our Alzheimer’s and dementia residents. With comprehensive memory care and support programs designed for mental and physical stimulation as well as enjoyment, your loved one will be part of a community that accepts, understands and effectively manages his or her unique needs. Our caring staff is experienced in providing the best quality care and companionship to residents and is an integral part of helping your loved one achieve the best quality of life.

To find out more about our services for individuals with Alzheimer’s, please contact UMH today or visit

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What are the Symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease?

Alzheimer’s disease is a neurodegenerative condition which affects the brain and its ability to function normally in areas such as memory, problem solving and language. Generally, it occurs in people over the age of 65, although in some cases, people develop it in their 40s and 50s. As one of the leading causes of dementia, it is estimated that Alzheimer’s affects around 5 million Americans – a number that is expected to increase as our population ages.

Early signs of Alzheimer’s include:

  • Memory lapses (for example, forgetting where you’ve put something in the house).
  • Forgetting recent events.
  • Getting lost on routes which should be familiar.
  • Missing important appointments or special events.
  • Difficulty recalling a name or word in conversation.

As this is a progressive disease, later symptoms are much more severe:

  • The inability to follow a conversation.
  • Unnecessarily repeating things in conversation.
  • Difficulty carrying out a set of instructions or routine (getting dressed, folding clothes, cooking, etc.).
  • Dramatic personality changes, occasionally accompanied by aggression, irritation and depression.
  • Problems judging distances, navigating physical obstacles and seeing in three-dimensions.
  • Difficulty concentrating.
  • Confusion over dates, times and locations.

The Difference Between Dementia and Alzheimer’s

Dementia is a category of symptoms grouped around the ability to perform mental tasks, while Alzheimer’s is a disease that has symptoms which fall into the dementia category. There are many forms of dementia, some of which can be treated very successfully. Unfortunately, there is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s and scientists aren’t sure exactly what causes the disease, although genetics, hypertension and the aging process itself are known to be risk factors.

Memory Care and Support Services from United Methodist Homes of New Jersey

At United Methodist Homes of New Jersey, we understand that caring for a loved one who has Alzheimer’s can be stressful and emotionally draining and, as the disease progresses, it may become impossible for you to manage without qualified support.

This is why we offer specialized memory support and care services specifically geared towards assisting people with Alzheimer’s and other dementia. By focusing on onsite customized care plans and activities within our comfortable apartment-style community, we ensure your loved one maintains his or her dignity and quality of life at all times.

To find out more about our Memory Support services, please contact UMH today or visit

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What is Alzheimer’s Disease?

Dr. Aloysius (Alois) Alzheimer first described Alzheimer’s disease in 1901 as a type of chronic dementia which affects the areas of the brain that focus on behavior, language, memory and thinking. It is a progressive disease, meaning that the symptoms will slowly appear and worsen over time – often becoming too severe for the patient to manage simple daily tasks.

What Causes Alzheimer’s?

Alzheimer’s is not a normal part of the aging process, although most people with the disease are over the age of 65. The exact cause of this disease isn’t known, but risk factors that increase the likelihood of developing the disease include a genetic history of Alzheimer’s, head injuries, depression and hypertension.

How Does Alzheimer’s Affect the Brain?

The latest scientific research has shown that Alzheimer’s prevents brain cells from working as they should by disrupting their processes and causing them to break down. As cells break down, other systems dependent on the processes of those cells are also negatively affected – and so the damage spreads.

Two abnormal structures called plaques and tangles,cause these breakdowns although it is still unknown why they occur. Plaques are protein fragments, known as beta-amyloid, which build up between the brain’s nerve cells while tangles are protein fibers that clog up the inside of the cells. Highly concentrated in the areas of the brain used for memory, people with Alzheimer’s develop a lot more of these buildups than would otherwise naturally occur as we age.

As the disease progresses, patients experience more dramatic symptoms, which can include aggression, personality changes, confusion, difficulty eating and walking and poor sleeping patterns. Fortunately, there are a wide range of services for Alzheimer’s patients and their families such as support groups, memory support services and experienced, medically trained caregivers.

What are Memory Care and Support Services?

At United Methodist Homes of New Jersey, we offer a support service specifically for Alzheimer’s patients which provides an environment that delivers the highest quality of life. Each resident program, customized to their unique needs and level of independence, focuses on everyday routines such as cooking, gardening, socializing, setting the table, and more within a community lifestyle. These four memory care programs also include activities for general wellness like fitness, music and other sensory activities appropriatefor your loved one.

Our residences are designed to be comfortable and homey, encouraging independence while supplying essential support and onsite medical care. For more information on our memory support services for Alzheimer’s and dementia, please contact UMH today or visit

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