Category Archives: Memory Support Services

5 Early Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s

5 Early Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s

Being a little forgetful is a normal part of our busy, everyday lives. But, if an elderly loved one seems to be getting more forgetful than normal, then it could be a sign of early cognitive decline. As with many diseases, it is important to detect Alzheimer’s early to supply the best possible level of care and support. Here are some essential early warning signs of this condition that everyone can watch for, from the team at our assisted living community in Camden County, NJ:

  • Getting Lost Easily – If your loved one suddenly can’t find their way around a place that’s very familiar to them, such as their local mall, doctor’s offices or even their neighborhood, it may be an early sign of Alzheimer’s. People with this condition are often confused about where they are or how to get to and from a place they should know well.
  • Memory Issues – Alzheimer’s affects memory – especially short-term memories. Patients often forget information they have just learned, like appointments, messages or recent conversations. Keep an eye out for your loved one asking you the same questions over and over again, like the name of a new friend, whether you ran an errand for them, and so on. They may also constantly misplace items and forget where they are, or struggle to retrace their steps or the events of the day.
  • Money Mistakes – Because this condition affects short-term memory, it’s easy for seniors with Alzheimer’s to make mistakes with their money, for instance, like paying bills multiple times. This can leave them vulnerable to unethical people, so it’s important to help your loved one keep an eye on their finances and budget. This way you can spot issues like questionable financial decisions, giving away money, trouble balancing their household budget if they were always good at it before, and overbuying items (duplicate groceries, and the like).
  • Social Withdrawal – A change in social habits (hobbies, visiting friends and family, and so on) can be an early sign of a range of concerning issues including depression and Alzheimer’s, so it’s important to watch for. Your loved one may be worried that they are unwell or realize that they are being forgetful and, as a result, they can withdraw, either out of embarrassment or not wanting to concern others.
  • Problems Communicating – Information on Alzheimer’s disease often focuses on memory loss, but the condition can also affect written and spoken communication skills. Problems with forming a clear sentence, struggling to remember words and names, or incorrectly identifying objects can all point to this health condition.

It’s not easy to think about a loved one having Alzheimer’s disease, but it’s so important to recognize these symptoms early. A diagnosis can be frightening, but it gives your loved one the best possible support and care from the start. And if your loved one doesn’t have Alzheimer’s, a doctor’s examination can give you peace of mind.

Memory Support and Care for Alzheimer’s Patients Through Our Beautiful Assisted Living Community 

United Methodist Communities at Collingswood, New Jersey, is part of the United Methodist Communities network of high-quality, non-profit, assisted living communities specializing in an independent lifestyle for seniors. As part of the United Methodist Communities network, we also offer rehabilitation, access to therapists, hospice care, respite- and memory care, and support services. We welcome seniors from all faith backgrounds.

To find out more about career opportunities at any of the four full-service United Methodist Communities or our assisted living community in Camden County, NJ, please visit our website at http://collingswood.umcommunities.org/ or contact us today.

Original content posted on https://umcommunities.org/blog/5-early-warning-signs-of-alzheimers/

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Virtual Reality – Exploring a New Therapy for Dementia

A teenage girl, mother and grandmother with VR goggles at home.

When most people think of VR or virtual reality, they think of entertainment — but the truth is that this technology offers so much more. VR has useful applications helping people with dementia conditions. Our home health aide services team offers some supportive insight.

Using Memory to Engage and Connect with Dementia Patients 

One of the biggest challenges for caregivers, family and loved ones of dementia patients is finding ways to connect with their loved one and spend meaningful time together. Happily, VR technology helps make this easier and more rewarding.

Dementia conditions affect memory, causing short-term memory loss while mostly leaving long-term memories intact. Using virtual reality, patients are able to relive their past memories by “visiting” realistic periods of time, places, and locations that hold special meaning to them.

These kinds of memory exercises are key in therapeutically treating these conditions, helping to stimulate brain activity, reduce anxiety and confusion, stabilize mood and improve the quality of life for dementia patients. For families, it’s a wonderful way to engage with their loved ones and share positive, happy memories in a calm, safe environment. In this way, VR therapies form a method to help prolong essential human connections.

VR Technology as a Way to Understand Dementia Better 

Another interesting application of this technology is in helping caregivers, medical professionals, and families better understand the life of someone with dementia. Winners of The Caregiving for Dementia Innovation Challenge showcased their software offering, “Embodying a Person With Alzheimer’s in Virtual Reality,” as a way for caregivers to better understand the disease and the needs of their clients.

Through VR, caregivers can experience how neuro-cognitive conditions affect other parts of the body, not just their memory functions. It shows how the disease progresses in a way that helps all involved in care better understand and anticipate their client’s needs. In this way, VR builds empathy and understanding, as well as promotes caregivers’ thinking outside the box.

Full-Time, Part-Time and Respite Care from Home Health Aide Services in NJ 

As a caregiver, getting the assistance of a qualified and experienced home health aide can be the best way of getting the support and guidance you need to care for your loved one with dementia.

As part of United Methodist Communities, a non-profit organization in New Jersey, we offer home care for the elderly with trained, experienced nursing and health aide staff to help your loved one. Our respite care and seniors home care services cover everything from companionship and help around the home to 24-hour live-in care, depending on exactly what you and your loved one requires. Our services are scalable and by-the-hour, allowing you to develop a custom care plan.

For more information on respite care and our home health aide services in New Jersey, please contact us today or visit our website at https://homeworks.umcommunities.org/Home-Heath-Aid-services

Original content posted on https://homeworks.umcommunities.org/blog/virtual-reality-exploring-a-new-therapy-for-dementia/

 

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Try These 5 Enjoyable Activities for Dementia Patients

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Everyone has the need to connect with other human beings, which is what makes our relationships so important. Dementia patients have the same need to connect, but this condition can make it more challenging to do so.

Here are some great activities recommended by the team at our  Tapestries Memory Care, that can help you bond with your loved one:

  1. Photo albums. While short-term memory does deteriorate with these conditions, long-term memories remain strong and particularly powerful. Looking through photo albums together is a great way to share memories and even learn new things about your loved one, so take one from your own childhood or theirs when you visit.
  2. Memory packages. Another way to trigger memories and share stories is through special memory packages. Scent is particularly well-connected to our memories. Favorite perfumes and aftershaves, cookies and treats, and even clothes, help form a strong connection. You can also incorporate this into events, for example with a holiday season package of gingerbread, pine, candy canes, decorations and cards.
  3. Read together. Since it may be difficult for your loved one to focus on the task of reading for themselves, pick books they enjoy and spend an hour reading out a chapter to them. This works particularly well if you use a calm and slow tone, as it provides stimulation and helps concentration.
  4. Favorite entertainment. Again, this is best when it connects with your loved one’s past. A playlist of their favorite songs from growing up, the TV show they loved when they were younger or much-loved musicals can trigger a strong response. It’s easy to find a lot of these series, movies and songs on streaming services.
  5. Nature visits. A slow walk to look at the spring flowers, a drive through town to look at the snow and Christmas lights, or a visit with therapy animals all provide sensory stimulation and great enjoyment. This is also a good opportunity to invite along the grandkids!

Tapestries-Memory Care at The Jersey Shore

United Methodist Communities is no stranger to the care and treatment for adults with Alzheimer’s and Dementia diagnoses. In fact, in November of 2018, United Methodist Communities opened Tapestries-Memory Care at the Shores in Ocean City New Jersey. This specialized facility is designed for the unique concerns  and caregiving of those with all stages of dementia. It offers apartment style, supervised living in a beautiful Jersey Shore setting.

In October 2018, Tapestries became Comfort Matters® accredited. Internationally recognized, Comfort Matters® is a philosophy, care practice and an evidence-based program which offers holistic and integrated approaches to improve the quality of care and quality of life for persons experiencing Alzheimer’s and other dementias. United Methodist Communities at The Shores is one of the few facilities in the state of New Jersey to achieve the prestigious Comfort Matters® Accreditation.

To find out more about our Tapestries-Memory Care at The Shores, please visit our website at https://theshores.umcommunities.org and book your visit today.

Original content posted on https://umcommunities.org/blog/try-these-5-enjoyable-activities-for-dementia-patients/

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3 Tips for Managing Confusion in Alzheimer’s Care

Dementia and Occupational Therapy - Home caregiver and senior adult man

September is World Alzheimer’s Month, a great opportunity to share news and insights into the treatment and care of Alzheimer’s patients, as well as spreading information and awareness of this serious condition. In this blog, the team at our home health care agency shares some helpful tips for managing confusion — a common challenge experienced by caregivers.

People with Alzheimer’s disease are likely to experience frequent bouts of confusion as the disease progresses. This can’t be prevented, as it is a direct result of the condition, but there is a lot caregivers can do to help people cope with the fear, agitation and anxiety that accompanies bouts of confusion.

Tips for Reducing Frequency of Confusion 

Caregivers can help reduce confusion by:

  1. Creating a calm environment. Busy, loud and unfamiliar environments are a significant source of stress and over-stimulation, which can lead to confusion. Try to minimize time spent in these environments and ensure that everyday environments are peaceful, quiet and filled with familiar objects and sources of comfort. Blankets and clothing items can also be a source of comfort and security.
  2. Staying on top of personal care. Ensuring that an Alzheimer’s patient is receiving medication correctly, is eating enough, staying hydrated and getting sufficient sleep is also very important to prevent episodes of confusion as well as maintaining their physical health. Making these daily tasks part of a stable routine ensures that caregivers are able to note any changes in physical needs or health and take action to manage these needs as soon as possible.
  3. Having a progressive care plan in place. Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease and old age is likely to bring other health conditions as well, which makes it important to have a long-term care plan in place and to implement it earlier rather than later. If you are choosing professional caregiving assistance in the home, opt to implement this even on a shorter level (for example, as part-time or respite care) before it becomes urgent – this will give the patient time to adjust and become comfortable with the new caregiver while they are able to manage the change, rather than suddenly and dramatically adjusting their routine.

Respite Care, Part-Time and Live-in Care for Alzheimer’s Patients from Our Home Health Care Agency 

At United Methodist Communities, we strive to offer the very best home health aide services in New Jersey through our HomeWorks program. This program assists older adults in the comfort of their own homes and provides them, their families and caregivers with personalized, compassionate care that prioritizes health, happiness and independence.

For more information on our at home health care agency or our at home care for the elderly services, please contact us today or visit our website at https://homeworks.umcommunities.org/elderly-home-health-care-nj/

Original content posted on https://homeworks.umcommunities.org/blog/3-tips-for-managing-confusion-in-alzheimers-care/

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4 Non-Medical Therapies to Help with Memory Loss

Woman working on watercolor painting.

Modern medicine is an invaluable source of treatment for a wide range of health conditions, but there are ways to supplement this resource with non-medical therapies that can help improve memory or even help prevent memory loss in older adults. Here are some effective therapies from the team at our assisted living community in Gloucester County, NJ:

  1. Get creative. Participating in creative arts is a great way to exercise the mind and fight memory loss, as they boost engagement and alertness. For adults wanting to fend off memory loss, dance classes, music classes and taking to the stage, assist with mental fitness. For adults with memory loss, painting, drawing and imaginative projects like scrapbooking are suggested.
  2. Music therapy. Recommended by the Alzheimer’s Association to assist with cognitive and emotional struggles, many patients with fairly advanced memory loss can still sing and remember songs. This relaxing and energizing experience often triggers past memories.
  3. Physical exercise. Studies increasingly confirm that physical fitness is an important contributor to mental fitness, and memory is no exception. While this exercise can take any form, it should be tailored to each person’s level of physical fitness and interests. In addition to fighting memory loss, physical exercise brings countless other health benefits, as well as boosting self-esteem.
  4. Pet therapy. Many assisted living communities have resident pets or access to pet therapy. Interaction with animals is increasingly being recognized for its mental and emotional health benefits, which include helping residents feel calm, engaged in their surroundings and happy.
    It also helps residents connect with memories of their own beloved pets. In fact, some research has shown that therapy animals help improve the nutrition of residents while decreasing behavioral concerns, improving the overall quality of life.

Memory Care Services from Our Assisted Living Community in Gloucester County, NJ 

Pitman is an assisted living community in Gloucester County, NJ, offering high quality assisted living services in a comfortable, well-supported and beautiful environment. As part of the United Methodist Communities network, we also offer rehabilitation, access to therapists, hospice care, respite care and memory care and support services. We welcome seniors from all faith backgrounds.

To find out more about our assisted living community, please visit our website at https://pitman.umcommunities.org/ contact us today or book a personal tour.

Original content posted on https://umcommunities.org/blog/4-non-medical-therapies-to-help-with-memory-loss/

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How is Dementia Diagnosed?

Dementia and Occupational Therapy - Home caregiver and senior adult woman playing with blocks

Dementia is a term used to describe a wide range of conditions that cause mental decline affecting someone’s ability to cope with daily life. While Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common dementia disorder, dementia in total, affects more than 5.5 million Americans, many of them seniors.

Here are some insights into how dementia is diagnosed, from the team at our assisted living community in Gloucester County, NJ:

Steps to Diagnose Dementia

Unfortunately, there is no single test that determines whether someone has dementia. This means that doctors, including specialists, need to evaluate a person carefully before they can give a diagnosis. This evaluation will include:

  • Complete personal and family medical histories
  • Testing of mental status and mood
  • A physical and neurological exam
  • Tests and scans to rule out other neurological conditions that may present with dementia-like symptoms

This last step is very important, because other health conditions can result in confusion and memory loss, which require early diagnosis and treatment. Some of these conditions are easily treated and even curable, like depression, so it’s important not to ignore dementia-like symptoms.

Symptoms of Dementia Conditions 

Dementia conditions are progressive and often start very slowly. It’s important to watch out for the following symptoms to ensure early diagnosis and treatment:

  • Memory loss
  • Difficulty following a plan or solving a problem
  • Difficulty completing familiar tasks
  • Confusion regarding time and place, seasons or dates
  • Difficulty judging distances, determining colors or contrasts, or interpreting images
  • Difficulty pronouncing familiar words
  • Misplacing things or putting things in strange places (keys in the fridge, etc.)
  • Problems making sound judgement calls
  • Mood and personality changes

While any of these things can happen once in a while and can increase with age, it is important to take note of any significant increases in frequency and schedule a doctor’s appointment. The earlier dementia is diagnosed, the better the treatment options.

 

Memory Care Services for Dementia Patients – Assisted living in Gloucester County, NJ 

Pitman is an assisted living community in Gloucester County, NJ, offering high quality assisted living services in a comfortable, well-supported and beautiful environment. As part of the United Methodist Communities network, we also offer rehabilitation, access to therapists, hospice care, respite care and memory care and support services. We welcome seniors from all faith backgrounds.

To find out more about our assisted living community, please visit our website at https://pitman.umcommunities.org/ contact us today or book a personal tour.

Original content posted on https://umcommunities.org/blog/how-is-dementia-diagnosed/

 

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What are memory care and support services all about?

While memory care services are often associated with assisted living and may overlap, the two are not the same. Assisted living primarily focuses on providing essential support for day-to-day living like bathing, dressing, meal preparation and medication, while memory care services specifically assist residents with dementia conditions like Alzheimer’s. Here’s some insight into these services from memory care service providers in South Jersey.

Comfortable residential settings for dementia patients
United Methodist Communities at The Shores, offers residents with memory conditions a comfortable, homey residential setting specifically designed to foster the best quality of life. Our staff and therapists are fully trained to care for all residents as well as offer compassionate companionship.

Our programs are based on each person’s individual needs and capabilities, as well as their preferences and strengths. We incorporate everyday routines into a neighborhood lifestyle, including tasks like setting the table, cooking, folding clothes, gardening and group discussions.

In addition to this, we offer therapeutic programs that promote involvement and participation including fitness programs, hands-on creative art, music sessions and other forms of sensory stimulation and entertainment.

By offering comfortable studio apartments, a range of communal activity areas and state-of-the-art nurse call and wander management systems, we strive to balance our scalable care services with patient dignity and independence.

Customized memory care and support services in South Jersey
At The Shores, as part of United Methodist Communities, we aim to serve our memory care residents as well as their loved ones with compassion, respect and expert support. As an EAGLE accredited organization, we are mindful of our not-for-profit status, remaining accountable and continually improving our performance and services in order to provide residents with the best quality care available.

For more information about our assisted living and memory care services for Alzheimer’s and dementia, please contact us today to arrange for a personal visit.

Original content posted on https://umcommunities.org/blog/memory-care-support-services/

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