Tag Archives: Alzheimer’s Disease

Helpful Communication Strategies for Dementia

Alzheimer’s and other dementia conditions progressively diminish mental capacity as they worsen, including a patient’s ability to communicate with and understand the people around them. Here are some insights from our assisted living community in Gloucester County, NJ on developing an effective way to communicate with your loved one.

Common communication problems for dementia patients: 

  • Struggling to find the right word
  • Describing an object rather than calling it by its name
  • Mixing up word order while speaking
  • Finding it difficult to complete a sentence or express a train of thought in full
  • Using gestures rather than words
  • Repeating familiar words too often

How to get the most out of your communication with your loved one: 

  • Create a distraction-free zone. To encourage your loved one to focus on you and what you are saying, pick a time and a quiet and calm place where no one is likely to interrupt. This allows them to focus their effort on you and the conversation.
  • Steady your tone. Communicating can be frustrating. While you may be stressed or worried, if you want to communicate effectively with your loved one, you have to leave that all at the door. Relax, use a warm, calm tone and speak naturally without condescension or baby talk.
  • Use names. Following a conversation takes a lot of energy and effort for many dementia patients.Using names rather than “he,” “she” or “they” helps your loved one stay on track and avoids confusion and unnecessary repetition.
  • Stick to one topic at a time. It’s natural for us to jump from topic to topic and go off on a tangent, but this can be difficult for your loved one to follow. Rather, stick to one thread of conversation and only move on after you are both fully finished on that topic.
  • Patience. The more progressive your loved one’s condition, the more patience you will need to have a productive conversation with them. Give them time to express what they are trying to say, actively listen to and consider their answer, and breathe deeply and let the moment pass if you start feeling frustrated.

Above all else, it’s important to remember that there will be good days and bad days with your loved one. Some days will bring good conversation while other days it will be better to simply sit quietly with your loved one and let them take comfort from your presence.

Alzheimer’s and dementia care and support at our assisted living community in Gloucester County, NJ 

Collingswood is part of the United Methodist Communities’ network of high-quality, non-profit assisted living communities specializing in residential and assisted living for seniors. In addition to our wide range of customized services for seniors, we also offer expert memory care and support services for patients with dementia conditions.

To find out more about United Methodist Communities or our assisted living services, please contact us at https://pitman.umcommunities.org and book your visit today.

Original content posted on https://umcommunities.org/blog/helpful-communication-strategies-dementia/

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Memory games that promote healthy brains

Memories play an important role in forming who we are but, as we age, certain dementia conditions can start to erode these vital building blocks of our relationships, knowledge and personality. Conditions like Alzheimer’s, vascular dementia and Lewy body dementia currently have no cure, but there are ways to fight against memory loss, help exercise your brain and keep neurological pathways firing and responding properly, say memory care services specialists in Gloucester County, New Jersey.

Sudoku: This Japanese numbers game has gained a popular following in recent decades, with people of all ages enjoying the challenge. Using a grid of nine by nine spaces or cells, you fill the grid using the numbers 1 to 9, never using them more than once vertically, horizontally or within the 3×3 subgrids. This is a great way to exercise patience, pattern recognition and the process of elimination. They range from easy beginner’s games up to more difficult challenges, so it’s easy to try and see if you enjoy it. Most newspapers publish a few puzzles and there are books of Sudoku challenges as well as free puzzles online.

Crossword puzzles: A traditional favorite, these challenges are good for exercising memory recall and problem solving. They are available in different formats and sizes that offer unique challenges, including simple or easy clue formats or the more difficult indirect or cryptic clues. Sometimes, they follow different themes, including pop culture, literature, sports, history, or a combination of themes. Try out the crosswords in your local paper for a quick memory training session.

Apps and games: For a slightly more advanced take on brain training, you can use a wide range of programs on computers, tablets or smartphones. Many of them, like Lumosity, have been developed by neuroscientists, making them engaging as well as offering practice training for your brain.

Puzzles: These come in a wide range of sizes and complexity and many people enjoy doing them with a friend as well as on their own. Puzzles form useful therapy tools for memory care residents, helping to rebuild problem solving skills as well as encouraging memory stimulation and participation. If you are looking for a puzzle for a loved one with a memory condition, a therapist will be able to help you choose one that provides optimal stimulation without causing frustration.

Education: While this isn’t a memory game, learning new things is pivotal to keeping your brain fit and active. Attending guest lectures, enrolling in classes and clubs, and reading new books will all help your brain to form new, healthy neural pathways.

Expert memory care and support services in our assisted living community
Pitman is a senior living and assisted living community in Gloucester County, New Jersey. As part of United Methodist Communities, we’re dedicated to providing our residents with the highest quality of life possible through our compassionate care and professional services. As part of our services, we offer memory support to those with Alzheimer’s and dementia, promoting dignity and independence while meeting each person’s individual needs.

For more information about our assisted living community or memory care services, please contact us today or arrange a visit to our premises.

Original content posted at https://umcommunities.org/blog/memory-games-promote-healthy-brains/

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Understanding different types of dementia

Dementia is a term that covers a category of diseases and conditions that primarily cause memory loss through physical changes to the brain. Here’s a guide to the different conditions in this category:

  • Alzheimer’s disease: The most common type of dementia, Alzheimer’s accounts for between 60 and 80% of dementia conditions. It has been known to cause short-term memory loss, confusion, apathy, behavior changes, depression, decreased communication skills and decreased judgment. This is the result of beta-amyloid protein deposits (known as plaques) or twisted tau proteins (tangles) in the brain cells that lead to nerve cell damage and cell death.
  • Parkinson’s disease: A progressive disease that affects movement, it can lead to dementia symptoms similar to those of Alzheimer’s. Parkinson’s disease is caused by the development of clumps of alpha-synuclein protein deep within the brain that lead to nerve degeneration.
  • Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome: Caused by a deficiency of vitamin B1, this disease often affects alcoholics. This vitamin plays an important role in brain function and nerve cells cannot function properly without it, leading to severe memory loss.
  • Huntington’s disease: This is caused by a defective gene on Chromosome 4, which results in abnormal brain proteins. Over time, this disease worsens, leading to involuntary movements, a decline in thinking and reasoning abilities, irritability and mood changes.
  • Normal pressure hydrocephalus: Caused by a buildup of fluid in the brain, patients experience memory loss, as well as difficulty with urinary control and walking.
  • Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease: Known as ‘mad cow disease,’ this fatal brain disease can be transmitted to people in certain circumstances, impairing memory and coordination.
  • Frontotemporal dementia: Little is known about this category of diseases, which includes primary progressive aphasia and Pick’s disease, as there is currently a lack of research-based evidence to link each case. These conditions affect the front and sides of the brain and include symptoms such as personality changes, difficulty with language and behavioral changes.

Memory care and support services from assisted living specialists

At United Methodist Homes of New Jersey, we understand that caring for a loved one who has Alzheimer’s or dementia 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 specialist memory support and care services specifically geared toward assisting Alzheimer’s and other dementia residents. By focusing on providing onsite customized care plans and activities within our comfortable apartment-style community, we help ensure your loved one maintains his or her dignity and quality of life.

To find out more about our services for Alzheimer’s patients, please contact the nearest UMH today:

UMH Bristol Glen in Sussex County, NJ: (973) 300-5788

UMH Collingswood Manor in Camden County, NJ: (856) 854-4331

UMH Francis Asbury Manor in Monmouth County, NJ: (732) 774-1316

UMH Pitman Manor in Gloucester County, NJ: (856) 589-7800

UMH The Shores in Cape May County, NJ: 609-399-8505

 

For more information, visit www.umh-nj.org.

 

This content was originally posted at http://www.umh-nj.org/blog/understanding-different-types-of-dementia/

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What to do when being a caregiver becomes too much

When your parents first start showing signs that they need support managing their day-to-day lives, family members sometimes choose to help out – becoming knowledgeable and competent caregivers. However, there often comes a point at which you can no longer keep up with the duties of a full-time caregiver, especially when managing your own family and career.

One of the best ways to ensure the quality of care your loved one receives is uncompromised, is to make the move to an assisted living community. While this is a difficult choice, it can be made easier by finding an assisted living community  which offers the following:

  • Tailored care: It’s important the community takes a close look at the individual needs of each resident in order to build a support program that provides the proper level of assistance. These services should also change as your loved one’s needs change, ensuring that his or her quality of life remains as high as possible and that they don’t need to be moved to another community at a later stage.
  • Independence: A community which encourages and supports the independence of its residents is important. This is key to mental and physical health as well as having an enjoyable and fulfilling lifestyle. Many communities offer a calendar of events throughout the year in addition to shows, music presentations, book clubs, gardening clubs, church services, and much more.
  • Apartment living: The community you choose should offer open-plan, apartment-style living that is adapted to the needs of the residents, with everything from grab bars in the bathroom to 24-hour medical alert and smoke alarms. The rooms should be free of tripping hazards, easy to navigate with a wheelchair, fully serviced and properly maintained by the staff.
  • Advanced care: It’s important to know the community you choose can handle any future requirements your loved one may have. Alzheimer’s disease and dementia support as well as memory care services are essential, as is 24-hour access to a licensed nurse. It’s also a good idea to find a community that offers rehabilitation and therapy services as well as wellness activities.

Visit our beautiful assisted living facilities in New Jersey today 

United Methodist Homes of New Jersey is a senior living organization dedicated to helping older adults to live full, happy lives. With an active community spirit, great amenities, spacious residential apartments, expert medical care, and tailored support services designed for independent living, we’re a welcoming space for seniors to really feel at home. All our support services are scalable, allowing your loved one to continue living as independently as possible even as his or her needs change. We are also able to provide care for Alzheimer’s and dementia residents.

For more information, please contact UMH Bristol Glen today and ask about our continuing care retirement community.

 

This content was originally posted at http://www.umh-nj.org/blog/what-to-do-when-being-a-caregiver-becomes-too-much/

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Five Signs Your Aging Loved Ones Need Assistance

  1. Uncharacteristic neglect of home maintenance/housekeeping: If your loved ones are known for the pride they take in their home and garden, a lapse in this care can be a sign they are no longer coping. Ignoring excess clutter, the garden overgrowth, and home maintenance issues can also increase the risk of falls and injuries in the home. If you suspect they feel overwhelmed, offer to help out with certain tasks, but if your parents can’t seem to regain control over their home it may be time to suggest assisted living.
  2. Bills aren’t being paid – or are being overpaid: An occasional lapse or moment of confusion is understandable when it comes to a person’s finances, but if you notice bills starting to pile up or your loved ones making other financial errors, it is right to feel concerned. Managing your own money is a hallmark of independence, so this may be a difficult conversation to have, especially with parents, but it is important to help your parents trust that they can have help handling their finances.
  3. Weight loss: This can be linked to a number of issues, such as grief, depression, and fear of driving or leaving the house. Stay on the lookout for spoiled food, empty fridges or an unwillingness to leave the house to run errands such as grocery shopping. Identifying the issue can help your parents manage their health and stress.
  4. Uncharacteristic, inappropriate behavior: This covers a wide range of issues from odd conversations, forgetting to dress properly and decreased personal hygiene, to paranoia, accidentally taking too much medication and notably increased forgetfulness (like burning food on the stove, etc.).
  5. A serious medical diagnosis: Medical conditions such as dementia and Alzheimer’s will affect your loved ones’ ability to cope with day-to-day activities and permanent caregiving is key to slowing the condition’s progression and ensuring their quality of life. While you may be able to assist in the early stages, it’s important to remember that qualified professionals such as those at UMH memory care residences are available to provide additional compassion and support.

Adult children are often the best at picking up on these issues and determining whether these behaviors are just personal quirks or something more serious, so remember to rely on your instincts. If you are worried about your parents or aging loved ones, a gentle conversation will help determine if they need help and what support is available.

Compassionate care and community assisted living 

At United Methodist Homes of New Jersey, our priority is to deliver affordable, expert assisted living, nursing home care and support services to seniors based on their individual needs. With residential apartments designed for optimal access and mobility, meal programs and 24-hour medical and security services, we help our residents to live independent, full lives. We also have a great selection of social programs, classes, events and trips, as well as customized support services for Alzheimer’s and dementia residents.

For more information on our assisted living communities and long-term care services, please contact us today or visit www.umh-nj.org.

This content was originally posted at http://www.umh-nj.org/blog/five-signs-your-aging-loved-ones-need-assistance/

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Questions to Ask When Researching Assisted Living Communities facilities in New Jersey

Moving into an assisted living community is a big commitment and it’s important you and your loved ones feel confident, comfortable and happy with the community you select. Here are some helpful questions to ask when researching different options and help narrow down your search to the right choice:

  1. Where is the assisted living communitylocated? Is it close to friends and family? Does your loved one know the area and enjoy it? These questions will help narrow down your geographic search. If your loved one likes the area and has good social and family connections in the neighborhood then the move is likely to be an easier, more positive adjustment for everyone.
  2. Can we take a tour? An onsite visit is a great way to meet the staff, find out what they offer and get a general feel for the community. Ask about their services, what the culture is like and what a typical day includes. If your loved one is in fairly good health, don’t skip the more advanced care facilities. In planning for the future, it’s best to ask about dementia and Alzheimer’s care, as well as palliative care, so that you have well-rounded knowledge of all the services they offer.
  3. How much does it cost? The cost of assisted living is one of the biggest variables when looking for the right community, especially as healthcare costs have increased dramatically in recent years. As a not-for-profit, United Methodist Homes is committed to being good stewards of our finances and controlling costs. Care costs are calculated after an assessment and based on individual needs and requirements.  Our Fellowship Fund supports our charitable mission and helps to keep our residents in our communities.
  4. What are my priorities? This is a question that seniors and caregivers need to ask themselves to help narrow down their search. Does your loved one have Alzheimer’s or dementia? Is he or she looking for a lively, involved community? Do you want a facility that only provides independent living services or one that can meet your loved one’s needs whatever the future holds?
  5. What is the reputation of the facility? In order to make an informed decision it’s important to conduct the necessary research.  Be sure to check reviews and find references, and of course, take a tour yourself.

Quality care at United Methodist Homes of NJ 

At United Methodist Homes of New Jersey, we prioritize the quality of life, independence and dignity for all our residents. With services designed to meet your loved one’s needs, even as they change, we offer seniors a chance to build a life within our active and welcoming assisted living communities. With a wide range of services and care options, we can assist seniors with anything from day-to-day support to skilled nursing and advanced Alzheimer’s and dementia care.

For more information on our assisted living communities and services, please contact us today or visit www.umh-nj.org.

 

This content was originally posted at http://www.umh-nj.org/blog/questions-to-ask-when-researching-assisted-living-communities-facilities-in-new-jersey/

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How to Fight Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease is a form of dementia which primarily affects the parts of the brain that control memory, resulting in progressive and permanent neurological damage. The disease affects more than 5 million Americans. While research continues to bring us closer to effective treatments, there are additional steps that patients, their families and caregivers can take to help fight this condition.

  1. Physical exercise: Engaging in a healthy amount of physical activity has significant health benefits for the brain as well as the heart, vascular system and body’s physical strength. Studies have shown that exercise can stimulate the brain’s ability to maintain older neural networks as well as stimulate new connections. It’s recommended that people over 65 years of age do 40 minutes a day of aerobic (e.g., walking or water aerobics) or non-aerobic exercise (e.g., stretching and toning muscles) to experience the full benefits.
  2. Mental exercise: A healthy body is important, but so is an active mind. Just like a muscle, the brain needs to be regularly challenged in order to maintain a healthy level of cognitive function. Stimulation is also vital to maintaining cognitive pathways and building new connections. Some of the best forms of mental stimulation include reading, doing crossword puzzles, playing games, social interaction and social activities such as going to museums or community events.
  3. Diet: Research has shown that certain foods can help keep the brain healthy while others can be harmful to cognitive health. A diet rich in lots of fruit, fish oil, legumes, vegetables (especially broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables) and whole grains is recommended. Foods such as saturated fats and refined carbohydrates (like white sugar) should be avoided, as studies indicate these foods may assist cognitive decline, especially in the areas of the brain focused on learning and memory.
  4. Early diagnosis: Knowing the signs of early onset Alzheimer’s, working on mental and physical health, as well as having access to professional and medical assistance will help ensure your loved one is kept comfortable, healthy and independent for as long as possible. An early diagnosis will allow caregivers to start implementing the best measures available as soon as possible.

Memory care and support services at UMH New Jersey 

Housed in Assisted Living, the memory care and support residences at UMH are specially designed to support individuals with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. By focusing on  customized care plans and activities within our comfortable apartment-style communities, we maximize your loved one’s dignity and quality of life .

To find out more about our services for Alzheimer’s residents, please contact UMH today or visit www.umh-nj.org.

This content was originally posted at http://www.umh-nj.org/blog/how-to-fight-alzheimers-disease/

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