When Is Memory Care The Best Choice?

When Is Memory Care The Best Choice

People sometimes refer to assisted living and memory care interchangeably. However, these are distinctly different service. Here at Ashford, we cater to individuals who need memory care and assisted living needs. We help families understand which is the right fit for their loved one. To help you decide which is the best choice for your loved one, we want to share what we tell the families we counsel.

When To Choose Assisted Living

Assisted living is for those individuals who struggle to manage day-to-day tasks but still have full mental capabilities. However, simple physical tasks may be a struggle for them, such as:

  • Cooking meals
  • Cleaning their home
  • Doing laundry
  • Reaching meetings with friends
  • Simple home maintenance

If no family member lives close enough, many of these activities may go undone. A key danger is if the elder struggles with making healthy meals. Many turn to frozen/microwaveable foods to fix this problem. But this can create other issues.

Elders, in particular, are susceptible to malnutrition, and microwave-ready food isn’t particularly nutritious. It is also very high in sodium which can exacerbate many health issues elders struggle with.

These elders may find a transition to assisted living difficult initially as they don’t want to admit to lower physical abilities. However, they benefit greatly from the community aspect and having others take care of daily tasks that the elder had been struggling to complete.

When To Choose Memory Care

When it comes to selecting memory care for your elderly loved one, all of the above considerations apply to them as well. However, there are other concerns which can be signs your elder needs memory care and not just assisted living.

Your elder will need memory care under these conditions:

  • Safety concerns – If you have concerns for your elder’s safety because of diminished mental capabilities, you should consider memory care. For example, have they started to forget where they live or whether they left the stove on for hours? These are early warning signs which family members should watch out for as they are indicators that the elder’s memory may be diminishing.
  • Becomes combative – Dementia and other memory-loss related issues can cause some elderly loved one to become angry and combative. Without the proper training, this can become dangerous to both you and your elder. Memory care units have personnel trained in how to defuse a combative elder and keep everyone safe.
  • Memory problems – Having one’s memory deteriorate can affect all aspects of life. Hygiene, health care, money, and more can be neglected if the elder cannot remember to fulfill these tasks. Usually, these become problems around the same time, so if you have noticed one of these issues, you should investigate to see if your elder is struggling elsewhere.

Lastly, caring for an elderly loved one who has memory issues can be exhausting for the caregivers. Many families find it hard to consider this aspect. We have had families feel selfish for needing to turn to a memory care facility for their loved one.

This is not the case. To maintain a healthy relationship and help your elderly loved one, memory care can be the best option. You can rest assured knowing they are receiving constant care and they can enjoy their golden years in comfort and safety.

You Can Keep Your Mind Sharp By Keeping Your Hearing In Tune

You Can Keep Your Mind Sharp By Keeping Your Hearing In Tune

Recent studies have found a strong correlation between hearing loss and cognitive decline. Which makes sense when you consider what it must be like for those who are losing their hearing. It would be like listening to a radio station that slowly became more static than sound, lessening your attention and ability to concentrate as you constantly strain to hear.

The study also stated almost ⅔ of adults over the age of 70 deal with some level of hearing loss. This number may not surprise someone who has been in an assisted living facility recently, but it is a troubling number since it is clear that hearing loss has been linked to a sharp decline in cognitive function.

We have some suggestions you can follow to help you protect your hearing and your mind.

Have Hearing Checked Annually

For most, hearing loss is a gradual process. You will automatically start adapting to lower hearing ability, which can mask the loss for a long time.

To keep from having hearing loss sneak up on you, we recommend you begin having annual hearing check ups once you reach the age of 50.

Focus On Your Nutrition

Proper nutrition can help you avoid dementia and can also affect your hearing. Potassium-rich foods are particularly helpful in combating age-related hearing loss. Foods which can help both cognitive function and hearing are:

  • Spinach
  • Lima beans
  • Bananas
  • Oranges
  • Melons

Avoid Loud Sounds

Some loud noises are unavoidable, like passing a jackhammer on the street. But you can protect yourself from many loud noises which may damage your hearing.

  • Concerts – It may not be the cool thing to do but you need to wear earplugs when you attend a concert. Hearing damage can start at 85 decibels and most concerts are around 110 decibels.
  • Earbuds – You’ll want to eliminate earbuds from your life and switch to headphones. The sound impact is much higher with earbuds than with headphones, making it much more likely you will destroy the tiny hairs in your ears which respond to sound.
  • Radio – As much fun as it is to jam out to the car radio, avoid the urge to indulge. The loud sound reverberating through your car can greatly damage your hearing over time.

Making these adjustments may not be the easiest at times but your mind is worth protecting, so keep it sharp by taking care of your hearing.

When Your Loved Ones Begin To Lose Their Memories

As our parents age, we are sometimes confronted by the loss of our parent’s memories. This can be difficult to process and many times requires the adult child to take a more caregiving role in their parent’s life.

Here at Ashford Assisted Living and Memory Care, we have helped many families with this transition and have advice for those who need help coping with their parent’s memory loss.

Physically Coping With Parent’s Memory Impairment

Whether you chose to take care of your parent personally or help them transition to an assisted living center, there is a certain amount of physical coping you go through as you deal with seeing your parent lose their memories.

  • Be honest – Denying and hiding the memory loss from your parent can feel like you are kind, but instead you are delaying the realization and possibly endangering your parent. If your parent is no longer capable of handling certain tasks, it is up to you to tell them and intervene.
  • Take control – If your parent is becoming unable to care for themselves on a day-to-day basis, such as forgetting vital medications, it is time for you to take over their care. From being there yourself, hiring a caregiver or moving them to assisted living, you need to be the person to safely help them cope with their loss.

Emotional Aspects Of Coping With Memory Loss

The emotional aspect of parental memory loss is arguably the hardest to deal with. While there is action you can take with the physical side effects of memory loss, emotions are more difficult to control. We recommend:

  • Talk to someone – Reaching out emotionally is key to processing and accepting your parent’s memory loss. As you allow yourself to talk about your feelings of bereavement, you will feel less isolated by a problem you cannot fix.
  • Find the good – Even as your parent loses memories, there are still things they can do and remember. As your parent is likely frightened by their diminishing capabilities, if you acknowledge the things they can still do, you can strengthen them and yourself.
  • Defuse anger – Many people respond to their increasing memory loss with anger. Don’t lash back with anger and argue, this will only exacerbate the problem. You can defuse the anger by being understanding of their feelings and staying calm.
  • Allow your grief – You are allowed to grieve, and no one can tell you how long you can grieve. Everyone experiences loss differently, so allow yourself to deal with your grief for as long as it takes you to feel more whole.

Dealing with a parent’s memory loss is hard on both parents and children, but it is possible to cope with the effects and find peace.

Sending Your Loved One To Ashford Assisted Living Center

Sending Your Loved One To Ashford Assisted Living Center

It isn’t easy deciding to send a loved one to an assisted living center. But if your loved one is clearly struggling while trying to managing day-to-day tasks, it is time to seriously look into helping them with this next step.

To help you and your elderly loved one prepare to come to the Ashford Assisted Living Center we have compiled some steps you can take so you can both be prepared for the transition.

Assisted Living Finances

Assisting with organizing your family member’s finances is key when looking into assisted living and can be one of the more intimidating parts. However, there are a couple options you should know of before opening your checkbook:

  • Veteran Assistance – If your loved one served during wartime, they could be qualified for VA benefits. This can also apply to the spouse of someone who served.
  • Tax benefit – The cost of paying for assisted living can qualify as a tax-deduction.

Be sure to talk to a qualified accountant who can help you become ready for the financial aspect of the transition.

Take A Tour

While you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, you can judge our facility by its looks. Not only will you both love our beautiful center, but it will also ease your mind knowing your loved one is so comfortable.

Instead of visions of sterile, hospital-like rooms, your loved one will be surrounded by warm colors and elegant furnishings. All of our assisted living apartments are private, so no need to worry that your elder will suddenly need to adjust to living with a stranger.

Furnished Assisted Living Apartments

Each apartment will come fully furnished with room for some personal touches. This can be a difficult aspect for people transitioning to assisted living, as they have been used to living with only their own possessions.

To help your elderly loved one transition smoothly, work with them on what they would like to bring with them to their new home. We highly recommend pictures and small keepsakes, as these will not only be the easiest to incorporate, but also hold the most memories.

New residents are encouraged to bring their whole wardrobe and personal beauty and hygiene products. Bedding is provided by Ashford Assisted Living Center, but a few throw pillows to personalize the space can be easily accommodated.

While the transition to assisted living can be difficult on all of the involved family members, here at Ashford we are ready and willing to help the transition to be as smooth and comfortable as possible.

How Proper Nutrition Can Help You Steer Clear of Dementia

Medical understanding of dementia is constantly expanding, and for those with parents or grandparents with Alzheimer’s, that understanding can’t come fast enough. Because one of the things that has been clearly identified is Alzheimer’s strong hereditary, genetic link.

So even as you settle your loved one in our excellent memory care unit, you would likely prefer another alternative. With early-onset Alzheimer’s, there is a 50 percent chance that if a parent has the mutation expressed, you will as well. However, for late-onset Alzheimer’s, there are more components to consider, with one of the strong ones being nutrition.

Foods Associated With Memory Problems

Your brain needs certain nutrients to perform properly. Healthy fats, lean proteins, vitamins and minerals are vital to keeping your brain healthy but unfortunately, these basics have been shifted to the sidelines by the average American diet.

Instead, many people consume these memory-starving foods:

  • “White” foods – Colloquially called white foods as most of these are based in white flour, foods like cake, white sugar, white rice, pasta, and white bread. These foods cause both blood sugar spikes and inflammation in the brain. Also, researchers have found that whole wheat bread is not much better than white bread.
  • Microwave popcorn – This family movie night staple has been found to have the chemical diacetyl, which chemical has been linked to the build up plaque build up in the brain.
  • Processed meats and cheese – You should be eliminating or at least severely cutting down on your intake of: bacon, American cheese, deli turkey and ham, mozzarella sticks, Laughing Cow, and Cheez Whiz. Both of these have been associated with chemicals and protein production that is associated with Alzheimer’s.
  • Beer – Most of these standard alcohol staples contain nitrates, which have a strong link to Alzheimer’s.

What You Can Eat To Boost Memory

Now, don’t feel like there is nothing you can eat and enjoy anymore. As you phase the above foods out of your life, start adding these foods into your regular diet.

Bonus, these foods can benefit your loved one suffering from dementia, as the nutrients help boost the impaired memory.

Aging With Dignity

Taking care of aging loved ones can take a toll on families. Here at Ashford Assisted Living and Memory Care, we understand that the decision to enlist outside help is a tough one.

Our staff is trained to be sensitive to the needs of both your aging senior and you as a family member. You can rest easy knowing they are getting world-class care and can live out their sunset years with dignity.

The Expected Changes In The Alzheimer’s Death Rate

The Expected Changes In The Alzheimer's Death Rate

Alzheimer’s, a debilitating neurodegenerative disorder that robs people of their memory and causes cognitive decline, is the 6th leading cause of death in the US. This is according to a report put out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) which also shows a sharp increase in death rates from the disease from 1999 to 2014.

According to the grim report, there has been a 55% increase in Alzheimer’s deaths from 16.5 deaths per 100,000 people to slightly more than 25 deaths per 100,000. In 2014 alone, Alzheimer’s was responsible for 3.6% of all deaths and this is only expected to rise in coming years.

Growing Public Health Problem

The CDC estimates that about 5.5 million people aged 65 and older have the disease and goes on to project that this number will have more than doubled by 2050. The increase in death rates is attributed to an aging population, earlier diagnosis as well as more reporting by physicians.

Since age is the greatest risk factor of Alzheimer’s, more people are at risk of getting this illness in future as majority of the population nowadays lives well into their 70s and 80s.

This is alarming news. The ramifications of the expected future increase in Alzheimer’s deaths are enormous especially when you consider the disease affects not only the patients but also their families or those providing care to them. Add the fact that Alzheimer’s can take years to progress from the mild to severe stages and that patients ultimately become bedridden and therefore completely dependent on caregivers in the disease’s later stages, and you begin to understand the burden placed on the families of those affected.

Unfortunately, Alzheimer’s disese has no known cure and its causes are also not well understood, further aggravating the public health concern. However, there’s some evidence that high cholesterol levels, high blood pressure and adverse effects of some medications contribute to the disease.

While the increasing numbers of Alzheimer’s deaths are certainly depressing, it is hoped that the growing focus and research on the illness will reveal more on its occurrence as well as its prevention.

Get Help For Your Loved Ones

Although Alzheimer’s has no cure, some of its symptoms can be treated and the right memory care can improve a patient’s long-term prognosis. That is why we at Ashford Utah have a fully equipped memory care unit designed to service the special needs of those with Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia. You can be sure that your loved one will receive the best care from our highly-skilled staff in this secure environment. Don’t hesitate to contact us today for more information about our memory care services. We’ll be glad to help you.

Memory Loss Research Roundup – Latest Studies On Dementia & Alzheimer’s

Memory Loss Research Roundup - Latest Studies On Dementia & Alzheimer’s

Memory loss isn’t easy on the lives it touches, and one of the ways to cope with a loved one’s memory loss is to educate yourself as well as remain up to date with the latest research. Compiled below are major new studies’ findings in the areas of dementia and Alzheimer’s.

New Vascular Dementia Concerns and Cures

In the United Kingdom, they have discovered a link between vascular dementia and stroke victims. This is important because:

  • 10 percent of stroke survivors found to develop dementia within a year of their stroke.
  • Vascular dementia affects 75 percent of those suffering from dementia.

Finding and treating for the linked causes could significantly reduce those suffering from vascular dementia. Three U.K. charities are coming together to help continue research into the correlation between surgeries to prevent strokes helping to stave off dementia or at least treat vascular dementia.

Alzheimer’s Drug Therapy Discoveries

One of the main components of memory loss in those suffering from Alzheimer’s is the protein beta-amyloid. When this protein clumps together into plaque in the brain, it causes nerve cell death. The death of the communicating cells causes the cognitive decline that is the hallmark of Alzheimer’s.

However, this isn’t the new information. What is new are the drug treatments doctors are using to address the problems caused by the beta-amyloid.

  • Solanezumab – This drug will bind to the beta-amyloids and keep them from forming plaque and may carry some of the beta-amyloids away.
  • Verubecestat – The utilization of this drug would prevent the creation of the enzyme that makes beta-amyloids, halting the problem altogether.
  • CSP-1103 – Helps bring down brain inflammation, one of the contributing causes of nerve cell death. This would be most effective on those already dealing with Alzheimer’s and hopes to slow the condition in concert with other drugs.
  • Intepirdine – Inclusion of this drug to a Alzheimer’s drug cocktail would help maintain normal nerve cell communication.

While these drugs are not yet available to the public, there is hope that as the trials go well these drugs will join 5 other FDA approved drugs to help in the struggle against Alzheimer’s.

While it may feel like a long wait, remember that all potential new Alzheimer’s and dementia drug treatments have to go through extensive testing. Should these drug therapies prove safe for humans, generations to come will benefit from them.

Medication Malfunctions Can Lead to Dementia

Medication Malfunctions Can Lead to Dementia

One of the greatest advantages to living in the 21st century is our access to medicine. Advances in medical science in the last 50 years have been astounding. However, there is an unfortunate downside to the amount if medication being prescribed in the United States. Sadly, some of the drugs prescribed to people over the age 65 are having adverse effects on their minds causing different forms of dementia.

Medications To Take Note Of

There are three types of medications that have been linked to dementia:

  1. Benzodiazepines – used mainly as a sleep aid but also prescribed to help with anxiety.
  2. Opiates – powerful pain killers such as LorTab and OxyContin
  3. Tricyclic Antidepressants – known to treat severe depression

One study discovered that patients over the age of 65 taking benzodiazepines were 50% more likely to develop dementia. A dosage even as small as 4mm taken daily can increase the risk of dementia.

Why Are Older Men and Women More Susceptible To Dementia Caused By Medications?

  • The body’s ability to naturally expel waste decreases with age which causes a greater accumulation of drugs in the body.
  • Older patients tend to be prescribed multiple drugs at a time. Occasionally these drugs do not mix well together and this can lead to unexpected problems.
  • Age increases the brain’s sensitivity to drugs which means even a lower dosage might affect the brain in the same way a normal dosage would.

These studies can be unsettling especially if you or a loved one has been diagnosed with some form of dementia. You may feel lost on how to best handle the situation. At Ashford Living, we specialize in caring for those affected by dementia including Alzheimer’s, Lewy Body, and more. If you have a loved one who’s care has progressed beyond their means, let us help your family adjust to this new lifestyle comfortably in our assisted living facility.

How To Cope With Your Parent’s Memory Loss

How To Cope With Your Parent's Memory Loss

Caring for a parent with dementia is a difficult and demanding task. It can even have effects on your own health due to the stress of demands. Nearly 15 million Americans provide unpaid care for people who have dementia. If you are having a hard time, so are others around you. You are not alone in this struggle.

Education Can Increase The Quality Of Your Relationship

Usually, there are early signs of dementia and depending on the individual, dementia might come on slowly. Your loved one might be able to maintain a good amount of independence and health on their own. It is easy during this stage to deny that your loved one has a problem. It’s true that the early stages of dementia are manageable. Educating yourself will help you learn the care skills needed to make life less frustrating and communication more productive for your loved one in the stage they are now. While the reality that your loved one is going to face a difficult aging process can be devastating this diagnosis can help you have important and meaningful conversation to connect with your loved one and prepare them for the future.

Accepting When You’ve Done All You Can

It is easy to feel like you’ve failed your loved one when you realize that you can no longer provide for their care. Yet, that is the reality of dementia. The last stages of these diseases require full-time and specialized care. Transferring a loved one into a care center can be a painful decision. Accepting that you don’t have the capability to care for your loved one, gives you the opportunity find care that fits their needs. Sharing your burden with professionals and other sources of help can make you strong enough to face the difficulties of late stage dementia. At Ashford, we specialize in caring for those with memory loss. We can make sure your loved one is well taken care of and safe. Our program provides a full range of care and is designed to deal with the special concerns that affect those with dementia.

Allow Yourself To Grieve

Losing a parent to dementia is an extremely painful process. Allow yourself to process your emotions of sadness, anger, and frustration. Rely on close friends and family to support you during this difficult time. If you need more support talking to our staff or a grief counselor can help you.

Positive Progression is Possible: the Type software Dementia That Can be Reversed

Positive Progression is Possible the Type software Dementia That Can be Reversed

When a loved one is diagnosed with any type of dementia, it can be difficult to remain hopeful. Many are under the impression that there is little that can be done to delay or even reverse the damage. However, there are certain types of dementia caused by conditions that can actually be reversed. Especially with early diagnosis, quality of life can dramatically improve. Forms of dementia that cannot be reversed can usually be managed fairly well. even for an extended period of time.

Reversible Type of Dementia

Many types of dementia are a product of irreversible brain damage. These include Alzheimers, vascular dementia, fronts-temporal dementia, Parkinson’s disease, and Lewey body dementia. There are more than 60 medical, neurological, and psychiatric conditions believed to be associated with dementia, but experts estimate that about 5 percent of dementia cases are reversible.

With early assessment and the right intervention, dementia or memory loss caused by conditions such as high fever, certain deficiencies, traumas, and psychiatric or medical problems may be reversed. Reversible dementia causes include:

  • Vitamin and mineral deficiencies, specifically vitamin A, B-12, C, iron, and folate
  • Medication side effects or drug interactions
  • Alcohol or drug abuse
  • Smoking
  • Heart disease, where insufficient oxygen reaches the brain (arrhythmias, congestive heart failure, or myocardial infarction)
  • Lung problems
  • Depression, whether from life conditions or chemical imbalance
  • Stress
  • Sleep problems
  • Trauma due to falls, head injuries, or accidents
  • Hormone or thyroid dysfunction
  • Certain infections
  • Brain tumors or brain diseases, such as subdural hematoma or hydrocephalus
  • Environmental changes such as toxicity, loss of daylight and resulting decrease in activity
  • Metabolic disorders such as thyroid disease, COPD, and hyper/hypoglycemia
  • Kidney failure
  • Dehydration
  • Visual or hearing loss
  • Excessive inflammation

Characteristics of Reversible Dementia

Reversible types of dementia differ from irreversible types in that they can be totally cured — not just slowed. These are true temporary conditions, and when they are resolved, any lost functions of the brain will return. Irreversible types of dementia, on the other hand, result in permanent brain damage. Symptoms of irreversible dementia may be treated or perhaps even slowed, but not reversed.

If you see evidence of memory loss or brain function issues in yourself or a loved one, the earlier you see a doctor, the better the outcome or treatment may be. You may even find that the condition is reversible through fairly simple interventions. If the need for memory care arises, seek qualified advice in choosing the right options for your situation.