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Normal Aging vs Early Signs of Dementia

Normal Aging vs Early Signs of Dementia

The Truth About Aging and Dementia

As we age, our brains change, but Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias are not an inevitable part of aging. In fact, up to 40% of dementia cases may be prevented or delayed. It helps to understand what’s normal and what’s not when it comes to brain health.

Normal brain aging may mean slower processing speeds and more trouble multitasking, but routine memory, skills, and knowledge are stable and may even improve with age. It’s normal to occasionally forget recent events such as where you put your keys or the name of the person you just met.

In the United States, 6.2 million people age 65 and older have Alzheimer’s disease, the most common type of dementia. People with dementia have symptoms of cognitive decline that interfere with daily life—including disruptions in language, memory, attention, recognition, problem solving, and decision-making.
Source: cdc.gov

The differences between normal aging and dementia

If you are experiencing difficulties with memory, know that they may not be signs of dementia. It could be memory loss as a part of normal aging.

If you are concerned that you or someone you know has dementia, please talk to your doctor.

Source: alzheimer.ca

What is aging?

Aging is a natural process of our lives. As we age, we experience gradual changes to our brains and bodies. Some of these changes affect our physical and mental abilities, and may increase our risk of disease.

Each one of us experiences aging differently. The extent of how we experience changes due to aging, and the point in our lives when they start becoming more noticeable, varies from person to person.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), each person should have the ability to live a long and healthy life. This is considered healthy aging.

Source: alzheimer.ca

Memory, Forgetfulness, and Aging: What’s Normal and What’s Not?

Many older adults worry about their memory and other thinking abilities. For example, they might be concerned about taking longer than before to learn new things, or they may sometimes forget to pay a bill. These changes are usually signs of mild forgetfulness — often a normal part of aging — not serious memory problems.

Source: nia.nih.gov

What’s normal forgetfulness and what’s not?

What’s the difference between normal, age-related forgetfulness and a serious memory problem? It’s normal to forget things once in a while as we age, but serious memory problems make it hard to do everyday things like driving, using the phone, and finding your way home.

Talk with your doctor to determine whether memory and other cognitive problems, such as the ability to clearly think and learn, are normal and what may be causing them.

Signs that it might be time to talk to a doctor include:

Asking the same questions over and over again

Getting lost in places a person knows well

Having trouble following recipes or directions

Becoming more confused about time, people, and places

Not taking care of oneself —eating poorly, not bathing, or behaving unsafely

Source: nia.nih.gov

old man staring outside the window

Normal Aging vs. Dementia

While some mild changes in cognition are considered a normal part of the aging process, . Normal age-related declines are subtle and mostly affect the speed of thinking and attentional control. In abnormal aging, declines in cognition are more severe and may include other thinking abilities, such as rapid forgetting or difficulties navigating, solving common problems, expressing oneself in conversation or behaving outside of social rules. Abnormal aging can also include the motor system resulting in excessive tripping, falls or tremor. Often it is difficult to determine exactly when a person should be concerned with cognitive changes they may be experiencing. Symptoms vary from person to person – what is normal for one person may not be normal for another. This contributes to the challenges clinicians face when determining whether what someone is experiencing is a significant dementia or not.

Source: memory.ucsf.edu

When Forgetfulness Is a Problem

If memory loss makes it hard for you to handle your daily tasks, that’s a sign you shouldn’t ignore. Are you forgetting things you only just heard? Asking the same question over and over again? Relying on lots of paper or electronic reminders just to get through the day? Talk to your doctor if you or your family notices that happening to you.

 

Source: webmd.com

Signs of Dementia

Sometimes, there does come a point at which forgetfulness becomes more prominent and affects daily life. These symptoms can point to dementia. Some signs of a more serious problem, such as dementia, include:

Not being able to remember a recent conversation or event, or forgetting what’s happening while it’s happening

Being unable to learn or remember new information

Having significant language issues, such as struggling to have a conversation because of word-finding problems

Experiencing significant mood or personality changes such as depression, anxiety, or intense irritability

Appearing apathetic or withdrawn

Frequently pausing when talking

Forgetting family members’ names

Often getting lost and needing help finding one’s way

Experiencing significant declines in reaction time, which may affect driving, cooking, or the ability to recover from tripping and falling

The key to understanding what is normal aging and what could be dementia is evaluating how it affects daily life. For example, if your loved one is anxious because they can no longer manage their checkbook or monthly bills, you should speak with a physician.

Are you caring for someone with dementia? The Caregiver’s Complete Guide to Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care includes tips to help you accommodate your loved one’s changing needs.

Source: arborcompany.com

The different levels of memory loss

Age-associated memory impairment

If you are experiencing difficulties with memory, but:

They are not noticeably disrupting your daily life,

They are not affecting your ability to complete tasks as you usually would,

You have no difficulty learning and remembering new things and

There’s no underlying medical condition that is causing your memory problems,

Then you have what’s known as age-associated memory impairment.

Age-associated memory impairment is considered to be a normal part of aging. It doesn’t mean you have dementia.

Though you may have difficulties remembering things on occasion, like where you left your keys, a password for a website or the name of a former classmate, these are not signs you have dementia. You may not remember things as quickly as you used to, but most of the time there is no cause for concern.

Source: alzheimer.ca

When to visit the doctor for memory loss

If you, a family member, or friend has problems remembering recent events or thinking clearly, talk with a doctor. He or she may suggest a thorough checkup to see what might be causing the symptoms. You may also wish to talk with your doctor about opportunities to participate in research on cognitive health and aging.

At your doctor visit, he or she can perform tests and assessments, which may include a brain scan, to help determine the source of memory problems. Your doctor may also recommend you see a neurologist, a doctor who specializes in treating diseases of the brain and nervous system.

Memory and other thinking problems have many possible causes, including depression, an infection, or medication side effects. Sometimes, the problem can be treated, and cognition improves. Other times, the problem is a brain disorder, such as Alzheimer’s disease, which cannot be reversed.

Finding the cause of the problems is important for determining the best course of action. Once you know the cause, you can make the right treatment plan. People with memory problems should make a follow-up appointment to check their memory every six to 12 months. They can ask a family member, friend, or the doctor’s office to remind them if they’re worried they’ll forget.

Learn more about cognitive health and Alzheimer’s and related dementias.

 

Source: nia.nih.gov

elderly man checking his tablet with a woman
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Contact Us

Location:

Braley Care Homes

6192 US 60

Hurricane, WV 25526

 

Phone Numbers:

Referrals and Inquiries: (304) 767-4033

Facility Phone: (304) 201-3677

Facility Fax: (304) 201-3678

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How Does Dementia Affect Communication

How does dementia affect communication? 

How does dementia affect communication? 

As human beings, we communicate with each other using an array of verbal and non-verbal communication. From our facial expressions and body language to the words we speak and tone we use, these are the tools we often take for granted to help us express ourselves and feel understood.

All forms of dementia can affect communication in all kinds of different ways. Although this can be challenging and sometimes frustrating or distressing – there are ways that you can help to support and maintain communication.

Source: liftedcare.com

Why is communication important?

Communication is a vital part of our lives. It allows us to express who we are and relate to one another. Communication is more than talking and listening – it involves understanding and interpreting.

When a person living with dementia is having trouble expressing themselves or understanding what is being communicated, try these tips to help you stay connected.

 

Source: alzheimer.ca

Communicating well with a person with dementia

How does dementia affect communication?

Dementia can make it more difficult to communicate with others. As dementia progresses it becomes harder for a person to tell others about themselves and to understand what others are saying to them. This leads to people feeling cut off and isolated.

Source: scie.org.uk

Behavior as communication

At this stage, behaviors are often the only way to communicate what is on the person’s mind. These are called dementia-related behaviors. They are messages about ideas, feelings, and needs, and he is telling you in the best way he can the only way he can.

For instance, a caregiver who provides personal care (bathing, toileting) too quickly causes frustration for the person living with dementia; he can’t process what is happening. Frustration can turn to resistance, anger, and even aggression, all of which may be avoided if the caregiver understands the needs of the person in his or her care, which in the case of this example is simply to move slower and with greater care.

Source: hopehospice.com

holding elderly's hands

How to approach communication with people living with dementia

Believe that communication is possible at all stages of dementia:

What a person says or does and how a person behaves has meaning.

Never lose sight of the person and what they are trying to tell you.

The key to positive conversations with people living with dementia isrespectful, sensitive and consistent communication.

Difficulties with communication can be discouraging for the person living with dementia and families, so consider creative ways to understand and connect with each other. In the video below, listen to what other caregivers have to say about caring for and communicating with people living with dementia.

The strategies discussed in the video above, as well as the tips listed below, are successful because they are based on a person-centred philosophy that views people living with dementia first and foremost as individuals, with unique attributes, personal values and history.

We also recommend learning as much as you can about dementia, its progression and how it can change the abilities of a person. As abilities change, you can learn to interpret the person’s messages by paying attention to both verbal and non-verbal cues.

Source: alzheimer.ca

The right environment

When communicating with a person with dementia, try to:

avoid competing noises, such as TV or radio

stay still while you are talking – this makes it easier for the person with dementia to follow what you are saying

maintain regular routines – this helps to minimise confusion and can assist communication

keep a consistent approach – it is much less confusing for the person with dementia if everyone uses the same style of communication. Repeating the message in exactly the same way is important for all the family and carers.

Source: betterhealth.vic.gov.au

 

son talking to elderly mother

Listening to and understanding someone with dementia

Communication is a two-way process. As a carer of someone with dementia, you will probably have to learn to listen more carefully.

You may need to be more aware of non-verbal messages, such as facial expressions and body language. You may have to use more physical contact, such as reassuring pats on the arm, or smile as well as speaking.

Active listening can help:

use eye contact to look at the person, and encourage them to look at you when either of you are talking

try not to interrupt them, even if you think you know what they’re saying

stop what you’re doing so you can give the person your full attention while they speak

minimise distractions that may get in the way of communication, such as the television or the radio playing too loudly, but always check if it’s OK to do so

repeat what you heard back to the person and ask if it’s accurate, or ask them to repeat what they said

Source: nhs.uk

Will communication get harder?

As time goes on, communication will likely become more difficult for someone with dementia. Although dementia can take years to advance over several stages, symptoms can worsen in each subsequent stage.

Source: liftedcare.com

The silver lining

As with much of life, there is a silver lining to the reality of dementia-related language decline. The brain’s temporal lobe is two-sided. The left side deteriorates while the right side remains intact, often to the end of the dementia journey. The right side enables a person to engage in basic social chit-chat, clap or toe-tap to the rhythm of music and poetry, and even dance.

A person living with dementia can find great comfort and joy in listening to his favorite music or singing along to songs from his past. It’s not uncommon for a person to retain the ability to recite favorite scriptures or poems, even word for word. This can happen even in persons who are otherwise non-verbal.

Care partners can learn new ways to interact with their loved ones who have dementia by engaging in activities that rely on the right side of the temporal lobe.

Source: hopehospice.com

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old lady in a wheelchair surrounded by old people

Contact Us

Location:

Braley Care Homes

6192 US 60

Hurricane, WV 25526

 

Phone Numbers:

Referrals and Inquiries: (304) 767-4033

Facility Phone: (304) 201-3677

Facility Fax: (304) 201-3678

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Stimulating Activities for Alzheimer’s Patients

Stimulating Activities for Alzheimer’s Patients

No one wants to end up with a debilitating disease, particularly one like Alzheimer’s. Are there steps that can be taken to slow the disease’s progression?

Experts say the main thing people can do to prevent or slow down Alzheimer’s disease is to stimulate their brains.

Whether a person is in a care facility or receiving home care services, brain stimulation activities can and should be done on a regular basis.

Source: skylarkseniorcare.com

 

stimulating activities for alzheimers

Exercise and physical activity

Exercise and physical activity can have lots of benefits for people with Alzheimers. It can help regulate their sleep and prevent restlessness and sleeplessness in the evening. It can also help maintain a positive mood and lower the risk of them developing depression.

Physical activities may include:

Walking around their neighborhood or a local park

Depending on age and fitness, you could try tandem biking

Water aerobics – health and fitness centers often have workshops and classes specifically for elderly people or people with Alzheimers

Fishing

Source: supercarers.com

Work on Puzzles

We love puzzles because they’re like exercise for the brain. A person has to exercise their problem-solving ability, as well as making sense of the shapes to complete the picture in front of them.

Source: skylarkseniorcare.com

Reminisce about their life

Long-term memory often remains stronger for longer in people living with Alzheimers. It can be wonderful to engage your loved ones in discussions or activities about their lives. It’s also a fantastic opportunity for you to learn more about your loved one.

Some ideas include:

Interview your loved one about their life using a video recorder

Talk to them about their life, their childhood, and their family

Look through photos and make a photo album

Watch family videos together

Ask them about their favorite memories around a particular topic, such as their favorite holiday or oldest friend

Source: supercarers.com

old people looking at pictures

Simulate handy tasks
If your aging relative always loved to tinker, suggest a project with visible results. Painting wooden boards and fitting together PVC pipes are good activities for seniors with high motor function. Wooden or plastic play tools provide a similar experience for people with Alzheimers.

Untie knots
Tie loose knots along a thick rope. The elderly person may enjoy untying them, though avoid making the knots too tight or using a rough rope.

Connect with others: Make phone or video calls to friends and loved ones. Host a virtual tea, coffee time, or happy hour. Take the time to write them a note or card. Chances are, they’re bored at home, too, and will welcome the connection!

Read the Newspaper Together

This may not seem like a big deal, but reading is also a form of mental exercise. Reading about current events can help stimulate both memories and emotions as well.

Source: skylarkseniorcare.com

Perseverance and flexibility are key

If your loved one isn’t interested in the activity or seems resistant, just take a break and try again later. You could also try a different activity or ask your loved one how you could make this one more enjoyable for them. You should also focus on the process of the activity, not the results – what matters most is that your loved one enjoys the time and feels useful.

 

Source: supercarers.com

 

cartoon plant
old lady in a wheelchair surrounded by old people

Contact Us

Location:

Braley Care Homes

6192 US 60

Hurricane, WV 25526

 

Phone Numbers:

Referrals and Inquiries: (304) 767-4033

Facility Phone: (304) 201-3677

Facility Fax: (304) 201-3678

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Tips for Seniors to Maintain Good Health​

Tips for Seniors to Maintain Good Health​

Staying healthy is important at any age, but for seniors, it is even more important for living a long, happy, and active life. Here are tips to help maintain good health as you age.

Source: bannerhealth.com

Get active

Physical activity is an immune system booster. The more you move, the more your body is able to fight inflammation and infections.

The activity you partake in doesn’t have to be strenuous. Low impact exercises are effective, too.

You might consider biking, walking, swimming, or low impact aerobics. If you’re able to, engage in moderate intensity exercise for about 20 to 30 minutes a day to reach the recommended total of 150 minutes a weekTrusted Source

Modify your exercise routine to find what feels best for you.

Source: healthline.com

Eat healthy

Maintaining a healthy diet as you age is essential for living well . The digestive system slows down with age, so it becomes necessary to incorporate important vitamins and high-fiber foods such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains into your loved one’s diet. Not only does adding fiber help seniors with maintaining a healthy diet, but it also can lower the risk of major health problems like stroke and heart disease.

Another health secret for seniors is to stay hydrated. Because they tend to generally feel less thirsty as they age, seniors are prone to dehydration . Make sure your loved one drinks plenty of water to stay energized and to avoid constipation and urinary tract infections.

Lack of appetite is a common cause of poor senior nutrition. It’s important to first address the causes of appetite decline in older people , according to research from the National Institute of Health Research. There can be many causes, but researchers concluded that simply improving the “mealtime ambiance” and “enhancing the flavor of food” can work wonders for a senior’s appetite.

Along with trying these tips to stimulate appetite in the elderly , you can really help support healthy eating habits by:

Encouraging shared mealtimes with friends and family

Offering visually appealing food

Suggesting a regular schedule for meals, snacks, and drinks

Source: aplaceformom.com

elderly eating veggies

Maintain strong bones

Most of us really don’t think about our bones until one breaks. However, bone health, like other aspects of your health, needs to be worked on for years. The good news is that it’s never too late to take care of your bones and slow bone loss. 

Want to know more about your risk for osteoporosis? Talk to your doctor about a DEXA bone density scan. It is a common screening test for women over 65 and can help predict your risk of fractures or osteoporosis.

Source: bannerhealth.com

Get plenty of rest

Not only can sleep reduce your stress level, but sleep is how your body repairs itself. For this reason, getting an adequate amount of sleep can result in a stronger immune system, making it easier for your body to fight off viruses.

Sleep is also important as you get older because it can improve memory and concentration. Aim for at least seven and a half to nine hours of sleep per night.

If you have trouble sleeping, talk to your doctor to find the underlying cause. Causes of insomnia can include inactivity during the day and too much caffeine. Or it can be a sign of a medical condition like sleep apnea or restless leg syndrome.

Source: healthline.com

Keep medications organized and safe

Especially as we age, you might need to take different medications to manage different health conditions. It’s important to review your medications regularly with your pharmacist and your health care provider to make sure everything is necessary and to identify possible interactions.

Learn more about safely managing your medications:

The Top Warning Signs You Might Be Taking Too Many Medications

The Importance of Taking Your Medications as Prescribed

Why You Should Never Throw Away That Medication Package Insert

Do you have diabetes? Managing your medications and insulin can present some unique challenges. Here are “6 Medication Safety Tips for Older Adults with Diabetes”.

Source: bannerhealth.com

Remember cognitive health

Staying mentally active and learning new skills may even lead to improved thinking ability , according to the National Institute on Aging at the National Institutes of Health. Seniors should keep their minds sharp through various brain games and other engaging activities: Completing crossword puzzles, reading, writing, and trying new hobbies can stimulate seniors’ minds and help them engage with their surrounding environment to ward off cognitive decline.

Source: aplaceformom.com

Visit the dentist every 6 months

The risk for cavities goes up with age. Furthermore, oral health is directly related to overall health : Many mouth infections can be linked to serious health conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. The American Dental Association outlines the various concerns seniors over 60 should have regarding their oral health . Lastly, in addition to brushing and flossing daily, seniors should regularly see their local dentist to maintain healthy teeth and gums.

Source: aplaceformom.com

 

cartoon plant
old lady in a wheelchair surrounded by old people

Contact Us

Location:

Braley Care Homes

6192 US 60

Hurricane, WV 25526

 

Phone Numbers:

Referrals and Inquiries: (304) 767-4033

Facility Phone: (304) 201-3677

Facility Fax: (304) 201-3678