Detecting Alzheimer’s Symptoms & Stages

Posted by in Mind and Spirit, Health and Fitness, Food and Nutrition, Expert Advice, Research.

Alzheimer’s disease, a syndrome that affects the brain and cognitive function, can be a challenging disease to learn about, particularly when considering the devastating effects this disease can have on all those it touches. But knowing Alzheimer’s symptoms and Alzheimer’s stages can help prepare you in case someone you love receives this diagnosis or begins to show signs of Alzheimer’s.

Consider this: The Alzheimer’s Association – the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s care, support and research – estimates that 5.4 million Americans have the disease. Of those afflicted, 96 percent are older than 65. Taken as a whole, dementia is the sixth leading cause of death in America, killing more people than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined.

Those are frightening numbers that are only expected to grow.

Senior Lifestyle has developed award-winning programs and care to help cope with the effects of the disease. Senior Lifestyle’s memory care and Alzheimer’s care specialists work directly with staff, residents, and their families to ensure residents receive the comprehensive care and attention they deserve.

But the first step is identifying the diseases stages, symptoms and warning signs.

3 Stages of Alzheimer’s
Detecting the progression of Alzhiemer’s can be challenging because the disease affects everyone differently and there is much overlap between Alzheimer’s stages. Generally, experts divide Alzheimer’s into three stages.
1. Mild or Early Stage: Usually lasts 2-4 years; often undetectable, but characterized by frequent memory loss, especially of recent interactions and experiences, losing track of time and becoming lost in formerly familiar locations.
2. Moderate or Middle Stage: Lasts anywhere between 2-10 years; cognitive decline is easily observed; memory continues to decline and family may become less identifiable; memory, reasoning and basic motor skills continues to get worse; mood swings, delusions, aggression and uninhibited behavior may occur.
3. Severe or Late Stage: Usually last 1-3 years; individuals are unable to care for themselves for the most part as symptoms continue to devolve; Basic verbal communication and motor skills are extremely hindered.

10 Alzheimer’s Warning Signs

1. Memory loss that affects daily life
2. Inability to follow directions or solve simple problems.
3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks
4. Becoming disoriented about space and time
5. Trouble with depth perception, colors or reading
6. Problems expressing thoughts in conversation
7. Misplacing things or putting possessions in nonsensical places
8. Poor judgment with money, clothing or grooming
9. Withdrawal from friends and social network
10. Mood swings

Unfortunately, there is no way to totally prevent or cure Alzheimer’s, but research and medicine continue to progress. By recognizing Alzheimer’s symptoms and identifying Alzheimer’s stages, you or your loved ones can start memory care treatment that can temporarily slow signs of the disease and improve quality of life for those afflicted and for their families.

Raising Alzheimer’s Awareness

Posted by in Health and Fitness, Special Events, Research.

Did you know nearly 50 million people worldwide are living with dementia? And that every 66 seconds someone in the United States develops Alzheimer’s?

It’s time to take an active role in reducing those numbers. A growing body of researches suggests that there are ways you can potentially reduce your risk of decline in cognitive abilities. In honor of our partnership with the Alzheimer’s Association® on The Longest Day, we wanted to share some key lifestyle routines you can adopt today that may help keep your brain healthy as you age.

GET MOVING- Studies suggest that cardiovascular activities can reduce your risk of cognitive decline. Engaging in cardiovascular activities increases your heart rate, and therefore increases blood flow to your brain and body. This type of activity also reduces the risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol, which are linked to a higher risk of dementia. Working out doesn’t have to be strenuous on the body, it can be simple things such as power walking, jogging, riding a bike, or swimming.

BE CHALLENGED- Another great way to support your brain health is through mental stimulation. Those who continue to learn and challenge their brains have been shown to have a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Make it a point in your life to be mentally engaged. Learn a foreign language, practice a musical instrument, read books and newspapers, work on puzzles, or pick up a new hobby.

GET SOCIAL – Studies suggest that being social reduces your risk of depression, and may delay the onset of dementia. There are many ways to get or stay social. Participate in a club or group, volunteer, be actively involved with friend and family, or get involved with your local Alzheimer’s Association’s events. The key is to stay connected to causes, activities, and people that are important to you.

Research suggests the combined effects of the lifestyle routines above along with good nutritional habits have the most powerful impact. By following these simple steps you can help reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s disease and support a strong and healthy mind. To find out other ways to sharpen your cognitive abilities, visit the Alzheimer’s Association website today or join Senior Lifestyle in their quest to GET MOVING, BE CHALLNGED, and GET SOCIAL all while raising funds and awareness for those impacted by Alzheimer’s on The Longest Day.

If you have a loved one you are concerned about having Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, we invite you to learn more about our Senior Lifestyle® Memory Care program at select communities that provides the finest in memory care.

Seeking the Right Treatment for Arthritis

Posted by in Health and Fitness.

Anyone who experiences arthritis knows it can be quite painful, unpredictable and particularly difficult find the best treatment. With such a painful disease so commonly affecting our residents and families alike, we took some time to look at arthritis and its causes, common forms of treatment for arthritis, and different ways you may be able to find arthritis relief.

Arthritis affects over 50 million adults in the United States, according to the Arthritis Foundation. Despite how common this category of diseases is, many people remain largely unaware of arthritis’ causes. There are actually more than 100 kinds of arthritis, the most common of which is osteoarthritis. Deterioration of cartilage on the ends of bones causes this degenerative form of arthritis, often leading to weakness in joints and pain, swelling, and stiffness over time. The many other types of arthritis fall into three other categories: inflammatory arthritis, infectious arthritis, and metabolic arthritis.

When it comes to treatment for arthritis, there are many different approaches based on the type of arthritis that a patient has. Typical treatments for arthritis aim to reduce joint pain in arthritis sufferers, as this is typically the most straightforward means of arthritis relief. Other means of treatment for arthritis, in cases of rheumatoid or inflammatory arthritis, include various drugs that intervene against your immune system, preventing it from attacking your own inflamed joints. Ultimately, the right individual treatment for arthritis comes down to the type and severity of arthritis of each individual.

Aside from these treatments, in cases of mild and moderate arthritis, self-management of symptoms can be the best way to find arthritis relief. This relief typically comes from finding the right balance between exercise and rest. The right exercise can strengthen your muscles and joints, and activities like yoga can improve your strength and range of motion in the affected joints. Activity that provides arthritis relief must also be balanced with adequate rest, pain management, and sleep to ensure that symptoms of arthritis are not exacerbated by overuse.

If you’re seeking treatment for arthritis, talk to your doctor today to find an effective treatment regimen that suits your needs. In the meantime, stay tuned to the Senior Lifestyle blog for more helpful and healthful information.

Preventing Dehydration in the Elderly

Posted by in Health and Fitness.

With temperatures on the rise and summer just around the corner, it’s all too easy to forget the risk of dehydration in the elderly during those warmer temperatures. Before you jump right to grabbing an extra water bottle, we have some additional precautionary steps and ways to monitor dehydration to help you make the most of the summer sun without the risk.

As we age, several changes in the body can actually make the possibility of dehydration more likely to occur and harder to notice until it’s too late. Dehydration in elderly adults is more common than in younger people because older adults’ ability to conserve water reduces over time; simply put, they don’t get quite as much mileage as they once did out of the fluids they consume. Additionally, dehydration in the elderly can be more difficult to detect as their sense of thirst weakens with age. For those of us accustomed to knowing we need to drink some water in response to the simple sensation of being thirsty, this is especially problematic. Add to these factors the reality that many older adults regularly take medications with a diuretic effect, and it quickly becomes very clear why we need to keep a watchful eye for dehydration in the elderly.

Whether you’re out in the summer sun or a building without air conditioning, be on the lookout for common signs of dehydration in the elderly, including dizziness, headaches, dry mouth, increased heartrate, low blood pressure, and fatigue. Do not take dehydration lightly; complications can include cramps, heat exhaustion, seizures, hypovolemic shock, and other dangerous conditions.

Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to prevent dehydration in the elderly, including talking to your doctor to see if a regularized hydration program is right for you. Otherwise, be sure to drink plenty of fluids and eat a healthy diet high fruits and vegetables, which are high in water content. Always be conscious of times when you’ll require extra fluids, like when you’re sick and both during and after exercise or periods of sweating. With an extra bit of attention, you can stay hydrated and healthy this summer, avoiding the potential danger of dehydration in the elderly.

Elderly Depression vs. Dementia: What’s the Difference?

Posted by in Health and Fitness.

More than two million of the 34 million Americans age 65 and older suffer from some form of depression. For senior citizens, a loss of mental sharpness could be a sign of either elderly depression or dementia, both of which are common in older adults and the elderly. So how do you tell the difference?

Elderly depression is a mood disorder that causes severe symptoms that affect how you feel, think, and handle daily activities, such as sleeping, eating, or working. Dementia is a general term for a decline in mental ability severe enough to interfere with daily life, such as memory loss. Alzheimer’s is the most common type of dementia.

Since geriatric depression and dementia share many similar symptoms, it can be difficult to tell the two apart. Here are some guidelines for figuring out the difference between elderly depression and dementia.

Response: People suffering from geriatric depression notice and are worried about their memory problems. Those with dementia are unconcerned with or in denial about their symptoms.
Mood: People with elderly depression have a pervasively sad mood. People who have dementia are in a normal mood most of the time, and their mood often brightens with stimulation and support.
Memory: People with geriatric depression have difficulty concentrating and may even suffer occasional memory lapses. People with Alzheimer’s disease have trouble with short-term memory and storing new information, such as the recent visit of a close relative or what they ate for dinner.
Language and motor skills: Depressed people have normal language and motor skills, although they may speak slowly at times. People with dementia often experience apraxia – trouble remembering how to perform previously learned and routine motor activities.

Whether you’re concerned about a loved one or your own cognitive decline, regardless of the cause, it’s important to see a doctor right away. If depression is the problem, memory, concentration, and energy will bounce back with treatment. Even in some types of dementia, symptoms can be reversed, halted, or slowed. If someone you know suffers from elderly depression or dementia, offer to go with him or her to see a health care provider to be diagnosed and treated.

7 Easy Treatments for Sinus Headaches

Posted by in Health and Fitness.

As the weather changes, our sinuses can get irritated and inflamed, leading to painful sinus headaches. While a cure for sinus headaches might not ever be a reality, there are some simple measures you can take and popular treatments for sinus headaches that actually help.

If sinus headaches are dampening your day and keeping you up at night, try these sinus headache prevention and treatment tips:

1. Stay hydrated. The sinuses are spaces located above, below and between your eyes. When you’re dehydrated, they can dry up and prevent drainage, which leads to a sinus inflammation and a headache. Drinking plenty of fluids throughout the day can prevent and treat sinus headaches, so keep that water bottle filled up!

2. Eat spicy foods. Ever notice that your nose will start to run when you eat spicy foods? That might be embarrassing if you’re dining out, but it’s great for relieving your sinuses.

3. Enjoy a hot bowl of soup. When soup is steaming hot, it can loosen up your blocked sinuses and bring you some relief. Extra sinus relief points if the soup is spicy, too!

4. Use a hot/cold compress. Alternate pressing a hot and cold towel on your lower forehead and cheekbones. The contrasting temperatures can help move mucus through your sinuses.

5. Drink ginger tea. Ginger tea helps you hydrate and steam out the sinuses, but it also contains anti-inflammatory gingerol, which reduces inflammation in your mucus membranes.

6. Take a hot shower. We can’t always take a hot shower, but get the most out of your morning shower when you have a sinus headache. Breathe in the steam and allow it to clean out your sinuses as you clean up for the day.

7. Use a neti pot. The neti pot can be a little intimidating, but with some practice you’ll feel immediate benefits. Fill the neti pot with warm water and the saline solution, and pour the contents into one nostril as you tilt your head forward over the sink. After a few seconds, the solution will make its way through your sinuses and out the other nostril. It’s the most direct way to clear out your sinuses, and it can really help when you’ve had enough of your sinus headache.

While not usually a health emergency, sinus headaches can be a real pain. We hope these treatments for sinus headaches help you feel better so that you can get a good night’s sleep – and enjoy every day to the fullest!

“Sitting Disease” and the Dangers of a Sedentary Lifestyle

Posted by in Health and Fitness.

Thanks to some of the comforts and conveniences of modern life, a bug is going around. Scientists are calling it “sitting disease,” and you may be at risk.

Technically speaking, this affliction is not really a disease, but rather a phrase coined by the medical community to address our modern lifestyles and the associated dangers of sitting. The message coming loud and clear from many in the medical community is that, whether it’s in our cars, at our desks, or in front of the TV, people these days simply sit too much —and it can potentially have far-reaching and adverse effects on our health down the line.

The National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys studied the daily habits of Americans and declared that the average amount we sit drastically lowers life expectancy. The dangers of sitting and an overly sedentary lifestyle include increased risk for heart disease, Type II diabetes, and even certain cancers.

Additionally, sitting too much over time initially causes smaller problems, like decreased flexibility and mobility, which can lead to much larger issues as we age. Particularly relevant to the older adult population is the fact that decreased hip flexibility, a problem associated with sitting disease, is one of the most common factors in falls in the elderly. Add this to back pain, weak bones and muscles, and it’s clear that seniors—and people of all ages— have plenty of reasons to get up and get moving.

Our advice: even if something requires long bouts of sitting, find ways to break up these sedentary periods. Try standing occasionally while watching TV or reading something at your desk, and set reminders at regular intervals to remember to get up and take a stroll. On top of these simple tips, talk to your doctor about the types of exercise that are appropriate for you and to find out whether or not you’re including enough activity into your days.

Preventing Pneumonia in the Elderly

Posted by in Health and Fitness.

Learn about the specific risks for pneumonia in elderly adults. Senior Lifestyle discusses tips for preventing pneumonia in the elderly.

The name pneumonia may be familiar to many, but plenty may not fully understand the true extent of this disease’s danger. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), about one million people each year seek hospital care because they have contracted pneumonia. Pneumonia in the elderly is both common and dangerous. Along with children under the age of 5 and those who smoke or have medical conditions like asthma, diabetes, or heart disease, senior adults are more likely than most to contract pneumonia. Through an understanding of the infection itself and a look at prevention methods, you can better protect yourself from becoming ill with pneumonia.

What is pneumonia?

Pneumonia is an infection that affects one or both lungs. Typically it is caused when bacteria, fungi, or viruses enter the lungs and cause inflammation within air sacs in your lungs called alveoli. This inflammation may cause the alveoli to fill with fluid, which can cause difficulty breathing as well as a fever. Common causes of pneumonia include a bacteria called Streptococcus pneumoniae and viruses such as the flu. While pneumonia can be contagious and contracted from these viruses and bacteria, pneumonia in elderly population is often contracted through other means.

Why is pneumonia in the elderly more common?
For one, older adults more often lack the strength to clear secretions from the lungs and respiratory tract that can hold germs. These bacteria can end up in the lungs air sacs and cause infections. Furthermore, seniors are more likely to have weakened immune systems which may render them incapable of fighting off some infections.

How can pneumonia in the elderly be prevented?
The most important step to take towards preventing pneumonia in elderly adults is vaccination. Even if vaccination on occasion does not fully prevent the pneumonia, it still tends to lessen the severity of the pneumonia, shorten the time that the infection lasts, and helps prevent severe—and potentially dangerous—complications caused by pneumonia. There are several vaccines that can help prevent pneumonia, many of which are received when one is young, like the Measles and Pertussis (whooping cough) vaccines. However, the CDC recommends that all older adults receive 2 pneumococcal vaccines to help prevent bacterial pneumonia in the elderly. Getting an annual flu vaccine can also support this prevention, as many people who get the flu also get pneumonia.

Additionally, you should maintain typical approaches to good health and hygiene, like regularly washing hands with soap and water, quitting smoking, getting adequate rest and exercise, and keeping a healthy, well-balanced diet.

As stated by the CDC, many people are needlessly affected by pneumonia infections each year, because these infections are preventable. Spread the word and follow the above advice to help prevent pneumonia in the elderly and assist in staying healthy yourself.

Tips for Mitigating Fall Risk in Older Adults

Posted by in Health and Fitness, Food and Nutrition, Expert Advice.

Find out how to decrease fall risk in the home and while on the go. Falls in the elderly are dangerous but are preventable with the right planning

Whether at home or on the go, preventing falls in the elderly should be a top priority. Increased fall risk is just another thing that happens when we get older. According to the Centers for Disease Control, one in three adults over the age of 65 falls each year and over 2 million people are treated annually in emergency departments for fall-related injuries. Regardless of their frequent occurrence, falls are often preventable. With the right plan, you can help mitigate fall risk in your home and elsewhere.

Make sure rugs don’t slip. While rugs can add some color to a room, they call also increase fall risk if they’re not put in place correctly. A rug that slips or rolls up can cause falls in the elderly. Throw rugs should be kept in place with the help of two-sided carpet tape. You can also use rubber rug pads to help keep your rugs from bunching up.

Help your eyes out. One of the main risk factors for falling is an inability to see well. Make sure that there is adequate light in your home so that you can see where you are walking well enough to prevent fall risk. Install brighter bulbs where necessary and add nightlights to bedrooms and hallways. For those that have trouble with stairs in particular, adding colored tape to the edge of each stair can make them easier to navigate.

Fall-proof the bathroom. The bathroom is one of the most common places for falls to occur. Begin mitigating fall risk by placing non-slip mats in and around the shower. Adding grab rails can give seniors entering and exiting the tub something sturdy to hold onto. A bonus of having these grab rails is that many are portable, meaning that they can be taken with on trips to be used in hotels or others’ bathrooms that lack railings.

Keep clutter in check. Maintaining a clean home is something you can do to prevent falls among the elderly. Pay special attention to hallways and stairwells for object that can be tripped over and cause falls.

Put handrails by stairways. Because climbing up and down stairs only gets more difficult as we age, installing handrails to facilitate easier climbs and lower the risk of falling is a great choice for a home improvement project.

Fall risk does not have to be a burden for older adults. With careful and diligent preparation, these simple steps can be taken to reduce risks and help keep seniors safe from the danger of falling.

Understanding Our Approach to Dementia Care

Posted by in Mind and Spirit, Health and Fitness, Research.

The Shoreline of Clinton Senior Living Facility Resident, Family and Caretakers

Get the help you need in seeking dementia care. Here you’ll find advice from Senior Lifestyle on the options for caring for someone with dementia.

In our earlier article we discussed the different types of dementia. Today we explore the nature of caring for someone with dementia and the Senior Lifestyle approach to dementia care.

Alzheimer’s disease now affects over five million Americans, and this only accounts for 60 to 80 percent of all cases of dementia. However, despite the widespread prevalence of dementia, awareness of the options for dementia care seem to be lacking. As scientists are still diligently researching a cure for dementia, the proper way to medically treat someone afflicted with dementia is still far from a forgone conclusion. Yet in spite of the challenges posed by dementia, many steps can still be taken to improve the quality of life for those who suffer from this disease.

Many senior living communities, including Senior Lifestyle communities, offer specialized memory care neighborhoods that are designed especially to meet the needs of those with dementia. Such communities can relieve family members of some of the burden that comes with caring for someone with dementia while offering the time, attention and community that these people need and deserve.

At Senior Lifestyle we understand that dealing with dementia and seeing your loved one enter into a new lifestyle can be a trying ordeal. That’s why we approach dementia care with a strategy that is inclusive of both residents and their families. Because the maintenance of routine and the encouraging of regular participation in activities that residents enjoy are an integral part of dementia care, we enlist the help of families to better get to know our residents and build meaningful relationships with them. With these strong bonds, we aim to keep residents of our memory care communities engaged on a daily basis and to maintain a high quality of life.

Additionally, memory care communities work diligently to ensure the safety of their residents. At many of our communities, we employ Intel-GE Care Innovations QuietCare technology, a system that can track and report certain living patterns and alert members of staff to potential problem areas. This is just one more facet of how Senior Lifestyle is committed to ensuring its residents receive the highest level of care.

Caring for someone with dementia is always going to be a challenging journey. However, with Senior Lifestyle on your side, a broad system of support can be established to ensure that you and your loved ones enjoy your days to the fullest while receiving the care that they need in specialized communities.