The Quiet Symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease, the most common type of dementia, affects nearly 6.2 million people in the United States. Dementia, which is a general term for memory loss and cognitive decline, is a progressive disease during which symptoms gradually worsen throughout a number of years. In the most severe stages, people with dementia can lose the ability to carry on a conversation, respond to their surroundings, and are unable to complete basic daily tasks. While Alzheimer’s has no cure, there are treatments that can delay clinical decline. Early Alzheimer’s symptoms can be subtle and hard to identify. However, recognizing symptoms of dementia-related behaviors can help you or your loved one seek treatment sooner.

Recognizing Signs and Symptoms of Alzheimer’s
Like the rest of our bodies, our brains also change as we age. Often, these changes are mild or even unnoticeable. However, some older adults develop abnormal neural decline. Alzheimer’s typically begins in the part of the brain that affects learning and can lead to life-affecting changes. Here are some of the most common early Alzheimer’s symptoms:

Short-term memory changes
Memory loss is a common symptom of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. You may notice your loved one forgetting what they had for breakfast or what they did earlier in the day. They may also find it difficult to recall information they’ve recently learned or rely on memory aids, like writing notes and memos, to keep track of things. While most people lose some memory acuity as they age, increased or frequent confusion is a red flag.

Difficulty with problem-solving
A person with early Alzheimer’s symptoms might find it difficult to follow instructions, such as wayfinding directions, simple puzzles, paying bills or adding tips to a restaurant tab.

Growing difficulty with familiar tasks
Regular tasks might become increasingly challenging for people with dementia — for example, cooking dinner, getting to a familiar location, or remembering regularly scheduled activities.

Problems with speaking and writing
As Alzheimer’s progresses, expect your loved one to have difficulty communicating. Staying engaged and following along in conversations can become arduous, and you may find your loved ones removing themselves from conversations and seeming socially remote.

Misplacing items
People with dementia might forget where they’ve placed items they use often, such as the telephone, remote control, important documents, car keys, or their wallet. This can lead to frustration and they might even accuse people of stealing.

Mood and personality changes
Depression and sudden shifts in moods are also symptoms of dementia. You might notice a change in reasoning skills or in lifelong personality traits. For example, if your loved one is usually patient, you might notice them becoming agitated more than normal.

Disengagement from friends and family
You might notice your loved one becoming uninterested in socializing with other people or becoming withdrawn. Those with dementia might also stop doing their favorite hobbies or avoid being with others.

Depression
According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, between 40-50% of people with Alzheimer’s disease experience depression, as compared to the 7% of the general population. Both the shock of diagnosis and physical changes in the brain can contribute to feelings of depression. Those with Alzheimer’s disease who are depressed will tend to be apathetic, irritable, and suffer from changes in sleeping patterns. However, they are less likely to be at risk of suicide than depressed people living without Alzheimer’s disease.

Anxiety and agitation
Anxiety and agitation are common in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, as people begin to recognize their losses and the severity of their illness. Later on, people may become anxious about being left alone or abandoned.

Sleep disruptions
Disruptions in sleep patterns are common in the early stages of the disease and can even be an early warning sign. Researchers believe that the changes in the brain due to the disease can leave amyloid plaque deposits, which are linked to poor sleeping habits.

Navigating the Diagnostic Process

If you see two or more of the warning signs listed above in yourself or a loved one, it’s important to visit a dementia center or contact a healthcare provider — a primary care physician, geriatrician, or neurologist. While each person’s situation can look different, a healthcare provider will likely perform a series of tests to provide a diagnosis. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, here’s what you can expect during the diagnostic process.

Medical history. Your healthcare provider will ask you to supply a list of your current and past medical problems, family medical history and diet, and a list of your current and past medications. Your doctor may also ask to speak to your family members to determine if they’ve noticed any changes in your behavior, including your memory and thinking.

Physical exam. Your doctor should conduct a physical exam to assess your blood pressure, temperature, pulse, and any other procedures that help evaluate your overall health.

Mental cognitive status tests. A doctor or neuropsychologist may perform a series of tests designed to evaluate memory, thinking, and simple problem-solving abilities. These tests help identify a baseline or changes in executive function, judgment, attention, and language, all of which can be helpful in diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease.

Depression screening. You’ll be asked a series of short questions that can help determine the presence of depression, which can cause memory and thinking problems similar to Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia.
Laboratory tests. To rule out any infections and to monitor kidney and liver function, you might be asked to supply blood and urine samples.

Brain imaging tests. MRI and CT scans allow doctors to look at the structure of the brain and see how it’s functioning. These scans can help rule out other conditions that can cause dementia-like symptoms, including brain tumors, aneurysm, stroke, or buildup of fluid in the brain.

Living with Alzheimer’s Disease at Maplewood Senior Living
At Maplewood Senior Living communities, we provide the tools and resources needed after dementia or Alzheimer’s diagnosis. Support groups, specialized medical care, and dementia-focused activities are provided for residents living with memory loss. To learn more about our offerings or to schedule a tour, please contact us.

Alzheimer’s Research Trends in 2021

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s disease is a type of dementia that affects memory, thinking, and behavior. It’s also a progressive disease that causes symptoms to worsen over time. Older adults who are in the early stages of Alzheimer’s might notice mild memory loss, whereas those in the late stages can lose the ability to carry on a conversation or even respond to their environment. Alzheimer’s disease affects one in nine people age 65 and older, and women more significantly than men. Although there’s been significant research on Alzheimer’s, because of the complexity of the illness, there is no cure. However, that hasn’t stopped medical professionals from continuing their Alzheimer’s research. Join us as we discuss Alzheimer’s research trends in 2021.

How Is Alzheimer’s Disease Treated?
Alzheimer’s is characterized by abnormal changes in the brain. While scientists do not know exactly what causes Alzheimer’s, most experts believe plaques and tangles play a significant role. Plaques, which are deposits of a protein fragment, build up in the spaces between nerve cells, and tangles, which are twisted fibers of a different protein, develop more frequently and predictably in the brain of someone who has Alzheimer’s disease. Because Alzheimer’s can look different in each individual, it’s highly unlikely that one drug would be able to treat all individuals with the disease. However, because of research and clinical trials, scientists have made significant progress in understanding the memory problems associated with Alzheimer’s.

While there are several prescription drugs to help manage the symptoms of Alzheimer’s, none have been able to cure it or even stop the progression of the disease. The first FDA-approved therapy that addresses the underlying biology of Alzheimer’s has recently received approval as treatment. Aducanumab works to remove amyloid, one of the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s, from the brain, which can help reduce cognitive and functional decline for those with early-stage Alzheimer’s.

Alzheimer’s Research
In addition to the recent approval of Aducanumab, international researchers have made significant progress in learning more about Alzheimer’s disease this past year. Researchers from Tokyo Metropolitan University recently discovered that a specific element of a key protein, called tau, may cause the proteins to accumulate in the brain. These deposits can actually trigger Alzheimer’s. While the tau protein is key to the healthy function of certain cells, when the microtubules, or “cell highways” they create aren’t formed properly, it can cause a wide range of neurodegenerative diseases. To learn how to identify when a tau protein isn’t working properly, researchers are using different organisms, such as the drosophila fruit fly.

An upcoming research study at the University of Arizona Health Sciences will focus on identifying various therapies that prevent or delay the progression of Alzheimer’s. The study will focus on understanding one of the strongest genetic risk factors, ApoE4, which is a key element in how our bodies metabolize fat and brain energy. This study is expected to allow researchers to more thoroughly understand and develop interventions for those with late-onset Alzheimer’s.

Trials and Research of Alzheimer’s Disease
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, clinical trials allow researchers to conduct studies with human volunteers to determine whether a possible treatment is safe and effective. Without the help of participants and clinical research, there can be no treatments, preventions, or cures. New drugs must complete a series of phases before being approved by the Food and Drug Administration. The treatment must perform well enough to move on to the next phase.

  • Phase I trials. The first stage of testing typically involves 100 volunteers or less and looks at the risks and side effects of a drug. These participants are usually healthy volunteers who haven’t been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
  • Phase II trials. This phase requires volunteers who have been diagnosed with the condition the drug is designed to treat. These studies help provide information about the treatment’s safety and help to determine the best dosage of the medication.
  • Phase III trials. The third stage requires a research team to enroll several hundred to thousands of volunteers at multiple sites worldwide. This provides evidence for safety and effectiveness that will be considered by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
  • Phase IV trials. After the FDA approves a drug, researchers must continue to monitor the health of those taking the medication to gain insight into its long-term safety and effectiveness.

Getting Involved in a Clinical Trial
If you or a loved one is interested in participating in or learning more about a clinical trial, there are various ways to get involved. The first option is to speak with your healthcare provider. Because your doctor has a deep understanding of your medical information, they may be able to connect you with an appropriate clinical trial.

In addition, TrialMatch, operated by the Alzheimer’s Association, connects individuals to clinical studies in their area. To be connected within TrialMatch, you’ll need your clinical diagnosis, tests used to diagnose the stage of the disease, and a current Alzheimer’s medication list.

Questions to Consider
Before you commit to participating in a clinical trial, it’s important to understand the trial information by making an appointment with your healthcare provider. According to the National Institute on Aging, individuals considering participation in a clinical trial should ask the research team these questions:

● What’s the purpose of the study?
● What tests and treatments will be given?
● What are the risks and side effects?
● What are the benefits of the research?
● How much time is required?
● How long will the study run?
● How will the trial affect my daily life?
● Will I learn my results?
● Are expenses reimbursed?
● Will I be paid?

Living with Alzheimer’s at Maplewood Senior Living
Memory care residents at our Maplewood Senior Living communities have access to high-quality medical care and staff trained specifically in dementia care. Support groups, access to clinical trial information, and Alzheimer’s medication are available to all residents living with Alzheimer’s. To learn more about these offerings or to schedule a tour, please contact us.

Dancing, Music and the Brain

As we age, our bodies undergo a variety of physical changes, which can make exercise and physical activity difficult.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 28% of adults over 50 years old have reported being inactive. Although inactivity increases with age, the need for physical exercise is crucial, especially for older adults. Inactivity can lead to feelings of anxiety and depression and increases the risk of certain cancers, high blood pressure, and coronary heart disease. The World Health Organization recommends 150 minutes of exercise per week for older adults, which has been shown to reduce the risk of certain illnesses and improve overall wellbeing.
Although exercise can be intimidating, especially for newcomers, it doesn’t have to be stressful. Exercising can be fun. Many older adults achieve their physical activity goals through dance, reaping its many physical and mental benefits along the way.

Benefits of Dancing for Older Adults

An article published in the National Library of Medicine confirms that “dance, regardless of its style, can significantly improve muscular strength, endurance, balance, and other aspects of functional fitness.” While dancing might seem like a simple activity, it requires both the brain and the body to work together, improving our physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing in the following ways:

Improves Cardiovascular Health– When we participate in cardiovascular exercises, like dancing, our hearts become stronger and work more efficiently. When done consistently, dancing can help to decrease our risk of developing cardiovascular diseases.
Improves Balance and Strength– Falling is the leading cause of injury in older adults. While the risk of falling can’t be completely avoided, dancing can help decrease the risk of fall-related injuries. Dance requires strong core muscles and involves rotational movement, which can help improve balance.
Strengthens Brain Function-Some research suggests that dancing can help strengthen the area of the brain responsible for controlling memory. One study suggests that dancing can even prevent the effects of Alzheimer’s disease. Dancing also requires the synchronization of both the body and brain. Dancers are constantly recalling steps and patterns, while also performing the movements.
Boosts Mood– Movement can be a form of self-expression, which is especially helpful for those suffering from stress and anxiety. While we dance, our bodies also release endorphins, which act as natural mood boosters in our bodies.
Encourages Socialization– Older adults are at greater risk of loneliness and isolation, especially when they live alone. Loneliness can have a profound negative impact on cognitive skills and physical health when left untreated for long periods. Dancing classes encourage socialization and provide a great opportunity to meet those with similar interests.
Improves Confidence and Self-esteem-Every time we learn a new step or dance routine, we increase our self-esteem, which can be translated into different aspects of our lives.

Music and the Brain

What’s dancing without music? While dancing has many benefits, so does the music that accompanies it. Research has shown that music can reduce anxiety, blood pressure, and pain, while also improving our sleep quality, mood, mental alertness, and memory. While many scientists are still studying music and its effect on the brain, experts agree that music sends out vibrations that enter into our ear canal and transmit electrical signals into the brain stem, where we process what we know to be music. As researchers work to understand exactly what happens in our brains as we listen to music, there are proven benefits that have a positive effect on our overall wellbeing.

Together, music and the act of dancing can stimulate the brain and body, encouraging overall health in many different ways. Music is proven to help with memory, especially in those with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia. Depending on your loved one, music can provoke memories from the past and help boost verbal memory.

In addition to improving memory, music can improve one’s quality of sleep, diminish pain, increase mobility, and improve cognitive skills. Research shows that those who are in the process of recovering from brain injuries can often recover more quickly when music is a part of the rehabilitation process. Music, along with the movement of dance, has also been shown to reduce stress levels and promote relaxation.

5 Different Types of Dancing

If you’re interested in dancing, but don’t know where to start, you can always play your favorite songs and dance alone. For those who prefer structure, a guided dance class might be a better fit. Here are a few styles of dancing that can be adapted to fit different skill levels. Remember to always consult your doctor before participating in new exercise activities especially for those who have health concerns.

  • Ballroom dancing is a great social opportunity for seniors since it requires a partner. But, don’t let this stop you! You don’t always need to come with a partner, as many classes will pair you with another student. There are many different types of ballroom dances such as foxtrot, waltz, rumba, and swing. All of these varieties will help build strength while promoting balance.
  • Line dancing is perfect for those who want guidance yet prefer to dance without a partner. Most line dances include choreography taught by a teacher to western or country music.
  • Tap dance will help build strength, balance, and endurance through its quick movements and transitions.
  • Zumba is a workout class that looks like a dance party! The objective of Zumba is to increase the heart rate while having fun dancing to music. A Zumba teacher will guide you through low-impact movements and can adapt movements for you if necessary.
  • Ballet classes might seem intimidating but can be adapted to fit your needs. A popular form of ballet exercise, called Barre, incorporates a ballet bar into each movement, helping you improve balance while decreasing your risk of injury.

Dancing at Maplewood Senior Living Communities

Our residents at Maplewood Senior Living Communities love to dance! Many residents have been dancing with Temi, a personal robot who can do anything from play music and check the weather, to serving as your dance partner. At Maplewood, we believe anyone can dance, no matter their skill or ability level. To learn more about our offerings, please contact us!

How to Communicate with People Who Have Dementia

Dementia is a progressive illness. It affects how the brain functions and leads to memory loss and other cognitive problems. Dementia can ultimately affect one’s ability to speak and communicate with others. All this can leave those in the family or social orbit of the sufferer at a loss as to how to communicate to people with dementia.

In some stages of dementia, it’s not uncommon for individuals to experience difficulty recalling words or focusing during a conversation. As the disease progresses, many individuals rely on other forms of communication, such as hand gestures and some vocal sounds. While nearly 50 million individuals suffer from dementia worldwide, many caregivers still struggle with how to communicate with someone with dementia. According to the National Institute on Aging, these are common effects of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia on the ability to communicate:

  • Losing a train of thought when speaking
  • Having difficulty understanding what words mean
  • Not paying attention during long conversations

Communication During Stages of Alzheimer’s and Dementia
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, communication can look very different during each stage of the disease. As your loved one progresses through the disease, keep these communication tips in mind:

Early Stage
In the early stage of Alzheimer’s disease, an individual will be able to participate in conversations and engage in normal social activities. However, the sufferer may notice some difficulties with word recall and be overwhelmed by excessive stimulation. If your loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or dementia, it’s important not to make assumptions about the person’s ability to communicate because of a diagnosis. Instead, take time to listen and engage with the person, giving them the time they need to respond. At this stage, it’s appropriate to discuss which method of communication is most comfortable for them, such as face-to-face conversation, email, or phone calls.
Middle Stage
Moderate Alzheimer’s, or the middle stage of the disease, is the longest and can last for many years. As the disease progresses, communicating can get more challenging. It’s most important to engage with the person in one-on-one conversations while limiting distractions. Be sure to speak slowly and clearly while maintaining eye contact and physical touch, if appropriate. Be patient and give the individual plenty of time to respond.
Late Stage
In this stage of Alzheimer’s or dementia, an individual may fully rely on nonverbal communication, such as facial expressions, touch, and vocal sounds. When you’re communicating with a person in late-stage dementia, always approach the person from the front (Alzheimer’s can reduce a person’s peripheral vision). Identify yourself by name and relationship. Use touch, sight, and sounds as methods to communicate with people with dementia.

Phrases to Avoid
While the stages of dementia are good markers for when communication skills may decline, each individual is different. However, the words other people use to communicate to a person with Alzheimer’s or dementia can influence how successful the connection is. Practicing good communication techniques can help our loved ones feel heard and live well. According to the Alzheimer’s Society, these are a few phrases to avoid in conversation:

  • “Remember when?” This phrase can often evoke feelings of frustration, even if it’s meant to be encouraging and helpful. While talking about the past can bring up wonderful memories, try leading with a different phrase such as, “I remember when…” This way, your loved one won’t feel embarrassed if they can’t remember, or can join in on the conversation if they recall the memory.
  • “I’ve just told you that.” It’s normal to feel frustrated when a loved one has difficulty remembering words or thoughts you’ve just said. However, the most important part of communicating with someone suffering from dementia is to have patience and compassion. While it can be tempting to use this phrase, think about some tools that might help you when you’re feeling frustrated.
  • “What did you do this morning?” Open-ended questions can become challenging to answer as the individual moves through the stages of dementia. Instead, focus on the present situation as a conversation starter. One of the most common concerns is whether your loved one is eating well. Don’t ask, “Did you have breakfast this morning?” Stay in the present and ask, “Are you hungry now?”

Tips for Communicating
How you communicate with a person with dementia will change. However, your communication and connection don’t have to be less effective. As you learn to change the way you communicate based on your loved one’s needs, consider using these simple tips:
Be attentive — Your loved one may need time to recall words as they speak, especially in the middle and late stages of the disease. A good communicator will show they’re listening by using eye contact and friendly facial expressions.
Prioritize clarity — It’s important to speak clearly and avoid slurring words or mumbling when you’re speaking to someone with dementia. In addition, try to keep your hands away from your face when having a conversation. This can help your loved one understand what you’re saying and know how to respond.
Rephrase — It can be tempting to repeat what you’ve said if your loved one isn’t understanding. However, experts agree the best thing is to rephrase what you’re trying to communicate, using different words or gestures.
Offer choices — If your loved one begins to resist a basic daily task, like eating or showering, consider providing options to inspire a sense of independence. For example, you could say, “Would you like to eat now or after we take a walk?”
Avoid arguing — If your loved one says something you disagree with, avoid arguing with them. Instead, you might redirect the course of the conversation.

Providing Care at Maplewood Senior Living
Living with dementia or caring for someone who has it is difficult and almost always requires help. In addition to providing assistance with daily activities, Maplewood Senior Living communities offer support groups for both the individual and the caregiver to help navigate life after a diagnosis. To learn more about our offerings or to schedule a tour, please contact us.

Music Therapy: Benefit for Those with Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Forms of Dementia

According to the American Music Therapy Association, music therapy for dementia is the clinical and evidence-based practice of utilizing musical interventions to meet individualized memory support goals facilitated by a credentialed music therapist. While music therapy can be used in many different settings, its use within the Alzheimer’s and dementia community has a long history. Music therapy’s use in the treatment of older adults with memory loss can be traced back more than 2,000 years. During the 20th century, community musicians gathered in military hospitals to play for World War II veterans suffering from both physical and emotional trauma. Later on, the first music therapy program was established in 1944 at Michigan State University, which prompted the creation of music therapy institutions, such as The American Music Therapy Association. Today, music therapy for dementia is widely known for its tremendous effects on those suffering from memory loss and is used throughout the nation in retirement communities and memory care settings.

Research on the effects of music therapy suggests it can provide improvements in memory recall, boost mood, reduce stress and anxiety, help manage pain and discomfort, and encourage emotional intimacy with family members and caregivers. As Alzheimer’s and dementia progress, communication and connection can become more difficult. However, research has shown music therapy for dementia is linked to emotion and memory and can help families and caregivers find new ways to connect with their loved ones.

How Does Music Help with Dementia?
Utilizing music therapy for dementia can help maintain or increase a patient’s level of physical, mental, social, and emotional functions. Music from one’s past can evoke emotion, which can lead to memory recall. By pairing music with everyday activities, patients can develop a rhythm that helps them remember the activity and improve cognitive ability over time. As dementia progresses and communication becomes difficult, music is a great way to connect. Musical aptitude and appreciation are some of the last remaining abilities for dementia and Alzheimer’s patients. Music can help reach beyond the disease and access emotions differently. Familiar music from the past can be a powerful way to boost mood, reduce agitation, and improve quality of life for periods of time. If your loved one is ambulatory, dancing can often lead to a physical connection such as embracing and holding hands.

Memory in Sound
Alzheimer’s disease and most other forms of dementia are degenerative diseases, which can make expressing basic needs more difficult. However, trained music therapists use musical interventions as a way of communicating nontraditionally. Singing can offer structure and enable dialogue by stimulating different areas of the brain. Music therapy can also be used to provide a renewed sense of identity for those living with Alzheimer’s disease. Singing songs from the past and reliving memories through sound can help those with Alzheimer’s communicate stories and memories to their loved ones and caregivers.

How to Practice Music Therapy at Home
While music therapy for dementia is best when facilitated by a trained and certified music therapist, you can apply the same helpful methods at home. According to the Mayo Clinic, music can be used in a variety of ways to help spark human connections, evoke memories, and decrease feelings of anxiety and agitation. If you’re interested in using music as a way to connect or soothe your loved one, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

Play your loved one’s favorite selections
Start with playing music your loved one will enjoy such as favorite selections from when they were a teenager or young adult. If they have an old record or tape collection, this is a great place to start. These favorites can evoke positive memories and remind them of happy times in their life.

Engage younger generations
Music is a great way for grandkids and adult children to connect with their loved one who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. You might encourage your family members to make a playlist of their loved one’s favorite songs or help them choose what to listen to together.

Set the mood
Playing relaxing and instrumental music can help calm your loved one, especially during meal times or before going to sleep. When it’s appropriate to help your loved one stay alert and engaged, play upbeat music.

Avoid overstimulation
Those with Alzheimer’s disease or another type of dementia can become overwhelmed easily. It’s important to limit distractions while you’re playing music. Turn off the TV, shut the door, and opt for music that isn’t interrupted by commercials when playing through a streaming service.

Encourage movement
Help your loved one clap hands or tap their feet to the beat. If you can, you might consider dancing with your loved ones to keep them engaged and foster a sense of security.

Pay attention to the response
If your loved one enjoys particular songs or types of music, play them often. And make sure to avoid music that seems to provoke agitation or overstimulation.

Let the music play
Music can be beneficial for caregivers as well. Whether creating your playlist to boost your mood after emotional days or finding joy in watching your loved one engage with music, it’s important to find ways to care for yourself, too.

Find a professional music therapist
The American Music Therapy Association represents 5,000 music therapists and other associations that offer information about music therapy studies and provides a list of credentialed music therapists that offer their services in institutional, residential, and private home settings.

Working with Music at Maplewood Senior Living
Maplewood Senior Living communities offer music therapy and other music-related activities that can be beneficial for residents at all levels of care. To learn more about how these programs can serve your loved one, please contact us or schedule a tour.

Power of Pets for People with Dementia

According to the World Health Organization, nearly 50 million people have dementia worldwide. Dementia is a general term used to describe a variety of diseases that impact one’s ability to think and remember, which can interfere with everyday activities. In the later stages, confusion, depression, and anxiety are all common side effects of the disease. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, nearly 40% of people with Alzheimer’s disease, the most common type of dementia, suffer from significant depression.

Some researchers suggest that the biological changes caused by Alzheimer’s disease may intensify a predisposition to depression, which can have a strong effect on the quality of life. According to the Mayo Clinic, depression can lead to worsening cognitive decline, greater disability involving daily living skills, and increased dependence on caregivers.

While there are a variety of ways to treat depression and anxiety, pets have proven to be especially helpful for those with dementia. In addition to pacifying depression-related symptoms, researchers have suggested pets can have the ability to lower blood pressure and heart rate, reduce the stress hormone cortisol and increase the body’s natural mood booster, serotonin. Nursing homes and retirement communities across the nation have started to introduce pet therapy to residents suffering from dementia and other illnesses, finding that the power of pets is more than we might think.

Health Benefits of Owning a Pet for Those with Dementia

Animals make wonderful companions for those with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Animals have a keen sense of knowing what people need and how to give it to them. In addition to relieving the symptoms of depression and anxiety, researchers have also suggested that pet therapy for dementia patients can help them reap many physical and emotional benefits including:

Reduced Agitation
Research has shown that spending time with pets can reduce negative behavioral changes throughout the day. In fact, in addition to releasing endorphins, the act of petting produces an automatic relaxation response that has a lasting calming effect.

Improved Nutrition
As we age it’s common for our diet and hunger cues to change. Many older adults struggle to fuel themselves properly, especially for those with Alzheimer’s or dementia. However, some researchers have suggested that spending time with a pet can increase hunger and nutritional intake.

Increase in Physical Engagement
Animals are full of energy and need physical activity throughout the day. Tossing a ball or going on a walk is great for the animal and its companion. Physical activity can help reduce feelings of anxiety and depression, while also promoting overall health and wellness.

Reduced Feelings of Loneliness
Loneliness among seniors is a public health concern and can be worsened by diseases such as dementia. However, simply petting an animal can provide a soothing presence and companionship that is similar to unconditional love.

Lowered Blood Pressure Levels
The American Heart Association has found that pet-owners, or those who spent time visiting with pets regularly, have less blood pressure and smaller heart rate fluctuations than non-pet owners. Similarly, studies have found that pets can reduce blood pressure and tension.

Comfort and Safety
As dementia progresses, it’s not uncommon for older adults with the disease to feel unsafe or confused, especially during the nighttime. Pets can provide a sense of security for those who experience these feelings or for those who live alone.

What to Know Before Adopting a Pet

People with dementia can benefit greatly from owning a pet. However, as the disease progresses, taking care of a pet can become more difficult. Before you or a loved one with dementia decides to adopt a pet, there are a few things to consider.

Animals can live a long time, so if you’re choosing to adopt a young animal, it’s important to come up with their care plan to ensure they’ll be cared for throughout their lives. It’s also crucial that the person will be able to meet the needs of the animal including veterinarian visits, cleaning up after the animal, and feeding it regularly.

Some people with dementia, and their caregivers, may not be comfortable with interacting with animals. If you are considering adopting a pet on behalf of a friend or family member, make sure to consult with them and their caregiving team beforehand.

Alternatives to Pet Ownership

If you find that you might not be able to commit to owning a pet, many alternatives can still provide you with all the benefits of pet ownership. One popular option, especially for those in the later stages of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, is purchasing a robotic pet. Some robotic pets, like those from Joy For All Companion Pets, feel and look like real pets. These robotic pets can ease feelings of loneliness without all of the responsibility that comes with caring for a pet.

Pet therapy is also a great alternative, especially for those who live in a residential community, such as Maplewood Senior Living. Many hospitals and long-term care communities partner with organizations to conduct regular visits to patients and residents. While these visits are short, there is evidence that just 15 minutes of bonding with an animal can increase levels of serotonin, which is our body’s natural “feel-good” hormone. Some organizations, such as Therapy Dogs International, will conduct home visits to those who live independently but are still interested in receiving pet therapy visits.

Experience Pet Therapy at Maplewood Senior Living

Pets are great sources of comfort and joy for all, especially those living with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. While owning a pet comes with its benefits, we realize not all are capable of caring for their pet.

Our Maplewood Senior Living communities offer pet therapy so all residents can receive the many benefits that come with spending time with pets. To learn more about our offerings or to schedule a tour of our facilities, please contact us.

How to Connect to Someone with Dementia or Alzheimer’s

Do you have someone in your family with dementia or Alzheimer’s?

Like many of us, you may be worried about the best ways to communicate with your loved ones. We’ve put together a list of suggestions of how to connect with someone newly diagnosed or when you visit someone who has been living with the disease for a longer period of time. Our communities at Maplewood Senior Living are here to help at any time, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Additionally, we suggest downloading our complimentary  Your Guide to Navigating a Dementia Diagnosis for more information.

Dementia affects nearly 50 million people worldwide, with Alzheimer’s contributing to 60-70% of cases. Receiving a dementia diagnosis can drastically change your plans, impact relationships with your friends and family, and cause you to reevaluate your wishes for your life. Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease affect a person’s memory, thinking, orientation and can causes changes in comprehension, language, and judgment. As the disease progresses, many of those living with a diagnosis will rely heavily on support from spouses, family members, or caregivers.

A dementia diagnosis can be extremely difficult to digest for the recipient, but it can also be devastating for friends and community members. As the disease progresses, many people might find it difficult to maintain a connection with a loved one living with dementia or Alzheimer’s, especially in the later stages where memory can be severely impaired. Instead of feeling like you’re watching yourself lose someone you care about, there are ways you can be actively involved in maintaining your connection to them—in a way that works for both you and your loved one.

When Your Loved One Receives a Diagnosis

If your loved one has just received dementia or Alzheimer’s diagnosis, the news could come as a surprise—or maybe it’s something you’ve suspected for a while. Regardless, the most helpful thing you can do is to learn about the disease and how to make small, helpful changes in your interactions. As you do your research on dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, here are a few things to keep in mind as you work to support your loved one in their diagnosis:

How to Talk to Someone with Dementia

The thought of losing the ability to communicate can be devastating for those who have been diagnosed with dementia, especially for those in the early stages. As the disease progresses, it can be tempting to communicate with your loved one. Instead, you might consider implementing these strategies early on:
• Make eye contact, speak clearly and call your loved one by their name
• Talk as you would normally, but make sure to speak more slowly if necessary
• Give your loved one time to respond and avoid completing sentences or talking over them
• Let them speak for themselves, especially when it comes to their health care
• Offer simple choices and options
• Use hand gestures, body language, and rephrase questions when necessary

Act as an advocate

Sharing a diagnosis with a larger community can have its challenges. If your friend is planning on sharing their diagnosis, you might consider asking if they want help telling others and sharing their wishes.

Make time for yourself

Walking through someone’s dementia or Alzheimer’s journey can be emotionally taxing, so it’ important to take time to grieve in your way. Taking some time to explore your hobbies and interests can help rejuvenate your spirit and help you be a support system for your loved one.

Respect boundaries

As friends, we want to take care of our loved ones and support them in any way we can. However, it can be tempting to accidentally overstep boundaries. There can be a tendency to do too much without noticing. This overdoing can make a person feel like they are unable to support themselves or contribute to the friendship. Instead, consider having a conversation with your loved one discussing what help is appreciated and what is not.

Tips for Connecting to Someone with Dementia

As your loved one progresses through the disease, it can sometimes feel like the friendship has changed. When normal activities such as taking walks, going to the movies, or playing cards, become more difficult, you may need some inspiration to maintain the connection. The Family Caregiver Alliance has compiled some of their best tips to stay connected to your loved one as they continue on their journey with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease:

• Start with Positivity. Those with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia can often pick up on body language to convey a message more quickly than words. Setting a positive mood with physical touch, facial expressions, and tone of voice will help communicate your message and feelings of affection.

• Limit Distractions. Competing sounds and noises, like loud music or television, can add to the confusion for those with dementia. You might consider turning off these distractions or move to a quieter setting. As the disease progresses, you may need to identify yourself by your name and relation, address your loved one by their name and maintain eye contact.

• Be Mindful When You Ask to Visit. Many of those living with dementia or Alzheimer’s have good and bad times during the day, especially for those who experience sundowning. Before your visit, ask their caregiver which time of day is best for your loved one and schedule the visit around their preferences.

• Ask Simple Questions. Ask your questions one at a time, leaving space for them to answer. Giving and showing options instead of asking open-ended questions can also be helpful, especially if you’re asking them to choose between multiple items.

• Adapt Activities. When you’re no longer able to do things you normally would do together, you may need to adapt. For example, if you’re used to going on walks with your loved one, you might consider sitting outdoors or bringing elements of the outdoors inside, like a vase of flowers. Even talking about the good old days’ can bring back memories and spark conversation. Listening to music is also shown to be especially comforting for those with the disease.

• Respond with Empathy. People with dementia will often feel confused, forgetful, and unsure. Instead of correcting them when they recall memories incorrectly or repeat themselves, respond with compassion. Stay focused on the emotion they are trying to convey and respond accordingly.

Living with Dementia and Alzheimer’s at Maplewood Senior Living

Our Maplewood Senior Living communities offer support and therapy groups to those who have been affected by Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. These groups can be a great opportunity to learn how to support and connect to a loved one’s diagnosis. To learn more about our offerings or to schedule a tour, please contact us.

Understanding Dementia and Alzheimer’s: What is Sundowning?

Worldwide, nearly 50 million people are living with dementia with 10 million new cases being diagnosed each year. While each individual can experience various symptoms and side effects, sundowning is common in the later stages of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. According to a journal published by the US National Library of Medicine, as many as 20% of dementia patients experience sundowning. Sundowning, also known as “late-day confusion” can cause symptoms such as confusion and agitation that worsen later in the day.

As the evening and nighttime approaches, sundowning can often trigger sudden changes in cognition and emotions. Behavior changes can range in each person but often include suspicion, hallucinations, confusion, and anger.

Sundowning Symptoms

Individuals living with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia can become disoriented and confused quite easily, especially during the later stages of the disease. With this, many patients become more vulnerable to sundowning and the symptoms that come with it. Many will experience confusion, anxiety, and agitation beginning later in the day. Sundowning can also interrupt sleep schedules, which can lead to additional behavioral problems.

While researchers don’t know exactly what causes sundowning, some factors can make it worse. These factors can include:

• Mental and physical exhaustion and fatigue
• Reduced lighting and increased shadows
• Reactions to nonverbal cues from caregivers who may be feeling frustrated and exhausted themselves
• Consumption of caffeine and alcohol close to bedtime
• Disruption in circadian rhythms
• Thirst and hunger
• Stress and depression

How to Cope with Sundowning Symptoms

Many people experiencing sundowning might cope with what they’re feeling by pacing, rocking, screaming, or even becoming violent. For some, the behaviors might leave quickly, but for others, these behaviors can last for hours and severely interrupt their sleep schedules. Seeing your loved one suffer or caring for someone who experiences sundowning can be awful and leave you feeling hopeless. However, there are many different ways you can work to help manage these symptoms and lessen their severity.

Minimize Triggers
When your loved one has a sundowning episode, record what happened before, during, and after. Look for patterns in their behavior and try to identify some of their triggers. For some, triggers might look like fatigue, cross-talk during meal times, loud noises from the television, or a change in caregiver.

Maintain Routines
If your loved one isn’t sleeping well at night, make sure to minimize napping during the day. Keep your evenings quiet and peaceful by avoiding stressful tasks and prioritize activities during the daytime. Regular daily schedules can help your loved one feel safe and secure, so try and establish a routine that is easy to follow each day.

Simplify Surroundings
Too much clutter or stimulation can cause anxiety and stress, both of which have been linked to sundowning. Experts suggest creating a calm space wherever your loved one sleeps. This includes setting the temperature between 68-70 degrees, using light-blocking curtains, and installing night-lights for safety.

Increase Light Exposure
Sundowning often occurs during the evening and can be brought on by the transition of daylight into the evening darkness. Keep your house well lit, especially during the evening, and make sure your loved one is exposed to direct sunlight as much as possible. If this isn’t possible, use bright lights or a lightbox in their room.

Play Calming Music
Music has shown to have healing properties for those suffering from memory disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Music can provoke memories and act as a mood booster. You might consider playing calming music throughout the day, but be sure to monitor the volume, as loud noises can be confusing and cause agitation.

Use Essential Oils
Essential oils can be great tools to use for calming and soothing your loved one. Scents like lavender and chamomile can be diluted and used as aromatherapy during the evening to promote feelings of calmness and safety. If your loved one needs help with waking up or completing activities, you might consider using grapefruit, lemon, or orange scents. Essential oils are wonderful tools when used properly, but make sure to do your research before using them and never apply them directly to the skin.

Connect Through Touch
Physical touch can be a great way to ease anxiety and transition into the evening. You might consider giving your loved one a hand or foot massage or gently massaging their head. Even a simple hug can help break the cycle of anxiety and stress.

Acupuncture
Acupuncture can be used to treat anxiety, stress, and depression and is especially helpful for those suffering from dementia. You might consider asking your doctor to refer you to an acupuncturist who specializes in dementia or is familiar with the disease.

Adjust Eating Patterns
Large meals before bedtime can cause agitation and disrupt sleep patterns. You might consider serving a light meal for dinner and limiting heavy foods and caffeine for lunchtime. This can help reduce inflammation and decrease the risk of sundowning.

Coping Strategies for Sundowning

Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia comes with many challenges, especially when dealing with sundowning. Here are a few ways you can cope with sundowning while also making sure to care for yourself.

• Talk to a doctor. If you need additional assistance, consider making an appointment with your loved one’s healthcare provider. Many times, they can offer support and medication when necessary.
• Recognize your own needs. Caregiving is a rewarding and exhausting job. If you are feeling stressed or anxious, your loved one might be able to recognize these emotions and begin to feel the same way. Try to manage your stress and anxiety by taking time for yourself.
• Share your experience with others. You are not alone! The Alzheimer’s Association has an online support community where caregivers share their own experiences and support those in the same position. These groups allow others to share strategies and inspire others.

Sundowning Support at Maplewood Senior Living

Navigating Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia can be extremely challenging. However, our Maplewood Senior Living communities offer support groups and activities for those who have been diagnosed and their caregivers.

Krystal Martin, Memory Care Director at Maplewood at Chardon suggests “A short nap in the early afternoon (20-30 minutes) can help to re-energize the person and prevent the tired, “want-to-go” feelings. Knowing about the person can help the caregiver—whether a family member, professional caregiver or a caregiver in the assisted living setting—can assist to help the person navigate through this challenge.

Helping the person maintain familiar routines can help minimize feelings of restlessness and anxiety and ultimately agitation. As the day gets later, allow activities to wind down, planning more relaxing and less involved activities. Playing familiar music that invites positive, warm feelings can help to calm the person. Finally, if the person is still feeling anxious or restless, validate their emotions, empathize with how they might be feeling and join them in their reality rather than attempting to orient to the here-and-now.”

If you would like to learn more about our Memory Care offerings or to schedule a tour, please contact us.

When is The Right Time for Assisted Living?

As we age our health care needs are likely to change, which can make navigating health-related decisions difficult. While many older adults envision spending their retirement years living independently, it is likely that many seniors will require additional support later on in life. At some point, many adults may have to decide whether to hire outside help, rely on a family member or move into an assisted living community. This process can become more complicated when failing health and financial concerns are factored in.

What is Assisted Living for Seniors?

Senior assisted living facilities are designed for older adults who need additional support with their day-to-day lives. These communities offer support with daily tasks such as eating, taking medication, bathing, housekeeping, preparing meals, and monitoring medicine. For added peace of mind, medical care is also accessible around the clock in the event of an emergency. As older adults begin to consider transitioning into an assisted living community, many older adults and their family members ask, “How do I know it’s the right time to move?”

Signs it Might be Time for Assisted Living

Coming to terms with a loss of independence can be extremely difficult for aging adults. In fact, for many adults, concerned family members often initiate the conversation of moving first. While we all age at different rates and in different ways, there are some clear signs that it might be time to move into an assisted living community.

Declining health conditions– As we age, we become more at risk of chronic conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. In fact, according to research conducted by AARP, “more than 70 million Americans ages 50 and older, or four out of five older adults, suffer from at least one chronic condition.” Managing these conditions, including traveling to doctor’s appointments and taking the appropriate medications, can pose problems for older adults. Assisted living communities help seniors manage these conditions, which allow residents to enjoy a higher quality of life.

Difficulty with managing finances– Age-related memory loss can cause confusion when it comes to managing money. This can make paying bills on time and sticking to a budget more difficult. Other memory disorders, like Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, can also affect one’s ability to understand finances, putting them more at risk of scams, forgetting to pay bills, or filing taxes properly.

Inability to care for oneself– If your loved one is unable to maintain their living space, bathe themselves, or complete basic daily tasks, it may be time to consider assisted living. A large number of family members take on the responsibility of caregiving without understanding how demanding that can be, especially when they have their own families to care for each day. Assisted living facilities have caregivers on staff who will make sure their residents maintain proper hygiene, a healthy diet, and live in a clean environment.

Lack of socializationAccording to a study conducted by the National Institute on Aging, nearly 17% of all Americans aged 65 or older are isolated due to their location, living status, language, or disability. Loneliness and isolation can have negative long-term effects on one’s health, such as cognitive decline, increased mortality, and feelings of depression. Socialization is at the core of assisted living facilities. Planned activities, social dining areas, and one-on-one interaction are everyday occurrences at most facilities.

Questions to Consider

Making the move into an assisted living community can be a hard decision for everyone involved and finding the right time to move can be even more challenging. When a loved one has suffered from serious health concerns, such as a broken hip, the need for an assisted living community might become more obvious. However, for older adults who still manage to take care of themselves, but are slowly losing their independence, the transition can become unclear. If you’re not sure if now is the time for assisted living, Consumer Affairs has gathered a series of questions to help you in your decision-making process, which is summarized below:

Health

Has your loved one fallen recently?
According to the National Council on Aging, falls are the leading cause of fatal injuries and the most common cause of non-fatal related hospital admissions among older adults. If your loved one has recently fallen or is consistently falling, this may be a sign that you should consider a move to an assisted living community.

Is your loved one taking their medications?
If you notice your loved one is struggling to keep up with their medications, try to find out the cause. Are they forgetting? Is picking it up at the pharmacy difficult for them? If the answer is yes, assisted living can help. On-site staff can ensure that each resident has access to and takes their medications on time.

Does your loved one suffer from a chronic condition?
If your senior has been diagnosed with a worsening chronic condition, assisted living communities can help preserve their quality of life. For those with chronic conditions, basic daily tasks can become increasingly difficult. When you have staff support, energy can be reserved for exploring hobbies and socializing with others.

Self-Care

Is your loved one having trouble taking care of themselves?
Cooking, housekeeping, laundry, and other basic daily tasks can become more difficult as we age. Assisted living communities offer these services so seniors can avoid related injuries and instead spend time doing what they love.

Are they eating properly?
Have you noticed significant weight loss or weight gain within the last few months? Both rapid weight loss and weight gain can be side-effects of health problems or difficulty in preparing and eating food. If you’re not sure what the cause might be, you can always consult their doctor and ask if assisted living might help relieve the problem.

Mental-health and dementia

Do they wander from home and get lost?
This could be a sign of a cognitive issue such as Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. If you notice your loved one wandering or getting lost in familiar places, talk to your loved one and their healthcare provider. Assisted living communities with memory care units are designed to support those with cognitive impairments and memory disorders.

Are they isolated?
Isolation is a public health concern, especially for older adults. Long-term isolation can lead to increased blood pressure, heart disease, anxiety, and depression. Your loved one might be feeling isolated if they rarely leave their home, live alone or have stopped participating in social activities. Initiating a conversation about isolation and loneliness with your loved one might help you make an informed decision when it comes to assisted living.

Assisted Living at Maplewood Senior Living

Watching your loved one age is hard. Recognizing that they’re beginning to need more care can be painful. Our assisted living communities at Maplewood Senior living are here to help and give you peace of mind. To learn more about our communities or to schedule a tour, please contact us.

We also have a complimentary Guide – Is It Time for Assisted Living? Please download it today. Please Click HERE to do so.

Holiday Safety Guide for Seniors and those with Alzheimer’s

As we haul out our decorations and special furnishings to welcome in the holiday season, it’s easy to overlook safety measures that protect our families and our homes. According to the National Fire Protection Association, nearly 30% of all home fires and 38% of fire-related deaths occur between December and February. Also, the holiday season is associated with an increase in fall-related injuries both in and outside the home. Whether you’re caring for a loved one or are preparing to visit an aging parent, there are simple precautions you can take to decrease the risk of injury this holiday season.

Safety Tips for the Home

Between decorations and visitors, homes can become danger zones during the holidays. Since many people will be staying at home this holiday season, it’s important to ensure the home is the safest place you can be, especially for older adults. Here are a few tips to consider as you take precautionary measures to ensure safety:

Clear the clutter
Falls are the leading cause of fatal injury and the most common cause of non-fatal related hospital admissions among seniors. Tripping and fall threats can be great concerns for older adults during the holidays. Make sure to keep floors and hallways clear, tightly secure extension cords to walls, and add non-slip pads underneath rugs. You might also consider using decorations that are secured to walls and do not interfere with walkways.

Safe lighting
We all love holiday lights, but it’s important to ensure all areas of the home are properly lit. Dim lighting can make it difficult to identify new home furnishings you might not be used to seeing. Always use a nightlight in hallways and bedrooms, especially where your loved one will be sleeping.

At home dementia tips
Those with dementia have added safety challenges during the holidays. Here are a few ways to make sure your home is especially adapted for their needs according to AARP:
• Mark edges of steps with neon, glow-in-the-dark tape.
• Repair any cracked pavement and uneven bricks, especially if you’re expecting snow or inclement weather.
• Install safety and grab bars, especially in bathrooms and in hallways.
• Unplug all kitchen appliances like your microwave or toaster oven.

Safety Tips for Decorating

Decorations make the holidays feel special and festive. However, they can also present a lot of safety concerns, especially for those who are living with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. Stick to these rules when you plan out your decorations:

Avoid twinkling lights
Lights that flash or twinkle are commonplace when it comes to Christmas and holiday decorations. However, these lights can often confuse those with dementia or memory disorders and can be disorienting for older adults in general. Instead, use lights that have a consistent glow.

Use flameless candles
Candles can add a beautiful ambiance to a home during the holidays, but the risk of starting a house fire increases greatly with real candles. Instead, you might consider using flameless candles to add a holiday glow to your home.

Identify choking hazards
Food plays a large role in celebrating the holidays. Be aware of choking hazards such as hard candies and other foods that are often used as décor in gingerbread houses and to decorate Christmas trees. If you’re celebrating with someone living with Alzheimer’s it’s important to avoid these foods or to closely monitor the situation.

Safety Tips for Gift Giving

Exchanging gifts plays a big part in holiday celebrations. Gift-giving also allows people to show their loved ones they’re thinking about them, especially when they’re unable to celebrate in person. While gifts are special and exciting, they can also pose safety concerns for those with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. If you’re preparing to send a gift to a loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia, or need to provide gift-giving guidelines to family members, stick to these easy safety tips provided by the Alzheimer’s Association:

Provide suggestions
You might consider providing gift suggestions for your family if they’re interested in purchasing a gift for your loved one living with Alzheimer’s or dementia. Comfortable clothing, an identification bracelet, photo albums, and medical alert pendants are all great options.

Avoid dangerous items
You may need to remind your family to avoid giving dangerous tools, utensils, sharp objects, challenging games, or electronic devices as gifts. These could lead to injuries or moments of frustration and confusion for someone with Alzheimer’s.

Be practical
Everyday items can be helpful for caregivers as well. Gift cards, laundry, maintenance, and housekeeping services make great gifts for people with Alzheimer’s and their support team.

Protecting Your Loved One during the Holidays

If your loved one has been newly diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or you’re preparing to see them over the holidays, these tips, crafted by AARP, can help you avoid some general safety concerns that come with the holiday season.

Monitor skills and abilities. If it’s been a while since you’ve last seen your loved one, it’s important to reassess their abilities when it comes to balance, coordination, strength, and motor skills. If you notice a change inability, you might consider adding safety features, such as slip resistance rugs or grab bars, where you see fit.
Evaluate safe areas and danger zones. Those living with Alzheimer’s and dementia can often forget what might hurt them and how to use everyday appliances. Consider storing dangerous substances like bleach, cleaning products, sharp knives, and power tools in an area that’s hard to access, like a locked cabinet or shed.
Utilize technology. Wandering devices can be especially helpful during the holiday season. Seat cushions, floor mats, and bed pads that are designed to alert you when your loved one gets up or leaves the room can help reduce the risk of wandering. You might also consider purchasing motion-sensor alarms for the outdoors.
Patrol the home. Make sure to continually assess your home for items that can be tempting and dangerous. In the kitchen, be sure to monitor expired, raw, and moldy food as those with dementia might be tempted to eat those items. Foods that are choking hazards like cherries and coffee beans should also be stored in a safe place. Be sure to keep potentially harmful items out of sight such as firearms and car keys.

Celebrating Safely at Maplewood Senior Living

At our Maplewood Senior Living communities, the safety of our residents will continue to be prioritized as we navigate through this holiday season. If you would like to learn more about the safety measures we’ve put into place or to schedule a tour, please contact us here.