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.

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.

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.

Noticing Memory Loss in Loved Ones

Watching our parents or loved one’s age can be difficult at times, especially if you begin to notice changes in their memory. It’s normal to misplace our keys or forget an occasional appointment, especially as we age.

However, while memory loss is not uncommon, long-term memory loss is not a normal part of aging. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, nearly 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease, which is also the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. While it can be tempting to ignore the warning signs, it’s important to address them early on to ensure your loved one receives the care and support they need. The first step in addressing memory loss in a loved one is to make sure you’re familiar with the warning signs.

Warning Signs of Memory Loss

Memory problems can be a sign of cognitive impairment, Alzheimer’s disease, or other forms of dementia. Dementia is a group of symptoms that affects memory, thinking, and can interfere with daily life. While memory loss can be attributed to several different diseases, warning signs are often similar. Here are a few of the most common:

Short-term memory changes. Those who are experiencing memory problems will often have trouble with their short-term memory. You might notice your loved one can tell a story from years ago but are unable to tell you what activities they did earlier in the week or even that same day.
Mood changes. Depression is a common warning sign, especially for those who are in the early stages of dementia. Personality changes, such as shifting from being shy to outgoing, are also common.
Difficulty with normal tasks. Those who are experiencing memory problems often have difficulty with completing daily tasks like managing a checkbook, paying bills on time, and following directions with multiple steps.
Repetition. One of the most recognized signs of memory loss is repetition. You might notice a loved one repeating daily tasks, asking questions repeatedly, or collecting items obsessively.

Common Misconceptions of Memory Loss

Recognizing memory problems in your loved one can provoke a lot of emotions. If you are noticing early signs of dementia, it’s natural to be tempted to ignore them. However, addressing memory loss early can help slow the progression of the disease. Here are a few common ways we ignore that a person we love might have memory problems.

Attributing warning signs to age

The risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease increases with age. Beginning at age 65, the risk doubles every five years. While these statistics are serious, many loved ones will attribute these warning signs as a normal part of aging. Even if you are unsure, it’s a good idea to have your loved one visit the doctor, especially if they are exhibiting warning signs often.

Blaming a lack of sleep and stress

It’s tempting to blame the confusion and forgetfulness that can often accompany Alzheimer’s and memory loss with a lack of sleep. However, changes in sleep patterns are also linked to the disease.

Associating forgetfulness with age

The term “senior moment,” is often used when an older adult might forget something obvious, such as someone’s name or even missing an appointment. The term can normalize these moments of forgetfulness when in reality they merit medical attention.

Linking behavioral changes to sadness

Depression is a common symptom of Alzheimer’s disease. However, depression alone can also cause symptoms similar to Alzheimer’s such as changes in attention span and concentration.

Taking the Next Steps

If you’re noticing any of the warning signs in a loved one, or find yourself denying what you see, it’s important to take the next steps. According to Psychology Today, here are a few things you can do to help your loved one get the care and support they need.

Write down what you notice. Each time your loved one exhibits a warning sign or changes in behavior, write it down in detail. Describe the situation, what is different in your loved one, and the date at which the situation occurred. Some examples include, “My mom was unable to follow instructions for a game we play weekly” or “My dad usually pays the bills without an issue, but last month he forgot to pay the electric bill.”
Pay attention to what else is happening. Are these events coinciding with other life changes such as a fall, injury, or change in medication? As you write down your observations, also note what else is happening in their lives. If there is a stressful family situation, such as a death in the family, make sure to take note of it.
Share your concerns. The next step, and the most difficult for many family members, is to start a conversation with your loved one. While it can be hard to know how your loved one will react, it’s essential to share your concerns.

When you feel ready to have a conversation with your loved one, it’s important to prepare what you will say and how you will say it. The Alzheimer’s Association has developed a series of tips to help guide you through the conversation. Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you prepare

Who should have the conversation?

Think about which family members should be present during the conversation. The Alzheimer’s Association notes that it’s best to share concerns one-on-one directly with the person so they don’t feel threatened. Of course, it is wise to think about what’s best for your loved one and what they would prefer.

What is the best time and place to have the conversation?

It’s tempting to delay the conversation but don’t. It is best to address it as soon as possible. Set a day, time, and location and stick to it.

What will you say?

Starting the conversation might feel awkward, so to prepare, think about what you might say. Here are a few suggestions:
• I’ve noticed a change in you and I’m concerned. Have you noticed it?
• How have you been feeling lately? You haven’t seemed like yourself.
• I’ve noticed you (forgot to turn off the stove) and it worried me. Has anything else like that happened?

You can access the entire tip sheet developed by the Alzheimer’s Association here.

Navigating Memory Loss at Maplewood Senior Living

While it is imperative to support your loved one during this time, it is also essential to take care of yourself. Experiencing grief and a sense of loss while noticing these changes in your loved one is normal. You might consider finding professional assistance or asking a close group of friends or family to give you additional support.

Our priority at our Maplewood Senior Living Communities is to provide excellent care for all residents and to support their families during difficult times. If you would like to hear about our specialized offerings, please contact us.

For additional information, download our  Complimentary Guide To Navigating A Dementia Diagnosis. 

Your Guide to Navigating a Dementia Diagnosis

We know that receiving a diagnosis of dementia or seeing warning signs and symptoms can be very scary for the person themselves, family members, and caregivers. While Alzheimer’s and dementia-related diseases do not have a cure, many things can potentially help the impact of the progression of the disease. Early diagnosis can help people to put new lifestyle choices into practice and will pave the way for making the appropriate plans for the future.

We all know that aging can cause wrinkles, gray hair, and achy joints. However, as we age our bodies and minds undergo many physiological changes that aren’t as obvious. As our brains age, their neurological makeup also changes, which can cause forgetfulness and longer memory recall. While this is a normal part of aging, memory loss is not. However, many older adults suffer from long-term memory loss in their later years.
In fact, according to the World Health Organization, 50 million people have dementia, with 10 million new diagnoses each year. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, contributing to 60-70% of all dementia cases.

Differences between Alzheimer’s and Dementia

While they are commonly interchanged, dementia and Alzheimer’s are not the same diseases. Unlike Alzheimer’s, which is a specific long-term memory disease, dementia is a general term for a decline in mental ability severe enough to interfere with daily life. While many people are familiar with Alzheimer’s disease, the most common type of dementia, most are unfamiliar with the other various types. Many have similar symptoms which is why it can take longer to find a specific diagnosis.

When you or a loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or a dementia-related illness the initial information and facts can be very overwhelming. At Maplewood Senior Living, we hold a special regard for residents with Alzheimer’s disease and memory impairment. We believe that while memory loss means living with certain challenges, it should not stand in the way of living a life of dignity. We embrace new technology such as iPads and temi robots along with Rendever virtual reality and Eversound headphones to keep our seniors engaged with family and friends. Our program directors and memory care directors work hard to incorporate programs that engage and benefit residents at any level of care.

Our highly trained and compassionate staff throughout all our communities help residents with memory impairment reduce stress and improve wellbeing by focusing on the joys and accomplishments that can be experienced today.

To help you when you are confronted with dementia or Alzheimer’s diagnosis, we created a resource guide to provide a foundation of information to help alleviate some of your questions, worries, and assist you in reaching out for help.

Download a complimentary copy of Your Guide to Navigating a Dementia Diagnosis – Helpful Information and Resources to Support You. To receive your guide – CLICK HERE.

To find out more about our Memory Care communities at Maplewood Senior Living, contact us here.

Sexuality, Dementia and Relationships

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, disorders grouped under the general term dementia are caused by abnormal brain changes. These changes can cause a decline in cognitive abilities, memory, and behavior. Chances are you probably know someone with a form of dementia. In fact, nearly 50 million people worldwide live with a type of dementia, with 10 million new cases being diagnosed each year. There are many types of dementia such as Lewy body dementia, vascular dementia, and the most common type, Alzheimer’s disease, which accounts for nearly 70% of all dementia cases. Dementia cases are most commonly diagnosed in older adults, aged 65 and above, who exhibit common signs and symptoms. While dementia symptoms can appear differently in each adult, there are some signs that are reported often.
It’s not uncommon for partners, spouses and close friends, and family members to recognize signs and symptoms of dementia in their loved ones first. According to the Mayo Clinic, common signs can include memory loss, difficulty communicating or recalling commonly used words, difficulty with making decisions, problem-solving, planning, and organizing. While most of these symptoms and behavioral changes are commonly discussed and widely recognized, there are some changes that can go unidentified—sexuality is one of these. As the disease progresses, and changes in the brain continue to develop, many people with dementia can experience changes in their sexuality and sexual feelings.

Dementia’s Effect on Intimacy and Sexuality

As humans, we all have needs for friendship, companionship, and intimacy. These needs do not go away with a dementia diagnosis. However, as the disease progresses, the way the need for intimacy is expressed can change. In addition to the disease itself, other related conditions such as depression, medications, and changes in memory, can result in behavioral changes that can affect one’s sense of sexuality. Some dementia-related changes in sexuality one might experience can include the following:

Reduced sexual energy. Depression and anxiety are common side effects of dementia and can cause a decrease in sexual desire or the need for intimacy and friendship. Even if a person is not diagnosed with depression, withdrawing from people is common. While some people feel comfortable with this change in desire, others may enjoy being hugged, cuddled, and shown affection.

Dementia and sexually inappropriate behaviors. Dementia can affect the areas of the brain that keep us from acting on our impulses. That’s why some dementia patients exhibit inappropriate sexual behaviors such as flirting with strangers or speaking about sex in an inappropriate setting.

Dementia and romantic relationships. While some people with dementia experience a decrease in sexual energy, others may feel an increased need for sex and other forms of intimacy. Knowing how to navigate this change can be difficult for many partners. One partner may feel a rise in sexual energy while their partner or spouse feels unsure of the new demand. If this new sexual energy feels uncomfortable, it can be helpful to explore other ways of feeling intimate.

Hypersexuality. According to the Alzheimer’s Society of Canada, “as the ability to remember sexual interactions decreases, a person’s desire for sexual intercourse can increase.” This person might become overly interested in sex and masturbation. As the National Institute on Aging reports, these behaviors are related to the disease and don’t always mean that the person is interested in sex.

Issues to Consider

Navigating conversations around sexuality can be difficult, especially when dementia plays a role. It’s important to take all factors into consideration before starting a conversation about sex with your partner. Some people might misinterpret actions from people with dementia as sexualized behaviors. However, sexual behavior can be used as a way to communicate other needs for people with the disease. In fact, according to the Alzheimer’s Society, other reasons for behavior that may seem sexual can include needing to use the toilet, discomfort in clothing or temperature, boredom, expressing a need for affection, and mistaking someone for their own partner.
It’s also important to consider that people with dementia can continue to have a healthy intimate life, but what that looks like may change many times throughout the progression of the disease. Consistently readdressing comfort levels and desires will help both people in the relationship identify each other’s wishes and concerns. It’s common for both partners to change their wishes. In fact, some partners feel guilty if they no longer want to be intimate, while others may continue to have intimate moments.

Tips for Coping

Dementia can be a lonely disease. Most people living with dementia need to feel love and shown affection consistently. It’s important to remember that the changes in sexual behavior you see in someone with dementia are products of the disease, not of the person. While experiencing these changes in someone you love can be difficult, finding ways to cope can help.
• Explore ways to spend time together like making lunch or dinner together, walking outside, or listening to music.
• Find other ways to show affection. If one or both of you are uncomfortable with being sexually intimate, you might consider hugging, holding hands, dancing, or sitting close to one another.
• Remember to be sensitive and reassuring. Navigating these changes is difficult and judgment can make it worse.
• Do not feel guilty if you no longer feel romantically connected to your partner.
• Join a support group through the Alzheimer’s Association. There are groups in most geographical areas and can be accessed online.
• Do what feels best for you. Be gentle with yourself.

Living with Dementia at Maplewood Senior Living

At Maplewood Senior Living, we prioritize the physical and emotional health of all residents. Navigating diseases like dementia can be difficult but working with a team of professionals can make it easier.
Support groups, specialized activities, and therapies are offered at our communities to help cope with the behavioral, physical, and emotional changes caused by diseases like dementia. To learn more about our offerings or to schedule a tour, please contact us here.

Join us on Tuesdays for 6 Weeks Starting on September 22 for our Dementia Bootcamp. This is a free six-week support group hosted via  Zoom. Register at RSVP@maplewoodsl.com to find. Every Tuesday at 3pm.

Food and Dementia: Does Diet Reduce the Risk?

While it’s normal to experience occasional forgetfulness as we age, like misplacing our glasses or missing an appointment, memory loss is not a normal part of aging. However, it’s a condition that many older adults experience. In fact, nearly 5 million Americans, aged 65 and older, have been diagnosed with a form of dementia. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, “Dementia is an overall term used to describe a wide range of medical conditions caused by abnormal brain changes.” Alzheimer’s disease, the most common type of dementia, accounts for nearly 60-80% of all dementia cases.

While Alzheimer’s and dementia can show up differently in each person, many have problems with short-term memory, remembering appointments and trouble with comprehension, especially when it comes to finances. While we can’t completely eliminate our risk of developing dementia, there are simple things we can do to decrease it. In fact, it can be as simple as eating a healthy diet.

Diet and its Effect on Dementia

It’s been proven that diet can have a profound impact on our overall health, especially as we age. While research is somewhat limited, there are three diets that have been linked to decreasing the risk of dementia.

The Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension (DASH)

According to the Cleveland Clinic, researchers traditionally thought a high sodium diet resulted in high blood pressure. However, sodium can have a different effect on different people. This prompted further research to study how different diets can impact blood pressure. The DASH diet, which is heavily focused on fruits and vegetables, was found to lower blood pressure significantly. Because heart disease is a common risk factor for dementia, the DASH diet has been encouraged by many researchers as a way to decrease that risk. Those who follow the DASH diet aim to reduce their blood pressure by:

• Eating foods low in fat and cholesterol
• Eating mostly fruits, vegetables, whole grains, poultry, fish and nuts
• Decreasing the amount of red meats, sweets and sugar-based beverages

The Mediterranean Diet

Alzheimer’s disease is caused by abnormal build-up of proteins around our brain cells. The Mediterranean Diet, which includes high levels of antioxidants, can actually protect our brain cells from damage, while also reducing brain inflammation and lowering cholesterol. This diet primarily focuses on fruit, healthy fats, herbs, fish and poultry, while limiting consumption of butter, red meat and salt.

The MIND Diet

This diet is specifically designed to prevent dementia in older adults. The Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet were combined to create Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay, or MIND. A study published by Rush University Medical Center showed that, “the MIND diet lowered the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by as much as 53% in participants who adhered to the diet rigorously and by 35% in those who followed it moderately well.” To create the MIND diet, researchers combined elements of both diets and added emphasis on foods that were shown to benefit brain health.

Foods to Eat on the MIND Diet

According to the Mayo Clinic, researchers found that older adults, “whose diets most closely resembled the pattern laid out in the MIND diet had brains as sharp as people 7.5 years younger.” While the MIND diet closely resembles foods found in the DASH and Mediterranean diets, it focuses strictly on foods closely linked to dementia prevention. According to Healthline Magazine, these are the main food types eaten when following the MIND diet:

• Green leafy vegetables including kale, spinach and greens are packed with vitamins A and C and other nutrients. Researchers have suggested that consuming six servings or more provide the greatest benefits.

• All other vegetables are packed with nutrients and fiber that are good for overall health. These are recommended in addition to green leafy vegetables.

• Berries- When creating the MIND diet, researchers found that berries in particular are excellent for improving cognitive function and protecting the brain. Researchers suggest eating berries at least twice a week.

• Nuts contain healthy fats, fiber, antioxidants and can even lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease. The MIND diet suggests consuming five servings of nuts per week.

• Olive Oil is a recommended alternative for butter. Studies have shown that olive oil can protect against cognitive decline.

• Whole grains like oatmeal, brown rice, bread and quinoa should be consumed three times a day when following the MIND diet.

• Fish such as tuna, salmon and trout are high in omega-3 fatty acids and can help protect brain function. Unlike the Mediterranean diet, the MIND diet suggests consuming fish once a week.

• Beans are high in fiber and protein, but low in fat and calories. Beans can help you feel full and provide you with nutrients while also keeping your brain sharp.

• Poultry such as chicken and turkey are recommended twice a week.

• Wine- Research shows that red wine can help protect against Alzheimer’s. However, the MIND diet recommends consuming no more than one glass per day.

Healthy Eating Tips for Dementia Prevention

Making drastic changes to your diet can be difficult. If the MIND diet isn’t for you, there are still plenty of ways to use your diet to reduce your risk of dementia. There are certain foods to help prevent dementia that you can consume to help keep your mind healthy. You might consider adopting some of these simple habits to protect your brain without following a strict food plan:

Cut down on sugar
Food and beverages that contain sugar such as soda and refined carbs, can cause our blood sugar levels to rise rapidly, which can inflame the brain. Before eating packaged foods, be sure to read the nutrition label and check for added sugar.

Consume omega 3 fats
Omega 3 fats contain docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA, which is thought to prevent Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Omega 3 fats are found in salmon, tuna, trout and mackerel. If you prefer not to eat fish, you can supplement with fish oil.

Increase fruits and vegetables
Both fruits and vegetables are packed with antioxidants and can prevent inflammation. While berries are directly linked to brain health, all fruits and vegetables help to protect your body from illness.

Cook at home
When we prepare our own meals, we have control over what ingredients we are using and what we are consuming. While eating at restaurants and picking up take-out can be delicious and convenient, there might be hidden sugar and unhealthy fats.

Drink in moderation
While one glass of wine per day is linked to brain health, overdrinking can raise the risk of memory related diseases.

Preventing Dementia at Maplewood Senior Living

Health is a top priority at Maplewood Senior Living . That’s why each community offers a wide variety of meal and food options to keep our residents physically and mentally healthy. If you’d like to learn more about our offerings or to schedule a tour, please contact us here.

Navigating Travel with Dementia or Alzheimer’s

Dementia is used to describe a group of medical conditions related to memory loss. While long-term memory loss isn’t a normal part of aging, there are many older adults living with various types of dementia. In fact, according to the Alzheimer’s Association, nearly 5.8 million Americans live with Alzheimer’s disease, a form of dementia that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills. However, with summer approaching, Alzheimer’s and dementia don’t have to stop you from exploring new places or visiting family and friends. In fact, many people living with these diseases continue to travel and even do so alone in certain circumstances. While travel has been severely curtained in recent months throughout the country, you may need to travel for unforseen circumstances. Even a trip to the store, or to visit family may need some preparation and of course, if you need to travel to a new living situation you may need to fly or take a long car trip.  If you are planning to travel with a loved one who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, the best way to  have a safe and enjoyable trip is to be prepared.

Preparing for Your Trip

According to the National Institute on Aging, as dementia progresses, it can impact our, “behavioral abilities to such an extent that it interferes with daily life and normal activities.” Depending on the stage of dementia, traveling will pose different challenges. Your loved one’s ability to communicate, behavioral patterns and mood changes can all be affected by a sudden change in routine or venturing into unfamiliar environments. As you prepare each aspect of your trip, from accommodations to transportation, it’s important to think about your loved one’s needs and abilities.

Evaluating your transportation options

Depending on the nature of your travel, you will have to decide how to get to your destination. When traveling with someone with dementia or Alzheimer’s, simplicity is key. You might consider minimizing your travel time by taking fewer stops or avoiding airport layovers. Whether you’re traveling by air or by car, there are a few important elements to keep in mind as you prepare your itinerary:

Traveling by Air
The Dementia.org team surveyed caregivers and those diagnosed with dementia to explore their experiences when traveling by air. Those who participated were asked to describe the challenges and surprises they encountered throughout their travels. Here is what they found:

Traveling through airports can be challenging for all people, especially for those with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. As the disease progresses, following instructions can become increasingly difficult.
Nearly half of the participants encountered problems with checking in, bag screening, finding the boarding gate and restrooms, hearing announcements and reading information on signboards.

Navigating the security checkpoint was exceptionally difficult for those with severe cognitive impairments, specifically those in the later stages of the disease. While it’s helpful for the person with dementia to travel with a caregiver, oftentimes caregivers are unable to help with security checkpoints such as individual screenings.

All of the participants noted that while there were challenges, traveling by air was possible if both the caregiver and loved one were prepared. The following tips helped ease the traveling process for participants in the study:

• Arriving to the airport early to leave time for unexpected challenges
• Notifying airport staff that you are traveling with a person with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease before your travel date and at the time of arrival
• Minimizing stressors including hand-held luggage
• Going through security checkpoints behind your companion. If you enter through security in front of your loved one, you won’t be permitted to return to them.
• Seek out quiet spaces of the airport including unused gates or sitting areas. These can be helpful in times of stress and chaos.
• Bring noise canceling headphones to help minimize distractions and agitations.

Traveling by Car
It’s recommended to travel by car when traveling with someone with dementia, especially if your destination can be reached within one travel day. Traveling by car gives the caregiver and loved one more control over their journey. Rest stops, food options and overall environment can mostly be controlled.

If you are in the midst of planning a road trip, remember to plan out your rest stops. Searching for a rest stop can be stressful during an urgent situation. Knowing where you will stop and which rest sites are close by will give you a better sense of control. It can also be helpful to consider how long your traveling day will take you, factoring in your loved one’s behavior and mood.

If your loved one is feeling overwhelmed or agitated, you might consider moving on to your safety plan. As you create your safety plan, make sure to consider where you might stop if something comes up or who you will need to contact in the case of an emergency.

Travel Considerations to Keep in Mind

In general, traveling can be stressful for all people with various ability levels. Once you’ve decided to travel, there are a few simple things you can do lessen the stress and anxiety surrounding the trip:

Start your trip prepared- You want to start preparing and packing for your trip a week or so before the travel date. As you begin packing, make sure to take extra clothing and personal care items with you in the case of an emergency. Get plenty of sleep the night before and bring foods that your loved one enjoys and will eat without hesitation. Lastly, leave yourself plenty of time to get ready in the morning before beginning your road trip or heading to the airport.

Write and share your itinerary- Before your trip, write down all of your travel plans, including hotels, and even rest stops you plan to visit. This itinerary should be shared with family and friends who will be available to assist you if needed.

Take important documents with you- In the case of an emergency, you will need to access important documents. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, it is suggested to take the following essential documents with you while traveling:
• Doctor’s name and contact information
• A list of medications and dosages
• Phone numbers of local police, hospitals and poison control
• Copies of all legal papers including a living will, power of attorney and proof of guardianship
• Name and contact information of emergency contacts
• Insurance cards and information

Be alert to wandering- If your loved one is at risk of wandering, make sure they are wearing an ID bracelet or write their name and your contact information in their clothing.

Dealing with an emergency- If your loved one is prone to outbreaks and aggression, make sure to pay attention to their warning signs. If you are driving when an outbreak takes place, pull over immediately. If you need to calm down someone with dementia, there are proven techniques to help you.

Embracing Summertime Travel at Maplewood Senior Living

Travel doesn’t always have to be a source of tension for you or your loved one. Our staff at Maplewood Senior Living are seasoned professionals who can help you prepare for your trip and provide you with travel tips and tricks. To learn more about our offerings or to schedule a tour, please contact us.

Recognizing the Warning Signs of Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease

We all know that aging can cause wrinkles, gray hair, and achy joints. However, as we age our bodies and minds undergo many physiological changes that aren’t as obvious. As our brains age, their neurological makeup also changes, which can cause forgetfulness and longer memory recall. While this is a normal part of aging, memory loss is not. However, many older adults suffer from long-term memory loss in their later years. According to the World Health Organization, 50 million people have dementia, with 10 million new diagnoses each year. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, contributing to 60-70% of all dementia cases.

Differences between Alzheimer’s and Dementia

While they are commonly interchanged, dementia and Alzheimer’s are not the same diseases. Unlike Alzheimer’s, which is a specific long-term memory disease, dementia is a general term for a decline in mental ability severe enough to interfere with daily life. While many people are familiar with Alzheimer’s disease, the most common type of dementia, most are unfamiliar with the other various types. Of the 400 types of dementia, here are the most common aside from Alzheimer’s disease:

Vascular Dementia- This type of dementia can be caused when the vessels that supply blood to our brains get damaged. While there are far fewer cases of vascular dementia, it is the second most common type. Many diagnosed with this disease often notice challenges with problem-solving, focus and organization.

Lewy Body Dementia- Abnormal clumps of protein, called Lewy bodies, are found in the brains of people with certain diseases such as Lewy body dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease. Those with Lewy body dementia might suffer from visual hallucinations, acting out, and have trouble with focusing.

Frontotemporal Dementia- The frontal and temporal lobes of the brain are associated with our personality, behavior, and language. When the nerve cells and their connections to the brain begin to degenerate, it’s not uncommon for behavior, personality, thinking, and judgment to begin to change. While there are different types of frontotemporal dementia, all of them are associated with nerve breakdown in the brain.

Mixed Dementia- It’s possible for adults to have many different types of dementia at one time. Researchers are performing autopsy studies to learn more about this condition and how it might be properly treated in the future.

Alzheimer’s disease refers to abnormal protein deposits that form in the brain causing plaques and tangles. These protein fragments and twisted fibers clog and damage the brain’s nerves, altering the chemical makeup of the brain. As the disease worsens, connections between brain cells can be completely lost, in addition to physical brain shrinkage. According to the National Institute of Health, most adults begin experiencing symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease in their mid-60s.

Symptoms and Early Warning Signs

While the symptoms of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease can differ, they also have commonalities. Here are a few of the most common warning signs seen in dementia and Alzheimer’s patients according to the Alzheimer’s Association and Healthline Magazine.

• Changes in Memory- Increasing difficulty with memory can be an early symptom of both dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Most changes will involve short-term memory, such as forgetting where they placed an item, what they were going to do, or asking the same questions over and over again.

• Difficulty with Word Recall- Those with early symptoms might notice an increased difficulty in communicating their thoughts or needs. For most people with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, vocabulary recall and organizing thoughts can get increasingly difficult as the diseases progress.

• Challenges in Problem Solving- Working with numbers or developing a plan can also pose quite a challenge. Some people living with dementia have trouble with things like following a recipe and keeping track of monthly bills.

• Changes in Mood and Behavior- While this symptom is certainly hard to recognize in yourself, it can be one of the first warning signs you notice in others. Depression and changes in personality, such as shifting from shy to outgoing, can also be related to dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

• Confusion- In general, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease can be confusing experiences for those who have been diagnosed. Someone in the early stages of these diseases might become confused when they realize their memory has changed, making it difficult to interact and communicate with others.

• Repetition-Because Alzheimer’s disease and dementia affect memory, those who are living with it might find themselves repeating tasks and asking the same questions or telling the same stories.

• Struggle with Change- For those in the early stages, accepting the illness can be extremely difficult. It’s normal for those who have been diagnosed to experience periods of denial, making it difficult to adapt to change.

Causes and Risk Factors of Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease

Because there are so many different types of dementia, it is difficult to identify the exact cause. Underlying health issues, environment, and family history can impact a person’s potential for developing dementia. Other disorders, such as Huntington’s disease, traumatic brain injury, and Parkinson’s disease, are also linked to dementia. This means the risk of developing dementia is significantly increased when one of these disorders has already developed.
According to the Mayo Clinic, “Scientists believe that for most people, Alzheimer’s disease is caused by a combination of genetic, lifestyle and environmental factors that affect the brain over time.” Like dementia, the exact cause of Alzheimer’s cannot be identified, however, there are certain risk factors that can make an individual more susceptible to the disease.
Some factors like family history can increase the risk of developing the disease, especially if a first-degree relative has been diagnosed. Those with Down syndrome often develop Alzheimer’s disease, which is most likely related to having three copies of chromosome 21. Environmental factors such as living a sedentary lifestyle, obesity, smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and poorly controlled diabetes can all increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Treatment

Taking the step to get checked out by your doctor can be incredibly difficult. However, there are many treatment options available for those with Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia. While there isn’t a treatment that can reverse the disease, there are medications that can help lessen the symptoms. Oftentimes, an early diagnosis gives individuals the opportunity to participate in clinical trials, which ultimately help researchers learn more about the disease.

Living with Alzheimer’s and Dementia at Maplewood Senior Living

Our communities at Maplewood Senior Living are committed to providing a comfortable environment for individuals living through each stage of their dementia. To learn more about our offerings or to schedule a tour, please contact us.