Maintaining the health, wellness, and safety of our residents is our number one priority. Due to the COVID-19 situation, effective immediately we are restricting visitors to our community. This is in cooperation with federal mandates regarding this situation. Letters regarding specific details are being sent to the responsible parties for our residents to provide them with more detailed information. In addition to restricting visits, our staff will be screened prior to the starting of their shifts and have been trained on the symptoms of COVID-19 as well as infection prevention techniques. This is a fluid situation and we will keep you informed as the situation changes. We appreciate your cooperation and patience. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
The difference between simple entrepreneurial and genuinely loving professional senior assisted living care and truly loving professional memory care services is volunteer investment in our residents, their families, and the local community. This blog here at Gateway Gardens Assisted Living and Memory Care here in Bethlehem is a perfect example. We publish topics that we know benefits a much wider community than our Manor Lake family and we take great professional reward in so doing. Today’s blog is duly credited to our friends at Elmcroft who earn our respect as like-minded community servants.
Everyone is forgetful sometimes. Forgetting an item while grocery shopping, misplacing your keys, missing your exit while driving or not remembering an appointment every so often are no real causes for concern. Forgetfulness can seem to get worse when you’re experiencing stress, are especially busy, have taken on a new challenge, or haven’t been getting enough sleep. Occasional memory lapses are apart of the normal aging process, and there is probably no cause for alarm if forgetfulness or absentmindedness are not getting significantly worse or accompanied by other problems like personality changes, disorientation, frequent struggles to find the right words or difficulty completing familiar tasks.
The difference between normal forgetfulness and dementia is that dementia causes memory loss and other issues that disrupt daily life and become disabling.
Unlike normal age-related changes in memory and thinking, which may be occasionally bothersome or frustrating but don’t significantly disrupt a person’s life, dementia is not part of the normal aging process. Dementia is defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as the impaired ability to remember, think or make decisions that interferes with doing everyday activities. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia, but there are several other forms of the disease.
According to the CDC, symptoms of dementia can vary widely from person to person. People with dementia often have problems with memory, attention, communication, reasoning, judgment, task completion, problem-solving, mood, behavior, and spatial and visual perception.
Early signs a loved one may be developing dementia include:
These signs do not necessarily mean someone is developing dementia. Many of these symptoms can also stem from emotional stress or grief, mental health issues like anxiety or depression, reactions to a new medication, and medical problems like head injuries, vitamin deficiencies, thyroid disorders, infections, stroke and tumors. That’s why it’s important to consult a medical professional if your loved one has several of these symptoms, or if the symptoms seem to linger after a stressful event.
According to the National Institute on Aging, some seniors can also develop a condition known as mild cognitive impairment, or MCI. This means they have more memory or other thinking problems than other people their age, but they can usually care for themselves and participate in normal daily activities. MCI can be a precursor to Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, but not everyone diagnosed with MCI will progress to the more severe diagnosis. The Mayo Clinic says that while about 1% to 3% of older adults develop dementia every year, studies suggest that around 10% to 15% of individuals with MCI go on to develop dementia each year.
If you or your loved one is having trouble remembering, thinking, concentrating or participating in familiar activities and everyday tasks, it’s important to see a doctor. A thorough examination will include blood tests (and other diagnostic tests, as needed), a review of prescription medications, cognitive and mental health evaluations, and discussions about recent stressors and lifestyle choices. The results of that examination may help a doctor uncover a treatable and even reversible cause of the symptoms.
Dementia-like symptoms caused by depression, pharmaceutical side effects, drug or alcohol abuse, tumors and other structural problems in the brain, metabolic or endocrine conditions, and nutritional deficiencies can be reversible.
If the doctor suspects dementia after the examination, a course of management and treatment can be recommended. Neurodegenerative dementias, like Alzheimer’s disease, have no cure, but medications are available that can help slow their progression or reduce symptoms like disorientation, anxiety, delusions or behavioral changes. Research is underway for more effective treatments.
A healthy diet, active lifestyle, memory/brain games, strong social support and community involvement can offer some protection from memory loss and may slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease or related forms of dementia. Environmental modifications and breaking down tasks into simpler steps can help increase independence and safety and reduce frustration and confusion. Non-medical treatments may also help lessen symptoms and improve the quality of life for people with dementia. These include:
If you or your loved one struggle with sleep issues, talking with your doctor is a good place to start. Our assisted living and memory care community here in Bethlehem is designed to support our senior residents by providing a safe, secure environment where their everyday needs are met. We not only offer comfortable housing accommodations but also indoor and outdoor amenities, events, and fitness programs to keep you physically and mentally active during your senior years. We are proud to deliver professional assisted living and memory care services that measurably improve quality of life.
We welcome your call and/or visit to learn more. Contact us today!
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