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Gaining Perspective and Hope For Those With Dementia – Atria Senior Living Blog

Gaining Perspective and Hope For Those With Dementia


Posted on June 13, 2017 by Atria Senior Living


This year, the summer solstice falls on June 21, which makes it the longest day of 2017. This also marks the date of the Alzheimer’s Association’s annual mid-year event – dubbed ‘The Longest Day’ – to raise awareness of the issue as well as funding to support research.

As a provider of care, services and living accommodations for seniors, our caregivers and staff members at Atria Senior Living communities across the U.S. are well aware of the challenges associated with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. We see the toll it takes on individuals and their families, on caregivers and society as a whole. And, we support research and fundraising efforts in hopes of finding a cure.

We also believe that we should consider what can be done now, today, to help individuals with dementia continue to live engaging, meaningful and joyful lives.

  • Physical Activity – Decades of research point to the health benefits of social connection and regular exercise for seniors, including the potential to limit cognitive decline. A study published in 2016 in Neurology, the official journal of the American Academy of Neurology, found that regular exercise may slow mental decline by a decade.  At Atria, we encourage exercise twice a day including walks, stretching and chair yoga, dance, and working with weights; activity is good for the brain!
  • Social Connection – A 2009 study funded by the National Institute on Aging and published in the journal Evidence-Based Mental Health found that having a larger social network and consistent contact with family and friends are associated with reduced dementia risk. These findings make a strong case for the value of communal and shared living space.
  • Engaged Programming – What’s good for people living with dementia is what’s good for all older people: engagement. For example, music-based programs show increasing promise in keeping those with dementia engaged because musical appreciation is among the last abilities to be affected by memory impairment. Research shows that music can improve mood, reduce stress and agitation, and create focus and interest, among other benefits. Atria’s own music program, Legato®, is offered daily in our memory care environments and encourages physical activity and social interaction, all set to music.
  • Thoughtfully Designed Spaces – Environmental factors can greatly influence quality of life and behavior among people with dementia by allowing them to maintain a sense of independence. Atria applies careful and deliberate thought to the design of its memory care environments, or Life Guidance® Neighborhoods, which are designed to maximize awareness and orientation. This extends to interior design, lighting, artwork, safety features and many other aspects.
  • Individualized Care Approach – Everyone’s journey with dementia is unique. Recognizing this, we apply principles of Virginia Bell and David Troxel’s “Best Friends” approach, which encourages use of the individual’s life story, preferences and relationships to help them feel safe, secure and valued. This allows caregivers to develop a care plan tailored to that person’s specific needs.

There’s a growing recognition that dementia isn’t only the responsibility of those directly affected, but society as a whole. A great example is the global movement to make more cities and towns “dementia friendly” by educating citizens and working to improve the safety and quality of life for those with dementia. Let’s hope this attitude of compassion and accountability continues to grow in prevalence.

We believe life does not end when dementia begins. Ours should not be a language of despair, but instead, one of possibility and hope found in incremental progress, one life at a time.


Category: Dementia & Memory Care Tags: , , , , , ,

Women Are at the Center of the Alzheimer’s Crisis - Atria Senior Living Blog

Women Are at the Center of the Alzheimer’s Crisis


Posted on July 31, 2015 by Kacey Roby


Women are disproportionately affected by Alzheimer’s and the reasons remain unclear. According to the Alzheimer’s Association Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report:

  • Women make up almost two-thirds of American seniors living with Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Among those aged 71 and older, 16 percent of women have Alzheimer’s and other dementias, compared to 11 percent of men.
  • At age 65, women without Alzheimer’s have more than a one-in-six chance of developing the disease during the remainder of their lives, compared with a one-in-11 chance for men.
  • Women in their 60s are about twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease over the rest of their lives as they are to develop breast cancer.

(more…)


Category: Dementia & Memory Care, News In Aging Tags: , , ,

Questions to Ask Alzheimer’s and Memory Care Senior Communities

Questions to Ask Assisted Living Communities About Alzheimer’s and Memory Care, Part 3


Posted on March 3, 2015 by Peter Berkowitz


Part 3: Staff Training & Education

If you’re considering care for a family member who is living with the challenges of Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia, one of the most important factors to consider is the training and education provided to their caregivers. (more…)


Category: Caregiver Support, Dementia & Memory Care Tags: , , ,

questions-community-living-alzheimers-memory-care

Questions to Ask Assisted Living Communities about Alzheimer’s and Memory Care Part 1


Posted on October 22, 2014 by Katy Miller


Part 1: Living Environment | Alzheimer's and Memory Care

When you’re making a personal visit to an assisted living community, take every opportunity you have to ask questions about Alzheimer’s and memory care.

It may be helpful if you divide your questions between a few main topics: Living Environment, Engaging Activities, Staff Training and Education and Quality Assurance.

In this installment of a three-part series, we’ll help with things you should look for in a living environment that will help your family member live well.

Look at the Surroundings

First, take a look around the community and observe the residents. Are the residents engaged in elementary activities, or are they living full, enriched lives in an environment that encourages grown-up engagement? Are they well-groomed and dressed neatly? They should be.

Walk the Community

Take a moment to walk the community. Is the space welcoming, vibrant and purposefully designed to accommodate residents with memory impairments? Residents with memory impairments may wander to help relieve stress, boredom, relieve discomfort or pain. An ideal design of a memory care environment would include opportunities for residents to walk within the secured environment and access to outdoor space (during appropriate weather).

Safety

You want to feel confident that your loved one is safe, and also that they are free to move about with exposure to sunlight, plants, birds and other things that make them happy. You want to feel confident that your loved one is safe, and also that they are free to move about with exposure to sunlight, plants, birds and other things that make them happy. You should get the sense that your loved one will feel free and relaxed, rather than confined and anxious.

To this end, consider whether the staff greets and welcomes you with open smiles. That’s a pretty good indicator of a positive environment. If there is tension in the air, you can generally see it on staff members’ faces.

Safety, of course, is of utmost concern. It’s easy to see the signs of a safe neighborhood:

  • Do the doors promptly re-secure when you enter or exit?
  • Are all doors secured to prevent wandering in unsecured spaces?
  • Are there handrails in the hallways to aid in balance?
  • Is there enough space for the number of residents who live there to comfortably participate in activities and physical exercise?
  • What about power outages or plant emergencies, such as a fire? Is there a defined evacuation plan? How are the residents protected during events such as these?
  • Are windows secured – specifically, are the windows in each resident’s apartment secure?

Ask questions about the community’s call system and the staff’s ability to respond timely to your family member’s needs. Staff carry pagers and/or radios with them as means to communicate with each other. Pagers alert staff when something unusual happens (a door opens that generally shouldn't, a door leading out to the courtyard or an alert button/pendant).

Another safety feature is systematic and routine checks on residents to be sure they are okay. The need for status checks and their frequency are based on each resident’s service plan. Certainly, basic cleanliness is worth considering as well. Are all of the rooms and open areas clean? Are there any lingering odors? What about the dining room? Is it clean and comfortable?

A supportive community will always promote independence by offering their residents choices. Simple choices work best for those with memory impairments. For example, a choice between a blue shirt or a yellow shirt versus choosing any shirt from their closet. We pride ourselves on offering our Life Guidance residents the same dining experience as in Assisted Living. Pay particular attention to the dining experience, the quality of food the community offers and if they adjust their menu selections to accommodate the changing needs of the residents. Stay tuned for Part Two of the series, which will focus on Engaging Activities and their role in the lives of residents with memory impairments.

 


Category: Dementia & Memory Care Tags: , , , , ,

Elderly Man

The Difference Between Alzheimer’s and Dementia


Posted on November 17, 2013 by Atria Senior Living


A frequently asked question to staff members at assisted living communities is what the difference is between Alzheimer’s and dementia?

When an individual begins to display signs of memory loss and confusion, the most common fear is that the symptoms are related to Alzheimer's disease, or AD. However, these symptoms can have a variety of causes that may or may not be the result of AD. (more…)


Category: Dementia & Memory Care Tags: ,

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