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'Smart' Senior Living System Implemented at 5 Spring Arbor Communities

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, April 20, 2017

Spring Arbor, NC, MDResidents at five of HHHunt's Spring Arbor senior living communities now can control their apartment thermostats and lighting, share photos and messages with friends and family members, check the weather, play games, sign up for community events and more from tablet devices that are part of K4Connect's K4Community platform.

Two Spring Arbor communities in the Raleigh, NC, market had been testing the system for the past two years, Rich Williams, senior vice president of Spring Arbor told McKnight's Senior Living.

K4Connect “really jumped in with both feet and spent a lot of time in our communities, getting to know the residents' daily routine, what frail seniors in their 70s and 80s are doing on a daily basis, what their capabilities are, what the expectations are, how the families interact, how the employees interact — the whole A to Z issues as it pertains to the life of a resident in independent living and assisted living,” he said.

Before the recent rollout, K4 enhanced the platform based its observations and the feedback it received during the pilot, Williams added.

Families also can be part of the K4Community by logging onto the platform through a dedicated portal managed by K4, he said. Spring Arbor educates residents and families on how to use the technology and its potential benefits as part of the communities' wellness and activities programming.

“What a lot of people forget in independent living and assisted living is that residents come in because they have some sort of healthcare need,” Williams said. “Medication management, meals, housekeeping services — all those things on a daily basis are good things that really improve their health and well-being, but what you forget about is the social interaction piece.”

In addition enabling residents to control their thermostats and lights and communicate with family members, he said, the platform has increased socialization among residents.

“They're sharing moments of joy with other residents, and that really stimulates all of the residents, and they all start being socially interactive with each other through this common platform that they're using with friends and family outside of the community,” Williams said.

Residents even have set up friendly competitions related to the number of steps they take every day, he said, explaining that they wear pedometers and the tablets keep track of their steps. “It provides a little bit of fun while at the same time getting some real wellness and therapeutic activity happening,” Williams said.

Residents also share photos from family with staff members, creating another opportunity for employees to bond with residents, he said. “It creates job satisfaction for our teammates as well as the socialization piece for residents and family members,” Williams said.

Just as important, the technology includes a safety component; through dashboards, staff members can monitor who is using the tablets, he said. “If we start seeing signs of lack of use, then we can look into that and make sure there's nothing else going on that's impacting that resident's ability to use it,” Williams said. “You never know — they could be avoiding it because they're scared of it, or they could be avoiding it because they're not feeling well.”

And staff can monitor movement via bed sensors. “If we're seeing the resident getting up frequently at night, that could mean a sleep disorder or UTI or some other thing that might be going on that's prohibiting them from getting a good night's sleep, which is very important to their health and well-being,” he said.

The integrated reporting and management system also enables staff members to access data that provide building management insights. Accommodating the new technology wasn't cheap, Williams said. Spring Arbor had to update its older buildings, he explained.

“The thermostats need to be changed out to have the wireless capability, light switches need to be changed out to dimmer switches, light bulbs need to be changed out to dimmable bulbs and that sort of thing,” Williams said. Also, he added, Wi-Fi needed to be upgraded to ensure that residents are able to use the tablets in all areas of the building.

“It's not a cheap investment, but we see it as part of the amenities package that we offer with the monthly rent,” Williams said.

“The feedback has been very, very positive from residents who have fully engaged with it. ...and the families really love it that it's there to use,” he added, noting that residents especially like the ability to see photos shared by family members.

The five communities in which Spring Arbor has implemented the platform are in North Carolina and Maryland. The company has plans to expand the rollout to four additional communities in Virginia and North Carolina in the coming months. Spring Arbor has a total of 22 communities.

“We have been extremely excited by the resident response at each of the Spring Arbors,” Scott Moody, CEO and chief client advocate of K4Connect, said in a statement.

For more information on senior living, contact Spring Arbor.


Finding Senior Living Options with Levels of Care – Greensboro, NC

Joseph Coupal - Friday, April 14, 2017

Spring Arbor, Greensboro, NCFinding the right senior living option takes research, thought and time. As you venture off to seek different options, it’s a good idea to consider how many moves will actually have to take place through your golden years.

Finding the right place ensures that each transition in care is going to be convenient for you and your family. As we age, it’s natural to need increased levels of care to accommodate your individual needs.

Ensure peace of mind knowing that you have access to a full transition in care every step of the way, no matter the intensity of level of care that is required. As you discover the benefits of a health care campus, you may find that a continuum of care is extended; and includes both services and basic mechanisms that involve health care coordination.

The array of services and settings include care coordination, planning, management, housing options, skilled nursing, outpatient services, inpatient services, physicians, on-site registered nurse, assisted living, independent living, and home health services.

A continuity of health care maximizes each individual’s independence, and overall functioning, while increasing quality of life. For more information on assisted living, contact Spring Arbor.


GV News

What is Dementia and Can I Prevent It? Richmond, VA

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Spring Arbor, Alzheimer's Disease, Richmond, VAWhat is dementia?

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common and well-known type; however, “dementia is a blanket term that describes multiple different conditions that cause cognitive impairment. In all cases, the patient experiences memory loss and the inability to care for themselves eventually, but each type of dementia has its own specific set of symptoms.

Vascular dementia: Occurs as a result of vascular compromise such as stroke

Lewy Body dementia: Occurs as a result of nerve cell abnormalities

Frontotemporal dementia: Occurs after damage has been sustained to the frontal or temporal lobes of the brain, commonly from traumatic head injuries

*Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease and other types of nerve cell diseases also can cause dementia.

Unlike other types of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease is caused by unknown factors. However, it’s most closely tied to age. By the time someone is 80 years old, they have a 50 percent chance of showing signs of Alzheimer’s disease.

Can I prevent Alzheimer’s disease?

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, it’s the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States. More than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s, a number that could rise to 16 million by 2050. It’s a very costly disease that requires full-time memory care. The burdens it places on the health care industry and families affected are astronomical.

While the mechanism in the brain that causes Alzheimer’s is unknown, the most common risk factors are age, family history and a medical history of heart problems, which affect blood flow to the brain. Without a cure, it’s vital that people take steps toward prevention.

Steps to help decrease your risk

  • Do the following throughout your lifetime:
  • Decrease heart stressors.
  • Be proactive about treating/preventing heart disease and diabetes, maintain a healthy weight, decrease alcohol consumption and quit smoking.
  • Maintain daily physical activity.
  • Avoid medications that can affect brain and memory function. These include some sleep medications and frequent use of antihistamines.
  • Keep the brain active by engaging in problem-solving, puzzles, languages, reading and writing.
  • Remain socially active.
  • Avoid processed foods and seek brain-healthy foods such as almonds and walnuts.

Coping with a family member who has Alzheimer’s disease or dementia

Alzheimer’s is a family disease. It affects people in varying ways, and coping with a close family member who is experiencing cognitive decline can be very difficult.

The most important fact to remember is that they’re not doing it on purpose, and they’re not crazy. They need support and patience. You cannot change the disease; you can help by adapting to it as best you can.

Use “therapeutic lies” when necessary. For example, if a patient with Alzheimer’s is continually asking about his deceased mother, you don’t need to correct him. It may be OK to tell him his mother will call later, or that she left a loving message earlier. Reminding the patient that his loved one is deceased will only upset and confuse him, and it’s not helpful to attempt to reacquaint him with reality in these instances.

It is important that family members fight feelings of guilt if they need to put their loved one in a care home. If it has to be done, it has to be done. Your health and emotional wellness are important too.

For more information on memory care, contact Spring Arbor.

Excerpts -

Planning for Assisted Living – Greensboro, NC

Joseph Coupal - Friday, April 07, 2017

Spring Arbor, Greensboro, NCMaking the decision for yourself or for a loved one to move into an assisted living community can be a very difficult decision. It can feel additionally overwhelming trying to find the community that is right for you or your loved one’s care needs, preferences and more.

Here are some of the “most frequently asked questions” that are encountered.

Start the Senior Living Conversation before Crisis Mode

Most incoming calls to senior living communities come in a form of a crisis. Many people do not want to give up their autonomy or their home, but then find themselves in a situation when they begin needing more help than family or friends can provide. Family members usually initiate these calls. Adult children often wish they had been proactive in preparing their parents for a change in their living situation. Waiting causes more stress on them, as well as on the family. Engage in open communication with your loved one regarding their thoughts on how they see themselves living their lives as they age. Also, try to be realistic. Staying home alone may not always be an option, even with in-home care.

One of the most important reasons to start the senior living conversation early is to help begin the transition out of the home. Conversations should include what items in their home have sentimental or monetary value. Also, ask your loved one what aspects of their living they would like to maintain as they move to a new home. What will they miss the most? Do they value their space, and may like to have a garage or large apartment? What does independence look like to them? Do they have strong social circles? These questions are important to ask when finding the perfect living situation for your loved one.

Get on a Waiting List if Needed

The second most common question is availability. Most calls are received from family members when their loved one needs to move in immediately. That can be challenging for any assisted living community to accommodate, as a room may not be available. Be proactive and get on a waiting list before you find yourself in a crisis situation. Especially if you find the perfect assisted living facility that meets you and your loved ones needs.

Learn About Assisted Living Payment Options

It is a common myth that Medicare pays for assisted living. This is not the case. The cost of care can be high. Start looking at finances to see if your parents can afford a higher level of care. Sit down with the administrators of assisted living facilities early in your search to discuss viable payment options.

If your loved one decides to stay in his/her home, there are many resources in the community to help make that possible. These resources can help you with transportation, food, medical care, companionship, respite care and more. Contact the Area Agency on Aging and use their knowledge as a resource guide for your care needs. The goal for thosewho work in the senior living environment or have aging loved in ones is to ensure that individuals have the best care possible, with little impact on their quality of life. Understanding what “quality of life” means to you or your loved one is an important factor in determining the ideal living situation.

For more information on assisted living for your loved ones, contact Spring Arbor.



Top 37 Things You’ll Regret When You’re Old - Richmond, VA

Joseph Coupal - Friday, March 31, 2017

Spring Arbor, Richmond, VAWe thought this article embodies how we like to Live at Spring Arbor. Below are the top 37 things we don't want you to ever regret.

1. Not traveling when you had the chance.

Traveling becomes infinitely harder the older you get, especially if you have a family and need to pay the way for three-plus people instead of just yourself.

2. Not learning another language.

You’ll kick yourself when you realize you took three years of language in high school and remember none of it.

3. Staying in a bad relationship.

No one who ever gets out of a bad relationship looks back without wishing they made the move sooner.

4. Forgoing sunscreen.

Wrinkles, moles, and skin cancer can largely be avoided if you protect yourself.

5. Missing the chance to see your favorite musicians.

“Nah, dude, I’ll catch Nirvana next time they come through town.” Facepalm.

6. Being scared to do things.

Looking back you’ll think, What was I so afraid of?

7. Failing to make physical fitness a priority.

Too many of us spend the physical peak of our lives on the couch. When you hit 40, 50, 60, and beyond, you’ll dream of what you could have done.

8. Letting yourself be defined by gender roles.

Few things are as sad as an old person saying, “Well, it just wasn’t done back then.”

9. Not quitting a terrible job.

Look, you gotta pay the bills. But if you don’t make a plan to improve your situation, you might wake up one day having spent 40 years in hell.

10. Not trying harder in school.

It’s not just that your grades play a role in determining where you end up in life. Eventually you’ll realize how neat it was to get to spend all day learning, and wish you’d paid more attention.

11. Not realizing how beautiful you were.

Too many of us spend our youth unhappy with the way we look, but the reality is, that’s when we’re our most beautiful.

12. Being afraid to say “I love you.”

When you’re old, you won’t care if your love wasn’t returned — only that you made it known how you felt.

13. Not listening to your parents’ advice.

You don’t want to hear it when you’re young, but the infuriating truth is that most of what your parents say about life is true.

14. Spending your youth self-absorbed.

You’ll be embarrassed about it, frankly.

15. Caring too much about what other people think.

In 20 years you won’t give a darn about any of those people you once worried so much about.

16. Supporting others’ dreams over your own.

Supporting others is a beautiful thing, but not when it means you never get to shine.

17. Not moving on fast enough.

Old people look back at the long periods spent picking themselves off the ground as nothing but wasted time.

18. Holding grudges, especially with those you love.

What’s the point of re-living the anger over and over?

19. Not standing up for yourself.

Old people don’t take sh*t from anyone. Neither should you.

20. Not volunteering enough.

OK, so you probably won’t regret not volunteering Hunger Games style, but nearing the end of one’s life without having helped to make the world a better place is a great source of sadness for many.

21. Neglecting your teeth.

Brush. Floss. Get regular checkups. It will all seem so maddeningly easy when you have dentures.

22. Missing the chance to ask your grandparents questions before they die.

Most of us realize too late what an awesome resource grandparents are. They can explain everything you’ll ever wonder about where you came from, but only if you ask them in time.

23. Working too much.

No one looks back from their deathbed and wishes they spent more time at the office, but they do wish they spent more time with family, friends, and hobbies.

24. Not learning how to cook one awesome meal.

Knowing one drool-worthy meal will make all those dinner parties and celebrations that much more special.

25. Not stopping enough to appreciate the moment.

Young people are constantly on the go, but stopping to take it all in now and again is a good thing.

26. Failing to finish what you start.

“I had big dreams of becoming a nurse. I even signed up for the classes, but then…”

27. Never mastering one awesome party trick.

You will go to hundreds, if not thousands, of parties in your life. Wouldn’t it be cool to be the life of them all?

28. Letting yourself be defined by cultural expectations.

Don’t let them tell you, “We don’t do that.”

29. Refusing to let friendships run their course.

People grow apart. Clinging to what was, instead of acknowledging that things have changed, can be a source of ongoing agitation and sadness.

30. Not playing with your kids enough.

When you’re old, you’ll realize your kid went from wanting to play with you to wanting you out of their room in the blink of an eye.

31. Never taking a big risk (especially in love).

Knowing that you took a leap of faith at least once — even if you fell flat on your face — will be a great comfort when you’re old.

32. Not taking the time to develop contacts and network.

Networking may seem like a bunch of crap when you’re young, but later on it becomes clear that it’s how so many jobs are won.

33. Worrying too much.

As Tom Petty sang, “Most things I worry about never happen anyway.”

34. Getting caught up in needless drama.

Who needs it?

35. Not spending enough time with loved ones.

Our time with our loved ones is finite. Make it count.

36. Never performing in front of others.

This isn’t a regret for everyone, but many elderly people wish they knew — just once — what it was like to stand in front of a crowd and show off their talents.

37. Not being grateful sooner.

It can be hard to see in the beginning, but eventually it becomes clear that every moment on this earth — from the mundane to the amazing — is a gift that we’re all so incredibly lucky to share.

Life at Spring Arbor is all about "how you live," enabling our residents to live life to the fullest. Evert day, our social calendar is filled with specially designed activities that encourage residents to socialize, rekindle old interests, develop new ones and to stay inspired.

For information on assisted living, contact Spring Arbor.


Symptoms of Dementia – Greensboro, NC

Joseph Coupal - Friday, March 24, 2017

Spring Arbor, Greensboro, NCEvery person is unique and dementia affects people differently – no two people will have symptoms that develop in exactly the same way. An individual’s personality, general health and social situation are all important factors in determining the impact of dementia on him or her. Symptoms vary between Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia, but there are broad similarities between them all. The most common signs are memory loss and the loss of practical abilities, which can lead to withdrawal from work or social activities. If you think that these problems are affecting your daily life, or the life of someone you know, you should talk to your doctor.

The most common early symptoms of dementia are:

Memory loss

Declining memory, especially short-term memory, is the most common early symptom of dementia. People with ordinary forgetfulness can still remember other facts associated with the thing they have forgotten. For example, they may briefly forget their next-door neighbors name but they still know the person they are talking to is their next-door neighbor. A person with dementia will not only forget their neighbors name but also the context.

Difficulty performing familiar tasks

People with dementia often find it hard to complete everyday tasks that are so familiar we usually do not think about how to do them. A person with dementia may not know in what order to put clothes on or the steps for preparing a meal.

Problems with language

Occasionally everyone has trouble finding the right word but a person with dementia often forgets simple words or substitutes unusual words, making speech or writing hard to understand.

Disorientation to time and place

We sometimes forget the day of the week or where we are going but people with dementia can become lost in familiar places such as the road they live in, forget where they are or how they got there, and not know how to get back home. A person with dementia may also confuse night and day.

Poor or decreased judgement

People with dementia may dress inappropriately, wearing several layers of clothes on a warm day or very few on a cold day.

Problems with keeping track of things

A person with dementia may find it difficult to follow a conversation or keep up with paying their bills.

Misplacing things

Anyone can temporarily misplace his or her wallet or keys. A person with dementia may put things in unusual places such as an iron in the fridge or a wristwatch in the sugar bowl.

Changes in mood or behavior

Everyone can become sad or moody from time to time. A person with dementia may become unusually emotional and experience rapid mood swings for no apparent reason. Alternatively a person with dementia may show less emotion than was usual previously.

Changes in personality

A person with dementia may seem different from his or her usual self in ways that are difficult to pinpoint. A person may become suspicious, irritable, depressed, apathetic or anxious and agitated especially in situations where memory problems are causing difficulties.

Loss of initiative

At times everyone can become tired of housework, business activities, or social obligations. However a person with dementia may become very passive, sitting in front of the television for hours, sleeping more than usual, or appear to lose interest in hobbies. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms or are concerned about a friend or relative, visit your doctor and discuss your concerns.

For more information on memory care, contact Spring Arbor.


Make Sure the Assistance Care Fits Your Needs - Richmond, VA

Joseph Coupal - Friday, March 17, 2017
Spring Arbor, Assisted LivingOne of the most difficult decisions one has to make is moving parents from their home to an assisted living facility. It can be a challenge to know the right time for such a move and the type of housing that meets the needs of the individual. Let’s begin with different types of residences.

Senior housing: This usually is appropriate for someone with early stages of Alzheimer’s disease and can live relatively independent. These individuals are able to care for themselves and are safe living alone. Social activities, transportation and other services are provided. Supervision is limited.

Assisted living: This type of housing also is called board and care, adult living and supported care. Assisted living is between living independently and living in a nursing home. This residence provides a 24-hour staff, recreational activities, housekeeping, laundry and transportation. Depending on the requests from the resident, the facility also provides help with bathing, dressing, eating and reminders to take medication. The federal government does not regulate them; the state does and it varies by state. Since not all offer services specifically designed for those with dementia, it is important to ask.

Nursing homes: Also known as a skilled-nursing facility, long-term care facility and custodial care facility. These facilities provide 24-hour care and medical treatment. Services related to nutrition, care planning, recreation, spirituality and medical care. Nursing homes are licensed by the state and regulated by the federal government.

Alzheimer’s special care units: Also called memory care units, they are designed to meet the needs of those with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. They often are a unit within various types of residential care.

Continuing care retirement communities: Such facilities offer different levels of care consisting of independent living, assisted living and nursing-home care. A resident can move from one level to another. Such facilities typically require an entrance fee with monthly payments or, in some cases, only monthly fees.

The move from home to assisted living usually is stressful for the person with Alzheimer’s disease. To make the transition as smooth as possible, the Mayo Clinic provides several suggestions.

Plan well ahead: If your loved one can still make reasonable choices, discuss preferences about living arrangements. Visit the facility frequently before the move. Discuss with a staff member your loved one’s background, special needs and medical and mental health history. Include a detailed medication list. Make the room familiar: Create a living space that is familiar; decorate it with treasured items such as a favorite chair, afghan and anything that has meaning. Familiar belongings give the individual a sense of security and connection. Include pictures, photo albums and remember to label the pictures with names.

Moving day: Follow your loved one’s normal routine. Make the move during the best time of day, which might be morning or afternoon. Remain positive and reassuring. To lessen the difficult moment of separation a staff member might immediately engage your loved one in an activity as a distraction.

Stay in touch: It may take time to adjust to the new living arrangement. Deb Newquist, an elder care specialist in Irvine, suggests that family members stay away for a short period of time so the individual can adjust to the new environment. She suggests that little white lies are acceptable such as “You need to be here for a time while our house is getting renovated.” Then visit often and encourage friends to do the same. Note: Having feelings of guilt, grief and loss combined with a sense of relief is normal.

For more information on assisted living, contact Spring Arbor.


Using New Technology To Connect Seniors And Loved Ones

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, March 16, 2017
Spring Arbor Living - Elderly using new technology

Spring Arbor Living - Elderly using new technology

Technology has the power to connect people across distances – both long and short. Smartphones and tablets allow us to share photos across the globe or to video chat with anyone, anywhere. These technological advances offer many opportunities for seniors as well. However, a recent Pew Research Center study found that older adults are late adopters of technology and there is a significant drop off in the use of technology for seniors over 75 who could benefit most for tech tools. Our Spring Arbor Senior Living team members recognized this challenge, but believed that there were options to integrate senior living technology into their residents’ lives in small, yet profound ways.

We’re big believers that the best idea wins and when faced with a challenge, we look for the best solution. That solution came in the form of a partnership between Spring Arbor Living and K4 Connect to develop a new K4 Community Initiative with our Spring Arbor communities. The initiative involved senior living technology that was rolled out in select communities at the end of last year and has been a huge success thus far. The K4 Community program gives assisted living residents their own tablet to communicate with loved ones, control the temperature and lighting in their rooms, see menu items and get alerts about community activities. Spring Arbor team members provide an orientation/training session for residents and their loved ones to learn about this program. After a brief introduction, they’re off and running!

Becky Vance, executive director, and Shelby Kline, wellness and program coordinator, at Spring Arbor of Greensboro praised the initiative and use of senior living technology. They noted that each of the residents use some components on the tablet, and at least 15 residents use all the features… and there are a lot of features! Residents and their loved ones can communicate via text message, photo sharing, and video chats. The apps are easy to use and straightforward. An added benefit is that family members can download the K4 Community app on their smartphone or tablet to stay connected to their loved ones, even when they’re halfway across the world. In fact, one resident’s daughter is taking a trip to Puerto Rico and will be able to video chat with her mom while on vacation! The personalized tablets also allow residents to interact with loved ones through games. Residents can even get updates about activities and what’s for dinner on their tablets (one of the most popular uses). senior living technology

Spring Arbor Living - Elderly using new technology

The K4 Community program also empowers residents to have more control over their environment. They can set the thermostat for their room from the tablet or change the temperature for a certain time period (for example, they prefer their room to be cooler at night when they sleep). The tablets can assist with room lights – including the bathroom. Perhaps most important is the wide array of enhanced safety features that come along with the tablets. A centralized dashboard allows community managers to track residents and communicate with them through the tablet. Additionally, the program has capabilities with sensors under each resident’s bed that can record when a resident is sleeping and monitor if residents are sleeping too much or not enough – detecting motion at night. The tablets even connect to pedometers that all assisted living residents receive so they can view how many steps are taken in a certain timeframe.

Shelby recently noted that the tablets and program have been a wonderful addition to the community and a great way to utilize senior living technology to make a difference in the lives of residents, loved ones, and team members!

We believe it’s how you live that matters and technology can be a powerful tool to help us live fuller and more connected lives. In fact, this program ensures that residents in our Spring Arbor communities receive the best care possible that is tailored to their specific needs. Contact a Spring Arbor community near you to learn more.

Is Loneliness A Sign of Alzheimer’s Disease? – Greensboro, NC

Joseph Coupal - Friday, March 10, 2017

Spring Arbor, Greensboro, NCSubtle feelings of loneliness might warn of impending Alzheimer's disease in older folks, a new study suggests.

Healthy seniors with elevated brain levels of amyloid -- a type of protein fragment associated with Alzheimer's disease -- seem more likely to feel lonely than people with lower levels of amyloid, researchers found.

For people who have high levels of amyloid -- the people truly at high risk for Alzheimer's -- they were 7.5 times more likely to be lonely than non-lonely. Studies have long shown that people who remain socially active are less likely to develop dementia.

But the results of the new study suggest that that relationship may work the other way around, as well -- that people in the early stages of Alzheimer's might be more apt to feel lonely, or socially detached.

People who are starting to accumulate amyloid may not be as well-functioning in terms of perceiving, understanding or responding to social stimuli or interactions. This could be an early social signal of cognitive [mental] change.

If this is proven, then doctors might be able to screen for Alzheimer's by paying closer attention to patients' emotional health.

Brain plaques formed from sticky amyloid proteins are a hallmark of Alzheimer's disease, the most common cause of dementia, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health. These plaques form in the spaces between the brain nerve cells of Alzheimer's patients, although their connection to the disease is not fully understood at this time.

To examine the relationship between late-life loneliness and Alzheimer's risk, the researchers examined 43 women and 36 men, average age 76. All were healthy, with no signs of Alzheimer's or dementia.

The researchers used standard psychological exams to measure each person's degree of loneliness, and imaging scans to detect the amount of amyloid protein in their brains. The investigators particularly focused on amyloid levels in the cerebral cortex, a part of the brain that plays a key role in memory, attention, perception and thought.

People with high levels of amyloid in the cortex were 7.5 times more likely to be classified as feeling lonely, even after researchers accounted for how socially active they were and whether they suffered from depression or anxiety.

By taking into account the extent of the person's social network, the team showed that seniors who feel isolated or socially detached even when surrounded by friends or family could be at elevated risk for Alzheimer's.

However, the study doesn't prove a direct cause-and-effect relationship between the two.

This finding is "very new" and could point to novel ways of associating a person's emotions with dementia risk.

If this is substantiated by other larger studies, then the question would be, what kind of intervention would result. If you were able to impact on this loneliness by creating interventions where people were taken out of their loneliness and engaged in social events, would you have less likelihood of progression toward dementia?

In the early stages of Alzheimer's, there can be "behavioral changes that may be a symptom of mild cognitive impairment or dementia."

Doctors in the future may be trained to look for loneliness, apathy, mood changes or social impulsiveness as early signs of Alzheimer's.

We do think this [the new finding] is important, and I have a feeling we'll see more on this. As we develop treatments for Alzheimer's, the earlier you diagnose and the earlier you treat, the better will be the outcomes.

Results of the new study were published online Nov. 2 in the journal JAMA Psychiatry.

For more information on Alzheimer's and Memory Care, contact Spring Arbor.

USNews - Health

What is Assisted Living and is it Right for You or Your Parent? – Richmond, VA

Joseph Coupal - Friday, March 03, 2017

Spring Arbor, Richmond, VAThere comes a time when senior are consider moving to an assisted living facility. The reasons are often extremely varied. Some are lonely in their homes and want social interaction. Others are having greater difficulty managing and maintaining their own homes. Some often have misconceptions about what an assisted living facility is and the costs of residing there.

While the physical structure and amenities provided in an assisted living facility may vary based on the costs associated with residing in each facility, they all have many similar features and amenities.

Generally, an assisted living facility is a residential option for seniors who require some assistance with their activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, cooking, toileting and walking. The care necessitated is greater than what would be provided in an independent living facility; however, for most residents, it is a level of care that is less than that provided in a nursing home, which provides round the clock medical care and skilled nursing. The goal of most assisted living facilities is to provide a safe and secure environment with dining and entertainment options while also providing access to medical care and transportation.

Each resident in an assisted living facility has his or her own private residential unit and can socialize as much as or a little as he or she wants. Some assisted living facilities provide residents with small efficiency kitchens, while others just provide a bedroom and a living area without any kitchen.

Each facility has its own unique characteristics and amenities. Some have fine dining options, as well as expanded social, recreational and entertainment areas and amenities, while others may have more limited amenities and options available.

The most common characteristics found in assisted living facilities are as follows:

  • Either one-three prepared meals served in a common dining room;
  • Assistance with activities of daily living;
  • Medication management;
  • House cleaning services;
  • Laundry services;
  • Transportation services;
  • 24 hour security;
  • Fitness programs; and
  • Social and recreational programs.

Additionally, the cost for each residential unit will vary by a number of factors such as:

  • The size of each unit;
  • Whether it will be provided furnished or not; and
  • Are there one or three prepared meals per day being provided?

One expense that is virtually always extra is the cost for any additional assistance and care with activities of daily living. This is an expenditure that is generally always provided at a charge based on the care required in an amount above the basic room rate.

Another factor that may distinguish assisted living facilities is whether or not the facility has a special unit for its residents that need care because they are suffering from impairment of their memory (a memory care unit). Whether or not the facility has a locked memory care unit is often an important consideration for those that have memory care issues and needs. Again, those needing to be in the locked memory care unit will often find that the cost of each room is greater than in the regular part of the facility as greater care is needed for each resident.

Additionally, if you have a long-term care insurance policy, the policy may provide benefits for the cost of any additional care (an aide) that you may require in the facility.

Finally, whether or not an assisted living facility is the right place for you may depend on your answer to the following:

  • Are you feeling lonely in your home and do you crave daily social interaction and companionship?
  • Are you no longer able to maintain your current residence and are the total costs to reside in your current residence greater than those in an assisted living facility?
  • Do you require greater care at home than you currently have or can be provided to you?
  • Does living at home raise safety and security concerns?
  • Do you need transportation services?

If you have answered yes to any of the above, you may be someone who should consider assisted living as an option or perhaps seek additional care at home. The decision is clearly one that is personal in nature.

For more information on assisted living, contact Spring Arbor.