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Senior Assisted Living Blog



Things to consider when picking an Assisted Living Home for your loved ones

Joseph Coupal - Friday, April 09, 2010

Visit in Person
Brochures make any retirement, nursing, assisted living home look good … after all, most of these communities operate like businesses.  Be sure to visit Spring Arbor to see how our staff interacts with the residents and each other. This will give you a good sense of the true environment of a Spring Arbor community.  

Social Life
Planned activities and events are important to residents in assisted living communities.  They're a significant part of keeping your loved one active and sharp.  Ask a community representative for the activity calendar and be sure to meet the Activity Director to learn more about the overall program and how activities are based on individual resident interests.

Investigate Safety and Security
Make sure safety and security at the assisted living residence is obvious and a priority.  Spring Arbor residents have access to on-site staff 24 hours a day.


Dementia and Nutritional Health

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, April 06, 2010

At Spring Arbor, we know residents with dementia have nutrition needs and may experience involuntary weight loss.  In fact on a national basis, approximately 90% of all patients with Alzheimer's disease lose weight.  Studies indicate that unintentional weight loss may increase mortality and reduce resistance to infections.  Residents with advanced stages of dementia also are at risk for malnutrition, dehydration, and dysphagia.  Good nutritional care can help to prevent these serious complications and others.

Spring Arbor works closely with residents and family members to ensure nutritional needs are met.  The Cottage offers the planned programming to focus on the resident’s abilities and not their losses.  A proper nutrition program is a significant focus for all of us at Spring Arbor Living.


Study Shows Mobile Phone Radiation Protects Against Alzheimers

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Study Shows Mobile Phone Radiation Protects Against Alzheimer's

Studies by the Florida Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center (FADRC) recently published within the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease their findings that low-level radiation (ie cell phone signals) protect the memories of mice programmed to get Alzheimer’s disease.  We bring this study to your attention because the staff of Spring Arbor Living’s Alzheimer’s Specialty Care Centers go to great length to engage, educate, and raise the hopes of both residents and their (indeed OUR) family members.  While the scientists go to great lengths to cover the uncertain negative side effects of low-level radiation, the positive findings provide a new sense of excitement within the scientific community on potential new methods to prevent, slow, or stabilize Alzheimer’s disease maturation.   A superb summary of the FADRC’s breakthrough findings can be read at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/8443541.stm


American Academy of Neurology Film Fest

Joseph Coupal - Sunday, March 28, 2010

American Academy of Neurology Film Fest: Educational and Moving Home Videos Worth Watching

Did you know that the American Academy of Neurology Foundation helps to raise awareness of a host of neurological disorders by collecting the wide-range of stories from average people living with and/or supporting those with brain disorders.   You can personally experience the wide-range of amazing stores of others via an entire library of home videos compiled by the Foundation.  All videos are hosted out on YouTube.com.  The wide-range of disorders you will see validates exactly why Spring Arbor Living invests so much time and energy customizing care plans for our assisted living residents. The Academy’s introduction and entire play list can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/neurofilmfest.


Virginia Museum of Fine Art Traveling Exhibit and Spring Arbor Living

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Jan Perez (senior staff member at Spring Arbor of Salisbury) spoke of the profound positive effects from the ongoing Virginia Museum of Fine Art traveling exhibit “What’s So Radical About Impressionism”.  Ms Perez confirms the feelings of the entire Spring Arbor staff. It was a indeed a pleasure to see the spirits of our residents, family, friends, and the general community lifted by the exhibit.  None enjoyed the exhibit more than those Spring Arbor residents who continue to paint to this very day.  We witnessed an undeniable increase in social interaction by our assisted living residents and an observable eagerness to share their reflective reminisces motivated by the art.  Over the past two weeks, staff and residents alike took a “step back in time” thanks to the Virginia Museum of Fine Art.  We are all most grateful.


Assisted Living Benefits

Joseph Coupal - Monday, March 15, 2010

Some senior citizens are fortunate enough to have health and financial independence to live their lives in their own homes without much assistance from family members.  Then there are other seniors who eventually require 24 hour medical care and professional supervision.  A significant segment of the aging population, however, falls somewhere between these two scenarios.  They may require some assistance with activities of daily living, medications and transportation, but they can also maintain a fairly independent lifestyle. Spring Arbor Living's assisted living communities address the particular needs of these seniors.

Spring Arbor's assisted living bridges the gap between the constant nursing care provided in nursing homes and the unsupervised private home.  Some concerned family members cannot afford the monthly expenses of a nursing home facility, but they fear for their loved one's safety at home.  Our assisted living community is designed to provide private or semi-private apartments for residents in an environment that promotes independence, choice and dignity.

For many families, there are many benefits of assisted living.  Their loved ones are supervised by trained caregivers, and critical items such as medications and food are provided.  We also provide entertainment, social outings, transportation and assistance with personal care.  Relatives and friends are encouraged to visit as frequently as possible.  Nursing homes do a fine job in providing 24 hour medical care but if this isn’t needed, Spring Arbor Living's communities are the best choice for residential assisted living and dementia care.


When to reveal diagnosis of dementia

Joseph Coupal - Monday, March 08, 2010

Health Alert Update from John Hopkins

Many physicians fear that revealing a diagnosis of dementia would only further upset an already troubled patient, but a study from Washington University in St. Louis found quite the opposite. When it comes to a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease, knowing the truth as soon as possible appears to be the better approach, potentially improving the emotional wellbeing of both patients and their caregivers, the researchers report.

Medical advances have made it possible to diagnose Alzheimer's at very early stages, but a study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society found that about half of all physicians were reluctant to inform patients of an Alzheimer's diagnosis.

The study followed 90 individuals and their caregivers as they came to the Alzheimer's Disease Research Center at Washington University's School of Medicine for an evaluation. Sixty nine percent eventually got a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease, but no significant changes in depression were noted and anxiety decreased substantially.

"The major finding is that both patients and their families feel relief, not increased anxiety, upon learning the diagnosis," says study co-author John C. Morris, M.D., Director of the Alzheimer's Disease Research Center. This was true regardless of the degree of impairment.  Read more here ...


Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Comes to Spring Arbor Salisbury

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Comes to Spring Arbor Salisbury (Through March 17)

Spring Arbor of Salisbury has brought a little bit of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts to their residents, families and the community through their traveling exhibit, “What’s so Radical About Impressionism.”  Eleven Impressionist era paintings hang in the hallway for all to view until March 17, 2010.

Spring Arbor Living embraces the proven practice of “art therapy” as a means to improve the quality of life for our guests by promoting individuality, building self-esteem, elevating mood through the stimulation of creativity, and stimulating cognition and memory.   Art therapy is often used to treat people with dementia, a growing population that needs on-going, creative programming to address their changing needs.

The primary focus behind creative therapy is to reduce anxiety and increase attention. Oftentimes, people with dementia become socially isolated because of their condition. Communication can also be difficult for someone with dementia, adding to the feeling of isolation. Art therapy encourages communication as well as socialization and expression, particularly for those clients in the later stages of dementia.

Please feel free to stop by Spring Arbor of Salisbury to view the fine works of Eugene Boudin, Paul Cezanne, Edgar Degas, Claude Monet, Berthe Morisot, Pieree August Renoir, and others. Read more here


Distinguishing Normal “Senior Moments” From More Worrisome Memory Lapses

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, February 25, 2010

As we age occasional memory lapses, such as forgetting why you walked into a room, can't find your keys, or having difficulty recalling a person’s name, become more common as we approach our 50s and 60s. It’s comforting to know that this minor forgetfulness is a normal sign of aging, not a sign of dementia. In fact it's a good sign and normal if we joke about our memory loss.

But other types of memory loss, such as forgetting appointments or becoming momentarily disoriented in a familiar place, may indicate mild cognitive impairment. In the most serious form of memory loss, dementia, people often find themselves disoriented in time and place and unable to name common objects or recognize once familiar people.  Also, other signs of dementia are losing sense of time or even what day it is, forgetting someone you knew well, and trouble learning/retaining new information.

There are plenty of resources out there to read on this topic. When Doctors get involved they start by looking for conditions that are correctable or treatable. If these possibilities can be eliminated, then more serious, irreversible dementias – such as Alzheimer’s disease -- are considered.


Diagnosing Dementia

Joseph Coupal - Friday, February 19, 2010

According to guidelines published by the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research, a person who has difficulties with one or more of the following activities should be evaluated for dementia:

  • Learning and retaining new information - The person regularly misplaces objects, has trouble remembering appointments or recent conversations, or is repetitive in conversation.
  • Handling complex tasks - The individual has trouble with previously familiar activities, like balancing a checkbook, cooking a meal, or other tasks that involve a complex train of thought.
  • Ability to reason. - The person finds it difficult to respond appropriately to everyday problems, such as a flat tire. Or, a previously responsible, well-adjusted person may display poor judgment about social or financial matters.
  • Spatial ability and orientation. - Driving and finding one’s way in familiar surroundings become difficult or impossible, and the person may have problems recognizing known objects and landmarks.
  • Language - The ability to speak or comprehend seems impaired, and the person may have problems following or participating in conversations.
  • Behavior - Personality changes emerge. For example, the person appears more passive and less responsive than usual, or more suspicious and irritable. Visual or auditory stimuli may be misinterpreted