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Stages of Alzheimer’s Disease - Greensboro, NC

Joseph Coupal - Monday, May 22, 2017

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia in individuals older than 65 years and affects more than 5 million Americans, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. Dementia is a general term for a decline in mental ability severe enough to interfere with daily life.

Alzheimer’s progresses slowly in three stages: an early stage with few symptoms, a middle stage of mild mental impairment and a final stage of Alzheimer’s dementia (Table).

These stages are general descriptions, as each individual with Alzheimer’s experiences it in a unique way. Mental, physical and functional phases often overlap, the time in each stage varies widely from patient to patient and not every patient experiences all Alzheimer’s symptoms.

Memory problems and changes in behavior and thinking are common as people age, so tests are needed to rule out other causes of symptoms that appear to be related to Alzheimer’s. Some conditions (such as stroke, tumor, Parkinson’s disease, sleep disturbances, adverse effects of medication, infections or non-Alzheimer’s dementia) can mimic the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, but many of these conditions are treatable and possibly reversible.

The amount of time an individual can live with Alzheimer’s can range from three or four years, if older than 80 years when given a diagnosis, to as long as 10 years or more if younger than 80 years. Alzheimer’s can only be definitively diagnosed after death, however, by linking symptoms with examination of brain tissue in an autopsy.

Stage 1: Mild/Early (Lasts 2 to 4 Years)

Alzheimer’s disease begins slowly and initially involves the parts of the brain that control thought, memory and language. In the very early stages, minor memory lapses or losing things around the house may be the only symptoms. Toward the end of the first stage, friends and family may recognize there is a problem. They may begin to notice their loved one frequently repeating questions, having difficulty finding the right word in conversations and losing understanding of language. Over time, the disease deprives individuals of more memory, particularly the ability to remember new information, such as recent conversations or events. Based on performance on memory and mental tests, a physician will be able to detect impaired mental function at this stage.

Stage 2: Moderate/Middle (Lasts 2 to 10 Years)

Moderate Alzheimer’s can last for many years. During the moderate/ middle stage, brain function gets worse, affecting areas of the brain that control language, reasoning, sensory processing and thought. The symptoms of moderate Alzheimer’s disease are mostly an increase in the severity of stage 1 symptoms. Professional and social functioning continue to deteriorate because of increasing problems with memory, logic and speech.

The signs of the disease become more pronounced, and behavioral problems often occur. Individuals have greater difficulty performing tasks and begin to forget some details about their life. Affected individuals may still know their family members and some details about their past, especially their childhood and youth. Symptoms may include mood and behavior changes, social withdrawal, confusion, changes in sleep patterns and an increased risk of wandering and becoming lost.

Information, skills and habits learned early in life, such as the ability to read, dance, sing, enjoy music and hobbies, are among the last abilities to be lost as the disease progresses. The part of the brain that stores this information tends to be affected later in the course of the disease. Making the most of these abilities can help maintain quality of life, even in the moderate phase of the disease.

Stage 3: Severe/Late (Lasts 1 to 3-Plus Years)

In the last stage of Alzheimer’s, nerve cells in the brain are extensively damaged, causing a severe decline in vocabulary, emotions and the connection of the brain to body parts. Full-time care is required as patients lose the ability to walk, sit up straight, hold up their head and smile. It is not possible for patients to move the hand to the mouth, place one foot in front of the other or urinate on their own. Speech becomes severely limited.

Death often occurs when the body can no longer fight off infection or because the organs begin to break down. Pneumonia is one of the most frequent causes of death in late-stage Alzheimer’s disease. In patients who do not succumb to infection or other conditions that are not directly related to Alzheimer’s disease, death usually occurs when the brain can no longer control the body and organs.

Reasons for Hope

Although the onset of Alzheimer’s disease cannot yet be stopped or reversed, an early diagnosis can allow individuals the opportunity to live well for as long as possible and plan for the future. Current treatment approaches focus on helping patients maintain mental function, manage behavioral symptoms and improve the symptoms of disease. In the future, therapies may be available that target specific genetic, molecular and cellular mechanisms so that the underlying cause of the disease can be stopped or prevented.

For more information on memory care, contact Spring Arbor.


US News - Health

Identifying Alzheimer’s Symptoms – Richmond, VA

Joseph Coupal - Friday, May 19, 2017

Spring Arbor, Richmond, VACognitive impairment is unrecognized in 27 to 81 percent of affected patients in primary care. Patients with memory trouble may also be non-compliant with medical care.

If you suspect a loved one might be displaying symptoms associated with the early stages of Alzheimer's, pay attention to these warning signs. If a few of these sound a little too familiar, schedule an appointment with your family's primary care physician:

  • Memory loss that disrupts daily activities
  • Challenges with planning or solving problems
  • Confusion with time and place or understanding of visual images
  • Withdrawal from work or other social activities
  • Changes in mood or personality
  • Difficulty with speech and/or writing

By getting in touch with a primary care provider, concerns can begin to be addressed, and you can identify what other types of specialists might be most helpful in caring for your loved one. As a caregiver, there are many resources available for you as well.

Comprehensive approaches improve identification and support of caregivers in need. This can help enhance quality of life for all impacted by Alzheimer's.

For more information on caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s Disease, contact Spring Arbor.

US New - Health

Greensboro, N.C.: A Great City for Retiring in Good Health

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Spring Arbor, Greensboro, NCDeciding whether to retire to the mountains or the beach? Split the difference in Greensboro, N.C., just three hours by car from the Blue Ridge Mountains or the Atlantic beaches.

But you won't need to leave town to stay active, engaged and healthy. Greensboro’s downtown offers a wide variety of restaurants (mostly independently owned), plus brew pubs, bars, coffee shops and theaters on or near Elm or Greene streets. The Farmers' Curb Market, founded in 1874, is open year-round.

Fitness and recreation venues include the new City Center Park, which offers a variety of fitness classes; the Greensboro Aquatic Center, within the Greensboro Coliseum Complex; and numerous rec centers with adult programs. Golfers can choose from six public and six private courses. The city has invested in sidewalks as well as hiking and biking trails that are open year-round. The Downtown Greenway, under construction, will create a four-mile walking and biking trail around the center city and connect with existing and planned greenways.

After energizing your body, exercise your brain with learning opportunities at the area's colleges and universities (the largest of which is the University of North Carolina at Greensboro) or the city's downtown cultural campus, where a performing arts center will debut in 2018.

Just a couple of miles from downtown, the Old Irving Park neighborhood attracts new residents to its high-end, eclectic homes and winding, tree-lined streets. Three-bedroom houses there run about $210,000 to $675,000. The neighborhood, which surrounds the Greensboro Country Club, also attracts nonresidents who like to stroll there after work, says former Neighborhood Congress board member Cyndy Hayworth. A decade ago, she and her husband downsized to the neighborhood, where they appreciate being "just minutes to everything," including the flagship hospital of Cone Health, a nonprofit health care system.

The state imposes a flat income tax of 5.75% but exempts Social Security benefits. Residents of Greensboro pay a sales tax of 6.75% (prescription drugs and medical equipment are exempt).

For more information on retiring in Greensboro, NC or for assisted living, contact Spring Arbor.



Tips for Decorating An Assisted Living Home - Richmond, VA

Joseph Coupal - Monday, May 15, 2017

Spring Arbor, Richmond, VAWhen moving into assisted living you cannot overlook decorating your parents’ new home. Rather, use this opportunity to get their new lifestyle off to a great start.

Remember throughout this process that, “less is more.”

For most families, there will be downsizing, and often a major one if someone is moving from a much larger home where they raised a family.

Consider that the action – excellent amenities, dining and countless life-enriching opportunities – is one of the primary reasons why seniors are able to enjoy a happy retirement by being active outside of the home. The fortunate thing for the residents at a community is that everything is readily available within walking distance from their front door.

Think of it as, less indoors in your home, more to do outside of it.

Decorating is still important though and some careful thought and consideration should be put into it.

The assisted living apartments have ADA-compliant bathrooms and kitchenettes, and that it’s important to keep plenty of room in the apartment to move around and avoid falls.

The bedroom should be simple. The bed should be the ideal size and easy to get in and out of daily. Add a nightstand with a lamp, phone and a clock with illumination.

The living room is where most seniors spend most of their time when they’re not out and about so make this as comfortable as possible. Lift chairs are a great option. You may also consider a small desk for storing papers, bills, etc., as well as to place a laptop, pad or other electronic devices, if they have them.

While you may have a lifetime of photos and mementos, your home isn’t a museum. Carefully choose some of your favorite photos and decorate the walls.

For more information, contact Spring Arbor.


Newton Daily News

Retire in Greensboro, NC: One of the Best Cities to Live in NC!

Joseph Coupal - Friday, May 05, 2017

Spring Arbor senior living, Greensboro, NCKnown as the Tarheel State, North Carolina is the 10th largest state in the U.S. and had a population of over 9.7 million in 2012. It contains a diversity of geographical features and is divided into three sections. The mountains are in the west, the Piedmont is in the middle and the coastal plains are in the east. Its central location on the Atlantic Coast, mild weather and economic diversity make it a great place to call home. Also, its two largest metropolitan areas of Raleigh and Charlotte are among the top 10 fastest-growing in the country. Let’s take a look at some of the best places to live in North Carolina.


What could be considered as the heart of the Piedmont region, Greensboro is centrally located in North Carolina. It’s also the third largest city behind Charlotte and Raleigh. It’s a food lover’s paradise, and there are over 500 restaurants throughout the city. There are also plenty of attractions including art galleries, a zoo, waterpark and several golf courses.

For more information on senior living with levels of care in Greensboro, NC, contact Spring Arbor.



Virginia is One of the Best States for Retirement - Richmond, VA

Joseph Coupal - Monday, May 01, 2017

Spring Arbor, Richmond, VAMany of us long for a retirement that will feel like going on a permanent vacation. But before we buy that beach bungalow, box up our stuff and break out the Costco-sized wine spritzers, a reality check may be in order.

Bankrate’s latest ranking of the best and worst states to retire finds the fun-in-the-sun places often associated with retirement may have drawbacks as we face aging issues and our savings dwindle. Retiree meccas like Florida and Arizona don’t come close to cracking our top 10.

#6. Virginia

Many do want to retire somewhere else - It’s no myth that many people dream of moving in retirement. A new Bankrate survey shows that 47% of Americans would consider relocating when they retire. Higher-earning households and younger people are more likely to say so than everyone else.

According to our poll, Americans’ priorities for a retirement haven suggest they’re giving a lot of thought to practical considerations like cost of living and health care.

How we rate the states

To rank the states according to what people say they want in retirement, we pull together data on these eight criteria:

  • Cost of living
  • Healthcare quality
  • Crime
  • Cultural vitality
  • Weather
  • Taxes
  • Senior citizens’ overall well-being
  • The prevalence of other seniors

Two of our categories are new: cultural vitality (whether residents can find fun stuff to do) and the prevalence of other seniors (whether it would be easy to find other retirees to hang out with).

We weight the factors based on the importance they were given in our survey.

For more information on assisted living in Richmond, VA, contact Spring Arbor.