Premier Senior Living...
Because it's how you live that Matters

Senior Assisted Living Blog

Dollars and Sense May Be Signs of Alzheimers

Joseph Coupal - Saturday, May 15, 2010

Dollars and Sense May Be Signs of Alzheimer’s

(From Mays Rocky Mount Cottage Newsletter)

A red flag that signals whether someone may be facing a life with Alzheimer' disease focuses on some green-green as in money.  A decline in money management skills appear to be an early sign of Alzheimer’, based on a study funded in 2009 by the National Institute on Aging.  The study looked at people with mild memory impairment, a phase before the onset of Alzheimer’s.  For 25 out of 87 patients who succumbed to Alzheimer’s a year after the study started, financial skills wont on a steep decline.  These patients had a tough time balancing and understanding a checkbook (including writing a check correctly but failing to calculate the balance), counting change, detecting potential fraud, preparing bills to mail on time, making grocery purchases and reading bank statements.  

Because the ability to manage finances is important for successful independent living, family members, care givers, and doctors need to be aware of how a patient is coping with finances.  Closely watch the situation, and check to see if the patient is missing payments, losing track of money, or making other funding faux pas.

Become familiar with Stages of Alzheimers

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Become familiar with Stages of Alzheimer's

Alzheimer's disease is progressive disease … meaning it worsens with time. Alzheimer's is also terminal, meaning all who develop it will eventually succumb to it. As Alzheimer's rides its course, it renders those who suffer from it increasingly dependent on the care of others.

This is true for all people who develop Alzheimer's, but the particular symptoms and the degree to which they show themselves vary among individuals. For convenience, the progression of Alzheimer's is often divided into three stages: early/mild, middle/moderate, and late/severe.

The symptoms and signs of Alzheimer's have been identified by observing people with Alzheimer's disease as a group. An individual may not show all of the symptoms in each stage of progression. For example, many -- but not all -- Alzheimer's patients develop severe psychiatric problems, such as delusions and hallucinations. Among those who do, the symptoms appear in the middle to late stages of Alzheimer's.

It may help friends and family to familiarize themselves with the typical stages of Alzheimer's disease so that they know what to expect in the coming years. The early/mild stage of Alzheimer's is characterized by declining ability to form new memories, impaired ability to organize and manipulate complex ideas, and, sometimes, by personality changes.

May is Arthritis Awareness Month—Get Moving!

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, May 06, 2010

What is the #1 recommended piece of advise given by medical doctors to arthritis patients?   You guessed it…..MOVE!  For the 46 million Americans with arthritis and many more at risk in the United States, moving is the best medicine to fight arthritis pain. This May during National Arthritis Awareness Month, we encourage our residents and their family to familiarize themselves with the Arthritis Foundation, the depth of resource they provide, and the organized events that they are leading out across the country.  

The Arthritis Foundation offers the following tips to prevent and decrease the pain and disability of osteoarthritis.

• Make movement a daily routine. Incorporate exercise into your daily life, even if you only add a daily walk of 15 to 30 minutes. If pain or being overweight makes it difficult to exercise, try one of the Arthritis Foundation's Life Improvement Series Programs, which apply less stress to joints.

• Control your weight. For every one pound you lose, that's four pounds of pressure off each knee. Losing as little as 11 pounds may reduce joint pain and help prevent knee osteoarthritis. For those already living with arthritis symptoms, losing 15 pounds can cut knee pain in half.

• Know your risks. Although heredity and other factors can put a person at risk for developing osteoarthritis, a healthy lifestyle can play a significant role in preventing and successfully managing osteoarthritis.
The Arthritis Foundation is encouraging people with arthritis and the many more at risk to make physical activity part of their daily routine. To get started, go to Then, celebrate National Arthritis Awareness Month and your commitment to move at an Arthritis Walk event. Visit to find an Arthritis Walk in your community and for a movement tracker to set goals and stay on track.


Water Consumption and Dehydration Facts For The Elderly

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, May 06, 2010

The elderly are exceptionally vulnerable to dehydration and the negative (sometimes fatal) effects on health.  The common symptoms of dehydration (confusion, drowsiness, labored speech, dry mouth, and sunken eyeballs) often align with normal behavior thus making it dangerously difficult (if not impossible) to diagnose. The key is to educate, hydration awareness, and discipline.

The daily water consumption needs of the elderly are no different than that of the young.  The baseline recommendation is once cup of water for every 20 pounds of body weight (6-8 glasses / day).  Consumption quantity increases dramatically when considering summer heat and physical exertion levels in the summer heat.

Everyone should realize that when it comes to water consumption and the elderly, the less the elderly drink the less thirsty they become. This fact alone puts the elderly at much greater risk to dehydration.  Senior citizens are also at particular risk for dehydration because their kidney function have diminished to varying degrees.  Make sure that water is presented at every meal, made readily available throughout the day and night, and loving encouragement is provided to our loved ones who are not self-inclined to hydrate.   And it goes without saying that we provide hydration awareness and discipline as an uninterrupted service at all Spring Arbor locations.

Alzheimer and Dementia Victim Identity Theft On The Rise

Joseph Coupal - Friday, April 30, 2010

Alzheimer and Dementia Victim Identity Theft On The Rise

The unscrupulous continue to victimize the elderly at record levels, especially those in the early stages of Alzheimer and other dementia illnesses.  Alzheimer’s and indeed senior citizens as a whole are especially vulnerable to identity theft because they are more trusting, many of them are lonely,  and most are less aware of the ever increasing variety of scams.

The telephone is a powerful tool for scammers that prey on senior citizens. While many senior citizens don't use email or browse the internet, they all use the telephone. Identity thieves call elderly people and pretend to represent churches, charities, scholarships, and countless other activities.   Scammers also use snail mail to phish for information from the elderly. Like the phone calls, the mail appears to come from trusted sources, such as the victim's bank, charitable organizations or well known companies.

Protect your loved ones by discussing the subject of identity theft with them and by limiting exposure of their personal information.  Review their mail and identify to your loved one the specific things that they should never discard without being thoroughly destroyed (or better yet, shredded).  Convince your loved ones to never respond to any type of solicitation without first consulting a trusted family member.  And it goes without saying, sadly, the degree of financial discretion afforded victims of Alzheimer’s or any other form of dementia must be constantly reassessed based on the progression of the disease.  

National Volunteer Week Extended to Spring Arbor Volunteer Month

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, April 28, 2010

National Volunteer Week Extended to “Spring Arbor Volunteer Month”

Although last Saturday marked the end of “National Volunteer Appreciation Week (April 18-24), we’re holding on for another week. Sure, the formal appreciation events are now behind us, however, we can’t thank enough the hundreds of volunteers that continue to serve each and every individual Spring Arbor Living and The Oaks communities.  From our volunteer Bible study leaders, bingo hosts, musicians, arts and craft coordinators….and oh so many more, your selfless gifts of time, treasure, and talent brighten not only the spirits of our residents, but their families, our staff, and the communities in which we live.  

For the remainder of “Volunteer Appreciation Month”, we encourage all residents, staff, and family to continue to continue to thank and praise our dedicated family of volunteers. We warmly invite any and all of you to consider volunteering your time and talent at any of our locations.  It is said that nothing is more genuine than the smile or the elderly.  And it is simply impossible to describe the reward in delivering a smile to the treasure that is our senior citizens.  One thing is certain, you’ll wish you had started earlier. 

Spring Arbor’s New Winchester Virginia’s Community Continues On Schedule for opening in September

Joseph Coupal - Monday, April 26, 2010

Spring Arbor’s New Winchester Virginia’s Community Continues On Schedule for opening in September

The excitement and anticipation for the new Assisted Living Community in Winchester continues to grow.  In keeping with our tradition of providing you all with direct contact to senior management, Winchester’s Executive Director, Mr. Dave Compton, warmly welcomes the opportunity to personally share the intimate details of Winchester’s development.  Please feel free to contact Dave at (540) 242-7199 or by email at

Spring Arbor Living Sponsoring Wine Fest

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, April 22, 2010

We are sponsoring the Bloomin Wine Fest “Uncork the Bloom,” which is:

Wine, Food, Music, Artisans on the Loudoun Street Mall in Old Town Winchester, Virginia

On Friday April 23, 2010 – 3:00pm to 10:00pm and Saturday, April 24, 2010 – 11:00am to 6:00pm.

This is the launch for the 83rd Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival – “Do You Believe In Magic,” which is held April 23 – May 2, 2010.

The Winchester residents open their doors to tens of thousands of new guests and old friends who gather in this All-American Community for the traditional celebration of a promising apple crop.  

The Queens Coronation, to Firefighters parade, tremendous fireworks, grand feature parade, carnival, circus, dinners, dances etc….

Can Assisted Living Help Your Loved one

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Our Most Frequently Asked Question is “Can you help my loved one?”

Your worry about caring for a senior loved one is our worry and our passion.  Every single day, we address the desperate calls from those who ask essentially the same question:  “My Mom is a frail senior and needs extensive assistance on a daily basis and I need to be assured you can handle it”.  Sadly, too high of a percentage of these calls are from those whose loved one is not receiving adequate care at their current accommodations.    

Our extensive experience in assisted living empowers us to answer the question with a simple and consistent “Yes we can”.   Spring Arbor Living’s service excellence is based on a business model that is centered upon a private company with a 20 year history operating as a regional provider which each individual locations being a part of the surrounding community.  This practice has kept our debt low, maximizes consistent reinvestment in facilities and staff, and empowers senior managerial oversight of each individual facility to be direct, early, and often.  Assisted living communities managed by impersonal conglomerates simply can’t do this.

This is yet another (even fundamental) element of the Spring Arbor Experience.  It is what separates us and our parent company (HHHunt, Inc.) from the huge conglomerate corporations that dominate the assisted living industry.

Music Therapy is A Key to Unlocking Memories

Joseph Coupal - Friday, April 16, 2010

Music Therapy: A Key to Unlocking Memories

The Wall Street Journal ran an article, “A Key for Unlocking Memories” that detailed music therapy for Alzheimer’s and dementia patients through the use of MP3 players.   This story talks about the various therapy’s available and profiles the Institute for Music and Neurologic Function.  The Institute has a “Top 10s For Loved Ones With Memory Impairments”.  The list includes top 10s from the 40s, 50, 60s, R&B, Spanish, Country and Spiritual hits.  

Prior to your next visit to a loved one under our care at any  Spring Arbor Alzheimer’s Care Center , why not load your MP3 with some music you know they once held dear.  Take time to share a brief journey down memory lane….and let them do the driving.