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Senior Assisted Living Blog

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.  

The Spring Arbor Experience Includes Senior Social Networking

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, April 15, 2010

Don’t think for a minute that social networking is just for kids. The truth is that the senior citizen age group is one of the fastest growing demographics on social networking services.  Popular sites like Facebook and Myspace have gone to great lengths to make their sites more accessible to senior citizens, as well as giving them more features specifically designed to an older demographic. Our genuine respect for the utility of senior social networking services (like this blog) represents the difference that is The Spring Arbor Experience.

Even if your senior loved one would never consider surfing senior social networks, you should.  Who hasn’t at one time or another flat out run out of things to discuss with the elderly? Take fifteen minutes to peruse senior social sites before your next visit to see Mom, Dad, Grandma, or Grandpa. Arm yourself with some topics that might be interesting to THEM.  Who knows where it goes from there.    

Alzheimers Insights and Research Topics

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Alzheimer's Insights and Research Topics

  • One out of two men and women eventually get Alzheimer's if they live long enough. Will YOU? Nine major risk factors that determine how lucky you'll be.
  • Do you carry the "Alzheimer's gene"? Scientists have identified the key genes responsible for causing Alzheimer's. Genetic testing can show you what's ahead for the future - good or bad.
  • These three prescription drugs can slow the breakdown of acetylcholine in the brain, thereby improving message transmission between nerve cells - resulting in improved memory and reasoning abilities.
  • Senior moment, mild cognitive impairment, or dementia: learn the difference for peace of mind
  • Recognize the 10 red-flag changes in mental functioning
  • Can smoking make you stupid? If you haven't kicked the habit and you're over 65, you're almost four times more likely than a nonsmoker to experience mental decline.  
  • Food for thought -preventing memory loss through better nutrition

Spring Arbor will be providing more thoughts like the ones listed above as well as more detailed information on these topics in future blog posts.  Come back often.

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

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  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

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 ...