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Senior Living Memory Care Richmond VA Blog



Alzheimer's Disease: 10 Things to Know

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Spring Arbor, Richmond, VAThe Alzheimer's Foundation of America has compiled a list of  "10 Things You Should Know About Alzheimer's Disease" and how to recognize it early.

1. "Old age" is not an excuse.

While some memory loss, cognitive decline and behavioral changes are normal as we age, Alzheimer's disease is not a normal part of aging.

2. Look for patterns.

Everyone forgets someone's name or what we ate for breakfast. But consistent forgetting raises a red flag. It's easy for anyone to forget to pay a bill once. There is a problem if the same statement gets paid five times or if months go by without paying bills.

3. Symptoms can mimic other conditions.

Identifying the disease or problem that is causing memory loss helps with next steps. Some memory problems can be readily treated, such as those caused by vitamin deficiencies, depression or thyroid conditions. Other memory problems might result from causes that are not currently reversible, such as Alzheimer's disease. With Alzheimer's disease, symptoms gradually increase and become more persistent.

4. Not every case is the same.

There are general warning signs of Alzheimer's disease, but not everyone exhibits the same ones or at the same time in the progression of the illness.

5. Alzheimer's impacts day-to-day living.

Alzheimer's disease also affects a person's ability to function day-to-day. It can cause difficulty performing familiar tasks like dressing or bathing; misplacing items more frequently; becoming lost; and loss of interest in important responsibilities. The concern is not so much if someone forgets where the car keys are, but if the person does not know what the keys are used for.

6. Alzheimer's disease has cognitive symptoms.

Common cognitive symptoms include: short-term memory loss, problems with verbal communication, confusion about time or place or people, trouble concentrating, lack of judgment, difficulty performing familiar tasks, misplacing items, as well as the symptoms listed above.

7. Alzheimer's disease has behavioral symptoms.

Behavioral symptoms include personality changes, unexplainable mood swings, sundowning -- increased agitation in the late afternoon/early evening, irritability, anxiety, sleeplessness, anger, expressing false beliefs, depression and inappropriate sexual behavior.

8. Check out warning signs.

According to a study of participants who obtained free, confidential memory screenings 74% were worried about their memory, but 83% of them had not discussed concerns with their health care provider. Start with your primary care physician. Depending on findings, the physician may recommend follow-up with a specialist.

9. Diagnosis is 90% accurate.

Clinicians can now diagnose Alzheimer's disease with up to 90% accuracy. Diagnosing "probable" Alzheimer's disease involves taking a complete medical history and conducting lab tests, a physical exam, neuro-psychological tests that gauge memory, attention, language skills and problem-solving abilities, and brain scans.

10. Don't just take the diagnosis and run.

Good communication can maximize your visit to a physician. Ask questions.

Next steps should include getting better-educated about the disease, obtaining support services and planning for the future. For more information on Alzheimer’s care in Richmond, contact Spring Arbor.

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netnebraska.org


Programs Enhance the Lives of Residents in Senior Living Communities

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, September 06, 2018

Spring Arbor in Richmond, VA Enhancing the lives of residents in our senior living communities is very important. At Spring Arbor, our signature programs bring unparalleled quality and dignity to the lives of our residents while simultaneously inspiring confidence, trust and peace of mind for loved ones. We are proud of our assisted living and memory care programs, as they have shown measurable success in enriching the lives of our residents. Below are the most popular programs that we offer!

Art from the Heart

Through the creativity that is represented by colors and patterns, residents with Alzheimer’s and dementia can speak to their loved ones, proving that a picture is indeed worth a thousand words. The Art from the Heart program provides needed exercise for the brain and can help maintain and strengthen existing cognitive function. It’s also a great way to reduce stress and anxiety and to encourage socialization and creativity.

Hearts and Harmony

Hearts and Harmony is our signature music program that includes both individualized and group approaches to the benefits of music. Studies show that music is one of the only activities that stimulates and uses the entire brain. The Hearts and Harmony program helps to promote wellness, stress and pain management, memory enhancement and provides unique opportunities for communication and social interaction. Residents of our Spring Arbor communities can enjoy customized playlists when they wish to enjoy music on their own or they can engage with the use of hand drums, bells and more in group sessions. Listening to musical favorites helps residents recall fond memories and assists them in reconnecting with family and caregivers.

Gardening Therapy

Research shows that access to the outdoors and physical activity are extremely beneficial for adults suffering from Alzheimer’s and dementia. Gardening is a wonderful exercise for the mind and body, lowers blood pressure levels and stress, builds confidence, and more. Our Cottage Care Coordinators create programs centered on nature through gardening and other stimulating sensory opportunities in our welcoming and secure courtyard areas.

Regardless of age or ability, we strive to provide meaningful experiences and beneficial programs for all our residents. Our goal is to help each resident function at the highest level possible. Learn more about Spring Arbor in Richmond, VA and schedule a tour today!

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https://www.hhhunt.com


Memory Care Can Provide Much Needed Relief for Alzheimer's Caregivers

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Spring Arbor, Richmond, VAAlzheimer’s care facilities for people with Alzheimer's disease can give spouses and other family caregivers a much needed source of stress relief.

Such care facilities offer people with dementia a chance to socialize and take part in activities that stimulate their minds. The programs can also give spouses, children and other caregivers a break.

Intuitively, that should ease some of caregivers' daily stress.

A study measured stress levels of 173 family caregivers in four U.S. states who used Alzheimer’s care facilities for their relative with dementia.

They found caregivers were less stressed. And when stressors did crop up -- such as problems at work -- they took less of an emotional toll.

This reinforces the fact that caregivers can't do this all on their own. People need relief.

Home health aides are also an option during the early stages of Alzheimer’s, but finances are still an obstacle. Home-based help is even more expensive. Caregivers may also be able to find local groups that send a volunteer to their home to give them a needed break -- though that typically amounts to a few hours of help a week, or every other week.

Caregivers can find help through a caregiver support groups designed specifically for spouses. A good support group is helpful not only because the other group members know what you're going through, but because they can also share practical advice.

Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia, and experts predict that the number of Americans with Alzheimer's could triple by 2050, to nearly 14 million.

For more information on Alzheimer’s care for your loved one, contact Spring Arbor in Richmond, VA.

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WebMD


Tips for Caregivers to Those with Alzheimer's Disease

Joseph Coupal - Monday, July 16, 2018

Spring Arbor, Richmond, VA Alzheimer’s disease creates difficult transitions for patients and their families. Being a caregiver is hard work that requires a lot of knowledge and skills. If you are caring for someone with Alzheimer’s, here are some tips to help you out:

1. You Can’t be in Denial: It's only natural to be in denial when a loved one begins to show signs of dementia, but that only prevents the person from getting a diagnosis, starting treatment and planning for the future.

2. Don't Ask, "Do You Remember?" They can't remember. If they could remember, they wouldn't be diagnosed with dementia. Asking if they remember some person or event could make them frustrated.

3. Interact With the Person at Their Level: You may want to interact with the person the way you always have, but that isn't going to be possible. Instead, figure out at what age they appear to be behaving, then connect with them at that level.

4. To Connect With Alzheimer's Patients with Meaningful Objects: This is a valuable tip. You may have to experiment some to find out what is meaningful to any specific person.

5. Connect by Introducing Children, Pets, Music or Art: These four activities will often reach people in the late stages of the illness -- even if they hardly talk anymore.

6. Don't Argue, Correct or Disagree: You can't win an argument with a person who has dementia. Neither should you contradict them. It will make them dig in their heels even more strongly.

7. Don't Bring up Upsetting Topics: If you know your loved one will get upset if you talk about politics, don't start the conversation in the first place. It will probably lead to a battle you don't want to have.

8. Change the Subject If the Patient Get Upset: If the person does get upset one of the best things you can do is redirect their attention to something else, preferable something pleasant.

9. Don't Quit Visiting: Just because your loved one does not recognize you doesn't mean they have no feelings. People with Alzheimer's may enjoy being visited even if they don't know precisely who the visitor is.

10. Take Care of Yourself: Being an Alzheimer's caregiver is hard work. Take good care of yourself for your benefit and for the good of the person for whom you're caring. You can't be an effective, compassionate caregiver if you're exhausted and burned out all the time.

These 10 tips can help you improve the care you provide to your loved one as well as improve your own health and well-being. For more information on Alzheimer’s care in Richmond, VA, contact Spring Arbor.

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Huffington Post


Aging in Place Can Mean Aging in a Community

Joseph Coupal - Monday, June 04, 2018

Spring Arbor in Richmond, VAThe vast majority of people age 50 and older want to stay in their homes and communities for as long as possible. The definition of aging in place has expanded to include people either remaining in their own home or staying in the same community in other possible housing options.

“Aging in place” is a popular term in current aging policy, defined as “remaining living in the community, with some level of independence, rather than in residential care”. Claims that people prefer to “age in place” abound because it is seen as enabling older people to maintain independence, autonomy, and connection to social support, including friends and family.

There is a strong focus on housing and support or care for aging-in-place. Changes at home (such as removing obstacles or introducing mobility aids) can enhance independence.Continuing care communities are perfect options as well. Care increases as needs increase, allowing for independence but also allowing for social activities and interactions.

However, there is also growing concern about the quality and appropriateness of staying in homes for aging in place, in terms of insulation, heating/cooling, housing size, and design. Housing options enable links to family and friends to continue. Social support is independently related to mortality, and quality of social contacts has been shown to ameliorate the negative impacts of past and immediate environments.

Some argue that adequate and appropriate housing should be a foundation for good community care, including health services and care support. Much research has explored the relative costs and outcomes of providing health and support services at home and in residential care. Many older people, thinking about what might enable them to successfully age in place, also emphasize service provision, including health, care, and home maintenance. Yet the term “aging in place” is ambiguous.

Although most discussions on aging in place focus on home, there is growing recognition, that beyond the home, socializing and communities are crucial factors in people’s ability to stay put. To assist aging in place, and healthy aging, optional housing options need to be considered as well as transportation, recreational opportunities, and amenities that facilitate physical activity, social interaction, cultural engagement, and ongoing education.

For more information on aging in place in an assisted living community, contact Spring Arbor in Richmond, VA.

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Excerpts from a study by aarp.org


Alzheimer’s Care: Making the Decision on Memory Care

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Spring Arbor, Richmond, VAPlacing your loved one who suffers with Alzheimer’s in an Alzheimer's care facility is not easy. It is hard to do and few people with dementia want to go. This will be one of the most difficult, heart-wrenching decisions you, as an Alzheimer's caregiver, will ever have to make. Remember, the early you make this decision with your loved one, the easier it will be to do when the time comes.

You may think you can provide the care, but: What if you have to work full-time and can't provide the 24/7 care dementia patients require -- especially those in the later stages of the disease? What if you can't afford an in-home care service that could help make it possible for the person to remain at home? What about when no friends or family members will help you out? Or what can you do if your loved one becomes combative and you simply can't manage them anymore?

There are other considerations as well. Your loved one may habitually forget to turn off the stove, leading to a risk of fire. He or she may be up all night, causing you to be up as well. You may both become sleep-deprived -- a serious health risk for both of you. You have to consider your own health, not only for your well-being, but because you can't provide good care for the patient if you're exhausted all the time.

Some family members removed from the situation may not agree with your decision. This can lead to rifts in relationships and family harmony. They may try to make you feel guilty enough to give up any plans for finding memory care.

What to do? Sometimes, placement in an Alzheimer’s care residence is the best solution for your benefit and the benefit of the person for whom you're caring. But many people feel that putting their loved one into Alzheimer’s care is a cop out.

If you do it you may feel terribly guilty. But if the person really needs to be in a facility for his or her own safety and well-being you may end up feeling even more guilty if you don't do it. If something happens to your loved one, you'll never forgive yourself.

So, how do you decide what's best? Ask yourself two questions:

  1. Would being in a home provide your loved one with better care, more personal attention, more opportunities for socialization and greater safety?
  2. Is taking care of the person at home hurting your own physical and mental health?

If you answered "yes" to either one of these questions it may be time to start looking for a good home.

If you decide to go ahead with it, follow through. Find the best facility you can afford and don't look back. Don't worry about your loved one disgreeing. People with Alzheimer's who are placed into care typically adjust in time and, if their dementia is advanced enough, they will soon forget they were moved.

For more information on Alzheimer’s care, contact Spring Arbor in Richmond, VA.

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Huffington Post


How and What to Look for in an Assisted Living Facility

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Spring Arbor, Richmond, VAOver the years, adult children move away. When they come home to visit, they often find that maybe their parents are not as independent as they once were. Traditionally, this begins the search for assisted living homes by adult children with aging parents. When it's time to get extra care for your parents, you may be forced to decide quickly.

Take the time to find out exactly what your parent needs are. That often means talking to their doctor, or if they have had a recent hospital visit and they cannot go home, also speak with their social worker, nursing staff, case manager and discharge manager. Or it may mean hiring a geriatric care manager to help coordinate the various care providers.

It can be challenging to balance quality and cost.

So unless your parents have long-term-care insurance, they may not be able to afford the ideal setting for very long. Medicare covers very little long-term care, and most people aren't eligible for Medicaid until they've spent most of their money.

But new resources can help you make the decision.

Assisted living in many cases can take the place of nursing-home care, at least in the early stages. Some assisted living facilities have continuing care, and residents can move to another wing in the same facility if they need more supervision. And people with dementia and Alzheimer's have many options for memory care.

You can go to the Eldercare Locator or a local Area Agency on Aging for help finding assisted-living facilities, but these resources don't assess the services. Review sites let you see others' experience with the facilities.

What to Look For

After you narrow the list to two to five places, visit and ask questions. And don't just talk with the marketing people; talk with the people who are providing the care.

Go completely unannounced and walk in at whatever time of day you can. See how people are treated at mealtime and how they're treated at 8 p.m.

Next, schedule a meeting with the marketing director to get more details about how the facility cares for residents. Every nursing home is required to have a care plan. What would be in the care plan for your parent? What activities would the facility offer to your parent? How are the residents' physical needs monitored?

Ask about the patient-to-staff ratio (usually recommended is a ratio of 18-20 patients per caregiving staffer). What type of specialized training do the staff have in dealing with your parent's medical condition? Ask if your parent will get any time outside the facility, especially if he or she is in a locked memory-care wing of a long-term-care facility (some have courtyards).

Ask for a list of the costs, especially for assisted living. In some facilities, you may get a set number of hours of personal care, and you may be charged extra if your parent needs more. After your visit, ask yourself: Is this a place where you would want to spend time? Is it clean? How does it smell? Are the residents showered, with clean clothes? Is the food healthy and tasty? How would your parent fit in with the other residents?

Does the staff treat the residents with respect or, better yet, like beloved grandparents?

Things Change

No matter what, monitor your parent's care with the same critical eye you brought to the selection process. If the place isn't a good match, don't be afraid to move your parent to one that feels like home.

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

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Chicago Tribune - Health


Retirement in Richmond, VA is Affordable, Healthcare is Excellent, and Life is Good

Joseph Coupal - Monday, March 05, 2018
  • Retirement is something to think about years before you get there.
  • Choosing the best place to retire in the US means weighing affordability, quality of life, activities, and healthcare.
  • WalletHub ranked the best US cities to live in retirement.
  • Many of the top cities are in states with warm weather.

Spring Arbor, Richmond, VADeciding where to live in retirement may be one of the last major financial decisions you'll make, and picking the right spot is important.

WalletHub set out to put worried minds at ease. The site used available data for the 150 largest US cities to find the best and worst places to lay your hat. We already looked at the worst cities for retirement, so let's take a look at the opposite: the best urban areas to live in your post-working life.

How people spend time when they don't have to go to the office every day tends to be a little different. Many dream of hours full of painting and golf, but there are more practical considerations to keep in mind too.

Along with the weather and nearby museums and tennis courts, reliable, accessible healthcare and affordable housing are important benchmarks when determining where to live in retirement.

WalletHub found that the cities below offered a great quality of life, good healthcare, and plentiful activities — all at an affordable cost.

WalletHub scored each city based on affordability, activities, quality of life, and healthcare. The four categories were weighted equally, and each city was given a total score and then ranked, with the highest overall score designating the best city. WalletHub used data for only the city, not the surrounding metro area.

We've included the total score (out of a possible 100), with a higher score denoting a better place to live, as well as its ranking out of 150 cities for each of the four categories, with a lower number being better.

27. Richmond, VA

  • Total score (out of 100): 52.80

Rankings (out of 150 cities):

  • Affordability: 38
  • Activities: 22
  • Quality of life: 139
  • Healthcare: 33

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

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Business Insider


How to Compare Assisted Living Communities

Joseph Coupal - Monday, February 12, 2018

Spring Arbor, Richmond, VAThis Medicare site (http://www.medicare.gov/caregivers/ ) offers the most straight forward answers to important questions such as “How to Compare Assisted Living Facilities.”

Unfortunately, for many families, the decisions they face about how best to serve their elderly relatives comes down to available finances. It is just a reality in today's health care environment and affects how we have chosen as a society to care for our parents. The more financial flexibility you have the more options you have, and this site is a great resource to help make sure you are getting everything that you need to, and to help you plan for the future ... to get the best care for your elderly parents as you can.

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

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Retire in Richmond, VA

Joseph Coupal - Monday, January 08, 2018

Spring Arbor, Richmond, VAMore than 7 million tourists visit the Greater Richmond region each year to explore its rich American history. There is a lot of entertainment and history here, the metro area was at the epicenter of the Civil War. You can find all types of thing to do in the region as well, including world-class museums, a vibrant food scene and a wide array of entertainment options from concerts and theater performances to family-friendly festivals.

The only region in America with whitewater rapids running through its downtown district, Richmond is a major financial center as well. Richmond is also the seat of Virginia's state government. And, with a wide range of housing options and a below-average cost of living, the Richmond metro area – which includes suburban areas too - appeals to a varied demographic, from young families to retirees.

Downtown Richmond is anchored by Universities, which draws a large crowd of younger residents. But this college town has plenty to offer families and older residents, as well. Each of Richmond's neighborhoods exudes a unique personality.

Rankings

U.S. News analyzed 100 metro areas in the United States to find the best places to live based on quality of life and the job market in each metro area, as well as the value of living there and people's desire to live there.

Richmond, Virginia is ranked:

#24 in Best Places to Live
#32 in Best Places to Retire

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

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US News - Real Estate