Early signs of Alzheimer’s

Early signs of Alzheimer’s

Early detection is crucial for both research purposes and to help those living with Alzheimer’s. It is important for scientists to be able to study the early stages of this disease in order to learn more about how the disease starts and, hopefully, how to prevent or treat the disease in its early stages. In those living with Alzheimer’s, early detection gives individuals the opportunity treat and plan their futures accordingly. According to expert, Wendy Qiu, from Boston University Alzheimer’s Disease Center, “Diagnosing Alzheimer’s patients is a challenge. Clinically we still depend on symptoms, so that sometimes we can be wrong.”  Qiu and her team at BU have already made some promising progressing in finding a more concrete way to diagnose Alzheimer’s. Qiu’s team’s has discovered a potential biological marker for Alzheimer’s that can be picked up in a blood test. Research on this testing procedure is still in its preliminary stages, but has shown promising results thus far. Early detection relies on individuals, and most importantly, their loved ones to keep an eye out for early signs of Alzheimer’s disease symptoms and consult a physician as soon as possible. Education and public awareness is crucial in catching Alzheimer’s as early as possible, so spread the word! Look out for these signs of Alzheimer’s: Memory Loss: Increased memory loss, both short and long term. One might need frequent reminders for important dates, repeatedly forgetting the same information, frequently lose or misplace things. Confusion: Getting easily confused during daily activities or having trouble with simple tasks. One may frequently make obvious mistakes, such as paying the wrong amount of money to a cashier or neglecting to groom themselves. Disorientation: Not knowing the time or date, or even where they are or how they got there. Visual/Spatial Problems: Problems with vision, depth perception, and determining color are sometimes indicators of Alzheimer’s. Mood/Personality Changes: Moods may become sporadic. Symptoms of Alzheimer’s can include frequent feelings of confusion, anxiety, or depression. One might become less social and more...

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What to expect at the beginning of Alzheimer’s

Each person is affected by Alzheimer’s in a unique way. If you are just stepping into the role of caregiver for a loved one, breathe easy. We’re here to help on your journey. In the early stages of Alzheimer’s, your most important responsibilities are to provide support and companionship as you plan for the future. There will be frustrating moments. But don’t let those moments make you forget about all of the irreplaceable skills and personality quirks that you’ve always loved about your parent or spouse. Use his or her strengths as encouragement to continue living as independently as possible. Establish a routine, stay involved in the same activities that have always provided enjoyment and provide gentle reminders about appointments and medication. A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s presents numerous questions for both the person with the disease and the caregiver. Here are some issues to think about during the early stages. Share the diagnosis. It can be extremely difficult to tell others about a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or dementia. However, being open with friends and family will allow them to be educated and supportive. There may be apprehension about the social stigma of the diagnosis. But you’re not alone. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, an estimated 5.3 million Americans are dealing with the disease this year. Your friends and family will be able to offer support and encouragement to you as well as your loved one. Prepare for changes. You might not even notice the differences at first. But a person dealing with the early stages will have different needs than he or she did before the diagnosis. It might be as simple as needing reminders about familiar places or people. Support and communication are critical. We’ve compiled some tips to consider when communicating with a loved one who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. As you deal with these changes, it is more important than ever to stay connected with friends and family. Their support is priceless. Plan for the future. Life probably seems more complicated than ever at present. But it’s important to figure out a plan now for issues that will have to be addressed later. As a caregiver, one of the most precious responsibilities you can help with is getting legal, financial and care plans in place. Figuring out these issues ensures that the wishes of your loved one are carried out. Complex issues, such as long-term care, can take plenty of time to figure out. Stay engaged. Staying active and committed to daily life is healthy for both you and the person with early-stage Alzheimer’s. Studies show that a sense of purpose helps the brain deal with the disease. Stay involved with the activities you love. Eat well, exercise and enjoy life. Stay independent. At the moment, there is not a miraculous cure for Alzheimer’s. But there are more resources than ever that let people facing...

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Chestnut Ridge Team Walks to End Alzheimer’s in Philadelphia

The Residences at Chestnut Ridge, a rehabilitation and living facility for people 50 years of age and older, is participating in the 2015 Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s® in Philadelphia on November 8. So far, the team at Chestnut Ridge has raised over $1,000 with an overall fundraising goal of $2,000. Funds raised through the Walk to End Alzheimer’s go to supporting its mission to advance research on the disease. The walk is held annually in more than 600 communities across the country, and is the nation’s largest event to raise awareness and funds to fight Alzheimer’s. Participants can register their teams online, either through corporations like Chestnut Ridge or with friends, family and neighbors. “About 80% of our residents have been diagnosed with some form of Alzheimer’s or dementia,” said Rita Ellis, executive director at Chestnut Ridge. “We provide all possible support for this illness, including treatment, medication management, memory-building activities and psychiatric support. We want to do everything we can to support the Alzheimer’s Association, because that in turn means supporting our residents.” The mission of the Alzheimer’s Association is to end the disease through the advancement of research, to provide support for those affected and to spread the word about brain health in the hopes that it aids in reducing cases of dementia. Alzheimer’s is the nation’s 6th leading cause of death and currently affects 5.3 million Americans. In 2015 alone, the disease will cost the U.S. an estimated $226 billion in medical care. “Chestnut Ridge is excited to take part in this event,” continued Ellis. “We’re very familiar with the scope of difficulties families face when their loved ones are affected by this disease. The more progress that can be made to find new treatments or even a cure for Alzheimer’s, the better. ” To learn more about the Alzheimer’s Association or to donate to the cause, visit www.alz.org. To learn more about the Residences at Chestnut Ridge, call (610) 713-8645 or visit...

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A long life of purpose

Our team works hard to provide a sense of community at the Residences at Chestnut Ridge. We believe that community provides a sustained sense of purpose and better quality of life. After all, feeling purposeful in life is important. “It’s a very robust predictor of health and wellness in old age,” Patricia Boyle, a neuropsychologist at the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center in Chicago, told the New York Times. Through a study on the relationship of a purposeful life and Alzheimer’s, Dr. Boyle and her team found that people with high purpose scores were 2.4 times more likely to remain free of Alzheimer’s than those with low scores. An assisted living community can be an excellent option for aging parents. With the help of our resources and expertise, here are four ways to help an elderly parent continue to live a purpose-filled life. 1. Encourage new friendships. Aging can be discouraging because of the loss of close friends and family. Encourage your loved one to seek out friends who enjoy similar hobbies. The Residences at Chestnut Ridge provide many social activities, including art and cooking classes, card and board games, worship services, outings for dining, movie nights and a daily social called “Chat and Chew.” 2. Embrace their talents. Be mindful of what your loved one has always done to maintain an active and meaningful life. Whether it’s music or exercise, hobbies are more important than ever, even if they require some adaptation. In the process, you will discover new layers to your family. In her part-memoir/part cookbook, All Gone, Alex Witchel writes how cooking family recipes provided vital relief as she became increasingly responsible for her mother, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. 3. Travel New adventures don’t have to be impossible. Traveling with an elderly parent will present unique challenges, but it is possible – and even enjoyable. It just takes research and patience. You probably won’t be able to climb Everest, but there are plenty of senior-friendly destinations. This may be the time to recreate a favorite childhood vacation, with you in the driver’s seat. Check out Val Grubb’s blog, Travel with Aging Parents, for helpful tips and ideas. 4. Celebrate holidays. A private dining room is available at the Residences at Chestnut Ridge for special family gatherings. Though it may not be possible for your loved one to celebrate every aspect of your traditions, it can still be a season of cheer. Adapt family gatherings to smaller, spread-out visits rather than one overwhelming crowd. Involve them in special events and try to spark memories – whether it’s wrapping gifts or playing board games in the game room. The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America has put together a list of helpful tips for caregivers in the holiday season. Whatever stage of the journey you are in, we’re here to help. Connecting with a community that provides assistance with daily...

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Five great reasons to choose independent living for your loved ones.

Watching parents lose their independence as they age is one of the most challenging realities we face. About 14 percent of all people over age 65 have two to three chronic conditions that erode their ability to live independently. Fortunately, options are far more varied than the antiquated view of an “old folks home.” When the timing is right, begin a gentle conversation with your parents about their choices and decisions. Here are five benefits of moving to a community designed especially for them. Safety Assisted living communities are set up to provide a safe, comfortable environment for aging loved ones. You don’t have to worry about a dangerous fall down the stairs. And your parents don’t have to worry about hiring someone to fix a leak or shovel the snow on the sidewalk. The team at Chestnut Ridge encourages residents to remain as independent as possible, but we take care of the details to ensure their health and safety. Meals A healthy diet is more important than ever. At Chestnut Ridge, every meal is homemade for the added comfort and emotional well-being of our residents. One of the amenities we offer is a large dining room that leads to a newly remodeled patio, as well as a private dining room for on-site family gatherings. Transportation Many senior citizens can no longer drive (or choose not to). We can arrange transportation for residents to get to nearby events and appointments. But with all of the options available on site, your parent may not ever want to leave the community! Socialization A good community doesn’t force involvement, but rather encourages residents to try different activities. Socialization is perhaps the prime reason why those who initially believe that they won’t like the change end up thriving. When lifelong friends are no longer around, it’s easy for loneliness and depression to set in. Chestnut Ridge offers the opportunity for your loved once to once again enjoy the company of peers. They can play cards, listen to music, exercise, enjoy the Juice Bar, attend community events and more. Medical care At Chestnut Ridge, independent living residents can opt to seek medical assistance whenever it’s needed. When residents feel ill and wish to go to the doctor, they have convenient access to nearby medical practices. Should a fall or other emergency occur in the building, our team would immediately call 911 and stay until EMTs arrive. While moving to a community that provides assistance with daily living may not be the answer for everyone, the choice certainly helps many lead healthier, happier...

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