Brain Scans in Newborns Provide Important Information

Assisted Living Centennial CO

Two recent studies from the University of North Carolina (UNC) School of Medicine have discovered some important information regarding the brains of newborns and how they can determine later cognitive development.  One study published in 2013, reports that brain scans of infants can indicate some of the same gene variants found in adults suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, schizophrenia and autism.   One of the study authors, Rebecca Knickmeyer, states, “These results suggest that prenatal brain development may be a very important influence on psychiatric risk later in life.”  She added, “This could stimulate an exciting new line of research focused on preventing onset of illness through very early intervention in at-risk individuals.”

The study involved 272 infants who were given an MRI shortly after birth and had their DNA screened for 10 common variations in the seven genes associated with conditions like Alzheimer’s disease, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders and depression.  One important finding was the discovery that “brain changes found in adults such as the variation in the APOE gene that is associated with Alzheimer’s disease were very similar to the brain changes in the infants with the same variants.”

Another study from the university released late last year may provide yet more clues as to why some individuals develop cognitive problems later on in life.  The research, which was led by the director of the Early Brain Development Program at UNC’s Dept. of Psychiatry, John H. Gilmore, MD, found “white matter microstructure present at birth and that develops after birth predicts the cognitive function of children at ages 1 and 2.”

Dr. Gilmore explained that this was the first study ever done to measure and describe the development of white matter microstructure in children and its relationship to cognitive development.  During the study, 685 children had diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) scans done on their brains to identify white matter tracts in the brain as well as to describe the organization and maturation of the tracts.

Researchers concentrated on the 12 white matter fiber tracts that are important to cognitive function and studied their relationship to developing cognitive function and their heritability.

Gilmore said “With a better understanding of these relationships, we ultimately hope to be able to identify children at risk for cognitive problems or psychiatric disorders very early and come up with interventions that can help the brain develop in a way to improve function and reduce risk.”

MorningStar Assisted Living & Memory Care at Jordan represents the very best in senior living with our distinct mission statement of “to honor, to value, to invest.”  We are dedicated to providing a true home for residents amidst a beautiful, serene setting and a foundation built on honoring God, valuing all seniors and selecting staff with a felt calling to serve.   Please schedule a tour to experience firsthand our comfortable, home-like atmosphere. 

Caring for a Loved One with Alzheimer’s is Difficult to Do Alone

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The Alzheimer’s Association just released a new survey on June 1 in conjunction with the start of the Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month.  To summarize, the Association found that while 91 percent of respondents agreed that “it often takes a village to provide care for someone living with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, far too many caregivers are doing it alone.”

In fact 64 percent of caregivers said they felt isolated or alone in their situation and 84 percent wished they had more support with caregiving tasks, especially from other family members.  However the number one reason people stated that they did offer help was they felt another person had assumed the responsibilities.  Other respondents said they lived too far away to make it practical to assist with daily care.

Ruth Drew, the Director of Family and Information Services for the Alzheimer’s Association, explains that the problem is only going to get worse as life expectancies are getting longer and the number of older Americans is growing.  If there is no cure in the next couple of decades, statistics indicate that Alzheimer’s disease will almost triple by 2050 and increase from the 5.5 million afflicted today to 16 million.  Ms. Drew added that most families are unprepared and have not planned for the devastating toll this disease can inflict.

Please remember that the Alzheimer’s Association is a great resource and can help people navigate the disease with tools such as a 24/7 helpline, videos, infographics, and guidance on financial and legal planning.  Furthermore, families will find tips on long-distance caregiving and care coordination to help families better manage caregiver responsibilities as well as a community resource finder to help connect families with local resources.

At the MorningStar at Jordan’s Reflections Neighborhood, we feel honored to be able to care for those suffering from Alzheimer’s and other dementia-related diseases.  We offer 29 secure studio, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom suites designed to allow residents to move freely about in spacious surroundings including enclosed courtyards and strolling paths.  Our highly individualized care ensures each resident is treated with the respect and dignity they deserve.

MorningStar Assisted Living & Memory Care at Jordan represents the very best in senior living with our distinct mission statement of “to honor, to value, to invest.”  We are dedicated to providing a true home for residents amidst a beautiful, serene setting and a foundation built on honoring God, valuing all seniors and selecting staff with a felt calling to serve.   Please schedule a tour to experience firsthand our comfortable, home-like atmosphere. 

Source: alz.org/documents_custom/2017_abam_natl_pr_060117.pdf

 

June is Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month

Assisted Living Centennial CO

June is the Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month and the Alzheimer’s Association®, wants to encourage everyone to take the time to learn the fact about Alzheimer’s disease and its impact on individuals and families nationwide.  On the front page of their website, they have a link for families to share stories and pictures of how the disease has touched their lives.

At MorningStar Assisted Living & Memory Care at Jordan, we will again participate in a range of activities to honor the “The Longest Day.”  The event, started by the Alzheimer’s Association, takes place on the summer solstice.  Its goal is to help end Alzheimer’s and to raise funds and awareness for care and support as well as to advance research.

This year’s The Longest Day Events at MorningStar will include starting the day off with a Pancake Breakfast.  During the morning, we will show “Alive Inside,” a moving documentary that follows social worker Dan Cohen as he uses the healing power of music to unlock memory in patients with Alzheimer’s disease.

We will also listen to a discussion from John H. Gilmore, MD, the director of the Early Brain Development Program in the UNC Department of Psychiatry.  Gilmore is the senior author of a study that is trying to identify cognitive problems and psychiatric disorders very early and to develop appropriate interventions.  Another highlight of the day will be a showing of the Glen Campbell Story, I’ll Be Me.  The film documents his amazing “Goodbye Tour” as he and his family attempt to navigate the wildly unpredictable nature of his progressing Alzheimer’s disease using love, laughter and music as their medicine of choice.

Furthermore, the day will include tasty treats such as “Lavender Smoothies on the Lanai” and “Blueberry Bingo”.  For more information on our day’s activities or to learn more about MorningStar at Jordan’s loving community, please visit our website.

MorningStar Assisted Living & Memory Care at Jordan represents the very best in senior living with our distinct mission statement of “to honor, to value, to invest.”  We are dedicated to providing a true home for residents amidst a beautiful, serene setting and a foundation built on honoring God, valuing all seniors and selecting staff with a felt calling to serve.   Please schedule a tour to experience firsthand our comfortable, home-like atmosphere.      

Your Loved One Deserves the Best Memory Care

Memory Care Living

Along with an increased awareness of Alzheimer’s and other dementia-related diseases, there has been a move to advance best care practices for those suffering from the disease over the last couple of decades.  In addition to medications that can help slow down the progression of the disease, many specialists in the field have worked to improve the approaches to care.

At MorningStar at Jordan, our Reflections Neighborhood is dedicated to the individualized care of those suffering from Alzheimer’s or other dementia-related diseases.  Our holistic care begins with the utmost respect and compassion for our special residents that is borne out of a deep understanding of the disease.   Furthermore, we recognize that a prognosis of Alzheimer’s or dementia is frightening to not only the individual but to their family and strive to provide support for them as well.

Our Reflections Neighborhood is equipped to care for your family member at the onset of the disease as well as in the most advanced stages.  Our community has secure outdoor space reserved for our memory care residents and we provide assistance in whatever way your loved one needs us including eating and daily personal care activities.  Right from the start, we interview the family so we may become familiar with the resident’s personal preferences, background, and hobbies, and then design a care plan suited around their needs.

Our care techniques include a variety of multi-sensory cues designed to calm and awaken memories as well as to support the person’s capabilities and affirm their dignity and value.  We strive to make each day as special as possible for our memory care residents and we have a wonderful team of caregivers that put their hearts and souls into helping us achieve that goal.  Please contact us to learn more about MorningStar at Jordan’s quality memory care.

At MorningStar Assisted Living & Memory Care at Jordan, we represent the very best in senior living with our distinct mission statement of “to honor, to value, to invest.”  We are dedicated to providing a true home for residents amidst a beautiful, serene setting and a foundation built on honoring God, valuing all seniors and selecting staff with a felt calling to serve.   Please schedule a tour to experience firsthand our comfortable, homey community.      

We Are a Pet Friendly Community

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At MorningStar at Jordan, we understand that your pet is an important part of your family and you would not wish to move somewhere that he or she was not welcome.  If you decide to choose our beautiful senior living community for your new home, no worries – we are pet friendly!  In fact our Life Enrichment Coordinator, Jill Fishman, kindly shares her dog Cocoa with the entire MorningStar at Jordan community.  Cocoa’s busy day is spent personally greeting friends and “patiently” waiting for the many affectionate pats she receives.

More and more research seems to bear out that owning and caring for a pet can actually be good for seniors’ health and wellbeing.  One such recent study reported on by A Place for Mom’s website suggests that, “just 15 minutes bonding with an animal sets off a chemical chain reaction in the brain, lowering levels of the fight-or-flight hormone cortisol and increasing production of the feel-good hormone serotonin. The result: heart rate, blood pressure and stress levels immediately drop.”

Researchers found that interactions between pets and their owners can help to fight off depression and lower cholesterol levels.  There is even some evidence to suggest the relationship may help to protect against heart disease and stroke.  Scientists’ reason that pets may help the elderly to feel more connected to the here and now as the pet requires daily attention and care.  Furthermore, the animals themselves offer unconditional love, unending affection and emotional support.

Pet therapy programs are growing in popularity and used in settings such as hospitals, mental health centers, convalescent homes and child centers.  Studies show that many people who participate in pet therapy programs have an improvement in their appetite as well as improvement in their social interactions and cognitive skills.  In addition the acceptance and non-verbal communication of animals can be soothing for those with Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia.

MorningStar Assisted Living & Memory Care at Jordan represents the very best in senior living with our distinct mission statement of “to honor, to value, to invest.”  We are dedicated to providing a true home for residents amidst a beautiful, serene setting and a foundation built on honoring God, valuing all seniors and selecting staff with a felt calling to serve.   Please schedule a tour to experience firsthand our comfortable, home-like atmosphere.      

Sources: aplaceformom.com/senior-care-resources/articles/pet-friendly-assisted-living

agingcare.com/Articles/benefits-of-elderly-owning-pets-113294.htm

Stay Hydrated and Healthy

morningstar general 4

A recent study from the University of Chicago Medical Center reports that 40% of heat-related fatalities in the U.S. were in people over age 65.  The Mayo Clinic explains that there are several reasons why older adults are more susceptible to dehydration including “their ability to conserve water is reduced, thirst sensation is less acute, and seniors do not respond to fluctuations in temperature as well as when they were younger.”

The National Institute on Aging also cites other factors why the elderly do not fare well in extreme heat conditions such as heart and blood vessels problems and less effective sweat glands.  In addition heart, lung, or kidney disease can weaken individuals and often cause fevers.   Medications such as sedatives, tranquilizers and other heart and blood pressure medicines can inhibit the body’s ability to cool by sweating or act as a diuretic.

At around the age of 50, our body’s kidneys do not conserve fluid as well as they once did, and by age 70, the problem generally worsens.  Also many seniors experience a decrease in appetite and can forgot to drink and eat for long periods of time.  Chronic conditions including dementia and diabetes can also interfere with getting enough fluids as well as being overweight or underweight.

Now that the weather is getting warmer, it is more important for seniors to be aware of overheating and to stay hydrated.  The symptoms of heat exhaustion include: paleness, heavy sweating, muscle cramps, weakness, tiredness, headache, and rapid, shallow breathing.  If you suspect heat exhaustion, call 911 immediately and move the person to a cool place.  While you wait for medical assistance, have them lie down, remove any heavy or tight-fitting clothing and apply cold water or compresses directly to the skin.   Offer water or juice if they are able to drink.

This post is intended for informational purposes only.  Please contact your health care provider with any questions or concerns you have regarding your health.

At MorningStar Assisted Living & Memory Care at Jordan, we represent the very best in senior living with our distinct mission statement of “to honor, to value, to invest.”  We are dedicated to providing a true home for residents amidst a beautiful, serene setting and a foundation built on honoring God, valuing all seniors and selecting staff with a felt calling to serve.   Please schedule a tour to experience firsthand our comfortable, homey community.      

Sources: mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dehydration/basics/risk-factors/con-20030056

aplaceformom.com/senior-care-resources/articles/elderly-heat-stroke

nia.nih.gov/health/publication/hyperthermia

 

Is There a Difference Between Alzheimer’s and Dementia?

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There is often confusion between the definition of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.  According to the Alzheimer’s Association, dementia is not a specific disease.  Rather it is the overall term used to describe a wide range of symptoms that cause a decline in memory and other cognitive skills that reduce a person’s ability to perform everyday activities.

Alzheimer’s disease accounts for up to 60 to 80 percent of dementia cases, while vascular dementia, which is caused by the damage from a stroke, is the second most common cause.  Other types of dementia may be a result of Huntington’s, Parkinson’s and Creutzfeldt-Jakob diseases, and a person may have more than one form of dementia.  Thyroid problems, vitamin deficiencies, brain tumors, medication side effects as well as depression, excessive alcohol us and even infectious diseases can cause dementia-like symptoms; however in these cases, once the problem is correctly diagnosed, it is reversible.  This is why health care providers state the importance of getting a professional evaluation to determine the cause of your or your loved one’s symptoms.

In addition getting an accurate diagnosis at the onset of Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia allows the person to receive the maximum benefit from the available treatments.  Furthermore, it gives the person time to plan for their future.

At MorningStar Assisted Living & Memory Care at Jordan, we offer 55 suites for assisted living and 29 secure suites devoted to the individualized care for residents with memory impairment from Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia.  Conveniently located in historic Centennial, we are near hospitals, banks, shopping malls, grocery stores and restaurants.  We offer residents a lifestyle of comfort, wellness and community and provide a whole range of resort-style amenities and wellness programs.

At MorningStar Assisted Living & Memory Care at Jordan, we represent the very best in senior living with our distinct mission statement of “to honor, to value, to invest.”  We are dedicated to providing a true home for residents amidst a beautiful, serene setting and a foundation built on honoring God, valuing all seniors and selecting staff with a felt calling to serve.   Please schedule a tour to experience firsthand our comfortable, homey community.      

Sources:.alz.org/what-is-dementia.asp; well.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/08/16/ask-well-is-dementia-the-same-as-alzheimers-disease/?rref=collection%2Fcolumn%2Fask-well&action=click&contentCollection=well&region=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=12&pgtype=collection