Positive Feelings about Aging May Reduce Brain Changes

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An interesting study discovered that if you believe growing older is a negative thing, you may be more likely to develop brain changes typically associated with Alzheimer’s disease.  However the research, which was published in the American Psychological Association’s journal, Psychology and Aging, suggests that if a person shifts their thinking to more positive feelings on aging; it could actually help to mitigate the damages of Alzheimer’s.

Becca Levy, an associate professor of public health and psychology at the Yale School of Public Health and the study’s leader said, “We believe it is the stress generated by the negative beliefs about aging that individuals sometimes internalize from society that can result in pathological brain changes,” She goes on to explain that while the findings are concerning, “it is encouraging to realize that these negative beliefs about aging can be mitigated, and positive beliefs about aging can be reinforced, so that the adverse impact is not inevitable.”

The study examined several negative views such as the belief that elderly people are sickly and have little to contribute.  Positive beliefs included thinking that older people can lead vibrant lives and be engaged in society.  Other types of negative beliefs included ideas such as elderly people cannot concentrate well and are absent-minded.

All of the participants were a part of the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging, which is a long-term study out of Baltimore.  The first part of the study was conducted with 52 men and women who answered surveys about their opinions on aging.  Participants were also given regular MRI brain scans to check for signs of Alzheimer’s.  Those who answered questions about aging more negatively were found to have a “greater decline in the volume of the hippocampus, a part of the brain critical for memory.”  This is important as “the hippocampus is one of the first areas of the brain to shrink in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease.”

The other component of the study was to conduct brain autopsies on 74 participants who had died.  Researchers found that the brains of those who had held more negative beliefs about aging had more plaques and tangles in their brain, which is a sign of Alzheimer’s.

The findings suggest to researchers that the U.S.’s negative view on aging as compared to other countries such as India, where it is seen more favorably, could contribute to Alzheimer’s being five times more prevalent in America.  Of course positive thinking is no guarantee for good brain health but it sure makes us feel better.

MorningStar at Bear Creek brings a unique vision to senior living with our mission statement “to honor, to serve, to invest.” Our foundation is built on honoring God, valuing all seniors and selecting staff with a felt calling to serve. We are dedicated to creating a true home for residents within an ideal setting and invite you to schedule a tour to see firsthand the best memory care in Colorado Springs. 

Sources:alzinfo.org/articles/research/negative-beliefs-about-aging-could-prime-the-brain-for-alzheimers/ Becca R. Levy, Martin D. Slade, Luigi Ferrucci, et al: “A Culture-Brain Link: Negative Age Stereotypes Predict Alzheimer’s-Disease Biomarkers.” Psychology and Aging, 12/2015

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Best Memory Care in Colorado Springs

Dementia Care

MorningStar Memory Care at Bear Creek is devoted to the individualized care of those suffering from Alzheimer’s and other dementia-related diseases.  Regardless of whether your loved one is at the onset of the disease or well into the more advanced stages, we can care for them.

MorningStar’s approach to dementia care starts with the utmost professionalism and respect for the individual and works toward replacing medications with alternative natural therapies including patience, attention and love whenever possible.  Our specially-trained care managers use gentle, resident-directed methods to calm and awaken memories and to support each resident’s capabilities.  Common techniques include using multi-sensory cues such as aromatherapy as well as a range of meaningful and purposeful activities that incorporate art, music, and life skills.

Our personalized approach to memory care also means we make a point to get to know each resident including their background, vocation, talents and preferences.  Once we feel we truly know the “person”, we can then effectively setup a daily routine that is designed around stimulating or calming the resident.  In addition it allows us to quickly adjust their routine in response to a particular mood or situation.  At MorningStar we also understand that physical exercise is important to an individual’s overall well-being so every day residents have the opportunity to strengthen and stretch their bodies.

You will find our community is uniquely designed to address all the various needs of our residents.  We offer security and comfort with 48 suites in a choice of studio, one bedroom or two-bedroom suites as well as secure courtyards, patios and strolling paths.  Furthermore, MorningStar at Bear Creek has a 24-hour care staff, full-time licensed nurse, and regular health monitoring.  We also offer meal assistance with our nutritional, Executive Chef prepared meals.

Contact us to schedule a visit to experience our community firsthand.  We know you will be gratified to discover a staff that is committed to providing compassionate and loving care to our special residents each and every day.

MorningStar at Bear Creek brings a unique vision to senior living with our mission statement “to honor, to serve, to invest.” Our foundation is built on honoring God, valuing all seniors and selecting staff with a felt calling to serve. We are dedicated to creating a true home for residents within an ideal setting and invite you to schedule a tour to see firsthand the best memory care in Colorado Springs.

What is “Sundowning?”

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The Alzheimer’s Association reports on studies that show “as many as 20 percent of persons with Alzheimer’s will experience increased confusion, anxiety and agitation beginning late in the day. Others may experience changes in their sleep schedule and restlessness during the night.”  This condition is often referred to as sundowning or sundowner’s syndrome.

In addition to the anxiety and agitation, other symptoms for the syndrome include anger, depression, pacing, fear, restlessness, hallucinations, paranoia, wandering and violence.  The cause of sundowning is not known but researchers speculate that the condition may be triggered by a number of factors such as fatigue or an overreaction to the day’s sensory stimulation.  Some think that sundowning could be the result of anxiety caused by the inability to see well in the dark.  Another reason may be hormonal imbalances that occur at night.  Also because people with sundowner’s symptoms experience a disruption in their sleep-cycles, that can create more behavioral problems.

The Alzheimer’s Association advises that any sleep disturbances should be discussed with a doctor but experts do offer some helpful tips to cope with sundowner’s syndrome.  One of the suggestions is to keep the home well-lit during the evening hours.  They also recommend scheduled meal times and bedtimes.  If the person needs a nap, it should be taken early in the day.  Furthermore, doctor appointments and other activities should be scheduled for the morning or early afternoon as it allows for plenty of downtime before evening.

Furthermore, the person’s biggest meal should be at lunch and only a light dinner.  It is important to avoid nicotine and alcohol, and any caffeine consumption should be restricted to morning hours.  At night, help keep the person safe by providing nightlights and make sure doors are windows are locked.  If wandering is a big part of their sundowning behaviors, use door sensors and motion detectors.  

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

MorningStar at Bear Creek brings a unique vision to senior living with our mission statement “to honor, to serve, to invest.” Our foundation is built on honoring God, valuing all seniors and selecting staff with a felt calling to serve. We are dedicated to creating a true home for residents within an ideal setting and invite you to schedule a tour to see firsthand the best memory care Colorado Springs has to offer.

Source: https://www.agingcare.com/Articles/sundowners-syndrome-133187.htm

 

Even Moderate Exercise Looks to be Important for Learning and Memory

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Decreases in brain metabolism have been shown to be a characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease and predictive of cognitive decline and the conversion to Alzheimer’s in older adults. Scientists believe that physical activity can modulate brain glucose metabolism but until now it was unclear what level of intensity and duration of exercise was most beneficial.

Recently the National Institute on Aging published an article that found “even moderate physical activity may increase metabolism in brain regions important for learning and memory.”   The NIA-supported study was led by Dr. Ozioma Okonkwo of the University of Wisconsin.

Researchers had cognitively normal, late-middle age (average age 64 years old) participants wear an accelerometer for 7 consecutive days to measure their daily physical activity.  Afterward, they looked at the amount of time each participant engaged in “light (e.g., a slow walk), moderate (e.g., a fast walk), and vigorous activities (e.g., run).”  The data was analyzed to determine how they “corresponded with glucose metabolism within brain areas that have been demonstrated to be impacted in people with Alzheimer’s.

Increasing the levels of moderate physical activity showed an increase in cerebral glucose metabolism across all brain regions examined.  Participants that engaged in light physical activity had no changes to the metabolism in any of the brain regions examined.  Another thing that impacted the amount of brain glucose metabolism was the duration of time spent in moderate physical activity.  Researchers found that the more time a person spent doing moderate levels of physical activity (average 43.3 min/day to average 68.1 min/day), the greater the increase in brain glucose metabolism.

The NIA says it is encouraging evidence that physical activity may be beneficial for neurometabolic function.  Moreover they say it is a “critical contribution to the efforts to identify the intensity and duration of physical activity that confer the most advantage for combating Alzheimer’s-related changes in mid-life.”

MorningStar at Bear Creek is a memory care community that uses progressive methods to palliate symptoms and revive joy.  Our foundation is built on honoring God, valuing our seniors and hiring staff with a felt calling to serve, and is devoted to creating a true home for residents within a serene setting.  Please contact us to schedule a visit to experience firsthand our loving community.

Source:nia.nih.gov/news/moderate-physical-activity-linked-increases-metabolism-across-brain-regions

Recent Events at Bear Creek Supporting Professionals & Area Families

Alzheimer Care Colorado Springs

MorningStar at Bear Creek is proud to be an “Alzheimer’s Association Leader in Dementia Care,” which means that at least 75% of our staff and leadership has participated in an eight-hour program offered by the Alzheimer’s Association.  The training encompasses brain pathology and communication techniques as well as endorses non-pharmaceutical methods to lessen agitation and calm.  In addition Bear Creek is pleased to be supportive and to serve as a resource to Colorado Springs area families who are dealing with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.

One example of our community outreach is hosting a large gathering of senior living professionals in January.  This was a great opportunity to open our doors and share with our peers the vast amount of information and resources available to enable us to hone our skills, renew our commitment, and provide the best care possible to residents and their families.

Another successful event we held was when our Director of Programming, Melissa Dillon spoke to area families and professionals alike on the brain diseases known as dementia.  The first of her six-part series “Unforgettable” was Navigating the Journey of Dementia.  Melissa took attendees down the path of the “Purple Road” of dementia and spent time defining terms and dispelling commonly held myths.  Her presentation also included hope and support to families impacted by the disease.  A portion of the night’s proceedings included time for participants to practice a better way to greet and guide those with memory-impairment to increase their comfort and safety.

Melissa is the co-organizer of our Lavender Sky training program that all MorningStar team members at Bear Creek and our Mountain Shadows communities attend.  Lavender Sky is the blueprint for our philosophy and approach to memory care, which we carefully enter, embrace and explore together with our residents.

Please visit our website to learn more about MorningStar at Bear Creek’s excellent memory care.  We also encourage interested family members to set up a tour to visit our community and see firsthand why our loving community is a true home to our residents.

MorningStar at Bear Creek is a memory care community that uses progressive methods to palliate symptoms and revive joy.  Our foundation is built on honoring God, valuing our seniors and hiring staff with a felt calling to serve, and is devoted to creating a true home for residents within a serene setting.  Please contact us to schedule a visit to experience firsthand our loving community.

Caregivers of Those with Alzheimer’s Find It Difficult to do Alone

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The Alzheimer’s Association released a new survey last June 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 MorningStar at Bear Creek, we feel honored to be able to care for those suffering from Alzheimer’s and other dementia-related diseases.  We offer 48 suites in four floorplans, and our building is designed to provide a secure setting, yet permit residents to explore their spacious surroundings freely and easily. Our highly individualized care ensures each resident is treated with the respect and dignity they deserve.

MorningStar at Bear Creek is a memory care community that uses progressive methods to palliate symptoms and revive joy.  Our foundation is built on honoring God, valuing our seniors and hiring staff with a felt calling to serve, and is devoted to creating a true home for residents within a serene setting.  Please contact us to schedule a visit to experience firsthand our loving community.

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

 

Learn More about the Colorado Springs Area’s Finest Memory Care

 

Dementia Care

MorningStar at Bear Creek’s philosophy and approach to memory care includes our guiding principle that: whatever the extent of the memory loss, whatever the form of dementia, a person’s essence remains.  We feel it our calling as well as our privilege to find ways to connect with and nurture that essence.

Our individualized care starts by meeting with the senior and their family members to learn all we can about the person’s background including their vocation, talents and preferences.  Taking this information, we put together a daily routine that will be used to stimulate or calm the resident in response to their mood or the surrounding circumstances.  Throughout the senior’s stay with us, we also engage the family members as we know our services are as much for them as for the residing senior.

MorningStar’s memory care provides an atmosphere of safety and well-being, while at the same time, encourages and supports choice and independence whenever possible.  Our residents participate in daily recreational and purposeful activities that include life skills, art, music, and exercise and are included in special events and scheduled outings.

Our community is designed to permit residents the freedom to move about in spacious surroundings that fully accommodates the disposition and behavior of those with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. Our extensive services include around-the-clock care, daily health monitoring, a licensed nurse and a caring and devoted staff.

MorningStar at Bear Creek is proud to have earned the “Recognized Leaders in Dementia Care.” designation from the Alzheimer’s Association.  Colorado is the only Alzheimer’s Association chapter in the country offering this unique program. To be so designated, a senior living community is required to enroll 75% of its staff in an eight-hour training course that encompasses brain pathology, communication techniques, and methods of lessening agitation with non-pharmaceuticals.  Please visit our website for contact information as well as to learn more about our loving memory care community.

MorningStar at Bear Creek is a memory care community that uses progressive methods to palliate symptoms and revive joy.  Our foundation is built on honoring God, valuing our seniors and hiring staff with a felt calling to serve, and is devoted to creating a true home for residents within a serene setting.  Please contact us to schedule a visit to experience firsthand our loving community.