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Behaviors of Dementia: Sleep Issues and Sundowning

If you are caring for someone living with Alzheimer’s or dementia, you may notice changes in their behaviors beginning in the late afternoon or early evening. For individuals with dementia, confusion, restlessness, insecurity, agitation and even anger worsens as evening approaches and doctors believe that the fading daylight is the trigger. For some, behaviors get even more severe and can include hallucinations, paranoia, violence and wandering. This syndrome is known as “sundowning,” “late-day confusion” or “sundown syndrome.” The symptoms usually get worse as the night progresses and get better when the sun comes up in the morning. Winter, with its shorter days of less light, also seems to exacerbate sundowning. Although not completely understood, researchers have begun to identify some fairly common triggers for this behavior: Too much activity at the end of the day • Fatigue • Low light • Hormone imbalances Most of the management of sundowners involves attempting to reduce the person’s exposure to the triggers identified above. There isn’t a specific medication for this condition, although there may be some medications that can help manage some of the symptoms. There also isn’t a “one treatment fits all” plan. However, there are some approaches that seem to help many individuals and we have listed many of them here. In many cases, what works best is a combination of several of these. Set a routine and try to follow it — Having a routine helps your loved one feel safe and the day feel predictable. Plan vigorous activities for morning and limit major activities to no more than two per day. Discourage napping — If your loved one has...

Caregiver Support: How to Cover the Costs of Dementia Care

Paying for care for a loved one living with Alzheimer’s or dementia can be one of the biggest challenges families face. If you are facing the decision of placing your loved one in a care facility, but wondering how to cover the costs, you’re not in it alone. There are many resources that may be available to help cover the costs of your loved one’s care. Here is a breakdown of some of those resources and how they can be used to cover the costs of care for your loved one living with dementia. Medicare — This is the main source of health care coverage for people 65 years of age and older. If your loved one with dementia is younger than 65, he or she may have private insurance or an employee health plan to help cover costs. Long-term care insurance — If your loved one was fortunate enough to have planned ahead and purchased long-term care insurance, it will go a long way in helping to pay for dementia care either at home or in senior living facility, such as The Cottages. Learn more about long-term care here. Personal savings, investments, property and other personal assets — Selling these assets can be sources of income to help pay for care. Consider selling artwork, jewelry or other valuables to help pay for care. Be sure to have it appraised first to be sure that it is sold for what it is worth. The equity in a home can also be converted into income by using a reverse mortgage, which allows the person to remain in their home while...

Service and Therapy Dogs: How Furry Friends Can Help Those Living with Dementia

At The Cottages, we welcome a variety of therapies and activities to help our residents live a full and comfortable life. At our Chandler Creek and Clear Lake locations, therapy dogs are regularly welcomed into our facilities. “The residents very much enjoy our pet therapy visits,” says Sylvia Gill, Clear Lake Campus Executive Director. “The visits bring a smile to their faces and help them to socialize.” Many people are aware of the use of service dogs, but therapy dogs are trained differently than service or assistance dogs. According to Assistance Dogs of America, service/assistance dogs perform an actual service to the client while therapy dogs have primarily an emotional/cognitive benefit to the client. There are a variety of service and therapy dogs available to help people with different levels of disability. These include: dogs to aid clients who are blind, have epilepsy, mood disorders, diabetes and mobility issues such as quad or paraplegia. Dementia Service Dog Service dog training is tailored to the needs of the client. Some service dogs are specifically trained to assist those living with dementia. Service/assistance dogs are allowed to go anywhere their owner goes according to the Americans with Disabilities Act. An Israeli social worker was the first to come up with the idea of a guide dog specifically for those suffering dementia. They developed a training program for an Alzheimer’s Aid Dog. Later, a team in Scotland created a project to further explore the benefits unique to a guide dog for those living with dementia. That research is still in ongoing but families feel they are seeing improvements in their loved ones’...

The Cottages Offers Support for Families

The director of The Cottages talks about its monthly Alzheimer’s Support Group. Frisco, TX, Oct. 17, 2016 – Families with loved ones living with Alzheimer’s disease have a place to turn for support. The Cottages at Chapel Creek and other Cottages locations across Texas offer monthly support group meetings meant to help address the needs of family members and caregivers of those living with Alzheimer’s and other memory disorders. While each Cottages location has its own support group schedule, all meetings are designed to provide family members and caregivers valuable information, thoughtful advice and a place to connect with others walking the same path. “When a loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, the diagnosis truly impacts the entire family,” says Trent Quinn, founder, president and CEO of The Cottages. “Family members and caregivers need a place to turn to learn what to expect, techniques for coping and to gain insights on how best to help their loved ones live life to the fullest. Our monthly support groups also provide a place where caregivers can meet others who fully understand what they are going through and the emotions and challenges they face.” Each Cottages location has its own set day and time for support group meetings. The gatherings are open to those with a family member or other loved one living with a memory disorder. Meetings are overseen by The Cottages own professional caregivers. People interested in attending can RSVP at their location of choice or stop by the community to express their interest. “The Cottages is more than an assisted living community for those living with Alzheimer’s disease...