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Mental Health Awareness Month: Depression and Dementia

May is Mental Health Awareness Month and we would be remiss if we didn’t take some time to discuss how mental health issues can affect those living with dementia and their caregivers. Depression is commonly associated with Alzheimer’s. Experts estimate that up to 40 percent of people living with Alzheimer’s disease suffer from significant depression. Identifying depression in someone living with dementia or Alzheimer’s isn’t always easy, but it’s important that family and caregivers keep an eye out for the symptoms of depression and seek help if they suspect their loved one may be depressed. Many symptoms of Alzheimer’s mimic the symptoms of depression, such as apathy, social withdrawal, isolation, difficulty concentrating, and loss of interest in activities. Someone with dementia who is also suffering from depression may experience sadness, hopelessness and guilt, among other feelings, but they will often find it difficult to articulate these feelings due to cognitive impairment as a result of the dementia. Depression in someone with dementia may be less severe, or have symptoms that come and go. No matter how severe, if you notice any signs of depression in your loved one, discuss them with your loved one’s primary care provider. Diagnosis and treatment of depression can be especially helpful and may improve your loved one’s ability to function and overall sense of well-being. Talk to your loved one’s doctor about getting a referral to a geriatric psychiatrist who specializes in diagnosing and treating depression in senior adults. Diagnosing Depression in Alzheimer’s According to the National Institute of Mental Health, in order for a person with dementia to be diagnosed with depression, he...

Memory Disorder Diagnosis: 3 Things Families Need to Consider

The founder and CEO of The Cottages offers advice for families with loved ones in the early stages of a memory disorder. Frisco, TX, April 27, 2017 – Finding out a loved one has been diagnosed with a memory disorder in its early stages can leave families feeling lost and more than a little overwhelmed. Many are likely to find themselves bombarded with information from healthcare providers, and facts and figures they search on their own. Obtaining expert guidance is a must, but so too is taking meaningful steps to assist the loved one as much as possible. “Memory disorders are progressive, often incurable conditions, that can leave loved ones and their families unsure of what to do or where to turn,” says Trent Quinn, founder, president and CEO of The Cottages. “In the earliest stages, there are several important steps families can take to help their loved ones and potentially better position themselves for what the future may hold.” Taking these three actions can be helpful for families and their loved ones: Work closely with healthcare providers – At the onset of a memory disorder, such as Alzheimer’s disease, working with healthcare providers to learn more about the condition, its signs, symptoms and how best to help a loved is important. Families may find, for example, that medications are available to potentially slow the progression. While these are not cures, they may help buy loved ones and their families precious time. Address financial and legal issues – It is often strongly recommended that families begin the process of addressing legal and financial matters while a loved one is...

The Role of Occupational Therapy in Dementia Care

People living with dementia experience impaired cognition which may be seen in decreased short-term memory, decreased problem solving skills, decreased perceptual skills and personality changes. While there is no “cure” for dementia, various types of therapy may help an individual with dementia live independently as long as possible. April is Occupational Therapy Month and we want to recognize the ways in which occupational therapists can help those living with dementia. First, occupational therapists can educate family members, caregivers and those in the early stages of dementia about the disease and its functional implications. “Although remediation of cognitive performance is not likely, the person may demonstrate improved function through compensation or adaptation. Occupational therapy practitioners also assist care providers to help them cope with this difficult, and yet often rewarding, role.” (aota.org) Through an evaluation of the environment and certain adaptations, occupational therapists can assist someone living with dementia to live in their own homes as long as possible. For those living in long-term care and adult day health settings, occupational therapists can help individuals retain existing function for as long as possible. According to The American Occupational Therapists Association (AOTA) there are various approaches an occupational therapist might use to aid an individual living with dementia. These include: Health Promotion. Focusing on strengths of clients and promoting wellness of care providers to promote maximal performance in preferred activities. Remediation. Restoration of physical skills (range of motion, strength, and endurance) Maintenance. Identify what is working well in the daily routine of the person living with dementia and provide supports to help the individual maintain skills for as long as possible...

Tips For Making Memory Care Home Visits Enjoyable

The director of The Cottages offers advice for families with loved ones living with memory disorders. Frisco, TX, March 13, 2017 – Making time to visit a loved one who has moved into a care home following a diagnosis of a memory disorder is important for enhancing the person’s well-being while providing personal peace of mind. While these visits can be emotionally trying at times, they may also help create treasured memories. The key to ensuring healthy, productive visits lies in understanding a few rules of the road before walking through the doors. “When a loved one is living with a memory disorder, such as Alzheimer’s disease, routine visits can be crucial for helping keep the person connected to family and friends for as long as possible,” says Trent Quinn, founder, president and CEO of The Cottages. “Regular visits can also be important for family members to give them the peace of mind that comes from knowing their loved one is being monitored and well cared for. A few tips can help make coping with the ups and downs that may accompany visits a little easier.” Whether a person is visiting a loved one for the very first time or visits will become a part of the daily or weekly routine, Quinn says it can be very helpful for family and friends to keep these points in mind: Understand the schedule – Care homes often have schedules they follow for good reasons. Scheduling can provide people living with memory disorders a sense of comfort that goes along with having a routine. Before visiting, it’s recommended that family and friends...

Hospice Care: Understanding Your Options

As a caregiver of someone who is living with dementia, you will experience a variety of different care options at the different stages of your loved one’s disease. In the beginning, you may be able to provide care for your loved one in his or her own home. There may be times where you encounter a need for a temporary care arrangement so you can get some rest or take a vacation. Respite care and day respite care are some options that may be available to you. After time and as the dementia progresses, it may become necessary to move your loved one into a residential care facility where your loved one can receive individualized care. In the final stages of dementia, you may encounter hospice as a final care option for your loved one. While it may be unsettling to consider hospice, it can help to understand what hospice is and how it can help your loved one. Hospice is a type of specialized care for individuals facing a life-limiting illness, their families and their caregivers. Hospice care addresses the patient’s physical, emotional, social and spiritual needs and helps the patient’s family and caregivers provide the care needed. It focuses on comfort and quality of life rather than a cure. The ultimate goal of hospice care is to enable the patient to have an alert, pain free life while living each day as fully as possible. Hospice is a sensitive subject, and understandably so. Despite the growth in awareness in hospice care over the last several years, there continues to be huge misconceptions about hospice. Hospice can improve...