Memory Care Specialty

What do you do when your Mom, Dad, Grandma, Grandpa or Auntie and Uncle start to lose their ability to live independently? When the only memories they have are of days long gone by? Grandma is still her loving self, but she no longer knows who you are. Grandpa, who was always kind and gentle, is now easily upset and agitated.

These are all signs of dementia or Alzheimer’s and for our family member and our loved ones, this disease is devastating. Not every place knows how to care for these loved ones. Placing them in a regular nursing home or assisted living facility can be dangerous. If they have enough days in the week where they appear lucid ad able to function, someone untrained in how to deal with memory impaired patients can get complacent, and that’s when a loved one can wander off.

I have listened to enough stories to know when it’s time to get your loved one into a special care facility, or somewhere like here, at San Clemente Villas, where we have our West Indies Wing that caters solely to people with memory impairments.

Caring .Com has some good advice on how to tell if someone you know should be placed in Memory Care Assisted Living:

“Here are some questions to help you decide whether the person needs more assistance. Each “yes” answer is a red flag that warrants a closer look.

Sign it’s time for assisted living #1: Changes in communication

  • Have letters and grandchildren’s birthday cards slowed or stopped?
  • Does she seldom initiate calls anymore (it’s always you calling first)?
  • Does she seem in a hurry to get off the phone, fail to ask you many questions, or seem unresponsive to your comments?
  • Do you get nonemergency calls at unreasonable hours, or hear complaints from friends that they’re receiving such calls?

As dementia progresses, she may find it difficult to follow the steps involved in writing, addressing, stamping, and mailing a letter. Phone conversations become difficult to follow. It can be worrisome when you can only get firsthand updates by visiting in person. And someone who can’t write and mail letters may also have trouble completing the steps involved in cooking or driving. Odd communications in the evenings or at night can be characteristic of sundown syndrome, the worsening of confusion and other Alzheimer’s symptoms that sometimes occurs late in the day.

Sign it’s time for assisted living #2: Changes in self-care

  • Is she losing weight inexplicably?
  • Is she gaining weight inexplicably?
  • Has her usual style (hair, makeup, clothing) become noticeably different?
  • Does she dress appropriately for the occasion?
  • Does she dress appropriately for the weather?
  • Have you detected the smell of urine on her clothes?
  • Does she stay up later and later, and then not wake until practically midday?


My staff and I are happy to make an appointment with you to discuss whether your loved one might be better off, and more safe in our beautiful facility here in San Clemente Ca. If we meet you, go over their medical records, chat with their physician, and spend a little time with your Mom or Dad, we will know better what course to take.

Give us a call, no obligation, and we can chat.


Aileen Brazeau

Co-owner, San Clemente Villas by the Sea,

Assisted living, dementia care, alzheimer’s care, South Orange County



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Listen !!

depression in Seniors, San Clemente VillasSigns of Dementia

How do you know if a friend or loved one is showing signs of dementia, or if they are just a little forgetful? I just read a post on the NY Times site that puts forth a theory that some will find to be just plain old common sense. Ask them! Ask the person who seems to be showing signs of dementia.

It is a common complaint with people that too many times people in the medical profession think they know more about us than we do. It is magnified with the elderly. There is a tendency to push statements like I am having trouble with my mind. I forget things, I can’t remember names, and I go into a room and forget why I am there. If you know of someone who is really worried about these things, listen to them, and help them to get diagnosed. It can be tricky, because sometimes the full blown symptoms have not yet manifested, but more often than not, they will. Here is an excerpt from the post o the NY times:

Studies presented Wednesday at an Alzheimer’s Association conference in Boston showed that people with some types of cognitive concerns were more likely to have Alzheimer’s pathology in their brains, and to develop dementia later. Research presented by Dr. Amariglio, for example, found that people with more concerns about memory and organizing ability were more likely to have amyloid, a key Alzheimer’s-related protein, in their brains.

And, in a significant shift highlighted at the conference, leading Alzheimer’s researchers are identifying a new category called “subjective cognitive decline,” which is people’s own sense that their memory and thinking skills are slipping even before others have noticed.

“The whole field now is moving to this area, and saying ‘Hey, maybe there is something to this, and maybe we should pay attention to these people,’ ” said Dr. Ronald C. Petersen, chairman of the advisory panel to the federal government’s new National Alzheimer’s Project.”

As someone who works with seniors every day, I do my best to listen carefully to what they say. I have found that more often than not, they are right. I have also found that sometimes changing medication can affect an individual more than you would think. In seniors, symptoms present differently than they do in other sectors of the population. Bottom line, if your senior is complaining of something, check it out. There are meds out today that while they can’t completely cure dementia and Alzheimer’s, they can slow it down and make life better.


Aileen Brazeau

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San Clemente Villas QR Code

We are always looking for the best way to let people know about our San Clemente Villas by the Sea Assisted Living and Alzheimer’s Facility. The rooms are beautiful, the lobby is warm and welcoming and there is never a shortage of things to do. San Clemente is a gorgeous beachside community ,with beaches, a great downtown area and restaurants  to suit every taste.

In our ongoing effort to let people know about us and our great city, we have several social media outlets. Facebook pages, Pinterest, our blog for ScVillas, and twitter. All of which appear on the front page of this blog.  Our latest addition is our QRCode. Here are both versions, I must say I like the colored one better , but both will provide you with instant access to information about us!!



What is a QR Code?  This is the best explanation I found:


“They come to us from Japan where they are very common. QR is short for Quick Response (they can be read quickly by a cell phone). They are used to take a piece of information from a transitory media and put it in to your cell phone. You may soon see QR Codes in a magazine advert, on a billboard, a web page or even on someone’s t-shirt. Once it is in your cell phone, it may give you details about that business (allowing users to search for nearby locations), or details about the person wearing the t-shirt, show you a URL which you can click to see a trailer for a movie, or it may give you a coupon which you can use in a local outlet.

The reason why they are more useful than a standard barcode is that they can store (and digitally present) much more data, including url links, geo coordinates, and text. The other key feature of QR Codes is that instead of requiring a chunky hand-held scanner to scan them, many modern cell phones can scan them. The full Wikipedia description is here.

How does the cell phone read the code?

The cell phone needs a QR code reader, like this one from Kaywa. It takes literally 1 minute for someone with an iPhone or Android phone to find and install the reader.”

So now you have it and you can access our information right from most cell phones as long as you have the app!!

We look forward to hearing from you..

Aileen Brazeau


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Memory Keepers

Time is fleeting. It doesn’t wait for anyone. When we are younger, it doesn’t seem important to make the time with our loved ones really count. I was like that until my parents both suffered from serious illnesses. Somehow the experience of almost losing them, brought me to my senses. I then realized that I needed to make the most of what time we have left.

Preserving Memories

Daddy forgets a lot these days. He doesn’t have full-blown dementia, but his short term memory is getting worse. He’s not alone. Now close to 80, he has plenty of company. An estimated fifty percent of people 85 years and older now suffer from some kind of dementia.  

So how do we make our time memorable when a loved one has memory problems? The best way is to meet them where they do remember. Younger people have lots of future to look to. Older people have more past to remember. Most people with even moderate dementia can remember their childhood and early adulthood. That’s where they’re comfortable. That’s where you can connect with them.


Talking about the past and remembering the good times, is such a blessing. It doesn’t just bless the older person . . . it can bless you. Knowing the family stories and the obstacles that your loved one had to overcome to be successful in life are rich and worthy to be passed down to future generations. Talking about a person’s early life also helps us to understand them better. What great wisdom would be lost if we neglect to know how they became who they are!


My maternal grandmother raised 14 children and all reached adulthood, save one. Her husband was twice her age and long past where he could make a decent living. She is part of me. That is what I am made of. Whenever I feel discourage or that I have too much on my plate, I remember my granny. I recall all she had to do to raise those kids – feed them, cloth them, and without any help. I remember sitting on her bed and asking her why she would marry a man twice her age. I asked about her childhood and my mother’s childhood. I wouldn’t trade those stories for anything in the world.


What stories do your loved ones still need to share? Do you know why they lived where they lived? Do you know what was the happiest time in their life? Do you know what they consider their greatest accomplishment? Do you know what lessons their parents taught them that are still the most important to them? These are all topics that could enrich your life while giving them the time to share on subjects they feel comfortable with.


Our society revels in those who are young, but do we give enough honor to those who have lived good lives and have wisdom to share? Will you be the memory keeper for your family?


Here are a few questions to get you started as the Memory Keeper for your family!


  1. What occupations or roles have you had in life that has given you the greatest sense of accomplishment?
  2. Why did these roles or occupations seem to be gratifying to you?
  3. What single “seed of wisdom” do you hope to hand down to the next generation?
  4. What did you want to be when you grew up?
  5. What was it like when you were first married?
  6. What did your family do for fun when you were young?
  7. What was your first “date” like and who was it with?
  8. When did you first learn to drive and who taught you?
  9. What was the best present you ever received as a child?
  10. What was your wedding day like? What did you wear and were there any catastrophes?

By Karen Everett Watson – gerontologist


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Promoting Memory Care

Aileen Brazeau recently hosted a community discussion on the subject of  Memory Enhancement Programs for seniors.

The discussion was led by  Gerontologist Jane L. Mahakian, PhD, MFT,  previous director of Elder Care Programs at the University of California, San Francisco, and CEO/founder of Aging Matters, Inc.  Topics of discussions included the differences between normal memory Jane-Mahakian-PhD speaks at San Clemente Villaschanges, mild cognitive impairment and early-stage dementia.

 A support group continues to meet the last Thursday of each month at San Clemente Villas to share news and ideas, and to learn more about the different levels of memory loss and dementia, and ways to detect them.  The support group invites care givers, relatives, and those concerned about their own memory skills; to gather information from geriatric experts on hand and receive  input from thought leaders about modern dementia identification tools/ treatments.

The event coincided with the new Memory Enhancement Program being offered to residents at the Villas’ deluxe assisted care community.  The conversation served to underscore  how the Villas new “Memory Enhancement Program” (MEP) incorporates state-of-the-art methods.

Participating MEP residents of the Villas attend daily memory improvement classes, conducted by Coordinator Diana Sanchez, that are loaded with cues and reminders. These provoke those residents to keep their minds and bodies in motion to help Memory Care at San Clemente Villasthem remain as independent as possible as long as possible.

“There are classes, twice a day, covering virtually any kind of cognitive deficiency,” says Dr. Mahakian. “You want those in MEP, even ones with mild cognitive impairment, to be as regularly stimulated as often as possible.  It is so true that using a mind helps forestall losing a mind.”

Individual supportive counseling is provided for each participant, weekly testing is done to verify progress being made, and there are monthly support groups for residents and families.

This program is another example of Aileen’s  commitment toward enhancing the experience of the senior citizens in our world.


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