Dementia or Alzheimers

As we reach a certain age, our bodies start to wear out and shut down. We have been told in the past that due to years of wear and tear, plus genetics, we will begin to experience different physical ailments varying from back problems and decreased mobility, to memory loss, such as Dementia and Alzheimer’s. The prevalent theory was these were inevitable signs of old age. But what they told us was wrong. New research shows that many of the symptoms we all thought were signs of aging are reversible with changes in diet and exercise.

At San Clemente Villas, our staff regularly holds classes where we play games that strengthen  memory. We know first-hand these types of activities help our Seniors with cognition. We  strongly encourage our people to keep active by offering  activities like exercise, walking, singing, dancing, swimming, which are fun for anyone, and all of which contribute to stronger bodies and minds.

Still, even with all of this, dementia or Alzheimer’s can set in. While there are meds that can help, and activities both physical and mental will also help, there is not a cure.

Dementia is a phrase used to describe the symptoms of Alzheimer’s instead of a separate disorder. So, if your doctor  informs you that  you or your family member is experiencing a bit of dementia, he means you have early warning signs of Alzheimer’s.  Do not take it lightly. These signs are there to help you prepare for the coming struggle you will have to work through, either yourself or with a family member.

There are as many as 5.3 million Americans that live with Alzheimer’s. Many of them over the age of 70. Think about how long we as human beings have expanding our own lifespan in such a short amount of time. Imagine what the future will bring in terms of increasing healthy living. If we can make progress then living to a ripe old age will be something to look forward to.



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A Home to Thrive In, Making Home Safe for Seniors

By Karen Everett Watson – Gerontologist


Considering a move is something none of us likes to think about. But as we age, our homes can become a hazardous place for us to stay. My own parents are now considering a move from their country home. My father just turned 80, and the work it takes to care for two acres is becoming more than he wants to handle. My mother thrives on gardening and spends many hours each day doing just that. But she’s come to the conclusion that a move might be necessary in the next few years. Their two story home can also be a problem. My mother recently took a fall down the stairs. It’s amazing that she came away without a bruise or scratch.

There are things we can do to make a home better suited to aging.  According to the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission, over 600,000 elderly Americans are seen each year in hospital emergency rooms from accidents in their homes. You can help make your home safer and often it doesn’t take a lot of cash to do so. Since falls are the number one cause of fatal injury for seniors, pulling up those throw rugs and removing any clutter from the floors will do a lot to keep you safe. Not all improvements are this easy but many are.

Experts have studied home safety and handy checklists are available on many websites. On the California Department of Aging website you can use the search words “home safety” to find a good list. But the place to really begin is talking to your loved ones about the idea. Perhaps making it a family project with all family members involved will make the task easier. Sit down with them and go over the checklist. Items include making sure that all curtains and drapes are a safe distance from heaters. Removing electrical cords from walkways are also on the list. While these seem like common sense suggestions, you might be surprised which changes you’ll have to make once you’ve looked through your home.

Lighting is a big issue for those who often suffer from vision loss. Purchasing motion sensitive night lights can really help. No one should have to walk into a dark room to try to find a light switch. Having a reachable lamp near the bed will make it easier for middle of the night bathroom visits. And for entrances into the house, make sure all lights are working and adequate.

Falls in the bathroom are very common but a night light can make it much safer. Appliquéd non-skid decals can prevent slipping and the dreaded fall in both the bath and shower. Grab bars inside showers and bathtubs may take a little more doing but greatly increase your elder’s safety. Installing a walk-in style tub could also be a good move.

The kitchen is another place where safety is often an issue. Moving items that are used often to lower shelves will keep a senior off a step stool. Checking that kitchen step stool for sturdiness is also good idea. Make sure all towels, curtains and aprons are located away from burners. You’ll also want to look at plugged in cords to make sure they’re in good condition.

Telephones can be lifelines for seniors so make sure your parents’ is in good working order and it’s an appropriate model. Having a volume control will enable your senior to hear it when it rings. The California Aging check list suggests adding a light that flashes when it rings for seniors with hearing loss. Your loved one may qualify for a free new phone through the Deaf and Disabled Telecommunications Program (DDTP) that will accommodate their need. Emergency numbers should be posted near a phone in large print so elders won’t have to hunt for them during an emergency.

Seniors are especially sensitive to heat so turn down that water heater to 120 degrees or lower. Check out smoke detectors to make sure they’re working properly. There should be one in or near the bedroom where your elder sleeps. If your elder uses an electric blanket make sure it’s in good shape by checking it for exposed wiring.

Outside areas should not be overlooked when doing your inspection. Steps and walkways should be free from clutter, overgrown plantings and in good repair. For low income seniors, financial assistance may be available.

We all are intricately linked to our environment, or homes. Home is the place where we can be ourselves and the structure itself is often a reflection of ourselves and our lives. But, as we grow older, many of us will have to consider moving to another home. The reasons can vary. Yard work and home maintenance might become too much for us to handle. Our physical abilities might change and our home might become harder to live in. We might even suffer a health crisis and need help in our everyday activities of life. We might consider moving to free up the equity in our home. Change is hard, but sometimes necessary.

If you are living alone, the right move might just be to a retirement community where you can interact with your peers and live in a safe environment. Here are a few things to consider when you’re considering a move.

Another thing to consider about a possible move is how connected you are to friends and family. Isolation can be deadly, so if you’re not socializing on a regular basis, a retirement community could bring you friends and activities that will enrich your life.

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Aileen Brazeau-Senior Living

Senior Care – Should Your Parents Be Driving?

Seniors and Driving

Everyone ages differently. There are some people who live independently, garden, dance and  have social lives well into the 80’s. There are others who begin to decline in cognitive functioning in their mid 70”s. No matter what the age, there will come a time when you have to take away the keys. That is a really tough hurdle to handle with your parents. I found some blog post online that talk about the subject:“When Should Seniors Hang Up The Car Keys?

With a growing population of baby boomers, officials are bracing for a surge in senior drivers. Statistics tell us that accidents increase after the age of 65, and fatal accidents are more likely after the age of 75.

Canada requires physicians to report any concern about a patient’s ability to drive, and they are being paid every time they warn a patient. But there’s no such requirement here in the U.S. While some seniors opt for public transportation, others stick to the roads. So, often it’s up to family members to help seniors decide when it’s time to give up the car keys.

Some families are already grappling with such decisions.

Comedian Dan Nainan travels across the country — and the world — telling tales that keep the laughs coming. Nainan is a funny guy, but there was nothing funny about what happened this year to his dad, who’s 82. “One day I got a call, and he was in a parking lot. I guess he had accelerated into a brick wall and totaled his car,” recalls Nainan.

Motor vehicle authorities took Dad’s license away, but it wasn’t so straightforward with Nainan’s mother. If he hadn’t decided to get in the car and see how she was driving, he wouldn’t have known. “She was having trouble tracking, staying straight. But what scared me — she passed our house twice and did not turn in,” he says “…..

You may live out of town and don’t get to see your parents regularly, if they are over 75, it is probably important to take at least a weekend trip to see your folks. Have them take you on errands and watch how they drive.

Talking to them will be hard, taking away the keys, more difficult, but if they cause a serious accident and you could have prevented it, that will be worse. Make sure that BEFORE you take their keys away you know what their options are for getting around.

In many areas of the country there are special buses that for a low price will take seniors to doctors appointments. Is there a cab company nearby that your folks could take to get to their activities? Social life is very important in the physical and mental health of all seniors.

Here at San Clemente Villas we have transportation available to our seniors, and we also take them on regular outings.

Aileen Brazeau

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