4 Decisions That Impact Your Ability to Live Your Best Retirement

June 6, 2019

Here are 4 factors to consider before retiring.

Planning for retirement is a complex process. Here are 4 factors to consider before retiring.

As retirement age draws near, many older adults are faced with a variety of decisions. While some are minor, others can impact a retiree’s quality of life. When you are working through your plans for retirement, here are 4 factors to consider.

4 Factors to Consider Before Retiring

  1. At what age you want to retire.

Some people dream of retiring early and sailing off on grand adventures. Unfortunately, it isn’t often a practical choice. While you may be eligible to collect some of your social security at age 62, most people can’t draw their full amount until age 66 or 67.

If you have been able to save enough money, this difference may not make a big impact. It’s important to know, however, that if you opt for early social security benefits, the amount you receive each month will be permanently reduced.

For many older adults, it is health insurance that greatly impacts when they retire. Most seniors are eligible for Medicare benefits beginning at age 65. If you retire before then, you may be able to use COBRA to extend your health care benefits or access an individual plan through the health care marketplace. Both options, however, can take a significant bite out of a retiree’s budget.

  1. Where you want to live after retiring.

From climate to health care, it’s important to think long and hard about where you will live after you retire. Here are a few factors to consider:

  • Climate: Older adults often find southern climates to be a good choice for avoiding winter’s ice and snow. This is especially true for adults with chronic health conditions like osteoarthritis and asthma.
  • Health care: It is important to take into consideration how close you will be to hospitals, physician offices, and other care providers.
  • Public transportation: Many seniors lose confidence in their driving skills as they grow older. Be sure to explore transportation options before making a decision.
  • Cost of living: Some cities and states are much more affordable than others. When trying to make a retirement budget stretch, choosing a location with a low cost of living can make a big difference.
  1. The type of housing you choose.

Along with where you live, it’s important to think very carefully about the type of residence or senior community you choose to live in. Retirement communities typically have multiple levels of care. Most offer what is referred to as a continuum of care. That means you might move into an independent living apartment and later add personal-care services or move to an assisted living suite.

By contrast, if you choose to live in a private home, you will need to consider the expenses you have now and those you will incur in the future. Beyond the mortgage and utilities, you’ll need to budget for assistance with maintenance, home repairs, and basic housekeeping when those jobs become overwhelming.

Seniors who choose to age in place often need to modify their homes with ramps and barrier-free showers. Many will also need the support of an in-home care provider.

  1. What your priorities are in retirement.

Finally, think about what is most important to you. Are you looking to retire and move closer to your children and grandchildren? Or are you looking for freedom to travel more and be less tied down?

Living with purpose is an important part of aging well. Some find that purpose is found in family relationships, while others say volunteer work and continuing education is key. Be honest about what your hopes and dreams for retirement are, and use that as your guidepost in making decisions.

Retire at a Legacy Senior Living Community

With senior living communities located throughout the southeast, you are sure to find a Legacy Senior Living community that meets your retirement criteria. Call 423-478-8071 to learn more today!

Tips for Choosing a Senior-Friendly Realtor

May 27, 2019

If you or a senior loved one are searching for a realtor, these tips can help you find and interview potential candidates.

Moving can be physically and emotionally exhausting. In fact, mental health experts rate moving as one of life’s most taxing events. It’s right up there with losing your job or getting a divorce.

Added to this stress is the sentimental aspect of moving. It is fairly common for a senior to have lived in the same house for decades. That can make parting with the home even more difficult. Finding a realtor who has experience and training working with seniors is the can help make the process more manageable.

Common Reasons Older Adults Relocate

Seniors move for many reasons, but there are a few that are the most common. In a study conducted by a relocation specialist, the top three reasons cited were:

  • Declining health: 34% of older adults surveyed said their move was caused by a change in health.
  • More freedom: 10% of respondents were looking for a more carefree lifestyle and fewer home-maintenance burdens.
  • Problems keeping up: 42% of older adults said they were no longer able to keep up with home repairs and maintenance.

Having a licensed real estate agent who understands each of these situations can help make this transition go a little more smoothly. That is one reason the National Association of Realtors created a special designation for realtors who work with seniors.

Choosing a Senior Real Estate Specialist

A realtor who has earned the Seniors Real Estate Specialist® (SRES) credential has undergone additional training. They know the unique challenges older adults face as they prepare to sell their home. You can use your zip code to search the National Association of Realtors online database for a specialist near you.

Once you’ve found a few good candidates who seem capable of selling the senior’s home, it’s time to schedule an in-person interview with each one. If you live too far away to be able to do that, try to use a video chat service like Skype to conduct the interviews.

Here are a few suggestions to ask each of your realtor candidates:

  • What led them to seek the SRES credential?
  • How many seniors have they helped sell their home?
  • How do they go about setting a price for a senior’s home?
  • How do they approach the sale of an older adult’s home differently than that of a younger family?
  • What will they do to market the home?
  • Do they offer advice on staging or other ways to help the senior earn top dollar for the home?
  • How successful is their track record for getting the asking price for a home?
  • Are some months better than others when it comes to selling a senior’s house?
  • Do they have experience working with any senior move managers or moving companies in the area?

Our final tip is to ask for a reference list of families they’ve helped sell a home. That can give you a better understanding of how well they work with and are sensitive to the needs of older sellers.

If you are a senior or an adult child of one looking to make a move, we hope you will keep Legacy Senior Living in mind. With options ranging from independent and assisted living to memory care, we have a variety of solutions for older adults to consider.

Call us at (423) 478-8071 to set up a personal tour!

Agitation and Alzheimer’s: How Can Family Members Manage It?

May 20, 2019

Agitation is one of the most difficult behaviors for families to manage at home when a loved one has Alzheimer’s. These tips may help.

Caring for a senior loved one who has Alzheimer’s disease often presents unique challenges. From sleep deprivation to wandering, family caregivers find themselves having to manage complicated behaviors. A common one is agitation.

Older adults who have Alzheimer’s often experience increased agitation later in the day, as the sun begins to go down. This condition is known as sundowning or sundowner’s syndrome.

Agitation isn’t limited to late afternoons and evenings, however. It can occur other times of the day too. The key to helping your senior loved one find peace may lie in determining what could be triggering the behavior.

5 Causes of Agitation in an Adult with Alzheimer’s Disease

  1. Change in routine: Memory loss makes it tough for a person with Alzheimer’s disease to adapt to change. A variation in routine or environment can increase agitation. A structured, predictable schedule allows an adult with Alzheimer’s to feel more confident and in control. This often results in less agitation.
  2. Hectic environment: Because of the damage the disease does to the brain, people with Alzheimer’s are less able to multitask or process too many things at one time. When a senior with Alzheimer’s is in a hectic environment, it can lead to heightened agitation. For example, if the senior is at your home during a family gathering, the noisy background might be too much for them to handle. Crowded public places, like a restaurant or shopping mall, may also cause problems. Maintaining a calm, quiet environment is usually best.
  3. Overly fatigued: Sleep problems are common among seniors with Alzheimer’s. Family members often say it feels like their loved one can go days without sleeping. When a person with Alzheimer’s disease becomes extremely tired, it can lead to agitation. By finding a way to manage the senior’s sleep issues, you may be able help them to feel less agitated throughout the day.
  4. Excessive activity: Family caregivers lead busy lives. If you don’t have anyone to stay with your senior loved one while you run errands, you might need to take them with you. Doing too much in one day, however, can increase agitation. Consider dividing your stops over several days. Experts also suggest planning activities around your loved ones best and worst times of day. For many, morning is the best time. Afternoon activity might increase the risk for sundowning.
  5. Undiagnosed pain: Verbal communication skills often become impaired as Alzheimer’s disease progresses. This can make it tough for a caregiver to recognize when their loved one is in pain. Suffering with undiagnosed pain understandably increases agitation. If the senior you are caring for is unusually restless, look at their face for signs of pain and distress. You may be able point to different parts of the body and ask them if it hurts there to figure out what is going on. While this approach may not work for everyone, it might help narrow down the problem.

If you’ve explored each of these common triggers without success, it may be time to talk with a physician. They may have other options to pursue, such as reviewing the senior’s medication list for potential adverse reactions or side effects that cause agitation.

Dementia Care at Legacy Senior Living

If you are struggling to manage a loved one’s safety and well-being at home, we can help. Our award-winning memory care programs are designed to be a refuge from the storms caused by dementia. Call the Legacy Senior Living nearest you to learn more today!

Cooking for One: How Seniors Can Plan Healthy Menus

May 13, 2019

cutting herbs - cooking for one

If you are struggling to find easy ways to eat healthy when cooking for one, you aren’t alone. From storing produce to batching meals, we have some tips to help.

Healthy cooking for one is a challenge many older adults face. Some seniors, understandably, lack the motivation to create healthy meals. It can feel like too much work for just one person. Other seniors might have difficulty getting to the grocery store often enough to buy fresh fruits and vegetables. But eating well is an important factor in living a longer, healthier life.

What can you do to eat well when you live alone? We have some ideas you or your senior loved one might find helpful.

Tips for Making Healthy Meals for One

  • Healthy shortcuts: Reduce the amount of time you spend in the kitchen by taking a few shortcuts. Take advantage of in-store timesavers such as salad bars, packaged lettuce and precut vegetables, and prepared rotisserie chicken. Don’t overlook frozen fruits and vegetables either. Many nutritionists believe buying frozen fruits and vegetables is better than canned. By spending time exploring your local grocery store, you are likely to find more time-saving options.
  • Storage tips: Seniors who are cooking for one might struggle to find ways to keep fresh foods from spoiling before they can eat them. Along with freezing fruits and vegetables until you need them, another tip is to purchase reusable green produce storage bags. These bags help produce stay fresh longer. Experts also say you should store produce in the refrigerator with enough space around it to promote good circulation. This helps to improve the shelf life of fruits and vegetables.
  • Batch cooking: Designate a few days a month for baking and freezing healthy entrees. By cooking in batches, you make the most of prep time. Storing meals in glass freezer-to-oven containers is another time-saving tip. Consider swapping batched meals with friends who also live alone. If you each prepare a few entrees a month to share, you’ll be able to stock the freezer much more easily.
  • Menu planning: It also helps to create a meal plan rotation. Come up with four to six weeks of menus and the shopping lists for each week. Cooking apps, such as Mealime and FoodPlanner, make this easier to do.
  • Invest in an Instapot: This modern version of a pressure cooker has earned a place in the kitchen of many busy cooks. Largely because it makes it easier and faster to prepare healthy meals. This might give older adults one more avenue for eating well without spending a lot of time in the kitchen.

If you’ve decided not to spend your retirement years in the kitchen under any circumstances, there is another option to consider. Some home-delivered meal programs allow you to eat well without the hassle of grocery shopping and cooking. Silver Cuisine by bistro MD and Freshly are two to consider. Both deliver healthy, precooked meals right to your door.

Join Us for Lunch in the Dining Room

At Legacy Senior Living communities, residents leave the cooking to us. Residents enjoy homecooked meals in the company of friends in one of our beautiful dining rooms every day.

If you are searching for an independent living, assisted living, or memory care community, we hope you will consider Legacy Senior Living. We invite you to set up a time for a tour and lunch on us in the dining room. Call (423) 478-8071 today!

Home Safety Checklist for Caregivers of Older Adults

May 9, 2019

If you are concerned a senior’s home isn’t safe, this home safety checklist can help you conduct an assessment. From fall hazards to lighting, here’s what to look for.

If you spent time at an older loved one’s home during your spring holiday, you may have wondered if they are safe living alone. Family members often find themselves trying to evaluate a senior’s home for safety. Making that determination is tough when you aren’t sure what you should be looking for.

That’s why we put together this home safety checklist. We hope it will help families identify potential problem spots around a senior loved one’s home. From in-home fall hazards to lighting concerns, here’s what caregivers should look for when conducting a safety assessment.

Safety Risks to Identify in a Senior’s Home

General security concerns:       

  • Do exterior doors and windows have working locks?
  • Is a home security system with signs displayed prominently to discourage break-ins?
  • Are flashlights strategically placed throughout the home including on the bedside table, on a table near the senior’s favorite spot in the living area, and in the basement?
  • Does the senior have two or more cordless phones so they can keep one with them at all times?
  • Is there a process for making sure the proper dosage of each medication is taken at the right time?

Potential fall hazards:   

  • Is the area surrounding the senior’s favorite spot to sit in the living room free from clutter and tripping hazards?
  • Are grab bars in place near the bedside, tub, and toilet?
  • Are cords secure and out of the way so as not to create a fall risk?
  • Is the home free from throw rugs that can be a trip-and-fall hazard?
  • Does the senior have nonskid slippers or shoes to wear around the house?
  • Are transitions between rooms level and in good condition?
  • Is adequate lighting present in all areas of the home, but especially near stairs and in bathrooms?
  • Are night-lights strategically placed in locations that the senior uses most often, such as the pathways to the kitchen, bedroom and bathroom?
  • Does the senior have a walk-in tub or shower with a seat?
  • If needed, does the bathroom have a raised toilet seat?

Stairways and steps:

  • Are stairways well lit with on-off switches at both the top and bottom?
  • Are railings strong enough for an adult to pull themselves up with?
  • Is the stairway free from clutter that could cause a fall?
  • Are treads or carpeting on each step secure and level?

Fire and carbon monoxide safety:     

  • Does each level of the house have at least one working smoke detector?
  • Is a smoke detector located right outside the room the senior sleeps in?
  • Does the home have a carbon monoxide detector?
  • Is the furnace inspected twice each year?
  • Does the senior have a light-weight, easy-to-use fire extinguisher in the kitchen?
  • Are dials on the stove accessible without needing to reach over burners?

Home exterior safety risks:

  • Are exterior steps and stairways in good repair?
  • Do outdoor stairs have strong handrails?
  • Do exterior doors and walkways have working motion lights?
  • Are the driveway and sidewalks free from cracks and crevices that can lead to trip-and-fall accidents?
  • Is a winter snow and ice removal plan in place for older adults who live in colder climates?

If you find your senior’s home presents too many safety concerns, it may be time to consider a change. An independent or assisted living community can be an option to consider. Call (423) 478-8071 today to learn more!

Helping a Senior Manage Anxiety Before a Move to Assisted Living

April 29, 2019

manage move anxiety

Moving can be distressing. Use these tips to try to help manage move anxiety and make a smooth transition to assisted living.

Moving during the retirement years is much different than moving as a young or middle-aged adult. Seniors who are relocating might find the emotional issues they encounter to be more difficult than the physical challenges moving presents.

For an older adult who has lived in their home for many years, parting with the house can feel like letting go of the happy memories created there. It can also trigger grief and sadness if members of the family have passed away.

The relocation process can lead to anxiety for the senior and stressful days for those who love them. It can make the transition to what should be a new and exciting time in life overwhelming.

Managing Move Anxiety During the Retirement Years

Psychologists call the anxiety seniors encounter before a move relocation stress syndrome (RSS). There are a few ways you can help your elder loved one manage this transition:

  • Include them in decisions: When you are busy juggling a career, a parent’s care, and your own family’s needs, you might try to make most of the decisions about the move yourself. That can make the senior feel like they are losing their independence. Unless your loved one has a health issue that prevents them from participating in the process, include them in as many decisions as seems reasonable. Your goal should be to find the balance between including the family member and overwhelming them with too many unimportant decisions.
  • Maintain an attitude of respect: Sometimes the process of downsizing a senior’s home can get a little contentious. What you see as something to throw away or donate might be a treasure to your aging loved one. Work with the senior and the team at the assisted living community to determine what furniture and belongings will fit and what will need to find a new home. As you do so, remember to be kind and respectful.
  • Create a plan for moving day: Carefully planning for the day of the move is important for reducing stress and anxiety. Pack a suitcase filled with everything your family member will need right away. These supplies may include medication, toiletries, a change of clothing, personal care items, and other daily necessities. Also, assemble a supply box that contains items you may need on moving day, such as a coffee pot and coffee supplies, snacks, towels and washcloths, cleaning products, and trash bags. Put both the suitcase and the box in the car with you instead of sending them with the movers.

Our final suggestion is to encourage your senior loved one to maintain their sense of humor. Despite your best efforts, things may go wrong as the older adult makes this transition. Be patient and try to laugh off the small inconveniences.

Questions about Moving to Senior Living

If you have questions about moving to a senior living community, one of our experienced team members will be happy to provide answers. Call the Legacy Senior Living community nearest you for help!

How Memory Care Improves Quality of Life for Seniors with Dementia

April 15, 2019

improve quality of life

For adults with dementia, a memory care community helps improve quality of life. Here’s what adult children and family caregivers should know.

When a senior loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or a similar form of dementia, families go to great lengths to keep them at home. Sometimes that means bringing professional caregivers into the senior’s home, and other times the solution might be moving them into an adult child’s home.

As the disease progresses, families can encounter unique challenges Many of these challenges are difficult to safely manage at home. These can include wandering, agitation, and aggression. Managing Alzheimer’s disease can lead to burnout and other serious health problems for the caregiver.

Moving to a memory care community might be a good solution for loved ones to consider.

Quality of Life and Memory Care Communities

A memory care program, such as The Harbor at Legacy Senior Living, offers the support a senior with dementia needs to feel productive and empowered. It also gives their loved ones the peace of mind that comes from knowing the older adult is safe.

A few ways memory care programs can help to improve the quality of life for people with dementia include:

  • Daily life enrichment activities: Life enrichment activities in a memory care program are designed to work with the senior’s remaining abilities and allow them to feel more productive. That’s important to an older adult who may be struggling with communication skills and memory loss.
  • Thoughtfully designed physical environments: Wandering is an unfortunate reality many families struggle to manage. Memory care programs offer secure environments designed to prevent wandering. They also use techniques such as visual cues, memory boxes, and open floor plans to make daily life easier for people with memory loss.
  • Dedicated dining programs: Poor nutrition is another concern for family caregivers when a loved one has dementia. It is common for people with dementia to develop swallowing problems that increase the risk for choking. Vision changes can make it hard for them to distinguish the food on their plate. Difficulty concentrating at mealtime also plays a role. In a memory care program, the staff works around each of these challenges to keep residents well nourished.
  • Specially-trained caregivers: Another benefit of memory care is the caregivers. Most have undergone additional training to help them learn how to support success in adults with dementia. From how to approach an adult with dementia to how to communicate with an adult who has lost their verbal skills, caregivers are trained to help residents live better lives.

Signs It’s Time to Consider a Memory Care Community

If you aren’t sure when it’s time to consider a memory care community, here are a few signs that your loved one might be ready:

  • Easily disoriented or lost in familiar places
  • Unable to participate in activities and events at home
  • Struggling with balance and mobility
  • Unintended weight loss
  • Vision changes that put them at risk for falls
  • Poor judgment with finances
  • Problems with continence care

It’s also important to include caregiver stress and fatigue on this list. Alzheimer’s caregivers have exhausting schedules. When the days begin to feel overwhelming, it is another sign it may be time to consider memory care for a senior loved one.

Visit The Harbor Memory Care

The best way to learn more about a memory care program is to visit in person. Staff members can answer all of your questions, take you on a tour, and introduce you to the staff. Contact a Legacy Senior Living community near you to schedule a tour today!

What Questions Should You Ask During an Assisted Living Community Tour?

April 8, 2019

right questions

Asking the right questions is an important part of choosing an assisted living community. These tips will help you know what to ask.

When families begin to explore assisted living communities for a senior loved one, knowing the right questions to ask is important. While a beautiful lobby and plush grounds are nice features, making an informed decision requires learning more about the community’s quality of care and how it operates.

Here are nine questions you’ll want to ask each assisted living community you are considering.

9 Questions to Ask When Touring an Assisted Living Community

  1. How does the community recruit, screen, and train its caregivers?

Quality care is dependent upon having experienced, compassionate caregivers. Ask questions that help you determine how team members are recruited and screened.

It’s also important to learn more about the community’s training program. After the initial orientation and training period, what else is done to help team members continue to learn and grow as professionals?

  1. Pay attention to relationships

This tip is more of an observation than a question, but it’s an important factor in making a solid decision. As you are touring an assisted living community, pay close attention to the relationships and interactions between staff and residents. Do residents seem happy and engaged? Do staff members know residents and family members’ names? Facial expressions and body language can tell a story so it’s essential to pay attention.

  1. What is the community’s staff turnover rate?

Caring for older adults isn’t easy, physically or emotionally. That’s why the staff turnover rate is higher in assisted living and memory care communities than in independent living properties. A staff turnover rate that is too high, however, may be a sign that an assisted living community isn’t well-managed.

Remember, when staff turnover is low, residents, caregivers, and families have an opportunity to get to know and trust one another. This promotes stronger continuity of care.

  1. How many caregivers are there for residents?

The caregiver-to-resident ratio is an important factor in providing quality care. When an assisted living community is well staffed, caregivers have ample time to spend with each resident. Staff members are also able to detect small changes in health and intervene early when they aren’t rushed.

  1. What happens if a resident needs more care?

Sometimes a senior’s needs change after they move to an assisted living community. Make certain you ask what will happen if your loved one needs more assistance. Can they get more help at the community or will they need to move again? Moving can be difficult at any age, but especially so for an older adult with declining health.

  1. What does the monthly fee include?

Every assisted living community prices their services differently. This can make it difficult for families to compare the cost of one assisted living community with another. Ask for a detailed list of what is included in the monthly fee. Just as important, ask what additional expenses you should expect each month.

  1. How often do monthly fees increase?

Expenses associated with operating an assisted living community increase each year. Caregivers earn raises, the cost of groceries goes up, as do supplies, insurance expenses, and utilities. Make sure you understand how much rates typically increase and how often. Also, ask how much notice your family will be given before rates go up.

  1. Where can you see a copy of the community’s state survey results?

Every state regulates assisted living communities differently, but they all conduct surveys to ensure that rules are being followed. Ask the sales person or the executive director where you can review the community’s state survey results. Some states publish them online to make it easier for consumers to gain access.

  1. What documents will you be required to sign?

Before you leave the community, ask for copies of the documents you would be required to sign should your loved one decide to live there. Then take time to review them and make a list of follow-up questions. You’ll want to make sure you know how deposits are handled, how much notice you will need to give if your family member wants to move again, and other financial details. Some families find it helpful to have an attorney review the documents and point out any potential concerns.

Talking to a Senior about Moving

If you’ve been putting off having a conversation with your senior loved one about moving, know that you aren’t alone. Many adult children view this topic as a tough one to handle.

We created “6 Tips for Talking about Assisted Living with a Senior” to help families like yours. You’ll find suggestions for everything from what words to use to how to handle resistance. You can also call Legacy Senior Living at 423-478-8071 with any questions about assisted living!

Senior Safety: Coping with Spring Allergies

April 4, 2019

Coping with Spring Allergies

Managing spring allergies can be more difficult for seniors. From medication side effects to exacerbating chronic illnesses, here’s what caregivers should know.

Itchy, watery eyes, uncontrollable sneezing, and nasal congestion can all be symptoms of seasonal allergies. For seniors who live in the south, where flowering trees and pollen-filled flowers are blooming, allergy season can be a miserable time of year. While allergies can be uncomfortable for people of all ages, they may have a more serious impact on the health of older adults.

Complicating factors, such as chronic illnesses and side effects of allergy medications, can make it difficult for older adults to get the relief they need. Here’s what caregivers should know to keep a senior loved one safe during allergy season.

Seniors and Spring Allergy Season

What causes allergies? It’s a question most allergy sufferers ask. Allergies are the body’s reaction to the immune system becoming sensitized to something in the environment.

Experts say allergies are especially dangerous to older adults for a variety of reasons. A leading concern is that allergy symptoms and nasal congestion can cause shortness of breath for seniors who have a chronic disease.

Another concern is the use of antihistamines, a popular over-the-counter medication many people buy to self-treat allergies. A common side effect of antihistamines is increased blood pressure. This can be dangerous for seniors who have cardiac disease or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

What is Triggering a Senior Loved One’s Allergies?

It’s helpful to know just what might be triggering an allergy attack in a senior loved one. Some of the most common allergy triggers include:

  • Pollen, mold, grass, and dust
  • Chlorine in swimming pools
  • Smoke from an outdoor fire
  • Insect bites and stings

While many of the symptoms associated with spring allergies can be present year-round, they often peak in the springtime.

4 Ways to Safely Manage Spring Allergies

  1. Control the environment: During peak allergy season, keeping the windows closed so pollen and dust have a more difficult time getting inside is one way to prevent allergies from getting out of control. Instead of open windows, use a fan or air conditioner to cool the house. The same is true for riding in a car. Keep the windows closed and the air conditioning on.
  2. Avoid outdoor exposure: While no one wants to be cooped up indoors when spring finally arrives, limiting time spent outdoors during peak allergy season helps prevent exposure to potential triggers. If your senior loved one has to go outside, help them take a few precautionary steps. Wearing a mask across their mouth and nose is one. Another is changing clothes and shoes in the garage or mud room before coming back inside. This can reduce the amount of pollen that makes its way into the house.
  3. Use a weather app: Paying attention to when the pollen count will be high is easier with a weather app. Many local television stations have weather apps so viewers can receive weather or pollen alerts. If your senior loved one doesn’t have this option, The Weather Channel and Yahoo! Weather are two national weather apps to explore.
  4. Work closely with your doctor or allergist: Pinpointing the source of your aging loved one’s allergies is one of the best ways to learn how to treat them. Talk with your senior family member’s primary care physician to see if they recommend seeing an allergist for testing.

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What is Parkinson’s Dementia?

March 25, 2019

What is Parkinson's Dementia

People are familiar with the common symptoms of Parkinson’s, such as tremors and speech problems. But most people with this disease also develop Parkinson’s dementia. Learn more here.

With symptoms ranging from rigid muscles to speech problems, Parkinson’s disease (PD) is classified as a neurodegenerative disease. It happens when the body doesn’t produce enough dopamine, the chemical required to allow for smooth movements. Another challenge for an adult with PD and their family caregivers is Parkinson’s dementia.

Researchers say that between 50 and 80 percent of people with PD will eventually develop Parkinson’s dementia. Similar to other forms of dementia, it can present unique safety challenges for the person with the disease and for their caregivers.

What Is Parkinson’s Dementia?

Parkinson’s disease dementia results from a buildup of protein deposits, known as Lewy bodies, in the brain of a person with PD. The symptoms of Parkinson’s disease dementia are similar to other forms of dementia. They include:

  • Memory loss and forgetfulness
  • Sleep problems
  • Hallucinations and/or delusions
  • Difficulty carrying on a conversation
  • Loss of attention span
  • Anxiety and nervousness
  • Trouble managing finances
  • Irritable and quick to anger
  • Using words incorrectly
  • Poor judgment
  • Depression
  • Easily tearful and sad

How is Parkinson’s Disease Dementia Treated?

As is true with most forms of dementia, there is currently no cure. An older adult’s physician will usually create a care plan to manage each individual symptom of the disease.

For example, if a senior with PD dementia is experiencing sadness or clinical depression, they might be referred to a mental health professional for treatment. Or if the adult is having trouble with insomnia, a sleep disorder specialist might be consulted to help address it.

Senior Living to Assist Adults with PD

Because the average age of diagnosis for PD is 60, patients and their spouses are often leading active lives. The challenge of living with and caring for a person who has Parkinson’s disease dementia can be especially difficult.

Some families turn to an adult day program for daytime assistance. The adult with Parkinson’s dementia attends the center every day or a few times a week to socialize in a safe, supportive environment. This allows a spouse or adult child to continue to work.

Other families find an assisted living community to be a better solution. They may utilize the community’s short-term respite care services when the family caregiver needs a break or wants to enjoy a vacation. As their loved one’s needs increase, they might move to the community on a long-term basis. Because they’ve already built a relationship with the staff, the transition is a little easier to make.

If you are caring for a loved one with Parkinson’s dementia and you live in the southeast, we invite you to schedule an appointment at one of the Legacy Senior Living communities. We’ll be happy to answer your questions about respite care, assisted living, and memory care for adults with dementia. Call us today at (423) 478-8071 to set up a time!