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The Cottages Blog

Valuable Information for Caregivers and Loved Ones

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Raise Awareness and Help End Alzheimer’s on The Longest Day

  June is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month and each year on the longest day of the year — the summer solstice on June 21 — the Alzheimer’s Association promotes The Longest Day events around the nation and across the globe. The Longest Day is all about love for those affected by Alzheimer’s disease and raising funds and awareness to help end Alzheimer’s. Did you know that more than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s today? By the year 2050, this number could rise as high as 16 million, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Together, with the Alzheimer’s Association, you can help raise awareness for care and support while advancing research toward finding a cure. Why June 21? The duration of the sunrise-to-sunset event on the longest day of the year symbolizes the challenging journey faced by those living with Alzheimer’s disease and their caregivers. Teams are encouraged to turn their passions and hobbies into unique experiences they can share with others as they participate in The Longest Day to honor those living with the disease. Here’s how you can participate: Select an activity you love. Do something you love — or honor a caregiver, someone living with Alzheimer’s, or someone you’ve lost by selecting his or her favorite hobby. Pick a way to participate. Start or join a team, host an event, or register as an individual. Choose the way that works best for you! Learn more here. Raise money to move the cause forward. To advance research and provide care and support, each participant is... read more

Better Understanding for Better Care: How TULIPS Training Helps Our Staff Provide the Best Care to Residents with Parkinson’s Disease

At The Cottages, we strive to provide the very best care to our residents. To that end, education and training for our staff is essential. When we opened our new building in Round Rock in 2011, we began the TULIPS Parkinson’s certification training for our staff. The TULIPS certification — Time, Understanding, Live Quality, Increased Awareness, Pills on Time and Support — assures our families that our staff have a better understanding of Parkinson’s Disease, and are able to provide the best care for their loved ones. Parkinson’s Disease is a chronic, progressive degenerative disease of the central nervous system. Second to Alzheimer’s, it is the most common neurodegenerative disease in America. Most Americans living with Parkinson’s are 60-years-old or older and risk increases with age, though early onset of the disease (40 years or younger) occurs in five to 10 percent of Parkinson’s patients. Parkinson’s is also related to dementia in that, according to the Alzheimer’s Association, an estimated 50 to 80 percent of those with Parkinson’s Disease eventually experience dementia as their disease progresses. The average time from onset of Parkinson’s to the development of dementia is about 10 years. Symptoms of dementia associated with Parkinson’s disease include: Changes in memory, concentration and judgment Difficulty interpreting visual information Muffled speech Depression Irritability and anxiety Sleep disturbances Hallucinations and delusions Each year, The Cottages works with a home health agency to provide TULIPS training to staff who have not already received their certification. It is a one-hour inservice for staff and includes a test upon completion. The training covers basic knowledge of the disease, including risk factors and... read more

6 Tips for Heart-Healthy Living for Seniors

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States, and the older we get, the higher our risk. February is American Heart Month, a month set aside to focus on heart health awareness and how to live a heart-healthy life, no matter your age. Science also points to a strong connection between heart health and brain health. If your heart isn’t pumping well, the cells in the brain will struggle to get the food and oxygen they need, which can impact cognitive function. Taking steps to live heart-healthy can truly impact every aspect of your life. Here are 6 tips to live heart healthy at any age: Know your risk. A number of factors may increase your risk for developing heart disease or suffering a heart attack or stroke. Age, gender and family history are a few factors we have no control over. Other risk factors, such as weight, tobacco use, physical activity and diet/nutrition are within our control. Know your numbers. Cholesterol, blood pressure and blood glucose levels are all numbers that impact your heart health. Knowing your numbers can help you stay on track toward your healthy living goals. Here are some target numbers from the American Heart Association: Total cholesterol less than 200 mg/dL HDL (good) cholesterol 50 mg/dL or higher LDL (bad) cholesterol less than 100 mg/dL Triglycerides 150 mg/dL Blood pressure less than 120/80 mm Hg Body Mass Index less than 25 kg/m2 Waist circumference less than 35 in. Exercise daily. Keeping your body moving is essential, but as we age, getting in regular exercise can... read more

Alzheimer’s vs. Dementia: What’s the Difference?

  The terms Alzheimer’s and dementia are often used synonymously, but they aren’t the same. Knowing the difference between the two can help you better understand your loved one’s diagnosis and how to provide the best care. What is Dementia? Dementia is a broad term used to describe various symptoms that can impact cognitive functions such as memory and reasoning, one’s ability to perform daily activities and communication. Dementia is considered a syndrome, but is not a disease itself, and can occur due to a number of degenerative conditions, including Parkinson’s, Huntington’s and, most commonly, Alzheimer’s disease. According to the World Health Organization, about 47.5 million people around the world are living with dementia. Symptoms of dementia are often mild at first, often beginning with episodes of forgetfulness, difficulty keeping track of time and becoming disoriented or lost in familiar settings. As dementia progresses, symptoms worsen and forgetfulness and confusion become more obvious. Other signs of dementia can include repeatedly asking the same questions, poor hygiene and poor decision making. People may have more than one type of dementia, a state known as mixed dementia. In these cases, people with mixed dementia have multiple conditions that contribute to dementia. This diagnosis can only be confirmed in an autopsy. With the progression of dementia, one’s ability to function independently lessens and the individual living with dementia becomes unable to care for him or herself. Behaviors may even turn into depression and aggression. Dementia is a major cause of disability in aging adults and can be both emotionally and financially burdensome for families and caregivers. Although dementia most often occurs in... read more

3 Tips to Help You Be a Healthy Caregiver

Caring for your loved one living with dementia is a labor of love and can often be overwhelming and exhausting. We understand how difficult caregiving can be. From our experience coming alongside families as they provide care for their loved ones with dementia, here are a few tips to help you as a caregiver.

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