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Although LGBTQ+ older adults have clearly seen monumental change across their lifetimes and are often strong, determined, and resilient, many still struggle with complex feelings due to current and past experiences. When we take proactive steps to seek understanding, foster connection, and build trust slowly, we can make a huge impact on others and can create a world where LGBTQ+ individuals with dementia and their caregivers can feel safe and supported.
I recently had a dream that I was in my doctor's office being diagnosed with younger-onset Alzheimer's. I couldn't believe it, no matter how many times my spouse and my doctor told me it was true. I was so shocked and scared...more for my family would endure than for what was happening to me. Most dreams I forget within a few minutes of waking up. But not this one...it really hit home.
Have you ever considered your brain health could be related to what you are putting on your fork? There is evidence suggesting Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases are highly influenced by diet, and are sometimes labeled Type 3 Diabetes. The mechanisms are elucidated in some research connecting diets high in sugar and processed food to inflammation which increases the risk of neurodegenerative diseases.
Many of us worry how seeing our grief affects our loved ones, especially as they may or may not still have the ability to process or comprehend the tragedy. It’s not possible to shield your loved one from everything all the time, so how can you best respond?
Memorial Day is just around the corner, which not only means the start of summer, but also the start of summer travel! Memory impairment adds a level of stress to taking a summer vacation, but whether you’re planning a day trip to visit family or a cross-country excursion, there are ways to minimize the anxiety. Here are a few tips to keep in mind for travel.
Surely when you think of Insight, the first thing you think of is interactive gaming technology, right? Well, we are excited to add the Obie for Seniors system to our day center that uses a projector and motion sensors to turn walls, floors, and tables into interactive gaming centers!
Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research in Baltimore, Maryland, are finding out! Scientists are studying the effects of psilocybin (a natural psychedelic found in some species of mushrooms) in people with depressed mood and a diagnosis of Early-Stage Alzheimer’s (AD) or Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI).
Seniors planning to age in place should have a plan for money management, home management, healthcare, meals, personal care and transportation. Volunteer transportation programs can be part of a plan to address transportation for non driving seniors as they age.
The Inova Parkinson’s and Movement Disorders Center offers a variety of educational, wellness and supportive programs for patients, family and friends. In honor of Parkinson's Awareness month, they share some first steps to take upon a diagnosis of Parkinson's or a related memory disorder.
Insight Memory Care Center celebrated a milestone event with the Grand Opening Celebration of its second location, an Early Stage Center in Sterling, Virginia. For the past 38 years, Insight has provided specialized care, support, and education for individuals in all stages of memory loss, their care partners, and the community. The organization has grown significantly since caring for the first three participants in the basement of a church, and this new center in Sterling represents the first time programs have expanded beyond partnerships and shared spaces to a dedicated, second center.
If you’ve had a loved one prone to wandering, you know how stressful this topic can be. The caregiver has to decide how much “freedom” a person with Alzheimer’s disease should have. At some point the person’s need to be safe will outweigh their diminished ability to decide where they want to go and when. Here are a few tips to ease wandering concerns.
I arrived in Sterling all set for the first night and began greeting the five couples who would be participating as they arrived. Because five of the 10 participants had dementia, I hadn’t set huge goals for the evening, I really just wanted everyone to have fun. But as soon as the “practice round” of participants building a tower began I knew this group was special! They didn’t just stack the bricks on top of each other, some built towers to represent places they had visited in the past like the Burj Al Arab in Dubai and their first duty station in Greece.
At Insight Memory Care Center, we are so fortunate to have a fantastic team of dedicated social workers to support our families. In honor of Social Work month this March, we wanted to celebrate and share all that they do! Meet Rodney, Stephanie, Ellie, Jen, and Markita!
An initiative that begun in 2019, Dementia Friendly Fairfax brings awareness and support for those living with dementia and their care partners in Fairfax County, Virginia. Today we’re getting to know Allegra Joffe, Caregiver Specialist, Fairfax Area Agency on Aging, and Diane Watson, Mount Vernon Rep on the Fairfax Area Commission on Aging & Long Term Care Coordinating Council (LTCCC) Member contact person for the Spring Hill Community Village in Lorton, VA. They are two of Dementia Friendly Fairfax’s action team members. Robin McGlothin from Insight Memory Care Center gets the conversation going!
Over 15 years ago, Insight Memory Care Center developed a program designed for couples in the early stage of dementia find new ways to connect with each other, meet other families who are walking a similar path, focus on healthy minds and bodies, and adjust to life with a new diagnosis. The Mind & Body Workshop is often the first program families attend, many still nervous about joining a “memory loss” program. But the camaraderie of the group quickly turns anxieties into anticipation as families look forward to each next session.
After two years of navigating a global pandemic, there are few of us that fail to see the benefits of community support! Many, especially care partners, face significant need for support and a safe space to cope with caregiving, on top of the prolonged effects of today’s global climate. However, sometimes simply starting a support group is not as easy as you might think!
With winter weather comes many things – a pretty dusting of snow, hot chocolate with marshmallows, and lots (and lots!) of indoor time. Freezing temperatures can easily make you go stir crazy, especially when trying to also care for and entertain a loved one with dementia. It’s easy to just default to watching TV all day, but by varying the types of activities you engage in, it really can still be the great indoors for everyone!
Now that the 2022 is upon us, it’s worth reminding our present and future benefactors about how Qualified Charitable Distributions (QCDs) work and why January is the right time to make your plans!
Receiving a diagnosis of dementia, or having a loved one diagnosed, can cause a range of emotions, from shock to relief. But what happens next? We’ve put together a checklist of things for you, your family, and support team to consider over the next few months (or more!) as you navigate your journey.
New Year, New Classes! Our long-standing caregiver classes have a great line-up for 2022. All sessions are free, and open to anyone interested in learning more about caring for a loved one living with dementia. Speakers include the experts at Insight, along with community professionals who can share additional expertise. We hope you'll mark your calendars to join us for any or all of this year's classes.
When holiday traditions have to be adjusted for a loved on with dementia, it can be hard to – well – adjust! With a few simple tweaks and managing expectations, the holiday season really can be enjoyable for everyone. Whether you
use a tip each day or unwrap them all at once, we hope these ideas can help you create a happy holiday season.
We celebrated Giving Tuesday this year by Getting Ready! We had four great panels and presentations as we shared more about getting ready for the holidays - and caregiving throughout the year! Watch and learn more about what to look for when visiting aging parents, ideas to enjoy the holiday season, and a sneak peek of our new Sterling space!
A great thanksgiving meal is always something to be thankful for, and Insight is truly thankful to be a part of the Thanksgiving Project this year! Several community based organizations came together to provide families with a freshly prepared Thanksgiving meal, refrigerated items, and non-perishable items to enjoy this Thanksgiving. Insight received 19 of these meals for families who otherwise may have had to forego a Thanksgiving celebration.
The opportunity to become a caregiver for a loved one can be a blessing and bring you closer. However, it can also be overwhelming! You have to deal with everything from how to switch a reversed sleep schedule to finding meaningful activities to fill the day. In honor of National Family Caregivers Month, here are 30 top tips from our Caregiving at a Glance Guide - one for each day of November!
In honor of National Estate Planning Awareness Week, we’ve gathered tips for an often-overlooked aspect of estate planning: how to leave money to a charity. Planning to leave money to a charity in your estate plan is what we call “planned giving.” It is a powerful way to leave your legacy and speak about what was important to you, and we encourage each of our clients to consider this legal tool as they think about the future.
Lewy body dementia is the second most common type of dementia, with an estimated 1.4 million Americans diagnosed. In honor of Lewy Body Dementia Awareness Month, we've put together a few resources, both at Insight and in the wider community that may benefit your family.
Receiving an Alzheimer's or dementia diagnosis is daunting enough, but navigating all the options for care can quickly become even more overwhelming. One option that many have never heard of? Adult Day Programs. While we might be a bit biased here at Insight, we believe that day centers and day programs can be the perfect happy medium for many families - support, engagement, and safety during the day, and the comforts of family and home in the evening. In honor of National Adult Day Services Week, here are a few reasons to consider a day program.
The gerontological research team at George Mason University is committed to improving the lives of people living with ADRD and their caregivers. To that end, your participation in our studies help provide critical information about your lived experiences!
When a family member receives a diagnosis of dementia, it’s a huge puzzle to piece together. Our first thoughts usually focus on the person: How can we help them? How quickly might they progress? What kind of care are they going to need? But this is just the start of the puzzle; we often overlook the crucial caregiving piece! The family caregiver’s role is of vital importance. Caregivers have to take on many new roles— doctor, lawyer, financial planner, and caretaker—often not knowing where to start. Here are 5 tips for starting to build your caregiving skills.
We aim to create a community where those affected by Alzheimer’s disease can achieve the highest quality of life. Our board of directors spent many hours over the past year brainstorming how Insight can best continue to serve families living with dementia. They developed new strategic goals to guide us over the next three years. We’re working towards this vision in three ways.
With all the problems across the globe in 2020, it was easy to forget about dementia. Unless your mom was becoming more and more forgetful. Or your spouse was just diagnosed. Or you weren’t able to go visit dad with all the COVID restrictions, and you worried about him even remembering you when you could visit again. While it didn’t make the daily news, dementia is still a problem.
My name is Tom. My brother and I noticed that my father’s memory was just not the same as it used to be. We had gone to see his primary care doctor a few times, and he just chalked it up to old age. We thought it was more than that, so we got a referral to a neurologist. And the neurologist confirmed our fears, saying, “Your father has Alzheimer’s.”
If we've learned anything this year, it's that we're Stronger Together. And every little bit helps. Your small actions - like sharing a Facebook event - join with other’s actions - signing up for Amazon Smile - can add up to something big! Here are a few easy ways you can help Insight Memory Care Center.
Virtual programs can meet the needs of caregivers both near and far. Online support groups have allowed family members living in another state to participate regularly. Education classes are live and recorded - now accessible to attendees on a flexible schedule. Being able to offer care, support and education through a virtual presence provides a unique opportunity for families to stay connected and engaged in a way that was geographically limited pre-pandemic. Read more in our 2020-2021 Annual Report!
If we’ve learned anything this year, it’s that we’re stronger together. Take a look inside the report to learn more about who we are and what we do, how we handled all the changes 2020 brought, and how we ended up serving even more families in need - in the midst of a pandemic! From this report, we hope you’ll take away that Insight has come out of this year stronger than ever. We’re stronger together - and that’s with you. All our participants, families, and supporters who have stuck with us through quite a year - you’re the reason we’re still passionate, and keep helping each family navigate through their own dementia journey.
The results are in! We've recently completed our annual family survey. Each year, we ask our program participants about their experience, likes, dislikes, and what they'd like to see in the future. We were, of course, especially interested to see responses from this past year in light of the pandemic and the many, many changes and challenges we all faced!
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many organizations vital to the community have been hit hard; some struggling to survive. They are looking for financial support now more than ever. In response, many people are opening their wallets to donate to charitable organizations and non-profits. Aside from giving cash or writing a check, there are many other options available when making a charitable donation.
When you hear the word “driving,” what comes to mind? Speeding down the open road, convertible top down, wind in your hair, driving off into the sunset? We’d all like to think of driving as idealistic, but in reality, it’s often more like stoplights, tailgaters, brake lights, and really just a necessity for getting to work and running errands. It is this commonplace driving situation that can become the most dangerous as dementia progresses. Delayed reaction times, poor judgment, inability to stay attentive behind the wheel, and frustration can be highly problematic in the stop-and-go traffic of Northern Virginia. So when is it time to stop driving?
We all associate Alzheimer’s disease and dementia with memory loss, but unfortunately it is much more than that. As we continue to recognize Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness month, let’s take a deeper dive. There are 4 ‘A’s to help you remember common symptoms, plus we’ll review a few more ‘A’s for good measure. Some may experience all of these symptoms in dementia, others may not, or they may see them at different times throughout the disease. But being aware of symptoms to look for will help you be an ‘A’ student – and caregiver!
When you hear the hustle and bustle of our early stage program, Reconnections, starting up at 10:00 am, it’s hard to believe that it’s been a year since we slowly re-opened our center doors. Right now, we have five Reconnections groups meeting – in-person, virtually, and a hybrid summer session!
Insight is very grateful to work with fantastic student volunteers and interns. We know that they teach us just as much as we’re able to impart during their time with us! Hear a little more from one of our recent virtual interns about his experience!
With dementia, there is still a lot we don’t know. Dementia is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States and the only cause in the top 10 without a way to cure or prevent it. But as we recognize Alzheimer’s and Brain Health Awareness Month this June, let’s focus on the positive; there is a lot we DO know! Let’s start with five things we all should know about dementia.
Many people have been to a café, and most are relatively familiar with the term memory – but have you heard of a memory café? Far from a restaurant that makes you memorize a long list of menu items, memory cafés are primarily social gatherings where individuals with memory impairment and their caregivers can come together in a safe, supportive environment, share conversation over a cup of coffee, or participate in fun, simple activities with the group. It’s an opportunity to meet with others for support, companionship, and fun!
We began to see the changes before we had a grandchild. Those were glorious days of appropriate comments, empathy, and mostly the man we recognized. She came and we reveled in our time together. As she grew things changed subtly but change, they did. In the last six months the granddaughter’s growth in empathy, in expression, has progressed while Gramps’s has regressed. What results is a lot of interpersonal drama—much like two children.
End-of-life planning is not just for people who are about to pass away. It is for anyone who wants to ensure they will be cared for when they can no longer care for themselves, and for anyone who wants to care for their loved ones in that process. Here are five critical reasons you should start forming your end-of-life plan today.
Most people don’t want to think about the health-related what-ifs that come with aging, let alone talk about them—especially with family. Nonetheless, having a plan in place that you’ve put together as a family can free everyone up to focus on each other, instead of worrying about where the money will come from
Caregiving is a long, hard, full time job and caregivers are often called the hidden victims of Alzheimer’s disease. Although changes in the brain occur only in the person diagnosed with dementia, changes in behaviors, lifestyle, and demands occur for both the person living with dementia and the caregiver. Get some tips from our guide on managing your job as a caregiver.
At Insight, it’s always been our mantra to focus on what a person CAN do, not on the deficits from memory loss. Who knew that mantra would be a guiding light over the past year! Since the world basically shut down last March, Insight has focused on what we could do: continue our mission of providing specialized care, support and education for families living with dementia, and build on our capacity to serve our community in new ways.
As you may or may not be aware, March is National Social Work month! As a special thank you to our social workers, we wanted to share a little message of thanks for all of their amazing work.
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most common cause of dementia, accounting for about 65% of cases. Although deaths from other major diseases have decreased or remained the same, Alzheimer’s deaths have increased substantially. In the US alone, AD afflicts approximately 7 million older people, thus impacting the caregivers as well. Since the hallmarks of the disease - plaques and tangles - were discovered by Dr. Alzheimer in 1906, there have been only 2 classes of FDA approved medications developed to treat the symptoms of AD and some other related dementias.
Every caregiver seems to have an arsenal of comical caregiving tales to share with anyone who can relate. When caring for someone with a disease whose devastating effects and chronic long-term stressors are arguably unmatched, it is no wonder we hold so closely to these little pockets of joy. After all, as Henry Ward Beecher explained, “A person without a sense of humor is like a wagon without springs. It’s jolted by every pebble on the road.”
Receiving a diagnosis of dementia, or having a loved one diagnosed, can cause a range of emotions, from shock to relief. But what happens next? We’ve put together a checklist of things for you, your family, and support team to consider over the next few months (or more!) as you navigate your journey.
Each year when February rolls around, we take inventory of the vast amount of LOVE that is shared by all who are a part of our organization. The love on display between Insight staff to one another, the socially distant hugs amongst participants, and the audible laughs and joy that echo Insight walls, all warms us to the core.
Do you ever wonder if a lapse in memory is something more? It’s easy to misplace your keys, forget the name of someone you just met, or make a mistake balancing your checkbook. When is it time to seek a doctor’s advice? Learn more about the 10 Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s.
We are excited to announce that our newest program, Insight at Home, is now being offered 5 days a week! Insight at Home is a virtual program that has connected people across states, counties - and living rooms! - to develop meaningful human connection and engagement.
It seems as though everyone makes New Year’s resolutions – eat healthy, clean out the house, exercise more, the list could go on and on. And despite our best intentions, these resolutions are usually out the window before we’ve even turned the calendar over to February. However, resolutions can be a great way to start off the New Year when you can keep them! Here are 5 resolutions for caregivers that you can actually keep!
To deal with my emotions as caregiver for a loved one, I have started writing short poems, inspired by Haiku. Traditional Japanese Haiku follows strict rules—which I surely do not. But writing when emotions bubble up has been, for me, a way to feel better.
Hi my name is Cathy, and I’m going to share with you my story about dementia. My sweet mother started having some very noticeable memory issues maybe about three years ago. I aggressively started looking for a place for her to live up here in Washington DC because she was isolated living alone in Texas. She agreed to the idea; she was very thankful at the idea of living near a child but she thought, you know, we'll see in a couple years see how I’m doing. But there was no time to wait a couple years, she was not safe being alone. So now I have a roommate!
It’s the most wonderful time of the year – so the song goes. With all the parties, food – ok hold up. Scratch that last sentence. Normally this is the time of year we’d be posting advice for how to manage the holidays with everything that’s going on. Well, it’s 2020. So naturally nothing is going as planned. But, even though our holidays look a bit – okay, a lot! – different this year, here are some tips for making this the most wonderful time of the year, even in 2020.
Katelyn Sloan, our Director of Marketing, sat down with Debbie, who's mother has been a part of Insight's early stage Reconnections program for a little over two years to chat about the shift to virtual programs, ways it works for both her and her mom, and how the program has become "our people!"
Communication is 7% verbal (words and their meanings), 55% voice (pitch, tone, tempo, volume), and 38% body language (facial expressions, eyes, posture, movements, gestures). This is important because people with dementia may no longer understand the meaning of the words but they will be able to understand the remaining 93% of your communication. Make sure your body and voice are conveying the same message your words are trying to convey. Here are some tips for communication.
As a 28-year-old, I’d recently graduated from grad school, and snagged my ideal job in downtown DC as the manager of a health nonprofit. While everything looked bright for my career, my love life was turning out to be more difficult. I was almost 30, still single, and still looking for my soulmate. Because my parents were older, I wanted to start a family sooner than later. That’s when my dad was diagnosed with cognitive impairment.
As much as you may try to avoid it, for many of us caring for a loved one with dementia hospitalization happens. Sometimes it is planned, sometimes unplanned, but it’s always stressful. But did you know that nearly 1 in 5 seniors who are hospitalized return to the hospital within 30 days? This just adds more stress! Hospital re-admissions can be avoidable when you are confident in your loved one’s discharge plan the first time around. Make sure that you can confidently make these 5 statements before leaving the hospital to help your loved one avoid another stay.
We can't thank you enough for all of your support of our first-ever virtual Paintings & Pairings event on October 15th! We had over a hundred people logged in to participate in a great evening. We chatted with friends around the room, enjoyed a fantastic program, and celebrated the care, support, and education that Insight provides to thousands in our community.
At the start of the pandemic, we had a participant that tried out virtual activity programs. Following along and tracking everyone on the screen was a little difficult. But rather than miss out, staff set up one-on-one calls to check in and provide engagement from home.
I’ve been having a lot of trouble with keeping up my responsibilities at home. These are all things that my husband and I used to share, but I’m starting to get overwhelmed with everything. It’s all up to me to care for him, clean the house, pay the bills, and then people tell me to take care of myself. But how am I supposed to have time to do that when I have so much to deal with?
Insight was the place where my brother would go for a fun, entertaining, and engaging day. Right now, of course, he’s spending a lot of time at home. I don’t have a background in recreation or activities or anything like that and I don’t really feel comfortable leading any kind of activities at home. Is there anything else in terms of activities you would suggest?
If there ever was a time that challenged us as humans to embrace social connection, it is the year 2020, and the time spent coping with the coronavirus pandemic. Humans, because of necessity, evolved into social beings. Dependence on and cooperation with each other enhanced our ability to survive under harsh environmental circumstances. I think it is safe to say coronavirus has created harsh conditions, to say the least!
I’m having a lot of trouble trying to provide care to my wife. She always gets upset whenever I try to help her in the shower or with toileting. I don’t know what to do anymore because sometimes she gets really upset with me by yelling, and sometimes she’ll tell me that she’s already showered or gone to the bathroom when I know she didn’t. I’m getting very frustrated and overwhelmed with how she is reacting. Please help!
I’ve gotten into some arguments with my mom over the past couple of weeks and I feel like this didn’t used to happen. I feel short with her when I go over to her house to check in with her and it makes me concerned for our relationship. Any advice?
Giving yourself permission to take care of yourself is the first step in allowing yourself time for self-care. Making sure that you take care of yourself is just as important - if not more important - than taking care of your loved one! But now you may be asking, how do I actually do that? Here are a few suggestions that might be helpful as you begin to allow yourself time for self-care.
I’m so overwhelmed caregiving for my wife at home; every day is getting harder and harder for both of us. I know that you have an Adult Day program, but I don’t see how I could get my wife to agree to go to your Center. She doesn’t think that she has a problem. What do you suggest?
In the earlier stages you may have to face the “when-is-it-time-to-stop-driving?” issue. Some people with Alzheimer’s disease have good insight about what is happening to them and give up the keys when they feel unsafe or unsure. Others may not have any insight and insist that they can and should continue driving. You may be faced with the task of deciding when driving skills, judgment, and/or visual spatial perceptions have deteriorated. You will have to decide when driving puts the person with dementia and/or others at risk. Here are some tips to help with giving up the keys.
Carmen Fair is a mother of four who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease. When this journey began over 10 years ago, her children – Poli, Boni, Trissi and Allan, became her caregivers. Now, these four siblings continue to work together with the rest of their family to care for their mom and fight against Alzheimer’s.
It’s our last week of sharing ideas, and we hope we’ve given you a few good things to try and maybe more ideas to bookmark for later! These activities are adapted from the Best Friends Approach to Care, and some may be more or less appropriate depending on your loved one’s abilities and interests. Here are a few last ideas to try this week!
Social connection is a cornerstone of the programs we offer at Insight. Whether it is plugging those who have dementia into the right recreation program, or covering the much need education topic for a caregiver, our main job here at Insight is to connect. We work to connect people to the right support systems and programs that allow them to live fulfilling, meaningful lives while simultaneously battling a dementia diagnosis. One of our programs that truly connects people is our Memory Café.
As we hit the middle of August and all the heat, Insight is here to help with more things to do at home! We’ll be sharing some ideas each week, adapted from the Best Friends Approach to Care. Some may be more or less appropriate depending on your loved one’s abilities and interests. Here are a few more ideas to try this week!
As we try to ride out the tropical storm this week, Insight is here to help with more things to do at home! We’ll be sharing some ideas each week, adapted from the Best Friends Approach to Care. Some may be more or less appropriate depending on your loved one’s abilities and interests, but here are a few more ideas to try this week!
If you’ve had a loved one prone to wandering, you know how stressful this topic can be. You may find yourself constantly worrying about the person getting lost, feeling trapped in your home, or overwhelmed at the person always being on the go. You as the caregiver have to decide how much “freedom” a person with Alzheimer’s disease should have. At some point the person’s need to be safe will outweigh their diminished ability to decide where they want to go and when. Here are a few tips to ease wandering concerns.
It’s still hot out there! If you feel like you’re running out of things to do indoors to stay safe, Insight is here to help! We’ll be sharing some ideas each week, adapted from the Best Friends Approach to Care. Some may be more or less appropriate depending on your loved one’s abilities and interests, but here are some more ideas to try this week!
With over 5 million Americans living with dementia, chances are you know someone living with memory impairment – whether you’re aware of it or not! The stigma of dementia is still prevalent in our society, leading many to hide their diagnosis, or avoid asking the doctor in the first place. But that doesn’t mean that your neighbor may not need your help. If you’re concerned about a forgetful neighbor, here are some signs to look for.
As we’re all trying to stay safe and healthy – and cool from the summer heat! – you’ve probably been spending a lot of time indoors. If you feel like you’re running out of things to do, Insight is here to help! We’ll be sharing some ideas each week, adapted from the Best Friends Approach to Care. Some may be more or less appropriate depending on your loved one’s abilities and interests. Here’s a few more ideas to try this week!
As we’re all trying to stay safe and healthy – and cool from the summer heat! – you’ve probably been spending a lot of time indoors. If you feel like you’re running out of things to do, Insight is here to help! We’ll be sharing some ideas each week, adapted from the Best Friends Approach to Care. Some may be more or less appropriate depending on your loved one’s abilities and interests, but if nothing else, here’s to some new things to do this summer!
Insight Memory Care Center offers free, confidential memory screenings and educational materials to people with concerns about their memory or who want to check their memory now for future comparison. The best part – memory screenings are now being held virtually, so you can perform this simple evaluation from the comfort of home! So who would benefit from a memory screening?
Sharing a meal means more to most people than simple nutrition. When life-long eating patterns change due to dementia, caregivers can easily be frustrated. Trying to meet nutritional needs can be challenging enough, while also missing the social needs that sharing meals once filled for both of them. Here are a few tips to try to make mealtime more successful.
Caregivers are often used to doing it all. They’re care providers, event planners, medication aides, financial resources, advocates, emotional supporters, and the list goes on. With the stress and uncertainly of the current pandemic upon us, how can a caregiver possibly take on any more roles? Remember why you decided to become a caregiver in the first place. More often than not, it’s because of a strong connection with your loved one you’re caring for. Rather than stressing over how to fulfill the myriad of roles, the question to focus on now is: how can I stay connected with my loved one?
Wandering is a common behavior among individuals living with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and other dementias. Six in 10 people with dementia will wander one time and many will wander repeatedly. Everyone with dementia is at risk of wandering and wandering behavior can be dangerous and stressful for people with dementia and their family caregivers. Faculty and students at George Mason University have been conducting research to gain a better understanding about wandering as it relates to dementia, by tracking the movement patterns of people with dementia who are participants in their study.
Life provides us with many challenging moments. As I write this we are in the middle of a global pandemic. If that wasn’t a challenge enough, simultaneously, some of us are also coping with a newly diagnosed medical condition, others placement into hospice care, a dementia care residence, or moving into a new home. During stressful times, taking a conscious inventory of our day to day self-care choices is so very important for our emotional and physical well-being.
We are continuing to create community, serving families living with dementia as we all adapt to our new normal. As quickly as COVID-19 has impacted us all, Insight has pivoted to offering almost all programs virtually. Ken Connelly, Insight’s Board Chair shares, “What hasn’t changed in the midst of all of this is our commitment to the mission of providing care, support, and education for those living with memory impairments – the most vulnerable in our community – whether it’s in our center or now virtually at home. I continue to be amazed at the high level of dedication and creativity the Insight staff have.”
The choir was well on their way to preparing another amazing concert, when the world turned upside down in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Encore has been committed to continuing to engage all of our singers. We began and continue to produce rehearsal COVIDeos sent out once or twice a week. Some rehearse the repertoire, while other videos work on vocal technique or lead fun sing-a-longs. A few weeks ago, we began virtual rehearsals via the Zoom conference platform!
Funding care needs for a loved one can be a challenging and scary thought. Those who are age 65 and older have more than a 70% chance of requiring long-term care during their lifetime according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 1 out of every 5 individuals will likely need extended care for more than five years. After identifying care needs and finding the right fit, one of the most important questions is – how will we pay for it?
Today is #givingtuesdaynow, a new global day of giving and unity as an emergency response to the unprecedented need caused by COVID-19. We are coming together for an exciting day, and we encourage you to use this day to share with your friends and family and show your support of Insight.
For those that have experienced the doctor’s visit that changed their lives forever – the news came with a gamut of emotions. Thoughts of uncertainty, denial, shock and/or sorrow may be recalled as well as ambiguous feelings for the future. Once the initial shock subsides and facing the realities of life with dementia become more prominent, there is often so much to learn and so much to prepare. If that weren’t enough, not only are you trying to make sense of your own thoughts and emotions from day to day; but you are also trying to be attuned with what your loved one is also experiencing. Considering all these aspects for the journey ahead, there is hope in the early stages of dementia!
Socialization for people with Parkinson’s disease can provide support, community, laughter, camaraderie, a chance to practice vocal skills, and to feel a part of a unified group. Interaction with others dealing with a common illness can offer comfort and help people relate to one another. Sharing thoughts and feelings is cathartic and expressive. Staying socially active in the community can help the mind and body. Being with friends and family boosts our spirits, fights sadness and gives us a sense of belonging.
Do you know someone with Parkinson’s? I’m always amazed by how many people not only know someone, but know someone in their family. By that I mean a spouse, parent, grand-parent or other close relative. According to the Parkinson’s Foundation, “Nearly one million will be living with Parkinson's disease (PD) in the U.S. by 2020."
To write about why I volunteer at Insight I have to go back about nine years. In the fall of 2011 came a realization in our family that Grandma, my husband’s mother, was struggling…something all Insight families have experienced. Ove the next five years I became my mother-in-law’s primary caregiver, forging the most intense and personal relationship I’ve ever had with anyone.
As the weather warms up everyone is encouraged to get some outdoor exercise, but we know that's not always feasible! Whether your loved one has mobility issues, or you're just trying to avoid all the pollen in the air, here are a few chair exercises that can get your heart rate up in the comfort of your living room!
When I met with Gordon and his wife, Karen, I asked Gordon to share his experiences with this diagnosis. The couple lovingly shared an anecdote from Gordon’s counselor: “She compared the program to ice cream. I started Reconnections with one day a week, and she said one day was like one scoop of ice cream, and wouldn’t I rather have two? Yes, and make it Pistachio.”
We all communicate constantly throughout the day. Phone calls, emails, conversations, now FaceTime and Skpye – there are a million ways we communicate without even thinking about it. Much of this communication comes naturally, so why is communication so challenging with those who have dementia?
Now that we're all spending a lot more time at home, here's a helpful task to add to the spring cleaning list: making your space more dementia friendly. Don't worry, "Designing for Dementia" makes it sound a lot more complicated than it really is! Using a few design best practices, you'll find there are a number of small changes you can make at home that will have a big impact on the quality of life for both you and your loved one.
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"I like that IMCC focuses on dementia-related problems and provides a focal point for families to network and socially interact in coping with dementia. It provides a community that helps us in our struggle."