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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.

One of the key requirements for obtaining a Bachelor of Social Work degree is to complete a two-semester long field practicum. Having always been interested in working with older adults, Insight Memory Care Center was my top choice for placement – mostly due to their stellar reputation. I interned at Insight and learned so much about dementia care during my time there.

You wear many hats throughout the day, but one you probably didn’t anticipate is that of detective. However, when our loved ones exhibit troubling behaviors, playing detective can be the key to interpreting what these behaviors mean.

We’ve long been implementing sensory-based programming into our later-stage programs as a tried and true method of engaging and connecting with participants in a meaningful way. Now we have a gold standard model to help focus our efforts on methods that a growing body of research is showing to have positive effects on those with late-stage dementia, their family members, and even professional caregivers!

As we continue our theme of “Sharing the Love” this month, we asked a number of our Reconnections and Day Center participants to reflect on what love means to them. Here are a few of their responses!

There are many lifestyle things that change as dementia progresses, from every day routines to special occasions. Many families still choose to travel and do so successfully. Whether it is a day trip in the car or an international vacation, it takes some planning to ensure safety for the person living with the diagnosis, sanity for the care partner, and lower anxiety for everyone involved. Here are my top 10 tips for successful travel.

In our years of serving caregivers and their loved ones facing a dementia diagnosis, we have seen some incredible acts of love. Each and every one deserves a medal of honor, immense praise, and so on and so forth. However, today I would like to highlight one story in particular.

I’m a Nurse Practitioner with 18 years of experience caring for people with dementia. My specialty is research, or more specifically, clinical trial research aimed at the discovery of new treatments and prevention of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Here are some of the most common questions I’m asked about dementia.

Change is always hard, and for individuals with memory loss change can be even harder. Relocation especially, and other significant environment changes, are often traumatic. As a caregiver, knowing what to expect, how you can prepare, and how to make these transitions more comfortable is key.

Receiving any diagnosis will more than likely create some level of anxiety. However, if that diagnosis is one relating to dementia, then a unique batch of worries arises. Important questions begin to race through the mind, such as, “What’s going to happen to me?” or “Is my independence going to be taken away from me?” Insight Memory Care Center (IMCC) has a variety of programs aimed specifically at helping those with the diagnosis, and/or their loved ones, gain the knowledge and tools they need to navigate the labyrinth of dementia care.

The first time I noticed a difference in my wife was about three years ago when we were packing to move from NC to Virginia. Both of us were having some medical problems as we aged and we were urged to move closer to family. Of course moving is always a stressful time in our lives and I thought that everything would be alright after we became settled in our new surroundings.

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?

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.

A big part of our job here at Insight is to give someone with a dementia diagnosis a “why,” or as we commonly refer to it, purpose. Merging your loved one’s past interests and current interests and abilities is important to engaging with them. Here are some programs we run at Insight that can be adopted at home.

When you begin to research, the first thing you often learn is how much you don’t know. And with dementia, while there is still a lot we don’t know, there is a lot we do! Here are five things we DO know – and should know - about dementia.

It’s been a long time coming, but New Year, New Blog! We’re very excited to start this blog a resource for those who are caring for a loved one with a memory impairment.

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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."