Conversations with Dementia: The Unexpected Change

In this series, we will be discussing different aspects of talking about dementia from the first talk you might have with a loved one, to speaking with a doctor, to how to speak with someone who has dementia in a dignified manner.

We have talked repeatedly in our blogs about care, and why routine is important. Setting expectations can help a loved one with dementia keep on track. It limits confusion and frustration. However, sometimes the routine runs into unexpected bumps in the road. We have talked about the need for conversations when changes can be planned for ahead of time. But what happens when the change is sudden and there is no time to prepare your loved one for the change.

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Conversations with Dementia: Planning a Change in Schedule

In this series, we will be discussing different aspects of talking about dementia from the first talk you might have with a loved one, to speaking with a doctor, to how to speak with someone who has dementia in a dignified manner.  

As we have discussed in previous blogs, and many of you already have experienced as caregivers, one of the best practices for those with Alzheimer’s and dementia is to be kept on a strict routine. This routine helps limit confusion and frustration leading to more good days. But keeping a tight routine isn’t always possible because……life happens. In this blog, we are going to talk about how to plan for a change in routine when you know ahead of time.

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Conversations with Dementia: What to Tell Your Kids

A dementia diagnosis can hit pretty hard. Between the misconceptions of what can happen next and the normal fear that comes with hearing that a loved one has a chronic and irreversible disease, emotions are going to be difficult to manage, especially if you decide to care for your loved one in your home. This already difficult task can be more difficult if you have children. No matter the age, children are going to have a hard time understanding and dealing with a life changing event like this. In this blog, we will talk about the conversation you will have with your children about a dementia diagnosis.

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Conversations with Dementia: Caregiver Stress

In this series, we will be discussing different aspects of talking about dementia from the first talk you might have with a loved one, to speaking with a doctor, to how to speak with someone who has dementia in a dignified manner.

We understand that for some people, sending your loved one who has dementia to a care community is not desirable. Many people choose to care for their loved in home so they can be with them. There is no one better to trust than yourself; however, if this is the decision you are making, you should have a conversation about the stress levels that come with being a caregiver and how that is going to change the way you live your life.

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The Rise of Early-Onset Dementia and Alzheimer’s

In February of 2020, Blue Cross Blue Shield released a report on the rise of Early-Onset Dementia and Alzheimer’s diagnosis. In their release, they discuss the rise and different facets of the disease and what this growth looks like in different demographics. The numbers we will outline below are proof of the need for us to take better care of ourselves and for more memory care in our healthcare system.

The Numbers

From 2013 to 2017, diagnosis rates of Early-onset dementia and Alzheimer’s disease increased by 200% in ages 30-64. While this number only reflects the commercially insured population, the number is staggering. The average age of someone impacted by this disease is only 49 years old. In 2017 alone, about 131,000 people between 30 and 64 were diagnosed. While that is a small number in relation to the entirety of the population, it is no small number for those that are affected by the reach of this disease.

Other numbers released in the report included statistics on what people went through medically in the year prior to diagnosis. Of those diagnosed, 86% received some sort of brain imaging within the previous 12 months. Over half of those diagnosed filled an antidepressant prescription.

What Can We Do?

Eating better can help you stave off dementia

Reference our previous blogs about different lifestyle habits you can adopt to help strengthen your cognitive health. We ignore our brains too often and take them for granted. But when they start to slip from us, it is difficult, and sometimes impossible, to get it back to full strength. Keeping it at full strength is always our best option.

Second, when we look at these numbers, we think about the number of people who think they are too young to have problems with cognitive decline. The numbers tell us that isn’t nearly as true as we want to believe. There are so many ways to get tested. We’ve talked about Cognivue, an easy, 10-minute evaluation that can be completed and signal signs of cognitive decline. Talking to your doctor about regular checkups, especially if you’ve experienced difficulty with staying focused, sudden changes in behavior, or difficulty with problem solving that you feel you did not used to have. The earlier we detect something wrong, the better off our options will be.

The Importance of Care

If these numbers continue to rise over the next 30 years, the population needing memory care will become unsustainable to the healthcare community. The industry is not currently built to care for the number of people that will need it in the future based on current rates.

This highlights a couple of areas in which we need to be better. First, we need better outreach to help people understand how to take care of themselves. That is one of the pillars of our community at Kemper House Central Ohio. It’s not just about our residents, but the community at large that needs to know what is going on and how to prepare themselves. With more knowledge comes better decision making, especially when it comes to our health.

The second is funding research into better treatments for various forms of dementia. While there is a lot of research out there, we could be doing so much more. Dementia doesn’t get the recognition in our daily lives the way other health hazards do, but that doesn’t keep it from being just as important. We can talk to our representatives about providing better funding for research. We can join fundraising groups that help get the word out and raise money for the types of care we need to have in our future.

These numbers may be scary, but they aren’t the end. We can still fight to care for ourselves and our loved ones in many ways and increase our cognitive health. The only way we are going to do that is together. Kemper House Central Ohio is up for the fight. Are you?

Memory Loss is Preventable: A Webinar on Brain Health in the 21st Century

Our knowledge of brain health has grown exponentially in just the last two years. Join us on Tuesday, May 26th for a fun, informative presentation on the latest in brain health and learn why the best time to invest in your brain health is now.

Dr. Nate Bergman will discuss advancements in the detection, prevention and treatment of Alzheimer’s, and share actions you can take now to protect your brain.

Participants will learn:

  • Root causes of cognitive decline
  • Early signs and symptoms of impairment
  • Advancements in prevention and treatment
  • Lifestyle factors and brain health
  • 21st century personalized medicine and multi-modal interventions to slow or reverse decline
  • Why you shouldn’t postpone getting a diagnosis

Dr. Bergman has specialized expertise in the prevention and treatment of cognitive decline and has worked closely with Dr. Dale Bredesen, Dr. Mark Hyman, and other experts in the field.

This is a free event, sponsored by Kemper House Worthington.

Total Care Therapy: Physical Therapy Ready for Dementia

As a memory care community, we spend a lot of time educating our residents, families, and community on dangers of cognitive decline. We talk about how you can care better for your cognitive health from eating better to fitness goals. But as we get older, we are still more prone to injury, even as we take care of ourselves. When injuries happen, they can be completely debilitating. Our systems are not able to heal as easily as they once did so injuries last longer and put the rest of the body in danger. Physical therapy is an important part of regaining strength after a major injury in order to promote mobility and allow our residents to live healthier lives.

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Conversations with Dementia: The First Talk

Conversations with Dementia: The First Talk 

In this series, we will be discussing different aspects of talking about dementia from the first talk you might have with a loved one, to speaking with a doctor, to how to speak with someone who has dementia in a dignified manner.

One of the hardest discussions you might ever have is the one with a loved one about signs of dementia that you have noticed them exhibit. Hard conversations like this can be difficult to start, and even easier to avoid. However, waiting to start this conversation will only make it harder later. Let’s talk about some things to think about when preparing and talking to your loved one about the possibility of dementia.

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New Facebook Group for Dementia Resources & Support

Kemper House Worthington has launched a brand-new Facebook group (Kemper Kare Central Ohio Resource and Support) that is open to anyone in the Columbus area!

This group is guided and supported by Kemper House Central Ohio as a community resource and support for anyone impacted by dementia. Our hope is to empower connection and conversation for those on this journey. Continue reading “New Facebook Group for Dementia Resources & Support”

Conversations with Dementia: What to Say to the Doctor

One of the most important conversations you are going to have when coming to terms with the possibility that a loved one has dementia is the conversation with their doctor. This can be an extremely intimidating space. Doctor’s offices can be scary and can feel final. But it’s important to be prepared and give the doctor the information they need to help your loved one. In this blog, we will discuss some of the things you should be ready to discuss.

For this blog, we spoke with Dr. Douglas Scharre, a Neuropsychiatrist and Behavioral Neurologist at the Center for Cognitive and Memory Disorders and Center for Neuromodulation at the Wexner Medical Center. Dr. Scharre is a renowned expert in dementia and other neurological disorders. Continue reading “Conversations with Dementia: What to Say to the Doctor”