The Right Environment Matters with Dementia

1/14/2015
Location : Calabasas

Calabasas Style Magazine - “When the word dementia enters your world and affects you directly, life will change. But a dementia diagnosis doesn't have to mean the end of a purposeful life. In fact, much of the latest research around memory impairing conditions is center on early diagnosis and the positive effect that one’s environment can have on the disease progression. An environment where patients or residents are treated with the same dignity and respect that any adult would expect can lead to a better quality of life. Silverado, a memory care provider with expertise in dementia, certainly understands that.

Silverado was founded 18 years ago with the goal of changing how the world cares for and perceives those affected by memory loss. Establishing this purpose as the foundation allows its associates to leave behind previous misconceptions and operate in a way that provides residents with utmost dignity, freedom, and quality of life.

‘We have hundreds of stories demonstrating the great things that can happen when we help our residents find purpose and meaning once again’, shares Silverado Calabasas Administrator Andrea Maury. ‘We also are the only memory care provider to have tracked clinical outcomes for nearly two decades, allowing us to gain considerable knowledge and a clear understanding of the best approaches to memory care.’

To create just the right environment, Silverado takes a medical-social hybrid approach to care. From individually tailored engagement activities facilitated by specially trained staff to around-the-clock nurses and a dedicated physician medical director, the company has been a trusted resource to the Calabasas community for more than 15 years.

But before making a care decision, individuals concerned about a loved one often ask about the difference between dementia and normal aging. A few simple examples illustrate that a person with normal aging may:

  • Pause to remember directions but doesn’t get lost in familiar places.
  • Occasionally search for words but is able to quickly remember them.
  • Show a decrease in reaction time, but maintains their same level of interpersonal social skills.

On the other hand, a person with dementia often gets lost in familiar places, will show a noticeable decline in short-term memory with difficulty recalling specific instances, and may lose their filter or behave inappropriately. A person with dementia may also easily confuse dates and seasons and forget where they are or how they got there. When these signs begin to show, its best to start by consulting an expert on the topic.

‘I tell people that the symptoms started sometime in the past and they may or may not have truly recognized what was happening, because statistically it takes about two years between the onset of symptoms and the time that the disease is diagnosed,’ say Silverado Medical Director David Stern, M.D.

It’s important for those concerned to regularly monitor and look for such signs in a loved one’s behavior.

‘There will be gradual but continuous decline such that a loved one may ask the same questions over and over again or may have word-finding difficulties. These might be the beginning symptoms,’ says Stern. ‘I often remind families not to get annoyed by these signs and instead to seek the right help.’

Regularly educating the community about dementia is critical as it has been shown that early diagnoses can help slow the progression. Because it can be a difficult conversation, using current events is one way to open a discussion with a loved one. And for those who are ready to take a first step, reaching out to trusted resources, such as Silverado, is a way to learn more about memory impairing diseases, to better understand the options that exist, and to get introduced to a physical who can conduct a memory screening.

Maury adds, ‘Whether you pick up the phone to call us or visit us online, Silverado is here as a resource to help the Calabasas community. Certainly, the best way to experience Silverado is to visit us in person and we invite all members of the community to drop by any time!’”

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