9 Caregiver Tips on Using Music Therapy for Alzheimer’s

As Alzheimer’s progresses, it becomes harder for those living with the disease to communicate their thoughts and feelings to those around them. Language troubles and difficult behaviors caused by cognitive decline can leave a person with Alzheimer’s isolated from family, friends and caregivers. Against these odds, though, families have discovered an evidence-based, accessible tool to continue making connections with their loved ones: music.

Amanda King, Executive Director at Clarity Pointe Jacksonville, a Memory Care Assisted Living community in Jacksonville, FL, has witnessed the remarkable benefits of music therapy among those with Alzheimer’s disease. “Music has the power to affect mood, behavior and overall well-being for those with memory loss and their families,” says King. “We’ve seen caregivers provide cognitive stimulation and agitation management with music therapy, as well as give their loved ones a way to connect...

Helping Your Loved One Through Dementia-Related Sensory Changes

Since the cognitive decline caused by Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia cannot be reversed, one of the greatest ways to care for someone with the disease is to improve their quality of life. As Alzheimer’s gradually changes your loved one’s ability to see, hear, taste, smell and feel the world around them, you can help them adapt to their sensory changes and stay connected to the things they love.

Unlike changes that occur naturally with age, changing senses due to Alzheimer’s disease cannot be corrected. Kathy Wiederhold, Executive Director of Clarity Pointe Louisville in Louisville, KY, explains, “If dementia causes changes in vision, the problem is not in the person’s eyes. Sensory changes occur because the damage to the brain cells inhibits the brain from perceiving visual messages correctly. As with many symptoms of dementia, the only solution caregivers have is to manage these changes and help their loved...

How to Handle the Challenges of Changing Environments for a Loved One with Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s disease involves stages of cognitive decline and gradually damages the brain. For those who suffer from Alzheimer’s, people and places that were once familiar and comfortable can become strange and confusing as the disease progresses. Changes to their environment, such as traveling, going to the doctor, moving to a new home or receiving houseguests, can trigger challenging behavioral symptoms.

Environmental changes or disruptions can cause someone with Alzheimer’s to become anxious, agitated, confused or aggressive. According to Amanda King, Executive Director at Clarity Pointe Jacksonville, a Memory Care Assisted Living Community in Jacksonville, FL, “Changes in routine or environment can be distressing or uncomfortable for someone with Alzheimer’s disease, and that distress may trigger a variety of behaviors. At the core of most reactions is the person’s frustration with trying to make sense of an increasingly...

5 Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, less than 45 percent of the 5.3 Americans with Alzheimer’s disease last year were told of their diagnosis. The warning signs of Alzheimer’s and dementia may come in varying degrees and might be mistaken by family members as normal effects of aging. It’s important to be aware of the early warning signs so you or a loved one can receive the best care possible.

Kathy Wiederhold, Executive Director at Clarity Pointe Louisville, a memory care assisted living community in Louisville, KY, explains, “Although Alzheimer’s disease is usually determined by memory loss that disrupts daily life, it affects more than just memory. The cognitive decline effects thinking and reasoning skills and behavior as well.

“Families with aging loved ones should be aware of these lesser-known warning signs, so if they notice them, their loved ones can have the advantages of early...

Educating Your Family About Alzheimer’s Disease

Those who have a loved one with Alzheimer’s know that the disease is a family diagnosis. Everyone feels the stress of watching – and caring for – their loved one’s progressive illness. If you are the primary caregiver for someone with Alzheimer’s disease, the responsibility of educating your family and close friends, as well as keeping them updated on your loved one’s condition, usually falls to you.

“Caregivers are most often the primary source of information for other members of the family,” Amanda King, Executive Director at Clarity Pointe Jacksonville in Jacksonville, Florida, says. “So, it’s very important for caregivers to educate themselves on Alzheimer’s disease as much as possible. Not only is it helpful for family members to understand the symptoms and know what to expect as the disease progresses, but a comprehensive awareness of the nature of memory loss makes it easier for everyone to interact effectively with...