8 Ways to Reduce Alzheimer's Risk

8 Ways to Reduce Alzheimer’s Risk

by Diane Byrne

Memory changes are normal as we grow older, but the symptoms of Alzheimer’s and dementia are more than simple lapses. People with Alzheimer’s experience problems communicating, learning, thinking, and reasoning that eventually become severe enough to impact an individual’s work, social activities, and family life. However, new research has shown there are ways to reduce the risk of memory problems; below is a list of 8 Ways to Reduce Alzheimer’s Risk.

1.   Stay Active. The Case Western Reserve School of Medicine 25-Year Study tracking the development of dementia in a convent of nuns found they had a 150% greater risk of dementia if they did not pursue physical activities. Include aerobic activity and strength training in your daily routine, or simply walk, garden, shop the mall – anything that keeps you moving.

2.   Exercise Your Mind. The same Case Western Study found that they had a 250% greater risk of dementia if they did not pursue intellectual activities. An active brain produces new dendrites or connections which help the brain store and retrieve information more easily, no matter your age. Learn a foreign language, volunteer, read or play scrabble.

3.   Dance the Night Away. A recent study showed that dancing specifically decreases incidence of dementia, probably because the interaction between multiple parts of the brain; balance, rhythm, hearing, and vision, has a strengthening impact on cognitive function.

4.   Learn Relaxation Techniques. Stress and anxiety interfere with concentration. Try massage, yoga, or breathing methods to help you regain your calm.

5.   Have a Good Laugh Every Day. The old expression “laughter is the best medicine” has been confirmed by medical researchers. Laughter actually opens the blood vessels and increases blood flow to the heart and to the brain, so watch a funny movie, tell a joke, or simply share a laugh with a friend.

6.   Control Blood Sugar Levels. A growing body of evidence links diabetes with Alzheimer’s. Poor blood sugar control dramatically increases the risk of dementia. Diabetes-related toxins may worsen memory function, and diabetes medications may reduce insulin-related brain cell processes. Your best bet is to eat a healthy, low-sugar diet to forestall the one-two punch of diabetes and dementia.

7.   Watch What You Eat. All of the nutritional advice for a healthy heart also makes for a healthy brain, so limit your fats and carbohydrates, maintain a healthy weight and blood pressure, and limit your salt intake; the theory is that reducing inflammation reduces the “strain on the brain”.

8.   Maintain Social Connections. Multiple studies have shown that maintaining social ties decreases the risk of dementia and slows the progression. Getting together with friends and family, and joining social groups, strengthens emotional and cognitive function.

If you or a loved one wants to learn more about these 8 Ways to Reduce Alzheimer’s Risk, contact Juniper Communities Wellspring Memory Care.  We offer many innovative brain health screening and support programs.


10 Warning Signs of Alzheimer's

10 Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s

by Diane Byrne

Memory changes are normal as we grow older, but the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease are more than simple lapses. People with Alzheimer’s experience problems communicating, learning, thinking, and reasoning that eventually become severe enough to impact an individual’s work, social activities, and family life. It is critical for people with dementia and their families to receive information, care and support as early as possible. To help recognize the warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease, below is a checklist of 10 Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s.

1.   Memory Loss. One of the most common signs of early dementia is forgetting recently learned information. While it’s normal to forget appointments, names or telephone numbers, those with dementia will forget such things more often and not remember them later.

2.   Difficulty Performing Familiar Tasks. People with dementia often find it hard to complete everyday tasks; they may not know how to prepare a meal, use a household appliance, or engage in a lifelong hobby.

3.   Problems With Language. Everyone struggles for the right word at times, but a person with Alzheimer’s often forgets even common words or substitutes odd words.

4.   Disorientation To Time And Place. It’s normal to forget what day it is or where you’re going sometimes, but people with Alzheimer’s can become lost on their own street. They may forget where they are and how they got there, and may not know how to get back home.

5.   Poor Or Decreased Judgment. Those with Alzheimer’s may wear several shirts on a warm day or very little clothing in cold weather. They also often show poor judgment about money, giving away large sums or paying for repairs or products they don’t need.

6.   Problems With Abstract Thinking. Balancing a checkbook can be challenging, but a person with Alzheimer’s may forget what the numbers represent and what to do with them.

7.   Misplacing Things. Anyone can misplace a wallet or key, but person with Alzheimer’s disease may put things in unusual places, like keys in the freezer or a phone in the fruit bowl.

8.   Changes In Mood Or Behavior. Anyone can be moody at times, but someone with Alzheimer’s often has rapid mood swings, from calm to sad to angry, for no apparent reason.

9.   Changes In Personality. Attitudes do adjust some with age, but a person with Alzheimer’s can change dramatically, becoming extremely confused, suspicious, fearful or dependent.

10.  Loss Of Initiative. It’s normal to tire of housework, business activities or social obligations at times, but a person with Alzheimer’s may become very passive, sitting in front of the television for hours, sleeping more than usual, or not wanting to do usual activities.

If you or a loved one recognize any of these 10 Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s, contact Juniper Communities Wellspring Memory Care.  We offer home visits and clinical assessments to help you better understand your care and support needs.

National Nurses Week 2016: Thank You Wellness Associates!

National Nurses Week 2016

National Nurses Week 2016

by Diane Byrne

At Juniper Communities, we know that our phenomenal Wellness Associates truly make a difference in the lives of our residents.  Our Wellness Associates interact with our residents on a daily basis providing them love and comfort, taking care of their physical and emotional needs, and really getting to know them on a personal level. Be it making sure that a new resident feels welcomed and self-assured, to making sure that a resident who has been with us for years still feels right at home, our Wellness Associates are there for our residents every step of the way.

Our Wellness Associates are also, of course, responsible for the health and wellbeing of our residents. They are required to carefully chart medications and other health history notes in our industry-leading medical records programs which are fully integrated between all departments and aspects of our Juniper Village care communities. They are in charge of overseeing medication dispensation as well as ensuring that residents are adequately nourished and hydrated. They coordinate with physicians and family members to ensure that residents receive proper care, and they ensure that all of our Juniper Village communities are safe and provide a functional secure environment for our residents.

We have many programs that promote staff accountability and recognize staff achievement, from our Juniper University and Leadership Academies to our Juniper Spirit Awards. Still, given that this is the end of National Nurses Week 2016, we would be remiss not to take this opportunity to give a special shout out to our nurses who do so much. Thank you all! We really do appreciate you and all that you do!

Destination Wellness!



by Diane Byrne

Achieving whole person wellness is a path; a road; a life-long journey; and yes, sometimes it is met with twists and turns, obstacles and hurdles along the way. We often find in life, however, that difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations. In a poignant quote by Qwana Reynolds-Frasier we are reminded “determination determines our destination”, and it is with these thoughts in mind we begin the month of May focused upon healthy aging and fitness.

As an integral part of our Connect4Life program, Theralink, with services provided by Genesis Rehab is Juniper’s on-site, comprehensive program of rehabilitative and restorative therapies, fitness classes and related outcomes that provides integrated post-acute care to meet the intentions of health care reform. Over the past years we have been able to achieve significant positive outcomes regarding therapy utilization, increasing the quality of our therapeutic fitness and dementia capable programs, and decreasing falls.

During this spring we will be implementing a new program for the residents: Destination Wellness: Theralink Days with Vitality Checks. This monthly wellness fair, complete with healthy snacks for the residents, will focus on educational presentations regarding wellness topics, resident assessments for balance, lower body strength and endurance, as well as, safety checks for durable medical equipment. The results of the assessments that are completed will enable us to further track and analyze outcome measurements related to increasing residents’ balance, strength and endurance, thus further reducing falls. It is our hope that Destination Wellness will serve to spark determination and motivation within us all on our journey towards health and wellness; enabling us to achieve positive outcomes along the way; celebrating the journey and the destination!