A New Focus on CARE for Alzheimer’s Residents | Harbor's Edge Norfolk Blog

Memory Support at Harbor’s Edge

At Harbor’s Edge, we believe that all seniors deserve dignity and compassionate care to enjoy day-to-day living. The Harbor’s Edge Memory Support Center provides a safe, secure and resort-like atmosphere for residents who have memory impairments. Residents enjoy a spacious residence, supportive health care services and a stimulating environment which promotes independence and encourages socialization.

We work closely with family members and residents to create an appropriate care plan that preserves residents’ dignity and encourages their independence. In addition, our Memory Support staff is specially trained to work with our memory-impaired residents. They monitor our residents’ health and abilities daily and encourage them to engage in structured, multi-sensory activities to stimulate their mental and physical focus.

Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease is an illness of the brain. It causes large numbers of nerve cells in the brain to die. This affects a person’s ability to remember things, think clearly, and use good judgment.

Alzheimer’s disease often starts off very slowly. In fact, some people don’t even know they have it. They blame their forgetfulness on old age. However, over time, their memory problems get more serious. People with Alzheimer’s disease have trouble doing everyday things like driving a car, cooking a meal, or paying bills. They may get lost easily and find a simple task confusing. Some people become worried, angry, or violent at any time. As the disease progresses most people need someone to take care of their needs. Some people live with caregivers and others live in nursing home or special units designed to take care of their special needs.

C.A.R.E.S. Program

The staff at Harbor’s Edge is trained and certified in the C.A.R.E.S. Program. This program provides training on person-centered care, the changes that happen to thinking skills as dementia progresses, how those changes impact behavior, and how to understand behavior as communication. It is targeted to direct care staff—Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs), nurses, social workers, administrators—but also contains valuable information for other facility employees—receptionists, and dietary, laundry, housekeeping, transportation, and security staff. It includes an entire module on learning the CARES Approach™.

Diagnosing Alzheimer’s Disease

If you or someone in your family thinks you forgetfulness is getting in the way of our normal routine, it’s time to see you doctor. Seeing the doctor when you first start having memory problems can help you find out what’s causing your forgetfulness. If you have Alzheimer’s finding the disease early gives you and your family more time to plan for your treatment and care. Your doctor or a specialist may do the following things to find out if you have Alzheimer’s disease:

• give you a medical check-up

• ask questions about your families heath and history

• ask how well you can do everyday things like driving, shopping for food, and paying bills.

• Talk with someone in you family about your memory problems.

• Test your memory, problems-solving, counting, and language skills.

• Check you blood and urine, and do other medical tests

• Do brain scans that show pictures of your brain

Are there treatments for Alzheimer’s disease?

There are medications that can treat the symptoms of Alzheimer’s. But, there is no cure. Most of these medications work best for people in the early or middle stages of the disease. For example, they can help keep your memory loss from progressing as quickly for a period of time. Other medications may help if you have trouble sleeping, are worried, or depressed. All these medications may have side effects and may not work for everyone.

– Contributed by Laurie Redilla, Memory Support Manager, Harbor’s Edge

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