Dementia villages, also known as memory care villages or Alzheimer’s villages, are innovative residential communities designed specifically for individuals living with dementia. These villages aim to provide a supportive and safe environment that caters to the unique needs of residents while promoting a sense of autonomy and normalcy in their daily lives.
How Dementia Villages Operate:
Dementia villages are typically structured to resemble a small town or neighborhood, featuring familiar elements such as houses, shops, gardens, and communal spaces. The design is purposefully created to trigger positive memories and reduce confusion among residents. Trained staff members, often referred to as “companions” rather than caregivers, assist residents in their daily activities.
Residents in dementia villages are encouraged to participate in various activities that align with their interests and abilities. Common activities include gardening, arts and crafts, music therapy, and simple household tasks. The goal is to create a sense of routine, purpose, and social interaction, which can be beneficial for individuals with dementia.
Pros and Cons:
Continue reading Dementia Villages: A Comprehensive Overview
Listen to our founder talking about Memo24 to Christopher MacLellan (aka the bow tie guy) from the Whole Care Network.
Listen to “For Medication Management its Memo24″ on Spreaker.
Christopher MacLellan, known as “The Bow Tie Guy” in the caregiving community and author of What’s The Deal With Caregiving?, Chris MacLellan brings his soothing style and personal caregiving experience to Healing Ties podcast. Featured in a 2015 Pulizter Prize nominated caregiving story In Sickness and in Health: A Couple’s Final Journey, Chris is creating a life to love after caregiving ends through writing, radio, travel, and advocacy.
Just came across this article on buzz.ie about the opening of the first “Dementia village” in Ireland. The concept comes from a village in the Netherlands, and we have written about this in an earlier post. You can read more about it here.
* Image from CNN documentary on the ”dementia village” in the Netherlands.
As we grow older we suffer a decline in mental and physical fitness. A new study, published in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, shows that older people who routinely partake in physical exercise can reverse the signs of ageing in the brain, and dancing has the most profound effect. This article in “Science Daily” has more details on this study.
Credit: Created by Freepik
A guest post by Vicki Tapia.
It’s difficult to say for sure when Mom’s dementia symptoms actually began, but certainly long before they were evident to any of the extended family. My parents lived in another town, 2 hours away, and that distance provided a type of disguise for her cognitive decline. It took several years before I began to put 2 and 2 together. Sure, there were the odd behaviors of forgetting certain things such as how to correctly follow a recipe, what an eggbeater is used for or how to send email on her computer. I simply attributed it to old age, the stress of taking care of Dad (who had Parkinson’s disease) or plain old forgetfulness. The day Mom didn’t recognize her granddaughter standing before her, however, was probably the day my uncertainty took root. That was when I began to have vague suspicions there was something more nefarious happening to Mom’s brain beyond simple “old age.” Even so, it took yet another year beyond that incident before she was finally evaluated. And, by then, the diagnosis was already moderate Alzheimer’s disease.
I’ve learned that it’s not uncommon to miss clues of cognitive decline when someone we love acts in ways that go beyond normal aging. And when we do observe behaviors out of the ordinary, we often normalize or simply deny there may be an issue. If you’re close to someone who displays any of the following symptoms, it’s worth a medical evaluation.
- Becoming more forgetful
- Having trouble concentrating
- Struggling to perform familiar tasks
- Difficulty recalling names or words, or perhaps substituting words out of context
- Getting lost in a familiar neighborhood or forgetting how to reach a well-known destination
- Repeating the same thing or asking the same questions over and over
- Misplacing or putting items in strange places
- Family or friends noticing changes in behavior, mood or personality
- A lack of desire to engage socially
Continue reading A Glimpse Down the Dementia Road
Lately I came across these 2 great initiatives focused around improving the lives of our elderly that I wanted to share with you.
*: Photograph from www.presentperfectfilm.com
1. The first one is about an initiative in Seattle, USA where they have put up a pre-school and a nursing home under the same building. It is amazing to see how the children and the elderly seem to enjoy and cherish their social interactions and the time spent together. A documentary film called “Perfect Present” was made where the day to day life in such a magic place is displayed to us.
Continue reading Great initiatives for our elderly
Check out this article from the huffingtonpost:
I came across this article the other day on “Alzheimer’s and Dementia Prevention”.
The article is well written and informational, it mentions 6 pillars for preventing (or at least delaying) Alzheimer’s and other dementias.
These 6 pillars are:
- Regular exercise
- Healthy diet
- Mental stimulation
- Quality sleep
- Stress management
- An active social life
Although these seem to be obvious steps to maintain a healthy lifestyle in general, you will be surprised to know some of the details on these 6 pillars. I encourage you to read the full article here.
*: image designed by Freepik.
These days, some of the most exciting startup initiatives is coming out from the European FIWARE initiative which aims at creating a sustainable ecosystem to take advantage of the new opportunities generated by a new wave of Internet technologies. Some of the FIWARE accelerators have focused on the promotion of eHealth and a few excellent startups have been funded to develop technologies to promote healthy, active, and independent living in particular among the elderly.
Some of my favorite startups that are focusing on elderly care:
- Alzhup: This App seeks to improve the quality of life of people with Alzheimer’s by integrating actual memories and scientifically-proven therapies in a single platform, slowing the cognitive decline of the patient, as well as facilitate the active participation of the entire family and care team in the treatment process.
- Increasetime: The main focus of this startup is to promote the quality of life of the general population, with a special focus on patients with chronic diseases and on the independent, active and quality ageing. They develop health care solutions based on ICT (information and communications technology) and wireless sensors.
The solutions allow a continuous monitoring of the elderly person’s health state and, through a leading edge alarm system, they allow a quick intervention in case of an emergency.
- Sentimoto: They develop novel methods for the analysis of long-term physical activity, physiological and environment data collected by wearable sensors, with the aim of identifying social withdrawal and altered behavioral patterns that are predictive of decreased quality of life and a need for social care intervention. They aim to provide easy, trusted sharing of these insights, putting well-being information into the hands of older people and their circle of care.
- InCitytogether: Is another useful App that empowers the elderly and promote healthy and active ageing. In addition to monitoring some of the person’s vital signs (e.g heart beat rate, blood pressure, sugar level) and securely sharing this data with your GP and/or a relative, this App also provides real time information from city sensors, which warn seniors about environmental changes (heat, cold, rain, etc.) and health issues (pollution, pollen count, etc.). The App (and provided sensors) can also monitor your activity level and sleep patterns, and it will even inform you about your city’s cultural, educational, and fun events happening around you :-).
In short, these initiatives all have a common goal which is to empower the elderly and allow them to remain at home* and enjoy an independent life for as long as they can.
*: According to research by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), nearly 90 percent of seniors want to stay in their own homes as they age, often referred to as “aging in place.” (source: www.iyhusa.com/AginginPlaceFacts-Data.htm)
Today I found this pretty cool infographic by canadadrugcenter.com on simple tips to remember to take your medication and improve your medication compliance / adherence. The infographic was partly inspired by this blog post on psychcentral.com.
The scary thing though is that, according to this source, more than 50% of seniors forget to take their medications and that in the USA alone there are 125,000 yearly deaths from improper taking* of medications :(.
*: which can be forgetting to take medication, taking the wrong medicine, etc.
There is a variety of products and services on the market which you can use to set up your (or someone else’s) reminders and in particular your medication reminders. However, one can roughly divide them into 3 main categories:
1. Hardware devices
These can be from simple, compartmentalized boxes to very sophisticated electronic devices. Compartmentalized pill boxes (like these https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pill_organizer) are simple plastic boxes where one can place pills in separate compartments for each day of the week and time of the day (typically morning, afternoon, and evening). These are in fact to be considered more as pill organizers rather than medication reminders. A step up in this category are electronic pill boxes, which can be seen as pill boxes with the addition of some kind of visual or audible alarm that will trigger with a given schedule. Some will even have a locking mechanism to control which compartment to open at which given day/time (http://www.medminder.com/). And some more advanced versions can be even equipped with some kind of a caregiver alerting mechanism and/or a two-way communication with a medical emergency service.
Continue reading 3 ways to remember your medication
There has been quite a few studies showing how effective medication reminders are when it comes to improving adherence. “The effectiveness of interventions using electronic reminders to improve adherence to chronic medication: a systematic review of the literature“, is one of those articles that provides a nice review of the literature. The article was published in September 2012 and appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association.
The authors have selected 13 relevant studies from the literature and reported the details on the effectiveness of reminders to improve adherence. The full article is available here for free.
Continue reading Effectiveness of medication reminders
I came across this post today on thecaregiverspace.org website. I am really happy to see that Memo24 is actually helping people to lift some of the burden and worry in their day to day life. It is the story of David and his wife who were looking for a simple solution that will help his father-in-law, who is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease in its early stage, remember to take his daily pills. The problem is that David and his wife live a few hundred miles away from him, and it is difficult for them to check up on him all the time. Memo24 turned out to be a good solution to their problem. I asked David (who of course agreed on me posting this blog), how he is using the solution on a daily basis. And as it turned out, not only David is setting voice call medication reminders for his father-in-law, but also other types of reminders such as his doctor appointments, some of his important events, and even reminding him about watching that upcoming amazing TV documentary :). David has been using Memo24 for several months now, and according to him reminding his father-in-law by simply calling him on his home telephone and playing a message turned out to be quite an effective way to keep his medication compliance at a good level. I wish all the best for David, his wife, and of course his father-in-law for whom medication adherence is very important to keep healthy and fully enjoy life.