Inquiries Regarding The Reutlinger Community’s Affiliation Plan with Eskaton

To the East Bay Jewish community,

The Reutlinger Community intends to affiliate with Eskaton, a Sacramento-based senior living nonprofit, to sustain our East Bay Jewish community, reflect its religious and cultural traditions and enhance its quality of care well into the future.

We look forward to ongoing collaboration, discussion and transparency with our residents, their families and the greater East Bay Jewish community where retired residents and those approaching retirement are searching for the best and most comfortable lifestyle options. We encourage anyone with questions or comments to reach out directly to us and have provided online resources and contact information below for that purpose.

It took more than two years of planning for a long-term and enduring solution for The Reutlinger Community. Today, at the end of an extensive and comprehensive search, we are certain we made the best possible choice.

Sincerely,

Jay Zimmer
President and Chief Executive Officer
The Reutlinger Community
JZimmer@rcjl.org
(925) 964-2063

 

RESOURCES

Link to FAQs regarding TRC’s affiliation with Eskaton:
http://www.rcjl.info/CA_Attorney_PDFs/TRC_FAQs.pdf

A copy of the affiliation agreement has been shared on our website, and is also available in print upon request from our administration office. Please visit the link below or call 925.648.2800 for additional details.
http://www.rcjl.org/written-notice-california-attorney-general/

The California Attorney General has posted a notice of the proposed transaction on its website, which is available here:
https://oag.ca.gov/charities/nonprofithosp

6 Warning Signs Your Loved One’s Memory Loss Isn’t Just Forgetfulness

Is your senior loved one starting to be … well … forgetful? Have they started misplacing items and been unable to find them? Are they starting to call you by someone else’s name, or struggling to recall the name of a new friend? Do they walk into a room and forget why they did so? We can shrug these off as senior moments or the sign of a busy brain, but sometimes memory loss can be the sign of a bigger problem.

“An occasional lapse in memory is normal and to be expected as we get older,” says Andrea Campisi, Marketing and Admissions Director of The Reutlinger Community, a Continuing Care Retirement Community in Danville, CA. “Think about your own life: there are more than likely times when there are words on the tip of your tongue, or when you call your child by the dog’s name. That’s why it can be hard to know the difference between normal forgetfulness and memory loss that should be concerning.”

Andrea says that if memory problems are interfering with your loved one’s daily routines or day-to-day-tasks, or if you’re noticing them getting worse over time, it’s important to schedule a visit with their doctor to see what’s going on. “Frequent forgetfulness isn’t a normal part of aging, and indicates something’s wrong with your loved one,” she says.

Here are some warning signs that your loved one may be experiencing less-than-normal memory loss for their age:

Clue 1: Their memory loss disrupts their daily life.

Memory loss is the most common and most talked-about symptom of dementias such as Alzheimer’s disease. This can include forgetting important dates and events (like their wedding anniversary), repeating the same question over and over again or forgetting something they just did (like making dinner). A more subtle sign is relying more and more on memory aids and family members in order to accomplish normal tasks.

Clue 2: They’re having difficulty performing familiar tasks like balancing a checkbook.

Some individuals will suddenly begin to have problems in remembering how to solve problems or accomplish normal tasks, like making a favorite recipe or forgetting how to access their bank account. If your loved one is suddenly forgetting how to do something they’ve always known how to do, that’s a red flag.

Clue 3: They forget what day or time it is.

It’s possible you’ve experienced forgetting “when” it is (this is especially true if you’re wrapped up in something interesting, or if you’re on vacation). What’s uncommon, though, is forgetting what season it is or what month it is. People with serious memory loss can forget where they are in time, literally, and may be unable to know what day it is without looking at a physical calendar (and even then may have difficulty).

Clue 4: Losing or misplacing items and being unable to retrace their steps to find them again.

It’s easy to forget where you put your glasses or your car keys. What’s not normal is not knowing where to look for them, being completely unable to narrow down options of where they could be or starting to accuse other people of stealing or hiding items.

Clue 5: They can’t remember what to call familiar objects or forget common words.

Dementias like Alzheimer’s disease affect the brain in many ways, including the areas that deal with language. If your loved one is suddenly struggling with vocabulary, calling items by the wrong names (but something that could sound “close,” like “hand clock” for a watch) or literally forgetting they’re having a conversation while they’re having it, something is going on.

Clue 6: You’re worried about their memory loss – but they aren’t.

One of the biggest signs that something is wrong is if your loved one simply doesn’t see that they have a memory problem, or otherwise can’t tell that something is wrong. If you’re noticing that things are concerning, but your loved one believes everything’s fine, that’s a flashing red light that something needs to happen, quickly.

What Should You Do?

The very first step you and your loved one should take is to visit their primary physician to narrow down causes and determine what may be happening. While it’s very possible that the memory loss is due to a cognitive disease like dementia, there are many other reasons why your loved one might be experiencing memory loss.

“The thought of dementia is terrifying to so many people that they will hide signs of memory loss in the hope that it will get better or to keep others from noticing,” says Andrea. “This can end up backfiring, because there are causes of memory loss that can be reversed and cured – but your loved one won’t know unless you visit a doctor.”

Your loved one’s doctor will run some tests in the office and then, if necessary, refer your loved one to different specialists like a neurologist. They will also perform a physical and perform tests to rule out any alternate causes of the memory loss, such as:

  • Medication interaction
  • Infections (forgetfulness is a common side effect of UTIs in the elderly, especially for senior women)
  • A nutritional deficit
  • Untreated anxiety, grief or depression
  • Alcohol or drug abuse
  • A variety of physical disorders

Tips for Helping Your Loved One Maintain Brain Health

Even if your loved one is experiencing memory loss, there are things you can do to help them prevent further memory loss or  improve their brain health.

  • Eat a healthy diet that includes fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, lean meats, whole grains and low-fat dairy.
  • Get plenty of exercise and make sure there’s a mix of aerobic exercise as well as some strength and resistance training.
  • Engage their mind with meaningful activities, puzzles and games or help them learn a new skill.
  • Get a full night’s sleep for seniors, that’s seven to eight hours of sleep each night.
  • Remain socially active, because memory loss can be a sign of depression, which is exacerbated by becoming socially withdrawn.

No one likes to think that their loved one’s memory loss could be the sign of something more serious. However, by staying alert, looking for warning signs and staying on top of their health, you and your loved one will be better able to navigate cognitive changes in a positive and beneficial way.

For more information about determining when memory loss may be problematic, or to learn more about our community, mission and values, please contact us at 925-272-0261.

Premier Senior Living, Dedicated Care

The Reutlinger Community’s mission is to provide high quality health care and social support services in a life-enhancing and stimulating environment with a commitment to Jewish values.

Offering Assisted Living, Enhanced Assisted Living, Memory Care, Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation, The Reutlinger Community provides a continuum of care that allows seniors to live a life-enhancing and stimulating environment. Located in Danville, California, The Reutlinger Community’s renovated 110,000 square foot community combines the comfort and familiarity of home with seasoned senior care and skilled nursing specialists to suit any senior’s needs, allowing them to live the life they choose with freedom and security.

Because we specialize in a continuum of care, our residents never need to worry about leaving the community they call home or wonder what will happen when they need some more care. Residents and families alike can have peace of mind knowing that there are full-time licensed nurses available, along with activity coordinators, social workers, caregivers, a concierge and Rabbi who focus solely on helping each resident thrive. Even better, our services and amenities are equal to those of a state-of-the-art resort. This is the lifestyle and care that your loved one deserves.

At The Reutlinger Community, seniors have numerous opportunities to engage in award-winning programs that are designed to engage the mind, renew the spirit and provide opportunities to meet new people and learn something new. Whether residents are enjoying our art program and museum, listening to a lecture or educational program or attending spiritual programming and our wide range of activities, there’s something for each resident to love. Participate as much or as little as you like, the choice is all yours.

For more information or to schedule a personal tour, contact us today.

New Year and a New Lifestyle That Enlivens the Spirit

What New Year’s resolutions did you make for 2020? Even if you didn’t “officially” make any promises when the ball dropped on December 31, we imagine that you’d like the new year to be filled with happiness, friends, family and a lifestyle that engages and fulfills.

“No matter how old or young we are, there’s something exciting and hopeful about the start of a new year,” says Andrea Campisi, Marketing and Admissions Director of The Reutlinger Community, a Continuing Care Retirement Community in Danville, CA. “Which makes it the perfect time for new beginnings, whether that’s a small change like adjusting your diet or a large change like making the move into senior living.”

If you’re a senior who’s been thinking about how to make life even more fulfilling in 2020, Andrea suggests that the new year is an excellent time to research, reflect and perhaps even make the move to a senior living community like The Reutlinger Community.

“Senior living these days is much different than the nursing homes of the past,” she says. “Communities are focused more on wellness and inspiring lifestyles while helping residents stay as healthy, active and independent as possible. It’s not uncommon for us at The Reutlinger Community to see very healthy, ‘young’ seniors moving to our maintenance-free community to take advantage of all we have to offer … so they can live the lifestyle they want.”

How Does Senior Living Offer an Inspiring Lifestyle?

No more chores or home upkeep.
We understand that you love your family home – and it’s probably been paid off for a while (always good to not have mortgage payments). But a paid-off, beloved home still requires you to pay for things like water and electricity, property taxes, home insurance and repairs. And, of course, the responsibilities of owning a home aren’t just financial. The never-ending routine of housecleaning, cooking, laundry, yardwork, shoveling snow … it gets exhausting after a while. Doubly so if you’re an aging senior whose joints or energy levels aren’t as high as they used to be. Plus, isn’t it time for you to not have to worry about these types of chores anymore? Your golden years should be, well, golden, and who wants to spend more time doing chores than they have to?

Moving to senior living provides an elegant solution with true maintenance-free living. At a community like The Reutlinger Community, all the chores and upkeep are taken care of by a professional maintenance staff. Never again will you have to run the vacuum cleaner, rake leaves, shovel the driveway or even run a washer and dryer. All your to-dos will be taken care of, leaving you free to do all the things you want to do – but may have pushed to the side in favor of taking care of the details.

An instant social network and community.
Many seniors naturally become more isolated as they get older. This is due to a variety of things, such as friends and family moving away, difficulties getting out and about (especially if you don’t like driving at night) and the aforementioned chores that seem to take up more and more time. However, at a senior living community, residents find themselves instantly a part of a large community of individuals in the same stage of life as them. Not only that, but everything in the community is designed to make socialization easier and more fun. Dining with friends is as easy as heading to the dining room (no choosing a restaurant or having to coordinate a dinner party). Social events and activities take place all the time (and you don’t have to do the work of organizing them). You’ll find so much to do, and so many new friends to do them with.

Total peace of mind.
Living alone can be nice, but there are a lot of things to worry about, too. For example, what happens if you fall or get sick and there’s no one nearby to check in on you? What happens if you need to go away for a week or so – who will watch your home? Or what if you suddenly need more assistance and care than you currently require – will you have to move away then? Moving into a senior living community can instantly remove all those worries. You’ll have the independence and privacy that you want, but you’ll also have the benefit of 24/7 care and assistance if and when you need it. Senior living communities employ a full-time security staff, so there’s never any need to worry about your belongings or your safety.

Perhaps best of all, a senior living community provides you with a home where you can easily and safely “age in place.” If your health needs change and you end up needing more assistance, it’s usually a seamless process to receive what you need. Since communities are designed with seniors in mind, you may even be able to put off assistance for longer, since you won’t have to worry about things like stairs, non-accessible hallways and not-always-safe showers. Instead, you have peace of mind … now and in the future.

Is Moving to a Community Right for You?

There’s no right or wrong answer – it’s entirely dependent on your needs and what you’re looking for in this phase of life. Even if you don’t “need” senior living (in other words, if you’re healthy, active and independent), moving to a community can be incredibly beneficial – not to mention freeing.

If you’re wondering if 2020 is the year for you to enliven your lifestyle by moving to senior living, here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • Would you like to not have to worry about chores or home maintenance anymore?
  • Are you bored, lonely or simply would like more social opportunity than you currently have?
  • Would you like more time to do the things you want to do, not the things you have to do?
  • Are you worried about your health now or down the road?

If you answer any of these questions with “yes,” this might be the year for you to look into the freeing and rewarding lifestyle you can find at a senior living community like The Reutlinger Community. For more information about the benefits of senior living, or to learn more about our community, mission and values, please contact us at 925-272-0261.

Premier Senior Living, Dedicated Care

The Reutlinger Community’s mission is to provide high-quality health care and social support services in a life-enhancing and stimulating environment with a commitment to Jewish values.

Offering Assisted Living, Enhanced Assisted Living, Memory Care, Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation, The Reutlinger Community provides a continuum of care that allows seniors to live a life-enhancing and stimulating environment. Located in Danville, California, The Reutlinger Community’s newly renovated, 110,000 square foot community combines the comfort and familiarity of home with seasoned senior care and skilled nursing specialists to suit any senior’s needs, allowing them to live the life they choose with freedom and security.

Because we specialize in a continuum of care, our residents never need to worry about leaving the community they call home or wonder what will happen when they need some more care. Residents and families alike can have peace of mind knowing that there are full-time licensed nurses available, along with activity coordinators, social workers, caregivers, a concierge and Rabbi who focus solely on helping each resident thrive. Even better, our services and amenities are equal to those of a state-of-the-art resort. This is the lifestyle and care that your loved one deserves.

At The Reutlinger Community, seniors have numerous opportunities to engage in award-winning programs that are designed to engage the mind, renew the spirit and provide opportunities to meet new people and learn something new. Whether residents are enjoying our art program and museum, listening to a lecture or educational program or attending spiritual programming and our wide range of activities, there’s something for each resident to love. Participate as much or as little as you like, the choice is all yours.

For more information or to schedule a personal tour, contact us today.

5 Reasons Why Caregivers Prefer Memory Care to Aging in Place

Ask any aging adult how they’d like to spend their senior years, and you won’t be surprised to learn that 9 out of 10 of them say “at home.” Overwhelmingly, seniors wish to remain in their current homes for as long as possible – for the rest of their lives, if they’re able to do so. While older adults who are dealing with “normal” issues of aging may be able to live at home with minimal difficulty, this desire becomes compounded when the senior has Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia.

“When dementia presents itself and is first diagnosed, many individuals and caregivers choose to remain ‘at home’ for care, which means that the caregiver spends time at the individual’s home or the individual moves in with their familial caregiver,” says Andrea Campisi, Marketing and Admissions Director of The Reutlinger Community, a Continuing Care Retirement Community in Danville, CA. “The idea of moving to a Memory Care community is scary and can make the disease too ‘real.’ It’s easier, many think, to stay at home where it’s familiar and safe.”

It is possible for someone with a dementia such as Alzheimer’s disease to age in place in their home versus moving to a memory care community. However, there are many decisions that have to be weighed, particularly by caregivers. While a spouse or other family member may try to care for their loved one at home for as long as possible, there may come a time when it’s simply not a safe, affordable or reasonable option, says Andrea.

“It doesn’t matter how dedicated of a caregiver you are – if you’re a family caregiver, there may come a time when it’s preferable to move your loved one to a Memory Care community. And that’s totally fine,” she says. “In fact, many caregivers prefer to move their loved one into a Memory Care community because there are so many distinct benefits to the individual. While at first the caregiver may feel like they’re giving up or taking the easy way out, the truth is that many individuals blossom and thrive when they’re in a safe, comfortable community that’s designed for their needs.”

5 Reasons Why a Memory Care Community Can Be the Right Choice

  1. Consistent, around-the-clock care.
    Dementias such as Alzheimer’s disease are progressive, and over time the senior will lose the ability to reason, speak, perform simple tasks and even control their body. In the mid- to late- stages of the disease, someone with dementia will require assistance 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, just to remain safe and secure in their living environment.

    Family caregivers who may have started the dementia journey helping out every once in a while will suddenly find themselves in a situation where caring for their loved one becomes their entire existence. This is exhausting for the caregiver, who’s balancing many other responsibilities – work, their own family and their health – and it’s also dangerous for the individual with dementia, who won’t have the attention they need because their caregiver is burning the candle at both ends.

    By contrast, a memory care community is staffed 24/7 with a professional team of caregivers who have been trained in best practices for dementia care. Residents always have someone available at any time of the day, and because this is the staff’s job, they are dedicated and focused on one thing: assisting those in their care. This provides consistent, high-quality care for individuals with dementia.

  2. Safety and security.
    As dementia progresses, a comfortable home can become hazardous to a senior. A gas stove can transform from a way to cook a meal to a dangerous tool that could potentially set the home on fire if unattended. Stairs can become treacherous and a cause for trips to the emergency room. Transforming a family home into an environment that’s safe for someone with dementia can be time-consuming and costly. Many caregivers and families may not have the resources to deal with the necessary changes.

    Memory Care communities, by contrast, have been designed specifically to meet the needs and unique challenges facing those living with dementia. Private living spaces are equipped with emergency call systems, as well as safety features like pull bars and easy-to-navigate rooms. Hallways feature soothing colors and directional cues, and – perhaps best of all – the communities are completely secured so that the individual can’t wander off. Everything has been designed to keep seniors with dementia as safe as possible and as independent as possible.

  3. Social interaction.
    Studies have shown that staying socially active and engaged in meaningful activities can help slow the progression of dementia while also providing the highest quality of life for seniors, no matter what their abilities. If the senior is living at home, it can be hard for family caregivers to provide stimulating, meaningful activities and interaction while juggling everything else that has to be done in order to care for their loved one.

    Residents at a Memory Care community benefit from a thriving, full social calendar and an entire community of people filled with like-minded individuals and caring staff. There’s something to do just about every minute of the day, and it’s all just steps away from their living areas – no driving or travel necessary. The activities and interactions are all designed to be accessible to those with dementia and are tailored to each individual’s preferences and likes.

  4. Nurturing relationships.
    One of the things family caregivers love about placing a loved one in Memory Care is the sense of relief and the ability to step away from the caregiving role…and become the spouse/child/friend that they were prior to the diagnosis of dementia. Without the strains of taking care of the day-to-day (or moment-to-moment) needs of the individual, they’re able to spend time together doing the things they want to do…not the things they have to do. This allows both the caregiver and the person with dementia to create meaningful moments and form memories to last a lifetime.
  1. Peace of mind.
    Finally, a Memory Care community provides peace of mind that can’t be replicated at home. Knowing that a loved one is surrounded around the clock with trained professionals who will treat them as individuals and care for them with respect, where your loved one will receive the assistance they need to live the independent life they deserve, and having the time back to spend your moments together as family member is a priceless gift.

For more information about dementia caregiving, or to learn more about our community, mission and values, please contact us at 925-272-0261.

Premier Senior Living, Dedicated Care

The Reutlinger Community’s mission is to provide high quality health care and social support services in a life-enhancing and stimulating environment with a commitment to Jewish values.

Offering Assisted Living, Enhanced Assisted Living, Memory Care, Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation, The Reutlinger Community provides a continuum of care that allows seniors to live a life-enhancing and stimulating environment. Located in Danville, California, The Reutlinger Community’s newly renovated, 110,000 square foot community combines the comfort and familiarity of home with seasoned senior care and skilled nursing specialists to suit any senior’s needs, allowing them to live the life they choose with freedom and security.

Because we specialize in a continuum of care, our residents never need to worry about leaving the community they call home or wonder what will happen when they need some more care. Residents and families alike can have peace of mind knowing that there are full-time licensed nurses available, along with activity coordinators, social workers, caregivers, a concierge and Rabbi who focus solely on helping each resident thrive. Even better, our services and amenities are equal to those of a state-of-the-art resort. This is the lifestyle and care that your loved one deserves.

At The Reutlinger Community, seniors have numerous opportunities to engage in award-winning programs that are designed to engage the mind, renew the spirit and provide opportunities to meet new people and learn something new. Whether residents are enjoying our art program and museum, listening to a lecture or educational program or attending spiritual programming and our wide range of activities, there’s something for each resident to love. Participate as much or as little as you like, the choice is all yours.

For more information or to schedule a personal tour, contact us today.

Seven A’s of DementiaCaregiving

Dementias such as Alzheimer’s disease are neurological disorders, which means they affect the individual’s mind and shape their perception throughout the memory loss journey. Those of us with normally functioning brains can find it confusing and frustrating when dealing with someone in cognitive decline because, simply put, their brains aren’t working the same way as ours.

“Dementia isn’t limited to just one area of the brain, so the changes end up affecting all aspects of a person’s mind and body,” says Andrea Campisi, Marketing and Admissions Director of The Reutlinger Community, a Continuing Care Retirement Community in Danville, CA. “This can be confusing and alarming to family caregivers, who may see their loved one experience changes suddenly overnight. Unfortunately, there’s no one way the disease progresses, so the changes can seem rapid and disjointed.”

To help understand how your loved one is experiencing the world as the disease progresses, the Memory Care community uses the seven A’s of dementia.

“The seven A’s are used as shorthand to help caregivers in particular remember what areas of the brain are being affected by dementia,” says Andrea. “Each A represents an effect that happens due to damage in a particular part of the brain.”

Anosognosia.

Anosognosia is a medical term that describes someone with dementia being unaware of their condition. This symptom is caused by changes or damage to the frontal lobe of the brain, which is responsible for self-image, insight and reflection.

To those of us with normally functioning brains, it appears that the person is in complete denial about the situation. However, to the individual, they really cannot understand that they are ill due to the changes their brain is experiencing. Someone with anosognosia will stubbornly insist that everything is fine and they have no issues. They may exhibit poor judgement, be unaware of how their actions make other people feel, or be physically aggressive as they try to resist any form of care.

Amnesia.

Memory loss is the hallmark of dementia, and manifests first with the loss of short-term memories. This occurs when the temporal lobe is damaged. Without short-term memory, a person with dementia is effectively unable to learn anything new. Someone with amnesia due to dementia will be unable to remember what happened that morning, but can easily reflect on something that happened in their childhood. They also can become more anxious and overwhelmed, since they’re unable to process the new information, and may continually repeat questions or comments. They can also start to not recognize friends and family members, or confuse them with people from their past.

Aphasia.

When dementia attacks the parts of the brain that control language, the individual experiences aphasia, or the loss of their language skills. While the person with dementia can generally still comprehend nonverbal communication, he or she can lose the ability to express themselves verbally, may find it hard to understand what’s said to them or have difficulty reading or writing. In early stages of aphasia, the individual may substitute words (being unable to find the right one), or revert to a native language they spoke as a child.

Agnosia.

Agnosia is defined as the loss of recognition – specifically, the person with dementia loses the ability to recognize people, objects and other things through their senses. Smell, touch, taste, sound and sight no longer trigger the appropriate responses in their brain. This manifests in confusion, such as thinking that a close friend or family member is an impostor, or not being able to recognize themselves in a mirror and thinking their reflection is a stranger. Unwanted behaviors, such as inappropriate sexual behavior, can arise from agnosia. Individuals can also forget how to use everyday objects, such as a hairbrush, fork or toilet.

Apraxia.

Dementias such as Alzheimer’s disease eventually affects the motor functions of an individual, making it difficult for them to move purposefully, or understand how to execute a series of tasks. Someone with apraxia can have trouble dressing themselves, become distracted easily while doing tasks and leave them undone, have a hard time with push-button items like phones or television remotes or become frustrated when faced with a task that requires multiple steps without clear, step-by-step directions.

Altered perceptions.

This “a” specifically relates to altered physical perceptions, such as depth perception. This affects how a person reacts to stimuli around them and affects the way they move, walk and sit. This can also result in visual distortion, which causes the individual to misinterpret the environment around them and cause fear. Someone with altered perceptions may be afraid of bathing, because they may think the water is very deep and there is a risk of drowning. Shadows may appear as holes in the floor, and chairs or other objects may appear as people.

Apathy.

Over time, someone with dementia will lose the ability to initiate activity or conversation. This can appear to a caregiver as depression and an act of withdrawing. It’s important to note that even if the individual can’t initiate conversations, they are able to participate if someone engages with him or her (that’s not the case with someone with dementia who also has depression). Someone with apathy will spend much of the day in silence, but will react if someone speaks to them or calls their name. While he or she may lose interest in beginning or staying involved in activities, it doesn’t mean that he or she doesn’t want to be a part of the activity – it’s just beyond their ability.

Not every person with dementia will experience all of the seven A’s, but it is important for caregivers to be aware of them so they can take steps to manage and work around the behaviors. By paying attention to your loved one’s moods and actions and reacting appropriately, you can help navigate the A’s and provide a happy, safe, high quality of life for your loved one with dementia.

For more information about dementia caregiving, or to learn more about our community, mission and values, please contact us at 925-272-0261.

Premier Senior Living, Dedicated Care

The Reutlinger Community’s mission is to provide high quality health care and social support services in a life-enhancing and stimulating environment with a commitment to Jewish values.

Offering Assisted Living, Enhanced Assisted Living, Memory Care, Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation, The Reutlinger Community provides a continuum of care that allows seniors to live a life-enhancing and stimulating environment. Located in Danville, California, The Reutlinger Community’s newly renovated, 110,000 square foot community combines the comfort and familiarity of home with seasoned senior care and skilled nursing specialists to suit any senior’s needs, allowing them to live the life they choose with freedom and security.

Because we specialize in a continuum of care, our residents never need to worry about leaving the community they call home or wonder what will happen when they need some more care. Residents and families alike can have peace of mind knowing that there are full-time licensed nurses available, along with activity coordinators, social workers, caregivers, a concierge and Rabbi who focus solely on helping each resident thrive. Even better, our services and amenities are equal to those of a state-of-the-art resort. This is the lifestyle and care that your loved one deserves.

At The Reutlinger Community, seniors have numerous opportunities to engage in award-winning programs that are designed to engage the mind, renew the spirit and provide opportunities to meet new people and learn something new. Whether residents are enjoying our art program and museum, listening to a lecture or educational program or attending spiritual programming and our wide range of activities, there’s something for each resident to love. Participate as much or as little as you like, the choice is all yours.

For more information or to schedule a personal tour, contact us today.

Caregiver Conversations: 5 Real-Life Strategies for Dealing with Dementia

As caregivers, we do a lot of research when it comes to learning how to deal with dementia (such as articles like these). Most of us haven’t been a caregiver for someone with dementia before, so there’s a lot of learning that goes on. A lot of times, though, we have to use our intuition to decide how to help our loved ones – which isn’t always the best course of action for someone living with cognitive issues.

“While trusting our gut is usually helpful in many situations, it’s actually counterintuitive when dealing with dementias like Alzheimer’s disease,” says Andrea Campisi, Marketing and Admissions Director of The Reutlinger Community, a Continuing Care Retirement Community in Danville, CA. “What seems like the right and logical thing to do may actually be the worst thing you could do to get a positive reaction from your loved one.”

Instead, Andrea says, it’s best to learn from the experience of others. Specifically, other dementia caregivers and memory care professionals.

“Every person’s dementia journey is unique, and one of the first things you learn as a dementia caregiver is that there is no one right or wrong way to deal with it,” says Andrea. “What works for one person won’t work for another, and the only way to really deal with it is to try, try again … and keep a good sense of humor, compassion and patience.”

We’ve pulled together some real-life stories and strategies to help you navigate the pitfalls and puzzlements of caregiving a loved one with dementia. While each story is unique to the situation, there are overarching strategies and tips everyone can relate to – and help you realize that you are not alone.

  1. The Pitfalls of Reason, Rationality and Logic
    “One of the first things that became blatantly clear to me when I started caring for George was that trying to explain things in a logical way didn’t make sense. Which, of course, didn’t make sense to me. George had always been a rational man, and he’d always been able to see both sides of the situation before. Suddenly, though, he couldn’t understand why he shouldn’t be wearing sandals in winter, or couldn’t grasp that he wasn’t going to work because he’d been retired for decades.He’d do things that were unsafe or just flat-out wrong, like putting the dishes in the oven or leaving the front door wide open. Of course, I first tried to remind him why he shouldn’t be doing these things, and he’d promise to remember next time, but he never did. It took me some time, a lot of frustration and many conversations with other caregivers and professionals to understand that his brain simply didn’t work in the same way anymore, which is why the normal approaches of logic and reason didn’t work, either.Eventually, we found strategies that worked best for us. Instead of explaining a situation or arguing about what’s real or not, I use straightforward, simple sentences to explain what’s happening or give an easy answer. If George gets agitated or asks where someone is or why he’s not going to work, it’s easier for me to redirect his attention and ask him questions about what he does to take his mind off the issue at hand. At first, it feels a little like exercising a muscle you haven’t used before, so it was a little bumpy to start. Now, however, it’s become secondhand, and I’ve found that we’ve been able to have a much calmer and happier home environment for both of us.” – Julie A., Spousal Caregiver
  1. Being a Perfect Caregiver Is Impossible
    “When I was raising my kids, I had to come to the realization that being a perfect parent was impossible. The same is true for being a caregiver to someone with dementia. It’s so easy to beat yourself up over not doing things perfectly, or getting frustrated with yourself or your loved one, feeling resentment over the situation and being overwhelmed on a daily basis. This doesn’t make you a bad person … it makes you human. Most of us don’t quite know what we’re getting into when we sign up to be a caregiver, and it can quickly become overwhelming. That’s okay. You don’t have to be perfect – you just have to be there and do the best you can. Learning how to accept yourself and your limitations is absolutely necessary when you’re a caregiver. I like to recite the Serenity Prayer every morning to help center myself and remind myself that there are things I can and can’t control.Once you realize you’re ‘just human’ after all, it becomes a lot easier to accept and ask for the help you need. When I became Mom’s caregiver, I ended up saying ‘no’ to a lot of offered help because I felt like it was my responsibility and that no one else could do it as well as I could. That quickly lead to me feeling burned out, overwhelmed and depressed. I eventually learned that it’s okay to ask people to help out, and to eagerly embrace any helping hand that is offered. Here’s my tip: have a list of specific things that people can do to help you out, whether that’s going grocery shopping, cleaning the house or sitting with your loved one for a few hours. It’s a lot easier for people to say ‘yes’ to a specific thing.” – Anna M., Adult Child and Caregiver
  1. Sometimes It’s Okay to Lie
    “I was not a fan of therapeutic lying when the doctor first recommended it to me. It’s natural to tell the truth to our parents, especially at the beginning of the disease, when you’re still thinking you can use reason and logic to help them understand the world around them. So every time Mom asked me where her mother was, or when Dad would be home, I would tell her that he or she died a long time ago, which caused her to get upset and grieve the loss all over again. Eventually, I learned that it was okay to tell little white lies in order to help keep her calm and happy. I’d say that her mom would be back from the store later, or that Dad was still at work, and then I’d find an activity for us to do together.My doctor told me that the best way to determine between a harmless white lie and a serious lie is to determine whether or not the lie helps Mom overall. So, I don’t lie when it comes to things that affect her or her care, because she’s still an adult and deserves to be part of the conversation. But I don’t get worked up anymore if I don’t give her warning that we’re going to the doctor’s office.” Jenny W., Adult Child and Caregiver

  2. It’s Natural to Overestimate and Underestimate Your Loved One’s Abilities
    “We had a few bumps in the road right after Mary was diagnosed with dementia. I jumped into the caregiver role full-force and accidentally ended up steamrolling over her, which caused a lot of arguments and angst between us. You see, I thought I needed to take over right away, but forgot that there’s still plenty of things that she is capable of. Even though this was hard at first, we ended up having a lot of good conversations, and I learned to be patient and take a step back so that she can perform the tasks that she’s still able to do.It goes the other way, though, too. Sometimes I forget that she can’t remember a conversation we just had, or suddenly she has problems remembering how to make a recipe. It’s a constant balance that shifts every day, and it can be hard to find the balance sometimes. I just tell myself that every day is a new day, and that I’m happy to have this time with her.” – Richard L., Spousal Caregiver
  1. Cherish the Good Days
    “Sometimes – and it can come out of the blue – Dave has these moments of perfect clarity and it’s like he’s back to the husband I once knew. We can laugh and talk about something that may have happened years ago. I really cherish those moments, because I feel like I’m being given a gift. Even when those moments of clarity don’t come, I still find that there are things to celebrate every day. Dave is still my husband, and I love him, and finding ways to connect to and celebrate the person he was and is keeps me fulfilled on this journey.” – Emily M., Spousal Caregiver

For more information about dementia caregiving, or to learn more about our community, mission and values, please contact us at 925-272-0261.

Premier Senior Living, Dedicated Care

The Reutlinger Community’s mission is to provide high quality health care and social support services in a life-enhancing and stimulating environment with a commitment to Jewish values.

Offering Assisted Living, Enhanced Assisted Living, Memory Care, Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation, The Reutlinger Community provides a continuum of care that allows seniors to live a life-enhancing and stimulating environment. Located in Danville, California, The Reutlinger Community’s newly renovated, 110,000 square foot community combines the comfort and familiarity of home with seasoned senior care and skilled nursing specialists to suit any senior’s needs, allowing them to live the life they choose with freedom and security.

Because we specialize in a continuum of care, our residents never need to worry about leaving the community they call home or wonder what will happen when they need some more care. Residents and families alike can have peace of mind knowing that there are full-time licensed nurses available, along with activity coordinators, social workers, caregivers, a concierge and Rabbi who focus solely on helping each resident thrive. Even better, our services and amenities are equal to those of a state-of-the-art resort. This is the lifestyle and care that your loved one deserves.

At The Reutlinger Community, seniors have numerous opportunities to engage in award-winning programs that are designed to engage the mind, renew the spirit and provide opportunities to meet new people and learn something new. Whether residents are enjoying our art program and museum, listening to a lecture or educational program or attending spiritual programming and our wide range of activities, there’s something for each resident to love. Participate as much or as little as you like, the choice is all yours.

For more information or to schedule a personal tour, contact us today.

How to Respond When Your Aging Parent with Dementia Says, “I Want to Go Home”

One of the most heartbreaking things you can hear from your aging parent with dementia is: “I want to go home.” While it’s not unusual to hear this from people who are living in a memory care community, it is distressing for those who love them. If you’re a caregiver whose loved one lives with them, you may hear this phrase as well.

“When your loved one has dementia, explaining that they’re already home or they can’t go ‘back home’ doesn’t work,” says Andrea Campisi, Marketing and Admissions Director of The Reutlinger Community, a Continuing Care Retirement Community in Danville, CA. “Logic doesn’t work, so we as caregivers or adult children need to look at the situation from a different perspective in order to help comfort and calm our parent.”

Oftentimes, when a parent is saying “I want to go home,” they aren’t actually meaning that they want to go home. “It’s more of a request for comfort,” says Andrea. “Their current environment isn’t familiar to them for some reason, or they’re hurting in some way or they’re simply afraid. In this case, ‘home’ is shorthand for a place that is familiar and comfortable, so we as caregivers should focus on reassuring our loved ones and figuring out what is really bothering them.”

Why An Adult Wants to “Go Home”

Dementias such as Alzheimer’s disease cause the individual to lose their ability to communicate or find the right words to get their point across. They may be wanting to “go home” because they’re feeling like they’re missing something or are lonely or a variety of other problems. Here are some things your aging parent may be trying to say:

  • They’re in pain. If your loved one is hurting, it’s natural for them to want to go “home” where they feel safe and comfortable.
  • They’re lonely or sad. Dementia is a disease that slowly causes the individual to become disconnected and isolated from others. Their world slowly becomes smaller, and they forget faces and names.
  • They’re confused. It is possible that your loved one simply doesn’t know where ‘home’ is because they don’t remember. They may think they’re decades younger than they are (or have even reverted to childhood) and that ‘home’ is the place where they lived many years ago.
  • They have a particular need that isn’t being met. If your aging parent is tired, thirsty, hungry or needs to use the bathroom, they may want to ‘go home.’ Home is a comfortable environment where they know where everything is and what is expected.
  • They’re bored. Even as your loved one’s abilities go away, they still have the need for meaningful, stimulating and interesting days. If they don’t have enough to do, they may want to go “home” where they know they “belong.”

Helping Your Adult Parent Feel Safe and Comfortable

Don’t argue about them already being at “home.”
As we mentioned previously, your parent isn’t really asking to “go home” – they’re seeking something that may or may not actually exist, like a homelike feel. Instead of arguing that they are home (which will only serve to agitate and confuse them further), try instead to understand and acknowledge their feelings behind wanting to go home. Ask your parent where home is – they may describe the place they lived previously or their childhood home, or even an idyllic place like a vacation destination. Encourage them to talk about why they were happy and comfortable there, which may help you find ideas on how to help your parent feel better.

Reassure and comfort your parent.
Let your parent know that he or she is safe and, in a place, where people care. Reassure them verbally and also with comforting touches, if appropriate. By helping your mom or dad feel safe and loved, they will know they’re cared for, which can help ease their anxiety.

Redirect the conversation and/or their attention.
Redirection is an incredibly useful tool for whenever your parent is exhibiting concerning behaviors. Here are some examples of how to gently redirect your parent’s attention and help them stay calm and content.

  • Ask for their help with a task they can do and enjoy, like dusting, folding towels or organizing silverware. Giving Mom or Dad a job can help get their thoughts on something else.
  • Turn on some of their favorite music and start a dance party with them or ask them to sing along to the music.
  • Agree with your parent and tell them that you will go “home” later, but first you have to do x/y/z and can they help you? By agreeing with them, you acknowledge and soothe their feelings, and this allows you to stall for time and find ways to redirect their attention. It’s possible that your mom or dad will fairly quickly forget they were asking about going home.
  • Have a photograph album on hand that Mom or Dad can look through. Ask questions about the pictures and allow them to reminisce about the past. You can start by making comments about memories or moments you remember.

Find out whether Mom or Dad is lonely or unhappy.
Loneliness or happiness can manifest as a desire to ‘go home.’ Ask your parent if they’re unhappy, and if they are, see if you can find out why. They may not be able to tell you, so it may be a bit of a trial and error to find ways to help them feel more comfortable and happier. You may want to see if there are opportunities for him or her to enjoy the company of other people, or have more engaging activities to do.

Pay attention to when they’re asking to go home.
It’s possible that certain times of day may be spurring your parent’s anxiety. Is there a common denominator about when and where this happens? Is it possibly due to sundowning? Is it around mealtime? Does it happen when they’re in a crowd? There are many different triggers for your loved one’s behavior and finding out if something is causing it can be a big step towards soothing them.

For more information about dementia caregiving, or to learn more about our community, mission and values, please contact us at 925-272-0261.

Premier Senior Living, Dedicated Care

The Reutlinger Community’s mission is to provide high quality health care and social support services in a life-enhancing and stimulating environment with a commitment to Jewish values.

Offering Assisted Living, Enhanced Assisted Living, Memory Care, Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation, The Reutlinger Community provides a continuum of care that allows seniors to live a life-enhancing and stimulating environment. Located in Danville, California, The Reutlinger Community’s newly renovated, 110,000 square foot community combines the comfort and familiarity of home with seasoned senior care and skilled nursing specialists to suit any senior’s needs, allowing them to live the life they choose with freedom and security.

Because we specialize in a continuum of care, our residents never need to worry about leaving the community they call home or wonder what will happen when they need some more care. Residents and families alike can have peace of mind knowing that there are full-time licensed nurses available, along with activity coordinators, social workers, caregivers, a concierge and Rabbi who focus solely on helping each resident thrive. Even better, our services and amenities are equal to those of a state-of-the-art resort. This is the lifestyle and care that your loved one deserves.

At The Reutlinger Community, seniors have numerous opportunities to engage in award-winning programs that are designed to engage the mind, renew the spirit and provide opportunities to meet new people and learn something new. Whether residents are enjoying our art program and museum, listening to a lecture or educational program or attending spiritual programming and our wide range of activities, there’s something for each resident to love. Participate as much or as little as you like, the choice is all yours.

For more information or to schedule a personal tour, contact us today.

Dementia Grief & Loss: Adjusting After Bereavement (Part 4 of 4)

In this four-part series, we explore the stages of dementia grief and loss for those affected. Understanding the process, accepting your feelings and learning healthy ways to cope with the emotions will help you and your family during these difficult times. Walking this path is never easy, but with compassion, understanding and acceptance, you and your loved ones can have a meaningful, fulfilling and loving journey.

The period between a dementia diagnosis and the eventual death of the person has been labeled “the long goodbye” by experts, and for good reason. When individuals are diagnosed with a terminal disease such as cancer, heart disease or anything else, they are able to retain their “self” until the very end. But for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia, the disease robs them of their personalities, abilities and self. By the time someone with cognitive impairment passes away, the person they were – the person whom loved ones remember – has been “gone” for some time.

“It seems a little taboo to say, but when a loved one with dementia dies, it can feel like they’ve already passed away years ago,” says Andrea Campisi, Marketing and Admissions Director of The Reutlinger Community, a Continuing Care Retirement Community in Danville, CA. “The family and friends of someone with dementia become strangers over the course of the disease, and vice versa. This can make the grieving and adjustment period unique once the individual has passed away.”

There’s no right or wrong way to process the feelings that come following a loss, says Andrea, nor is there any one road to follow. “You may find yourself wavering from one extreme to the next. One day, you may feel relieved that the ordeal is over; the next, you may be wracked with grief and remorse. It’s important to remember that all these feelings and stages are normal and are to be expected following a complicated loss that a disease like Alzheimer’s can cause.”

Dealing with Loss and Bereavement

Throughout the dementia journey, those who love the individual experience grief in many ways. This can begin as soon as a diagnosis has been made, throughout the caregiving process and all the way to after the person has died.

Everyone’s relationship with grief and bereavement is personal, and everyone will face it in their own unique way. How you and your family members will feel after your loved one has passed away is affected by many different things, including your relationship, your history, your role during the dementia journey, the grief you’ve already experienced throughout the process and so on.

Sometimes, after an individual with dementia dies, their caregiver may discover that the grieving process doesn’t start fully until days, weeks or even months after their loved one’s passing. This is known as delayed grief. It’s not uncommon for caregivers to feel a sense of emptiness or loss of purpose. It can be hard to adjust to life without your loved one after they’ve been a part of your daily life for such a long time.

To cope with these feelings and the grief you may be feeling, it helps to talk to someone you trust. This can be a close friend, family member, spiritual leader or a professional psychologist. Dementia caregiver support groups can be especially helpful during this time. The most important thing is to recognize your emotions, accept them and work through them in healthy ways.

Tips for During and After Bereavement

  • Try not to make any big, life-changing decisions immediately following the person’s death. While moving to a new place, getting rid of all your loved one’s personal items or getting a new job may seem like a good idea at the time, it’s best to wait and process your feelings so you don’t do anything you might regret later.
  • While it’s important to reflect and grieve in your own way, try not to become isolated from friends and family. Being around others you trust, and love can help you work through your loneliness and sadness and help you build a path to what life will look like now.
  • It’s okay to hold on to mementos of your loved one, such as a piece of jewelry they always wore or a favorite comfort item. Keeping these items can help you feel connected to your loved one and give you an anchor during the grieving process.
  • Take care of yourself physically, mentally and spiritually. If you’re a religious person, consider reconnecting with your spiritual family and practicing your beliefs – this can be helpful and healing following a bereavement. Be sure to stay in touch with your personal physician, too. You are more susceptible to illness following a loss (everything from catching colds and the flu to depression). Get enough sleep, eat a healthy diet and get plenty of exercise.
  • Try to reconnect to people, hobbies and interests that you enjoy. You may pick up an activity that you’ve put aside, or you may want to try something new. This will give you something to look forward to and be interested in and can also give you a social outlet.
  • When you’re ready, talk about your loved one and reminisce over the life you shared. You can commemorate their life by creating a photo album, sharing personal belongings with those they loved, collecting donations for a fund, planting a tree or holding a memorial service.

Know that readjusting to life following bereavement can be a long process, but that there will come a time when you’ll be able to move forward. If you feel like you’re struggling and unable to reach the point of acceptance, please consider finding professional support to help you find what you need.

For more information about dementia caregiving, or to learn more about our community, mission and values, please contact us at 925-272-0261.

Premier Senior Living, Dedicated Care

The Reutlinger Community’s mission is to provide high quality health care and social support services in a life-enhancing and stimulating environment with a commitment to Jewish values.

Offering Assisted Living, Enhanced Assisted Living, Memory Care, Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation, The Reutlinger Community provides a continuum of care that allows seniors to live a life-enhancing and stimulating environment. Located in Danville, California, The Reutlinger Community’s newly renovated, 110,000 square foot community combines the comfort and familiarity of home with seasoned senior care and skilled nursing specialists to suit any senior’s needs, allowing them to live the life they choose with freedom and security.

Because we specialize in a continuum of care, our residents never need to worry about leaving the community they call home or wonder what will happen when they need some more care. Residents and families alike can have peace of mind knowing that there are full-time licensed nurses available, along with activity coordinators, social workers, caregivers, a concierge and Rabbi who focus solely on helping each resident thrive. Even better, our services and amenities are equal to those of a state-of-the-art resort. This is the lifestyle and care that your loved one deserves.

At The Reutlinger Community, seniors have numerous opportunities to engage in award-winning programs that are designed to engage the mind, renew the spirit and provide opportunities to meet new people and learn something new. Whether residents are enjoying our art program and museum, listening to a lecture or educational program or attending spiritual programming and our wide range of activities, there’s something for each resident to love. Participate as much or as little as you like, the choice is all yours.

For more information or to schedule a personal tour, contact us today.

Dementia Grief & Loss: Supporting the Dementia Caregiver During the Grieving Process (Part 3 of 4)

In this four-part series, we explore the stages of dementia grief and loss for those affected. Understanding the process, accepting your feelings and learning healthy ways to cope with the emotions will help you and your family during these difficult times. Walking this path is never easy, but with compassion, understanding and acceptance, you and your loved ones can have a meaningful, fulfilling and loving journey.

Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias don’t affect just the person who’s been diagnosed. Experts often say that family members are the “invisible second patients” of dementia. This is especially true for family caregivers, many of whom are spouses or adult children of the individual.

“The grief that dementia caregivers experience is very unique,” says Andrea Campisi, Marketing and Admissions Director of The Reutlinger Community, a Continuing Care Retirement Community in Danville, CA. “For many, they deal with shifting grief every day as they watch the person they love change and lose their abilities. Because many caregivers are caring for their loved one 24/7, they don’t get a chance to separate and find the time to deal with and manage their grief properly. They have to fit it in along with the day-to-day tasks required to keep their loved one safe and well.”

If you know a family member or loved one who has become a dementia caregiver, it’s natural to want to help. However, it’s also natural to not know what to do in the situation – which can lead to people not doing anything because they don’t want to accidentally do something to make the situation worse.

“Friends and family can be a great help when it comes to assisting caregivers during the grieving process and beyond,” says Andrea. “Grief is something we shouldn’t have to deal with on our own and knowing that there are others who care about us and want to help can do wonders for our emotional and mental state. Even though it may seem difficult or awkward at first, it’s important to reach out to dementia caregivers and offer your support in any way you can.”

Dementia Grief and Issues Unique to Caregivers

As we’ve mentioned in the first two parts of this series, the grief that comes with a diagnosis of dementia can be multifaceted and complicated. Caregivers and family members have to deal with grief all throughout the dementia journey, since it’s a progressive disease and loss can be something that happens every day. This causes many complex emotions, even when the person with dementia is still very much present and capable.

Dementia caregivers especially have to face some unique issues. Because of memory loss and the changes that happen in a person with dementia, caregivers may feel like the loved one they’re caring for has already passed away – even though they’re right there. Their loved one is psychologically no longer the same person, which is a loss that can strike caregivers over and over.

According to psychologists, grief is strongest for caregivers right when the individual is diagnosed and as the death of their loved one draws nearer. There are also other points when grief can become significantly higher, such as having to move a loved one into a Memory Care community. Surprisingly, it’s been shown that grief and other damaging feelings (like depression) can actually lessen when a loved one with dementia has transitioned to full-time professional care.

Still, every person processes grief in different ways, and we shouldn’t assume that caregivers are “doing fine” just because it’s been some time since a diagnosis. Even if a caregiver doesn’t necessarily “need” help, it can be very healing to know you’re thinking about them, you care and you’re willing to assist whenever necessary.

How You Can Help Support Dementia Caregivers

Check in regularly.
If you know anyone who’s loved one has passed away, you know that there’s a flood of support and assistance following the death, but that it trickles away after the funeral. A dementia diagnosis can be a similar type of situation. Unfortunately, grief doesn’t work in the same way, and it’s after those “trickle down” times when caregivers may need the emotional and physical support the most.

Checking in regularly with a caregiver can do wonders to boost their mood and let them know you’re thinking about them. Shooting off a quick email or text message throughout the day can make them smile (even if they don’t have time to respond). You can also send a card or call them regularly, just to say hi. Don’t forget about the power of personal touch – schedule a visit, drop by with coffee, or offer to come over and handle some chores. Being in contact with someone who cares will help lift a caregiver’s spirits like nothing else.

Be specific when offering to help.
Acts of service are a very real expression of love and support and are a boon for grieving caregivers. Instead of asking “what can I do to help?”, think of specific offers you can make that a person can say “yes” or “no” to. For example:

  • “I’ve got a couple of hours free tomorrow afternoon. May I sit in for you while you run errands or take time for yourself?”
  • “I’m going to the grocery store. What can I pick up for you?”
  • “Do you need some laundry done? I can pick it up today and bring it back clean tomorrow.”
  • “Do you need someone to do yardwork? I have some time this weekend and would be happy to do it.”
  • “I made a bunch of freezer meals to share with you. There are enough for a few weeks of meals.”

Recognize signs of depression and caregiver stress.
It’s easy for caregivers to have a hard time accepting help, even when it’s detrimental to their own health. If they don’t take the time to care for themselves, this can lead to depression, caregiver stress and ultimately caregiver burnout. This is harmful for both the caregiver and their loved one. If you notice any of these signs, talk to other loved ones and see how you can get the caregiver the assistance he or she needs.

  • Being constantly overwhelmed or worried
  • Being tired all the time
  • Gaining or losing lots of weight
  • Losing interest in activities or hobbies
  • Getting sick often
  • Abusing drugs or alcohol
  • Being irritated or angry, often at minor things
  • Constant feelings of sadness or hopelessness

While a caregiver may not always be open to your help, keep being persistent. Remind the caregiver that they are not alone and that you and others care for them – that can be the biggest comfort of all.

For more information about dementia caregiving, or to learn more about our community, mission and values, please contact us at 925-272-0261.

Premier Senior Living, Dedicated Care

The Reutlinger Community’s mission is to provide high quality health care and social support services in a life-enhancing and stimulating environment with a commitment to Jewish values.

Offering Assisted Living, Enhanced Assisted Living, Memory Care, Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation, The Reutlinger Community provides a continuum of care that allows seniors to live a life-enhancing and stimulating environment. Located in Danville, California, The Reutlinger Community’s newly renovated, 110,000 square foot community combines the comfort and familiarity of home with seasoned senior care and skilled nursing specialists to suit any senior’s needs, allowing them to live the life they choose with freedom and security.

Because we specialize in a continuum of care, our residents never need to worry about leaving the community they call home or wonder what will happen when they need some more care. Residents and families alike can have peace of mind knowing that there are full-time licensed nurses available, along with activity coordinators, social workers, caregivers, a concierge and Rabbi who focus solely on helping each resident thrive. Even better, our services and amenities are equal to those of a state-of-the-art resort. This is the lifestyle and care that your loved one deserves.

At The Reutlinger Community, seniors have numerous opportunities to engage in award-winning programs that are designed to engage the mind, renew the spirit and provide opportunities to meet new people and learn something new. Whether residents are enjoying our art program and museum, listening to a lecture or educational program or attending spiritual programming and our wide range of activities, there’s something for each resident to love. Participate as much or as little as you like, the choice is all yours.

For more information or to schedule a personal tour, contact us today.

Dementia Grief & Loss: Managing Your Feelings (Part 2 of 4)

In this four-part series, we explore the stages of dementia grief and loss for those affected. Understanding the process, accepting your feelings and learning healthy ways to cope with the emotions will help you and your family during these difficult times. Walking this path is never easy, but with compassion, understanding and acceptance, you and your loved ones can have a meaningful, fulfilling and loving journey.

As a caregiver to a loved one with dementia – or as a person dealing with a diagnosis of dementia – managing your feelings of grief and loss is one of the most challenging, significant issues you will face. Dementia is a progressive and ultimately fatal disease that destroys brain cells, resulting in memory loss, ability loss and ultimately the loss of one’s self. Whether you’re the individual with dementia, you’re caring for a spouse or you’re a loved one watching the disease progress in someone you care about, loss and grief are feelings you will walk hand in hand with throughout all stages of the dementia journey.

“Grief and loss are not feelings we feel and then get over,” says Andrea Campisi, Marketing and Admissions Director of The Reutlinger Community, a Continuing Care Retirement Community in Danville, CA. “Instead, they are ongoing emotions that will ebb and flow throughout the journey, shifting to focus on different aspects at different times. One day, you may mourn the loss of your plans and dreams for the future. The next, you may grieve the loss of the person you loved – even if he or she is still there. These feelings of grief and loss can make the experience even more difficult as you move through the process of the disease.”

It’s important to remember, says Andrea, that those living with dementia are feeling those emotions of loss and grief as well. “Dementia can be doubly difficult for those living with it because they are mourning the loss of the abilities and future they hoped for as well as the reality of what they’re losing day by day,” she says. “For those of us who are caregiving or love someone with the disease, it’s important to find ways to manage our own grief while also supporting and helping our loved ones through their personal journey of loss and grief, too.”

Ambiguous Grief and the Dementia Journey

As mentioned in the first part of this series, ambiguous grief is a form of grief that differs from the more “traditional” grief that comes from a loss like death. This is because ambiguous grief does not have closure or resolution, because you’re dealing with the loss of someone who is still alive and, often, someone who is still quite present physically and mentally. However, the ambiguity for the future and the feelings it causes can be difficult to cope with. Fortunately, understanding this very unique form of grief can help to forge a path forward.

“Ambiguous grief is what you feel when a loved one is still physically there but is not as present in the same way as they were before,” says Andrea. “This form of grief is complicated because we aren’t taught how to process this form of loss, and friends and family may not know how to provide adequate support.” Ambiguous grief can also confuse existing relationships and prevents the parties from moving on. For example, if you’re married to someone with dementia, you may not feel like you’re still in a romantic partnership because your spouse no longer recognizes you.

These feelings of grief and loss are ongoing and not a one-time trauma that can be worked through and dealt with. Throughout the dementia journey, you and your loved one will experience many losses, and it’s important to acknowledge each of them. It’s surprising, but healing happens when you’re able to allow yourself to feel the loss, grieve through the pain and move past it instead of avoiding it. By recognizing, adapting to and moving from these losses, you and your loved ones can make the positive changes needed to enhance the quality of life for everyone in your circle.

Tips for Managing Your Feelings

Find others who share your experience.
Look for others who are dealing with dementia, whether it’s an in-person support group, online forum or others in your circle who have lived through a similar experience. Finding those who understand where you’re coming from is the best, most healing thing you can do to cope and manage your feelings throughout the dementia journey. Being with people who understand where you’re coming from and who won’t judge you will provide immeasurable support.

Understand that grief is not a linear experience.
Unfortunately, grief is not something you will experience and move past. Loss will come throughout the journey, and each time you will need to accept, absorb and move through it as it comes. Knowing that some days will be easier than others, and that loss can come in waves, will allow you to be gentle with yourself and give yourself permission to grieve as the losses come – while also celebrating and enjoying the moments that are good (of which there can be many). 

Find ways to mourn in your own way.
Each of us walk the grief and loss journey in our own way. There is no one right way to navigate your feelings, so take the time to find ways to grieve and mourn in your own way. This may be by communing with nature, going to church, finding a support group or any other approach that works for you. Don’t get caught up in the “right” way to grieve and instead focus on what works for you. If you need to cry, that’s fine – but if you want to laugh or make jokes, that’s okay, too. Consider speaking to a therapist experienced in dealing with dementia loss to manage your feelings and find creative, productive ways to mourn.

Practice mindfulness and acceptance.
Learning techniques like meditation or mindfulness can be instrumental in managing and accepting your grief during the dementia journey. It may seem strange that your most powerful tool is learning to accept your grief and be present in the moment. However, accepting that dementia and the grief that comes with it is merely a part of your life that you are learning to live with can help refocus and reframe your state of mind.

Cherish the time you have left.
As much as you can, cherish the moments you have with your loved ones for the time you have left. Spend time together, make memories together and create fulfilling moments that will fill you up and nurture you for years to come. Remember that, although we don’t know what the future will hold, we can hold fast to what we have at this moment – and that we can live, love and experience life in those heartbeats and those breaths. Take each moment and each day as it comes and embrace the love and life that can stem from living an existence of love and appreciation.

For more information about dementia caregiving, or to learn more about our community, mission and values, please contact us at 925-272-0261.

Premier Senior Living, Dedicated Care

The Reutlinger Community’s mission is to provide high quality health care and social support services in a life-enhancing and stimulating environment with a commitment to Jewish values.

Offering Assisted Living, Enhanced Assisted Living, Memory Care, Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation, The Reutlinger Community provides a continuum of care that allows seniors to live a life-enhancing and stimulating environment. Located in Danville, California, The Reutlinger Community’s newly renovated, 110,000 square foot community combines the comfort and familiarity of home with seasoned senior care and skilled nursing specialists to suit any senior’s needs, allowing them to live the life they choose with freedom and security.

Because we specialize in a continuum of care, our residents never need to worry about leaving the community they call home or wonder what will happen when they need some more care. Residents and families alike can have peace of mind knowing that there are full-time licensed nurses available, along with activity coordinators, social workers, caregivers, a concierge and Rabbi who focus solely on helping each resident thrive. Even better, our services and amenities are equal to those of a state-of-the-art resort. This is the lifestyle and care that your loved one deserves.

At The Reutlinger Community, seniors have numerous opportunities to engage in award-winning programs that are designed to engage the mind, renew the spirit and provide opportunities to meet new people and learn something new. Whether residents are enjoying our art program and museum, listening to a lecture or educational program or attending spiritual programming and our wide range of activities, there’s something for each resident to love. Participate as much or as little as you like, the choice is all yours.

For more information or to schedule a personal tour, contact us today.