The Reutlinger Community: An Extension of Your Home Now and Forever

At The Reutlinger, we were specially designed and built for living. Newly renovated and offering a true continuum of care, we are a community that not only looks and feels like home, but can truly be home for all of seniors’ different care needs. Whether they need Assisted Living, Memory Care or Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation, they never need to worry about making a move from the community that provides them with the engaging lifestyle, beloved traditions and dedicated care they deserve.

According to Andrea Campisi, Marketing Director at The Reutlinger Community, an Assisted Living, Enhanced Assisted Living, Memory Care, Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation community in Danville, CA, The Reutlinger has been serving seniors throughout the area for over 60 years. “Recent renovations have been completed to provide better service, comfort, care and connection for our residents,” says Andrea. “This allows for an engaging lifestyle where up to 180 residents can thrive. Even better, our dedicated and seasoned specialists can now provide even more of the care that our residents deserve.”

At The Reutlinger, we believe it’s a combination of our programming, heritage and care that creates the lifestyle seniors deserve. Here, our residents can be at home and feel at home, enjoying the services they need.

The Dedicated Care You Deserve

No matter what care needs your loved one may have, The Reutlinger can always be home. Here, we provide an array of care options that can fit a range of needs, including:

 

  • Assisted Living. Residents in our Assisted Living program benefit from services and amenities that help them life worry-free lives. From chef-prepared meals, scheduled transportation and assistance when needed to weekly housekeeping, laundry and engaging programming, residents can enjoy each day.

 

  • Memory Care. We have been designed to take care of various Memory Care needs, no matter what level your loved one may be at. For those requiring minimal Memory Care to more advanced, our range of capabilities can help residents live their best lives. We even provide sensory-based therapies and programming adapted to meet the changing needs of residents with Memory Care needs.

 

  • Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation. To end our continuum of care, we also offer Skilled Nursing, allowing the peace of mind of knowing you’ll never need to make a move because The Reutlinger has you covered. With personal assistance, support from an expert team of professionals and an array of on-site services, our residents and families can enjoy everything The Reutlinger has to offer with complete peace of mind.

The Engaging Lifestyle You Desire

Residents of The Reutlinger enjoy a range of activities and programs designed to enhance and enrich their lives. These offerings allow them to connect and engage with others, find purpose and meaning and feel at home right where they are.

 

  • Art classes. Taught by our artist-in-residence, Betty Rothaus, our residents can enjoy learning how to paint or simply watch. This program gives resident artists multiple opportunities to explore art therapeutically, or just enjoy a calming creative outlet right in their own home.

 

  • Scheduled transportation. We worry about taking your loved one places so you don’t have to. We provide transportation each day to doctor’s appointments, nearby shopping, special events and more.

The Traditions You Love

At The Reutlinger, not only do we treat your family like our family but their traditions are upheld. We cherish the Jewish lifestyle and its beliefs, and believe that their values should be honored. As the area’s only Jewish community, residents of The Reutlinger can enjoy:

 

  • Rabbi on site. Rabbi Debora Kohn holds weekly Shabbat and holiday services, conducts spiritual and religious programming, provides guidance and ensures the spiritual needs of residents are met.  

 

  • Kosher kitchen. The Reutlinger provides kosher meals to fit the needs of our Jewish residents. With the area’s only kosher kitchen, our residents enjoy three restaurant-style meals plus snacks and beverages.

 

  • Jewish Heritage Museum. Residents and their families can find our Jewish Heritage Museum on site. Our museum features Jewish artifacts that have been donated. This is open for residents, families, staff and visitors to enjoy.

To learn more about The Reutlinger, or to experience it for yourself, contact us today. We would be happy to take you on a tour, have you attend an art class or meet with our rabbi.

Premier Senior Living, Dedicated Care

Offering assisted living, enhanced assisted living, memory care, skilled nursing and

rehabilitation, The Reutlinger provides a continuum of care that allows seniors to live a life-enhancing and stimulating environment. Located in Danville, California, The Reutlinger’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 seniors 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, 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.

Why You Shouldn’t Choose Memory Care That’s One-Size-Fits-All

When it’s time to choose a memory care community, it’s important to realize that everyone is different. No one has the same experiences, preferences or tastes. No one shares all the same hobbies, talents or skills. People are unique, and that’s one of the reasons the world is so great. If people aren’t one-size-fits-all, why should your memory care be? Choosing memory care that’s as unique as you are and takes each individual senior into account is one of the best ways to ensure seniors choose the memory care community that’s right for them.

According to Andrea Campisi, Marketing Director at The Reutlinger Community, an assisted living, enhanced assisted living, memory care, skilled nursing and rehabilitation community in Danville, CA, many seniors and their families look for the same types of attributes in a memory care community. “Before ever touring, we have an idea in our head about what it is we are looking for. We want it to look appealing, we want there to be a variety of programs and we want the care we need to have the lifestyle we deserve,” said Andrea. “The issue is that we often just visit and tour the community and check these items off the list without looking into it further. The community may be beautiful, the residents may look happy and there may be plenty of programs and a great care plan, but just how personalized is it really? Don’t just check items off the list, this decision is much bigger than that.”

5 Reasons Memory Care Shouldn’t Be One-Size-Fits-All

When you or a loved one are looking into a memory care community, make a list of things you are personally looking for. Consider some of the following:

 

  • Location. If you love being immersed in nature and beautiful surroundings, you wouldn’t choose a memory care community located in the middle of a city just as you wouldn’t move to one in the country if you love hearing the bustle and excitement of the city. Keep in mind that the community you choose doesn’t usually impact outings, as many plan specific trips to local museums and attractions. Be sure to ask for some examples of trips the community has gone on to gauge whether or not you’d be interested. If you or a loved one like to watch sports or go to the theater, see if that’s an option. Being specific about what you are looking for isn’t a bad thing when choosing memory care.

 

  • Person-centered care. Memory loss can impact seniors in a number of different ways and no diagnosis is exactly the same. This makes it crucial for seniors to receive resident-centered care according to their own specific needs and disease. When touring a community, talk to the staff about who will care for you or your loved one, if they will be their dedicated team and if personal care plans are created and agreed upon. It can help to meet with the staff and ask specific questions you have as well.

 

  • Programs and activities. Make a list of things you love to do. If you love to paint, read, garden or exercise, make sure the community has programs that can accommodate this. Have a specific skill or talent you want to share but there’s no club or program available? See if one can be started. It’s important for seniors to have access to activities they love, especially when they have memory loss, because these activities can often entice them to remember past events and connect with who they were. It’s also important to see if the community offers any special programming, like sensory-based therapies and activities that can help soothe those with memory loss while engaging their minds.

 

  • Dining. Do you or a loved one have dietary restrictions or need adaptations in order to make dining easier? Make sure these can be accommodated at the memory care community you choose. Because not everyone has the same preferences, it can also help to make sure the community offers meals throughout different times of the day and healthy snacks and beverages at all times. Try to make sure meals can be tailored to meet their preferences, as well and that there is plenty of choice and variety.

Choosing the wrong memory care community for you can lead to dissatisfaction, isolation and depression. This can make for a costly move down the road and even more disruption in you or a loved one’s daily life. Choosing a community that’s not one-size-fits-all in the first place can help to decrease the likelihood of this and ensure your loved one has access to the engaging, exciting lifestyle and high level of care they deserve.

For more information on choosing a memory care community, or to take a tour of The Reutlinger to see how our resident-centered approach to care and activities can benefit yourself or a loved one, contact us today. We’d be happy to show you how our residents live more engaged, fulfilled and connected lives as a result of a far-from-cookie-cutter lifestyle.

Premier Senior Living, Dedicated Care

Offering assisted living, enhanced assisted living, memory care, skilled nursing and rehabilitation, The Reutlinger provides a continuum of care that allows seniors to live a life-enhancing and stimulating environment. Located in Danville, California, The Reutlinger’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 seniors 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, 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: One Daughter’s Story

Finding out that your mother is suffering from dementia is devastating news. It unleashes a deluge of emotions ranging from anger to sadness. For daughters, there is often the added burden of making what seems to be an endless number of decisions for mom, including perhaps the most overwhelming one: determining where she will live.

 

Often families will consider caring for mom at home, then quickly realize (like I did) that as time goes on and symptoms worsen, taking on the responsibility of full-time care is a nearly impossible task.  Quite simply, caring for a loved one with dementia becomes a 24-hour-a-day, seven days a week challenge.

 

In my experience, finding a facility that specialized in the care and housing of individuals with dementia was the best decision not only for me, but also for my mom. Knowing that caring and qualified staff members were attending to her needs around the clock lifted a very real burden.  Perhaps most importantly, it allowed my family and me to visit often and truly enjoy the time we had with mom, even when she no longer recognized any of us.

 

For mom, her new home provided not only physical care, but also an environment with consistency, routine, and structure that weren’t possible at home.  I will always look back on those last few years with mom filled by gratitude, for the blessing of a residential facility with expert memory care.

 

For more information on dementia, and to speak with someone who can help with decisions regarding care, call Andrea Campisi, Director of Marketing and Admissions, The Reutlinger Community. We are happy to answer your questions.  (925) 964-2062.

Spring Awakens the Body and Mind – Keys to Successful Aging

According to one expert on aging, “If exercise could be put in a pill, it would be the number one anti-aging medicine and the number one anti-depression medicine.” Yes, exercise is essential at any age, but for the elderly, activity and movement is more important than ever.

A physical activity program geared to a senior’s individual ability can improve strength, energy, and appetite. It also benefits cognitive abilities as well as providing a boost to mood and memory.

Gentle exercise programs, such as stretching are especially suited for seniors. These exercises improve balance, range of motion, and coordination. The slow, fluid movements of exercise similar to Tai Chi provide a sense of peace and relaxation while strengthening muscle control and balance.

Even seniors who use a wheelchair or who have limited mobility can exercise. Stretching exercises can be done while in a chair, and the use of light hand weights can improve cardiovascular health and muscle tone. Water exercise is excellent for the elderly.

For the more active senior, group activities such as line dancing and low-impact aerobics classes couple a higher level of exercise with the inspiration of a social setting.

A senior living community such as The Reutlinger, that offers multiple levels of care, is perfect in being able to tailor exercise opportunities to a wide-range of residents.

The stimulation of our mind is also of great importance as we age. We want to be sure that we keep learning, stay interested in life, and create.

Listen to music. Music is a language that can express the inexpressible. The emotional and spiritual effects of music can be profound. Happy music can lift us up, and calm music can relax us.

Paint. Spring is a time when nature begins to reveal new colors. So why not work with some colors of your own. Take some time to paint something you find beautiful be it a landscape, a still life or the people around you.

Meditate or pray. Meditation and prayer can have a powerful effect on a person’s spirit whether they are looking to simply appreciate life more or connect to something greater. Psychologists say that meditation and prayer reduce the stress of daily life, helps a person’s sense of self-control and even makes them more pleasant to be around.

At The Reutlinger Community, our residents find comfort from our onsite spiritual leader, self-expression in our Discovering the Artist Within program, joy through music therapy, and lovely grounds to awaken their senses. For more information call Andrea Campisi, Director of Admissions and Marketing at (925) 964-2062.

Supporting Seniors in Chronic Pain

The Reutlinger Community: Carla Adamic

By Carla Adamic, The Reutlinger Community

 

Half of all seniors in the United States suffer from some form of chronic pain. Despite this staggering statistic, that pain often goes untreated. The first step to getting treatment is, of course, reporting it, but there are often barriers that prevent that from happening. Many seniors live on fixed incomes and are afraid to report chronic pain out of fear that it will lead to expensive medications and treatments. Other seniors are suffering from conditions that make communicating their pain difficult like memory or hearing loss. Despite these obstacles, chronic pain is often easily and inexpensively treatable. It’s important for seniors to report chronic pain to their physicians and loved ones.

Signs of Chronic Pain

Signs that a senior (or anyone) is in pain and might not be willing or able to tell you include:

 

  • Tightly closed eyes
  • Grimacing
  • Lowered levels of activity
  • Decreased appetite
  • Insomnia or troubled sleep
  • Rigid movement
  • Clenched fists
  • Groaning when moved
  • Inexplicable Tears

 

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If you see any of these symptoms, it’s important to encourage seniors to explain what is going on. Pain that goes unreported and untreated can have significant consequence including depression and anxiety.

Managing chronic pain can be handled in a variety of ways:

  • See a doctor who is certified in board certified pain management.
  • Look into interventional therapy programs that could help you manage the underlying cause of the chronic pain. For example, certain exercises can help reduce back pain.
  • Walking, yoga and meditation can help.
  • Dialog with other people who have experienced the same pain and ask how they’ve managed it. Support groups can help.
  • Believe it or not, simple love and care can help someone feel better. Isolation can make pain feel worse.

 

 

At the Reutlinger Community, we work with residents to make sure that they don’t suffer in silence. Part of that is simply having a knowledgeable and personable staff that knows each resident well enough to be able to talk with them about how they are feeling and to recognize signs of chronic pain when they are reticent.

To learn more about how we manage pain, visit us at rcjl.org or call us at 925-648-2800.

 

Keeping Our Communities Current: How Modern Technology Can Improve Assisted Living

The Reutlinger Community: Carla Adamic

By Carla Adamic, The Reutlinger Community

 

Despite easily available evidence to the contrary, there is a persistent myth in our culture that seniors don’t do technology. The reality is that a majority of people over sixty-five have cell phones, use the internet, and use at least some form of social media. Seniors aren’t merely more tech savvy than people assume, they actively want the technology in their homes to be current. It’s important for senior living communities to keep their capabilities up to date and incorporate the latest technologies into their design.

 

Computer Access

Computer and technology centers are becoming more and more essential parts of senior living communities. Computers provide a way for seniors to keep in touch with their loved ones, catch up on news, work on personal projects, manage their finances and more.

 

Wi-Fi

Wireless internet has gone from a luxury to a necessity. While having access to a desktop or laptop computer allows for more in-depth interactions, more and more people are accessing the internet through cell phones and tablet computers. Indeed, the simple interfaces and easy portability of these devices often make them the preferred devices by many seniors who don’t need or want the complexity of a desktop PC.

 

Instruction

For many seniors the reason they avoid technology isn’t because they aren’t interested, but because they need patient instruction. At the Reutlinger Community, we have volunteers and speakers who help seniors learn instead of mocking their lack of prior knowledge.

 

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There are numerous benefits to giving seniors access to modern technology.

 

Connection

Some seniors live hundreds, even thousands of miles away from their families who live in different time zones and can’t readily interact in real time. E-mail and social media make it quick and easy to communicate whether it be about the latest 49ers game, holidays, family events or even just the weather. Programs like Skype and Facetime allow face to face communication across the country and even the world. Engagement is often said to be as important to graceful aging as keeping your body healthy.

 

Mental and Physical Health

There are numerous video games that provide both physical and mental benefits. The Nintendo Wii console, for example, offers simulated sports activities like tennis, bowling and golf which allow for physical exertion in a fun and safe environment at home or with friends. Other games help with hand-eye coordination, spatial recognition, fact recall, memory and more. Even better, many games can be played online with family and friends, stacking social benefits on top of mental and physical benefits.

 

Medication Management

While at the Reutlinger Community, we are able to take a hands-on approach to medication management, many seniors must manage on their own. There are numerous apps that can help seniors (and anyone else) track their medication use to prevent over or under-dosing. Learning how to use these apps can have a significant impact on a senior’s overall health.

 

Emergency Response

Many seniors have access to a PERS or a Personal Emergency Response System that allows them to summon medical help with the touch of a button. Other useful emergency technologies include GPS devices or global positioning systems that help seniors locate where they are and get directions to where they are going. These GPS systems can be linked to alert systems so that caregivers can easily find seniors when they need our help.

 

To learn more about how technology helps seniors and how we handle it in an assisted living environment, please visit our website at rcjl.org or call us at 925-648-2800.

5 Tips For Caring For Someone with Alzheimer’s

Carla Adamic OutsideJune is Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness month. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, over 5 million Americans are currently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. As Americans live longer and longer more people are developing the disease. One in nine Americans 65 and over has it.

While many Americans with Alzheimer’s are living in an environment where they receive professional memory care 24/7, many are living at home.  Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s presents an enormous challenge. It is estimated that friends and family contribute 18.1 billion with a “b” hours caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s.  Those estimates include 15.9 billion people who lose an average of $15,000 of income annually to lost work hours.

So how do you care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s more efficiently and without exhausting your time, money and physical and emotional energy?  Here are a few tips we can give you from our memory care experts.

1. Prepare, Prepare, Prepare

In the early stages of Alzheimer’s, patients are still capable of planning and living independently. At this point in time it is absolutely critical to lay out as many long-term plans as possible. Having plans in place for the day when your loved one might no longer be able to keep house, manage their finances or manage their calendar will make the transition to those eventualities easier on you and on your loved one. While the discussions may be difficult at first, they will only become more difficult if they are put off due to the degenerative nature of Alzheimer’s disease.

2. Keep a Tight Routine

When you get into the practice of creating a recognizable routine, your loved one will feel more confident and in control when they know what to expect from a given day. If you are going to create plans that deviate make sure to schedule them when your loved one is at their most lucid and able to contribute to the conversation. The goal is not to control them but to allow them to have as much control over their lives as possible while you provide support.

3. Keep a Home Clean and Free of Clutter

In this day and age we have more and more devices and distractions that clutter up our homes from electronics to snacks to ever growing piles of junk mail and more. The more that clutter and confusion can be eliminated the better. You want to eliminate the risk of your loved one tripping over power cords, losing their books and jewelry under piles of clutter or knocking over glasses that have been left around the living room.  A clean environment is one free of the unexpected and the frustrating.

4. Take Care of Yourself

family-515530_640While it might be admirable to put someone else’s needs above your own, the fact of the matter is that loving someone with Alzheimer’s causes additional strain on you. Make sure that you are monitoring your own health, both mental and physical. Make sure you are eating, sleeping and drinking regularly and make sure that you are doing things to let off steam. Find friends who aren’t as close to your loved one to give you support. Burning yourself out helps no one.

 

5. Get Help When The Time Is Right

There will come a point in time when you will no longer be able to care for your loved one on your own. The sad truth about Alzheimer’s is that it is irreversible and the point will come when your loved one will need some kind of professional memory care. You should study up on your options in advance and see how your loved one responds to different doctors and environments. Schedule tours, read recommendations and talk to people you know who’ve been in a similar situation so that you can make the most informed decision possible.

For more information on caring for someone with Alzheimer’s and related conditions and to see if your loved one would benefit from living at a full-time memory care community, please visit us at rcjl.org or call us at 925.648.2800.

How An Assisted Living Community Benefits People with Alzheimer’s and other forms of Dementia

Carla Adamic Outside

Memory loss can be a challenging and unforgiving process. Some people will want to stay in their home for as long as possible. And while we understand that may be a strong temptation, there are good reasons to move to an Assisted Living Community with professional memory care options sooner rather than later. Here are a few reasons why you might want to consider making a move in the earlier stages.

1.  Professional Care 24/7

The reality of diseases like Alzheimer’s is that you simply can’t predict when you will need help. Most houses and apartments aren’t equipped with the latest medical technologies and most people simply won’t have the ability to have the support of professionals round-the-clock, 7 days a week. You will also have someone else monitoring you when you take your medication so you don’t need to remember what you have taken and when. This added layer of security simply makes life easier and more worry free.

2. It Makes Life Easier for Your Loved Ones

dependent-441408_640As much as you might not want to admit it, taking care of you can be a challenge for others, both emotionally and physically. This can cause some strain on your relationship as well as your loved one’s personal and professional life. Receiving reliable care from a third party will eliminate that strain and allow you to enjoy your relationships free of unnecessary complications.

3. Simplifying Your Environment Simplifies Your Life

Assisted living frees you of the burden of keeping a larger home. You will have support for cooking, cleaning, laundry and other needs. You don’t need to worry about managing your schedule because someone will always be there to help you do so.  Opportunities to shop, work out, enjoy a show, and more will all come to you. You will have more freedom to focus on the here and now.

4. Home is Who You’re With As Much As Where You Are

Some Assisted Living Communities offer a “Continuum of Care” which means that if you have a spouse or other significant other who lives with you, they can still live with you even after you move. They may have different needs than you do, but because of a diversity of care options, they will receive as much or as little care as they require while you receive your individualized care. A Continuum of Care means your relationships can stay as “we”, as you age in place safely with the person who means the most to you.

If you have more questions about memory care or continuum of care options, please visit us at www.rcjl.org or call us at 925.648.2800.

Memory Loss: What is Normal? When do I need help?

By Carla Adamic, The Reutlinger Community

Carla Adamic Outside

 

 

We all forget things from time to time. Be it forgetting where we put our keys when we got home or forgetting which year we went to Disneyland for the first time. As we age, the number of memories we keep in storage in our heads gets so large that our long-term memory prioritizes some things and de-prioritizes others. This is normal.

 

But not all memory loss is normal. Sometimes it’s a sign of something more significant. How do we know the difference? Here are a few signs that your memory loss might require a trip to the doctor to learn if it’s just forgetfulness or something potentially life changing.

 

1. Forgetting How To Do Things You Do On a Regular Basis

 

If our long-term memory is like a bank vault where we occasionally need to put away things we don’t necessarily need very often, our short-term memory is more like our wallets where we keep our money and credit cards that we use on a regular basis. Forgetting how to do things that you do on a regular basis is a potential sign of an issue that may eventually require memory care.

 

2. Repeating Stories or Phrases in the Same Conversation

 

Have you been hearing people tell you that “you just told me that story?” or “you said that five minutes ago?” and you don’t remember doing so? That’s a potential warning sign that might need attention.

 

3. Trouble Learning and Adapting to the New

 

Whether you’re a quick learner or a slow learner, when forming new skills and learning new things begins to become more difficult than usual, you should act decisively to find out what is happening.

 

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4. Forgetting Things More Often Than You Used Too

 

This is seemingly the most obvious sign, but, as we said above, forgetting is normal. If you are forgetting more than normal, it might be more than forgetfulness. Be honest with yourself and ask yourself if you really are forgetting more than normal.

 

The Reutlinger Community has many decades of skills and expertise in memory care. If you have questions or concerns, please contact us at (925)648-2800 or visit us at rcjl.org

You’ve Been Diagnosed With Alzheimer’s Disease; What’s Next?

Carla Adamic Outside

By Carla Adamic, The Reutlinger Community

 

We’ve all heard about Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), a condition that strips people of their memory and, eventually their life, that cannot be cured or slowed down. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, in 2015, 5.1 million people over the age of 65 in the United States were living with AD and, of that number, 3.2 million were women.

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What might surprise many is that according to the 2015 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report issued in March, only 45 percent of those diagnosed with AD, or their caregivers, “say they were told of their diagnosis by their doctor.” Doctors aren’t required to tell their patients of the diagnosis, although medical ethics would indicate otherwise.

 

It’s important to know what disease you have and for your caretaker to know, as soon as possible, because it facilitates informed response and planning. Being uninformed leads to fear, confusion, anxiety and depression, just to name a few side effects of not knowing why you are forgetting things, getting lost or confused.

 

Not that you won’t experience many of those emotions when you first learn you have AD, and throughout the course of your disease. But, knowing what is wrong in the early stages of AD means you will be able to take action to help yourself, your spouse or partner, children, relatives and friends prepare for changes in your behavior and health. This can lead to a more rewarding and less troubled future for everyone concerned.

 

Here are five important things to do, after you’ve been diagnosed:

 

  • Learn about Alzheimer’s. The more you know, the better you can explain your disease to family members, friends and others. You will also know what to expect as AD progresses and will be able to plan accordingly.

 

  • Tell your spouse or partner about your diagnosis, if you haven’t done so already. Together you can discuss your needs and theirs and discuss how you wish to be treated as your condition worsens. Have you been putting off a special trip or project? Maybe now is the time to travel to Asia or take the grandkids to Disney World, finish the book you’re writing or organize the family photos.

 

  • Go over your finances and legal documents with your spouse or partner and make sure everything is in order. Consult an attorney to assist you in setting up a power of attorney document, help with estate planning and other financial and legal issues. Make sure your wishes are known and respected.

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  • Check out long-term care facilities in the area and find out what resources are available for people with AD that your caregiver can use, when needed. Find a near-by support group that you and your caregiver can join — either separately or together.

 

  • Keep active as long as you can. If you and your spouse or partner play bridge or go dancing, keep doing it as long as you comfortably can. Consider adding a few less complex activities to your repertoire. That way if bridge becomes too complicated, you can switch to an easier game, like hearts, or take up hiking or walking to replace dancing.

 

There are many resources available for people who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers, family and friends. The National Institute on Aging offers a guide “Caring for a Person With Alzheimer’s Disease,” with tips for caregivers on topics as diverse as how to make your home safe for a person with Alzheimer’s and how to find a full-time care facility. The site also offers a variety of information on the disease, research in progress and how to find help.

 

The Alzheimer’s Association addresses all facets of AD, from its symptoms and stages to information about on-line message boards and support groups for patients and caregivers. The important thing is to use the available information to make life with AD easier and more rewarding for both you and your caregiver.

 

The staff at the Reutlinger is available to help address your concerns and answer questions. Our resident-centered memory care residents have 24/7 oversight by licensed nurses, a full complement of activities including a renowned on-site art program, and a full-time social worker to ensure that every resident’s quality of life is all it can be.

 

We welcome your questions. Call (925)648-2800 or visit www.rcjl.org.