Are “Brain Games” Effective at Preventing Memory Loss

There has been ample debate when it comes to brain games and how helpful or not they may be. Where there is research that claims brain games have no effect on cognitive improvement in any way, other sources suggest the same can be effective under certain circumstances.

The question however, that many ask, especially those of us who are caring for senior or elderly loved ones is; are brain games effective at preventing memory loss?

The Truth about Brain Games

An article published by the Newyorker online elaborates on how recent breakthroughs have been made which indicate that brain games may be helpful in addressing memory loss and even dementia. We’re going to simplify some of the research in order to explain to our readers how brain games may be helpful as well as the limitations of addressing memory loss with brain games may be.

All Brain Games are not Effective

If you visit the Apple or Google Play Store on your phone or tablet, you can probably find hundreds of computer-based brain games claiming to boost the intellect and whatnot. You must remember that where some of these may actually be useful and effective, all of them aren’t.

Many applications that are presented as brain games are simply mind teasers focused more on entertainment than actual cognitive and intellectual improvement.

Specialized Brain Exercises are Highly Effective

There are certain brain games and exercises that are especially designed by qualified researchers and professionals working closely with conditions relating to aging and the elderly. Many of the activities conducted under our memory care services include such exercises.

When conducted with the support of qualified professionals and done consistently over a period of time with progress being documented, brain games can prove to be very effective.

Brain Games are not a Stand Alone Solution

Simply playing brain games is by no means a standalone solution to address memory loss. Memory loss needs to be addressed on multiple fronts. Other factors that need to be looked after include physical health, diet, levels of exercise and more.

This said, brain games are certainly a great way to supplement other measures you may be taking to counter memory loss.

Winding Down

There is still a lot of research being conducted on how effective brain games really are. Though there is still room for more convincing arguments, there is nothing that proves brain games are either useless or ineffective when addressing memory loss.

If you are struggling with memory loss or someone supporting an elderly loved one who is struggling with the same, we’re happy to help. Feel free to get in touch with professionals at AvantGarde Senior Living & Memory Care for more details on our senior housing, community and other facilities.   


Steps You Can Take To Reduce the Risk of Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s affects over five million seniors in the US, according to statistics. The causes or triggering factors of Alzheimer’s can be traced back to genetics, health, environment and lifestyle. In any case, living with Alzheimer’s as well as supporting a loved one struggling with the same can be emotionally taxing.

No Harm in Prevention

While there is no guaranteed way to halt or avert the onset of Alzheimer’s, there are a few things you can do to help reduce the risk of developing the same. For those of you who feel their loved ones may be at risk of developing the disease, here are some steps you can take to mitigate the risk of onset.

Keep Your Brain Active

Alzheimer’s in many instances has been observed to set in after individuals retire. Further, this is observed more in those whose retirement comes with a sudden drop in physical and intellectual activity. It is said that the brain is like a muscle that if kept active will continue to thrive.

When it comes to Alzheimer’s, one thing that can help is to keep learning. Don’t stop reading, don’t stop studying, take up a new skill or hobby. The more intellectually active you keep yourself; the more you lower your risk of developing Alzheimer’s.  

Watch Your Physical Health

There have been many connections made between Alzheimer’s and physical health. Conditions such as diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure and poor circulation are all known to be connected to higher incidents of Alzheimer’s.

If such conditions do exist, treatment should be sought as soon as possible.

Watch What You Consume

Maintaining a healthy diet is crucial to prevention of diseases and health conditions. It is important to pay attention to what you put in your body. Look into a nutritional plan. Eat according to what you need. Make sure you get a balanced supply of nutrients. Don’t consume excessive amounts of fast food or food that has been processed.

If you’re someone who smokes or drinks excessively, quit the habit as both have been connected to earlier development of Alzheimer’s.

Exercise

Like your intellect, exercising your body is also a good way to slow down and prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s. In working on your physical condition, motor-coordination, cognitive skills and stamina, you invariably also work on your focus, concentration and alertness.

Addressing Depression

Depression on its own can be tricky business. It is hard to detect, near impossible to quantify and just as difficult to deal with. Unaddressed or untreated depression however, is also connected to the onset of Alzheimer’s, according to studies. Addressing depression and seeking treatment or therapy may hence be one way of reducing your risks of developing Alzheimer’s.

Specialized Memory Care

Even if mild cognitive impairment (MCI) has set in, there are still ways in which the process of development of full blown Alzheimer’s can be slowed down. One way to do this is via memory care services such as the ones we offer at AvantGarde Senior Living and Memory Care.

Professionals specializing in memory care are equipped with numerous techniques and activities to help our senior loved ones improve memory, focus and concentration among other basic skills.    

Winding Down

There is nothing small about Alzheimer’s and those who struggle with it know exactly how immense the task of doing so is. That said, it does not hurt to do what we can to prevent the onset of such an illness and the steps above should be of some help.

If you need more information or support when it comes to caring for an elderly loved one, or are looking for senior housing options in locations like Hollywood, CA, feel free to connect with us immediately.   


The Consequences of Falls in the Elderly

For those of us who can still count ourselves as young— basically anyone below the age of 60 or 65— falling, though unpleasant is not such a big deal. We may bruise or scratch ourselves. In extreme cases, if it is a bad fall, we might even break or fracture something. For the most part though, it would take a fairly nasty or violent fall to really do us damage!

If you’re a senior however, things are a little different. The smallest of accidental falls, according to research, can sometimes do serious damage – even to the point of fatality.

Why and Where Falls May Occur

Studies show that there are numerous risk factors that contribute to seniors losing their balance and falling. Some of these include the use of certain medication, diseases that affect motor skills and coordination as well as external factors such as slippery or irregular surfaces.

According to statistics, the breakdown of where falls occur out of the total number of those documented is as follows. Please note these figures are percentages of fatal falls occurring annually in seniors:

  • 60% - within the home
  • 30% - public spaces
  • 10% - dedicated health care institutions

By the figures, one thing that becomes clear is most falls occur in environments where specialized care and precautions may be limited.

What Are the Implications?

Falls may cause your loved ones serious pain even if the accident is a minor one. Seniors depending on pre-existing medical conditions may lose mobility temporarily and have to suffer serious discomfort for an extended period of time.

Bones may not heal and require the use of medication indefinitely. In cases which are more extreme mobility may be permanently lost. Falls which result in impact to the head or spine may be fatal and can even result in brain damage or memory loss.

To make a long story short, if a senior suffers a fall, it is no small matter.

What Can You Do?

As someone who is caring for a senior loved one, you might wonder what it is you can do to help your elderly family member and ensure their safety. Some steps include fall proofing the home, hiring and attendant or being physically present around your loved one more often than not.

Alternatively, you can also look into residences for the elderly like those we provide at Avant Gard Senior Living and Memory Care. We offer seniors in California various apartment floorplans to choose from with specifically designed layouts for added safety. We also offer our residents additional facilitation and 24 hour care ensuring that those with us are safe from falls and any other accidental mishaps.

Remember, falls in the elderly are not to be taken lightly so if there is someone you love who you are concerned about, get in touch with us and let’s help ensure their safety and wellbeing!


Uplifting Movies Seniors Still Love

Binging Netflix is a relatively new sensation that’s been taking over the world by storm. In 2018, the average adult spent 3 hours and 44 minutes a day watching TV. If, as an adult or as a millennial, you find TV pleasurable and are de-stressed when you walk home and watch your favorite TV series, the same goes for your senior loved ones. It’s our nature to imagine that since our senior loved ones don’t belong to the same generation as us, they probably wouldn’t be equally interested in watching a good old movie.

On the contrary, movies would work pretty well for seniors since they can keep the audience engaged and invested for longer periods of time. A good, classic movie has the power to keep the audience hooked and to leave them highly satisfied once the camera has stopped rolling.

And we have a list of such movies to suggest.

Anything by Alfred Hitchcock

Apart from the fact that your senior loved one probably grew up watching Alfred Hitchcock movies, it goes without saying that Hitchcock is the master of suspense. From Rope—a movie shot in a single room—to Rear Window, a movie that focuses on the view from a window, Hitchcock knew what he was doing.

His stories are suspenseful, his dialogues witty, and his style of direction perfectly suited for seniors anywhere in the world. Some of his most loved movies include Vertigo and North by Northwest.

Most Things by Stanley Kubrick

The late Kubrick was known for his masterful stories and cinematography. Not only are his movies a visual delight, but most seniors will already be acquainted with Kubrick’s most famous movies and will relish watching them again. The most loved Kubrick movies for seniors include A Space Odyssey and The Killing.

Almost Anything by Steven Spielberg

Few seniors will not recognize the name that was behind the phenomena that were Jaws and Jurassic Park. Iconic movies of their own age, these movies are sure to keep any senior invested in the man-vs.-wild theme that runs throughout.

Charlie Chaplin

From City Lights to The Gold Rush, anything with Charlie Chaplin in it is a feel-good nostalgic watch, certain to entertain any senior who watches them. The small episodes of merriment and the classic black-and-white, silent features are relaxing and suit seniors best.

My Fair Lady

Based on the George Bernard Shaw play, My Fair Lady is a hilarious and deeply satisfying movie for seniors. The film follows the chronicles of a young woman who has dreams of becoming a lady, and the trails she has with her teacher along the way. Light, humorous, and a movie that will always leave you feeling great on the inside, this is one movie you don’t want your senior loved one to miss.

Find a Senior Care Community in California

AvantGarde Senior Living and Memory Care in Tarzana is a senior care community offering assisted living, independent living, and memory care options to its senior members. Among the many amenities that we extend, there’s a Spectrum TV Premium Package for all your senior loved one’s television needs.


Helping Your Elderly Loved One Cope with Depression

The depression scare feels real because it is. At the moment, when the present world comes to terms with the issues of mental health and depression, we’d be wrong to rule out our senior loved ones from the equation.

To think that them not going through uber millennial issues invalidates them from being stressed out is criminal. In fact, according to the World Health Organization, seniors are far more at risk of suffering from depression given how their natural aging process can be a contributor. If you as a senior or a senior loved one from among your friends and family is having a depressive episode, you should set about to help them cope with it right away.

The First Step: Identifying Depression

A lot has been said about how depression doesn’t “look” a certain way, which is true. You can’t just look at a senior loved one and say they’re depressed (or aren’t) because they look (or don’t look) a certain way.

Instead, we suggest you look out for the following signs:

  • Has your loved one lost interest in all the things that used to pique their interest? Have they, for instance, stopped reading or watching their favorite late-night show?
  • Has your loved one begun avoiding people? Are they no longer interested in meeting people and do they uncharacteristically prefer isolation now?
  • Have they lost the motivation to carry out the tiniest daily tasks? Has this demotivation continued for two weeks or more?
  • Do you feel that they’re low on energy levels?
  • Has there been a change in their appetite? Are they eating more or less these days?
  • Have they become suddenly restless and/or indecisive?
  • Have they indulged in self-harming behavior, consciously or unconsciously?

All of the above are red flags that should alert you that your senior needs you to help them cope with depression.

Here’s How You Can Help

While therapy and anti-depressants help, they might not agree with your loved one’s temperament. Instead, you can try the following measures:

  • Talk to them. Be patient, don’t push. Let them speak in their own time.
  • Try and get them to engage in activities of interest. If your grandmother has lost interest in baking, you can try indulging in it to gently nudge her out of her enclosure.
  • Encourage them to take a proper diet and sleep regularly, with regular intervals.
  • Make sure they stay away from cigarettes and alcohol.
  • Find them a quality senior care community

Finding a Quality Senior Care Community

A senior care community like AvantGarde Senior Living and Memory Care encourages socializing and creating a well-knit community of seniors from Van Nuys and beyond in California. To ensure your senior is coping with depression as best as they can, get in touch with us today. Our various amenities, services, and professional care will ensure that your loved one is getting the care that they deserve.


Catching Some Zzz’s: How Much Sleep do Seniors Need?

If you or a senior loved one has crossed the age of 65, you’re probably no stranger to sleep disorders. From falling asleep to getting enough sleep, most things sleep-related are bound to become an issue as we grow old. It’s generally known that seniors take longer to fall asleep. In addition to having problems falling asleep, seniors also face problems such as sleep apnea, insomnia, and sleep-related breathing problems. All of these together contribute to sleeping troubles in seniors, and it’s understandable that you choose to look into the matter.

After all, getting the right amount of sleep is often the hidden key to unlocking good health. On average, 7 to 9 hours of sleep are essential for every human irrespective of age restrictions. However, age causes people’s sleep-related needs to change. For instance, babies, infants, and toddlers are known to sleep more whereas seniors are known to sleep less.

At this point, it’s only natural that people will ask:

Why does sleep trouble seniors so much?

The answer lies in a range of factors, all of which contribute to the issue. The first and most major culprit, of course, is age. Your natural aging process will affect your sleep patterns as it will affect other bodily functions. Melatonin, the hormone that helps you sleep at night, is produced in fewer quantities as you age, thereby making sleep difficult.

Additionally, many neurological and underlying medical conditions also lead to secondary sleep disorders. Medications that you take for many of these underlying medical conditions also contribute to sleep disorders.

This, of course, begs the ultimate question: how much sleep does your senior loved one need?

The Optimal Amount of Sleep for Seniors

Although many sources, such as the National Institute on Aging, agree that seniors can function just as well with lesser sleep than is required on average, we suggest that at least 7.5 hours of sleep be complete every night.

This adequate amount of sleep will help your senior loved one feel refreshed as they wake up, more in control of themselves, better rested, and physically relaxed. It’ll also help calm their nerves and improve their mental state.

However, we do not push for anything about 8 hours of sleep at the most for senior members, which is counterproductive and can lead to a lax disposition.

The Care Options You Have

AvantGarde in Tarzana hosts many senior members from Van Nuys, CA, who choose for themselves from our three care options: assisted living, independent living, and memory care options. To better choose for your senior loved one, get in touch with us right away!


Is Your Senior Loved One a Bookworm? We’ve Got Suggestions

Book reading is one of the most common pastimes in the world, and California’s seniors are no different. Not only is it a highly pleasurable hobby, but it’s also deeply relaxing and a great way to keep yourself busy. Reading is also an exercise that boosts mental stimulation, and is generally beneficial for people of any age.

For seniors with memory retention issues, reading books can be a great way of helping them with neurodegenerative problems. And the best part is that you don’t necessarily have to sit down and pain your eyes going through small font: if your senior loved one has problems reading, they can listen to e-books for an easier outlet.

Books are a versatile form of entertainment and leisure; especially given how many genres you can bag. There’s something for everyone in a bookshop, with the options being virtually endless. Here is a list of books that we believe will be great hits with seniors.

A Christmas Carol

The protagonist of this famous Charles Dickens novel is Ebenezer Scrooge, an old man who slowly comes to terms with his life and makes friends with a little crippled boy. The story follows the themes of grievance, regret, guilt, greed, and love. For seniors who refuse to read anything but what’s canon, nothing gets better than Dickens. The book is smaller and less complex as compared to classic Dickens, and is full of fun episodes to keep seniors completely hooked.

A Man Called Ove

A more popular option, this book by Frederick Backman also follows an old widower as the protagonist and details his idiosyncrasies as the story progresses. Light, refreshing, and deeply heart-warming, A Man Called Ove will strike a chord with every senior who reads it.

High Fantasy

Of course, we mean the genre here. Seniors often find high fantasy of great entertainment value since it allows them to immerse in entire universes that are fictional. They can get so engaged in these worlds that seniors soon forget most of their real-life troubles and pains in their attention to these stories. The Lord of the Rings is definitely a series that seniors who prefer longer epics will love.

Sherlock Holmes

Anything by Arthur Conan Doyle is sure to be a hit with seniors because of its mystery value. Seniors who like puzzles and mysteries, or seniors who complain of neurodegenerative disease have the most to gain from The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. It would also serve as a nostalgic read since most seniors will have grown up reading these books.

Anything by Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood is a writer with the unique status of belonging to the same generation as your senior loved one. When seniors read a book by Atwood—such as The Handmaid’s Tale or Alias Grace—they’ll be transported to a very familiar place. This exercise in nostalgia is greatly helpful in terms of helping seniors de-stress.

About AvantGarde Senior Living

AvantGarde Senior Living and Memory Care is an assisted and independent living senior care community in Tarzana which has many community members who belong to Van Nuys, CA. If you’re interested in learning more about our services and amenities, you can get in touch with us today.


Why Seniors Need to Take More Interest in Sports

That sports and physical activity are essential for health and wellness is a fact that’s universally acknowledged. The need to trudge along as we grow old increases as we enter old age, which is usually riddled with various health complications. Regular physical activity can help you take care of these physical shortcomings and keep you healthy in the mental and emotional departments as well.

Whether you’re exercising for a few minutes every day or visiting a golf course once every week, what matters is that you’re shuffling your body as best as you can. If you have a senior loved one who you’d like to help in terms of boosting their health, take our word and help them get in tune with physical activity.

When we say seniors need to take more interest in sports, we don’t mean to say that they should go all-out and play rugby. Instead, we encourage them to engage in whatever little physical activity would work best for them.

Health Benefits

Most people think physical activity and sports for seniors are only good for social interaction and getting “fresh air.” The truth couldn’t be more different. When you begin counting the health benefits of sports and physical activity for seniors, you find out that it helps them with the following:

  • Physical activity and exercise helps reduce falls
  • Sports help keep obesity at bay
  • Muscle mass retention
  • Lowers cholesterol
  • Boosts immunity
  • Reduces the risk of depression, stress, and anxiety
  • Reduces the risk of osteoporosis and arthritis

The Social Benefits

Getting out to indulge in a sport or to exercise means your loved one has an event to look forward to on a regular basis. Not only this, but they regularly meeting with people their age. Interacting with these people is obviously easier and far more productive for them. A social link is created, which helps your elderly loved one have something to look forward to.

This, naturally, helps keep stress and anxiety at bay, and even helps with depression. Moreover, social interaction helps them retain their peace of mind.

Which Sports Work Best for Elders

Like we said, “sports” doesn’t cover everything that is tagged as such. There are certain sports, however, which work better for seniors, such as:

Yoga: This deeply calming and relaxing physical activity is great in terms of mental peace and de-stressing. Certain yoga positions can even help cope with back pain.

Walking: There’s a reason nutritionists and fitness experts have a soft spot for walking: it’s one of the most effortless physical activities you could undertake that is sure to help you remain healthy. The benefits of walking have even been extolled by Harvard Health!

Find More Sports Opportunities for Seniors

AvantGarde Senior Living and Memory Care has a host of clients from Van Nuys, CA, who benefit from the many amenities that the community offers. AvantGarde takes physical fitness and activity very seriously, offering many options to its senior members, including a golf court. Get in touch with us for more information.


Is Your Senior Loved One Having Sleep Problems? We Might Know Why

As we age, our sleep patterns also begin changing. Most of the times, it’s normal: we either begin sleeping less than we used to or more than usual. In special cases, though, changes in the sleep patterns of a senior loved one can herald some health-related issue or the other. For instance, in seniors, it’s normal to sleep in the evenings. Their sleep is also not as deep as that of a younger person.

However, certain health problems can trigger changes in sleep patterns, which you should pay attention to immediately. Quality sleep is a contributor to mental, physical, and emotional wellness. Thus, when your senior loved one tells you that they’ve been having sleep problems, you need to look at the issue more seriously.

Health Complications

More often than not, it’s an underlying health complication that contributes to the sleep issue. These are secondary sleep disorders; in which case the primary disorder is the one that’s causing the sleep disruptions. Some health conditions that may affect sleep in seniors are:

  • Cardiac problems, such as heart failure
  • Disorders of the respiratory tract, like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Heartburn and acid reflux
  • Musculoskeletal problems, such as arthritis
  • Issues of the urinary tract, such as an overactive bladder
  • Stress, anxiety, and depression
  • Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and other neurodegenerative issues
  • Side-effects of certain medication

In the case of a sleep disorder being a secondary disorder, you’re better off focusing on the primary health complication in order to deal with the secondary sleep disorder.

Breathing Disorders

If you live with an elderly loved one, you’re probably no stranger to breathing disorders that are sometimes coupled with sleep problems. All of these disorders fall under the category of SRBD—or Sleep Disordered Breathing. The commonest of these, perhaps, is snoring. Obstructive Sleep Apnea is a close second, caused by breathing passage obstructions. Central Sleep Apnea, on the other hand, is related to changes in the brain.

It’s important to take these issues seriously since SRBDs can lead to strokes, heart failure, and other more serious health complications. According to studies, 53% of adults aged over 68 suffer from SRBD. People aged between 40 and 70 are among the most vulnerable to SRBDs, according to another study.

Insomnia

No list of sleep disorders is ever complete without mentioning insomnia—a.k.a. the godfather of all sleep troubles. Commonly affecting people in their middle and old ages, insomnia is also known to affect younger individuals, such as teenagers. However, the disorder is more common among adults has been proven by studies.

Simply put, insomnia is the inability to sleep despite being in bed or feeling “drowsy.” The eyes stay on high-alert all night, refusing to shut, and the affected individual is usually tired all the time. Long-term health problems usually contribute to insomnia, such as fatigue, stress, and poor quality of living.

You can take care of this problem by improving the quality of life for your senior loved one. A quality senior care community such as AvantGarde Senior Living and Memory Care can be the answer to all your problems. If you’re based in Van Nuys, CA, get in touch with us right away.


Binge-Worthy Television Programs for Seniors

As important as physical activities and social interactions are for your elder loved ones, it’s also vital that they get some ‘me time,’ where they can reflect on their thoughts, play a game on their cell phone, or perhaps watch some TV.

TV shows are a great source of entertainment for elderly people—and also one of the most popular. Due to the availability of various cable channels and streaming platforms, there’s more variety on television than ever before.

Let’s check out a few interesting TV shows that your loved one can watch to pass their time. For your ease, we’ve divided them into three categories: quiz shows and trivia, reality shows, and comedy. Let’s dig in!

Quiz Shows and Trivia

Quiz and trivia shows provide an excellent opportunity for your elderly loved ones to remain engaged and stimulated while getting their daily dose of entertainment. Programs like Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, Jeopardy, and Deal Or No Deal can keep them busy for hours on end.

If they’re into music, perhaps try Beat Shazam—a music show that has contestants trying to name a tune before the popular app does. These shows don’t have a plot or story to follow per se; they can be left, skipped, and continued as per their liking.

Reality Shows

Reality shows also make a great choice for senior people to immerse themselves in the world of entertainment, enabling them to live vicariously in a variety of contexts. An extensive range of reality shows is available for them to binge watch, depending on their taste. Some popular ones include America’s Got Talent, Antiques Roadshow, and Big Brother.

Elderly people who love cooking will love binge watching Hell’s Kitchen and MasterChef. On the other hand, the ones who love dance and music can go for Dancing With the Stars. In addition to that, if your elderly loved one has spent their life as a businessperson or an investor, they’ll enjoy watching Shark Tank.

Comedy

Comedy is a genre that can be extremely beneficial for your loved one’s mental health. The adage about laughter being the best medicine is quite true; in fact, it’s backed by studies. Laughter can literally change the physiology of your elderly loved one. It can even help in controlling blood pressure and improve their cardiovascular health.

Some of the best comedy shows which elderly people may appreciate include The Golden Girls, Grace and Frankie, and Hot in Cleveland. If they have a police background, Brooklyn Nine-Nine is a must-watch show. The Office can be a great choice to relive their office days.

Looking for a Personalized Care Providing Community?

If you’re looking for a reliable senior living community in Beverly Hills, CA for your elderly loved one, contact AGS Living.

We’re an assisted living community in Beverly Hills, CA who offers customized care to elderly people and highly emphasizes on providing personalized solutions.

For more information, you may give us a call at (818) 881-0055 or visit our website.