"There are only four kinds of people in this world--those who have been caregivers, those who currently are caregivers, those who will be caregivers and those who need caregivers," Roslyn Carter famously said. On November 20 at Sedgebrook senior living community in Lincolnshire, licensed clinical social worker Daniel Kuhn will remind people of the former first lady's words in a presentation called "Making Sense of Memory Loss."
A social worker for 42 years and specialist in memory care since 1987, Kuhn will share key points, including the difference between normal and abnormal memory loss, ways to promote brain health and reduce risk factors, and important findings on Alzheimer's Disease and other dementia-related illnesses. "Making Sense of Memory Loss" is open to Sedgebrook residents, their families, community health care providers, and the general public. "Everyone is encouraged to attend and learn what they will most certainly need to know at some point," said Kuhn, author of over 50 publications on memory loss, including Alzheimer's Early Stages: First Steps for Family, Friends and Caregivers.
While a biological test to determine risk is likely to exist within the next five years, there are clear markers to show whether memory loss is age-appropriate forgetfulness or the result of disease. "Those who are carefully following someone's story can best identify those signs," said Kuhn, citing such hallmark indications as misplacing things, getting lost in conversation, changes in behavior or thinking, and language disturbance.
The good news is, there is much that can be done to support brain health and diminish risk factors. Top on the list is quality health care and frequent contact with the same skilled caregivers. Sedgebrook and its health care community, Radford Green, have two full-time, onsite physicians as well as nurses and other health care professionals who have been employed at Sedgebrook for several years, fostering familiarity and comfort among residents.
According to Kuhn, scientific research overwhelmingly shows that regular engagement in social, cognitive and physical activity (particularly aerobic) is vital to maintaining brain health and reducing the risk of memory breakdown resulting from isolation. "Having those kinds of activities built in at Sedgebrook is tremendously helpful in mitigating the risk factors of memory loss," said Kuhn, who also stressed the importance of proper diet to memory care.
"Many studies have shown that the Mediterranean diet, rich in vegetables, nuts and low in wheat and saturated fats, reduces the risk of developing memory loss." Seniors living alone are far less likely to manage their dietary needs healthfully, another risk factor eliminated at Sedgebrook, where food choices are carefully planned and served with proper nutrition in mind.
Apathy is another significant characteristic of dementia, according to Kuhn. "Getting people with memory loss to participate in activities can be difficult, which is where family members and staff come in." Sedgebrook is dedicated not only to offering residents a wide range of activities, but also to encouraging their involvement in them.
"There are between five and six million people today with memory loss and between 10 and 15 million caregivers for them," said Kuhn. "Those numbers are likely to double within the next 30 years." Added Deann Daniel, executive director at Sedgebrook, "The number of people touched by Alzheimer's and other dementias is overwhelming. We are pleased to be able to serve as a resource for information and services to the community."
Sedgebrook is a Life Plan Community offering a diverse lifestyle, maintenance-free living and outstanding amenities. Five-star rated Radford Green Health Care and Rehabilitation is located on the 72-acre Sedgebrook campus in Lincolnshire, Illinois. Sedgebrook is a Senior Care Development, LLC affiliated community and managed by Life Care Services LLC. For additional information visit www.WelcomeToSedgebrook.com or call 847-901-3319.