Senatobia Healthcare & Rehab News Blog

Understanding the Difference Between Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease

Dementia and Alzheimer's

As we age, most of us expect to lose some functionality. We know that our muscles will change, that we may experience balance issues, that we’ll probably stop driving at some point, and that many of us will need help and may wind up in some form of assisted living.

But what about our mental capabilities?

If you’re familiar with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, you know that these common conditions can affect people as they age. What most people don’t understand, though, is how common these conditions are or that there are actually some very important differences between the two.

Here’s what you need to know.

What is the Difference Between Alzheimer’s and Dementia?

While most people group Alzheimer’s and dementia into a single bucket, they’re not the same disease. While dementia is a blanket term used to describe a host of disorders that affect memory, daily activities, and performance, Alzheimer’s is a more specific kind of dementia. In fact, it is the most common type of dementia. Right now, Alzheimer’s is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States. It’s also important to remember that Alzheimer’s is a disease and dementia is a syndrome.

While it’s possible for young people to develop dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, the risk for each increases dramatically during the aging process. Additionally, people can have more than one type of dementia, while Alzheimer’s is a single condition.

Signs of Alzheimer’s and Dementia

Wondering how to spot the early indicators of dementia or Alzheimer’s in yourself or a loved one? Here are the signs to watch for:

  • Memory Loss. No matter how old you are, it’s normal to experience occasional, mild memory loss. These “brain farts” don’t impact your overall life or put other people in danger. They’re as simple as forgetting your keys or being temporarily unable to recall someone’s name. Memory loss related to Alzheimer’s or dementia, however, is quite severe and ongoing and will disrupt your daily life. Think things like leaving the stove on or getting lost while you drive.

  • Challenges With Everyday Tasks. If everyday tasks, like paying bills, getting dressed, cleaning the house, or cooking a meal have suddenly become difficult, it’s time to take notice. Alzheimer’s and dementia both cause concentration and focus difficulties that become more severe over time.

  • Confusion About Time or Place. While it’s normal to think it’s Thursday when it’s actually Wednesday, it’s not normal to lose track of dates, passages of time, or seasons. These are some of the earliest signs of Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Senatobia Healthcare: Your Partner in Dementia Care

Nobody wants to experience dementia. This condition affects about 5% of the older population, though, and rates are expected to double by 2020. If you or a loved one are experiencing early signs of dementia, Senatobia Healthcare can provide the resources, information about possible treatments, and care you need to keep life moving forward. Contact us today to learn more.

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How to Understand and Cope with the Aging Process

aging process

Betty Friedan once said, “Aging is not ‘lost youth’ but a new stage of opportunity and strength.” Unfortunately, it can be tough to see it that way when you’re right in the midst of it, or when you’re watching a loved one move through the aging process.

Between limited physical abilities, changing lifestyles and bodies, and the mental and emotional challenges that come with growing older, it’s no wonder aging can be so difficult for everyone affected by it.

Fortunately, it is possible to navigate the aging process gracefully and to help your loved ones do the same. Here’s what you need to know:

What Happens During the Aging Process?

The process of getting older is filled with seemingly baffling changes and shifts. Here are some of the most common, according to MedLine:

“As aging continues, waste products build up in tissue… Connective tissue changes, becoming stiffer. This makes the organs, blood vessels, and airways more rigid. Cell membranes change, so many tissues have more trouble getting oxygen and nutrients and removing carbon dioxide and other wastes. Many tissues lose mass. This process is called atrophy. Some tissues become lumpy (nodular) or more rigid. Because of cell and tissue changes, organs also change as you age. Aging organs slowly lose function. Most people do not notice this loss immediately, because you rarely need to use your organs to their fullest ability.”

Because of these physical changes, many people also lose independence during the aging process, moving out of their family homes and into long – or short-term care facilities.

How to Help Your Parents Through the Aging Process

Currently, there are about 10 million adult children in the U.S. who are caring for their aging parents. If you’re one of them, you’re probably looking for any tips you can find about how to help your parents navigate their golden years as enjoyable as possible. Here are a few things our staff recommends:

  • Enlist Community Support. It takes a village to help someone age gracefully. With this in mind, don’t be afraid to enlist the support of your friends or family. Have the neighbor check on your parents when you’re out of town, start a meal train, and encourage your parents to get involved with community events and activities to stay active and sharp.

  • Keep up With Doctor’s Visits. As your parents get older, be sure they’re keeping up on their doctor’s appointments. This is a great way to prevent needless issues from arising and detect small problems before they become big ones.

  • Look for Warning Signs. Helping your parents age is as much about looking for danger signs as it is promoting independence. If your parent starts wandering, getting lost, forgetting things like time, dates, or directions, or exhibiting behavior that is likely to be dangerous to themselves or someone else, it’s time to call in additional help. In these cases, physical therapy, a nursing home, and other such resources can help prevent or reverse declining health.

Aging Can be Graceful

Here at Senatobia Health Care, we are a short and long-term care facility.  Our goal is to help slow the aging process and promote health and wellbeing (for older adults and the children of aging parents, as well), well into the golden years. Call us today to learn how our Mississippi caregivers can help you or a loved one stay healthy and independent for as long as possible.

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What You Should Know About Physical Therapy

physical therapy benefits

Here’s what you need to know about the process of working with physical therapists, and how critical the process is to healthcare as a whole.

For many people, the idea of physical therapy is a foreign one. Often associated with accidents, strokes and aging, it is frequently seen as something designed for people with extreme injuries or illnesses.  But did you know that its benefits extend far beyond rehabilitation? Yes – physical therapy can help you heal from a traumatic health event, but it can also strengthen muscles, promote independence, and encourage better balance and improved health.

The Benefits of Physical Therapy

While physical therapy is an effective treatment for people recovering from accidents or strokes, its benefits stretch far beyond that. According to the National Institutes of Health, physical therapy can improve balance and strength and boost overall fitness and mobility. These are things that all aging people can benefit from, as each of those perks will promote independence and long-term comfort and health.

Want to learn more? Here are a few other benefits of PT:

  • Improved Balance. Did you know that adults lose 10% of their strength and balance for every decade that passes after the 30s? As it stands now, one in four Americans over the age of 65 will fall each year. Falling is currently one of the primary risks facing the aging population. Fortunately, physical therapy can help reduce this risk. By improving balance and strength, PT can make falls less likely and promote long-term health.
  • Better Social Interaction. Senior isolation can be a real risk for the mental and emotional health of the aging population. Fortunately, physical therapy provides structure and social interaction, both of which can promote happiness and wellbeing.
  • Independence. Even for seniors who have not suffered an accident or stroke, physical therapy promotes wellbeing and can help support independence. Because of this, many seniors who want to live on their own for as long as possible utilize physical therapy as a prophylactic measure.

How to Get the Most out of Physical Therapy

Are you or a loved one considering physical therapy? If so, there are a few simple “rules” that will help you get the most out of the process. The first is to maintain a positive attitude.

Physical therapy can be a tough process, and it will push your physical boundaries. No matter how hard it gets, though, it’s critical to maintain a healthy attitude and be positive about your course of treatment. This will improve your results and help you create the change you want to see.

Maintaining open communication is also essential. Your relationship with your physical therapist will become a close one. Ask the questions you have about your health and treatment. Express your concerns and roadblocks. Be grateful for your changes. As you move through your therapy process, this communication will help ensure you’re getting a comprehensive treatment plan that works for you.

Physical Therapy: A Critical Form of Healthcare

For seniors, stroke survivors, anyone who has suffered an accident, and people who simply want to promote independence, physical therapy is a great option. Designed to promote balance, graceful aging, and long-term strength and mobility, PT is good for the mind, body, and heart.

At Senatobia Healthcare and Rehab we honor and appreciate the hard work of our PT’s and PTA’s.  Every year during the month of October is National Physical Therapy Month (#ChoosePT).  This is an especially opportune time to celebrate and  “Thank a Physical Therapist”!

To learn more about physical therapy or to speak with one of our experienced physical therapists, contact our team today!

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The Most Common Rehabilitation Needs for Older Adults (and How to Prevent Them)

Older Adults Physical Therapy

While aging looks different for everyone, there are three common conditions that create a need for rehabilitation for older adults. Learn more about each (and how you can avoid them) here.

As we age, our bodies start to wear down. It’s an unfortunate truth, but it’s something we all go through eventually. In most cases, this gradual breakdown is normal and does not impair the activities of daily living as an older adult.

Many seniors remain mobile and independent well into their golden years. In other situations, though, conditions like balance problems and strokes, or the injuries caused by accidents like falls can create a dynamic that requires physical therapy or rehabilitation.

In these cases, extended care is typically necessary, and may be the only way a person can get back to health and continue to live independently.

While not all of these situations are preventable, there are certain preventative actions you and your loved ones can take to ensure health in the long-term.

The 3 Most Common Conditions That Require Nursing Care

From injuries to chronic conditions, these are the most common situations that may land seniors in long-term care or rehabilitation:

1. Strokes

Strokes are the third leading cause of death in the U.S. Each year, upwards of 140,000 people die from strokes. Beyond that, though, they are the leading cause of long-term disability in this country, with more than 795,000 people suffering strokes annually.

Depending on their severity, strokes can cause slurred speech, impaired movement, and paralysis. After suffering a stroke, most patients go through physical therapy or nursing care to regain strength and re-integrate into their normal lives.

2. Balance Problems

According to Move Forward, a division of the American Physical Therapy Association, balance problems affect 75% of older adults ages 70 plus. While these vary in severity, they can be crippling and can lead to ongoing problems with strength and stability.

When balance problems reach an unstable level, physical therapy is often required to help the senior fix muscle weakness and joint stiffness, and regain the strength needed to live independently or semi-independently.

3. Falls

Falls are very common among people ages 65 and older. In fact, NCOA (The National Council on Aging) reports that one in four Americans ages 65 and older fall annually, and that American emergency rooms treat a senior for a fall every 11 minutes. Falls can cause injury and have a heavy impact on quality of life.

Broken hips, chronic pain, and disability are all potential side effects of falls and can make it difficult for a senior to maintain independence without physical therapy or nursing care.

How to Avoid Needing Rehabilitation as Older Adults (or Speed the Healing Process)

While not all conditions are avoidable, these tips can help seniors stay healthy and speed up healing throughout the golden years:

  • Stay active. The more active a senior stays, the lower the risk of injury. Regular activity keeps the heart and bones healthy and can help ward off balance problems and muscle atrophy.
  • See a doctor regularly. It’s recommended older adults see a primary care provider on a regular basis. This can help prevent major health incidents and deliver preventative care.
  • Eat a healthy diet. A healthy diet is one of the best ways to prevent strokes, heart disease, diabetes, and other conditions that often necessitate rehabilitation.


Want to learn more about staying healthy as you age? Visit our blog to read the latest news.

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Speech-Language Pathologists and Compassionate Care

speech-language pathologists

Many of us take communication for granted. But for those who suffer from a stroke, dementia, Parkinson’s disease, traumatic brain injuries or other disorders, this can be a frustrating task. Thanks to the help of speech-language pathologists and hard work on the patients’ part, many of our patients see dramatic improvements in their speech, language and hearing issues.

Speech-Language Pathologists Make a Big Difference in Our Patients’ Lives

Imagine, for a moment, being unable to communicate your wishes. For many of our patients at Senatobia Healthcare & Rehab, this is a frustrating reality. Articulation and language issues caused by disease, injury or other disabilities can make being understood a real challenge.

Thankfully, we have a talented and dedicated team of speech-language pathologists who employ creative and individualized treatments for our growing senior population. Working through — and eventually overcoming — these speech or language impairments is the end goal they work towards each day.

The Speech Heroes at Our Facility

During the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association’s (ASHA) Better Hearing & Speech Month, we want to honor and recognize our speech therapists for the care they provide.

Our speech-language pathologists at Senatobia Healthcare & Rehab assess, diagnose, treat, and help prevent communication and swallowing disorders in our patients. These heroes pour their hearts every day into:

  • Helping people who have lost language skills to produce words and basic sentences, learn to answer simple questions and participate in social activities.
  • Teaching memory strategies to assist grandparents with remembering the names of their grandchildren.
  • Rehabilitating a patient’s swallowing muscles so they can enjoy their favorite beverages.
  • Helping deaf patients with new cochlear implants to speak words after a lifetime of using sign language.
  • Easing a patient’s anxiety to help eliminate stuttering when speaking in front of groups.
  • Showing tracheostomy patients how to apply a Passy-Muir valve so they can use their own voice to tell family members, “I love you.”
  • Conducting difficult meetings with patient’s families to inform them that their loved one’s cognitive impairments make it unsafe for them to live alone.
  • Practicing pronunciation exercises so a patient’s needs can be understood.
  • Helping patients work through the emotions that arise when they are misunderstood or overlooked.
  • Teaching patients how to use a speech-generating device to live a productive and fulfilling life after a stroke.
  • Spending their own time and their own money on solutions to help their patients in even a small way.

Senatobia Healthcare & Rehab Thanks Our Speech-Language Pathologists for Their Compassionate Care

We may not express it often enough, but during this Better Hearing & Speech Month we want to thank each member of our speech-language pathologist team. We are grateful for the difference you make each day in our patient’s lives. Thank you!

If you would like your loved one to experience our passionate and caring healthcare or rehabilitation services in Senatobia, Mississippi, please contact us.

 

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