New UCI Alzheimer’s Study

New UCI Alzheimer’s Study

UCI ResearchYesterday, I had the pleasure of hearing Dr. Steven G. Potkin speak about a new Alzheimer’s study to prevent Alzheimer’s at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Wow, I hope this study is successful.

Dr. Potkin said that I could share all the information with you because he is currently seeking senior candidates who are 65 to 85 years of age (with normal memory) for this clinical study on Alzheimer’s disease (AD).

He is investigating a new drug intervention that may reduce the impact of a protein known as “amyloid” or “beta amyloid” forming plaques in the brain. Scientists believe that accumulation of amyloid in the brain may play a key role in the eventual development of AD-related memory loss.

Dr. Potkin is conducting the research study at the University of California Irvine (UCI) Medical Center in Orange, California. It is called the Anti-Amyloid Treatment in Asymptomatic Alzheimer’s study (the “A4” study for short) for seniors who may be at risk for memory loss due to AD.

A senior participant and his or her study partner need to be willing to be part of a three-year study. The study partner (must have frequent contact with the senior participant) would describe changes in the senior participant’s health to the study staff on a weekly basis.

There will be a PET scan at the initial screening meeting and at the conclusion of the three-year study to determine whether the senior participant has evidence of an elevated amyloid build-up. Senior participants will also receive monthly study drug infusions.

For more detailed information and the total compensation for completing the study, please contact Andrea Weideman with Dr. Steven G. Potkin’s Reseach Team at: 714-456-5697

My mother-in-law has Alzheimer’s and I pray this research can prevent future seniors from getting AD in the first place. Good luck to Dr. Potkin and the whole research team at UCI.

During my time with Dr. Potkin, he commended me for writing the book, “Your Senior Housing Options,” and said it is a much needed resource for seniors.  

Diane Masson advocated for her mom who had dementia for nine years and her mother-in-law currently lives in a memory care community. Diane writes a Tips2Seniors blog every week and published a book to take the guess work out selecting senior housing before, during or after a health care crisis, “Your Senior Housing Options.” She has worked in senior housing for 17 years and her first book, “Senior Housing Marketing – How to Increase Your Occupancy and Stay Full,” is helping senior housing professionals on a nationwide basis.

As My Mom Declines Should I Give Up On Her Walking?

As My Mom Declines Should I Give Up On Her Walking?

My Mom With Bird

My Mom With Bird

My mom is 91 years old and has vascular dementia.  She has slowly declined over the last nine years.  Through my research, I can assume she is in one of the last two stages of dementia (there are seven).  My mom has been in skilled nursing care for the last 9½ months and needs 100% assistance.  The last thing that she could do on her own was feed herself.

Now she has dramatically declined in the last month and even needs assistance with eating.  She is still a good eater, but does not have the cognition to eat on her own.  It is too much work for her.  Her short-term memory seems like it has decreased to about one-second.

Antipsychotic medications have reduced the amount and the intensity of her delusions, anxiety, crying and irritability.  There have been medications added, increased and decreased in the last four months.  It has been a balancing act to try to improve the quality of her emotions and cognition without having her become lethargic.

Now my mom’s memory loss has affected her ability to walk.  At the last care conference meeting, we discussed the quality of her life and whether it is a good idea to try to make someone walk or not.  It takes constant encouragement to get her walking and she keeps trying to sit down. I have advocated for the caregivers to keep trying to walk her daily.  They never make her, but lots of encouragement can produce a walk to breakfast or lunch.  By dinnertime, my mom’s Sundowners Syndrome with anxiety and crying make it impossible to walk her.

My mother seems confused and miserable when she walks and just wants to sit down.  I want to try to decide in the next week, if I should just let advocacy regarding walking stop all together.  In my opinion walking seems so important because it gets her circulation going and her memory seems to clear up.  When the walking officially stops, the memory will for sure get worse.  Maybe I just need to accept my mom is in the final stage of dementia and have her enjoy what she can…like playing with the new bird at the community.

Please share your successes, failures or comment below to join the conversation and interact with other senior living professionals on what is currently being effective to increase occupancy on a nationwide basis.

Diane Twohy Masson is the author of “Senior Housing Marketing – How to Increase Your Occupancy and Stay Full,” available at Amazon.com with a 5-star rating.  The book is required reading at George Mason University as a part of its marketing curriculum.  Within this book, the author developed a sales & marketing method with 12 keys to help senior living providers increase their occupancy.   Masson developed this expertise as a marketing consultant, sought-after blogger for senior housing and a regional marketing director of continuing care retirement communities in several markets.  She has also been a corporate director of sales and a mystery shopper for independent living, assisted living, memory care and skilled care nursing communities in multiple states.  Currently, Masson is setting move-in records as the regional marketing director of two debt-free Continuing Care Retirement Communities in Southern California – Freedom Village in Lake Forest and The Village in Hemet, California.  Interestingly, this career started when she was looking for a place for her own mom and helped her loved one transition through three levels of care.

© Marketing 2 Seniors| Diane Twohy Masson 2013 All Rights Reserved. No part of this blog post may be reproduced, copied, modified or adapted, without the prior written consent of the author, unless otherwise indicated for stand-alone materials. You may share this website and or it’s content by any of the following means: 1. Using any of the share icons at the bottom of each page. 2. Providing a back-link or the URL of the content you wish to disseminate. 3. You may quote extracts from the website with attribution to Diane Masson CASP and link http://www.marketing2seniors.net For any other mode of sharing, please contact the author Diane Masson.
Mean Mom, Nice Mom and Dementia

Mean Mom, Nice Mom and Dementia

Mean Mom, Nice Mom and Dementia

My Mom

My theory of 10 years is now officially broken.  I believed that if you had a mean parent they turned nice with dementia and if you had a nice parent they would turn mean with dementia.  My random sample was everyone that I have ever spoken to about this theory.

Well, the tables have turned and my mom has turned mean again.  Years ago, the ugly side of my mom was only exposed behind closed doors.  The mental abuse for years took a tool on all my siblings and I.  In fact, when they each turned 18, all of them moved to other states.  I stayed to protect my dad.  I figured if she took half her wrath out on me, he would only be subjected to it 50 percent of the time.

In college, psychology classes opened my eyes to mental illness and depression.  After my mean mom did not attend my graduation or marriage, I was done.  A wonderful counselor taught me how to deal with it.  When I spoke to my mom and she was mean, I would say, “I am sorry that this conversation is not going the way I hoped, I have to go now, bye.”  After I did this three times, my mom’s treatment of me turned around.  She has treated me well for 28 years.

Now, she is in the late stages of vascular dementia.  I got a call two days ago saying she is yelling and swearing at the staff.  Oh boy, my nice mom is gone.  Say hello, to sundowners syndrome and her living in the past of about 30 years ago.  Yesterday, I went to spend some quality time with her.  The mean look was on her face.  My mom harshly said, “Where have you been?  You have a lot of gaul showing up now.  Why haven’t you come to see me?  Everyone is stealing all my things.  The neighbors are selling off all my clothes.  You are just showing me defiance.  I am hungry, no one has fed me in days.”  Then she pointed to one of the staff and said, “See, she is crying.”  (No staff was crying.)

Little Diane, felt she was back in high school again.  I kept my head and tried to talk her off the ledge (so to speak).  She just continued ranting and repeating what she already had said.  She was visible agitated.  I handed her the banana I had brought and she relaxed by 50%.  Every time she repeated that she was hungry, I invited her to eat the banana.  She said, “I am not hungry, I will save it for later.”  My husband and I continued to talk to her in a calm and reassuring way and an invisible sundowners switch finally turned her back to my nice mom.

About a half hour later, I explained to her that she had memory loss.  I explained how I was helping her by having a doctor (podiatrist) trim her toenails this week and she screamed, “Don’t touch me, don’t cut my nails” at the top of her lungs.  She said, “I did?  Well one doctor hurt me a long time ago.”  I told her about another doctor who came to do an eye exam and now she has new glasses and can read again.  When she said that she could not understand the staff, I said, “Yes, your hearing is bad and we have an audiologist scheduled to come in and maybe get you a hearing aid.”  She loved the explanations, enjoyed me being there, holding her hand and feeling calmness.

Eventually, I said, “Mother I heard that you were yelling and swearing at the staff this week.”  She said, “I did?  I can’t remember.  I didn’t mean to.”  Then I said, “When I came in today, you were mean to me and yelled at me.”  My mom said, “I am sorry, I didn’t mean to, I don’t remember.”  Well, all was forgiven and I was so glad that I did not walk out earlier that day by reliving the harsh criticism and mental abuse of the past.

If your parent has turned mean, just remember it is the monster disease of dementia, sundowners syndrome or Alzheimer’s.  (I know it’s easier said that done.)  As my mom sundowners continues to progress, I may have to hold onto this apology forever.  She may not have the brain cells left in vascular dementia to be cognitive enough to apologize.

Her psychiatrist says the sundowners has progressed to the point of needing medications to help her.  I am very protective of my mom and don’t want to over medicate her, but my mom has been in her own daily mental torture for about three weeks.  My goal is to keep her comfortable and pain free.  If the medications can give her peace, I am now all for them.

Please share your successes, failures or comment below to join the conversation and interact with other senior living professionals on what is currently being effective to increase occupancy on a nationwide basis.

Diane Twohy Masson is the author of “Senior Housing Marketing – How to Increase Your Occupancy and Stay Full,” available at Amazon.com with a 5-star rating.  The book is required reading at George Mason University as a part of its marketing curriculum.  Within this book, the author developed a sales & marketing method with 12 keys to help senior living providers increase their occupancy.   Masson developed this expertise as a marketing consultant, sought-after blogger for senior housing and a regional marketing director of continuing care retirement communities in several markets.  She has also been a corporate director of sales and a mystery shopper for independent living, assisted living, memory care and skilled care nursing communities in multiple states.  Most recently Masson was recruited to consult for two debt-free Continuing Care Retirement Communities in Southern California – Freedom Village in Lake Forest and The Village in Hemet, California.  Interestingly, this career started when she was looking for a place for her own mom and helped her loved one transition through three levels of care.

© Marketing 2 Seniors| Diane Twohy Masson 2013 All Rights Reserved. No part of this blog post may be reproduced, copied, modified or adapted, without the prior written consent of the author, unless otherwise indicated for stand-alone materials. You may share this website and or it’s content by any of the following means: 1. Using any of the share icons at the bottom of each page. 2. Providing a back-link or the URL of the content you wish to disseminate. 3. You may quote extracts from the website with attribution to Diane Masson CASP and link http://www.marketing2seniors.net For any other mode of sharing, please contact the author Diane Masson.
Advocating for Mom in Care Conferences

Advocating for Mom in Care Conferences

Skilled Nursing Care ConferencesAn adult child or power of attorney plays a crucial role at a care conference.  You can literally hold the pieces of the puzzle that an assisted living, skilled nursing care or memory care need in order to enhance the lifestyle of the resident.

No one alive knows my mom better than me.  She cannot always advocate on her own behalf, because she has vascular dementia.  If I asked her, “What would you rather have for dinner, prime rib or salmon?”  My mom would say, “Diane you know what I like, you decide.”  Even with her dementia, she knows that I will select her favorite choices from the past.

Recently, at my mom’s care conference in skilled nursing care a puzzle started to come together.  My mom was having episodes of greater confusion.  It might be three days in row and then she would be fine again.  Was my mom’s dementia getting worse or was it something else?  Would she need to start a new drug?

As we were brainstorming possibilities, I remembered how lack of sleep could intensive my mom’s dementia in the past.  We figured out that the bed alarm of some of her recent roommates was affecting her sleep.  When she experienced less sleep, then she would have episodes of greater delusion during the day.

It was an aha moment, so now they are going to focus on roommates who don’t need constant alarms going off.  Hopefully my mom will improve.  As a Boomer child, I have to be willing to accept that my mom’s dementia is getting worse, but maybe my advocacy can continue to help improve her quality of life for now.

Please share your success, failures or comment below to join the conversation and interact with other senior living professionals on what is currently being effective to increase occupancy on a nationwide basis.

Diane Twohy Masson is the author of “Senior Housing Marketing – How to Increase Your Occupancy and Stay Full,” available at Amazon.com with a 5-star rating.  The book is required reading at George Mason University as a part of its marketing curriculum.  Within this book, the author developed a sales & marketing method with 12 keys to help senior living providers increase their occupancy.   Masson developed this expertise as a marketing consultant, sought-after blogger for senior housing and a regional marketing director of continuing care retirement communities in several markets.  She has also been a corporate director of sales and a mystery shopper for independent living, assisted living, memory care and skilled care nursing communities in multiple states.  Most recently Masson was recruited to consult for two debt-free Continuing Care Retirement Communities in Southern California – Freedom Village in Lake Forest and The Village in Hemet, California.  Interestingly, this career started when she was looking for a place for her own mom and helped her loved one transition through three levels of care.

© Marketing 2 Seniors| Diane Twohy Masson 2013 All Rights Reserved. No part of this blog post may be reproduced, copied, modified or adapted, without the prior written consent of the author, unless otherwise indicated for stand-alone materials. You may share this website and or it’s content by any of the following means: 1. Using any of the share icons at the bottom of each page. 2. Providing a back-link or the URL of the content you wish to disseminate. 3. You may quote extracts from the website with attribution to Diane Masson CASP and link http://www.marketing2seniors.net For any other mode of sharing, please contact the author Diane Masson.
Surprise Visit to my Mom’s Skilled Nursing Care

Surprise Visit to my Mom’s Skilled Nursing Care

Surprise Visit to my Mom's Skilled NursingI can’t stop thinking about my surprise visit with my mom yesterday.  I arrived Sunday afternoon about 2:30 PM to Freedom Village Healthcare Center in California.  She was not in her usual places – where was she?  A caregiver said, “Oh, your mom is down in the activity room.”  I said to my husband Chris, “We really need to pay more attention to the activity calendar, so we don’t visit during those times.  I want her to enjoy all the social times and I can visit her when nothing else is going on.”

We happened upon the activity calendar and all the activities were done for the day.  So what was she doing?  As we turned the corner, we saw my mom’s beaming face.  She was playing bingo.  The caregiver smiled at me and said, “Oh, do you want to take your mom?”  I said, “Absolutely not, let her enjoy herself.”  It was great to see pure joy – when she said, “Bingo!”

What was interesting to me was her interacting with the other residents and helping them play too.  My mom has severe vascular dementia.  When she speaks it is about 70% non-reality.  What a great activity to really stimulate her brain.  The caregiver said to me, “We decided to put on a bingo game for them, they like it and it gives them something to do.”

Well, bless those two caregivers who created an unscheduled resident activity to help with the resident’s quality of life.  This was a huge “Wow” for me and I can’t stop thinking about how happy my mom was.  For those of you who follow my blog, I moved my mom 1000 miles to be near me about three months ago.  This was the best day of my mom’s life here in California.

After each resident said bingo, the caregiver would call the resident by name and say, “You won a cookie.”  No cookies appeared.  I thought to myself, well the residents have dementia – they won’t remember the cookie promise.  To my utter surprise – cookies appeared at the end of the last game.  One cookie for each resident.  When the caregiver was handing out the last cookie, the resident said, “I don’t get one – I didn’t win.”  The caregiver said, “That’s okay, you are a winner for even being here.”  There are tears in my eyes writing this, because these staff went above and beyond!

As the afternoon progressed – my mom continued being animated and talking nonstop.  It did not matter that 60% was non-reality.  She was having a great time and I loved spending quality time with her.  Some people think people with dementia have nothing to offer in life, well, they are 100% wrong.

Please share your success, failures or comment below to join the conversation and interact with other senior living professionals on what is currently being effective to increase occupancy on a nationwide basis.

Diane Twohy Masson is the author of “Senior Housing Marketing – How to Increase Your Occupancy and Stay Full,” available at Amazon.com with a 5-star rating.  The book is required reading at George Mason University as a part of its marketing curriculum.  Within this book, the author developed a sales & marketing method with 12 keys to help senior living providers increase their occupancy.   Masson developed this expertise as a marketing consultant, sought-after blogger for senior housing and a regional marketing director of continuing care retirement communities in several markets.  She has also been a corporate director of sales and a mystery shopper for independent living, assisted living, memory care and skilled care nursing communities in multiple states.  Most recently Masson was recruited to consult for two debt-free Continuing Care Retirement Communities in Southern California – Freedom Village in Lake Forest and The Village in Hemet, California.  Interestingly, this career started when she was looking for a place for her own mom and helped her loved one transition through three levels of care.

© Marketing 2 Seniors| Diane Twohy Masson 2013 All Rights Reserved. No part of this blog post may be reproduced, copied, modified or adapted, without the prior written consent of the author, unless otherwise indicated for stand-alone materials. You may share this website and or it’s content by any of the following means: 1. Using any of the share icons at the bottom of each page. 2. Providing a back-link or the URL of the content you wish to disseminate. 3. You may quote extracts from the website with attribution to Diane Masson CASP and link http://www.marketing2seniors.net For any other mode of sharing, please contact the author Diane Masson.
The Most Special Name in Skilled Nursing Care

The Most Special Name in Skilled Nursing Care

The Most Special Name in Skilled Nursing CareWhat is your favorite word in the English language?  It is probably your own name.  When a senior gets to the point of living in assisted living or skilled nursing care – his or her memory is most likely failing.  So the most magical word they can hear is their own name.

Recently I was blown away at the Freedom Village Healthcare Center in California.  My mom has lived there for about 2 months.   When I walked down the hall with my mom, every single staff person spoke to her with a smile.  They either said her first name or her last name “Mrs. Twohy.”  Then they would share some encouraging statement.  It was not just one or two staff.  We literally ran into about 14 staff on our walk and each made my mom feel special.  She smiled back at each one and it was wonderful to see her joy.

After having lunch with my mom and family in the outdoor fountain courtyard, my brother was taking my mom back inside and a staff person pointed at my brother’s hat and said, “Your name is on your hat.”  My brother was so surprised.  It took him a moment to realize that that this person knew his last name – Twohy, because our mom lives there in skilled nursing care.

So the staff not only makes my mom feel special everyday, but reach out to family members as well.  Noticing “Twohy” on my brother’s hat goes above and beyond and created a real “wow” for my family.  It showed me that every employee is committed to calling the residents by name and I was impressed!  Do staff in your skilled nursing care, assisted living, memory care and even independent living know every single resident’s first and last names?  Why not have a contest, so they can get rewarded for learning names today.

Please share your success, failures or comment to join the conversation and interact with other senior living professionals on what is currently being effective to increase occupancy on a nationwide basis.

Diane Twohy Masson is the author of Senior Housing Marketing – How to Increase Your Occupancy and Stay Full,” available for sale at Amazon.com.  Masson’s book is required reading at George Mason University as part of the marketing curriculum.  She is currently consulting with two debt-free Continuing Care Retirement Communities in Southern California – Freedom Village in Lake Forest and The Village in Hemet, California. Connection and partnership opportunities: Email: diane@marketing2seniors.net