Coloring, Calming Activity for Those with Dementia

Coloring books for adults is trending right now.  Some studies are showing a slight calming and meditative effect of coloring shapes found in nature.  These images are called Mandala. Read more

Downsizing to an Assisted Living Facilty

More Indicators — Moving Mom or Dad to Assisted Living

We gave you the FIVE ABSOLUTE INDICATORS for moving Mom or Dad to Assisted Living or Memory Care.

Below is a list of a few other things to look for when visiting your parents that may indicate it is time.  Life is not always black and white.  The indicators below may be triggers for you and your loved-one to start touring facilities and planning for the future.

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Five Absolute Indicators That It Is Time to Move Your Loved One into Assisted Living.

There are many indicators that cognitive or physical decline is happening.  It is hard for adult children, spouses and siblings who may visit briefly to know when it is time to move their loved one into a safer and more social environment like an Assisted Living Community.

A diagnosis of dementia or a degenerative disease may happen while a person is still very able to handle most of the aspects of their lives.  So when is the right time, where is that invisible line?

Here are five sure signals that it is time.

  1. What’s that smell??? If your loved one who has always been clean is no longer attending to their personal hygiene, it is probably time for them to get some regular help with that.  If you have noticed a strong urine odor, or clothing is being worn multiple times without washing, it is probably time for Assisted Living.
  2. Lack of housekeeping. Check out the kitchen and the fridge when you visit.  Things to look for are a more-than-normal stash of spoiled food that has not been thrown away.  You may see dishes are undone and there is an un-characteristic untidiness.
  3. Even though you may set out their medications in daily pill boxes, they still lose track of medications. They forget to take them or take too large a dose.
  4. Trouble getting to the bathroom or moving around the house. … Falling — sometimes families install a necklace alert that the elderly person can push if they fall or get into trouble.  But if you loved one is forgetting to wear the necklace or forgetting the purpose of it… time to move to Assisted Living.
  5. Is she or he no longer making sound decisions or observations? For example, when the phone rings, are they able to answer in a timely manner?  Are they able to tell a solicitation call from another kind of call?  Are they becoming vulnerable to scam artists?  Do they forget to turn off the stove or the water faucet?   Are they able to make a phone call?

Those five are absolutes.  There are other indicators that may also trigger the need to move into a caring community.  If your loved one is in the early stages and you don’t see these absolutes, now is the time to tour homes and decide where would be the best place.

Planning ahead will make the transition smoother and you may be able to include you loved one in the decision earlier on.  Be sure to choose a facility with secure memory care, like Kiva Assisted Living.  The units are designed for comfort and safety and the staff have training on assisting in a compassionate and effective manor.

Contact us at Kiva for a tour and start you plan for when you see one of the five top indicators.

Helping the Stressed Dementia Caregiver

Here is an interesting statistic. One half of the people caring for a partner or spouse with Alzheimer’s Disease will die before the person they are caring for dies. Research is showing that the stress of caring for a loved-one with a progressive, terminal dementia is just plain hard on the caregiver.

Think of it! There is:

  • financial strain;
  • social isolation;
  • a long-slow grieving that can’t progress into acceptance because of those “good days” when the diseased person seems to return to normal;
  • lack of sleep;
  • constant vigilance;
  • surges of guilt for moments when the caregiver’s patience is lost;
  • fear of the future or of their loved one’s angry outbursts.

So if you know someone who is caring for their loved one, your help is needed. Here are some pointers on how best to offer help to a caregiver. The key is: 1) Offer something specific; 2) Offer repeatedly.

How can you help?

  1. Sit with the ill person so that the caregiver can get out or relax;
  2. Visit with them and accept the behavior of the ill person without criticism;
  3. Bring them homemade food;
  4. Give them notice you are going to the store and allow them time to put together a shopping list of items you can pick up for them;
  5. Offer to go with them when/if they take their loved one to the doctor to help with behavioral issues and to take notes;
  6. Send them cards or treats to let them know you are thinking of them.
  7. Help with things that the spouse or partner used to be able to do. Take the car in for an oil change, take the garbage out, cook a meal, rake the yard, sweep the walk, do the laundry, teach them how to balance the checkbook, find important papers…

Don’t just offer vague help. “Call me if you need anything,” or “What can I do to help?” may be a genuine and sincere offer from your heart, but it is better to offer something specific that you can do and give them time to think it over and offer again.

There often comes a time in the progress of the disease that care it is more than one person can do.

A person with dementia can have:

  • night time restlessness;
  • wandering;
  • panic and anger;
  • hallucinations.

Memory Care at an Assisted Living Facility will have employees that are trained in how to work with dementia behaviors. Assisted Living employees are only at work 8 hours a day. They are able to rest in between.

The caregiver can still be very involved in the care, but will be able to sleep and rest more often. The caregiver will also have time for self-care. This can make all the difference in the health and ability of a caregiver to live a longer life.

Kiva Assisted Living has Respite Care, Day Care, and Memory Care. Call today to arrange for a tour to learn more about how we can help relieve caregiver stresses.

Should Driving Tests Be Mandatory on those over 70?

Should Driving Tests Be Mandatory on those over 70? This year my husband turns 68 and has agreed to take a driver competency test on the suggestion of our doctor.  So I called around to driving schools and stopped in at the DMV and no one knew where he could take such a test.  Do […]

Music Enhances Life at Kiva Assisted Living - Palatka

Music Enhances Life at Kiva Assisted Living – Palatka

Most of us have the experience of hearing a tune from our past and having some memory rush into our consciousness… a dance we attended, a friend, a place.

Adjust Your Holiday Expectations For Seniors with Dementia

Adjust Your Holiday Expectations For Seniors with Dementia

Adjust Your Holiday Expectations For Seniors with Dementia

The Alzheimer’s Organization put together some recommendations to help family members adjust their activities to better help those with dementia and their caregivers during the holiday season.

If Mom always hosted the family gatherings, but now is the main caregiver for Dad who has dementia, it is time for you to step up and do more.

Don’t expect a person with Dementia to travel.  Those in the very early stages can handle travel well, but as the disease progresses the familiarity of home is comforting and travel can bring on anxiety.  If your family has always eaten out for the holiday, maybe this year you need to re-think what you do.

Here is a fact sheet from the Alzheimers organization to help you plan for this and future holidays with your loved ones.

You may discover when spending time with your loved ones over the holiday that it is time to look into a living place that will offer more security and assistance with the tasks of daily living.  Or you may discover that the healthy-care giving parent needs a break.  Kiva Assisted Living facilities offer a variety of levels of care including secure memory care, day care and respite care.   Respite care can help provide a safe, active and caring environment while the care-giver takes a break.

Adjust Your Holiday Expectations For Seniors with Dementia

And when it is time to move a loved one with dementia, remember to bring a bit of “home” to the new location to make that feel like home.  We encourage family members to bring familiar items with their loved one when moving them into their new home at Kiva Assisted.  The transitions will be smoother and you may be surprised at how the activity and social interaction at Kiva will benefit your loved one in a very short time.

Many new residents report that if they had known how enjoyable it would be they would have made the move to Kiva sooner.

Dementia Diagnosis Impact on Family

Dementia Diagnosis Impact on Family

It is frightening enough to have your doctor tell you that your loved-one has dementia and it is most likely from Alzheimer’s disease.

What is even more devastating are the next words that may come out of his or her mouth, “Fill this prescription and I’ll see you in six months.”

Once the initial shock of being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s begins to wane, you will wonder what kind of cataclysmic future lies ahead of you.

In all actuality, your loved one was just given a diagnosis of a having a terminal disease (there are no Alzheimer’s survivors) and then sent on you on your way.

In the beginning, denial is there moment by moment, day by day. Not just in the patient, who may forget from time to time they have the diagnosis or underestimate the harm it is doing. But for the loved ones who do see good days and hope that the diagnosis was wrong. That their situation is going to be different. There will be a miraculous recovery.

Caregivers may realize at the time of diagnosis that many patients can live a fairly normal life for many years with the help of caregivers. Sometimes the progress of the disease is slow. But as caregivers, as the responsible party, you want to know, WHEN is the time to take over certain tasks.

  • When should he/she stop driving?
  • When should I take over the finances?
  • When do I take over health care and medication management?
  • When should a spouse start planning financially for long-term care?


Dr. Smith at the Byrd Alzhiemer’s Research Institute in Tampa recommends that once a person has received a diagnosis of Dementia of any kind. They should get regular behind the wheel testing of their driving skills by an official testing center so that if they are in an accident they can show proof to their insurance that in spite of the diagnosis they were recently tested and are capable of driving. These tests will also give a definitive answer to the question, about when to stop driving.


Ask a dementia expert who is testing your loved one about when would be a good time to take over the finances. A person with dementia is more vulnerable to scams and the scum that perpetrate them. So that is another reason to take over the finances, take away their credit card. It is best if you can get the doctor to sit down with you and the patient at the same time and explain this.

Watch that their bills are getting paid, their checkbook is being balanced, that when they pay their bill at the restaurant they are counting their change and don’t look confused. With Alzheimer’s and other dementias, ability to do a task can change from day to day, so keep an eye on things regularly.


It is our opinion that as soon as the diagnosis of demetia is received, the caregiver should start attending all of the appointments with the health care professionals. The patient may not have the ability to remember instructions or have the cognitive ability to make health care decisions. Don’t treat the patient as a child and take over or dictate. Instead become part of the team that manages his or her health.


Long-term care is expensive. Alzheimer ’s disease is the third largest killer of our aging population, yet is far and above the most expensive to care for. Why? …because it lasts so long, the decline is so slow. The ability to move, be independent and interact leaves long before the body shuts down. So the time to start planning and saving for long-term care is yesterday. We tend to think we can care for our loved one. The reality is, in the later stages of the disease, when wandering and night activity occur, no one person can provide the 24 hour care needed.

Decide now what behaviors and needs will be the time for you to move your loved-one into Assisted Living or a secure memory care community.

If your loved one can grasp their situation, maybe you can discuss this with them and tour facilities while they can still provide input.

Our staff and Kiva Assisted would be happy to give you a tour and explain the different areas of living at our facility, Independent Living, Assisted Living, Memory Care, and Respite Care.