Answers to Your Questions
What are the common signs to look for in Alzheimer's?
The Alzheimer’s Association has an excellent summarized list of the 10 signs to look for. They are as follows:
- Memory loss that disrupts daily life
- Challenges in planning or solving problems
- Difficulty in completing familiar tasks at home, at work, or at leisure
- Confusion with time and place
- Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships
- New problems with words in speaking or writing
- Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps
- Decreased or poor judgment
- Withdrawal from work or social activities
- Changes in mood or personality
How long does it take for a new resident to adjust to their new setting?
Every individual is different. Little by little, new residents become comfortable with their new surroundings and the structure and routine we provide.
Can you accommodate special diets?
We are able to accommodate special diets, such as diabetic, low-sodium, or low-fat diets if prescribed by a physician. Of course, we also provide alternatives for vegetarians or individuals who have food allergies or dislikes.
Can my loved one bring their pet to live there?
We gladly welcome visiting animals, but unfortunately pets may not live here due to the focus on resident care. Your visiting animal must be friendly, since other residents will most likely want to visit as well, be current on all vaccinations, and be on a leash.
Can I take my loved one out for outings?
The majority of our residents go out for day trips with their family or friends. Our goal is for you to do the same things you did with your loved one prior to the move.
What if I don’t live in San Luis Obispo County?
We have many families that do not live in San Luis Obispo County. To communicate concerns or to conduct meetings, our management staff utilizes conference calls and email. The added benefit of medical professionals making house calls to Sydney Creek allows for minimal need for a resident to go to an off-site appointment.
Can I call in and talk to my loved one?
Yes, you can call in and speak to your loved one at any time. However, we request you to kindly understand your loved one’s full daily schedule with meals and activities. We’ve been doing this for a long time now, and experience tells us that occasional phone calls are better than frequent ones. With fewer calls, your loved one will make the adjustment to life at Sydney Creek more easily.
Here are some helpful tips for interacting with a loved one with dementia:
Be patient and supportive - Let your loved one know you're listening and trying to understand what is being said. Show your interest - Keep good eye contact. Show your loved one that you care about what he or she is saying.
Avoid criticizing or correcting - Don't tell your loved one what he or she is saying is incorrect. Instead, listen and try to find the meaning in what is being said.
Avoid arguing - If your loved one says something you don't agree with, let it be. Arguing usually only makes things worse.
Focus on feelings, not facts - Sometimes the emotions being expressed are more important than what is being said. Look for the feelings behind the words.
Our counselors can offer you many other communication tools.
Dealing with Guilt
The feelings that a caregiver goes through after a loved one moves to a community setting varies. There can be guilt from being excited about your new found freedom to guilt from needing to ask for help. These feelings are normal and healthy.
The caregiver has an adjustment period to their new lifestyle just as the resident. It is important to talk with the Sydney Creek staff about your feelings. We want you to feel as supported as possible during this time. You're not alone. We encourage you to hear from caregivers and loved ones who have shared their stories with us. Click here >>
Although it may sometimes be difficult to ask for help or to expect someone to truly understand what you are going through, we encourage you to utilize the resources that are available for you and your family. The Central Coast Alzheimer’s Association is a terrific source of support.
You will also find numerous books discussing Alzheimer's and dementia for caregivers and families. A few to review are:
A Dignified Life: The Best Friends Approach to Alzheimer's Care, A Guide for Family Caregivers by Virginia Bell, David Troxel
The 36-Hour Day
by Nancy L. Mace, M.A., Peter V. Rabins, M.D., Paul R. McHugh
Learning to Speak Alzheimer's
by Joanne Koenig Coste
Validation Techniques for Dementia Care: The Family Guide for Improving Communication
by Vicki de Klerk-Rubin
Taking Care of Lucille Through Seven Years of Alzheimer's
by Cornelius Deasy
Attending Sydney Creek’s support group is one of the most helpful ways to help yourself through this process. You may have attended Alzheimer’s support groups in the past, but at this group you are truly amongst your peers who have taken the step of placement of a loved one.
Here’s a message from Susan Price; our facilitator.
“When I had to make the difficult decision to place my mom at Sydney Creek in 2004, I remember feeling like I was the world’s worst daughter—I had just placed my mother in an Alzheimer’s facility!
In the five years she was a resident at Sydney Creek (she passed in May 2009); I learned how to cope with ‘our’ situation (hers as a resident, and my dealing with her being a resident). After a short time, I realized it was not only the best decision for her, but also the best decision for ME!
As the support group facilitator since May of 2010, my background includes a B.S. in Home Economics, owner of small businesses working with the public, community involvement and Hospice training, as well as five years of ‘life at Sydney Creek.”
My goal is to get you ‘up to speed’ with YOUR adjustment to their life at Sydney Creek as quickly as possible. As I like to say, ‘it will take your loved one about 6 weeks to adjust, but it will take you about 6 months (optimistically).’
Each meeting takes on its own character—family members learn how to redirect, how to use fiblets, when to visit and for how long, how to leave without tears and other valuable coping skills that will make life easier for everyone. You will also find that it is not just you going through this either (and you’ll probably walk away realizing your situation is not NEARLY as bad as that other poor guy!).
Everyone shares disasters as well as successes. Sometimes there are tears and there’s ALWAYS laughter. Since no two residents are alike, no two solutions are alike, but we all combine our collective coping skills to help with ‘that week’s issue(s).’ After a few meetings, you will have mastered some of the basic skills and be able to visit (and leave) much easier—AND you won’t be so hard on yourself. It WILL get easier—I promise.
As a family member of a Sydney Creek resident, you are also part of our Sydney Creek family and we care about you as well as your resident. You will soon realize that sometimes the best way you can care for your loved one is to allow someone else to take care of them…so you can go back to your own life—without guilt.”
– Susan Price
Meet with one of our Community Relations Coordinators, request more information or schedule a tour.
Caring for a loved one with Dementia or Alzheimer's is emotionally challenging—as is the decision to move them to a Memory Care facility. The Village at Sydney Creek is here to assist you with this transition. Our community in San Luis Obispo, California provides a knowledgeable staff and the necessary resources to make this step as smooth as possible—logistically, mentally, and emotionally.
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