How Music Can Help Seniors with Memory Problems

While to laymen music might not mean more than concerts and loud partying, there are problems you could solve using music—problems that range from memory issues to depression to beyond.

In fact, music therapy is pretty widely known these days, and is renowned for helping people improve their mental health. Not only is music therapeutic, but it’s also known to improve quality of life. Seniors with memory problems such as dementia often have trouble connecting with the here and now. When they listen to music, things begin to change—and this blog will discuss what you can do with 5 minutes of a great song.

Reduces Stress

Music helps reduce stress. Listening to a song that you like can help slow down your heart’s fluttering beating, and thus cortisol levels in the body are reduced. The music used for this purpose is usually rhythmic so as to help a person relax.

Improves Cognition

Degenerative diseases such as dementia are characterized by memory loss and speech impairment. Music helps improve nonverbal communication skills by making people hum or even sing along, which is great in terms of improving speech skills.

A Stanford research highlighted how music helps in stimulating specific brain regions, resulting in increased blood flow, which in turn boosts cognition.

Encourages Movement

It’s common knowledge that good music makes you want to dance along. It doesn’t even have to be full-fledged dancing—one could be moved enough to want to clap or tap toes, but that music encourages people to move is a given. This is specifically good for people with musculoskeletal issues, and for seniors in general whose lethargy limits their ability to do physical activity.

Songs for Seniors

To start with, music doesn’t really have to be in “song” format for you a senior. If it’s a senior loved one or a parent, chances are you probably know what kind of music they liked in their youth and adulthood. You’d know their favorite artists and bands, and that’s where you can start from. You can, of course, experiment with the music choices you have, and try playing some of your own music for them.

However, always bear in mind that there’s a whole generation between you and your senior loved one, and that they won’t always like what you like. We’d especially suggest against loud music (we don’t think it’s a sensible idea to make seniors with Alzheimer’s listen to metal or rock) and go in favor of something more serene and soothing.

At best, you need something upbeat (to encourage them to move), something rhythmic and nice to listen to (to help in the cognition and speech skills department), and something from their era (preferably the 80s) which they’ll have no qualms listening to.

If you’re looking for a senior living or memory care community center near Calabasas, you should try out AvantGarde Senior Living and Memory Care in Tarzana. Take a visual tour or contact AGS to find out more today.

How Memory Loss Affects Family Life

Aging is a difficult process which entails a lot more than silver streaks in your hair. It’s easy to glamorize old age; we compliment people’s graying head or appreciate how well-maintained their figure still is. But only a person sailing in the old boat knows the pain of seeing their once flawless skin exhibit numerous tiny wrinkles.

However, the effects are more far-reaching and damaging than just physical changes. While many of us exclaim in the comfort of our age how great it would be to ‘wipe out old memories’ and start afresh, it’s not until you’re in this problem knee-deep that you realize the gravity of it. Memory loss is not only hazardous for the person undergoing it, but also deeply affects their family life. Your home is just not the same when a senior loved one with minor (or major) dementia is living in it.

Changes in perception of self

Studies have been conducted on senior people above 65 years of age that reveal that memory loss can lead to them forgetting their names or those of close friends and family, misplacing common items, and repeating themselves in conversations.

Even age-normal memory loss has led people to feel upset about their declining mental health, so it’s reasonable to expect serious grievances over major dementia. The embarrassment which stems from losing recollections of personal information challenges people’s self-image. Their self-doubt can easily translate into negative self-evaluations and trigger depressive episodes.

Changes in Work and Other Activities

Challenging work tasks and intellectually-demanding activities become a hassle to process and get through with when a person is dealing with memory loss. Since their cognitive health goes downhill with memory loss, it’s hard to focus all their energy on one task and see it to completion.

This includes projects that require coordination among many members such as high-stake presentations. From the agenda of a meeting to what they were going to say next, elderly employees tend to forget a lot of details.

Even though retirement might save them from the embarrassment of disappointing their team at work, the problem persists at home; the only difference is in the setting.

Changes in Relationships

Have you ever been confronted by a friend who you forgot to wish on their birthday? The wrath of a hurt friend in this context is the kind of feeling that’s perennial for people with memory. This is taxing on the senior loved one as well as their family.

It’s as difficult to live with memory loss as it is to live with someone who’s suffering from it. It might not seem as hard but it’s extremely frustrating to share a roof with someone who can’t recall answers to the most basic questions like where are you and what’s your name. This affects how they sustain connections in their social network (as it’s hard to remember names or their referee) or survive the embarrassment of ruining special family occasions like Christmas dinners.


We offer senior loved ones an assisted living community in Beverly Hills, CA that welcomes them in its folds wholeheartedly. Under our care, your loved ones will find family again and we’ll do everything possible to make them feel at home!


What is Parkinson’s Disease and Can it be treated?

A worrying statistic was released by the Parkinson’s Foundation recently. According to the organization, nearly one million people in the US are going to develop Parkinson’s disease by 2020.

This combined number is higher than that of those diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s Disease, muscular dystrophy, and multiple scoliosis. What’s worse, it’s increasing by 6,000 each year.

Yet, despite a large portion of the population living with this condition, a lot of us aren’t aware of what the root cause of the disease is, why it happens, or whether it’s hereditary or not.

As a community that caters to a number of senior citizens in different parts of California including Beverly Hills, AvantGarde Senior Living can help you understand the situation if your loved one has been diagnosed with the disease.

Understanding Parkinson’s Disease

A disorder of the nervous system, Parkinson’s disease is a progressive disease which causes brain cells to progressively die. Typically seen a slight tremor in one’s limbs at first, the disease can cause a number of other symptoms over time, such as well as slowness and stiffness in one’s limbs. Eventually, these symptoms worsen until the person can’t function effectively.

The patient’s facial muscles become a lot less responsive and any instinctive behavior does not come as normally as it should. For example, the person will not be able to swing their arms as one does when they walk. Their speech also becomes slow and slurred. In the coming years, the patient’s health will deteriorate to the point that they’ll be unable to live without assistance.

Causes of Parkinson’s Disease

The condition occurs when neurons in the brain start breaking down. This causes vital cell death. The cells in question in this case are responsible for producing dopamine, which is a necessary chemical that helps the brain control coordination and movement. The faster the cell death, the worse the patient’s symptoms will be.

Although we know the ‘what’ of Parkinson’s disease, researchers still have not been able to narrow down ‘why’ it occurs.

Some studies suggest that environmental factors might be to blame. Others suggest genetic factors and even one’s diet and exposure to certain metals and pesticides.

Can it Be Treated?

Parkinson’s disease cannot be cured; but it can be treated.

Doctors may recommend medication therapy or even surgery, which can help the patient live an active life for years and even decades. However, once their condition starts getting serious, they will require assistance.

And that’s where we can help.

As an assisted living community, AvantGarde Senior Living in Beverly Hills, CA can be your loved one’s new home if they require premium care. For further information, contact us and let us help your loved one live a happier, cared-for life!

How to Deal with an Elderly Parent who has Alzheimer’s (And Doesn’t Realize It)

Alzheimer’s disease is a prevalent issue among the elderly population. The most common form of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease accounts for 50%–60% of all cases of the condition.

Almost 50 million people worldwide suffer from dementia, with nearly 10 million new cases being registered each year. With such a large population, this means that there are countless adults and children who are taking care of their elderly parents who may have Alzheimer’s disease.

Despite that, there’s something to be gained from this; the fact that we have a lot of information on how to deal with a parent with Alzheimer’s, carefully and respectfully.

Relating to a Person with Alzheimer’s Disease

For someone who may not know they have Alzheimer’s disease, telling them they may have it to their face without employing tact will only make things worse.

Remember, Alzheimer’s disease is not to be taken lightly.

If they do show all the symptoms of the disease, they’ll also feel scared. But more than that, they’ll feel like they’ve done something wrong, or have been doing so without realizing it, which can be embarrassing.

The Argument

There has actually been a lot of debate around the subject. Should you tell your parent (or a loved one) that they have Alzheimer’s?

It might cause a lot of emotional distress for them. They might feel hopeless about their condition and will start over-thinking everything. They might even think that they’re a burden to their family and loved ones.

But your loved one has the right to know. While you might want to protect them from knowing, keep in mind that they know themselves best. So the chances are that they may actually have sensed that something is wrong, but they can’t quite put their finger on it.

Knowing the cause of all their anxiety might answer their health questions. Also, if they know they have Alzheimer's, they’ll be able to prepare for themselves long-term. Documentation, caregiving, legal matters—they’ll want to make sure they’ve organized everything so there’s no issue later.

So if you were to tell then, how do you go about doing so?

You rely on the medical reports and accounts, while surrounded by only their closest people. You want be gentle and supportive, but you also want to be sure you get the message across so you can take the next step.

The Most Important Part

If they know about their condition, this will greatly help them in making a decision on whether or not they want to live in an assisted living community.

Plenty of residents at AvantGarde Senior Living in Beverly Hills, CA come to us for our memory care services. With our help, people can be comforted knowing that they have the best people available for their loved one’s care.

So if your parent has Alzheimer’s and you believe telling them will help, do so. Treat your parent respectfully and do what is right by them, not you. It’s the best thing to do.

Warning Signs of Mental Illness in Older Adults

According to the numbers, the proportion of people over 60 is set to increase from 12% to 22% in the next 20 to 30 years across the globe. That’s an astounding 2.1 billion people aged 60 years or over by the year 2050. This begets the need to be aware of the possible mental health issues that are often faced by senior adults.

Mental Illness Statistics

According to a report by the World Health Organization, almost 20% of the adults over the age of 60 years suffer from some form of mental or neurological disorder. The most common problem reported in this age group is depression and dementia. Almost 7% of the world’s older adults suffer from these common disorders.

Another common neurological disorder is Alzheimer’s, with an estimated 5.5 million Americans affected by the disease. There are many reasons for older adults to be affected by mental illnesses, some of which include substance abuse, anxiety, stress, and unhealthy life choices.

Identifying the Signs

Detecting the early warning signs and being educated about mental illnesses in older adults can help care for loved ones in a better and more effective manner.

Here are three major early warning signs that might indicate that your loved ones may be suffering from some form of mental illness.

Memory Loss:

Memory issues are considered to be a natural part of the aging process. This incorrect assumption can often cause mental illnesses to go unrecognized until the disease has progressed significantly. Memory loss problems such as forgetting important dates, misplacing belongings, and asking for the same piece of information repeatedly can be warning signs of mental illnesses such as dementia and Alzheimer’s in older adults.

Becoming Socially Withdrawn:

Another common sign that can indicate a mental illness manifesting among older adults is social withdrawal. If an aging loved one in your life has started to lose interest in things they once used to be excited about or has started avoiding social engagements, it could be an indicator of mental health problems that make these interactions difficult for them.

For example, your nana might blow off the weekly Bingo nights because she’s starting to forget how to play the game. It might be easier for her to avoid the event rather than explain why she can’t remember the rules.

Changes in Personality:

A change in the personality of an aging adult can be anything from a change in regular personal care routine to a change in disposition. Your loved one might stop looking the same because they might be having difficulty maintaining their regular personal care. In other cases, they might go from upbeat to depressed, carefree to anxious, or confident to confused.

These issues might come and go and therefore are often overlooked. It’s important to monitor these changes to identify if there’s something more serious that’s driving the personality changes.

AvantGarde Senior Living and Memory Care has a professional and compassionate staff that’s well-equipped to take care of your senior loved ones that might be developing mental illness as a result of aging. Our senior living community will provide the care your loved one deserves and improve their quality of life through assisted living and memory care facilities.

Contact us at (818) 881-0055 or take a virtual tour of our elder care facilities in Calabasas, CA.

Living With a Family Member with Dementia

According to statistical data, around 9% of Americans aged 65 and over suffer from some form of dementia. If not handled correctly, dementia has been known to bring grief and strife into families. It’s important to understand that dementia is not a disease but a symptom of a more complex neurological disorder. The most common cause of dementia is Alzheimer’s with an estimated 5 million Americans living with the condition in 2019.

Understanding the Problem

With so many myths and incorrect assumptions circulating about dementia, many people fail to grasp the fact that it’s a manageable condition. Over 83% of the care provided to older adults with dementia comes from members of the family, friends or unpaid caregivers. While some forms of dementia are temporarily brought on by triggers such as head injuries, vitamin deficiencies, or alcoholism, other forms are more neurodegenerative and get worse with time.

If your loved one has some form of dementia, it’s imperative that you understand the underlying causes behind different behavior issues and causes of discomfort. This way the condition will become easier to manage while allowing you to enjoy your time with your loved one as much as possible!

Identifying the Source of Discomfort

One of the most daunting parts of caring for a loved one with dementia is dealing with an agitated patient. Agitation in a person who’s living with dementia can cause violent outbursts and disturbing behavior which can take an emotional toll on their loved ones. Caregivers tend to blame themselves and often feel guilty, which helps no one. The source of agitation is mostly not personal and has more to do with something medical or physical that’s causing discomfort for the patient.

It could be due to lack of sleep, loneliness, changes in routine or the environment, pain from sitting in the same position for a long time, or side-effects of certain medicines.

Anything that affects the comfort zone of the person suffering from dementia can trigger a violent episode. The caregiver needs to understand it’s not personal and carefully consider the medical requirements, social needs, and regular routine of the patient to curb and minimize these episodes.

Smart Communication

The way you communicate and speak to a person who has dementia matters a lot. Avoid any direct confrontations or too many questions that can increase the confused state of the patient. If you need to ask something, phrase it simply and give them plenty of time to respond.

Getting frustrated will help no one and will only agitate your loved one. Keep the sentences short and offer regular reassurances. Engage with them often to make sure they don’t feel too lonely. Be prepared to handle repeated questions and statements and try to answer them without showing any signs of frustration and annoyance.

Find Support

Dealing with dementia in a loved one can cause feelings of fear, frustration, and helplessness in all those who live with them. It’s important to reach out every now and then and ask for help and support. Join support groups for people who’re going through the same thing as you are for empathy and understanding. It’ll also help you learn new ways to deal with issues by listening to others who’ve experienced similar situations.

AvantGarde Senior Living and Memory Care can help you take care of a loved one suffering from Alzheimer’s or any other form of dementia. We provide the best comprehensive care through our memory care facility, assisted living for seniors, and senior living community. Our qualified staff is well-equipped to handle the various stages of dementia symptoms with compassion.

For more details and information about our comprehensive services and amenities, take a virtual tour of our elder care facilities in Calabasas, CA, or give us a call at (818) 881-0055.

Why Memory Care is Important for Senior Persons Diagnosed with Alzheimer’s

Taking care of your elderly loved ones who have Alzheimer’s disease or dementia can be an extremely exhausting, taxing job. It can take a great toll on both the emotional and physical health of the caregiver.

Alzheimer’s disease or dementia can take away a person’s ability to sustain a regular lifestyle—depending on the severity of their condition. For instance, they might be energetic in the middle of the night, wake up after every few minutes, forget their name, and even show hostile behavior.

Ultimately, as the condition worsens, you’ll have to seek external assistance. When looking for outside help, a memory care community is the best choice to ensure their safety and wellbeing. Let’s learn more about what it entails.

Why Memory Care is Important for Senior Persons Diagnosed with Alzheimer’s

Dementia can be categorized into three stages; mild, moderate, and severe. In mild dementia, your elderly loved one may experience difficulties in remembering names, processing new information, and suffer from anxiety, depression, and loss of appetite, among several other conditions. At this stage, you might be able to take care of them at home.

In moderate dementia, your loved one’s physical ability may get compromised and their judgment may get impaired. They might feel completely energized at night and may face behavioral changes such as aggressive behavior. This will require you to perform some home modifications, like installing safety locks and latches, etc.

In severe dementia, your loved one may suffer from limited or no mobility, extensive memory loss, and find it difficult to swallow food. They’ll require round-the-clock medical care from a professional caregiver who understands the ins and outs of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.

The benefits of living in Memory Care for elderly Alzheimer’s patients

Elderly people who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease or dementia require an extremely high level of supervision and skilled care from a professional caregiver, making memory care an ideal choice. It allows them to receive 24-hour care from highly trained professionals.

Memory care units typically offer the same services as assisted living communities, and often exist as an additional wing within these communities. However, they provide more personalized care, as the staff to patient ratio is high, and take additional precautions to ensure the safety of the patients, as they might have a tendency to become aggressive and hostile.

Furthermore, there are several activities arranged to stimulate the memory of such patients, including arts and crafts, music, games—which can help to slow the progression of the diseases. It’s not possible for an individual or an assisted living communities to provide the same level of care and time to the patient as a memory care unit can.

Therefore, memory care communities play a critical part in ensuring the safety of your loved one who is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.

Looking for a Personalized Care Providing Community?

If you’re looking for a reliable memory care or senior living community in Beverly Hills, CA for your elderly loved one, contact AGS Living.

We have a memory care unit in our assisted living community in Beverly Hills, CA which offers customized care to elderly people and emphasizes personalized solutions—especially to those with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.

For more information, you may give us a call at (818) 881-0055 or visit our website.

Combating Memory Loss through 3 Stimulating Activities

Memory loss is a difficult and overwhelming condition to go through, both for the person experiencing it and their loved ones who helplessly watch them struggle. However, there are a few activities that can improve your elderly relative’s memory, and evoke a nostalgic response.

Rummaging Through a Memory Box

You know how we add in notes, messages, and photographs in a jar, gifting someone with some of our favorite memories with them? A memory box works the same way. Comprising of a range of personal items, it’s a great way to remind your loved one of the things they used to love and the memories you shared with them.

A memory box can contain an endless range of objects. Family portraits, letters, stationery they loved, photographs of them at specific places, and several other things that hold some significance to their hobbies, career, or acquaintances can be added to it. Going over the contents of the box, your loved one may be reminded of a particular moment and the range of items can help trigger past memories.

Listening to Music

Studies have pointed out the therapeutic effects of listening to music, and how they can help patients with memory loss. There’s something powerful and magical about melodies. They tend to evoke nostalgia and remind us of certain people or places while we listen to the tunes. Unsurprisingly, then, music also has a similar effect on people struggling with memory loss.

When older individuals with dementia hear music from their younger days, they may be reminded of that time, even if they aren’t able to put together the memories all at once. You may also find that they respond better to a song they used to love previously, than to music they haven’t heard before. Having a playlist of songs from their early days and that which they enjoyed can be a powerful way of evoking memories, especially in the early stages of dementia.

Playing Card Games

Card games are a great way for the brain to be stimulated and alert its memory and cognition senses. Take for instance the ever popular game Memory or Go Fish. Both serve as an excellent way to test the player’s cognitive abilities, and promote deeper mind concentration.

Playing card games with your senior loved one can help them improve their focus and the ability to concentrate. Since they require the players to remember where a specific card is placed and who has which cards, they help the mind stay active and alert as the players attempt to make a calculated move.

This can be especially helpful for individuals facing memory loss as it triggers a memory response, even if it’s a short-term one. For a more personalized effect, you can introduce customized cards with pictures of familiar faces and places on them to stimulate their memories.

AvantGarde Senior Living & Memory Care is a senior housing community in Calabasas, which provides assisted living and memory care services.

Call us at (818) 881-0055 to learn more about our senior care unit!

4 Tips for Dementia Caregivers

According to statistics, 9.9 million new cases of dementia are reported annually across the globe. This is a degenerative condition of the brain which causes memory loss and behavioral changes. While dementia is a progressive disease, there’re ways to manage the symptoms and make life easier for individuals with this condition.

Taking care of an elderly loved one with dementia? Here’s what you need to know.

Speak in Short & Specific Sentences  

Avoid asking patients with dementia vague or open-ended questions. Instead, phrase your words as simply and clearly as you can to make it easier for them to understand.

For instance, instead of asking what they’d like to have for breakfast, you can make it simpler by asking whether they want cornflakes today. This will help them formulate a “yes” or “no” response, making it easier for them to reply and relieving them from the anxiety-inducing and confusing task of making a decision.

Use the Power of Touch

You know how they say actions speak louder than words? That strongly applies in dementia caregiving as well. Senior loved ones facing loss of cognition skills and memory may not be able to articulate their thoughts and process your words, but there’s another way you can communicate with them.

Simple gestures such as stroking their forehead, brushing their hair, or holding their hand act as reassuring tokens of love. It makes them feel safer and also helps them focus on a particular thought or memory. In fact, studies have pointed out the effects of fist clenching in stimulating the brain to remember better and stabilizing body motion. Holding their hand and helping them make a fist can evoke a better response from them.

Remember Their Behaviour Is Uncontrollable

A lot of caregivers overlook the fact that the irritated and often hurtful behavior being exhibited by patients with dementia is not something they can control. Dementia affects the brain, which in turn affects their ability to speak, think, and behave. As a result, it can be difficult to interact with them as they may say hurtful things and be irritable themselves.

It’s important to remember that it is indeed the disease talking. Don’t take their remarks personally! They can’t control their behavior.

Ask For Help

Caregiving can be emotionally draining and extremely exhausting if only one person is responsible for all the work. Coping with everything on your own can be an overwhelming task and can even affect your ability to take care of your loved one properly if you’re overworked and unrested.

Don’t be hesitant about asking for help! Even if you’re the only family member who can assist, you don’t have to do everything alone. For both your own and your loved one’s health’s sake, reach out to organizations that specialize in dementia care and take assistance from professional caregivers.

AvantGarde Senior Living & Memory Care is a senior living and memory care unit in Calabasas that provides assisted living and skilled nursing services.

Call us at (818) 881-0055 to get in touch with our team!

Specialist Memory Care: What Does that Mean?

As we age, our physical and mental health deteriorates with time. The lack of intellectual stimulation in our later years can have a negative effect on our memory, resulting in conditions like Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Both of these illnesses put the patient at risk, physically, mentally and emotionally. That’s why it’s important that proper care and support be provided to someone suffering from these ailments.

Specialist memory care communities help people find the care that they need. But what are specialist memory care communities?

Let’s find out!

What is a Specialist Memory Care Community?

Unlike ordinary care homes that offer a general level of care for the elderly, specialist memory care communities focus on the needs and requirements of patients who have memory loss or degenerative ailments. These communities understand what it entails to be suffering from a challenging disease like dementia and therefore are well-equipped and trained to handle the problems that come with it.

At a specialist memory care community the staff is on duty 24/7 and has knowledge and experience in degenerative memory diseases to make life easier for the patient and their loved ones.

The Advantages of a Specialist Memory Care Community

Joining a specialist memory care community is the step in the right direction for people who have been diagnosed with dementia or any form of memory loss. That’s because not only is a memory care community appropriately equipped to provide care but they also work toward improving the cognitive health of people suffering from memory loss.

Memory care communities help individual find self-confidence and uphold their dignity in the face of adversities.

Another harsh reality of memory loss and dementia is that it can endanger the patient and the people around them. Memory care communities help keep them safe and provide for a comfortable and secure environment for them to lead happier lives.

If your loved one is also suffering from memory loss, don’t shy away from it. Talk about it, and more importantly, get them the help they need! At AvantGarde Senior Living and Memory Care, we provide quality care for memory loss patients in Hollywood, CA. We also provide independent living and assisted living solutions.