What Is Parkinson’s Disease Dementia?

What Is Parkinson’s Disease Dementia?

Dear Donna,

My dad has Parkinson’s disease dementia (PDD). What challenges are associated with the disease, and how can I make his life easier? As I will be his primary caregiver, I’m trying to learn everything I can.


Valerie from Saline, MI

Caring for a Loved One with Parkinson’s Disease Dementia

Dear Valerie,

Parkinson’s disease is a medical condition that affects a person’s movements. Fifty to eighty percent of people with Parkinson’s develop dementia as their disease progresses. To be considered PDD, a person’s condition must affect their cognitive functioning at least a year after they started experiencing physical symptoms of the disease.

If you have a loved one with PDD, you are likely aware of the unique challenges experienced by those affected. Here are a few tips for PDD caregivers.

Challenges Associated with PDD

  1. Be mindful of the signs.

There are various symptoms associated with Parkinson’s disease, and each person is different. Tremors, shakiness, and a lack of facial expressions are a few of the most common. If the disease progresses to PDD, the cognitive symptoms become much more prominent. Your loved one might begin to experience memory loss, difficulty concentrating, and challenges solving problems.

Be patient if tasks take longer to complete or they need additional support.

  1. Don’t take anything personally.

Mood swings, delusions, hallucinations, and paranoia are also common symptoms of PDD. Your loved one may accuse you of things you didn’t do or become quick to anger for no apparent reason.

Out-of-character behaviors can be a result of the disease. Try to keep this in mind before you react, and don’t take anything too close to heart.

  1. Understand that socializing may be difficult.

Socializing is often one of the biggest challenges for a person with PDD. Because the disease affects a person’s motor and cognitive functioning, they might have a hard time communicating. It may take them longer to process information and come up with an appropriate response.

Caregivers can make communicating easier for loved ones with PDD by:

  • Slowing down their rate of speaking
  • Asking questions that only require a “yes” or “no” answer
  • Giving them time to reply

Explore Senior Living Options

Caring for a loved one with Parkinson’s disease can be difficult, and the workload often increases if their condition progresses to PDD. Many caregivers realize they can no longer care for their loved one on their own and begin to explore local senior living communities.

Seniors with PDD and their families often find a memory care program helpful. These communities are staffed with care professionals who understand the challenges associated with PDD. They can keep your loved one active and assist them with activities of daily living.

I hope this helps you better care for your dad.



Heritage Senior Communities Offers Specialized Dementia Care

Heritage Senior Communities, including our Linden Square location, provides quality memory care for seniors with dementia. Our Specialized Dementia Care communities work with seniors experiencing cognitive impairment, including PDD, to provide assistance when needed and improve their overall quality of life.

Contact us today to learn more about our senior living options and to schedule a private tour.

How to Avoid Caregiver Overload over the Holidays

How to Avoid Caregiver Overload over the Holidays

The holidays are often the busiest time of year. The weeks are packed with parties, family functions, and other festive activities. Despite having a fuller schedule, many people look forward to the season. They are excited to catch up with friends, spend time with family, and make memories. Caregivers for senior loved ones might view the holidays a little differently.

Family caregivers usually have a lot on their plate. They often need to balance their personal responsibilities and their loved one’s needs. Many also have careers, children, and relationships to manage.

When caregivers take on too many additional responsibilities, especially during the holidays, they increase the risk for burnout. Here are a few tips to avoid caregiver overload over the holidays.

3 Ways to Avoid Caregiver Overload

  1. Set realistic expectations.

Taking care of a loved one requires a lot of time and energy. It’s important to remember this when making plans. Being realistic about your time can help you avoid making commitments you can’t keep or find overwhelming. You may even need to change a few traditions to accommodate your loved one’s needs. For example, if you always host the holiday dinner, you might have to opt out this year to reserve your energy.

  1. Make yourself a priority.

Saying no doesn’t always come easy to caregivers. They are used to taking care of other’s needs and are often first to lend a hand. It’s not uncommon for them to put their personal needs on the backburner. However, not taking care of yourself puts your health at risk and can affect your ability to care for your senior loved one. Make sure to exercise daily, eat healthy, and get a good night’s rest.

  1. Take advantage of respite care.

Another way to avoid caregiver overload during the holidays is using respite care services. Respite care gives caregivers temporary relief by taking over their caregiving responsibilities. This service allows caregivers to rest and recharge, finish up holiday shopping, or take a vacation without worrying about their loved ones. Respite care can be provided at a senior living community, like Heritage Senior Communities, or in your loved one’s home.

Caring for a Senior Loved One during the Holidays

Caring for a senior loved one can be stressful at times, and the added pressures of the holiday season can make it overwhelming. Caregivers deserve to celebrate the holidays and enjoy time with their loved ones like everyone else. By setting realistic expectations, making your health a priority, and taking advantage of local respite care services, you can avoid caregiver overload.

Respite Care at Heritage Senior Communities

If you are struggling with caregiver overload beyond the holiday season, you may want to explore senior living communities. There are a variety of options available to suit your loved one’s needs. Heritage Senior Communities, for example, offers Assisted Living, Independent Senior Living, Specialized Dementia Care, and Respite Care.

If you are interested in learning more about respite care or would like to take a private tour, please contact the Heritage Senior Community nearest you!

Are Vegan Diets Healthy for Older Adults?

Are Vegan Diets Healthy for Older Adults?

Veganism is becoming increasingly popular among seniors. Vegans eat solely plant-based foods. They steer clear from meat, dairy, eggs, honey, and any other foods derived from animals. There are many reasons seniors consider switching to this diet. Sometimes, it’s for better health, while animal rights drive others. Often, it’s both. Regardless of why seniors consider the change, the most important question is “Are vegan diets healthy for older adults?”

Benefits of Switching to a Vegan Diet

  • Boost the immune system: The ideal vegan diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and nuts. Because most of these foods are nutrient-dense, they can benefit the immune system.
  • Manage chronic health conditions: Vegans tend to have healthier blood pressure, fewer cases of diabetes, and longer lives than those who follow the standard American diet. It may be beneficial for seniors with chronic health conditions.
  • Maintain a healthy weight: Those who consume a vegan diet typically have a lower body mass index. As we age, maintaining a healthy weight may become increasingly difficult. This may make veganism a good option for seniors struggling with weight.

Switching to a Vegan Diet

As you age, it may become increasingly difficult to meet nutrition requirements. Veganism can make it a bit more challenging. Here are a few tips for seniors switching to a plant-based diet:

  • Take supplements: Some nutrients, like vitamin B12, are only found in meat. Seniors will need to take a supplement to meet their recommended daily intake.
  • Eat foods rich in calcium: Calcium is another nutrient seniors should be mindful of when going vegan. Many diets rely on dairy products for their daily calcium dose. Fortunately, there are plenty of vegetables, including spinach, kale, and broccoli, that are abundant in calcium.
  • Choose high-protein foods: Many seniors are concerned they won’t get enough protein if they cut meat from their diet. However, many plant-based foods are high in protein. Soybeans, tofu, and lentils are excellent options.

Cooking for One

Seniors who are cooking only for themselves may find it difficult and expensive to prepare meals with fresh ingredients. They may not see the point in cooking for a single person. This causes many seniors to choose foods with a longer shelf life as opposed to fresh foods. However, there are resources to make cooking for one easier.

Single meal planning sites provide single-serving recipes. One Dish Kitchen and the Fresh 20 for One have healthy recipes for one person along with shopping lists.

Veganism Isn’t for Everyone

Like most diets, veganism has pros and cons. Some may do well without animal products while others may struggle. Before attempting any new diet, it’s important to consult a doctor. They can help you determine if a vegan diet is right for you and your health.

Heritage Senior Communities

Heritage Senior Communities understands the importance of eating a diet rich in nutrients. Our communities make it easy for residents to eat healthily. Our Heritage Hospitality policy offers fresh and diverse dining choices to all our residents. Contact us today to learn more about how we help seniors stay healthy.

How to Honor a Veteran on Veterans Day

How to Honor a Veteran on Veterans Day

Dear Donna,

My dad was in the service. I want to do something special for him on Veterans Day to show my appreciation. How do I honor him?


Monica from Holland, MI

Honoring a Veteran on Veterans Day

Dear Monica,

It’s great that you are looking for a way to honor your dad on Veterans Day. For many, this holiday means a day off from work or school. Some may not fully understand its military connections.

To give some background, Veterans Day takes place on November 11th every year. It is a federal holiday dedicated to honoring those who have served or are currently serving in the military.

It’s not uncommon for people to confuse Veterans Day with Memorial Day or Independence Day. In the simplest words, Memorial Day is a time to remember those who gave their lives while serving our country. Independence Day is not affiliated with the military. It is a time to recognize the Declaration of Independence.

Now that you understand the significance of Veterans Day, here are a few ways you can honor veterans.

4 Ways to Honor a Veteran

  1. Say “thank you.”

A simple way to honor a veteran is to give thanks. When you come into contact with a friend, family member, or anyone else who has previously served or is currently serving in the military, thank them for their service. You can say this in person or over the phone. A handwritten thank you card is also a good option. It can be a keepsake for years to come.

  1. Attend a community event.

There are many parades and other community events that take place on Veterans Day. You can show your support by attending one of these events. It may even be fun to bring a veteran you know or other loved ones with you. By including others in your festivities, they too can show their support.

  1. Ask a veteran about their service.

Inviting a veteran out for a meal or a cup of coffee can be another great way to show respect towards a veteran’s service. During the outing, you can ask them about their experience in the military. Listening to their stories will make them feel appreciated. Here are a few questions to get the conversation started:

  • What was your position in the military?
  • Do you have a favorite memory from your time in the service?
  • Why did you enlist?
  1. Donate.

Donating to an organization that supports veterans and their families is another wonderful way to honor those who have served. Here are a few organizations you may want to explore:

  • Wounded Warrior Project
  • Dogs on Deployment
  • Honor Flight Network

Veterans Day Is Important

Veterans Day is a time to show respect towards Americans who have served or are currently serving our country. Taking time to honor our veterans lets them know you truly appreciate their dedication and service.

I hope this helps you find a way to honor your father on Veterans Day. Please tell him Heritage Senior Communities says, “Thank you for your service!”



Heritage Senior Communities Supports Veterans

Heritage Senior Communities, including our Appledorn location, provides support to seniors throughout Michigan. Contact us today to schedule a private tour.