Planting Trees as a Lasting Tribute

Planting Trees as a Lasting Tribute Planting a tree in memory

Arbor Day holds special significance for not only our planet but also for A Place At Home and its many beloved clients and families. With our partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation, we are dedicated to enriching our community, while also honoring the lasting memory and legacy of our clients and families. 

Rooted in CARE

At A Place At Home, our philosophy is deeply rooted in CARE. We strive to be Compassionate, Accountable, Respectful, and Ethical with every interaction. These roots have allowed us to create a foundation of stability, nourishment, and support for the families we serve, past, present, and future. Our CARE standards are what drive our partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation and their “Trees in Memory” program.

Within our logo is the “Tree of Life” — a symbol that both A Place At Home and the Arbor Day Foundation hold near to their hearts. The Tree of Life represents a source of life, an expression of connection, and a symbol of ancestry and family. To celebrate Arbor Day, A Place At Home continues the memory and legacy of our clients that have passed away by planting a tree in their honor. Each tree planted serves as a living tribute that benefits present and future generations.

Planting a Lasting Tribute

Since May 2021, 620 trees have been planted in honor of our clients. These memorial trees will remain growing in Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, Superior National Forest, Chippewa National Forest, Custer-Gallatin National Forest, and Klamath National Forest. The trees stand as a permanent tribute to the families and clients who have touched our lives, serving as a testament to their lasting legacy.

Join in the celebration of life and nature by becoming a member of the Arbor Day Foundation. To learn more about their mission or to sign up, visit

If you or a loved one are seeking extra support in the home, visit our Services page to learn more. If you have any questions, please reach out to us to see how we can help.

From Caregiver to Franchise Support: A Caregiver, An Opportunity, A Career Path

Seeing the potential in people is something that A Place At Home co-founders Dustin Distefano and Jerod Evanich are passionate about.

Especially when it comes to their employees, they’ve always envisioned a career path for those under their employ. Before starting a senior care company, Dustin came up professionally through the career path set in place at Enterprise Rental. In their model, everyone started as a management trainee and moved their way into the career. “That was our mindset for all our employees – that we could have caregivers move up through the ranks at A Place At Home.”

Enter Danielle Sloan.

In 2015, Danielle was a 23-year-old first-time mom working as a certified nursing assistant (CNA). When she came across a job posting for an evening on-call position with an emerging in-home care agency, she applied. At the time, she was looking for a way to bring in a little extra money, sharing, “I was just trying to get by in life, honestly. I had just had a baby, and I was just trying to make sure the bills were paid.”

She was hired for the position. Soon after that, she was working full-time with A Place At Home as an in-home caregiver. While neither Danielle nor Dustin could foresee where this would lead in the future, the career path that Dustin envisioned was already set into motion. A few months after Danielle started with A Place At Home, a position as a Senior Services Coordinator opened up. She applied and found herself working in the office full time, matching seniors with their caregivers and managing their schedules.

The role was intensive and required a sharp mind, compassion, professionalism, and stellar organizational skills. All things that Danielle had in spades.

Fast forward a year and a half, Dustin approached Danielle about another opportunity. She had been helping out with billing and payroll for the agency and managed clients, caregivers, and staff well. However, Dustin was seeing more and more potential and wanted her to learn more about the backend of the business. Danielle caught on quickly and was offered the role of Assistant Manager for A Place At Home- Omaha. She accepted the position and eventually moved into the role of Human Resources Director. Then, in 2017, Dustin and Jerod started franchising their model of care. With this, they sold the Omaha office, and Danielle began working under the new owners as their Office Manager and helping the new owners navigate the waters of owning and operating an in-home care business.

None of this was her plan when Danielle first applied to work with A Place At Home. At the time, her career path included ambitions of being a Registered Nurse. She’d already completed all of her coursework to attend the LPN program in Omaha. Under Dustin’s leadership, however, things changed, “Dustin believed I could be more, saw my strengths and grew them. As I started to evolve professionally, I’ve found my niche in operations and finances, and I’m leaning into that path.”

For business owners within the APAH franchise system, it’s been a boon that Danielle has leaned into this path.

Earlier this year, she was offered yet another position within A Place At Home. This time, working in the corporate office as the Operations and Financial Support Specialist. Now, she’s supporting franchisees across the country, helping them with their business operations and finances. It comes as no surprise; she’s excellent at it. She’s working directly with APAH’s Director of Business Performance, William Ogden, who says, “Dani Sloan has been an integral part of A Place At Home for six years now, and now she’s here with us in the corporate office. I can honestly say how excited I am. She is helping me and others; she’s where she needs to be.” The business owners Danielle is working with agree.

“I have to point out that Dani is just a gem. There isn’t a question she can’t answer or a thing she can’t do. She’s held my hand big time over the past few weeks, and no matter what’s going on, she always says she has time for me. If it weren’t for Dani, I’d be losing it, but she’s so knowledgeable and available that it’s made it all doable.” – Dina Jenney, owner of A Place At Home – Philadelphia West.

While Danielle was the first caregiver to move into a different role and work her way up into management within the agency, she won’t be the last. She says that growth for other caregivers within the APAH system is absolutely possible. You can go from being an outstanding caregiver to working in the office if that’s your ambition. Her advice is to let your manager know that you’re interested in moving forward in a different capacity. Offer to learn and be a part of the on-call rotation. But most importantly?

“Don’t be afraid to try new things. Go outside of your box. Go outside of your comfort zone.”

A Place At Home is always welcoming ambitious, compassionate, and empathetic people to our team. If you or someone you know has a passion for helping others and ambitions to make a career out of it, reach out to one of our locations to apply and schedule an interview!

Veterans Benefits: Paying for Senior Care

When Mom or Dad reach retirement age and are in need of ongoing assisted living services from professional caretakers, it can sometimes be difficult to find the best way to pay for it. But for many seniors who are also veterans, spouses of veterans, or surviving spouses of veterans, the VA’s Aid & Attendance pension benefit can bridge the financial gap to make this kind of care more affordable.

Even though around one out of every four US seniors would likely qualify for the Aid & Assistance program, only around one in seven who qualify have actually claimed their benefits. There are two main reasons for this shortfall: lack of awareness that the program exists and being intimidated by the long, complex application process.

Who Can Qualify For The VA Aid & Assistance Program

Not all seniors or even all veterans can qualify for Aid & Assistance, but many do, and since the benefit is often around $2,000 per month, it’s well worthwhile to find out if you qualify.

To be eligible, all of the following must be true of the applicant:

  • Was honorably discharged from military service.
  • Served 90 or more days of continuous active duty, including at least one day during a time of war.
  • Meets the “countable family income” limits. This is the total monthly/annual income minus unreimbursed medical expenses and certain public benefit payments.
  • Has a medically documented need for assisted daily living, such as help eating, bathing, or getting dressed.
  • Any of the following are also true of the applicant: is 65 or older, is totally/permanently disabled, is currently a patient in a nursing home, or is currently receiving SSDI or SSI benefits.

The VA will also take account of the applicant’s total net worth. There is no specific rule here – it goes on a case-by-case basis. A home, car, and basic assets are not counted, but a high total asset value on non-essentials could bar approval for the program.

Navigating The Application Process

On average, it takes nine months from start to finish to gather all necessary documents, fill out all forms, apply, and finally, receive approval for Aid & Attendance benefits from the VA. The total list of necessary documentation is quite long, including such papers as veteran discharge originals, proof of assets and income, a physician’s note detailing what type of care the applicant needs, or the marriage certificate for a veteran’s spouse seeking benefits.

However, this process is well worth it if you ultimately get approved. Monthly benefits for single veterans has a maximum of $1,830 currently, while for a veteran plus his/her spouse, the maximum is $2,170 per month. Plus, you get reimbursed retroactively for the months you spent waiting for your application to be approved.

Also note that, if a veteran is approved for Aid & Attendance and then passes away, the application process for his surviving spouse is much shorter – around three months on average.

Let Us Help You

To learn more about the VA Aid & Assistance program, to find out if you or your loved one qualify, or for help and advice on wading through the application process, do not hesitate to contact A Place at Home today! We have in-depth knowledge of this program and of other possible means of securing financial assistance for veterans or for others in need of assisted living care.

Hospice Way: CARE During End of Life Stages

Considered to be the model for quality, compassionate care for people facing a life-limiting illness or injury, hospice care involves a team-oriented approach to expert care, pain management, and emotional and spiritual support expressly tailored to the patient’s needs and wishes. Hospice focuses on caring, not curing and in most cases care is provided in the patient’s home.

“At the center of hospice and palliative care is the belief that each of us has the right to die pain-free and with dignity, and that our families will receive the necessary support to allow us to do so,” Aubre Phillips, Director, A Place at Home Omaha.

Aubre understands first-hand what it’s like for a family member to go through hospice. While providing majority of the care for both of her grandparents during their end of life stages – she witnessed just how challenging it can be for the patient and patients family.

“There are families all over the place with a loved one in their last days. It can be incredibly difficult to see someone during this time – many people experience hallucinations, and overall, it’s just a painful process,” Aubre expressed.

Although she realizes the hardships that come with a loved one passing, she doesn’t view death as the end, but rather a new beginning.

“I don’t believe that death is necessarily the end – it’s the passing to the next stage of our life. And I would imagine that that’s really painful and stressful. We need people who can be here helping to support and guide those that are passing on to reassure them that it’s okay and to make sure that they are comfortable when they are on this journey,” Aubre said.

Aubre’s passion for providing end of life care birthed A Place at Home’s Hospice Way – a program dedicated to supporting hospice patients with the compassion and care they deserve.

“A Place at Home has a team of specially trained caregivers that hospice is a passion for them. They understand that the journey is different for everybody, but that their role is to help the person passing on do so in as comfortable and with as much dignity as possible,” Aubre said.

What services are provided?

  • Manages the patient’s pain and symptoms;
  • Provides needed drugs and medical supplies
  • Coaches the family on how to care for the patient;
  • Delivers special services like speech and physical therapy when needed;
  • Makes short-term inpatient care available when pain or symptoms become too difficult to manage at home, or the caregiver needs respite time; and
  • Provides bereavement care and counseling to surviving family and friends.

Beyond Hospice Care

Our devotion to the seniors we care for continues even after they have passed away. In their loving memory and honor,  we plant a tree through the Arbor Day Foundation. The newly planted tree memorializes the family’s loved one forever, living on to provide future generations an enduring symbol of lasting peace and comfort.

A Place at Home is rooted in CARE.

Join us in expanding our roots by becoming a franchise partner.

8 Ways to Help a Loved One With Alzheimer’s

Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s can unveil a roller coaster of emotions – with heartbreak and frustration among the lot. It’s difficult seeing our loved one’s health disintegrating, and the transition from child to caregiver is never an easy one.

In light of World Alzheimer’s Day, we have outlined a few helpful tips for helping a loved one with Alzheimer’s age with dignity while maintaining your peace of mind.

Be Aware of Common Cognitive Symptoms

According to the U.S. Alzheimer’s Association, some of the most common cognitive symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease include:

  • Memory loss that disrupts daily life
  • Challenges with planning or problem solving
  • Confusion with time or place
  • Trouble understanding images and spatial relationships
  • Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps
  • Decreased or poor judgment
  • Withdrawal from work or social activities
  • Changes in mood and personality

Be Empathetic & Remain Calm

When your loved one exhibits cognitive symptoms, it’s important to remain patient, calm and empathetic. Understand that the reality people with dementia experience is caused by damage to the brain; they cannot help how they think or behave. You can help maintain their dignity and respect during this difficult time.

Validate Their Experience & Acknowledge Their Emotions

Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia’s may cause your loved one to believe they are in a situation that you know is not real. There is no value in arguing with them or denying their experience. Try to change their focus to another topic or “go along” with what they are saying. Be present in their reality, validate their experience, and acknowledge their real emotions.

Give Out Compliments

We all enjoy being complimented. Telling your loved one she looks beautiful in her favorite outfit brings joy, supports dignity and builds self-esteem. In addition, complimenting past accomplishments can help her feel important and valued.

Ask Them for Their Opinion

As people get older, they often feel they have lost their significance. Reassure your loved one he is valued and his opinions matter. Ask what he thinks and feels about things. For example, ask your dad if he likes a certain type of food or if he likes the new landscaping in the park.

Let Them Help You

As the disease progresses, your loved one will be unable to complete some tasks. Allow her to do as much as she can while she is still able. Asking her to help you complete a task or make a decision about what clothes to wear can help build self-esteem and maintain her dignity.

Set Them Up for Success

Minimize future cognitive symptoms by planning ahead and being proactive. For example, if your loved one experiences challenges with times and places, you could use a calendar or notes to help him keep track of upcoming events.

Track Symptoms

When you notice your loved one’s cognitive symptoms are progressing, it’s important to take note of what you observe, write it down, and report the symptoms to your loved one’s doctor. Keeping track of symptoms may also help you identify what triggers a particular symptom and ways to minimize it. However, if you find a technique to minimize a symptom, keep in mind that it may not work every time.


A Place at Home is rooted in CARE.

Join us in expanding our roots by becoming a franchise partner.

5 Tips For Handling Mental Illness in Seniors

According to the Institute of Medicine report, untreated mental health conditions lead to poorer physical health outcomes, higher costs and longer hospital stays. Seniors with untreated depression, for example, are less likely to properly take medications for other problems like diabetes or hypertension.

Having a conversation regarding care for seniors with mental illness may not be an easy feat, but it is essential to ensuring the health and safety of your loved one. If you are unable to care for you senior loved one by yourself, then it may be necessary to bring in a home care agency with professional caregivers. Here are some tips that can help you start a difficult discussion:

Make sure they are taking their medication.

Some older adults struggle to take all their medications properly. Depending on which medications are missed, this can cause serious effects on an older person’s health. Ensure they take their medication on time with an electronic application or with the help of a certified medication aide.

 Choose a time when both of you are calm.

Discussing the state of your loved ones mental health could be triggering for them and emotional for you. For this reason, it’s important that you handle the conversation as delicately as possible. Calmly let them know your concerns, and be sure to hear them out. They may not agree with everything you suggest, so be prepared to compromise.

Take resistance in stride.

When it occurs, shift the conversation to less inflammatory aspects of your concerns. Threats or emotional outbursts will only add anxiety and shut communication down. Remember not to take outbursts personally and know that they often stem from the feat of the unknown.

Take a breath and come back to the conversation

Your loved one may not want to discuss the topic when you first bring it up, the Mayo Clinic advises trying again later. The same goes for conversations that go wrong. If you feel yourself becoming emotional, the best advice is to take a break from the conversation and choose another time to discuss the topic.

Get the paperwork you need to properly care for your loved one.

In cases where an elderly parent is a danger to themselves or others, adult children may want to acquire a medical power of attorney for their elderly parent so they can make medical decisions on their behalf.

4 Tips for Reducing Alzheimer’s Stigma

Dealing with Alzheimer’s symptoms can be a challenge, and any stigma or discrimination you face adds unnecessary stress.

After all, Alzheimer’s is a medical condition, which nearly 14 million people in the US may develop in the next 30 years. That’s why we’re offering you tips on how to reduce Alzheimer’s stigma.


Social connections can help slow disease development. That’s because all of us, no matter our health condition, need to interact with others and maintain close relationships. Back-and-forth conversations show you care and can improve Alzheimer’s patient’s self-esteem. Spending time alone can lead to depression and stress, which can make Alzheimer’s worse.

Get Out and About

Becoming isolated is unhealthy for seniors (and anyone, of any age), so don’t allow this condition to keep your loved one hidden, at home. Include them in social events and outings, as you normally would. This also helps increase awareness for those around you about Alzheimer’s. The more your family, friends, and the public, see (and/or interact with) an individual with Alzheimer’s, the more they realize this is a normal human condition. Your relative with dementia deserves respect, and admiration for their struggle, as everyone does.

Be Respectful and Genuine

Remember, the dementia patient is still a “whole” person, deserving of (and capable of) love, just like they’ve always been. If you treat the person much differently than you did before diagnosis, they might feel they’re “fading away” from society and life. Don’t let this happen.

Don’t Assume

Don’t think that your elderly parent can no longer make decisions, or function independently. Alzheimer’s affects everyone differently, some people are only mildly affected, while others are further along with disease progression. For some, the disease progresses very slowly. Even as their capabilities change, your loved one still needs to stay as involved as possible in the world.

Helping Seniors Live Independently, and Well

When your loved one with Alzheimer’s needs at-home care and social interaction, A Place at Home can help. Our caregivers can help your beloved relative live independently, and improve quality of life for them–and for you. Contact A Place at Home today.

How New Medicare Advantage Changes Could Affect You

Medicare, in general, is more focused than ever on positive health outcomes, specifically on keeping seniors out of the hospital.

Medicare Advantage plans have been responding to this by adding extra coverage. For the first time, these extras may include basic (non-medical) in-home senior care.

This newly-offered type of care may provide for household support activities for seniors that help them live comfortably and healthily at home. These essential tasks could include light cleaning, cooking, dishwashing, grooming and more. Home safety equipment may also be included. For more detail and background, read on.

About Medicare Advantage

Also called Medicare Part C, the Advantage plans are offered by private insurance companies and replace Medicare Parts A (hospital), B (doctors, office visits and tests) and sometimes D (drug coverage). You may have a choice of several Medicare Advantage plans, depending upon where you live. If you choose an Advantage plan, you must follow their rules and must typically use their network of doctors.

The private Medicare Advantage insurance plans must cover the same medical care that traditional Medicare does, but may charge more (or less) for specific services. These plans may also impose extra rules, such as requiring a referral to see a specialist, etc. (Referrals are not currently required in traditional Medicare.)

Medicare Advantage may charge an additional monthly premium, over and above your regular Medicare premium ($135 monthly in 2019), and some Advantage HMOs charge no extra premium.

New Medicare Advantage Offerings

For a few years now, Medicare Advantage has been touting “extra benefits” like vision care (optometry and prescription eyeglasses), dental cleanings, hearing aids and/or free gym memberships. They hoped the extras would encourage people to switch from traditional Medicare, to Medicare Advantage.

Recently, the private insurers that offer Medicare Advantage plans have been given permission to add even more extras, which vary from one plan and company to another.

What is so interesting for seniors who need home caregivers is this: In the past, seniors could only get limited, skilled medical in-home care from traditional Medicare or Medicare Advantage. They would not cover any “non-skilled” in-home care that seniors need. Now, these items may be included. Examples of new in-home supportive services Medicare Advantage may cover:

  • At-home custodial care (grooming, meal preparation, bathing, and more)
  • Transportation to medical appointments
  • Meal delivery
  • Shower grab bars and other home safety devices
  • Caregiver support
  • Adult daycare
  • And more

Keep in mind that coverage varies significantly by plan, so be sure to read the details before choosing among the Medicare Advantage plans, or deciding to stick with traditional Medicare.

Study Coverage Details and Rules Carefully

This extra at-home coverage is welcome news for seniors and their family caregivers. It’s very important to be aware, however, that different plans will have different specifics, varying rules about accessing these benefits, and limits on the maximum number of home visits allowed. Medicare’s guide to Advantage Plans may help you.

By adding this extra coverage, Medicare Advantage is acknowledging what we have known for so long—that proper in-home care (beyond skilled medical/nursing care) improves long-term health for seniors. This type of care can keep seniors living successfully at home, which saves seniors money and helps the senior to enjoy greater independence, as well as enhanced quality of life. It’s about time, and we hope for even more positive changes in the future.

Transition Care for Seniors

Often times, Medicare does not cover, A Place at Home is here to fill the gaps in coverage and prevent unnecessary readmissions through our Transition Care Management (TCM) program.

Our TCM program ensures a safe and smooth transition home by complying with discharge orders, providing personal care, transportation, helping with errands, follow-up appointments, and light housekeeping.

If you or a loved one are in need of transition care, contact us for more information.

When To See A Doctor: Parkinson’s Disease

April is National Parkinson’s Disease Awareness Month and we realize that many of our readers, or their loved ones, are affected by the disease.

PD (Parkinson’s disease) is typically not diagnosed until age 50 or older and is currently incurable, but not fatal. However, its complications, like pneumonia, can be life-threatening. This makes an early diagnosis, close medical monitoring, and supportive senior care crucial for those with PD. Please review these important facts about PD and learn how to recognize early signs.

What is Parkinson’s Disease?

PD is a neurodegenerative disorder, causing gradual nerve cell deterioration in the brain region known as the substantia nigra, over a period of many years. The brain cells affected are dopamine-producing neurons. The neurotransmitter, dopamine, helps coordinate body movement— turning thoughts about moving into active motion. Dopamine also regulates emotional responses, helps you to pay attention, learn, and more. Parkinson’s is 50 percent more common in men and the cause of the disease is currently unknown.

When to See a Doctor: Parkinson’s Disease Symptoms

Parkinson’s symptoms vary from person to person and progress at different rates. If you notice these symptoms in yourself or a loved one, see your doctor for an exam. The symptoms can be caused by other medical conditions, so you must see a doctor for a diagnosis. Doing so quickly will help you maintain good health and reduce stress (on you as the patient, and your loved ones).

No matter what the cause of your symptoms may beearly diagnosis provides the very best chance for successful treatment and a bright future. Most people with Parkinson’s are diagnosed after age 50. As individuals age, PD can lead to PDD (Parkinson’s Disease Dementia)

PD symptoms may include increased levels of:

  • Tremors in hands and other body areas
  • Arm and/or leg stiffness
  • Slowed movements, known as Bradykinesia
  • Balance problems, difficulty walking

Early PD signs to watch for, especially if these are new or have no reasonable explanation:

  • Poor posture, sitting or standing stooped over
  • Sad or blank expression on the face
  • Horse or quiet voice
  • Poor sense of smell
  • Difficulty moving, stiffness
  • Micrographia, small or crowded handwriting
  • Sleep problems
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness

Living with PD

To maintain the highest possible quality of life, individuals living with Parkinson’s disease must be regularly monitored by their physician, usually a neurologist. Physical therapy is commonly prescribed early on— and regular exercise is known to delay worsening of symptoms. There are a number of medications used to help manage PD.

For the best prognosis, patients should have the understanding and support of family members and/or caregivers, as needed, so that they can overcome the challenges of Parkinson’s disease. 

The actor Michael J. Fox is a well-known individual living with Parkinson’s, (diagnosed early, at age 30), and Alan Alda recently revealed he has PD, diagnosed about four years ago, at age 78. Both provide examples of, and valuable insight about, living well with PD.

How Common is Parkinson’s Disease? states that approximately one million people will be living with PD by 2020, with 60,000 new cases diagnosed annually. The aging population with Parkinson’s is creating an increasing need for senior care options and supportive services. Medical research is ongoing–to find better medications and treatments to counter symptoms, and potentially discover a cure for PD. The NIH (National Institutes of Health) has published an outline of promising Parkinson’s research in progress. 

We’re Here to Help

For seniors living with Parkinson’s disease, and their loved ones, A Place at Homeprovides customized in-home senior care options. Contact us for more information.

Understanding the Potential Link Between Stress and Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease is a frightening type of dementia that causes issues with memory, thinking processes, and behavior.

The symptoms generally start slow and gradually worsen over time and increasingly interfere with the patient’s day-to-day tasks and relationships.

Studies into the causes and cures for Alzheimer’s has been ongoing for decades, and while no single cause has been determined, recent studies have uncovered some things that can increase a person’s risk of developing the disease. One of those things is stress.

Stress and Alzheimer’s Disease

One of the first studies into the linking of stress and Alzheimer’s began in 2012 by the University of Southhampton in the United Kingdom. Members of that research team undertook a three-year study investigating how chronic stress impacts both people with ongoing mild cognitive impairment and people of a control group that had no reported memory issues. 

A more recent study by researchers from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine has determined that stress connected to both traumatic childhood and adulthood experiences can cause the brain to age more rapidly than that of a person without a history of such negative experiences.

The results of the study were presented at the annual Alzheimer’s Association International Conference and the research itself covered 1,300 individuals in their 50s and their performance on a variety of memory and thinking tests. The conclusion determined that stressful events could age the brain by at least four years. 

The Basics of What is Stress

Stress occurs when a person’s body is forced to respond to a situation the mind deems dangerous. Common symptoms of stress include tense muscles, increased sweating, and pounding heart. While these immediate symptoms generally fade once danger passes, some individuals may continue to experiences feelings of stress.

Such ongoing feelings and symptoms are known as chronic stress, and as studies have shown, chronic stress can be very serious and have severe, permanent effects on the individual mentally, physically, and emotionally.

How Stress Causes Physical Changes to the Brain

The hormone that causes many of the symptoms of stress is known as cortisol, often referred to as the ‘stress hormone’. Cortisol is one of the primary hormones involved in a body’s ‘fight or flight’ response and when it’s released due to stress, it’s what causes those symptoms of increased blood pressure, respiration, and heart rate.

A person who has chronic stress has chronically high cortisol levels which is what research has shown to be associated with high blood pressure, anxiety, and memory loss.

Physical Changes to the Brain Stress Causes:

  • Lost brain cells
  • A reduction in brain size
  • Decreased activity in the pre-frontal cortex
  • Disruption of certain synapses that regulate social skills and cognitive functions
  • Increased activity in the brain area that regulates anxiety

Taking Control Over Lifestyle Factors

While studies have certainly provided enough evidence to show that memory loss and dementia-specific diseases like Alzheimer’s have a connection to stress, particularly chronic stress and stress related to traumatic events—there has been no definitive evidence showing a direct linkage.

However, what has been shown is that taking control of certain lifestyle factors can reduce a person’s risk of developing such ailments. Therefore, it is in your best interest to minimize stress-inducing activities and assist your senior loved ones with lowering their stress.