All Home Care Matters

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All Home Care Matters is an informative podcast and YouTube show that helps viewers and listeners learn about resources, tips, & discussion on all things home care.

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    • Jan 18, 2022 LATEST EPISODE
    • weekdays NEW EPISODES
    • 17m AVG DURATION
    • 142 EPISODES


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    Latest episodes from All Home Care Matters

    An Interview with Dr. James Vickers - Director of the Wicking Dementia Research and Education Center

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 18, 2022 39:04

    Today on All Home Care Matters we are privileged to welcome a very special guest, Dr. James Vickers. Dr. Vickers is the Director of the Wicking Dementia Research and Education Center at the University of Tasmania.   Furthermore, Dr. Vickers has published over 180 research papers and was awarded a DSc from the University of Tasmania in 2005 in recognition of his contribution to neuroscience research. Professor Vickers has been involved in developing a range of health courses at the University of Tasmania, including Massive Open Online Courses on dementia. He developed the ISLAND Project which seeks to understand who is the Tasmanian population is most at risk of dementia and how our population can self-manage modifiable risk behaviors to build resilience to dementia.   We want to say thank you for joining us here at All Home Care Matters, All Home Care Matters is here for you and to help families as they navigate these long-term care issues. Please visit us at allhomecarematters.com there is a private secure fillable form where you can give us feedback, show ideas, or if you have questions. Every form is read and responded to. If you know someone who could benefit from this episode, please share it with them.   Remember, you can listen to the show on any of your favorite podcast streaming platforms and watch the show on our YouTube channel and make sure to hit that subscribe button, so you'll never miss an episode. We look forward to seeing you next time on All Home Care Matters, thank you.   Links: Masters course (https://www.utas.edu.au/wicking/mdem). This is a modularised program based around four thematic areas relevant to dementia – Health and Social Care, Neurobiology, Policies and Systems and Public Health. There is also substantial content around understanding research related to dementia.   Other educational offerings are the MOOCs. The next course, Understanding Dementia, is available to start in February. https://www.utas.edu.au/wicking/understanding-dementia.  

    Quick Tips: When to Be Concerned

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 16, 2022 11:19

    Today's episode will explore the signs and symptoms that can tell us when to be concerned about a loved one. We will also talk about the first steps you should take when you are concerned about a loved one. Now let's move on to the rest of the show.   We are all constantly experiencing change in our lives. As we age, we watch our loved ones age, as well. According to the Caregiver Resource Center, every six seconds, a person in the US turns 50 years old. The rapidly increasing aging population is creating a care crisis in the United States, and all over the world. In the next four years, there is expected to be over two million people that reach the age of 100. As life expectancy increases, so do the number of families that are taking on responsibilities for aging loved ones.   If you are anticipating helping or providing care for a loved one in the future, you may be wondering what signs and symptoms you should be looking for in your loved one, as well as what the aging process generally looks like. According to the Merck Manual of Geriatrics, aging is a process of gradual and spontaneous change, resulting in maturation through childhood, puberty, and young adulthood, and then decline through middle and late age. Healthy aging refers to a process by which deleterious effects are minimized, preserving function until senescence (a productive form of aging leading to organ death), makes continued life impossible.   According to the Caregiver Resource Center, studies conducted by The MacArthur Foundation have shed new light on the concept of aging. Findings show only 5.2% of all older persons end up in nursing homes, 89% of persons aged 65 to 74 - reported no disability whatsoever, 73% of persons aged 75 to 84 - still reported no disability, 25% of persons aged 85+ - reported being fully functional, and 70% of the aging process is controllable - only 30% is stamped in our genetic code.   The last statistic, 70% of the aging process is controllable, is something we should be focusing on when we are younger. Creating healthy habits, like eating right and exercising regularly, can all lead to longer and healthier lives. Some things are totally out of our control, though, like dementia and other diseases, but even so, taking good care of ourselves can help diminish the risks and symptoms of the unavoidable aspects of aging.   The Caregiver Resource Center says that everyone experiences aging differently. Some individuals may experience mental and physical limitations that limit their level of functioning, while others will remain relatively high functioning. In looking at the process of aging, it is important to understand the difference between "normal aging", and that of illness and disease. Usually, people think of aging as beginning around the age of 65, when the changes to the human body actually begin as early as age 30. Research shows that the human body loses about 1% of functioning per year starting at age 30, but the human body is able to adapt to the changes unless some form of illness is present.   It is important to note that fundamental changes to a person's physical and mental abilities are a normal part of aging, but disease is not. All too often, an elder is forced to suffer unnecessary pain and discomfort, because their doctor or loved one, has chalked their aches and pains, incontinence, confusion, or depression up to "normal" aging; when many of these problems could be reversed or at least medically controlled.   During the normal aging process, changes occur to your cardiovascular system, your bones, joints, and muscles, your digestive system, your bladder and urinary tract, your memory and thinking skills, your eyes, ears and teeth, your skin, and your weight.   According to the Mayo Clinic, the most common change in the cardiovascular system is stiffening of the blood vessels and arteries, causing your heart to work harder to pump blood through them. The heart muscles change to adjust to the increased workload. Your heart rate at rest will stay about the same, but it won't increase during activities as much as it used to. These changes increase the risk of high blood pressure (hypertension) and other cardiovascular problems.   To promote heart health, you should include physical activity in your daily routine, eat a healthy diet, quit smoking, manage stress, and get enough sleep.   With age, bones tend to shrink in size and density, weakening them and making them more susceptible to fracture. You might even become a bit shorter. Muscles generally lose strength, endurance, and flexibility — factors that can affect your coordination, stability, and balance. To promote bone, joint, and muscle health, you should get adequate amounts of calcium and Vitamin D, include physical activity in your daily routine, and avoid substance abuse.   Age-related structural changes in the large intestine, as well other contributing factors like medications and lack of exercise, can result in more constipation in older adults. Eating a healthy diet, including physical activity in your daily routine, and not ignoring the urge to have a bowel movement can all help prevent constipation with age.   Mayo Clinic also says that your bladder may become less elastic as you age, resulting in the need to urinate more often. Weakening of bladder muscles and pelvic floor muscles may make it difficult for you to empty your bladder completely or cause you to lose bladder control known as - urinary incontinence. In men, an enlarged or inflamed prostate also can cause difficulty emptying the bladder and incontinence. You can promote bladder and urinary tract health by going to the bathroom regularly, maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking, doing kegel exercises, and avoiding bladder irritants and constipation.   We've discussed at length changes that happen during aging that relate to memory and thinking skills. We recently released a series on the Seven Stages of Alzheimer's that discuss the differences between age-related memory issues and dementia-related memory issues. Visit our website or YouTube channel to find these episodes and more, or listen to them wherever you get your podcasts.   According to the Mayo Clinic, your brain undergoes changes as you age that may have minor effects on your memory or thinking skills. For example, healthy older adults might forget familiar names or words, or they may find it more difficult to multitask. You can promote cognitive health by taking the following steps: including physical activity in your daily routine, eating a healthy diet, staying mentally active, being social, treating cardiovascular disease, and quitting smoking. Talk to your doctor if you're concerned about any mental changes you may notice.   With age, you might have difficulty focusing on objects that are close up. You might become more sensitive to glare and have trouble adapting to different levels of light. Aging also can affect your eye's lens, causing clouded vision, or cataracts. For more information on vision problems and cataracts, listen to our episode on Understanding Cataracts.   Your hearing also might diminish. You might have difficulty hearing high frequencies or following a conversation in a crowded room. To promote eye and ear health, schedule regular check-ups and take the necessary precautions to protect your vision and hearing.   Age-related changes also occur to your teeth and gums. Mayo Clinic says that your gums might pull back from your teeth. Certain medications, such as those that treat allergies, asthma, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol, also can cause dry mouth. As a result, your teeth and gums might become slightly more vulnerable to decay and infection. To promote oral health, schedule regular check-ups and brush and floss regularly.   With age, your skin thins and becomes less elastic and more fragile, and fatty tissue just below the skin decreases. You might notice that you bruise more easily. Decreased production of natural oils might make your skin drier. Wrinkles, age spots and small growths called skin tags are more common. To promote healthy skin, be gentle, take precautions, and don't smoke.   Lastly, how your body burns calories (metabolism) slows down as you age. If you decrease activities as you age, but continue to eat the same as usual, you'll gain weight. To maintain a healthy weight, stay active and eat healthily, and watch portion sizes.   Now that we know what the normal signs of aging are and a few ways you can help your body age healthily, let's move on to some of the signs that you are not aging in a normal way.   According to the Caregiver Resource Center, depression to the degree that it interferes with usual daily functioning, confusion, delusions or hallucinations, changes in personality, and changes in basic intelligence are all functions that are not a part of the normal aging process. If you notice any of these things happening to a loved one, it may be time to have a conversation with them about their health and stress the importance of scheduling a doctor's appointment. Go with them to the doctor so you can express your concerns, as well.   You know your loved one better than their doctor does. You are able to see more about your loved one's daily behavior than their doctor is able to observe in a thirty-minute appointment. Keep a record of changes and behaviors you notice that concern you so you can present them to the doctor or other family members.   Talk to your loved one's other family and friends and see what others have noticed, as well. Most importantly, let your loved one know that they have a support system. Aging can be scary and your loved one will worry about what will happen to them. Your love and support can make all the difference.   We want to say thank you for joining us here at All Home Care Matters, All Home Care Matters is here for you and to help families as they navigate these long-term care issues. Please visit us at allhomecarematters.com there is a private secure fillable form where you can give us feedback, show ideas, or if you have questions. Every form is read and responded to. If you know someone who could benefit from this episode, please share it with them.   Remember, you can listen to the show on any of your favorite podcast streaming platforms and watch the show on our YouTube channel and make sure to hit that subscribe button, so you'll never miss an episode. We look forward to seeing you next time on All Home Care Matters, thank you.   Sources: http://www.caregiverresourcecenter.com/the_elder.htm#when_to_be_concerned   https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/healthy-aging/in-depth/aging/art-20046070  

    Respecting a Senior's Independence while Providing Care

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 8, 2022 17:41

    Today we are going to be talking about how you can respect a senior's independence and help them maintain their dignity while providing care. We will cover ways you can help your loved one without doing everything for them, as well as ideas on how you can make your loved one's space safer so that they can do more on their own. Now let's move on to the rest of the show.   As we age, things that we used to do without giving it a second thought, like moving something out of the way or opening a door, become more and more difficult. If you are watching your loved one beginning to struggle with simple tasks, you may feel the urge to rush in and help, but that is the opposite of what you should do. As long as they are not going to injure themselves, let them do it on their own unless they ask for your help. If you are worried that they may be straining themselves too hard, ask for permission to help them.   Linda Ziac, founder of The Caregiver Resource Center, remembers a time when her elderly neighbor was emptying groceries from the trunk of her car. Linda says she rushed over to help but stopped dead in her tracks when her neighbor said to her, “You can't do that. You need to let us do things for ourselves. We'll ask for help if we need it.” Linda then asked her neighbor if she could help her with her groceries. With a big smile, her neighbor said “of course you can help.”   This story illustrates the importance of finding a balance between helping a senior and allowing them to maintain their independence and dignity. Helping is okay, it is encouraged, but you need to ask for permission first. Helping a senior do something they want to do on their own will only embarrass them and lead to resenting you, which we know is not at all what your goal was.   According to Home Care Angels, when your loved one starts to slow down, it can be tempting to take over and do too much for them. But for seniors, staying independent is an important part of maintaining dignity and respect—and it can contribute to physical, mental, and emotional well-being.   Your job is to support their wishes and involve them in as much as they want and are able to do. Talk with your loved one about their interests and give them control over their activities whenever possible. Let them take the lead and then work out the logistics with, or for, them as needed.   An active lifestyle and social life can help your loved one maintain their independence, too. Home Care Angels says to help your loved one continue their regular activities like attending church, visiting with relatives, and reconnecting with old friends or groups they were involved in. If they are able to manage it, take them to library lectures, local theater, or any community event they're interested in.   According to Walden University, independence is not solitude. And loneliness can be fatal, with one recent study showing that feeling extreme loneliness can raise an older adult's chances of premature death by 14%. That's why, when caring for your loved one, you should encourage them to remain socially active. Maintaining old friendships and cultivating new ones not only helps ward off loneliness but can also help older adults retain a sense of importance and independence.   If your loved one has trouble getting out of the house and attending social events, you can help them use a computer, tablet, or cellphone to have video calls with their friends and loved ones. Technology is a great way to bring people together when they are unable to be together physically. If your loved one has any interest in learning about technology, you can find senior-specific technology classes in your area. They can learn how to use their own devices with their friends and others their age and it can also save you time and sanity.   Teaching a parent can be difficult. It can take longer than you expect and remaining calm can be hard at times. It requires a lot of patience. For some people, teaching and learning together with a parent is a great way to spend quality time with them, but if that isn't for you, that's okay. A class tailored to seniors is a great solution to helping your loved one learn more about using technology and helping them socialize. Plus, once they understand how to work their devices, they won't need you to help them call their friends and they will be able to talk to them any time they want.   Providing care for a loved one is a rewarding job and you get to spend more time with them. It can also be stressful and tiring. Helping your loved one be more independent, not only helps them but it helps yourself, as well. No matter what level of care your loved one needs, allowing them to participate in their care and make choices can help both of you maintain a stronger relationship with less bickering and fighting.   Smart home devices can also help your loved one have more control over their environment. According to Home Care Assistance, there are several voice-activated home devices on the market, made by companies like Amazon and Google. These devices are a great resource for people with disabilities. They're great for those with low vision, difficulty with fine motor tasks, or mobility challenges. Voice-activated devices can do a lot of things, including play music, operate the television, lock and unlock doors, control the thermostat, control lights, tell the time, date, and weather, and make phone calls. You can even order a pizza.   Smart devices empower some people to live independently for longer. They allow people who can't use smartphones or computers to access information. Plus, new uses for these technologies come out all the time.   Does your loved one often worry whether or not they locked the door when they are away from home? Another smart device that can be helpful for them is automated door locks controlled from your phone. With smart locks, your loved one will be able to open the app and immediately see if they locked the door, and lock it from wherever they are if they didn't.   Many home security systems offer smart locks, as well as surveillance systems that can notify you and emergency response teams if your loved one has an accident. Make sure you talk to your loved one before having any cameras installed in the home. If they are uncomfortable with cameras, things like life alert necklaces and smartwatches can also be used to notify others in case of an emergency. Some smartwatches now have fall detections that will automatically call first responders if your loved one falls and doesn't get up.   Don't be surprised if your loved one is resistant to trying new things, even if it can help them do more on their own. Linda Ziac from the Caregiver Resource Center says that family caregivers often tell her that they feel frustrated and guilty when they try to help, but their loved one repeatedly tells them “I don't need anything.”   One suggestion Linda often makes is that after learning your loved one's wishes, it may be possible to give a gift to your loved one. You can give them a gift for no reason at all, or for a special occasion, such as a birthday, mother's or father's day, or during the holidays. These gifts can help improve your loved one's quality of life in many ways.   Linda recalls one evening when she had a blackout in her area. She went next door to check on her elderly neighbor, only to find her walking around in the dark, searching for her flashlight. Once the power came back on, Linda decided to do some research to find a way to help prevent her neighbor from a potential fall during a blackout.   She knew that office buildings have emergency lighting systems and researched similar systems for personal use. She found a very reasonably priced product for home use, that didn't require any installation. Linda purchased two emergency lights for her neighbor to be placed on an end table on each floor of her home.   These particular emergency lights lasted an hour before they needed to be recharged and allowed her neighbor time to move safely throughout her home and get settled to wait out the power outage.   Linda has a few other gift ideas she's found over the years to be useful to other caregivers. She suggests creating a gift certificate for rides to the doctor's office so that your loved one can redeem them with you or someone else and still feel like they aren't taking advantage of you or being a burden, even after you have told them you are happy to take them.   If your loved one has pets, you can walk their dog, or come play with their animals, especially in inclement weather. If you don't live nearby, ask someone in their neighborhood if they would be willing to walk your loved one's dog. Even just once a week can be a welcome relief to your loved one.   Hiring someone to clean their house, put things away, and do laundry is a great gift for special occasions. Check your local senior center and see if they know of any cleaning services for seniors. Some companies offer free or discounted cleaning sessions.   A variety coupon book that includes services you or someone help provide is something else that Linda suggests. Cooking a meal, grocery shopping, and medication pick-up are all things you can include. You can also include going out to lunch and going to a museum or another activity that they enjoy.   Other gifts that can help your loved one at home can include, a LifeLine necklace, replacing doorknobs with doorknob levers so that they are easier to open, raised toilet seat with handles, and a phone or tablet specifically made for seniors and those with memory loss issues.   Whenever your loved one mentions something that they are struggling with, like turning the faucet on or off, try to make a note of it. If your loved one doesn't want you to go out and fix everything they mention right away, you can give them items off the list you make as gifts. You can also talk to their friends and anyone they talk to regularly and have them give you gift ideas. Their friends may also be willing to help you give your loved one these gifts, as well.   Regular exercise is not only important for maintaining independence, but it's important for a healthy lifestyle. You can help your loved one find an exercise class they enjoy, like yoga or water aerobics. Going to a class can also be something for your loved one to look forward to and is a lot of fun when taken with friends. Virtual exercise classes can be a good way to keep moving while at home.   Whatever your loved one likes to do to stay active, help them continue to do it and make it part of their routine. Even going on walks around the neighborhood can be enough exercise for your loved one to stay healthy. Home Care Angels says that if your loved one has exercises recommended by a physical therapist, remind them and encourage them to do them regularly. According to Home Care Assistance, regular physical activity can help prevent Alzheimer's and dementia plus improve strength and mobility, so make sure your loved one is getting the exercise they need.   According to Walden University, physical ailment and/or injury can significantly impact an elderly person's ability to remain independent. While some of the degenerative aspects of aging are hard to prevent, accidents are not—it just takes an awareness of how accidents happen and how they can be prevented.   One of the most common accidents suffered by the elderly is falling. In fact, each year, one in every four people over the age of 65 will fall. However, by helping the elderly take simple safety measures—like securing rugs, installing handrails in bathrooms, repairing uneven flooring, and using a cane or walker—you can help them significantly reduce the risk of falling. Other safety measures you should encourage the elderly to take include maintaining smoke and fire alarms, keeping medications properly sorted, and outfitting stovetops and ovens with nobs that are easy to use and displays that are easy to see.   No matter what level of care your loved one needs, allowing them the opportunity to make their own choices is necessary for them to maintain their independence, and for you to have less on your plate. According to Walden University, if we feel powerless we cannot feel independent. That's why it's vital for you to ensure any senior you're working with has a significant say in the choices affecting their lives.   From matters of health to living arrangements to diet to exercise, the elderly deserve the right to decide what they want. When you work with seniors, remember your job isn't to coerce. It's to empower. And that begins by treating the elderly with the same level of respect—and affording them the same amount of autonomy—you would give to any other adult.   Similarly, Home Care Assistance says seniors have their own opinions and preferences. Encourage your loved one to voice these opinions by making his or her own choices. For example, offer several options for what to eat, wear, and do every day, and allow your loved one to choose. Doing so helps your loved one maintain independence while still staying within reasonable, healthy limits.   Home Care Angels says that you should also involve your loved one in a day-to-day plan. Ask them to plan meals, fold the laundry and participate in the shopping, cooking, and cleaning where possible. Bake cookies together, even if they can only help stir the dough. Let them decide what TV shows, radio programs, and music they want to listen to.   Even if you know your loved one's favorite shows and programs, they will appreciate you giving them the chance to tell you what they like or what they want to do, even if their answer is exactly what you thought it would be. And you never know when the time may come that they pick something that surprises you. If you don't ask, you will never get a different answer.   We touched on this earlier when talking about gifts, but according to Home Care Assistance, age-friendly home improvements can enable older adults to be independent for longer. In the bathroom, you can install grab bars in the shower and near the toilet. You can add a shower chair and an elevated toilet seat. In the kitchen, you can store items on the counter or at eye level so your loved one doesn't have to bend or reach. You can also buy weighted utensils to make mealtimes easier.   As you make changes to your loved one's home, think through their daily routine. What challenges are they facing throughout the day? What tasks do they receive support with? Is there any equipment that would make things easier? Are there changes that you could make that would empower them to need less direct support? If you don't know where to start, you may want to consult an occupational therapist. They can offer ideas of changes you can make to the home.   The Caregiver Resource Center also suggests arranging for a home safety audit to identify any areas of concern in your loved one's home, along with a corrective action plan. A home safety audit can identify areas of risk in your loved one's home that you may not have thought of on your own. You can also listen to our episode on Aging in Place for more information on ways you can help make your loved one's home safer.   There will be many times where you and your loved one disagree over things as small as what to eat for dinner or as big as where your loved one should live. According to Home Care Assistance, as family caregivers, we want to protect our loved ones from everything that might harm them. From an unhealthy meal to a decision to keep living alone, our loved ones often make decisions that worry us. If we want to empower those we care for, we need to allow them the space to make decisions that we disagree with. Nobody can be safe all the time.   Caregivers must balance safety with autonomy. For example, maybe your mother is adamant about living at home. She might also be willing to allow a paid caregiver to come each evening for a few hours to prepare dinner and clean. While this may not be your preferred solution, it empowers your mom to live the way she wants to live. It can bring you peace of mind knowing that someone is checking on her each day. A caregiver can keep your parent safe at home by making sure she gets any assistance she might need.   Communication is key in helping your loved one maintain their independence. Sit down and have a conversation with them about things you both can do differently in order for them to do more for themselves. Your loved one may not want to bring up any issues to you on their own, but if you ask them specifically what they want and ways that you could help them achieve this goal, they will be much more willing to divulge the information you need. During this conversation, you should also bring any safety concerns you have to their attention. If you worry about them falling in the shower, let them know and work on a solution together.   According to the Caregiver Resource Center, all too often, a senior wants to retain their independence and doesn't want to become a burden to their loved ones. In order to maintain their independence, the senior may attempt to hide the fact that they are struggling, and are in need of some assistance.   One way that you may learn of a problem, is when you receive a phone call in the middle of the night. When you answer the phone you hear your mother is in the emergency room, she's fallen and broken her hip. As the closest living relative, you receive the call, and within minutes you are being faced with new responsibilities as your mother's caregiver.   Not all problems occur as a crisis like this but instead evolve in a gradual series of warning signs spanning weeks, months, or even years. Look for those signs that your loved one needs help and is not voicing this need to you or anyone else. With open communication, your loved one will be able to safely maintain their independence and you will have peace of mind knowing that they will tell you if they are having trouble.   We want to say thank you for joining us here at All Home Care Matters, All Home Care Matters is here for you and to help families as they navigate these long-term care issues. Please visit us at allhomecarematters.com there is a private secure fillable form where you can give us feedback, show ideas, or if you have questions. Every form is read and responded to. If you know someone who could benefit from this episode, please share it with them. Remember, you can listen to the show on any of your favorite podcast streaming platforms and watch the show on our YouTube channel and make sure to hit that subscribe button, so you'll never miss an episode. We look forward to seeing you next time on All Home Care Matters, thank you.   Sources: http://www.caregiverresourcecenter.com/Respecting%20Seniors.pdf   https://www.homecareangelsinc.com/caring-for-aging-parents/5-ways-to-help-seniors-remain-independent/   https://www.waldenu.edu/online-doctoral-programs/phd-in-human-services/resource/helping-the-elderly-maintain-independence   https://homecareassistance.com/blog/supporting-seniors-promoting-independence          

    Alzheimer's Disease vs. Dementia

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 1, 2022 19:54

    Today's episode has been handpicked by our listeners. We have gotten quite a few comments on our videos wanting to know the difference between Alzheimer's and Dementia and we are going to be talking about the differences between the two and clearing up any confusion you may have. First, we are going to discuss what Alzheimer's is and how it differs from Dementia before moving on to what dementia is and what it can look like. Now let's move on to the rest of the show.   According to the CDC, Alzheimer's disease is the most common type of dementia. It is a progressive disease beginning with mild memory loss and possibly leading to loss of the ability to carry on a conversation and respond to the environment. Alzheimer's disease involves parts of the brain that control thought, memory, and language and can seriously affect a person's ability to carry out daily activities. Age is the best-known risk factor for Alzheimer's disease.   Alzheimer's disease accounts for somewhere between 60 and 80 percent of all dementia cases. As the aging population rises, more and more people are being diagnosed with Alzheimer's. The CDC says that in 2020, as many as 5.8 million Americans were living with Alzheimer's disease and this number is projected to nearly triple to 14 million people in the next forty years.   Individuals with Alzheimer's can live for many years with the disease, but it does ultimately end with death, often due to the loss of the ability to swallow. On average, after a diagnosis is made, a person with Alzheimer's usually lives for 4-8 years. However, someone with Alzheimer's can live longer than that. Some have lived nearly 20 years after receiving a diagnosis.   Early diagnosis is key for this disease. The sooner a treatment plan can be started, the better. According to the CDC, researchers believe that genetics may play a role in developing Alzheimer's disease. However, genes do not equal destiny. A healthy lifestyle may help reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. If you have a family history of Alzheimer's, make sure you inform your doctor. There are a few tests they can perform that may result in early detection.   According to the Alzheimer's Association, Alzheimer's is a degenerative brain disease that is caused by complex brain changes following cell damage. It leads to dementia symptoms that gradually worsen over time. The most common early symptom of Alzheimer's is trouble remembering new information because the disease typically impacts the part of the brain associated with learning first.   As Alzheimer's advances, symptoms get more severe and include disorientation, confusion, and behavioral changes. Eventually, speaking, swallowing, and walking become difficult. Currently, there is no cure for this disease, but there are a few ways to treat it. If you suspect that a loved one or yourself may have Alzheimer's, speak with a doctor. They will be able to determine if you have the disease, what stage you are in, and the best course of action for you to take.   This episode is closely related to our recent mini-series on the Seven Stages of Alzheimer's disease. We won't be talking about Alzheimer's nearly as in-depth as we have in our mini-series, so if you would like to learn more about Alzheimer's, listen to the series on our website, our YouTube channel, or wherever you get your podcasts.   Now that we've covered Alzheimer's disease, let's move on to dementia.   According to Forbes, dementia is the umbrella term used to describe several diseases that cause changes in the brain that lead to memory loss and language and reasoning difficulties, ultimately disrupting everyday functioning.   The National Institute on Aging says that Dementia is the loss of cognitive functioning — thinking, remembering, and reasoning — to such an extent that it interferes with a person's daily life and activities. Some people with dementia cannot control their emotions, and their personalities may change. Dementia ranges in severity from the mildest stage, when it is just beginning to affect a person's functioning, to the most severe stage, when the person must depend completely on others for basic activities of living.   Dementia is more common as people grow older (about one-third of all people aged 85 or older may have some form of dementia) but it is not a normal part of aging. Many people live into their 90s and beyond without any signs of dementia.   There are several different forms of dementia, including Alzheimer's disease and a person's symptoms can vary depending on the type. Let's take a closer look at the 5 most common forms of dementia. As you already know, the most common form of dementia is Alzheimer's.   According to Mayo Clinic, Lewy body dementia, also known as dementia with Lewy bodies, is the second most common type of progressive dementia after Alzheimer's disease. Protein deposits, called Lewy bodies, develop in nerve cells in the brain regions involved in thinking, memory, and movement (motor control).   Lewy body dementia causes a progressive decline in mental abilities. People with Lewy body dementia might have visual hallucinations and changes in alertness and attention. Other effects include Parkinson's disease signs and symptoms such as rigid muscles, slow movement, walking difficulty, and tremors.   The third most common type is Frontotemporal dementia. According to Mayo Clinic, frontotemporal dementia is an umbrella term for a group of brain disorders that primarily affect the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain. These areas of the brain are generally associated with personality, behavior, and language.   In frontotemporal dementia, portions of these lobes shrink, or atrophy. Signs and symptoms vary, depending on which part of the brain is affected. Some people with frontotemporal dementia have dramatic changes in their personalities and become socially inappropriate, impulsive, or emotionally indifferent, while others lose the ability to use language properly.   Frontotemporal dementia can be misdiagnosed as a psychiatric problem or as Alzheimer's disease. But frontotemporal dementia tends to occur at a younger age than does Alzheimer's disease. Frontotemporal dementia often begins between the ages of 40 and 65 but occurs later in life as well. FTD is the cause of approximately 10% to 20% of dementia cases.   The next form of dementia is vascular dementia. According to Mayo Clinic, Vascular dementia is a general term describing problems with reasoning, planning, judgment, memory, and other thought processes caused by brain damage from impaired blood flow to your brain.   You can develop vascular dementia after a stroke blocks an artery in your brain, but strokes don't always cause vascular dementia. Whether a stroke affects your thinking and reasoning depends on your stroke's severity and location. Vascular dementia can also result from other conditions that damage blood vessels and reduce circulation, depriving your brain of vital oxygen and nutrients.   Factors that increase your risk of heart disease and stroke — including diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking — also raise your vascular dementia risk. Controlling these factors may help lower your chances of developing vascular dementia.   The final common form of dementia is Mixed dementia, a combination of two or more types of dementia. According to the Alzheimer's Association, In the most common form of mixed dementia, the abnormal protein deposits associated with Alzheimer's disease coexist with blood vessel problems linked to vascular dementia. Alzheimer's brain changes also often coexist with Lewy bodies. In some cases, a person may have brain changes linked to all three conditions — Alzheimer's disease, vascular dementia, and Lewy body dementia.   Researchers don't know exactly how many older adults currently diagnosed with a specific type of dementia actually have mixed dementia, but autopsies indicate that the condition may be significantly more common than previously realized.   Autopsy studies play a key role in shedding light on mixed dementia because scientists can't yet measure most dementia-related brain changes in living individuals. In the most informative studies, researchers correlate each participant's cognitive health and any diagnosed problems during life with analysis of the brain after death.   According to the National Institute on Aging, researchers have also identified many other conditions that can cause dementia or dementia-like symptoms. These conditions include Argyrophilic grain disease, a common, late-onset degenerative disease. Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, a rare brain disorder. Huntington's disease, an inherited, progressive brain disease. Chronic traumatic encephalopathy, caused by repeated traumatic brain injury. And HIV-associated dementia, a rare disease that occurs when the HIV virus spreads to the brain.   The overlap in symptoms of various dementias can make it difficult to get an accurate diagnosis. But a proper diagnosis is important to get the best treatment.   Now that you know the difference between Alzheimer's and Dementia, let's move on to some of the causes, risk factors, and prevention methods of dementia.   According to Forbes, one common myth many people tend to believe is that you can't reduce your risk of getting Alzheimer's disease or other kinds of dementia—you either get it or you don't. In reality, adopting healthy habits can lower your risk of developing dementia, or at least delay the onset. “Healthy body, healthy mind,” says Dr. Richard Caselli, associate director and clinical core director of the Alzheimer's Disease Center at Mayo Clinic in Arizona. “What we can control, we should control.” Though he adds that even a lifetime of healthy habits is no guarantee of protection.   Among the 12 factors that increase a person's risk of dementia outlined in the 2020 report from the Lancet Commission on dementia prevention, most are within one's control. These include hypertension, smoking, obesity, diabetes, low social contact, excessive alcohol consumption, and being physically inactive. Risk factors that we cannot control include lack of education, traumatic brain injury, depression, hearing impairment, and exposure to air pollution.   According to the Alzheimer's Association, dementia is caused by damage to brain cells. This damage interferes with the ability of brain cells to communicate with each other. When brain cells cannot communicate normally, thinking, behavior, and feelings can be affected.   The brain has many distinct regions, each of which is responsible for different functions (for example, memory, judgment, and movement). When cells in a particular region are damaged, that region cannot carry out its functions normally.   Different types of dementia are associated with particular types of brain cell damage in particular regions of the brain. For example, in Alzheimer's disease, high levels of certain proteins inside and outside brain cells make it hard for brain cells to stay healthy and to communicate with each other. The brain region called the hippocampus is the center of learning and memory in the brain, and the brain cells in this region are often the first to be damaged. That's why memory loss is often one of the earliest symptoms of Alzheimer's.   While most changes in the brain that cause dementia are permanent and worsen over time, thinking and memory problems caused by the following conditions may improve when the condition is treated or addressed: depression, medication side effects, excess use of alcohol, thyroid problems, and vitamin deficiencies.   In most people, the cause of dementia is unknown, but that doesn't mean there aren't ways you can lower your risk of developing dementia. Knowing what risk factors, you have can aid in lowering your chances of developing dementia, as well.   According to the NHS, some dementia risk factors are difficult or impossible to change, like your age, genes, and level of education. The older you are, the more likely you are to develop dementia. However, dementia is not a natural part of aging and isn't something that you should be expecting to develop. In general, genes alone are not thought to cause dementia. However, certain genetic factors are involved with some of the less common types. Dementia usually develops because of a combination of genetic and "environmental" factors, such as smoking and a lack of regular exercise. Other risk factors such as hearing loss, untreated depression, loneliness, or social isolation, and sitting for most of the day may also contribute to your likelihood of developing dementia.   Currently, there are no proven ways to prevent dementia, but doctors have a few suggestions for prevention methods. Even though you may not be able to alter your chances of developing dementia, following these suggestions can lead to an overall healthy lifestyle and can prevent many other illnesses and health issues. According to the NHS, you may reduce your risk of dementia by eating a healthy, balanced diet, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, keeping alcohol within recommended limits, stopping smoking, and keeping your blood pressure at a healthy level.   Keeping your body healthy may help reduce your risk of dementia, but you also need to keep your brain active and engaged. According to Danone Nutricia Research, the brain communicates through a vast network of billions of nerve cells. These nerve cells or neurons connect with each other via junctions called ‘synapses. Synapses allow communication between neurons and make it possible to create and recall memories.   Throughout our lives, we continually lose and re-grow these important brain connections. In a healthy brain, the number of new synapses balances the loss of old ones, allowing for a sustained net number of synapses. In a brain affected by injury or illness, such as dementia, synapses die off faster than they are created. When this happens, it becomes difficult to create and recall memories. Regularly engaging your mind may help your brain create more synapses longer. Activities like crosswords, word searches, and reading are all great ways to engage your mind. Learning new skills can also help your brain create more synapses and the repetitive information you use while learning can double as a recall exercise.   Regular physical exercise can also help you keep your mind active. Going for a few 10-minute walks a day can help increase the blood flow in your brain and in the rest of your body. Participating in social activities and maintaining regular social interaction can lower stress and depression, which can affect one's memory. Getting enough sleep and drinking enough water can both help your ability to focus and your memory.   Mayo Clinic says that doing things like playing bridge, taking alternate routes when driving, learning to play a musical instrument, and volunteering at a local school or community organization are all great ways to help keep your brain in shape and keep memory loss at bay.   Now that we have covered the causes, risk factors, and prevention methods for dementia, last move on to the last part of today's episode, the importance of early detection and diagnosis.   Early diagnosis of dementia is key because it allows a person with dementia to begin treatment right away and preserve their memory and overall function longer than they would be able to without early detection of the disease. Not only does early detection allows someone to start a treatment plan right away, but it also allows them the opportunity to plan for the future.   According to Queensland Health, being familiar with the signs of dementia can help people receive a diagnosis as early as possible. Early signs that a person might have dementia can include: being vague in everyday conversations, memory loss that affects day-to-day function, short term memory loss, difficulty performing everyday tasks and taking longer to do routine tasks, losing enthusiasm or interest in regular activities, difficulties in thinking or saying the right words, changes in personality or behavior, finding it difficult to follow instructions, finding it difficult to follow stories, and increased emotional unpredictability.   If you have noticed any of these signs in yourself or a loved one, schedule an appointment with your doctor. Since many of these signs are also signs of normal aging, it's important to talk to your doctor if you think you may be experiencing the early stages of dementia. As we've already mentioned today, it's better to rule out dementia now than wait for a diagnosis later in life.   If you or your loved one are having memory troubles, consider keeping a journal. Your doctor may not be able to see any issues occurring during a short visit and it can be hard to remember everything you have experienced. Keeping a journal can help you remember what you need to talk to the doctor. It can also measure the progression of any potential memory loss.   While dementia can be scary, getting a diagnosis doesn't mean your life stops. People with dementia are still able to take care of themselves, do their jobs, and most importantly, spend time with the people they love doing things they enjoy.   Having a support group can make all the difference when living with dementia. Reach out to friends and family when you need help and accept help when offered. Keeping connected can be difficult after a diagnosis. Many people turn away from their friends and family because they are embarrassed but isolating yourself will only make things worse.    Currently, there is no cure for dementia, but there are a few treatment options that can help preserve someone's memory and ability to function. More research is always being done on the subject. In the next few years, there very well could be a better way to treat or even stop the progression of memory loss.   The population of people living with dementia is rising and as more and more people are diagnosed, communities are coming together to support those with dementia. Communities all over the world are coming up with ways to include those with dementia and make sure they are not left out after a diagnosis. A dementia-friendly community offers residents with dementia a safe place to engage in social activities and more even into the late stages of the disease. To learn more about dementia-friendly communities and to learn how you can help make your community dementia-friendly, listen to our episode on Dementia-Friendly Communities.   Before we end the episode, let's have a quick recap of what we've covered today. Alzheimer's Disease is the most common form of dementia, and they both result in changes in the brain that lead to memory loss and language and reasoning difficulties, ultimately disrupting everyday functioning. In both Alzheimer's and dementia, early detection is key. Knowing the signs and symptoms of Alzheimer's and dementia can help you get an early diagnosis and in turn, an early start at treating the disease and planning for the future.    We want to say thank you for joining us here at All Home Care Matters, All Home Care Matters is here for you and to help families as they navigate these long-term care issues. Please visit us at allhomecarematters.com there is a private secure fillable form where you can give us feedback, show ideas, or if you have questions. Every form is read and responded to. If you know someone who could benefit from this episode, please share it with them.   Remember, you can listen to the show on any of your favorite podcast streaming platforms and watch the show on our YouTube channel and make sure to hit that subscribe button, so you'll never miss an episode. We look forward to seeing you next time on All Home Care Matters, thank you.   Sources: https://www.forbes.com/health/healthy-aging/dementia-vs-alzheimers/   https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/difference-between-dementia-and-alzheimer-s   https://www.cdc.gov/aging/aginginfo/alzheimers.htm   https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/what-is-alzheimers   https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/what-is-dementia   https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/frontotemporal-dementia/symptoms-causes/syc-20354737   https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dementia/symptoms-causes/syc-20352013   https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/lewy-body-dementia/symptoms-causes/syc-20352025   https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/what-is-dementia/types-of-dementia/mixed-dementia   https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/vascular-dementia/symptoms-causes/syc-20378793   https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/what-is-dementia   https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/dementia/dementia-prevention/   https://www.nutriciaresearch.com/alzheimers-disease/synapses-the-building-blocks-of-memory/   https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/healthy-aging/in-depth/memory-loss/art-20046518   https://www.health.qld.gov.au/news-events/news/dementia-signs-symptoms-recognise-what-to-do    

    What Type of Caregiver are You?

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 27, 2021 19:57

    Finding a caregiver for a loved one can be stressful. There are several different types of caregivers to choose from that all provide different levels of care at different price points. Today we are going to be talking about the many types of caregivers and the differences between the types of care they provide. We'll begin with the 5 types of in-home caregivers before moving on to the other 5 types of caregivers. Now let's move on to the rest of the show.   Before we jump into the types of caregivers, let's briefly talk about what a caregiver is. Hopkins Medicine tells us, in simple terms, a caregiver is a person who tends to the needs or concerns of a person with short- or long-term limitations due to illness, injury or disability. The term “family caregiver” describes individuals who care for members of their family of origin, but also refers to those who care for their family of choice. This could be members of their congregation, neighbors, or close friends. Family caregivers play a significant role in health care, as they are often the main source of valuable information about the patient.   Most people will either be caregivers or need care at some point in their lives, and oftentimes they will experience both sides. According to Family Caregiver Alliance, family caregivers, particularly women, provide over 75% of caregiving support in the United States. In 2007, the estimated economic value of family caregivers' unpaid contributions was at least $375 billion dollars, which is how much it would cost to replace that care with paid services.   Family Caregiver Alliance says that caregivers tackle a wide range of tasks. They may do household chores like buy groceries, cook, clean the house, and do laundry. They may also help with personal care, like helping a family member get dressed, take a shower, and take medicine. They can provide medical-related assistance, like helping transfer someone in and out of bed, help with physical therapy, injections, feeding tubes, and other medical procedures. They can also help a loved one make medical appointments and drive to the doctor and drugstore. Many caregivers are the go-between for their loved one and are the ones that talk with the doctors, care managers, and others to understand what needs to be done. They also spend time at work handling a crisis or making plans to help a family member who is sick and is often the designated “on-call” family member for problems.   Now that we've had a refresher on what a caregiver is and the importance of a caregiver, let's move on to the types of caregivers.   There are 5 types of in-home caregivers: family caregivers, informal caregivers, independent caregivers, private duty caregivers, and professional caregivers. Each of these types provide in-home care, but the way they provide care differs.   Caregiving can be expensive and many families are more comfortable doing at least a portion of the caregiving their loved one needs themselves. According to Jevs Care at Home, family caregivers are usually unpaid family members who take care of a spouse or loved one. These caregivers are almost always related to the person receiving care in some way. We are often asked if it is possible to have some of your caregiving expenses reimbursed and it is, but on average, about 21% of all caregivers work is unpaid.   That said, you may become a paid family caregiver by working with a home care agency. You may also find local resources to help with the cost of caregiving. According to Family Caregiver Alliance, sometimes, caregiving families may obtain financial relief for specific purposes, such as for respite care or to purchase goods and services, and in some cases, pay for caregiving. In some states, there are programs that pay family members to provide care to those receiving Medicaid and in very few states there are programs available to those who do not qualify for Medicaid. It is important to note, however, that these programs vary widely, often with complicated criteria for eligibility.   The second type of in-home caregivers are informal caregivers. According to Jevs Care at Home, informal caregivers provide similar services to those of family caregivers, but in most cases, they aren't related to the person receiving care. Usually, these caregivers have some connection or relation to their clients, which is helpful for creating the companionship many seniors seek.   According to Family Caregiver Alliance, about 44 million Americans provide 37 billion hours of unpaid, “informal” care each year for adult family members and friends with chronic illnesses or conditions that prevent them from handling daily activities such as bathing, managing medications, or preparing meals on their own.   Many people act as informal caregivers without even realizing that's what they are doing. Neighbors, friends, and family members provide informal care through tasks like meal prep, transportation to appointments, and errand assistance. They may see these tasks as just helping out when they are really providing care.   The third type of in-home caregiver is an independent caregiver. According to Jevs Care at Home, an independent caregiver gets hired directly by the person's family needing care and is not affiliated with a home care company. They provide all of the necessary caregiving services and work with the family to determine their loved one's care needs. This also means there are higher risks and liabilities when choosing this route.   Independent caregivers can often be 30 to 40 percent cheaper than a home care company and have fewer restrictions than a professional caregiver does. Paying for Senior Care says that as of 2019 if an independent caregiver is paid more than $2,100 per year, they are considered a household employee, and not an independent contractor. Thus, the family hiring the independent caregiver takes on all the responsibilities of being an employer, which includes payroll and taxes and all other requirements.   As the employer, you would write a job description for a potential independent caregiver that covers the level of care and all care tasks they will be expected to perform. Paying for Senior Care suggests listing tasks such as driving or accompanying the senior to and from appointments, running errands, providing supervision and companionship, managing medication, assisting with bathing and grooming, preparing meals, and housecleaning.   The personal qualities one is seeking in a caregiver should also be covered, such as a patient individual with a cheerful, upbeat personality. Independent caregivers can provide medical care, but they often only provide personal care.   The fourth in-home caregiver, a private duty caregiver, is similar to an independent caregiver. According to Jevs Care at Home, Private Duty Caregivers typically work for a home care company or independently and alleviate the difficulties of everyday life for a senior to allow them to continue living independently in their home. Depending on their level of training, a private duty caregiver is able to provide medical, nursing, cleaning, personal, domestic, and transportation services.   The last type of in-home caregiver is a professional caregiver. According to Jevs Care at Home, professional caregivers are career caregivers, so their primary occupation is caregiving. These caregivers work with a care recipient either in their home or in a facility to ensure they receive proper care. Professional caregivers work for professional home care companies, so they are typically assigned when you hire the company. They provide everything from homemaker services to medical care if necessary.   Professional caregivers work through licensed companies and oftentimes provide more care than the other four types of in-home caregivers. Because of this, a professional caregiver costs more than other caregivers do, roughly 30 to 40 percent more. Using a home care company means that you would not have to take responsibility as the employer like you would for an independent caregiver.   Now that we've covered in-home caregivers, let's move on to the other types of caregivers you should know.   Hospice caregivers are up first on our list. Hospice caregivers can provide care both at home and in a facility. Hospice caregivers can be family members or professional caregivers. According to the National Institute on Aging, hospice care focuses on the care, comfort, and quality of life of a person with a serious illness who is approaching the end of life. A hospice caregiver provides the necessary care for your loved one, while also making sure they are as comfortable as they can be.   A hospice caregiver is often part of a team. Compassus says that the hospice team arranges for the delivery of medical equipment and medications. They work with you on a schedule for visits from nurses, therapists, chaplains, social workers, and volunteers. The schedule adapts to your needs.   According to Compassus, the responsibilities of a hospice caregiver include helping patients with the activities of daily living, including bathing, dressing, feeding, and going to the bathroom. Ensuring your loved one has their prescriptions and that all medicines are given at the correct dose and time. Hospice nurses and aides can also teach proper techniques and provide basic medical care, including changing dressing, taking temperatures, and blood pressure readings. Hospice caregivers also understand how to use medical equipment, which may include oxygen machines, wheelchairs, lifts, and hospital beds. However, depending on the hospice provider and even state that you reside in – most hospice caregiver's will visit 1-2 times a week and for a short duration of time. Many times, for families receiving hospice at home the hospice provider will recommend hiring a home care company to help with a loved one's care needs.   If your loved one is receiving hospice care at home and needs to be transferred to a facility for pain management or any other reason, the hospice team will schedule transportation to the facility and will continue to provide care for your loved one and your family.   There may be times when your loved one is home alone and needs care and it may be unsafe for a caregiver to come to the home or a caregiver may be unable to visit. According to Jevs Care at Home, that's where virtual caregivers come in. By using a tablet or other type of screen, caregivers interact with their clients through Skype or another form of video call to ensure their health is monitored. This type of caregiving should be supplemental to in-home caregiving but still, help in caregiving like with medication reminders or health screenings. It's also helpful for companionship.   There are also technologies available that allow a virtual caregiver system to monitor your loved one in their home, like Addison Care. According to Addison Care, Addison, the virtual caregiver, is a state-of-the-art, 3D animated, connected caregiver designed to transform a residence into a digital Smart Health Home, providing chronic care management, rehabilitation, aging in place, behavioral health, and care coordination, for patients of all ages.   With a virtual caregiver system, you can connect devices, such as glucose monitors, blood pressure cuffs, and thermometers. The system can send alerts to you and your loved one and provides 24/7 support. Similar to life alert, if your loved one falls, a virtual caregiver system will notify emergency services. Virtual caregiving, even a system such as Addison Care, should still only be used as supplemental care and should not replace an in-person caregiver. Companionship is an important aspect of the caregiving relationship and it can be supplemented with virtual visits, but cannot be replaced by it.   Another caregiving option for your loved one that cannot be home alone is adult daycare. According to Jevs Care at Home, Adult Daycare offers the opportunity for seniors to have stimulating social, cognitive, and physical activity outside of the home for a portion of the day. If it's possible your loved one may be unsafe alone, can't perform daily activities, and is alone for most of the day, adult daycare may be a good option. These programs typically supplement an in-home caregiver, usually in situations where a family member, who is also the caregiver, has another job.   Not all daycare centers are the same. According to AARP, most offer therapeutic exercise, mental interaction for participants, social activities appropriate for their condition, and help with personal care such as grooming and using the toilet. Adult daycare centers differ in the specific areas of care they offer. Social centers concentrate on meals and recreation while providing some health-related services. Medical and health programs provide more intensive health and therapeutic services in addition to social activities. And specialized centers take participants who have only a particular condition, such as those diagnosed with dementia.   Depending on the type of care you are looking for and the length of time your loved one will be staying at a center, prices can vary. On average, adult daycare costs $70 a day. Medicare does not normally cover the costs of Adult Daycare, but you may find financial assistance in your area. Some veteran services may help cover the costs and local and state programs may also help pay for adult daycare.   AARP suggests looking into daycare when you start seeing signs that an older loved one is unable to structure their own daily activities when a loved one feels isolated and lonely and wishes for interaction with other older people, or experiences anxiety or depression and needs social and emotional support. You may also want to seek daycare services when your loved one has difficulty starting and focusing on an activity whether it's conversation, reading, or watching TV when they seem to be no longer safe on their own or feel uncertain and anxious about being alone.   Family caregivers also might consider adult daycare services when they need to work or be away from home for most of the day or if they are themselves experiencing ill effects such as anxiety, frustration, depression, or health problems.   Your loved one may be mostly independent and able to live alone, but still, need a caregiver to stop by for things like medication assistance. Assisted Living may be a good choice if this is true for your loved one. According to Jevs Care at Home, Assisted Living Facilities come in all shapes and sizes but are typically designed to provide a very basic level of care and assistance to their residents. These facilities offer social activities, a community setting, and other services to enrich the lives of those living there. Outside of these services, care is provided periodically and as needed, like in the case of administering medication. The assisted living staff provides care as needed and not constantly like in the case of a caregiver.   In addition to standard assisted living facilities, there are also specialized facilities, or sections of the facility, that work primarily with those who need more care. These sections are typically for those with injuries, chronic conditions, or diseases like Alzheimer's or Dementia.   Many families choose assisted living facilities in order to help with daily living activities. Daily living activities are things that you do every day, like eating, bathing, and walking. For elderly loved ones that need help with a few of these activities every day, but do not need help with the rest of their activities, assisted living would be the perfect option. For example, if your loved one needs help walking around and getting in and out of the tub, but they can make their own meals, eat alone, and dress themselves, assisted living would allow them to maintain their independence while still having a caregiver's help.   Medicare doesn't usually cover any of the costs with assisted living, but just with the other types of caregiving we've talked about today, local agencies and services may be able to help cover some of the costs of care. Visit your local senior center to find out what programs are available in your area.   Assisted living facilities do not provide full-time care for your loved one. If your loved one needs full-time care outside of the home, a nursing home, or a skilled nursing facility, may be the type of care your loved one requires.   According to Where You Live Matters, in a skilled nursing facility, residents receive full-time care by a specially trained medical staff. People who require a higher level of medical care, either short-term or long-term, need what's known as skilled nursing care, extended care, or long-term care. These facilities are licensed by Medicare and/or Medicaid and are focused on short-term rehabilitation and long-term medical care.   According to the National Institute on Aging, nursing homes focus on medical care more than most assisted living facilities. These services typically include nursing care, 24-hour supervision, three meals a day, and assistance with everyday activities. Rehabilitation services, such as physical, occupational, and speech therapy, are also available.   Some people stay at a nursing home for a short time after being in the hospital. After they recover, they go home. However, most nursing home residents live there permanently because they have ongoing physical or mental conditions that require constant care and supervision.   When choosing a nursing home, make sure you know what type of care your loved one needs and find a place that specializes in that care. Nursing home staff have many patients they are taking care of and, especially with the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, it's important to make sure your loved one is getting the care they need. We've talked about the importance of advocating for your loved one before, and that still remains here.   When your loved one is receiving care, not at home, there is always the possibility that their care needs are not being 100 percent met. Being an advocate for your loved one in a facility means regularly visiting your loved one and staying updated on their care plan. Having a relationship with their care team can also make it easier to stay up to date on any changes that happen with your loved one while they are in the facility.   When choosing a nursing home, you should look at reviews, talk to friends and family members that have experience with the nursing home, take a tour of the facility, and ask about waitlists for the facilities in your area. Nursing homes can be difficult to get into, especially with the continuing rise in the aging population. When touring nursing facilities, the National Institute on Aging suggests looking for Medicare and Medicaid certification, handicap access, residents who look well cared for, and warm interaction between staff and residents. They also suggest visiting a facility a second time without calling ahead. Try another day of the week or time of day so you will meet other staff members and see different activities. Stop by at mealtime. While you are there for this second visit, you should see if the dining room is attractive and clean and if the food looks tempting.   We've now covered all the various types of caregivers. Choosing the right caregiver for your loved one is an important task that shouldn't be taken lightly. If someone you know is currently looking into types of care for their loved one, share this episode with them. Knowing what types of caregivers are available can help you make a more informed decision when it comes to the type of care your loved one needs.   If you or someone you know is a caregiver, visit our YouTube channel and our dedicated Caregiver Support playlist for episodes to help the caregiver.   We want to say thank you for joining us here at All Home Care Matters, All Home Care Matters is here for you and to help families as they navigate these long-term care issues. Please visit us at allhomecarematters.com there is a private secure fillable form where you can give us feedback, show ideas, or if you have questions. Every form is read and responded to. If you know someone who could benefit from this episode, please share it with them.   Remember, you can listen to the show on any of your favorite podcast streaming platforms and watch the show on our YouTube channel and make sure to hit that subscribe button, so you'll never miss an episode. We look forward to seeing you next time on All Home Care Matters, thank you.   Sources: https://jevsathome.org/types-of-caregivers/   https://www.caregiver.org/resource/caregiving/   https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/about/community_health/johns-hopkins-bayview/services/called_to_care/what_is_a_caregiver.html   https://www.caregiver.org/faq/can-i-get-paid-to-care-for-a-family-member/   https://www.payingforseniorcare.com/homecare/hiring-independent-caregivers   https://www.payingforseniorcare.com/homecare/agency-or-independent-caregiver   https://addison.care/   https://www.aarp.org/caregiving/home-care/info-2017/adult-day-care.html   https://www.whereyoulivematters.org/assisted-living-defined/   https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/how-choose-nursing-home      

    From Rehab to Home (Tips for Coming Home)

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 19, 2021 19:28

    Today, we are going to be talking about transitioning from a short-term rehab facility back to your home. We will be discussing discharge plans, communication strategies, home preparations, and most importantly, advocacy. Now let's move on to the rest of the show.   Rehab facilities are somewhat the norm when it comes to transitioning from hospital to home. If your loved one finds themselves in the hospital, for a scheduled surgery, an unexpected illness, or even a fall, they may be moved to a rehab facility before they are able to come home. Last year, over 530,000 people were treated in inpatient rehab facilities. According to Wauconda Care, a rehabilitation center has the goal of getting patients rehabilitated to a point where they can live and function on their own, so these facilities offer short-term care focusing on equipping patients to get back to their life at home.   Many families are nervous about transitioning from rehab back to home. Kevin Smith, President, and COO of Best of Care, Inc. gives us an example of a family experiencing the transition from rehab to home. He says that your 88-year-old mother suffers a stroke in the home she and your dad have shared for 40 years.   You rush to the hospital. Mom appears frail. Her speech is slurred. She is having a tough time moving her arms. Yet, she seems to be in good spirits. You're thankful dad called 911, that the ambulance arrived quickly, and that they caught and treated the stroke early.   But you're more than anxious about what comes next. The hospital's care manager wants to discharge mom to a rehabilitation facility in three days. From there, she'll go back home to dad… who has also become increasingly feeble.   What was a normal part of mom's day – bathing, cleaning, cooking, doing errands, moving around the home, walking the dog – is now impossible. You know that for mom and dad to remain in their home and age in place, major changes will have to be made. But where to begin?   This scenario plays out thousands of times a week in communities across the country. Having a care plan prior to this experience can help ease anxieties and make the process easier. If you have not yet made a care plan with your aging loved ones, we urge you to make one. For help with creating your care plan, visit our website or listen to our episode, “What is a Care Plan?” on YouTube, or wherever you get your podcasts.   Back to the question at hand… where to begin? Really, the answer to this question is to begin before you start. When your loved one first enters the rehab facility, AARP says you should ask to speak with a hospital discharge planner or social worker for help planning your loved one's next steps, care, transportation to their next place, insurance coverage, and payment plans.   Next Step in Care recommends discussing the following items with the discharge planner or social worker as soon as you have the chance. With the social worker, you should discuss how much time you can devote to being a family caregiver, whether you will provide all or some of the needed care, whether you can continue to work at your job, or if you will need to take time off, whether you have any health problems or other limitations, such as not being able to lift heavy weights, whether you have other commitments, such as caring for young children, and any and all other questions and concerns you may have about being a family caregiver.   According to LeadingAge, during this time, you should also work with the rehab staff and request a home visit from the physical or occupational therapist so that they can assess the living environment and make recommendations.   Erin Wuerz, a physical therapist and rehab manager with Kindred Healthcare says that “like anything else in life, the key to success is planning ahead. Discharge planning should start upon admission, and it should be an ongoing dialogue between the family and the rehab team during the length of the stay.”   Plan ahead as much as you can. This is also why having a care plan is so important. A care plan takes away the guesswork and lets you and your loved one focus on their recovery. If your loved one is going to need additional care once they are discharged from the rehab facility, now is the time to look into care providers, as well.   Communication is key throughout your loved one's stay in a rehab facility. Ask about your loved one's progress daily. When tracking their progress, make sure you talk to the staff, as well as your loved one, but also be aware that your loved one may not accurately describe their progress to you. Your loved one may not be lying to you, but they most likely want to be discharged and go home and believe they are strong enough when in reality, they are not.   On the opposite side of this, Rehab Select tells us that transitioning home after a stay in a short-term rehab facility can be difficult. Recovery from a serious illness, injury, surgery, or stroke can be a long process, and the thought of going back home before they feel confident about fully managing on their own can be intimidating for your loved one and they may not believe they are ready to leave the rehab facility.   If your loved one is nervous about this transition, talk with your discharge planner or social worker about ways you can help your loved one feel more comfortable about their situation. You should also reassure your loved one that you will be there for them throughout this process, and so will their friends and family. They have a support system to cheer them on.   LeadingAge says that you and your loved one should expect things to not return to normal once they leave the rehab facility. Unrealistic expectations about being able to return to life as normal can lead to disappointment and frustration. Recovery can take a while, and in some cases such as a stroke, you may need to make modifications around the house or get extra assistance from caregivers in order to safely return home.   Recognizing that these adjustments will ultimately result in a safer and more comfortable living environment may relieve some of the stress associated with the transition.   Once your loved one is nearing their discharge date, it is time to reevaluate the discharge plan you created when they were first admitted to the facility. Now, with the help of the rehab's discharge planner or social worker and the staff, you will need to prepare for what type of discharge your loved one will have. According to Next Step in Care, your loved one may be discharged to their home, with no needed services, to their home, with help needed from a family caregiver, or to their home, with help needed from a professional home care agency. The rehab team may also recommend your loved one receive long-term care, such as the care they would receive in a nursing home or assisted living facility.   Next Step in Care also recommends getting to know your loved one's discharge team. Their team includes a doctor, who authorizes the rehab discharge. A nurse, oftentimes this is the head nurse of your loved one's unit, who will coordinate any education regarding medications and other nursing issues. A social worker that coordinates the discharge, making sure that everything happens when it should. They also take care of and educate you on the many details about the facility's discharge process. A physical or occupational therapist is responsible for evaluating your loved one's progress in accordance with both professional standards and insurance requirements, as well as providing the therapy your loved one needs to regain their strength. The last member of your care team is you, the family caregiver. You likely are the one who knows your family member best and will be their number one supporter and advocate.   When considering any transition, it's important to be an advocate for your loved one, and for yourself. If you are not yet ready for your loved one to come home, speak up. Needing more time to make the home accessible and safe for your loved one is something you should discuss with the discharge team and you can come up with a solution together.   There is also the possibility that the rehab facility decides to discharge your loved one before you may believe that they are ready to come home. According to Next Step in Care, sometimes the rehab program makes a discharge plan you do not want, agree with, or feel is safe. You have the right to appeal this decision and ask for a review. By law, the rehab program must let you know how to appeal and explain what will happen. Make sure the rehab program provides you with contact information for the local Quality Improvement Organization (QIO) that reviews such appeals. Appeals often only take a day or two. If the appeal is denied, then insurance will not pay for those additional days and your loved one will have to leave the facility immediately.   If you do have to appeal a discharge decision and are looking for additional support, reach out to your local senior center and elder affairs department. Both will be able to give you resources and information that can help you during the appeal process and after, whatever the decision may be. The rehab facility can also be a good resource to use, for the appeal process and for the transition home. LeadingAge says that your rehab facility can put you in touch with other community resources. Local communities have a wealth of services such as delivering meals, light housekeeping, transportation, and counseling, all of which will provide a helping hand to you and your loved one while still enabling independence.   Advocating for your loved one and yourself is such an important task that we want to make sure you are as prepared for as you can be. AARP recommends they you insist on the three “I's”: information, inclusion, and instruction.   Our first I, Information: Obtain printed copies of all pertinent information, including your loved ones' current medications list and prescriptions, any changes to their medications, and a summary of their visit that includes their diagnosis, treatment, prognosis, surgeries, limitations, and any other pertinent information, rehabilitation recommendations, and discharge orders. You should also make note of any scheduled follow-up appointments and share this information with those who will care for your loved ones next, such as their doctors, facilities, home health aides, and professional caregivers.   Our second I, Inclusion: Proactively make certain that you are included in care planning discussions and are informed of changes and decisions. If you have health care power of attorney for your loved ones, you can make decisions for them if need be and you need to know what is happening so that you can make an informed choice.   And Lastly, Instruction: Nearly half of family caregivers are expected to perform follow-up medical and nursing tasks, so be sure to ask for detailed instructions and training, which is required by law in some states.   Now, let's say you have received the discharge decision and you agree with it. What do you now? First, make sure your loved one's living space is ready for them. If they live on their own, do you need to temporarily move in with them to help take care of them? You will need to ensure you have what you need at their home, a bed, clothes, food.   You will also need to make sure the living space is accessible and safe for them to get around in. For more information on making sure your home is safe and accessible for your loved one, listen to our Quick Tips episode on Aging in Place on our Official YouTube channel, our website, or wherever you get your podcasts.   Any equipment and supplies your loved one will need once they return home should already be there waiting for them before they even leave the rehab facility. You do not want to have to rush to find last-minute specialty equipment that your loved one needs, which is why it is important to obtain the necessary supplies and equipment ahead of time.   Some common supplies and equipment your loved one may need after being discharged from the rehab facility are hospital beds, recliner chairs, bedside commodes, oxygen tanks and supplies, incontinence products, skincare items, such as water-free shampoo and soap. The rehab facility may have suggestions on where you can get some of these items, so make sure you talk to them about any necessary supplies and equipment your loved one may need.   Supplies and equipment can be expensive and add up quickly. Check with your loved one's insurance to see what supplies and equipment they will pay for. You can also find organizations in your area that can donate supplies or help you cover some of the costs in some way. Not sure who to reach out to? Start with your discharge team. They are there to make sure your loved one gets back to their best self, and getting the supplies they need will help your loved one.   When your loved one comes home, Next Step In Care says that you will likely do certain tasks as part of giving care. It is important that you know how to do these safely. Try to learn as much as you can while your family member is still in rehab. You can do this by watching the physical and occupational therapy staff as they do these tasks and asking them to watch as you try these tasks yourself.   Sometimes, the rehab staff will not teach these tasks until the day of discharge. This may not be a good time to learn if you feel rushed or overwhelmed. Learn what you can, and ask who to call if you have questions at home.   You might be told to call someone from the rehab program, a home care nurse, or other health care professional.   Speak up if you are afraid of doing certain tasks (such as wound care) or cannot help with personal hygiene (like helping your family member take a shower or go to the bathroom). Some caregivers are okay with changing their family member's diapers while others feel very uncomfortable about doing this task.   Think about your own feelings as well as your family member's. The rehab team needs to know what tasks you can and cannot do so they can plan for any needed help.   So far, we've talked about what you should do to prepare for the day your loved one leaves the rehab facility. Now let's move on to what you should expect the day of discharge and beyond.   When the discharge day comes, you may need to pay for a service to transport your loved one home, depending on their needs. If they are unable to walk or sit, you may need to find an accessible cab, or something similar. The discharge team can help you pick the right transportation service for your loved one. Health Sense says that you will also need to have a plan for community transport such as wheelchair-accessible cabs, cars, or ambulettes (which are a specially equipped van for transporting disabled or convalescent passengers in nonemergency circumstances) for follow-up appointments with doctors in the community.   When your loved one comes home, they may have to eat a special diet and take medications. Talk to your loved one's care team to make sure you understand your loved one's nutritional needs and restrictions, as well as their medication schedule. Your loved one's doctor should give you a list of medications, how long they need to take them, how often they need to take them, and how they should take them. You and your loved one should also be made aware of any side effects that their medications can cause and be on the lookout for them. If your loved one experiences any side effects while taking medications, call their doctor immediately.   Medications can also be expensive. Make sure to check with your loved one's insurance to see what they will cover. If your loved one needs help covering the cost of their medications, again, reach out to the rehab facility and community resources for help. Some medications also have to be picked up at a hospital pharmacy instead of your normal pharmacy. If your loved one has a medication like this, make a plan of how you will get this medication and how often you have to pick it up. Some pharmacies offer delivery, as well, especially during the covid pandemic. Ask your local pharmacy and hospital pharmacy if delivery is an option for you. Getting your medications delivered can help you during this time, as it will be one less thing you will need to do.   LeadingAge says that you need to recognize that it's ok to have help and to ask for help. Some people are embarrassed about needing assistance after transitioning home, and some family caregivers think they can take care of their loved ones all on their own. It's important to be realistic about the level of care that will be required, and it's ok to have extra help. Getting help isn't a sign of weakness, but one of strength and care.   Amy Goyer, a family caregiver, recognized she needed help and asked for it while caring for her dad. She says that when her dad was discharged from the hospital with a feeding tube, she was given just a few minutes of explanation on how to deal with it. It was complicated, and they were back in the hospital multiple times when it clogged. She received help from the home health nurses, but you can bet the next time they had a hospitalization that she advocated more strongly for the information she needed to do her job as a caregiver.   At first, Amy didn't ask for help and tried to do things on her own. Once she asked for help, she was able to better take care of her dad and gain the skills and confidence she needed to be a better caregiver.   Lastly, according to AARP, you need to be realistic about the future. Sometimes rehab facilities are unrealistic about what setting is best for our loved ones, or how much a family can handle in terms of future care. It's up to you to stay rooted in reality. Ask a lot of questions, observe loved ones in therapy sessions, monitor their medications and assess their capabilities, and weigh it all along with their needs, wishes, and quality of life. You should also assess the home situation and potential facilities realistically. If you can't provide all the direct care yourself, you are not a failure. You are still doing your job as a caregiver when you coordinate the care. Your loved one has a discharge team in the rehab facility, and they will still need a team once they leave. Line up the support you'll need from care managers, care providers, family members, and friends and build your team.   Throughout the transition, make it a high priority to take care of yourself. As we have said an ample number of times and will continue saying, you cannot provide the best care if you are not your best self. While some transitions go more smoothly than others, no transition is perfect. Just do your best with the information you can gather. You can always make new decisions as the situation changes. Plan early, plan often, and be there for your loved one, because at the end of the day, that's the most important job you have.     We want to say thank you for joining us here at All Home Care Matters, All Home Care Matters is here for you and to help families as they navigate these long-term care issues. Please visit us at allhomecarematters.com there is a private secure fillable form where you can give us feedback, show ideas, or if you have questions. Every form is read and responded to. If you know someone who could benefit from this episode, please share it with them.   Remember, you can listen to the show on any of your favorite podcast streaming platforms and watch the show on our YouTube channel and make sure to hit that subscribe button, so you'll never miss an episode. We look forward to seeing you next time on All Home Care Matters, thank you.   Sources: https://www.aarp.org/caregiving/home-care/info-2021/transition-from-hospital-rehab-home.html   https://data.cms.gov/provider-data/dataset/ka5z-ibe3   https://waucondacare.com/2017/08/14/nursing-home-vs-rehabilitation-center-benefits-choosing-rehab-center/   https://leadingage.org/members/5-tips-transition-smooth-move-rehab-home   https://blog.rehabselect.net/transitioning-home-after-short-term-rehabilitation   https://bethesdahealth.org/blog/2019/03/14/steps-to-a-successful-senior-transition-from-short-stay-rehab-to-home/   https://www.nextstepincare.org/uploads/File/Guides/Rehabilitation/Going_Home/Rehab_to_Home.pdf   https://www.health-sense.org/discharge-time-rehab-facility-now/      

    Quick Tips: The Holidays and Dementia

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 14, 2021 10:24

    The holiday season is here and it can be especially stressful for caregivers. If you are caring for a loved one with dementia, today's Quick Tips episode is specifically geared toward making holidays enjoyable for you and your loved one. We are going to talk about how you can create a safe and calm space for your loved one, how to adapt holiday activities, ways you can celebrate with a loved one in a facility, how you can prepare for visitors, and last but not least, how to make sure you are taking care of yourself this holiday season. Now let's move on to the rest of the show.   Decorating for the holidays can be a fun family activity, but it can also cause added stress to you and your loved one. When decorating with a loved one with dementia, Mayo Clinic recommends that you tone down decorations. Avoid blinking lights or large decorative displays that can cause confusion and avoid decorations that cause clutter or require you to rearrange a familiar room. Don't decorate doors or pathways that your loved one uses regularly. They may get confused if things don't look the same. For example, don't put up an advent calendar on the refrigerator, it may cause your loved one to skip meals.   According to Mayo Clinic, you should also avoid safety hazards like candles and large decorative items. Substitute electric candles for burning candles, but if you do choose to light candles, don't leave them unattended and make sure the lighter and matches are put away. Avoid fragile decorations or decorations that could be mistaken for edible treats, such as artificial fruits. You can still display fragile decorations, but make sure they are out of reach and secured safely. If you have glass ornaments or other decorations, consider replacing them with shatterproof options while your loved one is around.   If you have a tree, secure it to a wall and make sure it doesn't block any part of your loved one's regular path.   Make sure you give your loved one a chance to help with the decorating. Change can be scary for someone with dementia, but they will enjoy spending time with you and the rest of the family and may enjoy finding special family decorations that have been stored away all year. If your loved one is anxious about decorating, make sure you listen to what they're telling you and maybe choose to decorate when they are not in the room.   Decorating may make your loved one upset, but know that if decorating your home is an important tradition to your family, you shouldn't stop doing it altogether. You can work with your family to modify traditions and decorations so that it works for your current situation.   Another way to make your space calming while decorating is to play your loved one's favorite holiday music, or any music they enjoy while decorating. Mayo Clinic also suggests that you adjust the volume to be relaxing and not distressing.   If your loved one regularly has a hard time adjusting to small changes, try only decorating small sections of your home at a time and only making small changes within those small sections. Slowly making changes around the holidays may help ease your loved one's nerves about the changes happening around them.   Now that we've given you a few tips to create a safe and calm space, let's move on to ways you can adapt holiday activities for your loved one to enjoy.   First, you should make a list of activities you know your loved one enjoys. They may enjoy baking cookies, singing carols, knitting, watching live performances, or looking at Christmas lights. Whatever your loved one may enjoy, make an effort to include a few of those things during the holiday season and plan ahead.   If your loved one enjoys baking, Home Care Assistance recommends that you bake holiday treats. You can be elaborate or keep it simple while baking. You could prepare cookie dough and have it cut and ready for decorations, or if baking the cookies is too much for your loved one or you no longer have time, you can buy premade cookies to frost together.   Weatherly Inn says that the holidays are a time to cherish your older family member's culture and history. Get everyone in the kitchen and bake their favorite holiday treats. One way to make this experience extra special is to use your loved one's recipes. You might need to make some ingredient adjustments, but this can be a great way to encourage his or her memory. If your loved one struggles to remember ingredients or measurements, that's okay. This experience is all about fun, so keep it lighthearted (and search the internet in secret) if they're stumped.   If you normally have a holiday party, consider asking a friend or family member to host instead. Having a large crowd can be overwhelming for your loved one. Keep gatherings small and intimate and watch for signs that your loved one is overwhelmed, like not participating in a conversation. For more information on how to tell when your loved one is overwhelmed, listen to one of our episodes on caring for a loved one with dementia. You can find them on our website, our YouTube channel, or wherever you get your podcasts.   When you do have guests over, Mayo Clinic suggests that you plan a gathering at the best time of day for the person with dementia. You want to keep daily routines in place as much as possible. You should also provide a quiet place for the person with dementia to have time alone or to visit with one person at a time. If you'll be attending a holiday gathering, plan to be brief or be prepared to leave early if necessary and make sure there is a place for your loved one to rest or take a break.   Another activity that your loved one may enjoy is watching holiday movies. According to Weatherly Inn, many families make a tradition of watching their favorite holiday movies together. Try to pick some older films that might spark a pleasant memory for your loved one.   Weatherly Inn's favorite holiday movies for seniors are Holiday Inn and Miracle on 34th Street. Holiday Inn is a popular older Christmas movie starring Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire. It was responsible for making one of the most popular holiday songs in history, "White Christmas." Miracle on 34th Street is another classic your loved one will likely remember. The original Miracle on 34th Street debuted in 1947 and starred Maureen O'Hara and Natalie Wood.   Family movie night is a wonderful holiday tradition that you can even host while social distancing! You can plan a family watch party using Facebook, or using an app like Skype or FaceTime. Socializing through a device may also be easier for your loved one than in person, too, as they may feel less pressure when they are able to be comfortable in their own home and not surrounded by bodies.   Your loved one may also be able to participate in virtual movie nights if they are living in a care facility. It may be harder for your loved one to participate in holiday traditions and activities while in a facility, but they will appreciate being included and the time you are able to spend with them.   According to Mayo Clinic, if your family member lives in a nursing home or other care facility, try celebrating in the most familiar setting. Because a change in environment can cause distress, consider holding a small family celebration at the facility instead of in your home. You may even participate in holiday activities planned for the residents. It doesn't really matter what you do with your loved one, what matters most is that you are there.   More family and friends may want to visit during the holiday season than normal. You should try to minimize visitor traffic as best you can. Arrange for a few family members to drop in on different days, because as we have already talked about, a large group may be overwhelming for your loved one.   Whether your loved one is in living with you or in a facility, people may want to stop in for a visit. Having visitors is something for your loved one to look forward to, but it can also be stressful. In order for your loved one to be prepared for a visit, the visitor must be prepared first.   According to Mayo Clinic, before anyone comes to visit, you should provide them with an update. Let guests know ahead of time about any changes in behavior or memory since their last visit. Providing a recent photo can help people prepare for changes in appearance, as well.   It may be helpful for visitors if you offer communication tips for your loved one. You can suggest ways for guests to listen patiently, such as not criticizing repeated comments, not correcting errors, and not interrupting. Visitors can also listen to our episode on the Dos and Don'ts of Visiting a Loved One with Dementia for more information.   Now that we've given you a few tips and ideas on how to prepare visitors, let's move on to the final part of today's episode, taking care of yourself this holiday season.   The holidays can be a stressful time, even before taking care of your loved one. It is important to take care of yourself during this time and to take time for yourself to enjoy the season. Mayo Clinic recommends that you pick and choose your activities. Focus on the holiday activities and traditions that are most important to you and remember that you can't do it all. You should also set realistic expectations for what you can contribute to family holiday celebrations and delegate tasks to others when possible.   Let family and friends help with cleaning, addressing cards, and shopping for gifts. Most importantly, as we have said already, make time for yourself. Ask a family member or friend to give you a break so that you can enjoy a holiday outing without caregiving responsibilities.   We here at All Home Care Matters wish you a happy holiday and hope that these tips will help you and your loved one enjoy this holiday season.   We want to say thank you for joining us here at All Home Care Matters, All Home Care Matters is here for you and to help families as they navigate these long-term care issues. Please visit us at allhomecarematters.com there is a private secure fillable form where you can give us feedback, show ideas, or if you have questions. Every form is read and responded to. If you know someone who could benefit from this episode, please share it with them.   Remember, you can listen to the show on any of your favorite podcast streaming platforms and watch the show on our YouTube channel and make sure to hit that subscribe button, so you'll never miss an episode. We look forward to seeing you next time on All Home Care Matters, thank you.   Sources: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/caregivers/in-depth/alzheimers/art-20047715   https://homecareassistance.com/blog/7-holiday-activities-loved-one-alzheimers   https://www.weatherlyinn.com/blog/holiday-activities-for-seniors-with-dementia  

    When a Grandparent Moves In

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 12, 2021 17:37

    Today, we are going to be talking about having a parent move in with you and your family. First, we'll talk about how your relationship with your parent may change. Then, we'll talk about what steps you need to take to make the transition from your parent living alone to moving in with you. Finally, we'll end the episode on ways you can make the transition easier. Now let's move on to the rest of the show.   We're going to start out today's episode with one couple's story of living with an elderly parent. If you would like to read the story for yourself, you can find the link to A Place for Mom in our show notes.   Lynette and Marty Whiteman were getting used to losing sleep. After Lynette's aging mother Mildred moved into their New Jersey home from her retirement community, she regularly woke the couple, asking for help at odd hours. To Mildred, the requests were urgent, but Marty didn't see changing light bulbs or resetting microwave clocks as tasks to crawl out of bed for.   Mildred's increasing care needs — and midnight knocks on the couple's door — were taking a toll on the Whitemans' marriage. Tension over caregiving roles steadily increased, while privacy decreased. Communication broke down, and stress piled up.   The Whitemans, like many adults who choose to care for aging parents, thought having Mildred in the home would not only keep her safe but lend convenience as well. They thought it would be easier than having to travel back and forth between their home and hers. As it turned out, that wasn't the case.   “It was a great idea in concept,” says Lynette. “But we didn't know what we were getting into.”   Caring for Mildred at home wasn't urgent, but it seemed like a good idea to Lynette. Her mom would receive regular social interaction, and they could form a closer relationship together.   Before moving in with her daughter, Mildred had grown depressed and isolated. Her late husband — Lynette's father — had been outgoing, and he kept the couple engaged in community life and social events. Without him around, Lynette was worried: What if Mildred became too lonely? What if she fell while she was alone?   “We figured she'd have somebody if something happened in the middle of the night, and we could help her with her bills,” says Lynette.   So, they built a small, attached apartment with a private kitchen and bathroom using some of Mildred's savings. But the adjustment was more difficult than expected.   At first, Marty and Lynette had trouble accepting the constant late-night interruptions and repetitive dinners at home. It seemed like they'd put their lives — and their marriage — on hold to care for Mildred. However, the couple's situation improved after they agreed to work as a team, make adjustments, and follow a few pieces of caregiver advice:   Don't be afraid to ask for help. Make time for everyone, including yourself. Accept that some things don't change. Set boundaries. Acknowledge that you're doing your best in a tough situation.   The Whiteman's story is something more and more families are becoming familiar with as the aging population rises. This can be an extremely rewarding experience for you and your family, but it can also be extremely difficult. There are many things you need to consider when thinking about having a loved one come live with you.   First, you should be prepared for how your relationship with your loved one will change once they are living with you, especially if you are providing any level of care for them. Cohabitating with a parent for the first time since childhood can be strange for both you and your parent.   Next Avenue says you should avoid parent-child patterns from youth. Just because you're back living under the same roof as your parents, you don't have to share the details of your life the way you may have as a child. Laurel Steinberg, a relationship therapist and psychology professor at Columbia University, cautions adult children to not seek approval for their actions and decisions. You now pay for the roof over your head and are responsible for the day-to-day routines.   She says it's OK to ask a parent for help or for an opinion, but you shouldn't fall into a pattern where a parent dictates how the household should operate or expect to be privy to every decision and detail related to the household. “Parents should only offer advice when adult children ask for it,” she says.   Next Avenue also recommends that you don't ask for permission. Remember that even though you're a grown-up who may have grown kids of your own, to your parent, you'll always be their little boy or girl. That nostalgia can fuel parental expectations that your relationship will revert to what it was decades earlier. Steinberg says that “adult children often fall into the habit of asking for permission when parents live with them.” Gently assert your adult independence by setting boundaries on move-in day. You can politely tell your parent that you will not be reporting in every time you leave the house or take a phone call. The goal is to establish that you're a self-sufficient adult who loves their parent, but has their own, independent life now.”   Prior to your loved one moving in, you need to sit down and have a conversation with them and your family to go over the house rules and any moving logistics, like what your loved one can keep with them and what areas of the house will be reserved for them. You want to make sure everyone living in your house has access to a space just for them, where they can go to be alone and have privacy.   If you have a guest house, an adjoining apartment, or a room with a separate entrance, this would be the perfect place for your parent to move in to, as long as their needs allow them to be in a secluded area by themselves. If you don't have this extra space, you should consider what options you do have. Do you have a guest room or spare room they could use? Would your kids need to share a room? Do you or your parent have funds to build a place for them?   Having an entire living area to themselves, with a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, and living area, can help your parent maintain their independence when living with their child, and can help the rest of the family keep more of their normal daily routines the same.   Even with a separate living area, routines will have to change, and communication will be key. Having a weekly schedule can be helpful for busy families. You don't need to tell your parent when you are going to be gone, but writing on a schedule that you will be out on Tuesday and Thursday can be a good way to let your parent, and everyone else, know you will be unavailable. If your parent is unable to drive or doesn't have a car of their own, a schedule can also be useful to know when they will need your assistance to get somewhere, like an appointment or a social gathering.   Alert 1 says that while it may seem overwhelming at first, both you and your loved one will come to love living under the same roof again.   Your parent will be there to help with things around the house so you don't have to worry when you get home from work. They can help get the kids ready for school in the morning and for bed at night. Your pets will enjoy having someone around more often, and your dog can get your loved one outside and exercising.   Even if you don't need the extra babysitting, your parent can still watch the house while you get away for the weekend. They'll be there to listen and give advice when you're feeling lost. Instead of having to hang up the phone, you can end the conversation with a hug.   Living with your parent, you'll be able to support and care for each other while they enjoy their golden years. After all, what else is family for?   Now that we've told you some of the ways your relationship with your parent can change when they move in, let's move on to what steps you should take during this transition.   Before your parent moves in with you, AARP has a list of questions you should ask yourself:   How will the move involve my spouse, children, and siblings? How will my parent's presence affect our family routine, activities, and privacy? Are there any unresolved issues between me and my parent or my spouse and my parent? Does this mean remodeling our house or adding a bedroom or bathroom? Do I expect other family members to pitch in? Can we afford the extra expense? Should part of my parent's income go toward living expenses? Will I need to quit work or alter my schedule? Will we take my parent with us on vacation or get respite care? Are there issues such as smoking, drinking, or pets that we need to work out? Does my parent have any tendencies that bother or upset me? Can they be resolved? How will I establish boundaries? How does my parent feel about moving? How do I feel about accepting this role?   Once you have gone over these questions yourself, you should sit down with your parent and siblings to discuss things prior to the move. According to AARP, you should talk openly about expectations, fears, finances, and any lingering issues. It may make you uneasy, but this is the prime time to work it out or readjust your thinking. Sometimes it's as easy as telling each other what bothers you. The other person may have no idea — and no trouble making a change.   Next Avenue also suggests that you seek outside counseling to help with the transition. “Having a parent age to the point where you are now essentially the ‘parent' can be very powerful and difficult to navigate and trigger a range of emotions,” says Sara Sedlik, a licensed marriage and family therapist in Los Angeles.   You may experience unexpected anger, sadness, dread, or guilt in this situation, which can be overwhelming.   Sedlik also says that “there may also be relief or joy to have your parent close to you. Typically, there is a mix of emotions, which adds to the confusion.”   Without properly addressing these feelings or at least being aware of them, you may experience excess stress that can show up in other areas of your life, including personal or professional relationships, work performance, or even physical health.   Your family may also benefit from a session or two of group therapy. During this time, anyone can bring any grievances or issues they foresee to the rest of the family and have a moderator there to ensure everyone is given a fair amount of time to speak and be heard. If group therapy isn't for you and your family, you can also hold a family meeting on your own and have everyone come prepared with written questions and concerns to discuss. Make sure to include your parent, too. If needed, you can have a few sessions, one with your children, one with your siblings, one with your parent, and one with everyone all together. Breaking into smaller groups can also be beneficial if anyone has any issues they want to bring to your attention without talking to the entire family at once, as that can be intimidating.   After you have met with your family and talked about your loved one moving in with you, you will need to take a look at your current living arrangements and see what all will need to change before your parent moves in.   Alert 1 recommends answering the following questions to see what sort of improvements will need to be made to your home. Do grab bars need to be installed in the bathroom? Does furniture need to be re-arranged to make more space for walking? Do all of the lights work? Do you have nightlights in bathrooms and along hallways? Does your yard have hazards like uneven pavement or overgrown vines?   Before your loved one moves in, you also need to go over their care needs and discuss your boundaries. A Place for Mom says that maybe you're comfortable cooking and doing laundry but are not as comfortable bathing your parent or helping them use the bathroom. If you are not able to provide such care, you should look into professional home care options or assisted living. If your parent doesn't need care when they move in, you should also discuss what you would do if and when they may need care in the future. Would that role fall to you or would you hire outside help?   Once you have established what level of care your loved one needs and who will be doing what, it's time to work on organizing your house and possibly donating items you won't have space for.   Your loved one should have their own bedroom and, if possible, their own living room or living area to arrange as they please. It can be stressful to merge belongings together without a plan, so try to create a clear map and write down where everything will go. Make sure your parent knows beforehand how much space they will have for their belongings.   It's important to remember that your loved one is downsizing to move in with you, so why not do the same for them? Use this time to go through and donate things you don't use or need. This will help free up space for your loved one's belongings and they will feel better knowing they are not alone in having to let go of things.   Once you have the space for your loved one and you have talked about care options, it's time for them to move in! Make sure to keep a positive outlook during this time. It will help ease the transition on your parent, and after all, it should be a positive time! You get to spend more time with your parent and develop an entirely new relationship with them.   Once your parent has settled into their new living space, you can all begin to get comfortable in the new normal. Alert 1 tells us that having someone move in causes a disruption in everyday activity.  If Grandma is active and mobile, add her to the household chore list. She can help out with preparing meals, doing dishes, gardening, and walking the dog. Don't expect her to do any heavy lifting, though. You'll still need to take out the trash and clean out the gutters.   Once your loved one is accustomed to living with you, you can go over your list of household chores and find the best way to divide them up together. You can also revisit this list and make changes as needed. While your loved one is living with you, you should both be able to come to one another and talk about what is or isn't working at any time and make any necessary changes.   While we hope your experience living with your loved one once again goes smoothly, we also want to prepare you for the possibility that it won't work out. According to Aging Care, caregiver guilt can be a significant obstacle for many, regardless of the specifics of your living situation. You feel an obligation to make this work, but when an elder exhibits troublesome dementia-related behaviors, creates unsafe or unsanitary conditions, sets a poor example for your children, interferes with your marriage, or refuses to contribute to the household or see to their own care, it puts a huge strain on your life.   If you're feeling trapped caring for elderly parents in a situation that you cannot escape, it's time to let go of the guilt and make other arrangements. It is time to acknowledge that you did your best and explore other elder care options. These might consist of an adult daycare or professional in-home care for respite or moving your loved one into assisted living, memory care, or a nursing home.   In order to avoid caregiver guilt, an unhappy relationship, a tense household, and an overall bad experience, it's important to make sure you follow the steps we have talked about today. And always remember to take care of yourself and reach out when you need help.   So far, we've talked about how your relationships can change when a parent moves in and what transition steps you should take. Before we close for today, let's talk a little about how you can make the transition easier for your loved one.   According to AARP, your parent may struggle getting acclimated to a new living arrangement and neighborhood. You can be of assistance by helping to locate the local pharmacy, bank, faith community, recreation center, and other services they may use. If your parent is interested in independent daytime activities, you can visit a nearby senior center for information on classes and programs. If your parent requires more intensive care, assess adult daycare centers that provide rehab, meals, counseling, and therapeutic activities. If you are providing full-time care in your home, look into respite or companion services to give you a break and help your parent expand his or her social circle.   If your loved one is moving from a different area, they may need your help keeping in contact with their friends. If your parent isn't technologically savvy, you can help them set up a video call a few times a month to catch up with their friends. If you help them with their technical difficulties, you should also be prepared to help their friends if they need it.   If your loved one is interested in learning more about using technology, you can help them find a technology class at a senior center or library that's geared towards seniors. If you're interested in learning about how you can use technology as a caregiver, you can also check out our episode, Technology Tips for Caregivers. You can find it on our website, our YouTube channel, or wherever you listen to podcasts.   We hope this episode helps you prepare for living with your loved one again. Following the steps and tips we've listed today should help you navigate this time, but don't hesitate to reach out to your support group whenever you need. There will be hard times, just as there are when you are living with anyone else. Be patient, be kind, and have fun. Enjoy getting to spend this extra time with your loved one.   We want to say thank you for joining us here at All Home Care Matters, All Home Care Matters is here for you and to help families as they navigate these long-term care issues. Please visit us at allhomecarematters.com there is a private secure fillable form where you can give us feedback, show ideas, or if you have questions. Every form is read and responded to. If you know someone who could benefit from this episode, please share it with them.   Remember, you can listen to the show on any of your favorite podcast streaming platforms and watch the show on our YouTube channel and make sure to hit that subscribe button, so you'll never miss an episode. We look forward to seeing you next time on All Home Care Matters, thank you.   Sources: http://www.ec-online.net/Knowledge/Articles/movingin.html   https://www.alert-1.com/blog/general/when-grandma-moves-in-making-your-house-grandmas-home/5824   https://www.aplaceformom.com/caregiver-resources/articles/living-with-your-aging-parent-doesnt-work   https://www.nextavenue.org/cope-aging-parent-moves-in/   https://www.aarp.org/caregiving/home-care/info-2018/living-with-aging-parents.html          

    Seniors and Isolation

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 7, 2021 20:04

    Today, we are going to be talking about seniors and isolation. We'll talk about some common causes of isolation, as well as the risks that come along with social isolation. Then, we'll conclude the episode with ways that you can prevent isolation and include seniors. Now let's move on to the rest of the show.   Socialization is an important aspect of life. It's a part of the third level of Maslow's hierarchy of needs, love and belonging. Only safety and ensuring one's physiological needs, such as eating and sleeping, are more important than socialization. Lumen's module, Introduction to Sociology, tells us that socialization is the lifelong process through which people learn the values and norms of a given society. Socialization is not the same as socializing. Socializing is to mix socially with others (for example, family, friends, neighbors, coworkers), whereas socialization is a process that may include socializing as one element, but is a more complex, multi-faceted and formative set of interactive experiences. It is also an adaptive lifelong learning experience, because society is constantly changing, and because we may find ourselves in new situations—such as a new job with different norms and values, or in a different familial role—such as that of a parent or caregiver to an older relative.   Oftentimes, we think of socialization as something children need to learn how to interact in society, but it applies to all age groups, including seniors. Asbury Communities says that social interaction has been a major part of cognitive development from the day you were born. Early relationships and interactions with parents, siblings, friends, and teachers taught you how to speak, interpret and express emotions, and expand your knowledge.   As an adult, socialization is just as important in keeping your brain active. Building social networks and participating in social activities are like exercises for your brain because they keep your mind agile and improve cognitive function.   Socialization can even help prevent mental decline and lower the risk of dementia. A 2017 study published by researchers at the Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer's Disease Center of Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine found that individuals 80 and above with the mental agility of 50-year-olds all had one factor in common: A close-knit group of friends.   Not only does socialization play an important role in cognitive function, but it  also is necessary for maintaining your mental health and keeping you happy. Even just occasional social activity can lower stress levels, decrease depression and anxiety, and improve overall life satisfaction.   Dr. Cole, director of the Social Genomics Core Laboratory at the University of California, Los Angeles, says that loneliness acts as a fertilizer for other diseases. The biology of loneliness can accelerate the buildup of plaque in arteries, help cancer cells grow and spread, and promote inflammation in the brain leading to Alzheimer's disease. Loneliness promotes several different types of wear and tear on the body.   Now that we've talked a little bit about the differences between socialization and socializing, let's move on to some of the common causes of isolation. Specifically, causes of social isolation.   Vista Springs Living says that it's very common for seniors and older adults to avoid socializing, but why? For some, it's because of the decreased mobility they have as they age. When it's hard to drive or get in and out of vehicles, or if you need to use a walker or wheelchair to get around, going out and socializing becomes a demanding and laborious task.   In addition to struggling with mobility, seniors can find themselves having much less energy throughout the day and becoming exhausted quickly—making evening dinners and events tiring rather than invigorating. It also becomes more difficult to navigate unknown environments, so staying at home becomes a preferable option to going out.    For some seniors, there are more than just physical barriers between themselves and socialization. As adults age, it can become more and more challenging to be emotionally available for family and friends. Seniors may be upset at their condition or frustrated in general, and want to avoid interactions and isolate themselves thinking that will be the better option. However, the opposite is often true.   According to Seniors at Home, older adults often experience their social worlds shrinking, as retirement, the death of friends and family, or lack of mobility make participating in social activities more difficult. For those who become socially isolated or who feel persistently lonely, the consequences can be dire and even life-threatening.   Traci Dobronravova, MSW, Director of Seniors At Home, says, “We see older adults every day who are disconnected from their community. Social isolation and the associated health risks for seniors is a critical issue facing our community.”   The covid-19 pandemic has created hardships for many during the past year and has isolated all generations. According to the Cleveland Clinic, experts have worried about the effects of the pandemic on mental health. This is especially a concern for older adults, who've been encouraged to be extra careful because they're at greater risk for getting very sick with or dying from COVID-19 if they get it.   But being homebound and isolated from others can have unhealthy effects. For example, studies show that chronic loneliness can worsen memory in older adults and cause other declines in mental and physical health.   “Many seniors already deal with isolation, and we've seen it worsen during the pandemic,” says geriatric physician Kathleen Rogers, MD.   Now that we have discussed how social isolation, and isolation in general, can be detrimental to seniors, let's move on to the health issues and risks that are associated with isolation.   A report by the Administration for Community Living's Administration on Aging of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says that about 28 percent of older adults in the United States, or 13.8 million people, live alone. An older adult living alone is not automatically isolated, but they have a higher likelihood of being socially isolated than other age groups.   Living alone is the biggest risk factor for older adults when it comes to isolation, but according to St. Paul's Senior Services, other risk factors include the death of one's spouse, children moving away, a change in living environment, the deterioration of a friend network (often due to death), the fear of becoming a burden, the fear of going out and incurring an injury, difficulty communicating (i.e. language barriers and hearing problems), and illnesses (particularly dementia). Each of these factors can lead to increased loneliness in seniors and increased loneliness can, in turn, lead to a number of serious health effects.   Geographical isolation when living alone, or even with a caregiver or spouse, can make it difficult to get to appointments, run necessary errands like picking up prescription medications, and socialize in person. Technology has made it easier for older adults to meet with their doctors. Telehealth appointments, which are appointments where you meet with your doctor virtually, have been around for a few years, but have increased in popularity during the pandemic.   Telehealth appointments help older adults maintain their health but getting prescriptions is still an issue. Some pharmacies offer delivery, but only within a certain area, so seniors living in rural areas do not qualify for delivery. Companies that offer prescription deliveries may deliver to the senior, but they can be quite costly and the price of the delivery in addition to the cost of the prescription may be more than they can afford.   According to the CDC, social isolation significantly increases a person's risk of premature death from all causes, a risk that may rival those of smoking, obesity, and physical inactivity. Social isolation is also associated with an estimated 50% percent increased risk of dementia, and the increase of dementia already increases with age.   Poor social relationships, characterized by social isolation or loneliness, is associated with a 29% increased risk of heart disease and a 32% increased risk of stroke. On top of all these, loneliness is associated with higher rates of depression, anxiety, and suicide. Loneliness among heart failure patients is also associated with a nearly 4 times increased risk of death, 68% increased risk of hospitalization, and 57% increased risk of emergency department visits.   If you are worried about your loved one being lonely or isolated from others, ask them if they are feeling lonely. They may not even realize they are lonely if no one presents the question to them. Your loved one may also be embarrassed to express their feelings of loneliness to you and may not tell you on their own.   If you believe that a senior in your life may be struggling with loneliness, St. Paul's Seniors Services recommends that you look for these signs and symptoms: sadness or feelings of despair, loss of interest in hobbies, socializing, or other daily activities, lack of energy or motivation, sleep disturbances and memory problems, unexplained or aggravated aches and pains, and neglect of personal hygiene and other routines.   Identifying loneliness and isolation is just the first step. Reducing and preventing loneliness and isolation takes time and effort and the amount of socializing someone needs varies from person to person. Luckily, we have gathered a few suggestions on how to prevent isolation for you. But before we jump into ways to prevent isolation, let's talk about a few of the benefits of socializing with friends and loved ones.   According to Psychology Today, an active social life may mean you live longer. People with more social support tend to live longer than those who are more isolated, and this is true even after accounting for the overall level of health of your loved one. Socializing also brings a higher likelihood that you will enjoy better physical health. Social engagement is associated with a stronger immune system, especially for older adults. This means that you are better able to fight off colds, the flu, and even some types of cancer.   Psychology Today also tells us that you will likely enjoy better mental health if you have a healthy social life. Interacting with others boosts feelings of well-being and decreases feelings of depression. Research has shown that one sure way of improving your mood is to work on building social connections. Some studies have even shown that socializing may lower your risk of dementia. More recently, there has been accumulating evidence that socializing is good for your brain health. People who connect with others generally perform better on tests of memory and other cognitive skills. And, in the long run, people with active social lives are less likely to develop dementia than those who are more socially isolated.   According to Home Care Assistance, socialization can increase the quality of life and promote purpose. As we have already talked about today, studies show that loneliness and senior health issues have been correlated and that loneliness is a risk factor of functional decline, and death in older people. Making sure we stay social and connected can not only extend the length of our lives but the quality of them as well.   Spending time with others helps us feel useful and that our life has a greater purpose. When we have something to do, somewhere to go, and someone counting on us, it feels good. Being around people we love makes life more fulfilling. When others count on us, we are more likely to take care of ourselves, and stay healthy for as long as we can. Both of these benefits, an improved quality of life and a purpose in life, create a cycle that encourages socialization. When we are enjoying spending time with people, we feel better, and we want to socialize more. And that cycle continues to repeat.   We've talked about the health issues and risks that come with isolation, as well as the benefits of socialization. Now let's move on to how seniors, and you as their loved one, can prevent isolation.   Vista Springs Living says that there are plenty of ways for you to be social, or to help a loved one stay social as they age. Opportunities for socialization include:   Senior hobby groups (like gardening, bird-watching, cooking, or collecting clubs). Talking to others about what they enjoy and sharing in others' enjoyment is a great way to socialize and can be a great incentive for those that may be shy or would not want to normally participate in conversations.   Volunteering is a great way for older adults to socialize and help out their community. Volunteer groups and organizations can also give a sense of purpose to older adults after retirement if they are beginning to feel lost. Helping others that are less fortunate than they are can also help put things in perspective for seniors, especially if they are helping other isolated individuals, and encourage them to participate in more social activities.   Walking or senior sports groups encourage socialization as well as physical health. Socializing while exercising can help motivate seniors to exercise, which can help improve their overall health and quality of life.   Using social media and technology can help homebound seniors connect to friends and loved ones, as well as supplement in-person visits for seniors that are unable to get out as often as they would like. Businesses and organizations have taken advantage of social media and technology over the pandemic and have started offering virtual classes, both paid and free, that seniors can take to stay involved and keep up with their favorite activities.   Speaking of activities, activity groups (like arts & crafts, movie watching, or book clubs) are another great way to involve your loved one in social activities and keep them engaged in conversation. Just like with hobby groups, activities that your loved one enjoys and can be done with, or around, other people are a great way to prevent isolation.   The last thing that Vista Springs Living suggests to prevent isolation is group health activities (like music therapy or meditation). These less intensive activities can improve your loved one's overall health and are helpful for seniors that need any form of therapy. Water aerobics classes are a great example of this.   When seniors are self-isolating, it's important to keep up efforts to engage them. Find out what their hobbies are and what groups are in your area that they can join. You can find groups and classes at your local senior center or library. Your doctor may also have suggestions or recommendations to prevent isolation. The CDC recommends the following national organizations for more resources:   AARP provides helpful information to seniors to help improve quality of life and provides access to Community Connection Tools.   Area Agencies on Aging, or AAA, has a network of over 620 organizations across America that provides information and assistance with programs including nutrition and meal programs (counseling and home-delivered or group meals), caregiver support, and more. The website can help you find your local AAA, which may provide classes in things such as Tai Chi and diabetes self-management.   Eldercare Locator is a free national service that helps find local resources for seniors such as financial support, caregiving services, and transportation. If you visit their website, you can also check out their brochure that shows how volunteering can help keep you socially connected.   National Council on Aging works with nonprofit organizations, governments, and businesses to provide community programs and services. This is the place to find what senior programs are available to assist with healthy aging and financial security, including the Aging Mastery Program that is shown to increase social connectedness and healthy eating habits.   National Institute on Aging, or NIA, provides materials on social isolation and loneliness for older adults, caregivers, and health care providers. Materials include health information, a print publication, a health care provider flyer, and social media graphics and posts.   So far, we've talked about how you can prevent isolation for your loved one, but let's not forget to prevent isolation and loneliness for caregivers, as well.   Seniors at Home tells us that caring for a parent, spouse, or loved one is an enormous responsibility. Family caregivers often find themselves juggling their caregiving duties with paid work and raising children, leaving them exhausted and without time to enjoy hobbies or social outings. This can create feelings of loneliness and social isolation. Practicing self-care, taking a few minutes for mindfulness, seeking support, and hiring respite home care can all help family caregivers get the rest and the social connection they need.   As a caregiver, it's important that you take care of yourself, as well. Caregiver burnout happens when you don't make yourself a priority. Don't hesitate to reach out for support when you need it. If your friends and family are unable to help either financially or physically, there are several community resources you can use. Talk to someone at your local senior center to find out what support is available in your area. You can also listen to any of the episodes we have done covering caregiver burnout on our YouTube channel, website, or wherever you listen to podcasts.   As we discussed earlier, the Covid-19 pandemic has worsened isolation for many seniors. Dr. Kathleen Rogers, a geriatric physician at Cleveland Clinic says that “Many seniors already deal with isolation, and we've seen it worsen during the pandemic. As a result, we're seeing a lot more patients with anxiety, depression, and worsening memory loss.”   Even before the pandemic, older adults were particularly at risk for loneliness.   Dr. Rogers goes on to explain that “after retirement, people's routines change. Their brain activity and their social interactions are different. This increases the risk of being diagnosed with anxiety and depression or both.”   As we get closer to the holidays, it's important to keep your loved ones in mind this year, especially if they are unable to visit with you in person. Try setting up a zoom or FaceTime call with your loved one during times you would normally gather in person.   If your loved one is homebound or living in a facility, try setting up a rotating visitors list. You may not be able to visit as often as you would like, but others can visit your loved one, too. Setting up a few visits for your loved one can also give them something to look forward to if they are struggling with feelings of loneliness or depression.   There are several things you can do to prevent loneliness and isolation and we cannot fit them all in one episode. If you have any ideas or suggestions on preventing isolation and engaging seniors, leave us a comment or send us a message on our website.   We want to say thank you for joining us here at All Home Care Matters, All Home Care Matters is here for you and to help families as they navigate these long-term care issues. Please visit us at allhomecarematters.com there is a private secure fillable form where you can give us feedback, show ideas, or if you have questions. Every form is read and responded to. If you know someone who could benefit from this episode, please share it with them.   Remember, you can listen to the show on any of your favorite podcast streaming platforms and watch the show on our YouTube channel and make sure to hit that subscribe button, so you'll never miss an episode. We look forward to seeing you next time on All Home Care Matters, thank you.   Sources:   https://www.nia.nih.gov/news/social-isolation-loneliness-older-people-pose-health-risks   https://www.stpaulseniors.org/senior-care-blog/the-negative-health-effects-of-loneliness-in-seniors/   https://www.simplypsychology.org/maslow.html   https://courses.lumenlearning.com/wmopen-introtosociology/chapter/socialization/   https://www.asbury.org/blog/why-is-socialization-important-for-brain-health/   https://www.vistaspringsliving.com/blog/why-socialization-is-important-for-aging-adults   https://seniorsathome.jfcs.org/five-facts-about-senior-isolation-that-might-surprise-you/   https://health.clevelandclinic.org/pandemic-isolation-can-be-especially-hard-on-older-adults/   https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/living-mild-cognitive-impairment/201606/the-health-benefits-socializing   https://homecareassistance.com/blog/health-benefits-of-socialization   https://www.cdc.gov/aging/publications/features/lonely-older-adults.html    

    Alzheimer's Disease - The Seven Stages (Mini-Series Part 4)

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 2, 2021 19:19

    We have been going through the seven stages of Alzheimer's over the past few episodes and today's episode is going to be a recap of all seven stages and what you as a caregiver should do throughout each stage. If you know someone that has recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer's or has a loved one with a new diagnosis, this could be a good episode to share with them, as well. For more in-depth information on each individual stage, please listen to our recent episodes on the Seven Stages of Alzheimer's. Now let's move on to the rest of the show.   The National Institute on Aging tells us that Alzheimer's disease is a brain disorder that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills and, eventually, the ability to carry out the simplest tasks. In most people with the disease - those with the late-onset type - symptoms first appear in their mid-60s. Early-onset Alzheimer's occurs between a person's 30s and mid-60s and is very rare. Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of dementia among older adults.   Alzheimer's is currently the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States and nearly 6 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's right now. Scientists are still unsure of what causes this progressive disease, but they are actively learning more about it and trying to develop a cure. There might not be a cure at the moment, but there are treatments that can be helpful in slowing the progression of the disease.   Some treatments are only effective during the first few stages of the disease, so it's important to talk to a doctor as soon as you notice any signs or symptoms of Alzheimer's. Early detection of this disease really can make all the difference.   According to the CDC, Alzheimer's disease is not a normal part of aging. Memory problems are typically one of the first warning signs of Alzheimer's disease and related dementias. In addition to memory problems, someone with symptoms of Alzheimer's disease may experience one or more of the following: Memory loss that disrupts daily life, such as getting lost in a familiar place or repeating questions. Trouble handling money and paying bills. Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work, or in leisure time. Decreased or poor judgment. Misplacing things and being unable to retrace steps to find them. Changes in mood, personality, or behavior.   All of these signs can also be signs of normal aging, which is why it can be hard to spot the disease in the beginning. Talk to your doctor if you notice any of these signs. There are a few tests they can run to see if someone has Alzheimer's or not.   Similarly, if Alzheimer's runs in your family, talk to your doctor to see if you have any genetic markers that can put you at a higher risk for developing Alzheimer's. The CDC also says that getting checked by your healthcare provider can help determine if the symptoms you are experiencing are related to Alzheimer's disease or more treatable conditions such as a vitamin deficiency or a side effect from medication. Early and accurate diagnosis also provides opportunities for you and your family to consider financial planning, develop advance directives, enroll in clinical trials, and anticipate care needs.   According to Penn Medicine, just like with many other diseases, changes in the brain that are related to Alzheimer's begin before symptoms are noticeable. Dr. David Wolk, MD, co-director of the Penn Memory Center, says that "This time period - often called 'pre-clinical Alzheimer's disease' - likely begins 10 or 15 years before people have symptoms. Currently, there is no treatment for this pre-clinical stage, but we hope in the future that we will have medicines that can halt the progress before people have symptoms and prevent the disease."   It is rare to detect the disease in stage one, but it can happen. People found to have Alzheimer's during this stage are diagnosed through medical history, EEGs, genetic testing, physical examination, MRIs, CT Scans, PET Scans, neuropsychological examinations, or a combination of any of these exams. At this stage, someone with Alzheimer's will have no impairment and will exhibit normal behavior. It will be impossible to tell they have Alzheimer's from simply observing them.   A BioSpace article tells us that jumping into stage 2 will show very mild changes in behavior. The symptoms can be simple and are usually not caught by doctors. Simple signs such as misplacing objects or trouble finding the right words to say may be a sign that someone is in the second stage. During stage two, all of the signs and symptoms of Alzheimer's mimic the normal signs of aging, and since they are only shown to be very mild, most people will assume they are only experiencing normal aging and not Alzheimer's.   Stage three is where we begin to physically see the signs and symptoms of Alzheimer's. According to Alzheimer's.net, at this stage, the family members and friends of the senior may begin to notice cognitive problems. Performance on memory tests is affected and physicians will be able to detect impaired cognitive function.   People in stage three will have difficulty in many areas including finding the right word during conversations, organizing and planning, and remembering the names of new acquaintances. People with stage three Alzheimer's may also frequently lose personal possessions, including valuables.   Dr. Wolk says that "For many, this stage brings noticeable changes, and it will become harder to blame it on age. It's common to be diagnosed in this stage because this is when a person's daily routine becomes more disrupted."   Penn Medicine also states that this stage may bring about more anxiety for your loved one, and some people may even deny that anything is wrong. These feelings are normal, but not talking to a physician will only allow symptoms to get worse. The best way to keep symptoms at bay is to talk to your loved one's physician about treatment options, including medications, and care planning.   If you suspect your loved one may have Alzheimer's or another form of dementia, keep a written record of signs and symptoms you notice and when you notice them. This record can be helpful for their doctor since they most likely will not be able to witness any bouts of forgetfulness themselves.   When the disease progresses further, you will be able to notice some level of cognitive decline in your loved one. Many people are diagnosed either at the end of stage three or the beginning of stage four.   According to Seniorlink, stage four comprises what is clinically described as early-stage dementia. A person with early-stage dementia (in stage four of the seven-stage model) will experience increased forgetfulness, often forgetting recent events, as well as difficulty concentrating, difficulty with problem-solving, and difficulty managing finances. They may have challenges when traveling to unfamiliar areas alone, and they may have difficulty performing complex tasks or organizing and expressing thoughts.   People in stage four may also be in denial about their forgetfulness and other symptoms, and as socialization becomes increasingly difficult, they may begin to withdraw from family and friends. In stage four, a healthcare provider can easily identify cognitive decline in an examination and interview with the patient. The average time spent in this stage is approximately two years.   In this stage, someone with Alzheimer's is still able to do things on their own and most likely do not need day-to-day help. In stage five, however, VeryWell Health says that some assistance with daily tasks is required. Problems with memory and thinking are quite noticeable, including symptoms such as an inability to recall one's own contact information or key details about one's history, disorientation to time and/or place, and decreased judgment and skills in regard to personal care. Even though symptoms are worsening, people in this stage usually still know their own name and the names of key family members and can eat and use the bathroom without assistance or with very little assistance. Each case of Alzheimer's is different, so the amount of help your loved one will need at any stage is hard to anticipate.   Penn Medicine says that until now, your loved one may have been able to live on their own with no significant challenges. You may have dropped in to check on them every so often, but for the most part, they were able to function without your regular assistance. In this stage, your loved one will likely have trouble remembering people that are important to them, such as close family and friends. They may struggle with learning new things, and basic tasks like getting dressed might be too much for them.   Emotional changes are also common during this stage, including:   hallucinations, which are seeing things that aren't there, delusions, or false beliefs that they believe to be true, and paranoia, which is the feeling that others are against them. If your loved one is experiencing any of these symptoms, they may be able to take medication that can help. Make sure you keep their doctor updated on any new developments so that they can make sure they are able to provide the best care they can to your loved one.   Stage six, also known as a severe cognitive decline, is where many individuals with Alzheimer's find themselves unable to live alone. Dr. Wolk says living on your own requires you to be able to respond to your environment, like knowing what to do if the fire alarm goes off or the phone rings. During stage six, this becomes difficult for people with Alzheimer's. Your loved one will be experiencing more significant symptoms at this time, which impact his or her ability to manage their own care and they will be more dependent on others.   VeryWell Health tells us that stage six is often the most difficult stage for caregivers because it's characterized by personality and behavior changes. In addition, memory continues to decline, and assistance is required for most daily activities. The most common symptoms associated with this stage include reduced awareness of one's surroundings and of recent events, problems recognizing one's spouse and other close family members, although faces are still distinguished between familiar and unfamiliar, sundowning, which is increased restlessness and agitation in the late afternoon and evening, difficulty using the bathroom independently, bowel and bladder incontinence, suspicion and paranoia, repetitive behavior (verbal and/or nonverbal), and wandering.   Most people with stage six Alzheimer's require 24/7 care. There are many types of care that can help your loved one, as well as yourself. There is 24-hour care, where professional home care provides trained staff to be with your loved one at all times. With this type of care, you could also provide some of the care and the company could help you supplement the time you are unavailable if that is something you are interested in. There are memory care units in facilities that are equipped to help your loved one live in a safe environment. If you would like to learn more about 24-hour care and live-in care, you can listen to our recent episode on that topic. We have also talked about other types of care in previous episodes. You can find all of our topics and episodes on our website, YouTube channel, or wherever you listen to your podcasts.   The final stage, stage seven, is a lack of physical control. According to Penn Medicine, Alzheimer's destroys brain cells, and eventually, this can cause severe mental and physical impairment. Your loved one's body may begin to shut down as their mind struggles to communicate and delegate tasks effectively. At this point, your loved one's needs will significantly increase. They may need round-the-clock care for help with walking, sitting, personal care, and eventually swallowing.   Because of their reduced mobility, their body can also become vulnerable to infections, such as pneumonia. To help avoid infections, keep their teeth and mouth clean, treat cuts and scrapes with an antibiotic ointment right away, and make sure they, and anyone they will be in contact with, including yourself, get their flu shot each year. Protecting your loved one from the flu can help lessen their chances of developing pneumonia, which is one of the highest causes of death during this stage.   In stage seven, death is unfortunately inevitable. The best thing you can do for your loved one is make them as comfortable as possible. They will need your help to move and to do everything else at this point. You will want to make sure they are moved every two hours to prevent bedsores and also ensure they are getting the fluids and nutrition they need. They won't need as much food and nutrients as they used to at this stage. When they become stationary, they don't use as much energy, but they will still need to eat, so make sure they get nutrients in their body, even if they no longer eat on their own. Choking is another risk factor in this stage. Be careful around mealtimes and make sure their mouth is clear of food, too.   Visiting a loved one with Alzheimer's can be difficult, especially if they are in the later stages, but it's still important to visit them, even if they don't seem to recognize you or pay attention to your visit.   DailyCaring gives us a few items we can do to create a visiting plan. They say to limit visitors to one or two people at a time. Too many people can be overwhelming. Schedule visits for the time of day when your loved one is usually at their best and minimize distractions by keeping the environment calm and quiet. Turn off the TV or loud music and ask any non-visitors to go to another room. Tell any visitors your visiting plan ahead of time so they will know how to interact with your loved one to make the most of their time.   There are many ways you can connect with your loved one during a visit. You can make a memory book, play games, or listen to music. We recently did an episode on How to Talk to Loved Ones with Dementia if you would like to learn more about how to talk to your loved one during your visit. This would also be a good episode to send to other visitors or people that are nervous about visiting.   Your loved one isn't the only one affected by this progressive disease, you are, too. As the disease progresses and their needs and level of ability and independence change, yours change, as well. It is important to assess your situation at all stages and determine when you need help. Caregiver burnout will happen if you are not taking care of yourself correctly, which can be hard to do when you are taking care of someone else.   To avoid caregiver burnout, reach out to your support group and ask for help. If you need a day off, let them know. Having even a few hours to yourself can help you come back and be ready to continue providing care. If it's hard for you to get away, try scheduling time for respite care in advance, or sign up for an adult daycare program. If you're interested in learning more about preventing caregiver burnout, we've done quite a few episodes covering the topic. Check out our website for more information.   If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's, you may be wondering what the next steps are and where you should go from here. The first thing you should do after getting diagnosed is research the disease and listening to this episode is a good place to start! Next, you should sit down with your family and anyone else you want to include and make your future plan. This plan is not going to be set in stone. You can change and adjust it along the way as you see fit, but being able to talk to your family about your wishes while you have the mental capacity to do so will help you and them later. They won't have to second guess themselves when they make decisions for you if you have already talked about it beforehand.   If you are still working, now is also a good time to talk to your employer and create a work plan. This plan should include ways you can do your job as the disease progresses, as well as an exit strategy. You can also start looking into financial planning at this stage. With the help of a lawyer, you should decide who you want to be in charge of your finances and healthcare decisions when you are no longer able to control them yourself.   You don't have to make all of these plans at once, either. You have time to plan, but the more you plan now, the more you will be prepared for later.   As the disease progresses, you will also want to make sure your living space is safe. You should remove items on the floor that could cause you to trip, like rugs and footstools, and install handrails in stairways and bathrooms. You should also ensure there is bright lighting throughout the home. As we get older, it gets harder to see in dim light. Having bright lights can help you see where you are going better and prevent you from falling.   There are several clinical trials happening right now that are focusing on Alzheimer's. You can talk to your doctor about getting on a clinical trial or contact an Alzheimer's Disease Research Center for more information.   We hope that learning about the seven stages of Alzheimer's and some of the strategies we mentioned can help ease your mind. If you are worried about how Alzheimer's will affect you and your loved ones, consider joining a support group or talking to a therapist. You can find a support group through your local Alzheimer's Association or Senior Center. Talking to someone in a similar situation can be helpful.   An Alzheimer's diagnosis is not the end of all things. Many individuals with the disease live up to twenty years after a diagnosis. More and more people are being diagnosed as the aging population rises, too. With a larger number of people living with Alzheimer's, the concept of dementia-friendly communities has been gaining popularity. For more information on dementia-friendly communities and how your local community can work on accessibility for those with dementia, visit our website or YouTube channel to listen to the episode we did on dementia-friendly communities.   We want to say thank you for joining us here at All Home Care Matters, All Home Care Matters is here for you and to help families as they navigate these long-term care issues. Please visit us at allhomecarematters.com there is a private secure fillable form where you can give us feedback, show ideas, or if you have questions. Every form is read and responded to. If you know someone who could benefit from this episode, please share it with them.   Remember, you can listen to the show on any of your favorite podcast streaming platforms and watch the show on our YouTube channel and make sure to hit that subscribe button, so you'll never miss an episode. We look forward to seeing you next time on All Home Care Matters, thank you.   Sources: https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/what-alzheimers-disease   https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/leading-causes-of-death.htm   https://www.cdc.gov/aging/aginginfo/alzheimers.htm   https://www.pennmedicine.org/updates/blogs/neuroscience-blog/2019/november/stages-of-alzheimers   https://www.biospace.com/article/the-seven-stages-of-alzheimer-s-disease-explained/   https://www.alzheimers.net/stages-of-alzheimers-disease   https://www.seniorlink.com/blog/the-7-stages-of-alzheimers   https://www.verywellhealth.com/alzheimers-symptoms-98576   https://dailycaring.com/visiting-someone-with-alzheimers-dos-and-donts-for-visitors/      

    Alzheimer's Disease - The End Stage (Mini-Series Part 3)

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 27, 2021 20:43

    Today, is the third installment of our Seven Stages of Alzheimer's series. On this episode we will be discussing the final stage, stage seven. The final stage of Alzheimer's is often referred to as end-stage Alzheimer's. First, we'll discuss what happens during this final stage and how you, as a caregiver, friend, and family member can support your loved one during this time. Then, we'll move on to how you can prepare yourself for what will happen. Finally, we'll talk about the importance of a support system and asking for help. Now let's move on to the rest of the show.   Alzheimer's is a progressive disease that ultimately ends in death. This seventh and final stage is scary. Caring for a loved one with late-stage Alzheimer's is difficult and impossible to do alone. We want to stress the importance of reaching out to your own support group when you need help. And, if you are finding yourself unable to take care of your loved one on your own, talk to your doctor. Depending on how much time your loved one has left, your doctor may suggest hospice care, a memory care facility, or professional home care. Taking care of a loved one with Alzheimer's is difficult, but it can be even harder in this final stage, so make sure you are doing what is best for you, as well as what is best for your loved one.   According to Senior Link, stage seven is the final stage in the progression of Alzheimer's disease. At this stage, most people lose their ability to speak or communicate and they often require assistance with most of their activities, including things such as toileting, eating, dressing, and bathing. Because people in stage seven often lose psychomotor capabilities, which is what helps someone think and act upon that thought, they may be unable to walk or require significant assistance when walking. On average, this final stage lasts two and a half years and ends when the person struggling with the disease passes away.   Alzheimer's disease is a progressive disease that gradually worsens over a period of four to twenty years. On average, however, most people live between four and eight years following a diagnosis. The progression of the disease is different for each individual person, but family members and caregivers should familiarize themselves with the typical stages that occur throughout the progression of the disease. It's a challenging road to travel for both the person with Alzheimer's disease and those who love them, but knowing what to expect can help to ease some stress and uncertainty.   Crossroads Hospice and Palliative Care states that it is important for caregivers to know when an individual with dementia is close to the end of their life because it helps ensure they receive the right amount of care at the right time. It can be difficult to know exactly when this time is due to the variable nature of dementia's progression, but understanding common end-of-life symptoms of seniors with dementia can help. However, it cannot be overstated that symptoms, progression, and signs of Alzheimer's can vary widely from individual to individual. A well-respected and renowned dementia expert that we work closely with has summed up the comparison of dementia patients perfectly when she explains to families that “when you see a person with dementia, you've only seen that one person.” Again, this is because it can vary widely between individuals.   In the final six months, many people with Alzheimer's are diagnosed with life-threatening conditions, such as cancer, congestive heart failure, or COPD and they tend to have an increase in hospital visits and admissions. In the final two or three months, someone with Alzheimer's will also lose their ability to speak. They may be able to speak short sentences at a time during the start of this period, but they will only be able to utter one or two words at a time if any by the end. They will also experience difficulty swallowing. Choking and aspiration is a very large concern during this final stage of Alzheimer's. They will also lose the ability to walk or sit up without assistance. If they haven't already, they will also begin experiencing incontinence.   In the final days and weeks leading up to the very end, your loved one will have increasingly cold hands, feet, arms, and legs. They will also lose their ability to swallow. Many people with Alzheimer's pass away due to this reason. Many people with Alzheimer's see an increase in restlessness and agitation, as well as an increase in the amount of time sleeping or being unconscious. And finally, they will experience changes in breathing, possibly due to the inability to swallow. They may take shallow breaths or stop breathing for short periods of time.   If your loved one begins experiencing any of the symptoms we just listed, speak to your doctor about your loved one's end-of-life plan. Patients with dementia are eligible to receive hospice care if they have a diagnosis of six months or less to live if the disease progresses in a typical fashion and these symptoms typically appear when someone with Alzheimer's has six months or less left. Talk to your doctor and a hospice professional about how they can help provide added care and support for your loved one during this extremely hard and upsetting time.   Right now, Alzheimer's is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States and unfortunately, there is no cure for this disease as of yet. If you are currently dealing with this disease, either with yourself or a loved one, know that you are not alone. Over five million Americans are living with Alzheimer's. Join a support group in your area to connect with others in your situation or consider going to therapy. Find whatever works best for you and your family. You can also call the Alzheimer's Association's hotline anytime, at 1-800-272-3900. They have a lot of resources and knowledge to offer.   Crossroads Hospice and Palliative Care also says that perhaps the hardest thing for families is when a loved one with dementia is no longer able to eat or swallow. Because an individual with dementia is unable to understand the benefits of feeding tubes or IV drips, they will often be incredibly distressed and attempt to remove them, causing added pain and risk of infection. Instead, focus on keeping the individual comfortable. Supporting them with mouth care to prevent their mouth from becoming dry will allow them to make their final transition in peace.   Now that you know what will happen to your loved one during the seventh and final stage of Alzheimer's, let's move on to how you can help your loved one during this time.   The Alzheimer's Association says that as the disease progresses and intensifies, around-the-clock care is usually required. During the late stages, your role as a caregiver focuses on preserving their quality of life and dignity. Although a person in the late stage of Alzheimer's typically loses the ability to talk and express needs, research tells us that some core of the person's self may remain. This means you may be able to continue to connect with your loved one throughout the late stage of the disease.   At this point in the disease, the world is primarily experienced through the senses. You can express your caring through touch, sound, sight, taste, and smell. You can try playing their favorite music, reading portions of books that have meaning for them, or looking at old photos together. You can also make one of their favorite foods. Try rubbing lotion with a favorite scent into their skin and brushing their hair. Sitting outside together on a nice day can also be a way to engage them and spend time with them.   If your loved one is living in a facility, the best way to help them is to visit them, even if it is difficult for you. A touching story we read that we hope can help you and your family have a sense of hope during this time, is that of Tony Hawke, the skateboarder, and his mother. In a blog post for Alzheimer's Association, Tony Hawke wrote that when he visits his mother now, she doesn't recognize him. Sometimes there is a slight glimmer in her eye, sometimes she babbles incoherently, and sometimes she uncontrollably bursts into tears.   On this particular day, they mostly sat in silence. He gave her updates on their family and fed her Coca-Cola through a straw every few minutes (which she still loves, even in her catatonic condition). But then he noticed her fingers twitching. He's not sure for how long; maybe they'd been moving the whole time and he wasn't paying attention.   As he watched, he was reminded of her habit of typing unconsciously throughout his life. And even though it may have only been her body (yet again) betraying her, it gave him comfort knowing that perhaps she is still in there somewhere typing away about her life, her experiences, her feelings, and their current conversation. Most of his visits end with a feeling of despair and impending finality, but on this day, he left with a sense of hope.   You can find the entire story written by Tony Hawke in our show notes for this episode. If you have time, we highly recommend reading it. It can be helpful to see what someone else in a similar situation is going through.   If you are currently experiencing the early stages of the disease, we know you probably don't want to think about this last stage yet, but now is the time to talk about end-of-life care and any wishes your loved one may have for when the time comes. It is better to create a plan with your loved one than to second guess your own decisions later. If you decide to be the primary caregiver during this final stage, there are several things you can do to help make your loved one as comfortable as possible, and after all, that's all you really can do at this stage.   One of the most important daily caregiving tasks during late-stage Alzheimer's, according to the Alzheimer's Association, is monitoring eating. As a person becomes less active, they will require less food. But, a person in this stage of the disease also may forget to eat or lose their appetite. Adding sugar to food and serving them their favorite foods may encourage eating and their doctor may even suggest supplements between meals to add calories if weight loss is a problem.   The Alzheimer's Association also says that difficulty with toileting is very common at this stage in the disease. The person may need to be walked to the restroom and guided through the process. Incontinence is also common during late-stage Alzheimer's and is something your loved one will likely experience. For more information on toileting, you can listen to our recent Quick Tips episode on Helping in the Bathroom. You can find the episode on our website, on our YouTube channel, or wherever you get your podcasts. You can also find more episodes on Alzheimer's and dementia on our YouTube playlist.   During this final stage, your loved one will have decreased mobility and will likely be unable to stand or sit up on their own. Being bedbound or chairbound can introduce new health risks for your loved one. Make sure to move your loved one every two hours to prevent bedsores and improve their blood circulation. Helping them do muscle exercises can stop their joints from freezing, but make sure you consult their doctor before doing any exercises with them. Similarly, make sure you have proper training on how to lift your loved one so that you do not injure them in the process or yourself. A nurse or a physical therapist can teach you how to properly lift someone, but for now, know that you should never lift someone by pulling on their arms or shoulders.   Your loved one will be more vulnerable to illnesses and infections during this stage. It is important to keep their mouth and teeth clean and clear to reduce the risk of bacteria that can cause pneumonia. The flu can also lead to your loved one getting pneumonia. Make sure you, your loved one, and those in close contact with them get the flu vaccine to lower their risk of developing pneumonia. Finally, treat cuts and scrapes immediately and call their doctor if they have a deep cut or if it doesn't heal.   The Alzheimer's Association states that communicating pain becomes difficult in the late stages of the disease. If you suspect that your loved one is in pain or is suffering from an illness, see a doctor as soon as possible to find the cause. In some cases, pain medication may be prescribed.   To recognize pain and illness, look for physical signs. Signs of pain and illness include pale skin tone, flushed skin tone, dry, pale gums, mouth sores, vomiting, feverish skin, and swelling of any part of the body. You should also pay attention to nonverbal signs. Gestures, spoken sounds, and facial expressions (wincing, for example) may signal pain or discomfort. And you should be alert to changes in behavior. Anxiety, agitation, trembling, shouting, and sleeping problems can all be signs of pain. If you suspect your loved one is in pain, call their doctor immediately. They can help make your loved one comfortable with medication.   Now that we've covered how you can help your loved one during this stage, let's move on to how you can prepare yourself for what happens during this stage and after.   The National Institute on Aging says that Dementia causes the gradual loss of thinking, remembering, and reasoning abilities, making it difficult for those who want to provide supportive care at the end of life to know what is needed. Because people with advanced dementia can no longer communicate clearly, they cannot share their concerns. Is Uncle Bert refusing food because he's not hungry or because he's confused? Why does Grandma seem agitated? Is she in pain and needs medication to relieve it, but can't tell you?   As these conditions progress, caregivers may find it hard to provide emotional or spiritual comfort. How can you let Grandpa know how much his life has meant to you? How do you make peace with your mother if she no longer knows who you are? Someone who has severe memory loss might not take spiritual comfort from sharing family memories or understand when others express what an important part of their life this person has been. Palliative care or hospice care can be helpful in many ways to families of people with dementia.   Sensory connections—targeting someone's senses, like hearing, touch, or sight—can bring comfort. Being touched or massaged can be soothing. Listening to music, white noise, or sounds from nature seem to relax some people and lessen their agitation.   There are many things you can do to prepare yourself for this final stage of Alzheimer's. As we mentioned earlier, during the first few stages of Alzheimer's, you should make an end-of-life plan with your loved one so you can know how to best uphold their wishes. If you didn't make a plan early on, it's not too late to create one now. You may not be able to include your loved one while making their plan, but you can sit down with your family and caregiving team to create a plan together.   When making an end-of-life plan, think about what you think your loved one would want, but also consider what is best for them. You also have to think about what is best for you during this time. If you think your loved one would want to stay in your care at home, but you cannot take care of them by yourself anymore, that is something you need to seriously consider. Ultimately, you are trying to make your loved one as comfortable as possible during this last part of their life.   The National Institute on Aging also tells us that quality of life is an important issue when making healthcare decisions for people with dementia. For example, medicines are available that may delay or keep symptoms from becoming worse for a little while. Medicines also may help control some behavioral symptoms in people with mild-to-moderate Alzheimer's disease. However, some caregivers might not want drugs prescribed for people in the later stages of Alzheimer's. They may believe that the person's quality of life is already so poor that the medicine is unlikely to make a difference. If the drug has serious side effects, they may be even more likely to decide against it.   When making care decisions for someone else near the end of life, consider the goals of care and weigh the benefits, risks, and side effects of the treatment. You may have to make a treatment decision based on the person's comfort at one end of the spectrum and extending life or maintaining abilities for a little longer at the other.   With dementia, a person's body may continue to be physically healthy while his or her thinking and memory are deteriorating. This means that caregivers and family members may be faced with very difficult decisions about how treatments that maintain physical health, such as installing a pacemaker, fit within the care goals.   Now that we've talked some about how you can prepare yourself for the final stage, we're going to move on to the final part of this episode, which is what happens after.   The National Institute on Aging states that many family members taking care of a person with advanced dementia at home feel relief when death happens—for themselves and for the person who died. It is important to realize such feelings are normal. You may feel guilty that you are feeling relieved, and that's normal, too. Calling the Alzheimer's hotline or joining a local support group may be beneficial after your loved one has passed on.   After your loved one is gone, don't forget to celebrate their life and remember that Alzheimer's wasn't their identity. Remember the person they were before the disease set in. Look over scrapbooks you made together and photo albums or other items that remind you of them.   The National Institute on Aging says that hospice—whether used at home or in a facility (such as a nursing home)—gives family caregivers needed support near the end of life, as well as help with their grief, both before and after their family member dies. If you used hospice during the final stage, they can be another great resource you can utilize even after the passing of your loved one.   Many people find it helpful to get involved after their loved one is no longer with them. Joining an Alzheimer's advocacy group or donating to a research center are both good ways to stay involved in the Alzheimer's community. You can also offer support and help to other families if you want to. You are in a unique position to help others that are currently going through what you have been through. Offering support to others can also help you reclaim a sense of purpose if you are struggling after losing your loved one.   This stage and this disease are hard to go through and impossible to go through alone. Reach out to your loved ones and your community for support. There is no cure now, but one day soon, we hope we will be able to End Alzheimer's together. Visit the Alzheimer's Association website to learn more about their End Alzheimer's campaign.   We want to say thank you for joining us here at All Home Care Matters, All Home Care Matters is here for you and to help families as they navigate these long-term care issues. Please visit us at allhomecarematters.com there is a private secure fillable form where you can give us feedback, show ideas, or if you have questions. Every form is read and responded to. If you know someone who could benefit from this episode, please share it with them.   Remember, you can listen to the show on any of your favorite podcast streaming platforms and watch the show on our YouTube channel and make sure to hit that subscribe button, so you'll never miss an episode. We look forward to seeing you next time on All Home Care Matters, thank you.   Sources: https://www.seniorlink.com/blog/the-7-stages-of-alzheimers   https://www.crossroadshospice.com/hospice-resources/end-of-life-signs/dementia/   https://www.alz.org/help-support   https://www.alz.org/help-support/caregiving/stages-behaviors/late-stage   https://www.alz.org/blog/alz/october-2018-(1)/tony-hawk-shares-his-personal-alzheimer-s-story   https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/end-life-care-people-dementia    

    Alzheimer's disease a Mild Case (Mini-Series Part 2)

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 25, 2021 19:03

    Today, we are continuing with our Seven Stages of Alzheimer's series. Last episode, we discussed what Alzheimer's is and some of the common signs and symptoms, as well gave a brief overview of the seven stages. We went a little more in-depth with the first two stages and today we are going to be moving on to stage three.   But first, we'll discuss how stages one through three are seen as the early or mild stage of Alzheimer's and what mild Alzheimer's can look like. After that, we'll jump straight into talking about stage three Alzheimer's – mild cognitive decline. Now let's move on to the rest of the show.   There are a few different models of the progression of Alzheimer's disease. The seven-stage model we are looking at in this series, the five-stage mode, which combines a few stages of the seven-stage model, and the three-stage model, which is what you may be most familiar with. The three-stage model shows the progression as being mild or early-stage, and then it goes on to the mid-stage, ending with late-stage dementia or Alzheimer's.   When talking about the first three stages in the seven-stage model, what we are discussing today, it is easiest to relate them to the preclinical stage in the three-stage model. The preclinical stage is Alzheimer's before it has been diagnosed, which is why it isn't listed as a stage in the three-stage model. In the model we're discussing today, a diagnosis usually happens during the third stage – mild cognitive decline, which triggers the transition to stage four – moderate cognitive decline. Now, this isn't the case for every single person with Alzheimer's. Not everyone is diagnosed this early. But, according to the National Institute on Aging, a new study has found that half of the people living with Alzheimer's may have mild Alzheimer's rather than moderate or severe cases. Researchers studied a sample of one thousand people and found that among people with Alzheimer's disease, 50.4 percent had mild disease, 30.3 percent had moderate disease, and 19.3 percent had severe disease.   According to the Senior Link, the preclinical stage of Alzheimer's makes up the first three stages of the seven-stage model of Alzheimer's. During these stages, a person is not considered to have Alzheimer's until they have an official diagnosis. During these early stages, many of the signs and symptoms of Alzheimer's can easily be confused with signs of normal aging.   As we discussed last episode, there are no signs of the disease being displayed in stage one. There are changes happening in the brain, but nothing physically telling of the disease. A WebMD article explains that Alzheimer's disease usually starts silently, with brain changes that begin years before anyone notices a problem. When your loved one is in this early phase, they won't have any symptoms that you can spot. Only a PET scan, an imaging test that shows how the brain is working, can reveal whether they have Alzheimer's.   The second stage, where some symptoms may start to appear, masks itself as normal aging, especially since most cases of Alzheimer's happen in older adults. As we age, forgetfulness begins to become a part of our daily lives. Forgetfulness also happens to be one of the most noticeable symptoms of Alzheimer's. Most of the time, a friend or family member may notice signs or symptoms during this stage before a person with Alzheimer's does. WebMD also says that you still might not notice anything amiss in your loved one's behavior, but they may start developing small signs or symptoms, things that even a doctor is unable to catch. This could include forgetting words or misplacing objects. At this stage, subtle symptoms of Alzheimer's don't interfere with their ability to work or live independently. It's also important to keep in mind that these symptoms might not be Alzheimer's at all, but simply normal changes from aging.   Stage three is usually where you can start noticing the signs and symptoms in a loved one with dementia. A neuroscience blog for Penn Medicine states that common difficulties in this stage go beyond forgetting names and misplacing objects. Your loved one may have trouble remembering recently read material, such as books or magazines, or they may find remembering plans or organizational tasks becoming increasingly difficult. They may also have more difficulty retrieving a name or word and experience challenges in social settings or at work.   This stage may bring about more anxiety for your loved one, and some people may even deny that anything is wrong. If you or your loved one have noticed any of these signs or symptoms, you should schedule an appointment with their doctor. These feelings of anxiety are normal, but not talking to a physician will only allow symptoms to get worse. The best way to keep symptoms at bay is to talk to your loved one's physician about treatment options, including medications, and care planning. Early detection is key for this disease, the earlier it is diagnosed, the longer you loved one will be able to maintain their independence and enjoy a fulfilling life.   Now that we've gone over the basics of the first three stages of Alzheimer's, let's take a closer look at the changes that happen between stages two and three.   Alzheimer's News Today tells us that patients with Alzheimer's disease experience a slow progressive decline in memory and cognitive ability, among other symptoms, due to the spread of damage in the brain. Between stages two and three, changes in a person's abilities or behavior may only be minor. As a result, the symptoms may not be noticed as a sign of Alzheimer's, and may not be noticeable to others, except those who are close to the patient, like family members and close friends, which we have already talked about today.   Alzheimer's News Today also says that people with early-stage Alzheimer's are mostly independent and can usually perform the same actions they could prior to the onset of the disease, such as driving, working, and engaging in social activities. At stage three and moving into stage four, however, they may need assistance with some of the more complicated tasks. The most common feature of mild Alzheimer's is lapses in memory and concentration, making it more difficult to recall recent events and to learn new things.   Alzheimer's affects everyone differently. WebMD says that the stages don't always fall into neat boxes, and the symptoms might vary, but they can be a guide and help you plan for your loved one's care. The symptoms your loved one may experience will differ from those that other people living with Alzheimer's experience and some symptoms may not appear until the later stages of Alzheimer's, or not at all. Once a symptom is evident, however, it tends to worsen with time. Although in some cases, some symptoms may disappear in later stages, such as irritability.   During stage three, the symptoms that your loved one were showing in stage two become more prominent and are more easily distinguishable between the signs of normal aging. WebMD states that there is no cure for Alzheimer's disease, so it can help to know what to expect so you can plan to meet your loved one's needs in each stage.   According to Senior Link, since there is no medical consensus for Alzheimer's stages, as there is with something like cancer, it is important for caregivers to be aware of the individual symptoms and situation that their patient or loved one is experiencing. While healthcare providers may refer to a patient's condition as “late” or “early” stage, any specific stage is less important than the context and understanding of what this means for care going forward.   Senior Link also says that learning about the stage of Alzheimer's disease that a loved one is experiencing helps provide perspective and context. This knowledge makes it easier to have conversations with doctors about the patient's condition and how to approach future treatment options. Understanding the later stages of the disease also helps when planning for lifestyle changes, new equipment, and other items that may be needed. One of the other major benefits in understanding the overall progression of Alzheimer's disease is preparing for future living arrangements, such as a memory care community or professional home care, that could become a preferred option during later stages of the disease. Because the cost of dementia care is high, families should begin planning as soon as possible following a diagnosis.   The Alzheimer Society says that the early stage of Alzheimer's disease, also referred to as “mild Alzheimer's disease”, marks a beginning that will bring with it significant changes for your loved one and the people that care about them. They will likely retain many of their abilities and require minimal assistance during this third stage. They may have insight into their changing abilities and therefore, can inform others of their experience of living with the disease and help to plan and direct their future care.   They may also be feeling overwhelmed and apprehensive about the future. It is normal for both you and your loved one to have many mixed emotions including feelings of grief and sadness. Many people are concerned about how the changes will affect them, how they will plan for the future, and how they will get the help and information that they need.   If you or your loved one are worried about how to handle some of the common symptoms of Alzheimer's, the Alzheimer Society has a handy chart that you may find useful. We have a link to the document in our show notes if you would like to look at it yourself, but we're going to be going over it here, as well.   If your loved one is experiencing some forgetfulness, try using labels, notes, calendars, alarms and timers, and pill dispensers to make their day easier. You can also create a memory station by the phone to post emergency numbers and people that they contact frequently.   Is your loved one having difficulty learning new things and following conversations? Try breaking tasks into smaller steps. Make sure you, and your loved one, acknowledge their limits. Knowing where to stop can be hard but setting boundaries ahead of time can save you time and frustration later. When visiting with groups, try to keep the size of the group as small as possible. The larger the group, the more confusing it can be for someone with Alzheimer's to follow the conversation. Have a conversation with your loved one to understand what they need in order to participate in conversations. They may need to take more frequent breaks or rests or need to write things down to follow a conversation. Having this conversation with your loved one can make sure they have all the tools they need to participate in and enjoy a conversation and keep up with their social life.   Your loved one may have difficulty concentrating or have a limited attention span. Try picking activities that are manageable by them and do only one thing at a time. Listening to audio books or music or watching movies can also help them practice concentrating. Make sure they have the option to take breaks and be careful to avoid overstimulation. Following a daily routine can also help your loved one concentrate on tasks better.   Many people with Alzheimer's develop problems with orientation, getting lost, and following directions. If this happens to your loved one, you can schedule rides with family and friends or call for a cab. When the time comes, make sure to have a conversation with your loved one about their ability to drive. During the early stages of Alzheimer's, many people are still able to drive, but everyone is different. If it is unsafe for them or others on the road, your loved one should not be driving.   Communication difficulties are something many with Alzheimer's face. Make sure that your loved one has enough time to talk or think through their answer. Inform friends and family that your loved one may be slower to respond, but to make sure to not try to fill in the silence between their responses. Go with your loved one to their appointments or make sure someone else is able to go with them if you are unable to make it. Your loved one may need someone there to help communicate for them and add much needed clarity that they may not be able to do themselves.   If your loved one is currently working, they will want to have a plan for when they have difficulty handling problems at work. It's important that they are realistic about their abilities and that they don't try to push themselves too hard. When necessary, they should also talk to their manager about reducing their hours or finding new tasks and opportunities. The part that they will need your help with the most is planning for a time when they will not be able to work. You can help them determine at what point they will step away and make a financial plan for that time, as well.   You loved one may experience mild coordination problems at times. You will want to make sure that they have safe and secure handrails and grab bars available. You should also make sure that their living space is free from items that may cause tripping hazards, like rugs. Brighter lighting can also help them to see better and make it easier, and safer, for them to get around.   If your loved one has an impaired ability to perform challenging cognitive tasks, again, discuss their abilities and limitations with them. Help them with tasks but try not to do the tasks for them. If they do a task, but it isn't done quite how you think it should be done, don't correct them, unless it could be dangerous or unsafe for them or someone else. If they don't want to do tasks or get frustrated easily, focus on tasks you know they can manage and enjoy. Completing a task successfully can increase their self-esteem and help improve their mood.   We've already talked about mood shifts, depression, passiveness, and withdrawing from social situations and hobbies in previous episodes so we are not going to be going over these strategies, but you can see what the Alzheimer's Society suggests by finding their link in our show notes.   Now that you've heard some strategies that you may find useful during stage three and beyond, we're going to hear from people that have been diagnosed with Alzheimer's and what they want you, as a caregiver, family member, or friend, to know.   One person, in regards to having a conversation and getting details of a memory wrong, says please don't correct me. I know better – the information just isn't available to me at that moment. Another says remember, my feelings are intact and get hurt easily. A third says try to ignore off-hand remarks that I wouldn't have made in the past. If you focus on it, it won't prevent it from happening again. It just makes me feel worse.   You may find that your loved one says the wrong word when referring to an item. For example, they may call a watch a hand clock. Another person with Alzheimer's says I usually know when the wrong word comes out and I'm as surprised as you are.   I need people to speak a little slower on the telephone, one says. While another says speak to me clearly, one thought at a time; don't ask a question when you can provide a statement.   Some people become confused at times. One person that experiences times of confusion says I may say something that is real to me but may not be factual. I am not lying, even if the information is not correct. Don't argue; it won't solve anything.   In group settings, someone with Alzheimer's recommends that you please keep an eye on me because I can get lost easily! But please don't shadow my every move. Use gentle respect to guide me. Another person says that if you can anticipate that I am getting into difficulty, please don't draw attention to it, but try to carefully help me through it so nobody else will be aware of the problem.   When talking with your loved one with Alzheimer's, there are many times where you can both accidentally offend or hurt the other's feelings. One person living with Alzheimer's says sometimes you give me the message that you think I am faking these problems. What you don't see is my terrible confusion and my hurt knowing how you feel. Another person says I don't mean to frustrate you. I know you get impatient and tired of telling me things, three times in a row. Please be patient.   People with Alzheimer's also say they want you to ask them what they think or want. Don't assume that you know and ask them in a straightforward language when you have their attention.   The most important quote we found is believe I still love you, even if I am having trouble showing it. You loved one is going through a lot of changes and struggles, and the change in dynamics of your relationship with them may be confusing, but they still love you, even if it becomes harder for them to tell or show you.   The Alzheimer's Society says that despite your best efforts, caring for someone with dementia becomes harder as the disease moves on, and the person you are caring for becomes more dependent on you. This is a time when many family members need more support for themselves. Our goal is to be a place of support for you during this difficult time. We hope that this episode has helped you learn more about the third stage of Alzheimer's and how you can support your loved one with Alzheimer's through this stage of mild cognitive decline and into the next four stages.   If you would like to learn more about Alzheimer's and how you can prepare now to support yourself or a loved one later, check out our website for resources. You can also visit your local senior center or the Alzheimer's Association to see what help is available in your area. You can also check out our Alzheimer's and Dementia playlist on YouTube for a complete list of all the episodes we have done on this topic.   We want to say thank you for joining us here at All Home Care Matters, All Home Care Matters is here for you and to help families as they navigate these long-term care issues. Please visit us at allhomecarematters.com there is a private secure fillable form there where you can give us feedback, show ideas, or if you have questions. Every form is read and responded to. If you know someone who could benefit from this episode, please share it with them.   Remember, you can listen to the show on any of your favorite podcast streaming platforms and watch the show on our YouTube channel and make sure to hit that subscribe button, so you'll never miss an episode. We look forward to seeing you next time on All Home Care Matters, thank you.   Sources: https://www.nia.nih.gov/news/half-alzheimers-disease-cases-may-be-mild   https://www.seniorlink.com/blog/the-7-stages-of-alzheimers   https://www.webmd.com/alzheimers/guide/alzheimers-disease-stages   https://www.pennmedicine.org/updates/blogs/neuroscience-blog/2019/november/stages-of-alzheimers   https://alzheimer.ca/sites/default/files/documents/progression_early-stage-3.pdf   https://alzheimer.ca/en/help-support/im-caring-person-living-dementia/what-expect-persons-dementia-progresses

    Quick Tips: Winter Safety Tips for Seniors

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 20, 2021 10:02

    We want to thank you for joining us for another Quick Tips episode of All Home Care Matters. Today, we are talking about how to stay warm, stay safe, and stay active this winter. Winter can be beautiful, but dangerous for seniors. We want to make sure you can enjoy this cold weather safely! Now let's move on to the rest of the show.   If you've been listening to the podcast for a while, you probably heard our episode on extreme heat. If you missed the episode, you can find our episode, Keeping Seniors Safe in the Heat, wherever you listen to your podcasts and also on our YouTube channel. In this episode, we talked about how our natural ability to regulate our body temperature diminishes as we age and seniors may have trouble cooling themselves off when exposed to heat for too long. Because of this, seniors often experience heat stroke and sickness. It's no different when it comes to colder weather.   According to the National Institute on Aging, older adults can lose body heat fast—faster than when they were young. Changes in your body that come with aging can make it harder for you to be aware of getting cold. A big chill can turn into a dangerous problem before an older person even knows what's happening. Doctors call this serious problem hypothermia.   Hypothermia is what happens when your body temperature becomes critically low. For an older person, a body temperature of 95°F or lower can cause many health problems, such as a heart attack, kidney problems, liver damage, or worse. Being outside in the cold, or even being in a very cold house, can lead to hypothermia.   How cold is too cold? It can be hard to tell yourself if you are experiencing hypothermia. We found Bob's story from the National Institute on Aging that illustrates how one senior experienced hypothermia. Bob says that Vermont winters can be very cold. Last December, he wanted to save some money so he turned his heat down to 62°F. He didn't know that would put his health in danger.   Luckily, his son Tyler came by to check on him. Tyler saw that his dad was only wearing a light shirt and that his house was cold. Tyler said he was speaking slowly, shivering, and having trouble walking. Tyler wrapped him in a blanket and called 9-1-1.   It turns out that Bob had hypothermia. His son's quick thinking saved his life. Now on cold days, he keeps his heat at least at 68°F and wears a sweater in the house.   Bob's story luckily has a happy ending, but if his son hadn't stopped by, it may have ended very differently. Hypothermia can happen when you least expect it. Knowing the signs ahead of time could save your life.   According to HealthInAging.org, the warning signs of hypothermia include cold skin that is pale or ashy, feeling very tired, confused, and sleepy, feeling weak, problems walking, and slowed breathing or heart rate. If you notice any of these signs, call 911 immediately and try to warm up.   HealthInAging.org also recommends taking the following precautions to prevent hypothermia:   Stay indoors (or don't stay outside for very long). Keep indoor temperature at 65 degrees or warmer. Stay dry because wet clothing chills your body more quickly. Dress smart – protect your lungs from cold air and layer up! Wearing 2 or 3 thinner layers of loose-fitting clothing is warmer than a single layer of thick clothing. Think about getting your thermals! When going outside during the winter, make sure to wear a hat, gloves (or preferably mittens), winter coat, boots, and a scarf to cover your mouth and nose. You should also keep a backup of these items in your vehicle in case of an emergency.   Another major concern for seniors during the winter is frostbite. According to The AGS Foundation for Health in Aging, extreme cold can also cause frostbite, which is damage to the skin that can go all the way down to the bone. Frostbite usually affects the nose, ears, cheeks, chin, fingers, and toes. In very bad cases, it can result in loss of limbs. People with heart disease and other circulation problems are also at a higher risk of getting frostbite. To protect against frostbite, cover up all parts of your body when you go outside. If your skin turns red or dark or starts hurting, go inside immediately. You should also know the telltale signs of frostbite: numbness, skin that's grayish-yellow or ashy, or skin that feels hard or waxy.   If you think you or someone else has frostbite, call for medical help immediately. A person with frostbite may also have hypothermia, so check for those symptoms, as well.   Seniors should also be cautious when walking outside. Snow and ice can make the ground hazardous by covering up cracks and making slick spots. Dr. Stanley Wang, a physician at Stanford Hospital in Palo Alto, California recommends older adults wear shoes with good traction and non-skid soles and stay inside until the roads are clear. Replacing a worn cane tip can make walking easier, and older people are advised to take their shoes off as soon as they return indoors, because often snow and ice attach to the soles and, once melted, can lead to slippery conditions inside.   For more information about reducing your risk of a fall, you can listen to our episode on fall safety tips. If you don't have time for a full episode, we also have a quick tips episode on fall prevention. You can find these episodes on our website, our YouTube channel, and wherever you get your podcasts.   Seniors should also be cautious shoveling snow. No one really enjoys this task, but it can be dangerous for older individuals. If you have heart problems, trouble balancing, or are feeling weak, you should avoid shoveling snow. If you have any health issues, ask your doctor if it is safe to shovel snow.   During the winter, it's nice to sit in front of a fireplace or a heater, but make sure you are properly taking care of these heat sources to prevent fires and carbon monoxide poisoning. Make sure to properly vent and clean your fireplace and appliances and know the warning signs of carbon monoxide poisoning.   According to HealthInAging.org, carbon monoxide poisoning can cause headaches, weakness, nausea or vomiting, dizziness, confusion, blurred vision, and loss of consciousness. Carbon monoxide poisoning is also behind several ghost sightings. Many people that believed they were living in a haunted house actually were suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning. Pacific Heating and Cooling warns that if you are hearing and seeing things, feeling zapped of energy, and sense a strange presence at home, it may be due to a carbon monoxide leak. If you suspect you may have a gas leak in your home, evacuate your home and call 911 immediately. You should also have a carbon monoxide detector in your house since we can't detect it ourselves.   If anyone in your family is showing any signs of carbon monoxide poisoning, you should also get them to the emergency room as soon as possible. According to Pacific Heating and Cooling, even small amounts of carbon monoxide can cause irreparable damage, including brain and organ damage. See a doctor immediately if there is any evidence of carbon monoxide leaks in the home.   Now that we've told you all about staying warm and staying safe this winter, let's move on to the final part of our episode, staying active.   It may be harder to exercise in the winter when you can't walk outside as often, but you should still exercise in other ways. Signing up for indoor classes is a great way to exercise and socialize during the winter. If you don't want to leave your home to exercise, you can take a virtual class or use items around your home to work out.   The Mayo Clinic suggests doing some of the following in your home workout routine:   Use cans of soup or water bottles as hand weights. Go from a sitting to a standing position out of a dining room chair two to three times in a row instead of just once. Walk up and down a hallway or large open space. Go up and down your stairs multiple times. Turn up the music and dance in your kitchen.   Staying active doesn't just mean exercising. You should keep up on other social activities, as well. If you normally go for walks with a friend, consider walking around an indoor mall. Going to the movies or a museum is a great way to get out of the house and both of these activities can be done solo or with a group.   Whatever you do, don't let the cold weather stop you from doing what you enjoy. As long as you bundle up and listen to your body, you can still enjoy the cold weather. Just remember to stay safe, stay warm, and stay active.   We want to say thank you for joining us here at All Home Care Matters, All Home Care Matters is here for you and to help families as they navigate these long-term care issues. Please visit us at allhomecarematters.com there is a private secure fillable form there where you can give us feedback, show ideas, or if you have questions. Every form is read and responded to. If you know someone who could benefit from this episode, please share it with them.   Remember, you can listen to the show on any of your favorite podcast streaming platforms and watch the show on our YouTube channel and make sure to hit that subscribe button, so you'll never miss an episode. We look forward to seeing you next time on All Home Care Matters, thank you.   Sources: https://www.hchcares.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/wintersafety_tips.pdf   https://www.healthinaging.org/tools-and-tips/tip-sheet-winter-safety-older-adults   https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/cold-weather-safety-older-adults   https://www.care.com/c/winter-safety-tips-for-seniors   https://www.pacificheatingcooling.com/2018/12/27/carbon-monoxide-hauntings-co-furnace-safety/   https://www.mayoclinichealthsystem.org/hometown-health/speaking-of-health/ways-for-seniors-to-remain-active-this-winter

    Alzheimer's What it Is and What it Looks Like (Mini-Series Part 1)

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 14, 2021 20:37

    Today's episode will be the first in a series on the seven stages of Alzheimer's. For the first episode, we are going to be discussing what Alzheimer's is and what the common signs and symptoms are, and how it is being treated today. Then, we'll move on to a brief overview of the seven stages before taking an in-depth look at stages one and two. Now let's move on to the rest of the show.   According to the Alzheimer's Association, Alzheimer's is a type of dementia that affects memory, thinking, and behavior. Symptoms eventually grow severe enough to interfere with daily tasks. Alzheimer's is the most common cause of dementia, a general term for memory loss and other cognitive abilities serious enough to interfere with daily life. Alzheimer's disease accounts for somewhere between 60 and 80 percent of dementia cases.   Alzheimer's is a progressive disease. In most cases, symptoms worsen gradually over several years. After being diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, a person usually lives anywhere from four to eight years, but in some cases, individuals have lived for over 20 years with Alzheimer's.   Everyone experiences Alzheimer's differently. There are many different signs and symptoms of Alzheimer's that you should be aware of, especially if you are concerned that you or a loved one may be experiencing any of the symptoms.   The Alzheimer's Association lists 10 early signs and symptoms of Alzheimer's that you should be on the lookout for. The first sign they suggest is memory loss that disrupts daily life. As we age, we may begin to forget things and not be able to easily recall information, like names or specific memories, but we may be able to recall the information later. Not being able to recall the information at all is an early sign of Alzheimer's. One example of this is your loved one asking the same question repeatedly because they don't remember asking it or hearing your answer.   The second sign to look for is challenges in planning or problem solving. Trouble keeping track of finances or making a recipe they have made numerous times can both be examples of trouble planning or problem solving. Making the occasional mistake paying bills, however, is not an example of this. Mistakes happen but having an issue figuring out how to pay their bills or adding numbers may be a sign your loved one has Alzheimer's.   Having difficulty completing familiar tasks is the third sign you should be looking for. Not remembering how to drive to a place your loved one has been to many times or not remembering how to write or organize their grocery list how they normally do can be an early sign of Alzheimer's.   Another sign is being confused with times or places. Not knowing what day of the week it is can be an indicator that your loved one is confusing times or places, but it can also just be a normal sign of aging. Not knowing what season it is or not knowing where they are is mainly what we are referring to with this sign.   Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships is the fifth sign that the Alzheimer's Association lists. Vision problems unrelated to cataracts can be a sign of Alzheimer's. Having trouble judging distance or being unable to differentiate colors are both examples of this sign. These things can also make driving difficult and possibly unsafe for your loved one as well.   Another early sign to look for is new problems with words in speaking or writing. Someone with Alzheimer's may have trouble following or continuing a conversation. They may forget words or the entire rest of their train of thought. Forgetting a word on its own may not be an early sign of Alzheimer's, but constantly forgetting words or using the wrong word may be a sign your loved one has Alzheimer's.   The seventh sign is misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps. For this sign, your loved one will lose things and not be able to figure out how to work backwards to find them. Many people with Alzheimer's also tend to put items in unusual places, such as putting their keys in the freezer. As the disease progresses, they may even accuse others of stealing their things.   Decreased or poor judgement is another early sign of Alzheimer's. Your loved one may begin to make poor decisions frequently, like not bathing regularly or taking care of themselves as well as they should and normally would do. Making one bad decision occasionally, like skipping a shower occasionally, or not filling up their car with gas when they should may not be an early sign of Alzheimer's, but repeated decisions like these can be.   Another early sign of Alzheimer's is withdrawal from work or social activities. This sign goes along with forgetting words and having trouble with conversations. Having difficulties following a conversation may lead to having difficulties in social settings and your loved one may withdrawal from activities they once loved. Occasionally being disinterested in hobbies or visiting with friends or family is not a sign that you loved one is withdrawing from their social life. There are times when you yourself don't feel like being social and your loved one experiences times like those, as well. Continuously withdrawing from social situations is the sign you should be looking for in your loved one.   The tenth and last sign that the Alzheimer's Association mentions is changes in mood and personality. Your loved one may experience moods more strongly than they once did. They may become easily upset when they are uncomfortable and lash out at their friends and loved ones.   If you notice any of these signs or symptoms in your loved one, schedule an appointment with their doctor. They may be experiencing normal age-related symptoms and not symptoms of Alzheimer's or another dementia, but their doctor will be able to determine whether they are showing signs of Alzheimer's. Early detection and diagnosis of Alzheimer's can help their doctor develop a treatment plan that will allow your loved one to maintain their independence longer and help control some of the symptoms right away, making their day-to-day life easier.   Some symptoms of Alzheimer's disease may seem like they are just signs of the normal aging process, but they are not. Increasing age is a risk factor of Alzheimer's, but age itself is not a cause of Alzheimer's. Most cases of Alzheimer's happen after age 65, but some happen before that age. Alzheimer's that happens before age 65 is called younger-onset or early-onset Alzheimer's. Individuals diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's can be in any of the seven stages of Alzheimer's at the time of their diagnosis.   As we said previously, early detection of Alzheimer's is crucial. The earlier someone is diagnosed, the faster they can start treatment and get back to enjoying their lives and time with their loved ones. Currently, there is no cure for Alzheimer's, but there are a few ways that doctors can treat the symptoms.   A new drug called aducanumab has recently been approved by the FDA to be used to address the underlying biology of Alzheimer's disease. This drug is a treatment and not a cure. According to the Alzheimer's Association, it is the first therapy to demonstrate that removing amyloid, one of the hallmarks of Alzheimer's disease, from the brain is reasonably likely to reduce cognitive and functional decline in people living with early Alzheimer's.   Approval of this therapy underscores the importance of early detection and accurate diagnosis. Treatment with aducanumab should be initiated in patients with mild cognitive impairment or mild dementia stage of disease, the population in which treatment was initiated in clinical trials.    Aducanumab was studied in people living with early Alzheimer's disease and mild cognitive impairment due to Alzheimer's who showed evidence of a buildup of amyloid plaques in the brain. Because of this, this treatment has not yet been recommended for individuals with middle or end stage Alzheimer's.   Other medications treat the symptoms of Alzheimer's, but not the underlying biology, like aducanumab does. There are medications that help treat cognitive issues, like memory problems, and there are medications that help with behavioral and psychological problems. There are also several clinical trials going on to help improve both memory problems and behavioral and psychological problems due to Alzheimer's.   There are also alternative treatment plans that don't require medication. Some supplements and foods may help improve the symptoms of Alzheimer's. A fairly new idea that we recently talked about in a Quick Tips episode is a Dementia Friendly Community. These communities make it safer for those living with dementia to maintain their independence and help them be a part of society after they have been diagnosed with Alzheimer's. To learn more about treatments for Alzheimer's, talk to your doctor today. They can go over treatment options and recommend a best course of action.   You can also call the Alzheimer's Association 24/7 helpline for any questions you may have regarding Alzheimer's disease. They can be reached at 1-800-272-3900.   Now that we've discussed what Alzheimer's is, what some of the signs and symptoms to look for are, and how it is currently being treated, let's move on to a brief overview of the seven stages of Alzheimer's.   You may be familiar with the three most commonly referred to stages of Alzheimer's, the beginning, middle, and end stages, but today we are going to be expanding upon those and talking about all seven stages of Alzheimer's.   The Global Deterioration Scale for Assessment of Primary Degenerative Dementia, which is what we are referring to as the seven-stage model of Alzheimer's disease progression, was created by Dr. Barry Reisberg to provide caregivers an overview of the stages of cognitive function for those suffering from a primary degenerative dementia such as Alzheimer's disease.   The first stage is referred to as no impairment or before symptoms appear. Changes in the brain are happening during this stage, but no noticeable signs or symptoms will be seen. Because there are no signs or symptoms during this stage, people are not normally diagnosed during stage one.   Dr. Wolk, co-director of the Penn Memory Center states that “this time period — often called ‘pre-clinical Alzheimer's disease' — likely begins 10 or 15 years before people have symptoms. Currently, there is no treatment for this pre-clinical stage, but we hope in the future that we will have medicines that can halt the progress before people have symptoms and prevent the disease.”   The second stage of Alzheimer's tends to show up as a very mild decline in cognitive health. According to Senior Link, in this stage, a person with Alzheimer's disease begins to experience the typical forgetfulness associated with aging. They may forget where they left their car keys or their purse. These symptoms are typically not yet noticed by the individual's family members or physician.   The third stage of dementia shows noticeable memory difficulties and is sometimes referred to as a mild decline. Dr. Wolk explains that “for many, this stage brings noticeable changes, and it will become harder to blame age. It's common to be diagnosed in this stage, because this is when a person's daily routine becomes more disrupted.” These first three stages usually occur prior to a diagnosis. An early diagnosis is usually made in stage three, with early-stage dementia being stage four.   Stage four is known as moderate cognitive decline and, as we just said, is what is usually referred to as early-stage dementia. According to Dr. Wolk, in this stage, damage to the brain often involves other aspects of cognition outside of memory, including some difficulty with language, organization, and calculations. These problems can make it more challenging for your loved one to perform daily tasks. Because of the damage to the brain cells, your loved one may also experience other personality changes, such as feeling suspicious of others, having less interest in things, or feeling depressed. These kinds of symptoms can often be improved with medications.   Stages five and six make up mid-stage dementia. Stage five is known as moderately severe cognitive decline or decreased independence. According to the Premiere Neurology Center, from stages one through four, most people will continue to maintain their independence with only minor challenges. However, during stage 5, independence becomes harder since they begin to forget close friends and family, struggle to learn new skills, and may forget to perform basic tasks, like getting dressed. Additionally, emotional changes are also frequently seen during this stage. This can cause hallucinations, delusions, and/or paranoia.   With stage six comes severe symptoms or severe cognitive decline. Dr. Wolk says that living on your own requires you to be able to respond to your environment, like knowing what to do if the fire alarm goes off or the phone rings. During stage six, this becomes difficult for people with Alzheimer's. Your loved one will be experiencing more significant symptoms at this time, which will impact their ability to manage their own care and they will be more dependent on others.   Late or end stage dementia is also known as stage seven - very severe cognitive decline or a lack of physical control. The Premiere Neurology Center says that the final stage of Alzheimer's disease is when the brain has sustained so much damage that it fails to communicate with other parts of the body, causing mental and physical impairment. During this final stage, people require around the clock care and assistance for even the most basic parts of their daily routine.   Now that you know what the seven stages of Alzheimer's are, let's take a closer look at stages one and two.   Stage one is the preclinical Alzheimer's stage or the no impairment stage. Most people are not diagnosed during this stage, but it isn't impossible to be diagnosed during stage one. According to Healthline, you may only know about your risk for Alzheimer's disease due to family history or your doctor may identify biomarkers that indicate your risk.   Your doctor will interview you about memory problems if you're at risk for Alzheimer's, but there will be no noticeable symptoms during the first stage, which can last for years or decades. Changes in the brain can happen up to fifteen years before any signs or symptoms of Alzheimer's even develop.   While Alzheimer's may be undetectable in stage one, knowing the risk factors of Alzheimer's can help you spot signs and symptoms as soon as they appear, and as we have said a few times today, the earlier you can diagnosis Alzheimer's, the better.   Age, gender, genetics, family history, head trauma, brain abnormalities, smoking, high blood pressure, obesity, limited physical activity, lack of mental activity, and a poor diet are all risk factors for Alzheimer's disease.   According to Healthline, Alzheimer's is not a normal part of growing older. However, age is a risk factor for developing this condition. One in nine people over age 65 and one in three people over 85 have Alzheimer's.   Women are one and half to three times more likely to develop Alzheimer's than men. Healthline also states that Researchers have found two classes of genes related to Alzheimer's. Deterministic genes guarantee that people will develop the disease if they live long enough. Usually, people with deterministic genes will develop Alzheimer's in their 30s, 40s, or 50s. The Mayo Clinic estimates that these genes caused the condition in about five percent of people with Alzheimer's.   People with risk genes may or may not develop the disease. However, they are more likely to develop Alzheimer's than people without risk genes.   If your family has a history of Alzheimer's, you are also at a higher risk. The more family members you have had that had Alzheimer's disease, the higher your risk will be, as well.   Researchers have found that if you have had serious head injuries you are also at a higher risk for Alzheimer's disease. Healthline states that the risk increases if the injury involves losing consciousness or happens repeatedly, such as in contact sports. Along with head trauma, scientists have identified brain abnormalities in people who are likely to later develop Alzheimer's. One is the presence of tiny clumps of protein, also known as plaques. The other is twisted protein strands, or tangles. Inflammation, tissue shrinkage, and loss of connection between brain cells are other clues that Alzheimer's may develop.   Smoking can also increase your risk of developing Alzheimer's, as well as numerous other health problems. High blood pressure is another risk factor tied to Alzheimer's. Researchers have found an especially strong correlation between high blood pressure at middle age and the chances of later developing the disease.   Both obesity and limited physical activity increase your risk of Alzheimer's. Being overweight can double your risk. An article published in Maturitas, an international journal of midlife health and beyond found that exercising twice a week during midlife may lower your risk of developing Alzheimer's.   Lack of mental activity is another risk factor for Alzheimer's. When we challenge our mental capabilities by trying new things and learning new things, playing an instrument, or doing other activities that use our minds, we create internal connections that can help protect against dementia.   Lastly, a poor diet can be a risk factor of Alzheimer's. Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables and other healthy foods can help lower your risk of developing Alzheimer's later in life. Developing healthy habits early on can help you live a longer and healthier life overall.   Now that we've taken a closer look at stage one and some things to look out for while you're younger, let's move on to stage two.   With stage two comes some signs and symptoms that were not visible during stage one. According to Alzheimer's dot net, the senior may notice minor memory problems or lose things around the house, although not to the point where the memory loss can easily be distinguished from normal age-related memory loss. The person will still do well on memory tests and the disease is unlikely to be detected by loved ones or physicians.   Healthline says that Alzheimer's disease affects mainly older adults, over the age of 65 years. At this age, it's common to have slight functional difficulties like forgetfulness. But for stage 2 Alzheimer's, the decline will happen at a greater rate than similarly aged people without Alzheimer's. For example, they may forget familiar words, a family member's name, or where they placed something. During this stage, a loved one may notice symptoms, but not usually the person with Alzheimer's. If you recognize any cognitive decline in your loved one, talk to them about scheduling an appointment with their doctor.   In the next episode in our series we will dive into the next stage of Alzheimer's, which is stage three, noticeable memory difficulties. If you are interested in learning more about Alzheimer's before the next episode airs, visit our YouTube channel where you can find an entire playlist dedicated Alzheimer's and dementia. You can also check out the show notes for this episode for resources we used during this episode.   We want to say thank you for joining us here at All Home Care Matters, All Home Care Matters is here for you and to help families as they navigate these long-term care issues. Please visit us at allhomecarematters.com there is a private secure fillable form there where you can give us feedback, show ideas, or if you have questions. Every form is read and responded to. If you know someone who could benefit from this episode, please make sure to share it with them.   Remember, you can listen to the show on any of your favorite podcast streaming platforms and watch the show on our YouTube channel and make sure to hit that subscribe button, so you'll never miss an episode. We look forward to seeing you next time on All Home Care Matters, thank you.   Sources:   https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/stages   https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/10_signs   https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/what-is-alzheimers   https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/what-are-signs-alzheimers-disease   https://www.pennmedicine.org/updates/blogs/neuroscience-blog/2019/november/stages-of-alzheimers   https://www.alzheimers.net/stages-of-alzheimers-disease   https://www.seniorlink.com/blog/the-7-stages-of-alzheimers   https://premierneurologycenter.com/blog/the-7-stages-of-alzheimers-disease/   https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/treatments/aducanumab   https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/treatments   https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/treatments/medications-for-memory   https://www.fhca.org/members/qi/clinadmin/global.pdf   https://www.healthline.com/health/stages-progression-alzheimers#stage1   https://www.healthline.com/health/alzheimers-disease-risk-factors   https://www.maturitas.org/article/S0378-5122(09)00469-1/fulltext

    How to Prevent and Detect Malnutrition in the Elderly (Mini-Series Part 3)

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 12, 2021 14:25

    Today is our last installment of our mini-series on Seniors and Nutrition and to finish the series we will be talking about how to prevent and detect malnutrition in the elderly. First, we will discuss what malnutrition is and what it looks like in older adults. Then, we'll cover some of the factors that contribute to malnutrition. Finally, we'll end with ways you can help your loved one avoid poor nutrition, and in turn, malnutrition. Now let's move on to the rest of the show.   Good nutrition is important for everyone, regardless of age, but is especially important for older adults. According to the World Health Organization, malnutrition refers to deficiencies, excesses or imbalances in a person's intake of energy and/or nutrients. The term malnutrition covers 2 broad groups of conditions, undernutrition and overweight, obesity and diet-related noncommunicable diseases, such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and cancer.   Undernutrition includes stunting, which is low height for age, wasting, which is low weight for height, underweight, which is low weight for age, and micronutrient deficiencies or insufficiencies, which are a lack of important vitamins and minerals.   Approximately 2.4 billion adults worldwide are experiencing malnutrition, with 1.9 billion being overweight and 462 million being underweight. In some cases, people may be overweight and also exhibiting micronutrient deficiencies or may be underweight and have diabetes. Because there are many types of malnutrition, it can be hard to spot if your loved one is experiencing a form of malnutrition or not.   But left unchecked, malnutrition can cause a host of other issues. According to the Mayo Clinic, malnutrition in older adults can cause them to have a weakened immune system, which increases the risk of infections. It also can cause poor wound healing, muscle weakness and decreased bone mass, which can lead to falls and fractures, a higher risk of hospitalization, and an increased risk of death.   The Alliance for Aging Research has created a pocket film that covers who is at risk for malnutrition, the debilitating impact it can have on older adults, tips for identifying the condition, and how it can be treated and prevented. We're covering some of the key points of the video, but if you would like to watch the full thing, you can find the link to it in our show notes for today's episode.   According to the Alliance for Aging Research, Malnutrition can happen to anyone, but older adults are particularly at risk, as they are more likely to have chronic conditions that put them at risk for malnutrition. Some illnesses and diseases, like cancer and Alzheimer's, can change an older adult's appetite and metabolism and they can also require dietary restrictions that can make eating difficult.   When we picture malnutrition, we often picture starving children in third world countries or even the animals on the ASPCA commercials, but malnutrition is everywhere and far more common than we think. Malnutrition doesn't always look like someone is starving. Actually, most malnutrition cases, at least in the US, tend to look like the opposite. What's even more concerning about malnutrition, it can be impossible to see until it's too late.   Older adults often experience illnesses, diseases, or accidents that require them to be hospitalized or require them to be in a long-term care facility, both of which lead to a higher risk of malnutrition. As we age, our bodies go through changes that also can lead towards malnutrition, which is another reason that older adults are at a higher risk.   As we get older, our sense of smell and taste weakens, and things that we once enjoyed may not taste as good as they once did. Our digestive system can also slow with age, and take longer to digest meals, making us feel fuller throughout the day, but leave us lacking essential calories and nutrients. As we get older, our bodies may not be able to absorb nutrients as well, either. So, your loved one may be eating the same foods that once brought them a lot of energy, but now doesn't have the same effects.   According to the American Society for Prenatal and Enteral Nutrition, or ASPEN, malnutrition in seniors often mirrors the signs of aging. Unplanned weight loss, feeling weak or tired, loss of appetite, swelling or fluid accumulation, and being able to eat only in small amounts are all signs that your loved one is malnourished, but they are also signs of aging. If you suspect your loved one may be malnourished, talk to their doctor immediately so they can get the calories and nutrients their body needs. Now that you know what malnutrition is and what it can look like in older adults, let's move on to factors that contribute to malnutrition.   Cognitive diseases like Alzheimer's can make it difficult for your loved one to remember to eat. Mobility issues can also make it more difficult for your loved one to shop for their groceries, cook their own meals, and eat on their own. Some treatments and medications can also require dietary restrictions and cause your loved one to have a loss of appetite, leading them to become malnourished.   According to ASPEN, the causes of malnutrition in older adults are a complex blend of physical, social, and psychological issues — from the loss of appetite due to depression to the inability to get to the store for groceries. Prompt diagnosis and treatment of malnourished older adults is critical. If it goes on undetected for too long, irreversible damage and even death can occur.   Mayo Clinic lists several factors that contribute to malnutrition in older adults. Normal age-related changes in taste, smell and appetite generally decline with age, making it more difficult to enjoy eating and keep regular eating habits. Disease-related inflammation and illnesses can contribute to declines in appetite and changes in how the body processes nutrients. Impairment in ability to eat, like difficulty chewing or swallowing, poor dental health, or limited ability in handling tableware can contribute to malnutrition. Behavioral or memory problems from Alzheimer's disease or a related dementia can result in forgetting to eat, not buying groceries or other irregular food habits.   Some medications can affect appetite or the ability to absorb nutrients. Dietary restrictions for managing medical conditions — such as limits on salt, fat or sugar — might also contribute to inadequate eating. Older adults may have trouble affording groceries, especially if they're taking expensive medications. The lack of socialization can also cause malnutrition.   Older adults who eat alone might not enjoy meals as before and lose interest in cooking and eating. Adults with limited mobility may not have access to food or the right types of food. Grief, loneliness, failing health, lack of mobility and other factors might contribute to depression — causing loss of appetite. Older adults that suffer from Alcoholism are also at a higher risk of malnutrition, in addition to numerous other health problems. Too much alcohol can interfere with the digestion and absorption of nutrients. Misuse of alcohol may also result in poor eating habits and poor decisions about nutrition.   There are several factors that can contribute to malnutrition, as you have just seen, but the list goes on and on. Knowing some of these factors to look out for can make malnutrition easier to spot in your loved one. And it is important to know that just because they are eating, does not mean they are eating well or eating enough. If your loved one seems to be eating regularly, but is losing weight or experiencing low energy levels, they may have a nutrient deficiency and need to be on a special diet, so it is important that you talk to their doctor about any changes in their behavior, and their diet, that you notice, especially if your loved one is unable to notice it on their own.   Now that we have discussed what malnutrition is, what it looks like in older adults, and the factors that contribute to malnutrition, we can move on to our final section, how to help your elderly loved one avoid poor nutrition.   Mayo Clinic says that as a caregiver or adult child of an older adult, you can take steps to monitor nutritional health, watch for weight loss and address risk factors of malnutrition. You can monitor your loved one's weight by checking their weight at home and keeping a weekly record of it. You can also do a visual check of how their clothes fit, as it can indicate weight loss, as well.   Observing their habits is another good way to keep track of their nutrition. You can spend mealtimes together at home — or during mealtime in a hospital or care facility — to observe eating habits and note what kinds of food are eaten and how much. Keeping a record of all medications, the reason for each medication, dosages, treatment schedules and possible side effects can also help your loved one avoid poor nutrition. As we age, many people need medication every day, and those medications can come with side effects that involve loss of appetite or other things that make eating more difficult. When consulting a doctor about poor nutrition, having all of this information on hand can help them determine if your loved one is malnourished faster, resulting in faster treatment that could potentially save their life.   Helping your loved one plan healthy meals or preparing meals ahead of time for them can help ensure that they have access to the nutrients they need. Helping them prepare a shopping list or shopping together can also help them make sure that they always have the items they need to make healthy choices at mealtimes.   There are many agencies and organizations that exist just to ensure that seniors have access to nutritional meals. Contact your local service agencies that provide at-home meal deliveries, in-home visits from nurses or dieticians, access to food pantries, or other nutrition services to see what help your loved one can be receiving. The local Area Agency on Aging or a county social worker can provide more information about services in your area.   If your loved one lives alone and is having trouble eating, they may benefit from social interactions during meals. You could try dropping by during mealtime or invite your loved one to your home for an occasional meal. Going out to eat at a restaurant can be a special treat for them, and they can use their senior discounts.   Lastly, daily exercise — even if it's light — can stimulate appetite and strengthen bones and muscles. Encourage your loved one to go on walks if they are able to. Not only can it help stimulate their appetite, but it can help improve their mood. If they are suffering from depression, even a slight mood improvement can increase their appetite, as well.   If your loved one needs help improving their nutrition, there are a few things you can do. Before starting anything new, always make sure you discuss the change with their doctor first. When planning meals for your loved, make sure you are including a variety of nutrient-rich foods. A good rule of thumb is to include the rainbow on their plate. Really, all that means is make sure you are including a variety of colored foods, as they all contain different nutrients.   Using different herbs and spiced to add flavor to meals can help your loved one improve their interest in eating. Experimenting with these things can help your loved one find a new favorite and cause them to be excited for their next meal.   If eating on their own is not enough, you can use supplemental nutrition drinks to help with calorie intake and you can add things like egg whites or whey powder to meals to increase proteins without adding saturated fats.   Observing your loved one during mealtimes is the best way for you to prevent and detect malnutrition in your loved one. Actually, being able to see what they eat and don't eat and being able to witness any problems they have with eating can help you determine if your loved one has any problems that their doctor should be aware of. If you notice they are coughing a lot when they are eating and having trouble swallowing, they may have a medical condition that is causing that that if their doctor was aware of, could be fixed.   Knowing your loved one's eating habits can also help when shopping or cooking. If your loved one is unable to go to the store or cook their own meals, know what they like and what they are able to eat can help ensure that they eat more, or less if that is the problem. Now, you don't want to make your loved one feel like they have no control over their eating time or like they have lost their independence. We are not suggesting that you stand over them at mealtime. When you take them out to dinner or come visit for lunch, just be aware while you are with them and take note of their habits. It may be useful in the future, and it may not, but it is always better to be safe than sorry.   If your loved one is having difficulty eating or you notice any changes in their diet or weight, even if you don't think they are malnourished, talk to their doctor. Malnutrition often goes undetected and undiagnosed until it is too late, so if you have any suspicions, it is always better to tell your doctor sooner rather than later. You may also find you need the help of a nutritionist when figure out what your loved one should be and needs to be eating. Your doctor or your local senior center can give you resources and referrals for nutritionists in your area. Your local senior center may even have a nutritionist on staff that you can meet with.   We want to say thank you for joining us here at All Home Care Matters, All Home Care Matters is here for you and to help families as they navigate these long-term care issues. Please visit us at allhomecarematters.com there is a private secure fillable form there where you can give us feedback, show ideas, or if you have questions. Every form is read and responded to. If you know someone who could benefit from this episode, please make sure to share it with them.   Remember, you can listen to the show on any of your favorite podcast streaming platforms and watch the show on our YouTube channel and make sure to hit that subscribe button, so you'll never miss an episode. We look forward to seeing you next time on All Home Care Matters, thank you.   Sources: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/caregivers/in-depth/senior-health/art-20044699   https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/malnutrition   https://www.agingresearch.org/campaign/malnutrition/   https://www.nutritioncare.org/Guidelines_and_Clinical_Resources/Spotting_Malnutrition_in_Seniors/      

    Quick Tips: Recognizing Alzheimer's Disease

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 8, 2021 9:28

    Today's Quick Tips episode is congruent with our series on the seven stages of Alzheimer's disease. We have been talking a lot about Alzheimer's lately, but it is an important topic that we could never exhaust. Today's Quick Tips episode is about recognizing Alzheimer's disease. First, we'll discuss what Alzheimer's is. Then, we'll move on to some of the common signs and symptoms of Alzheimer's and what to do when you notice signs. Finally, we'll talk about resources, tips, and tools to help families dealing with Alzheimer's. Now let's move on to the rest of the show.   The National Institute on Aging explains that Alzheimer's disease is a brain disorder that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills and, eventually, the ability to carry out the simplest tasks. The disease is named after Dr. Alois Alzheimer. In 1906, Dr. Alzheimer noticed changes in the brain tissue of a woman who had died of an unusual mental illness. Her symptoms included memory loss, language problems, and unpredictable behavior. After she died, he examined her brain and found many abnormal clumps, what we now call amyloid plaques, and tangled bundles of fibers, what we now call neurofibrillary, or tau, tangles.   Alzheimer's disease affects more than 6 million Americans over 65. This number is not including those under 65, usually in their thirties or forties, diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's. Currently, the biggest known risk factor for Alzheimer's disease is age. As our population continues to rise, so will the number of Alzheimer's cases.   According to the Alzheimer's Association, the most common early symptom of Alzheimer's is difficulty remembering newly learned information. The NHS, the UK's biggest health website, lists some of the early symptoms of Alzheimer's as forgetting about recent conversations or events, misplacing items, forgetting the names of places and objects, having trouble thinking of the right word, asking questions repetitively, showing poor judgement or finding it harder to make decisions, and becoming less flexible and more hesitant to try new things.   If you are noticing symptoms in yourself or in a loved one, it's a good idea to start a journal or at least write down a list of symptoms when they appear so that you can have a log to take with you to your doctor. The next thing, and possibly the first thing you should do, is schedule an appointment with your doctor. A physician will be able to determine if you have Alzheimer's or if there are any other medical problems going on.   Your risk for developing Alzheimer's increases with a family history of Alzheimer's. If you have family members that have had Alzheimer's, make sure that your doctor is aware. Your doctor may want to do some testing to see if you have any genetic markers for the disease or to test for Alzheimer's. If you have the genetic markers for Alzheimer's, that doesn't mean that you will develop Alzheimer's, but that you have the chance of developing Alzheimer's.   There is no way to actually prevent Alzheimer's, but there are some ways to lower your risk of developing Alzheimer's. Eating a healthy diet and exercising your body and mind may help lower your risk. According to the Bright Focus Foundation, researchers are trying to understand if how we eat and what types of food we eat will lower your risk of developing Alzheimer's. Eating a diet high in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and fish, and low in sugar and fat, such as the Mediterranean Diet, can reduce the incidence of many chronic diseases such as heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. Scientists are currently studying if eating healthy can reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer's and you may find that eating well increases your greater overall health.   The Bright Focus Foundation also says that physical exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, and some studies suggest that it can improve cognitive agility. For an Alzheimer's patient, exercise may also help maintain muscle strength, decrease frailty, and elevate mood. Some research suggests that “exercising our brain,” through activities like reading, learning a musical instrument, or playing chess, can help protect people from cognitive decline later in life, which is what people with Alzheimer's experience.   The last thing Bright Focus Foundation recommends to lower your risk is to decrease your risk of head traumas. We are learning from people with battlefield or sports injuries that past traumatic head injury may be associated with Alzheimer's. Your risk increases if the injury involved you losing consciousness, or if you've had multiple head injuries from playing contact sports. This discovery is fueling public health efforts to improve the protective quality of helmets, and reduce the rates of head injuries, in certain sports.   If you or your loved one has Alzheimer's and you or your family are wondering how to support a loved one with Alzheimer's, the Alzheimer's Association is a good place to start. First, they recommend that you educate yourself about Alzheimer's disease and learn about its signs and symptoms and how you should talk to a loved one with Alzheimer's. Next, they say you should stay in touch. A card, a call, or a visit means a lot and shows you care. The person diagnosed with Alzheimer's isn't the only one dealing with a new stressful situation. Their friends and family are also adjusting to this new diagnosis and could use all the support they can get, as well.   Then, they say it's important to be patient. Adjusting to an Alzheimer's diagnosis is an ongoing process and each person reacts differently. If you can, offer a shoulder to lean on. The disease can create stress for the entire family. Simply offering your support and friendship is helpful.   You should also try to engage the person with dementia in conversation. It's important to involve the person in conversation even when his or her ability to participate becomes more limited. They may be feeling isolated from others during this time and you taking extra care to include them will make them feel special and cared for.   When you are available, offer to help the family with their to-do list. Prepare a meal, run an errand, or provide a ride. You should also try to engage family members in activities. Invite them to take a walk or participate in other activities. They may not take time for themselves after a loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's. Similarly, offer family members a reprieve. Spend time with the person living with dementia so family members can go out alone or visit with friends. Your help can enable the family members and the person with Alzheimer's to all participate in their normal lives, which they might not be able to do without support from others.   When you're supporting someone with Alzheimer's and their family, it's important to be flexible. Don't get frustrated if your offer for support is not accepted immediately. The family may need time to assess its needs. When supporting those affected by Alzheimer's, the Alzheimer's Association also says that you should support the Alzheimer's cause. Supporting Alzheimer's, either financially or with your time, helps your loved ones with Alzheimer's, too. Knowing that other people in their community care about their situation can help them feel connected and cared for during a time when they are most likely feeling uncertain with their position in life.   If you are interested in learning more ways you can support someone with Alzheimer's or their loved ones, visit our show notes for resources.   We want to say thank you for joining us here at All Home Care Matters, All Home Care Matters is here for you and to help families as they navigate these long-term care issues. Please visit us at allhomecarematters.com there is a private secure fillable form there where you can give us feedback, show ideas, or if you have questions. Every form is read and responded to. If you know someone who could benefit from this episode please make sure to share it with them.   Remember, you can listen to the show on any of your favorite podcast streaming platforms and watch the show on our YouTube channel and make sure to hit that subscribe button, so you'll never miss an episode. We look forward to seeing you next time on All Home Care Matters, thank you.     Sources:   https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/what-alzheimers-disease   https://www.brightfocus.org/alzheimers/prevention-and-risk-factors   https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/what-is-alzheimers   https://www.brightfocus.org/alzheimers/prevention-and-risk-factors   https://www.alz.org/blog/alz/october-2019/10_ways_to_help_a_family_living_with_alzheimer_s                

    Grandpa, Do you Know who I Am? (Dementia Tips)

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 6, 2021 18:44

    Today, we are going to be talking about what to do when your loved one stops recognizing you. We'll discuss at what stage someone with Alzheimer's typically forgets who their loved ones are, as well as methods to prompt memory, connect without memory, and communicate. Now let's move on to the rest of the show.   According to the National Institute on Aging, Alzheimer's disease is a brain disorder that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills and, eventually, the ability to carry out the simplest tasks. The disease begins making changes in the brain years before symptoms show. Over many years, the disease steals pieces of a person, but when will your loved one no longer recognize you? Let's take a look at the seven stages of Alzheimer's to find out.   During stage one, someone with Alzheimer's will have no impairment due to the disease and will only be diagnosed through brain scans. Stages two and three are where symptoms begin to show. Someone with Alzheimer's will begin to have mild cognitive decline. They may forget where they put the keys or struggle with paying their bills. During these first three stages, the symptoms all appear as the normal signs of aging, and many people go undiagnosed.   Stage four is where many are diagnosed. During this stage, someone with dementia will experience increased forgetfulness and may have difficulties in social situations. Those close to someone with dementia can usually see the early signs of dementia during this stage, as well. Your loved one may forget your name during this stage, but they can usually recall it after some time. They normally recognize you even if they can't remember your name.   Stage five shows a moderately severe cognitive decline. Individuals in this stage often need help doing daily living activities, such as cooking, cleaning, and even possibly using the bathroom. At this stage, many people with dementia are unable to live on their own and need some level of care throughout the day and night. During this stage, your loved one will need help with daily living activities, but Alzheimer's.net says that they will still maintain functionality. They typically can still bathe and toilet independently. They also usually still know their family members and some detail about their personal histories, especially their childhood and youth.   According to Seniorlink, stage six marks a period in which a person requires substantial assistance to carry out day-to-day activities. They may have little memory of recent events and forget the names of close friends or family members. Many people in stage six have limited memory of their earlier lives and will also have difficulty completing tasks or successfully exhibiting cognitive skills such as counting backward from 10.   People in stage six may also begin to experience incontinence of bowel or bladder, and speech ability is often diminished. Significant personality changes may also be noticeable at this stage, as individuals may suffer from delusions, anxiety, or agitation.   Alzheimer's.net tells us that stage seven is the final stage of Alzheimer's. Because the disease is a terminal illness, people in stage seven are nearing death, and will ultimately succumb to the disease. In stage seven of the disease, people lose the ability to communicate or respond to their environment. While they may still be able to utter words and phrases, they have no insight into their condition and need assistance with all activities of daily living.   For more information about the seven stages of Alzheimer's, you can listen to our recent series on the Seven Stages. Don't have time for all 5 episodes? We also released a recap episode on the Seven Stages of Alzheimer's, as well. You can find it on our website, our Dementia and Alzheimer's playlist on our Official YouTube channel, and wherever you get your podcasts.   It isn't until the last three stages that your loved one will have trouble recognizing you. If your loved one is in the early stages of the disease, now is the perfect time to learn best practices and techniques to communicate and connect with your loved one. If your loved one is in the later stages, now is still the perfect time to learn, too! It's never too late to try new ways to connect with your loved one. Your loved one can sense that you are making an effort to connect with them and feel the sentiments behind it even if they do not recognize you.   VeryWell Health says that sometimes people write off visiting loved ones with dementia by saying that since they won't remember the visit a few minutes from now, it's pointless to visit.   Research has demonstrated that it's not just the memory that matters here; it's also the emotion created by a positive visit. What's important to note is that the positive emotion from an encouraging and supportive visit can last much longer than the specific memory of that visit.   You may have impacted that person's whole day by changing her feelings and behavior. Although she might not be able to recall that you visited her, the feelings you created in her can change how she interacts with others and improve her mood.     Next time you think it doesn't matter, think again. The benefit of your visit might last long after you've gone.     Your loved one may become confused at times, which as you know, is to be expected with this disease. According to Dementia UK, some people with dementia appear to ‘travel back in time', reliving memories from when they were younger. They might expect grown-up children to be small again, or expect their parents to still be alive, or even revert back in their mind to previous marriages or relationships. Whenever your loved one is experiencing problems with their memory, there are a few memory cues you can provide to help them back into the present.   Dementia UK suggests putting up photos around the house of important times you were together, such as weddings, birthdays, and children's parties. You should show the progression of time in these photos, so that they show a spouse or partner when young, but also throughout time and how they appear now. You can also keep a photo album on display with the photos clearly marked with people's names, the year, and the event in chronological order.   What you wear can be a clue as to who you are in relation to your loved one. You can wear clothes around the house that your loved one would associate with you; these could include a favorite item of clothing, like a flannel or a piece of jewelry, or popular styles from when you were younger.   You should also make use of the other senses. Sight on its own can be a good enough memory cue, but combining it with the other senses can be an even greater help to your loved one. If you have a signature scent, such as an aftershave, perfume, or even deodorant, wear it around your loved one. Encourage your loved one to wear their favorite scents, as well. Often the sense of smell can evoke positive memories when words cannot.   Similarly, cooking aromatic foods your loved one likes can bring back memories. Cooking together, as long as you are taking all the necessary safety precautions, can be a fun activity to do together and if it is something you have regularly done together in the past, it can be a great example of a creative method of prompting your loved one's memory.   Listening to music or watching a favorite movie or tv show together can also help your loved one remember who you are. It is important to note that you should not try to have a conversation while listening to music or watching television. It is hard for your loved one to concentrate on one thing and multitasking can confuse them more.   If your loved one doesn't recognize you, no matter if you are coming for a visit or if they live with you full-time, do not ask them if they know who you are. This question will make them uncomfortable and they may also feel like you are belittling them if they don't know the answer.   Whenever your loved one doesn't know you, try to move past that and distract them with small talk. You can say it's a beautiful day out, isn't it? After they respond to you, you can then try one of the methods we just discussed to see if their memory will return. If they still don't recognize you just move on. Your loved one doesn't have to recognize you to still enjoy spending time with you.   Watching your loved one lose themselves and constantly interacting with the disease through them is draining. The Alzheimer's Society says to give yourself permission to be human. You have good and bad days too. If you need to shorten, or even skip a visit from time to time to replenish yourself – that's OK. You can alert a staff member or a friend and see if they can possibly arrange a visitor in your absence. It's important to take care of yourself while caring for a loved one. For more information on preventing caregiver burnout, you can find resources, episodes, and more on our website and you can watch our playlist on caregiver support on our official YouTube Channel.   According to the Alzheimer's Society, people with memory problems have suggested some of the following aids to help someone with dementia or other memory-related problems remember things. You might think of them as different tools for tackling different problems. You may have already used some of them.   Look for aids that fit with the skills you already have. For example, if you have never used a reminder function on your mobile phone, you may find it difficult to start using it now. Whatever aids you use, people around you can support you to use them.   A calendar or daily agenda can help your loved one know what to expect for the day. If you are on their calendar and they are expecting you to come for a visit, they may be more inclined to remember you. Similarly, sticky notes can help your loved one know to expect you for a visit. The bright, eye-catching color may stick out better than a calendar, too.   If your loved one is used to using technology, using a phone, tablet, or computer can also help them recall memories and people. They can browse Facebook and look at photos and names as a name and face recall exercise. Video calls can also help your loved one feel comfortable visiting with someone they may not recognize. Video calls usually have a person's name on the screen, along with their face. Having a name on the screen can be helpful to your loved one when they are having trouble recognizing people.   We've discussed several methods of prompting a loved one's memory, now let's move on to finding other ways to connect with someone with dementia when they do not recognize you.     Dementia UK says it can be very difficult when someone with dementia stops recognizing you. But there are things you can do to keep your connection with the person, and your relationship with them, warm and open.   If you can, try ‘entering into their world', and asking the person diagnosed with dementia about the memories they mention. Encouraging them to talk about what feels familiar will help them to feel at ease. Try not to remind the person with dementia of more recent realities that they're having trouble grasping, such as the death of their parents, as this can cause distress and confusion. Instead, talk about happy memories and events that are important to them.   Taking part in activities together can be a good way to reconnect with a person with dementia. Anything you both enjoy can help you feel closer, such as playing familiar music, watching a favorite film, drawing pictures, going for a walk and talking about the things you see on the way, gardening or arranging flowers, or even doing a jigsaw puzzle if your loved one is able.   According to Next Avenue, remembering the past is often a soothing and affirming activity. Many people with dementia may not remember what happened 45 minutes ago, but they can clearly recall their lives 45 years earlier. Therefore, avoid asking questions that rely on short-term memory, like asking the person what they had for lunch. Instead, try asking general questions about the person's distant past — this information is more likely to be retained.   You can also connect with your loved one through humor. Next Avenue also says that you should use humor whenever possible, though not at the person's expense. People with dementia tend to retain their social skills and are usually delighted to laugh along with you. Laughing with them during your visit can help improve their mood throughout the rest of the day, too.   As dementia progresses, memory loss will no doubt change the connection that you have with a parent – but that doesn't mean you still can't have a meaningful connection with your senior loved one.   Learn more about how to build a meaningful connection with a loved one who has dementia and how to maintain that connection throughout the progression of the disease.   Nancy Kriesmen shared a wonderful story about connecting with her mom during the late stages of Alzheimer's in an article for Alzheimer's.net.  About a year before Nancy Kriseman's mother Doris died, the two sat outside in the garden at her mom's skilled nursing residence. By that time, Alzheimer's disease had diminished most of Doris' cognitive abilities, along with skills such as mobility and speech. Their time together wasn't without meaning, though.   Doris, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer's at age 71, had always loved going for walks. Years earlier, the daughter and mother often strolled to a nearby pond, where they enjoyed sighting butterflies alighting on flowers and dragonflies hovering above the water. Sometimes, the women enjoyed picnics at local parks.   By now, Doris could no longer pack a picnic lunch, but her love of fresh air and greenery remained intact. Kriseman would have loved to engage with her mom as she once did, laughing and talking, even dancing with her to Judy Garland and Tony Bennett songs. Instead, that day, she and her mom ate outdoors from a picnic basket that Kriseman brought along. Kriseman still sang to her mom and reminisced about those singers with Doris, who could still respond by listening.   Nancy Kriseman, a geriatric clinical social worker and owner of Geriatric Consulting Services in Atlanta, Georgia, and author of “Meaningful Connections: Positive Ways to Be Together When a Loved One Has Dementia” offers a few ways to build a meaningful connection with a loved one with dementia.   First, she says to ask another person to join you. Invite a family member or another resident to visit with you and your loved one. This takes the focus off just the two of you. It can also foster new relationships. Next, Kriseman suggests that you keep crafts age-appropriate. Although your senior loved one's cognitive abilities are impaired, he or she is still an adult. Avoid things like children's coloring books, opting for adult coloring books instead.   You should also notice how your mood impacts your visits with your loved one. Avoid visiting when you're ambivalent, irritable, or tired of being there. Like we have talked about earlier in the episode, Kriseman also suggests that you tap into different senses. Stimulating hearing, sight, smell, taste, and touch can lift your parent or senior loved one's spirit and reinforce the connection.   Finally, you should visit when your loved one is at their best. If they are in an assisted living facility or skilled nursing community, ask staff to recommend the best time to visit.     Now that we've covered a few ways you can connect with your loved one when they don't recognize who you are, let's move on to the part of today's episode, which is methods for communicating with someone with dementia.     We have done several episodes on communicating with a loved one with Alzheimer's and other dementias, so we won't be talking about this in length, but it is still important to discuss. And as always, if you are interested in learning more about communicating with a loved one with dementia, please visit our website for more information.     Dementia UK has a few suggestions for effective communication with a loved one with dementia. They suggest that you keep yourself in your loved one's eye line and try not to suddenly appear from the side or from behind. Speak clearly to them and use short sentences. Make sure that you give them time to respond, too. It may take them longer to figure out a response, even to a simple question like it's a nice day out, isn't it?     If your loved one is struggling to recognize you, introduce yourself and tell them about the connection between you, for instance: “Hello mom, it's Julie and I have little Danny, your grandson with me.” If your loved one doesn't recognize you after this, don't try to repeat your relationship as it can upset your loved one. If your loved one regularly doesn't recognize you, don't ask them “do you know who I am?” Introduce yourself by your name and leave out your relationship.     While talking to them, be reassuring. Look your loved one in the eye and smile. Being reassuring may not always prevent your loved one from becoming agitated or upset. If your loved one is getting agitated, take yourself to another room for a few minutes before coming back in, calmly, and saying something like: “Hello, I'm back now, how lovely to see you.”     Lastly, Dementia UK says to not try not to correct your loved one if they get your name wrong or say something that isn't true; this can lead to distress and frustration on all sides. Try to imagine how the person with dementia is feeling. They are stressed out, confused, and possibly frightened. Reassure your loved one that you are here to support them and enjoy the time you get to spend with your loved one. And know that even if they don't remember you they will still remember the sentiments they felt while you were around.     We want to say thank you for joining us here at All Home Care Matters, All Home Care Matters is here for you and to help families as they navigate these long-term care issues. Please visit us at allhomecarematters.com there is a private secure fillable form there where you can give us feedback, show ideas, or if you have questions. Every form is read and responded to. If you know someone who could benefit from this episode please make sure to share it with them.   Remember, you can listen to the show on any of your favorite podcast streaming platforms and watch the show on our YouTube channel and make sure to hit that subscribe button, so you'll never miss an episode. We look forward to seeing you next time on All Home Care Matters, thank you.   Sources: https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/what-alzheimers-disease   https://www.alzheimers.net/stages-of-alzheimers-disease   https://www.seniorlink.com/blog/the-7-stages-of-alzheimers   https://www.verywellhealth.com/tips-visiting-people-dementia-97960   https://www.alz.org/media/greatermissouri/visiting_loved_ones_with_dementia.pdf   https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/get-support/staying-independent/memory-aids-and-tools   https://www.nextavenue.org/10-tips-connecting-someone-dementia/   https://www.alzheimers.net/build-a-meaningful-connection-with-a-loved-one-who-has-dementia   https://www.dementiauk.org/get-support/understanding-changes-in-behaviour/things-to-try-when-someone-with-dementia-stops-recognising-you/                        

    Quick Tips: Apps and Activities for People with Dementia

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 1, 2021 10:23

    Today, we are talking about a few apps and websites that are helping people with dementia keep their brains active. In previous episodes, we've talked about how an active brain can potentially slow the progression of Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia. If you are interested in learning more about this, visit our website for more information. We are going to be highlighting a few options we have found that you and your loved one may want to explore. Now let's move on to the rest of the show.   An active brain can help slow the progress of dementia and other memory-impairing diseases. Doing daily exercises may help a person with dementia recall memories longer. One easy way to keep your brain active is by using the technology around you. In today's world, we can access almost anything using a smartphone or computer, so why not use technology to help people with dementia?   The majority of people with Alzheimer's or other dementias today are over 65. Many of these individuals are not what you would call tech-savvy, but many apps and websites today are designed specifically for seniors with dementia. They are easy to use and engaging.   The first app we want to tell you about today is called MindMate. It was created by three volunteer caregivers, Patrick, Suzanne, and Roger. The three have said they created MindMate because “Watching people we cared for succumb to memory loss left us with the belief that there must be something we can do to help the ones we love. Why weren't there any tools to help care for those with Alzheimer's and Dementia and keep caregivers sane?”   According to MindMate.com, united in their dedication to creating more resources, the three decided to develop a mobile app for other caregivers like themselves. With the help of Dr. Terry Quinn from the University of Glasgow's Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences, the team began to translate contemporary research in Dementia care into an actionable, digital platform. Based on this research, the MindMate App was born.   Estate Planning and Elder Law Services says that this free app, available for Apple, Android, and computers, offers brain games and workouts to help with attention, memory, problem-solving, and cognitive speed. MindMate also features other tools to stimulate brain and general health, promoting good nutrition, physical exercise, mental stimulation, and social interaction. The site allows you to take a memory test online and promptly emails you your results.   Another app similar to MindMate that you may be familiar with is Lumosity. It is one of the earlier brain-training apps in the market and there's a reason that it is still widely used today.   According to Lumosity, there have been over 20 peer-reviewed publications in academic journals using Lumosity games or assessments. In one study, our scientists conducted a randomized trial involving 4,715 participants in order to study whether cognitive performance improves after training with Lumosity. The test group trained with Lumosity, while the control group trained using crossword puzzles. Both groups trained five days per week, for fifteen minutes a day.   After ten weeks, the Lumosity group improved in performance across a battery of cognitive assessments. In fact, they improved more than twice as much as the control group did.* More specifically, the Lumosity group showed statistically significant improvements on subtests of working memory, arithmetic reasoning, and processing speed.   There is a free version of the app, or you can pay $11.95 a month to have access to all that the app offers.   Another unique app we came across is the Spaced Retrieval App by Tactus Therapy. Tactus Therapy explains that this Spaced Retrieval Therapy app uses the scientifically proven method of spaced retrieval training to help people with dementia or other memory impairments to recall important information. Recalling an answer over multiplying intervals of time, such as 1 minute, 2 minutes, 8 minutes, and so on, helps to cement the information in memory.   Spaced Retrieval Therapy is an enhanced interval timer with independent data tracking and prompts. It automatically increases the time between prompts with correct responses and decreases it with incorrect ones. This app will help clinicians, family members, and students keep track of the intervals and performance as they practice up to 3 memory targets.   This app is specifically geared towards helping people with dementia remember new information longer. The app requires a one-time payment of $4.99.   Communication and strengthening existing social connections and relationships can help improve someone with dementia's overall health. Many people with dementia want to maintain their relationships, but find themselves pulling away from their loved ones because they may not be able to easily follow conversations or stress over what others will think of them after a dementia diagnosis.   According to the creators of AmuseIT, isolation can be a problem for those living with dementia, and it can be difficult for those who care for them to know how to engage.   AmuseIT is an app designed to promote conversation. It contains over 1000 simple quiz questions with a strong visual component.   In addition to facilitating connection between dementia patients and caregivers who use the app, AmuseIT stimulates memory and reasoning and is easy to use, even for those intimidated by technology. You can buy the app for $3.49.   Your loved one may repeatedly call you or others as their disease progresses. Someone with dementia may not remember calling you only two minutes prior and call you several times. If your loved one is in a care facility and is having trouble adjusting to a new environment, they may also want to call you repeatedly and become agitated when they are unable to talk with you.   According to Estate Planning and Elder Law Services, Alz Calls is a chatbot designed for patients who repeatedly ask for their family, struggle with transitions to new environments, or need social interaction. Family members can record their voice, add a photo that will pop up for the patient to recognize, and answer frequent questions so that the patient can have an interactive conversation when the caregiver is not available to talk.   You can record yourself saying numerous phrases by following prompts provided by Alz Calls or making them yourself. A caregiver will help your loved one use the patient side of Alz Calls and will respond to their calls using your recordings. You have full access to all calls that your loved one makes through Alz Calls. Recordings are stored for two weeks at a time.   One therapy app that we are interested in is Constant Therapy. Constant Therapy Health talks about their app, saying that by combining AI and real-world evidence in our easy-to-use app, we're delivering clinically proven, personalized brain exercises that can help people reignite their cognitive, speech, and language abilities. And we're continuously optimizing the world's understanding of the factors contributing to brain health so that we can serve people across a range of neurological conditions.   You can use the app on your own or with a clinician. The app is $24.99 a month but has a yearly option that includes an Amazon tablet, too.   The last thing we want to bring up today is a website called MEternally. This website is best suited for those that are not used to technology and would rather participate in offline activities. MEternally offers activity cards, videos, games, and other physical products that help people with dementia connect and reminisce with those around them.   MEternally tells us that they believe that our mix of life experiences, professional expertise and willingness to speak honestly about dementia, creates an environment where we are able to create products that are meaningful and thoughtful. Our own personal experiences with family members affected by Alzheimer's, Huntington's and Parkinson's Diseases reinforces our personal commitment to not just those with diagnosis of one of these horrific diseases but to those with other forms of dementia.   Reminiscence benefits not only those with dementia. When we tell people about our lives, we are sharing our history and our identity. By viewing photo collections we initiate conversations about our favorite things and share our life stories with others. This allows us to reflect on the things and people in our present and past. By doing so we are preserving and sharing our history and reflecting on our worth and the importance of our own existence.   If you would like to learn more about any of the apps or websites we talked about today, visit our show notes for the resources we used today. Do you have any favorite apps or websites that you or a loved one with dementia uses? Let us know on our website or social media pages!   We want to say thank you for joining us here at All Home Care Matters, All Home Care Matters is here for you and to help families as they navigate these long-term care issues. Please visit us at allhomecarematters.com there is a private secure fillable form there where you can give us feedback, show ideas, or if you have questions. Every form is read and responded to. If you know someone who could benefit from this episode please make sure to share it with them.   Remember, you can listen to the show on any of your favorite podcast streaming platforms and watch the show on our YouTube channel and make sure to hit that subscribe button, so you'll never miss an episode. We look forward to seeing you next time on All Home Care Matters, thank you.   Sources: https://www.formyplan.com/elder-law/alzheimers-dementia/2020/02/26/ten-apps-and-other-activities-for-people-with-dementia-and-alzheimers/   https://www.mindmate-app.com/   https://www.lumosity.com/en/   https://tactustherapy.com/app/srt/   https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.tactustherapy.srt   http://www.amuseit.nz/?fbclid=IwAR2EE9Gz0U_yiHgFompLtaVwvljj1l4lcm0llSj_GKaVF55NwNuq11Z91A4   https://alzcalls.com/instructions   https://constanttherapyhealth.com/constant-therapy/   https://meternally.com/                    

    The Do's and Don'ts of VIsiting a Loved One with Dementia

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 30, 2021 19:15

    On today's episode, we are talking about what you should and shouldn't do while visiting a loved one with dementia. Dementia can take so many things away from us and our loved ones, but we shouldn't let it take away time. Today we will be discussing how you can ensure you have a successful visit if your loved one is in a facility, as well as what you should and shouldn't do when visiting. We will also be focusing heavily on the importance of visiting a loved one with dementia. Now let's move on to the rest of the show.   Visiting a loved one with dementia may seem scary to you and to others that have been close to your loved one. Visiting doesn't have to be scary, though. It is often a rewarding experience for both the visitor and the person with dementia. It is our hope that this episode, as well as our podcast as a whole, can help give you the tools to have a successful visit and end the stigma around dementia.   If you have been listening to our recent episodes, you will have noticed that we have been talking a lot about dementia and Alzheimer's. That is because we believe that the more educated people are on the subject, the closer our society and communities will be to becoming dementia-friendly. As the aging population increases, we are also going to be seeing an increase in dementia cases. As of the release of this episode, there is no cure for dementia. There are treatment plans, but dementia isn't something that is going to go away in the near future. Taking the steps to establish dementia-friendly spaces in our communities now can help our loved ones, and even ourselves when the time comes.   Whether you are planning on visiting a loved one in a care facility or having visitors come to you, it is best to be prepared. Preparing for a visit is the first step of having a successful visit. Learning about dementia is a good first step before visiting a loved one with dementia. Our recent series on the seven stages of Alzheimer's is an excellent place to start your learning, too. You can find all of our current and past episodes of our podcast on our website, our YouTube channel, or on any of your favorite podcast streaming platform.   If your loved one has recently moved into a care facility or is going to make the move to a care facility soon, there are a few things you can do to make their transition easier. The Family Caregiver Alliance says that during the first two weeks, visit often and stay as long as you want. If the facility has a policy of not allowing visitors for the first two weeks during the adjustment period, consider whether this is the right facility for you. In some cases, visiting may make the transition harder on someone with dementia, so make sure you talk to your doctor and the facility staff to determine what the best course of action is for your unique situation.   After you have chosen a care facility for your loved one, get to know the staff. They are the ones that are going to be caring for your loved one on a daily basis. They are also going to be the ones you will need to talk to for updates on your loved one and if any problems arise. Having a good working relationship with the staff can lessen some anxieties you may have about your loved one being surrounded by strangers.   Moving into a facility can be scary for your loved one. If they seem nervous or upset about the move, try to cheer them up by decorating their space, because this is their space. Putting up familiar decorations, pictures, blankets, and other comfort items they own can help them feel more at home in their new environment.   Family Caregiver Alliance also says that if your loved one is agitated about the move, have a story you use consistently about why he or she has to stay there “for a little while,” such as: “The house is being painted and I don't want you to smell the fumes.”   “I need to have a minor medical procedure and I can't take care of you while I am recovering.”   “I am having some termite work done on the house, or”   “The city is fixing the sewer.”   This is to help with diverting their agitation away from the situation and refocus on something else.   If you are unable to divert your loved one's attention with these fiblets, change the subject and discuss the latest ball game, the weather, politics, the grandchildren, etc.   When you first come in for a visit, introduce yourself to your loved one. For example, I would say, “Hi, Dad, it's me, Lance.” Saying your name instead of your relationship can help avoid unnecessary confusion for your loved one. If calling them Mom or Dad upsets them, address them by their name, instead.   It's not unusual that your loved one will tell you that they want to go home during your visit. Usually, when your loved one says they want to go home, they are really conveying that they are not yet comfortable in their new environment, and that's totally normal. It can and it will take your loved one some time to adjust to their new place of residence. To avoid fighting about not being able to go home, ask them what they like about their home or ask them to tell you about their home.   After about two weeks, you can start decreasing the amount and length of visits. Instead of visiting every day, visit every other day and so on. Bring treats and things to do with you on your visits. You can bring their favorite dessert, a favorite game, or even a few photo albums. Your loved one will be excited to have gifts and it will give you a purpose for your visit. It can also be helpful to have a list of things you want to talk about, as your loved one most likely will not be able to give you conversation topics.   Once your loved one is settled in their new environment, you can go for a walk around the facility. Getting out of their room can help improve their mood even after your visit has ended. If the facility allows it, and if your loved one will not become confused or experience an outburst of negative emotions, you can even go on an outing outside of the facility. Many people enjoy going to a favorite lunch spot or park. Make sure you clear any outings with the facility first, though. Every facility will have their own policies and procedures and can be dependent on the type of facility they are living at.   You can continue to shorten your visits after the two week adjustment period. According to Family Caregiver Alliance, the person with dementia usually doesn't remember if you have been there for five minutes or five hours. Ultimately it's better to visit three times per week for 20 minutes and eventually once a week for an hour.   Once your loved one is adjusted to their new residence, encourage others to visit them. Bring one of your loved one's friends along with you if they are nervous to visit by themselves. Limit visits to two people per visit to not overwhelm your loved one. You can also start a visitor's book for everyone to sign if the facility allows items to be left in your loved one's room.   The Alzheimer's Society says that it can become difficult for a person with dementia to remember all the comings and goings in their day. By creating a visitor guest book, you can help the person you're visiting to remember who has come to visit and how they spent their time together. Guest books can also be good conversation starters for other visitors and for the person with dementia to remember everything that has happened in their day.   A guest book can be an inexpensive notebook or a journal that is kept in a central, obvious location in the home where visitors will easily locate it (such as by the front door). Though it is best if the guest book is made so the person with dementia can enjoy it to the fullest, the following information should always be included: the date of visit, the visitor's name, how you spent your time together that day, and when you will come again (try to be as specific as possible).   The Alzheimer's Society also has two examples of what entries in a visitor book can look like. The first states the date on the first line. The first example is from a service worker or caregiver.   Dear Joanne,   This is your home care worker, Anthony. Today, I came around 3:00pm to do the laundry and I made your favorite, mashed potatoes with broccoli and chicken for dinner.   It was nice talking to you today about your husband, Jerry, and your dog, Pepper.   I will be coming back on January 26th, at 3:00pm.   See you in a few days.   Anthony   The second example is from a friend or family member. Date: April 12, 2015   Hi Dad,   This is your daughter Aisha; I've had a nice visit with you today at 1:00pm. We shared a tasty lunch together and had a good walk around the neighborhood. We passed the convenience store where you told me that you used to buy your lottery tickets every weekend.   I will come on Wednesday, April 15th, for lunch time at 12:00pm. I will bring lunch so we can eat together at home. See you then.   Love you!   Aisha   You can find a link to these examples in our show notes if you would like to see how they are written out. We have done a few episodes on ways to talk to a loved one with Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia in the past. There are tips and tricks in those past episodes that we don't mention today and vice versa. You can check out our Dementia and Alzheimer's playlist on YouTube for a complete list of episodes we've done covering dementia and Alzheimer's.   Minimizing distractions can help you have a more productive visit. Try turning off the tv or any music that's playing. Completely removing distractions in a facility may be an impossible request, but you can reduce distractions as much as you can. If you are visiting your loved one in a common area, make sure your loved one is facing away from any walkways so they will be less distracted by people moving around them.   If you are visiting your loved one in their room, it is much easier to limit distractions. Make sure to notify staff that you are visiting with your loved one so that they may avoid unnecessary interruptions. You should also learn your loved one's schedule and come at a time when they are less likely to be distracted or busy. Try to visit during free time and not during an activity, as well.   DailyCaring has a few essential do's and don'ts for visiting someone with dementia. Do keep your tone and body language friendly and positive. Don't speak too loudly. Do make eye contact and stay at their eye level. Don't say “do you remember?” as this can cause anger or embarrassment. Do speak slowly and in short sentences with only one idea per sentence. For example: “Hi Mary. I'm Jane, your friend.” or “What a beautiful day. The sunshine is nice, isn't it?” or “Tell me about your daughter.”   Don't argue. If they say something that's not correct, just let it go. Do give them extra time to speak or answer questions and use open-ended questions because there are no right or wrong answers. Don't point out mistakes. It just makes them feel bad and doesn't help the conversation. Do be ok with sitting together in silence. They may enjoy that just as much as talking. Don't assume they don't remember anything. Many people have moments of clarity and assuming they don't remember something when they do it can hurt their self-esteem.   Do follow their lead, don't force conversation topics or activities. You should come prepared with an activity, like something to read out loud, a photo album to look at, or some of their favorite music to listen to, though. They may enjoy whatever you brought with you, but make sure you listen to what they are telling you through your time together.   Don't take mean or nasty things they say personally. The disease may twist their words or make them react badly out of confusion, frustration, fear, or anger. At the same time, make sure you validate their feelings. Allow them to express sadness, fear, or anger.   Do enter their reality. Go with the flow of the conversation even if they talk about things that aren't true or don't make sense. If there are other people in the room with you, don't talk about your loved one with them as if they're not there. Most of the time, your loved one knows when you are talking about them, even if you don't realize it. Always honor and respect their dignity.   Lastly, Do share and discuss memories of the past. Your loved one is more likely to remember things from long ago than they are things that happened recently. You can also show affection by giving hugs, gentle touches, or massaging their arms or shoulders, with their permission of course.   A simple touch can be a great way to convey feelings of fondness and is a good way to communicate without talking. If your loved one has trouble making conversation, which they may during the later stages of Alzheimer's, they may still be able to communicate through touch. Touch and feeling is often a form of communication that outlasts the ability to comprehend conversations and words.   As we mentioned earlier and is reinforced by HealthCentral the most important thing to remember before you visit is dignity above all. If you keep that in mind you really can't go wrong. Put yourself in this person's place. How would you like to be treated if you had lost your ability to find the right words to communicate, make sense of what others say, swallow whole food and use the toilet? Before you visit, give this serious thought. Your instincts should guide you with the rest.   According to Alzheimer's.net, a recent survey found that 42% of the public think it's pointless to stay in contact with loved ones who have Alzheimer's after they are unable to recognize the faces of family and friends. Alzheimer's advocates and researchers caution against this line of thinking, saying that even as the disease progresses, people with advanced dementia can still hold an emotional memory, meaning that they remember how something made them feel long after they have forgotten the event that brought those feelings. Another survey found that more than 50% of people with Alzheimer's were not participating in social activities and 64% said they felt isolated after receiving their diagnosis.   VeryWell Health tells us that research has demonstrated that it's not just the memory that matters here; it's also the emotion created by a positive visit. What's important to note is that the positive emotion from an encouraging and supportive visit can last much longer than the specific memory of that visit.   You may have impacted that person's whole day by changing her feelings and behavior. Although she might not be able to recall that you visited her, the feelings you created in her can change how she interacts with others and improve her mood.   Next time you think it doesn't matter, think again. The benefit of your visit might last long after you've gone.   The holidays can be a time of dread for some when it comes to visiting our loved ones, but it is very important to visit our loved ones with dementia. As we get closer to the holiday season, make a plan to visit your loved one and include them in any festivities you can. Chief Executive of the Alzheimer's Society, Jeremy Hughes, states “After spending time with friends and family over the festive period, New Year can be a bleak and lonely time for people with dementia and their caregivers. It's so important for people with dementia to feel connected throughout the year. Spending time with loved ones and taking part in meaningful activities can have a powerful and positive impact, even if they don't remember the event itself. We're urging people to get in touch with us and find out how we can help you stay connected.”   The holidays can be stressful for your loved one, just as they can be for you. Not being able to participate in traditions they used to be able to can be upsetting and make them feel left out. These feelings can cause them to have outbursts and you and other visitors may feel less inclined to visit with them if you are constantly on edge and expecting a burst of anger.   Next Avenue and Caring.com both tell us not to be overly afraid of outbursts, either.   Sometimes we are so afraid of a person with dementia having an outburst that we shut down ahead of time and miss the opportunity to connect.   According to Korner, a dementia care specialist, “Don't be afraid of listening to their negative feelings. It doesn't necessarily mean things will escalate. You can empathize. If the conversation makes the visitor uncomfortable, then redirect the conversation. Ask permission to talk about something else. Say, ‘I'm hearing this is upsetting to you, so would you mind if I change the subject and we talk about an issue I'm having?'”   “Or get up and physically move, and make up a reason if needed,” says Korner. “Say, ‘I have a cramp in my leg, would you mind if we walked a little?' Sometimes a quick change of scene or allowing time for the person to calm down if they get angry can quickly change the person's mood. The good news is that even if they get angry, they may not remember it a few minutes later, so why should you hold onto it?”   We have already talked about not judging your loved one, but Korner also says not to “judge yourself too harshly, either. It's not like any of us are prepared for the challenges you face trying to connect to a loved one with dementia. It's not like you go to school for this. But you need to accept it and get up to speed as fast as you can when you're faced with the situation.”   We hope this episode has helped you see the importance of visiting a loved one with dementia, even after they may no longer recognize who you are. You can use the do's and don'ts we discussed today to ensure you have the best visit possible with your loved one. And you now know that if your visit doesn't go the way you have planned, it's okay. You will try again next time and not worry about the previous visit. Send this episode to those who wish to visit your loved one so that they can properly prepare for their visit, as well.   We want to say thank you for joining us here at All Home Care Matters, All Home Care Matters is here for you and to help families as they navigate these long-term care issues. Please visit us at allhomecarematters.com there is a private secure fillable form there where you can give us feedback, show ideas, or if you have questions. Every form is read and responded to. If you know someone who could benefit from this episode please make sure to share it with them.   Remember, you can listen to the show on any of your favorite podcast streaming platforms and watch the show on our YouTube channel and make sure to hit that subscribe button, so you'll never miss an episode. We look forward to seeing you next time on All Home Care Matters, thank you.   Sources: https://www.caregiver.org/resource/residential-care-options-visiting-someone-dementia-care/   https://alzheimer.ca/en/help-support/i-have-friend-or-family-member-who-lives-dementia/making-meaningful-visits   https://dailycaring.com/visiting-someone-with-alzheimers-dos-and-donts-for-visitors/   https://www.healthcentral.com/slideshow/7-pitfalls-avoid-when-visiting-someone-dementia   https://www.alzheimers.net/2-24-16-loved-ones-with-alzheimers-benefit-from-visits   https://www.verywellhealth.com/tips-visiting-people-dementia-97960   https://www.nextavenue.org/visiting-someone-dementia/                

    Healthy Eating for Seniors (Mini-Series Part 2)

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 27, 2021 14:34

    Today's episode is the second installment of our Nutritional Health for Seniors three-part mini-series. Our last episode covered tips for dementia and mealtime. Today we are talking about healthy eating, specifically for seniors. First, we will be talking about what a well-balanced diet looks like. Then, we will go over how your needs and habits change and adapt with age. Finally, we will end with maintaining a healthy diet with age. Now let's move on to the rest of the show.   A well-balanced diet is something that most nutritionists and doctors will recommend for everyone, but even more so for older adults. Eating the right amounts of foods that contain the nutrients we need can help us have the energy we need for the day, help our bodies work better longer, and can help with necessary weight loss or weight gain. Oftentimes as we age, our eating habits change. Like we discussed last episode, we may not enjoy the foods we once did as we get older and might start to pay less attention to the amount of food and the types of food we are consuming. It is important for older adults to maintain a health well-balanced diet so they can give their bodies what they need to thrive.   As we age, we are not able to bounce back as much as we were when we were younger. Our metabolisms slow, and our digestive systems change. Sometimes, the foods we used to eat on a regular basis makes us sick or is no longer satisfying. When we start to notice any of these changes, we should reevaluate our eating habits and see what changes we should be making.   The US Department of Agriculture has created My Plate as a tool to help make sure you are getting the nutrients you need. You can help your loved one take the My Plate quiz to see what areas of their diet they may be lacking in. After they take the quiz, you can use the My Plate app to help them set-up an account and keep track of their diet information. You can find the quiz and even more information on eating healthy at www dot My Plate dot gov. You can also find the link in our show notes for today's episode.   According to Healthline, one in four older Americans has poor nutrition. Having poor nutrition, as we talked about in our mini-series, puts you at risk of becoming overweight or underweight and it can weaken your muscles and bones. It also leaves you vulnerable to disease. Luckily, there is a relatively easy fix for poor nutrition. A well-balanced diet can help you maintain a healthy weight, stay energized, and get the nutrients you need, all while lowering your risk of developing chronic health conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes.   You may remember the food pyramid from when you were in school, but now My Plate has taken place of the food pyramid. My Plate states that as we age, healthy eating can make a difference in our health, help to improve how we feel, and encourage a sense of well-being. A well-balanced diet can literally change the way you feel how your body works.   Every person's My Plate is tailored to them and depends on many things, but generally speaking, women over 60 should be eating one and a half to two cups of fruits a day, two to three cups of vegetables, five to seven ounces of grains, five to six ounces of protein, and three cups of dairy every day. Men over 60 should be eating two cups of fruit, two and a half to three and a half cups of vegetables, six to nine ounces of grains, five and half to six and half ounces of protein, and three cups of dairy a day. This is just a general idea of what older adults should be eating, but your doctor or a nutritionist can help you make a plan that is right for you.   Now that you know what makes a well-balanced diet, let's move on to how our nutritional needs and habits can change with age.   According to Healthline, as you get older, your nutritional needs, appetite, and food habits can change in several ways. The amount of calories we need to fuel our bodies for the day will most likely decrease with age and our appetite will most likely diminish, as well. Oftentimes, our sense of smell and taste weaken with age, which can cause a loss of appetite.   Medical conditions worsen or develop with time and age and can impact our appetites, our digestive systems, and cause us to have a restrictive or limited diet. Along with medical conditions comes medication. Many medications can cause a loss of appetite or cause symptoms that make eating difficult, like dry mouth, and some medications require you to not eat certain types of foods while taking them.   Oral problems can also arise with age. Many people need dentures as they get older, and they may make eating more difficult for some, especially if they don't fit properly or you are just getting used to them.   With advanced age comes a weakened immune system. A weakened immune system makes it easier for us to catch illnesses, including food poisoning and other food-related illnesses. It is important to ensure your food doesn't have any odors or discoloration before you use it. It is also a good idea to stick to the expiration or freshness guaranteed date. While the food may look normal, mold spores and bacteria can be invisible to the eye and cause you to become sick. Packaged and canned food items and frozen foods last longer than fresh items and can be safer to store for longer periods of time. They are also good to have on hand, especially if you have difficulties getting to or around the grocery store.   Losing a loved one can also impact your daily habits and eating patterns. Healthline says you may feel depressed, which can lead to lower appetite. If your family member did most of the cooking, you might not know how to prepare food for yourself, and some people simply choose not to eat, rather than cook a meal for themselves.   If you're finding it difficult to prepare food for yourself, talk to a family member, trusted friend, or your doctor. If you notice that your loved one isn't preparing foods or eating, try to bring them meals or invite them out to dinner. There are also local agencies, like Meals on Wheels, that can help get meals to seniors that they don't have to prepare. Talk to your local senior center to see what programs are available in your area.   Healthy foods can be expensive, but they are a necessity, especially as we get older. According to the National Council on Aging, The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) can help you afford healthy food when you need it. Over 4 million older Americans use SNAP to buy food, and the average senior receives $113 each month. You can visit Benefits Check Up dot org back slash get SNAP to see if you qualify for the program.   Now that you know how some of our nutritional needs and habits can change as we age, let's move on to our final section for today, maintaining a healthy diet with age.   To maintain a healthy diet as we age, we should focus on nutrient-dense foods, such as fruits and vegetables, beans and lentils, nuts and seeds, whole grains, low-fat dairy and lean proteins. Since we normally require less calories as we age, it is important to make sure you are eating foods from these groups, since less calories usually means you are eating less. When you eat less food, the food you eat matters even more than it did before.   You should also make sure you are eating enough fiber. Healthline says that fiber is essential for a healthy digestive system. Good sources of fiber include fruits and vegetables, beans and lentils, nuts and seeds, oats and oat bran, and whole grains. Eating foods rich in fiber can help you avoid constipation and other digestive issues. If you have trouble eating foods high in fiber, talk to your doctor about taking a fiber supplement instead.   One trick to maintaining a healthy diet is to shop for convenience. Frozen or low-sodium canned vegetables and frozen unsweetened fruit or low-sugar canned fruit can be easier to prep than whole fruits and vegetables and they last longer. Buying precooked grilled turkey or rotisserie chickens can save you time when preparing meals and make it easier to prepare, especially if you are cooking just for yourself. Low-sodium canned soup or stews make excellent and quick meals with zero work. And pop tops make them easier to open if you have arthritis. Bagged salad mixes and precut veggies can be a great addition to any meal and they already come prewashed, so all you have to do is throw them on a plate or into the pan and dinner is done. Instant oatmeal makes a simple and quick healthy breakfast, and you can add honey, peanut butter, or fruits on top to make it more filling and fun. Steamer bags of veggies in either the produce or freezer sections of the grocery store can make great side dishes that only take a few minutes in the microwave, or you can throw on some rotisserie chicken and instant rice for a complete meal that took you no time at all.   These convenience foods can make mealtimes less stressful, but make sure you always check the nutritional information before you buy anything. Prepackaged foods often contain higher levels of sugar, fats, and salt, so watch out for products that have high levels of those listed.   Staying hydrated is another important part of maintaining a healthy diet. Make sure you are consistently drinking water throughout the day. If you know that your loved one doesn't drink as much water as they should throughout the day, you can also try giving them tea and coffee, low-sugar fruit juices, soups, or fruits and vegetables with high water content, like watermelon and celery. You can make fruit pops with their favorite fruits and juice during the hot months, too. It's a nice treat for them and keeps them hydrated.   Just like we talked about last episode, making mealtime a social event can help make sure your loved one is maintaining a healthy diet. Eating with your loved one can help make mealtimes enjoyable for them again, especially if they have recently lost a loved one in their life. Grief and depression can both suppress your loved one's appetite. Getting them out of their usual setting can sometimes help with depression. Taking them to their favorite restaurant or to somewhere new can be exciting and give your loved one something to look forward to. They can also use their senior discount when going out to eat. You can help them sign up for AARP to receive even more discounts if they haven't already. Visit AARP dot org to learn more about what their benefits and offers today.   If your loved one is struggling with depression and you don't know what to do anymore, contact their doctor. They may be able to prescribe medication that may help or may recommend therapy. Your local senior center may also have grief and depression programs or resources that may help.    As we get older, we should be limiting our salt intake and with less salt, some foods can taste pretty bland. Experimenting with herbs and spices can be a good way to bring flavor back to foods, without increasing the amount of salt. If your loved one enjoys gardening, you can bring them some kitchen herb pots so that they can grow their own herbs and spices. This is also a great way for them to enjoy a hobby they haven't been able to do if they have mobility issues.   Encouraging your loved one to maintain a healthy diet can help them more than anything else we have talked about this episode. Having a support system can make any lifestyle change easier, and that includes maintaining a healthy diet. With you by their side, your loved one is more likely to stick to any diet changes they make rather than if they are doing it all by themselves.   Make sure you are mindful of their dietary needs and restrictions whenever you have them over for dinner or go out to eat. Preparing foods they can eat is a good way to ensure that they are maintaining their diet and shows them that you care.   Regular exercise is also a part of a well-balance lifestyle. Going for walks, playing golf without a golf cart, and playing other games that require movement are all a great way to exercise, and are a good way for your loved one to get some much-needed social interaction. Exercise can also help build-up your loved one's appetite. If your loved one is having trouble with not feeling hungry, try getting them to go for a walk with you and see if they gain an appetite overtime. Just going for a walk every now and then most likely won't increase their appetite, but daily walks may.   Interested in learning even more about healthy eating for seniors? Visit our YouTube channel, where you can find our Nutritional and Dietary Support for Seniors playlist. So far, we've talked about healthy nutrition tips and kitchen safety tips for seniors. We are continuously adding to our playlist and updating it, so check back often!   If you or your loved one have questions about maintaining a healthy diet, contact their doctor or a nutritionist. They can give you an ample amount of resources and help you come up with a healthy eating plan. You should also check with your insurance provider. Many cover nutritional planning.   Thank you for listening to the second episode of our three-part mini-series, Nutritional Health for Seniors. Be on the lookout for the next installment in the series   We want to say thank you for joining us here at All Home Care Matters, All Home Care Matters is here for you and to help families as they navigate long-term care issues. Please visit us at allhomecarematters.com there is a private secure fillable form there where you can give us feedback, show ideas, or if you have questions. Every form is read and responded to. If you know someone is who could benefit from this episode and please make sure to share it with them.   Remember, you can listen to the show on any of your favorite podcast streaming platforms and watch the show on our YouTube channel and make sure to hit that subscribe button, so you'll never miss an episode. We look forward to seeing you next time on All Home Care Matters, thank you.     Sources: https://www.healthline.com/health/healthy-eating-for-seniors   https://www.ncoa.org/article/healthy-eating-tips-for-seniors   https://www.myplate.gov/   https://www.eatright.org/food/nutrition/dietary-guidelines-and-myplate/healthy-eating-for-older-adults   https://aging.com/elderly-nutrition-101-10-foods-to-keep-you-healthy/   https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/sample-menus-healthy-eating-older-adults   https://www.myplate.gov/tip-sheet/healthy-eating-older-adults   https://www.myplate.gov/life-stages/older-adults   https://www.aarp.org/rewards/?intcmp=GLOBAL-HDR-LNK-CLK-AARP_REWARDS          

    Quick Tips: Bathing Tips for Dementia

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 23, 2021 9:22

    Thank you for joining us for another Quick Tips episode of All Home Care Matters. If your loved one has Alzheimer's or another form of dementia, they may need help in the bathroom. On our last Quick Tips episode, we discussed mealtime tips for loved ones with dementia.   Today, we are talking about the difficulties your loved one faces with bathing and how you can help them while allowing them their independence and dignity. We also will be giving you a few helpful items and products to use in the bathroom. Now let's move on to the rest of the show.   According to the Alzheimer's Society, as a person's dementia progresses, they will need more help with everyday activities such as washing, bathing, and dressing. For most adults, these are personal and private activities, so it can be hard for your loved one to adjust to this change. You can support a person with dementia to wash and dress in a way that respects their preferences and their dignity.   Personal care activities, including washing and bathing, can be a source of anxiety for people with dementia and their caregivers. Needing help with something so personal can be difficult to accept, and the person you care for may feel self-conscious or embarrassed. It is important to respect their privacy as far as you can.   In the early stages of Alzheimer's, your loved one may only need a reminder to bathe. As they progress, they will need more and more assistance, eventually needing your help to do the simplest of hygiene tasks, such as brushing their teeth.   Daily Caring says that it's important to keep your loved one's body clean to prevent skin infections, reduce the risk of urinary tract infections, and avoid unpleasant body odor. But trying to get them to take a bath or shower often results in arguments, hostility, crying, or screaming and ruins everyone's day, skyrocketing your stress level, as well as your loved one's.   Before you remind your loved one to bathe or tell them it is time to bathe, prepare the bathroom for them. Preparing everything for them in advance can help lessen their anxiety over the event and can help them do more on their own. You can put any shampoos and body washes they use in order, have towels out and ready, and any chairs or benches already in place. Making the room a nice temperature can also help your loved one be more comfortable during this time.   Daily Care recommends that you make sure there are no surprises or guesswork needed during bath time. Bathing takes so many steps, it's no wonder that it's overwhelming for a person with Alzheimer's or dementia. But even if your loved one doesn't know what to do next, they'll likely still remember how to do it. At every step, let them know what's going to happen and coach them through it so they can do as much as possible on their own. This gives them control and improves self-confidence. Plus, if they know what's going to happen at every step, they won't be as scared or anxious. For example, you could say “Let's rub the soap on your arm now. That's great. Now we'll rinse the soap away with the water.”   When bathing a loved one, don't change the way they bathed before they needed your assistance. If they prefer taking showers, don't try to give them a bath instead (unless they are now a fall risk). And the same goes for baths. If they like baths more, don't try to give them showers.   Using a shower chair and a transfer bench can help make bathing safer for your loved one. If they take showers, a handheld showerhead can also help reduce your loved one's anxiety, as well as help them clean themselves easier.   If bathing is a constant battle, remember that your loved one doesn't need to bathe every day, unless they are incontinent. Bathing twice a week is enough for most older adults. You can also help them bathe with sink baths in between bathing times if they have a lot of anxiety or anger during bath time. They can use no-rinse products during sink baths, as well.   Family Caregiver Alliance says that a fear of bathing may be related to a number of factors such as fear of falling, fear of the water, fear of being cold, loss of dignity in being naked in front of you, or feeling vulnerable in the coldness of a bathroom. Your loved one may not know how to voice their fears, but you should try to listen when they tell you they don't want to bathe. There is usually a real reason, at least to them, as to why they shouldn't bathe at that specific time.   Daily Caring suggests that you use positive reinforcement and don't try to argue with your older adult about how many days it's been since their last shower, any body odor they may have, or why good hygiene is important. Logic and reason don't work with Alzheimer's. Instead, keep sentences short and simple and focus on the positive, fun activities that come after the bath.   For example, when the bathroom is warm enough, go over to your loved one, make eye contact, and smile. Extend your hand so they'll take it, get up, and let you escort them as they walk (toward the bathroom). After they've started walking, say something like “Let's go shower now and then we'll have a yummy snack (cookies, juice, etc.) and do something fun.”   As you walk, keep the conversation focused on the snack or fun activity to avoid discussing or arguing about the shower. “Those chocolate chip cookies are your favorite, aren't they? And we can put together that puzzle with the beautiful birds.”   If you consistently take this type of approach, taking a shower becomes associated with positive things like their favorite snack or activity. If they refuse to bathe and start to argue, drop the subject and move on to something pleasant. This avoids a fight that will create negative feelings that often linger. Wait and try again in a little while.   After-bath care is just as important as bathing. Having a bath time routine that includes after-bath care can make bath times go smoothly for everyone. The Alzheimer's Association says that you should check for rashes and sores, especially if your loved one is incontinent or unable to move around. Have your loved one sit down while drying and putting on fresh clothes. Make sure they are completely dry. Pat them dry instead of rubbing and use cotton swabs to dry between the toes. Once they are dry, gently apply lotion to keep skin soft and use cornstarch or talcum powder under the breasts and in the creases and folds of skin. If your loved one will not use deodorant, you can use baking soda, instead.   After bathing and dressing, help your loved one get ready for the day. This may include helping them style their hair, shave their face, or put on make-up. If they need help with any of these activities, always ask first. Don't ever try to automatically do something for someone with Alzheimer's. Doing something for them without asking them takes away their autonomy and can embarrass them.   The Alzheimer's Society says that you should be aware of the likes and preferences of the person with dementia, and not make assumptions about how they would like to look or what others think they should wear.   Outfits, accessories, or make-up that they choose may have religious, cultural, or sentimental importance to them and be an important part of their identity. As long as they are not at risk of harm, it is important that you allow your loved one with dementia to express their identity through choices about their appearance.   For more information on Alzheimer's and how you can support a loved one with Alzheimer's, visit our YouTube channel, where we have an entire playlist dedicated to Alzheimer's and dementia.   We want to say thank you for joining us here at All Home Care Matters, All Home Care Matters is here for you and to help families as they navigate long-term care issues. Please visit us at allhomecarematters.com there is a private secure fillable form there where you can give us feedback, show ideas, or if you have questions. Every form is read and responded to. If you know someone is who could benefit from this episode and please make sure to share it with them.   Remember, you can listen to the show on any of your favorite podcast streaming platforms and watch the show on our YouTube channel and make sure to hit that subscribe button, so you'll never miss an episode. We look forward to seeing you next time on All Home Care Matters, thank you.     Sources: https://www.alz.org/help-support/caregiving/daily-care/bathing   https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/get-support/daily-living/washing-dressing#content-start   https://dailycaring.com/7-tips-to-get-someone-with-alzheimers-to-take-a-bath/   https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/bathing-dressing-and-grooming-alzheimers-caregiving-tips   https://www.caregiver.org/resource/bathing-dementia/                                

    An Interview with Music Therapist, Alexis Baker MT-BC

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 27, 2021 49:46

    All Home Care Matters welcomes back, Alexis Baker MT-BC. Alexis joins All Home Care Matters to share an exciting and helpful new resource for families and caregivers that her company Bridgetown Music Therapy is offering.   Alexis and Bridgetown Music Therapy is offering online music therapy courses to help families and caregivers. During this interview we explore what music therapy is and how it can help families and their loved ones and to learn more about their new online music therapy courses.   Make sure to stay tuned towards the end of the interview to watch a full demonstration from one of their courses that was provided to All Home Care Matters.   Connect with Alexis and Bridgetown Music Therapy: https://linktr.ee/bridgetownmusictherapy

    An Interview with Dr. Richard Caro Co-Founder of Tech-Enhanced Life

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 20, 2021 61:35

    All Home Care Matters is honored to welcome our guest, Dr. Richard Caro the co-founder of Tech-Enhanced Life.   Dr. Richard G. Caro is co-founder of Tech-enhanced Life, a Public Benefit corporation with the mission of improving the quality of life of the aging and their families. He is also CEO of TangibleFuture, Inc., an interventional management consultancy. Tech-enhanced Life is a Public Benefit corporation with the mission of improving the quality of life of the aging and their families.   Tech-enhanced Life: • creates insights for older adults and their families, published at www.techenhancerdlife.com; • provides advisory services for companies — who want to develop products and services that older adults actually want, and need; and • enables, and lead the Longevity Explorers: a unique sharing, evaluation, and ideation community— made up of older adults (in their 60's, 70's, 80's and 90's), and their friends, families, and caregivers.   Richard's prior experience includes operational roles in high tech companies in Silicon Valley and Boston. He was CEO (founder) of Vital Insite, a venture-backed, medical device start-up, developing noninvasive monitoring products; Engineering Program Manager at Coherent, one of the world's largest laser manufacturers; and CTO (employee #5) of Summit Technology, a pioneer in the laser refractive surgery (LASIK) business. Before entering industry, he was a member of the research staff at Stanford University. Richard has been responsible for development of a number of successful products; has 24 issued patents; and received a Ph.D in Physics from Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar. He is an active member of several Silicon Valley angel investor groups, with a particular focus on the intersection of healthcare, aging, and technology.    Connect with Richard and Tech-Enhanced Life: https://www.techenhancedlife.com/

    EXCLUSIVE Interview - Ticketyboo: A Secret in Plain Sight (New Dementia Film)

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 16, 2021 58:51

    All Home Care Matters is privileged to share with our listeners and viewers an exclusive interview with the Director and Creator of the new dementia documentary, Renée Brack. Renée was also joined by Dementia Champion, Tim England. Tim was a part of the film as an expert consultant. Throughout this in-depth interview and discussion of the film we explore Renée's journey from finding out her father was diagnosed with dementia to how this impacted her and her journey with her father. Ticketyboo: A Secret in Plain Sight is scheduled to be released around Christmas time of 2021. Connect with Renée: https://reneebrackacademic.com.au/ Link to the Reel of Ticketboo: A Secret in Plain Sight: https://documentaryaustralia.com.au/p...

    Quick Tips: Mealtime with Dementia (Mini-Series Part 1)

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 13, 2021 8:14

      Today's Quick Tips episode is a part of our new Nutritional Health for Seniors mini-series. First, we want to thank all of our viewers and listeners for joining us for this mini-series, and please, let us know what you want our next series to be. For today's episode, we've gathered some tips, tools, and resources that we think can help you and your loved one with dementia ensure that they are able to get the nutrition they need. Now let's move on to the rest of the show.   Memory loss and the decline of cognitive abilities are often brought to mind when thinking about dementia and how it affects our loved one, but what about the other issues that dementia brings? Mealtimes often present an all-too-common issue that families face with loved ones who have dementia. Making sure your loved one is eating and getting the proper nutrition that they need is a daunting, but extremely important task that family caregivers face daily.   According to the Terra Vista Foundation, many individuals with dementia often experience unplanned weight loss due to things like decreased levels of activity, depression, side effects of medications, and lack of muscle coordination which leads to problems with chewing and swallowing.   When considering ways to help your loved one make sure they are getting the nutrients they need, always talk to their doctor first. Make sure you tell them any side effects of the medications your loved one is on are causing, such as trouble swallowing, so that they can make any adjustments to dosage or changes of medication as soon as possible. Your doctor also might have suggestions on how to help your loved one eat.   It's important to make sure your loved one is drinking enough water throughout the day. If they are having trouble remembering to drink when they are thirsty, try using a measured water bottle with fun designs to help them drink more throughout the day. Popsicles are another great way to keep your loved one hydrated and you can make them yourself. Popsicles are especially great if swallowing hurts their throat. The ice can help soothe the inside, possibly making eating easier.   Engaging the senses is another way that entices dementia patients to eat or eat more. Using aromatic herbs and spices and vibrant colors can engage their vision and sense of smell. This is a good technique to use, as long as your loved one isn't feeling nauseous. Fragrant foods may make them feel worse, so make sure you try to gauge how they are feeling before preparing any foods.   Your loved one with dementia may easily become overwhelmed and mealtimes are no different. Using smaller portions on a larger plate can help them focus more on eating and less on the amounts in front of them. Finger foods may also help them eat more, especially as their motor skills worsen. Silverware can take more focus to use and if they are having trouble getting the food to their mouth, they may get angry and refuse to eat. Finger foods, like cut up sandwiches and fresh fruit, can be easier for them to eat themselves, without needing help from you.   Limiting distractions during mealtime can also increase the likelihood that your loved one finishes, or even eats, their meal. Try turning off the television or music and refrain from having conversations during mealtime if your loved one usually gets distracted by these things. The less distractions around, the more your loved one is able to focus on the task at hand.   Exercising may also help increase your loved one's appetite. Going for a walk with your loved one may help them begin to feel hungry and thirsty and they may decide it is time to eat on their own. Studies have also shown that exercising may help slow the cognitive decline in dementia patients.   If your loved one is able to eat in small quantities, but isn't getting all the nutrients they need, focus on adding more to what they are able to eat. For example, if your loved one can eat a half a cup of fruit at once, try adding some yogurt or cheeses to add more fat to their diet.   When trying to make sure your loved one is gaining or maintaining weight, ensuring they are eating foods high in calories and proteins is essential. Cooking with butter or high fat oils is a great way to sneak in more calories that won't affect the taste of their foods. Whole milk and fruit juice is also a good way to get them to drink calories.   Protein shakes like Ensure can also be helpful. You can also put ensure in the freezer for a few hours for a frozen snack they can eat with a spoon. We've heard from quite a few families and caregivers that Chocolate Ensure is best this way.   The Crisis Prevention Center says to just remember that each person is different, and care must be individualized depending on specific needs and through observation. What works for someone else may not work for your loved one, and that's okay. If you are interested in learning more about Dementia, check out our Dementia and Alzheimer's playlist on YouTube.   Similarly, if your loved one frequently forgets that they just ate and wants to eat again, try giving them multiple small meals. You can start with something like chicken, and then move on to rice, and then to asparagus. If your loved one is having problems with overeating due to memory loss, this technique can be especially helpful. You can give them smaller portions of the meal and spread it out over time.   The most important tip we can give you today is to observe. Let them eat as much as they can on their own so that they may hold on to some sense of independence. Observing also allows you to notice any patterns your loved one may have with eating. You may find that they have a favorite food or herb this way, or you may notice that they eat more when they use a spoon versus a fork.    We hope this episode has given you some helpful tips and tricks for dealing with mealtimes with dementia. We know that dementia is hard on everyone, not just your loved one, and we are here to help. If you would like more information on mealtimes and nutritional health for seniors, check out our Nutritional and Dietary Support for Seniors playlist on YouTube.   For more information and resources on nutritional health for your loved one with dementia, visit the Alzheimer's Association's website at ALZ.org. They have many resources that you may find useful. You can also find a link to their website in the show notes for today's episode.   We want to say thank you for joining us here at All Home Care Matters, All Home Care Matters is here for you and to help families as they navigate long-term care issues. Please visit us at allhomecarematters.com there is a private secure fillable form there where you can give us feedback, show ideas, or if you have questions. Every form is read and responded to. If you know someone is who could benefit from this episode and please make sure to share it with them.   Remember, you can listen to the show on any of your favorite podcast streaming platforms and watch the show on our YouTube channel and make sure to hit that subscribe button, so you'll never miss an episode.   Sources: https://www.terravistafoundation.org/eating-tips-alzheimers-disease/?gclid=Cj0KCQjw8vqGBhC_ARIsADMSd1BrOqbXQ3kxpTx3xPdfpE4pdgonrwhlgAQUE4wkBOfSIhd6EglaWtQaApgkEALw_wcB   https://www.crisisprevention.com/Blog/food-and-dementia   https://www.alz.org/help-support/caregiving/daily-care/food-eating?gclid=Cj0KCQjw8vqGBhC_ARIsADMSd1CGFYJ1oB1S4noiJn3cMRRtD0VE4HV0I8PtomXpmVIzzbG4e3ZJ9McaApw3EALw_wcB

    Williams Syndrome - A Mother's Story

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 8, 2021 54:31

    All Home Care Matters is honored to welcome a very special guest, Vicki MacGregor.   Vicki is sharing her personal story and experience of her son, Stephen. Stephen was diagnosed with Williams Syndrome when he was 13 months old. We discuss what it was like as she was raising Stephen and the trials and accomplishments that they experienced.   Vicki is sharing her story for the first time in a very long time and shares how she handled this diagnosis and how through a mother's love helped Stephen to not be defined by a label. During this interview Vicki takes us through her journey raising him into a remarkable young man and we hope that you will be encouraged by her story and also become better informed about what Williams Syndrome is.  Connect with Vicki: Email: victoria@victoriaspress.com Website: https://www.victoriaspress.com

    An Interview with Caregiver Consultant Bill Cohen CSA.

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 5, 2021 47:35

    All Home Care Matters is honored to welcome a very special guest on this episode, Bill Cohen CSA. Bill is a caregiver support group leader and speaker, an Alzheimer's Association volunteer and advocate, Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®, and the owner of Cohen Caregiving Support Consultants LLC.   Bill's journey to becoming a Caregiver consultant did not happen immediately. It was the journey once his mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's that would eventually lead him into the profession of helping others who are on the same journey that he himself has travelled. His loving and talented mother, Sheila, lost her home to Hurricane Katrina. Then, she lost her health, ability to create beautiful art and, ultimately, her life due to Alzheimer's. For almost 10 years, Bill was her primary caregiver and advocate, not just her elder son.   Bill shares his story and journey with his late mom, answers specific questions and concerns, and provides advice on how to manage care and behaviors, and how to practice self-care and prevention. Bill's unique perspective allows him to support caregivers to help avoid caregiver burnout as well as help provide them with the tools and caregiver resources to help them as they are caring for aging parents and loved ones.   Bill has completed multiple caregiving and aging courses through the Alzheimer's Association and the Society for Certified Senior Advisors™️, has a financial services and government background, and earned business degrees from Boston and Portland State Universities. He has lived in the Portland, Oregon area for over 36 years with his wife, Lori.    Connect with Bill and Cohen Cohen Caregiving Support Consulting: https://cohencaregivingsupport.com   Facebook Caregiver Support Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/billcohensupportgroup/   YouTube Channel for Caregiver Tips and Support: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVe4E5fw4OuibwgRSAk3-xA LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/checkpoint/challengesV2/AQE0AaFi5RclSQAAAXu3IBKqrZTw8Jdw3Lhdf-5G9-XPA3laeWYwf4TP-Zo6aeFw4GkI2iI4CP9dCpiJWQIaKPUrHm1S49ioBg?original_referer=https%3A%2F%2Flinktr.ee%2F    

    When Siblings Don't Agree (Tips for Family Caregivers)

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 2, 2021 9:58

    On today's Quick Tips episode, we are talking about how to handle siblings who are in denial about a parent's health. First, we'll talk about ways you can understand denial and why your siblings may be in denial about your parent's health. Then, we'll move on to ways you can approach your parent's health with your siblings. Finally, we'll talk about a few different communication tactics you can use when talking about your parent's health with your siblings. Now let's move on to the rest of the show.   In a blog post for the Arbors, Sondra Jones writes that no one wants to watch their parents get older. If your brother or sister really doesn't want to think about them aging and what that means for your family, they might be trying to protect themselves by refusing to accept the truth about the situation. In other words, they're in denial.   Denial is a coping mechanism that your siblings use in order to protect themselves from having to think about what having an aging parent needing care really means for them and the rest of your family. Denial is normal, but it can be harmful if it is not overcome in a timely manner.   There are several reasons your siblings may be in denial. Like I just mentioned earlier, they may be using denial as a coping mechanism so that they don't have to think about your parents getting closer to death.   Distance is another big factor for denial. If your siblings live farther away and are unable to see your parents regularly, they will be unable to see the state of decline you see in your parent's health.   AgingCare states that even with updates and warnings, a long-distance sibling doesn't always get the full picture of how their parent is doing or what caregiving entails on a daily basis. To complicate things further, elders will often perk up when their less involved adult children show up to visit. That's only natural.   This phenomenon is often referred to as “showtiming,” especially in elders who have Alzheimer's disease or other forms of dementia. The parent rallies, excited to see their long-lost child, much to the primary caregiver's annoyance. But this isn't just frustrating. Showtiming can also make it appear to occasional visitors that reports of their parent's decline have been exaggerated.   Many times, especially in parents that have dementia or Alzheimer's, once your sibling leaves and is no longer around and your loved one's excitement has time to regress, they revert back to the state they are usually in and may even forget that your sibling had come for a visit.   Author of Minding Our Elders, Carol Bradley Bursack, shares her personal experience with this. She says that that happened once after my brother and his wife visited when our mom was declining. She had looked forward to the visit for weeks.   My brother and sister-in-law arrived as planned, spent time with Mom, and then traveled back to their distant home. Afterward, Mom continued to ask me when they were coming. She was still looking forward to their visit and had completely forgotten that it had already happened. It nearly broke my heart to tell her they had been here over the weekend, but I couldn't lie about something so important to her. We caregivers have to do some pretty dreadful stuff.   Unfortunately, Carol's experience is more common than we would hope it would be. Caring for a loved one with dementia or other cognitive health issues takes a lot of work and it is important to make sure that you have the support system you need to provide the care your loved ones need. If you are interested in learning more about caring for a loved one with dementia, please check out our website for more episodes!   Now that we've talked a little bit about what denial is and why your siblings may be in denial, let's move on to ways you can approach your siblings about your parent's health.   When your siblings are in denial about your parent's health, they may not want to talk about it with you. Watching your parents' health decline isn't easy for you, and it's not easy for your siblings either. The best thing you can do is to let your siblings know that you are there for them and that they can come to you with any questions or fears that they have about your parent's situation. Letting them know that you are open to communication is a great first step to talking to your siblings about your parent's health.   When you decide it is time to talk to your siblings about your parent's health and care situation, set a date and time and plan a meeting in advance so that everyone can take time to prepare and make sure that they are available. Having the meeting in person is best, but you can do a video call if you are not all able to get together in the same place at once. Video calls still allow you to see how your siblings react to news and allow you to pick up on visual cues that you would miss if you only talked through a phone call or email.   As the sibling that is currently around your parents the most, it is your job to present the quote-unquote case to your siblings. You are the one that is around your parents the most and you know what state their health is actually in. Having recent doctor visit notes available can help you give more credibility to what you're saying. Some people need facts and figures to really understand a situation, so having those handy can help your case.   If you think that you and your siblings will have a difficult time coming to an agreement regarding your parent's care situation, consider having an elder care mediator present during your meeting. According to Five Star Senior Living, sometimes the mediator is an elder care attorney or therapist. They may be able to step in to keep conflicts from getting heated.   The mediator can also help ensure everyone has a chance to speak. Most importantly, the mediator will make sure everyone remains focused on the goal: To provide your aging parents with the best care and the best lifestyle possible in their senior years. A mediator won't tell you what to do, but they will help you and your siblings to reach an agreement.   Hopefully, you can use some of these tips to help you approach your siblings about your parent's health. Now, let's move on to our final section, which is communication tactics you should use when talking to your siblings.   AgingCare suggests that first, we must take a good, hard look at ourselves and consider two tough questions when it comes to our siblings: One: Have you asked for help directly? and two: Have you made specific requests of them? When you answer these questions to yourself, you can then use your own answers, in turn, to help you decide where to start with your siblings. If you have yet to ask specific requests of your siblings, you now know that is an option.   Before talking with your siblings, make a list of everything you want to tell and ask them to make sure you don't forget what you want to talk to them about. It's also a good idea to make a list of things you notice while taking care of your aging parents.   Care is continuous, so it's important to keep updating your family about your parents, their health, and any help you are in need of. Sending out weekly emails or texts is an easy way to keep your siblings in the loop. You can even ask one of your siblings to update the rest of the family for you in order to take some of the caregiving burden from you.   One of the most important tips we can give you today is that it is okay to take a break. If the conversation is becoming too tense, take a short break and let everyone relax for a bit. Having some time to reflect on what's been said, or even vent to someone not involved in the situation, can help everyone come back a little more refreshed and able to see things from a new perspective.   Caring for a loved one is difficult and so is coming to terms with the new reality that your parent is no longer in good health and will not be around for too much longer. Just remember that your siblings are likely processing this information and they may need some time to adjust to a new normal, but they also just want what is best for your loved ones.   We want to say thank you for joining us here at All Home Care Matters, All Home Care Matters is here for you and to help families as they navigate these long-term care issues. Please visit us at allhomecarematters.com there is a private secure fillable form where you can give us feedback, show ideas, or if you have questions. Every form is read and responded to. If you know someone who could benefit from this episode, please share it with them.   Remember, you can listen to the show on any of your favorite podcast streaming platforms and watch the show on our YouTube channel and make sure to hit that subscribe button, so you'll never miss an episode. Join us next time on All Home Care Matters where we welcome Bill Cohen. Bill was a caregiver for his mother and turned that experience into a career of helping other Caregivers and families. This is an informative and helpful interview that you won't want to miss.   Sources: https://www.agingcare.com/articles/siblings-in-denial-about-elderly-parents-health-140800.htm   https://arborsassistedliving.com/how-to-deal-with-siblings-in-denial-about-parents-needing-help/   https://www.fivestarseniorliving.com/blog-post/how-to-talk-with-siblings-about-senior-care-for-a-parent   https://www.aplaceformom.com/caregiver-resources/articles/family-disputes  

    What's Wrong with Grandpa? (Talking with Kids about Dementia and Alzheimer's Disease)

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 24, 2021 20:38

    Today, we are talking about how to talk with your children about their grandparents with dementia. First, we'll discuss what dementia is and how it affects the whole family. Then, we'll talk about a few ways to approach the subject with your children. After that, we'll dive into ways your children can interact with a loved one with dementia. Finally, we'll end the episode with questions and answers by and from real families experiencing dementia. Now let's move on to the rest of the show.   Dementia affects millions of families each year. According to the World Health Organization, there are 10 million newly recorded dementia cases each year. Worldwide, five to six percent of all individuals over the age of sixty have some form of dementia and that number goes up with age. One-third of all adults over the age of 85 have some form of dementia. If you have a loved one with dementia, it may be helpful to know that you are not alone. Dementia and other cognitive health diseases are tough for the entire family, not just for the patient and their caregiver. That is why we have decided to talk about dementia and how it affects grandchildren today. We hope that today's episode can help give you a few ways to talk to children about their grandparent's diagnosis.   The National Institute on Aging says that dementia is the loss of cognitive functioning — thinking, remembering, and reasoning — to such an extent that it interferes with a person's daily life and activities. Some people with dementia cannot control their emotions, and their personalities may change. Dementia ranges in severity from the mildest stage, when it is just beginning to affect a person's functioning, to the most severe stage, when the person must depend completely on others for basic activities of living.   We have talked in depth about dementia before, so we won't be defining it further today. If you are interested in more information on dementia, you can check out our YouTube channel, where we have an entire playlist dedicated to dementia and Alzheimer's. You can also visit our website for even more episodes and resources.   Your loved one with dementia may go through a number of behavioral changes, mood swings, and loss of both social and motor skills, and most of these will worsen as time goes by. Watching your loved one's mental state slowly deteriorate over time is difficult and something no one ever wants to have to do. Visiting with a loved one with dementia can help improve their day and their mental capabilities. Many families are anxious to visit their loved ones after a dementia diagnosis has been made, especially if they have children. They are worried that their children may accidentally set off their loved ones, or that their loved ones may not remember them.   Seeing our parents' health decline is hard on most of us, and dementia makes it even worse. Caregivers in a memory care facility stress the importance of visiting loved ones with dementia, even if it is difficult. They've seen family members come from hundreds of miles away to bring something that their loved one with dementia needs, such as medication or paperwork, but they are unable to stay and visit because it's hard for them to come to terms with their loved one's current state. One caregiver says that if only the families realized what a difference it makes, they would want to come more.   Visiting a loved one in a facility is tough, and depending on how far away the facility is, it can be an all-day event. When your loved one is in a facility, even if you visit every day, you may notice changes every time you visit. When your loved one is living with you, you also notice changes, but most of them are gradual and it isn't something you notice every time you look at them. Your loved one's changes can way heavy on your mind, too, but one thing that should help to ease some of the stress is knowing that they are getting the care they need while living in a facility. These special memory care facilities are devoted to caring for patients with dementia and other cognitive health diseases and issues. The staff are trained to handle any difficult behaviors that may arise, and they are always there to provide comfort and care, and another option many families choose for their loved one is for them to remain in their home for as long as possible. The benefit to that choice is that their home is familiar to them and provides them with a sense of security and comfort and the care they receive from a professional home care provider would be specific to them, which helps with their care.   Deciding that you alone are not enough to take care of your loved one can be a frustrating decision to make but is ultimately better for your loved one. Dementia is not something that gets better with time and can go away, it sadly only gets worse. Dementia affects the entire family, not just your loved one with the diagnosis. If your loved one becomes hostile, they can make your home be somewhere that you and your family dread going back to, and that's not how you want you and your family to live. Sometimes if their behavior is more aggressive then a facility is the best option for your loved one and your family. In a facility, you can make sure they are safe and watched over at all times, and you don't have to worry about how their mental state and behavioral changes will shape the day.   Now that you know a little about what dementia is and how it affects your loved one and the family as a whole, let's move on to ways to talk to children about dementia.   Haley Buress, writing for Lotsa Helping Hands says that teaching your kids, or other children in your family, about dementia, can be challenging. However, it can also be a positive shifting point in their relationship with their grandparent. Knowledge is power, right? So empower your kids by learning how to teach children about the dementia process.   Kids are inquisitive by nature, and they are sure to ask you questions about their grandparents and the changes they are noticing in them. Their questions can be a great start to a conversation on dementia and how it will be affecting their grandparents in the not-so-distant future. When your child brings a question to you, try to answer it as best as you can using age-appropriate terms. If they ask you why their grandparent doesn't remember one of their favorite things, you can take the opportunity to tell them that your loved one will have problems recalling information and that it will not get better, but that it will only worsen as time goes on.   Telling them that their grandparents memory is only going to get worse will help them understand why their grandparent can no longer remember more important things, like their name, as their dementia worsens. You may want to shield your child from what is happening and protect them from any hurt their grandparents loss of memory may cause them, but you would be surprised how understanding your child can be and how much they can actually handle. Of course, you know your child best. You should use your best judgment when talking to your child about their grandparent with dementia. You probably wouldn't tell your six-year-old the same thing you would tell your seventeen-year-old, but every child is different, and you are the one that ultimately decides what to tell. Our hope today is to give you the helpful information you will need to have a dialogue with your children when they ask you “What's wrong with grandpa?”   The most important thing you can do is tell the truth. Don't lie to your child and tell them that nothing is wrong and that they will get better, because something IS wrong and they WILL NOT get better and your children will know, regardless of what you tell them. Not telling them or lying to them will make them feel like you don't trust them enough to tell them what's really going on or they may be upset and feel like no one is listening to what they are saying if they ask you what's wrong with grandpa and you repeatedly tell them that nothing is wrong.   Buress also suggests that depending on your child's age, you can pull age-appropriate literature from your local library or the Alzheimer's Association to help start a conversation or give a new point of view. Older kids can get a lot of information from books such as Still Alice or Dancing with Rose. Younger kids can enjoy books like Still My Grandma or The Memory Box. With younger children, consider reading the book and then following up later with a coloring session or puppet show that the child leads. It is often in these moments of free play that a concern or question finds its way out.   It isn't easy to tell your kids about dementia, especially since you are likely in the middle of many different emotions yourself. Being a parent is hard work, but with a little honesty and vulnerability, you can find beauty in even this situation. Watching the intergenerational relationship between your kids and parents will last well into the dementia process and will be a gift to everyone.   When you are having the initial conversation about dementia with your child, make sure you tell them that nothing they did is why their grandparent is sick with dementia and that they also cannot get dementia or memory problems from their grandparent. It is still safe to visit, and they should visit!   Make sure your child knows that any feelings they are having when it comes to dementia and their grandparent are valid. If they are depressed, anxious, or confused, they can tell you and you can both talk about why they are feeling that way and discuss ways that can help them understand and conquer their feelings. For more help on how to talk to your child about dementia, check with your local Alzheimer's Association. They may have support groups that can be helpful for you and your child. If your child is really struggling with this concept and doesn't want to open up to you about it, a support group may help them more. They may have trouble telling you because of your closeness to the situation, but they may be able to talk to someone they don't view as being a part of their life.   Now that we've gone over some ways you can talk about dementia with your child, let's move on to ways your child can interact with a loved one with dementia that is beneficial for them both.   A Winchester Health article says that your child may be feeling left out and lonely from all the attention the grandparent needs to receive. Therefore, be sure to involve your child in the grandparent's care during visits. Setting limits and boundaries before the visit will help reassure your child, too. For example, set a time period for the visit and schedule them regularly.   Tell your child that if their grandparent becomes upset, you both will leave and come back another time when they are not upset. Before your visit, talk about what they may notice their grandparent doing during the visit. Let them know that they may not do things the way you think they should be done, and that's okay. Talking about this ahead of time can help reduce your child's unexpected reactions to changes in their grandparents' behavior.   Even though their grandparent has dementia, they may still be able to enjoy activities with their grandchild. If your child has any activities they look forward to doing with their grandparent, they can most likely still do those things together, but if you need a few ideas on what your child and loved one can do together, we've got a few for you.   They can play a musical instrument together. If your loved one has a piano, they may enjoy playing it with their grandchild. And playing music may bring back happy memories for them. They can read a book or a magazine together. Your child can bring their favorite book with them during their visit. They will be excited to show it to your loved one and patients with dementia usually react well to excitement. Coloring is another easy activity that they can do together, especially if your loved one is bed bound. Make sure that you don't correct your loved one when they are coloring. If they make the grass purple, don't tell them that that's not what grass looks like. You may accidentally upset them and have to end the visit early.   They can play a favorite board or card game together. Games can also help your loved one exercise their mind, which can potentially help strengthen their brain. If your loved one needs a drink or a snack during your visit, let your child get it for them. Being able to accomplish a task that helps their grandparent on their own will give them a sense of satisfaction and help build their sense of compassion. Your child may be cautious about hugging their grandparent, but you should encourage them to hug. Your loved one will really appreciate this show of love and it is a way for them to communicate their own love for their grandchild when words become difficult for them. After your visit, offer to answer any questions your child may have about the time spent together. If you don't know the answer or don't know how to effectively answer them, let them know that you don't know, but that you can figure out the answer together.   In an article for AgingCare, one grandson of a grandparent with dementia gives his take on what to do with a grandparent with dementia. He says that he's learned to adapt as he goes. He's learned to avoid asking questions that his grandmother won't know the answer to and says he's gotten good at shifting the conversation quickly to distract her from tricky things or topics that upset her. Even if you say something wrong, it's okay. Just learn from it and try to redirect them to something happier. They will likely forget the incident in a short time.   He also says that it really helps if he uses his grandmother's own words and phrases to describe things. She recalls the information better that way. For instance, if he says the name of the café they go to all the time, she doesn't remember it. But if he refers to it as “the one with the steps to the courtyard outside,” she remembers straight away. Try to find small things like this that can simplify and improve communication.   Some days are better than others. On days where she's having more trouble remembering things, he says that it's good to make his grandmother feel like she's not forgetting too much and reassure her that it's okay. When she can't remember a name, event, or detail, he acts like anyone could forget such a thing and tells her it's not a big deal. Sometimes you have to play down pretty major things to help a dementia patient feel a little bit better.   He says he still likes spending time with his grandmother and that they were very close when he was little. Now, he gets lots of hugs from her, and she's very adoring. He thinks it's absurd, but it's also kind of nice.   Most of our ideas for this episode have been geared toward younger children, but we're hoping this real-life account by a teenager can help those with older children see how other families are navigating life with a loved one with dementia.   Now that you know some ways that your children can interact with their grandparents with dementia, let's move on to our final section for the episode, which is questions and answers by and for families that are dealing with dementia.   For this last section, we're taking a look at a question posted by a 7 cups user on their question-and-answer forum. 7 Cups is an on-demand emotional health service and online therapy provider. For more information on their services, visit their website at 7 cups dot com. You can also find a link to their website in our show notes.   The user-posted question we're looking at today is My grandparent has dementia. How do I deal with this? What can I expect?   The highest-rated response is dementia symptoms vary but usually include a loss of memory, difficulties in communicating, and personality changes. If you love your grandparent, and I am sure you do, seeing him decline in these ways will be very challenging and you may find that you feel helpless and sad. These reactions are normal. Joining an Alzheimer's disease or dementia support group can help you cope with your feelings and can be very beneficial. Regarding your grandparent, the best approach to helping him is to be a good listener, be supportive and positive, and reassure him that he can still enjoy life regardless of the changes he is experiencing.   Another good response we found was that the most important thing to remember about verbal or physical aggression is that your grandparent is not doing it on purpose. Aggression from dementia is usually triggered by something—often physical discomfort, environmental factors such as being in an unfamiliar situation, or even poor communication. This is what you have to expect. Harsh responses. You have to try to cope with him, understand him, don't let yourself be offended or hurt.   Another user suggests making the most of the times when they are lucid. Spend as much time with them as you can spare, particularly in the mornings- dementia is often much worse later in the evening when the sufferer is tired. Ask them to tell you stories about their past. Most people say that the thing they regret the most is not spending time with them whilst they're still lucid. Of course, there are going to be bad times and good times, and it does get worse as time goes on. Getting support from and supporting your family can be very important in the bad times.   One of the most helpful responses we found was to know more about what to expect, find out what condition your grandparent has that causes dementia, because symptoms and prognosis can vary widely. In general, people with dementia suffer from severe memory problems, can be very disoriented, cease to recognize loved ones and familiar places, and have challenges caring for themselves. Whatever happens, don't take it personally if your grandparent doesn't recognize you.   Avoid arguing and trying to reason with a person with dementia. Avoid treating them like a child. They may be confused, but they still deserve respect and dignity. Learn to respond to the emotions behind what your loved one says, not the facts. For instance, if they say they refuse to take a bath because they don't want to drown, they might really be trying to say that they want their privacy, or they're frightened, or even that they're afraid the bath will be too hot or too cold. Therefore, don't think of seemingly random things the person says as nonsense, but instead view them as attempts to communicate with you. There are many professionals, such as occupational therapists, who can help you with advice on how to help your loved one live as happily and independently as possible. If you are a caregiver, get as much additional support as you can.   One creative response that might not work for every situation says that his son coped with a grandparent who would repeatedly ask the grandson whether he had eaten. The grandson would smile and tell the grandparent that yes, he had eaten, and show a spoon as proof. He always carried a spoon in his pocket when he was home. Then he'd ask the grandparent whether she had eaten, and the grandparent would look content… until she asked once again if he had eaten. This approach may not work for everyone, but it shows that remaining calm and creativity works sometimes and is worth striving for. At least some of the problems that dementia creates may be reduced this way.   Everyone is different and every situation is different, but we hope that you have been able to use something from today's episode to help you and your family navigate the problems that dementia comes with. For more information on dementia, check out the sources in our show notes and also visit our website for all the latest information on long term care issues and tips.   We want to say thank you for joining us here at All Home Care Matters, All Home Care Matters is here for you and to help families as they navigate these long-term care issues. Please visit us at allhomecarematters.com there is a private secure fillable form where you can give us feedback, show ideas, or if you have questions. Every form is read and responded to. If you know someone who could benefit from this episode, please share it with them.   Remember, you can listen to the show on any of your favorite podcast streaming platforms and watch the show on our YouTube channel and make sure to hit that subscribe button, so you'll never miss an episode. Join us next time on All Home Care Matters where we will be discussing a topic that can be difficult and emotional at times and that's “When Siblings Don't Agree”   Sources: https://lotsahelpinghands.com/blog/how-to-teach-children/   https://www.verywellhealth.com/helping-a-child-whose-grandparent-has-alzheimers-98005   https://www.7cups.com/qa-family-stress-23/my-grandparent-has-dementia-how-do-i-deal-with-this-what-can-i-expect-390/   https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/dementia   https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/what-dementia-symptoms-types-and-diagnosis   https://www.familylives.org.uk/advice/your-family/grandparents/helping-your-grandchildren-understand-dementia/   https://www.winchesterhospital.org/health-library/article?id=998960   https://www.agingcare.com/articles/5-dementia-tips-from-a-grandson-212858.htm                        

    Parenting the Parent

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 19, 2021 18:44

    Today we are talking about something many of our listeners, viewers, and especially those with parents that have cognitive issues, like Alzheimer's and dementia, experience, and that is parenting the parent. First, we'll talk a little bit about what we mean by parenting the parent. Next, we'll talk about the role of an adult child in the caregiving role and help you prepare for this new role reversal in your life. Then, we'll move on to ways you can effectively parent your loved one when they are unable to care for themselves alone. Finally, we'll look at some of things adult children should and shouldn't be doing while caring for a parent.     When we are young, most of us see our parents as strong, constant figures. As a child, I know I never thought of my own parents getting older, and I definitely never thought I would be in the position where I would have to take care of and be in charge of my parents. But our parents are not the stuff of legends, they don't live forever, although we wish they may. Old age and sickness will prevail in the end and the child will become the parent.     Parenting a parent is scary. Seeing our parents decline is not something any of us wants to witness, but it is what most of us will come to know at some point in our lifetime. Parenting a parent is tough, yes, but it is also rewarding and allows you to spend precious time with your loved one. You will be shocked to know how much about your loved ones you don't know until you undertake this new position of parent. Caring for your loved one at the end of their life creates a bond that is unlike any other. The child-parent bond is strengthened when child becomes the parent, as both sides get to walk in the other's shoes. Many people find that they have more compassion, patience, and a desire for service after caring for a loved one.     We may find ourselves in the position of parenting our parents during their old age, when they are unable to go about their daily lives on their own. Alzheimer's, dementia, and sudden illnesses, like cancer, can also cause us to have to care for our loved ones, even if just for a short while. No matter what reason we find ourselves parenting a parent, the end result is the same. Our parents, the ones we once thought invincible, need us.   They need our help to do things they may not have thought they would ever need help doing, like grocery shopping or cleaning the house. Parenting a parent isn't easy for us, or for our loved ones. When your loved one gets to the place in their life where they find that they are needing constant help to do things they once thought was easy, it may be hard for them to come to terms with.     With the aging population growing, approximately 10,000 people turn 65 every day, the likelihood that your loved one will need support is higher than what it would have been a few years ago. According to a study on Financing end-of-life care in the United States, three-quarters of people who live to age 65 will develop cancer, heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or dementia or will have a stroke in their last year of life.     At the end of their life, your loved one needs all the support, love, and care that you can give them. It is a scary time for your loved one, as well. Parenting your loved one lets them know that someone is there with them and will be there continuously throughout this strange new time, no matter how long it may last. Parenting a parent allows us to return the favor and show our aging parents how much their love and support has really meant to us throughout our entire lives.     Now that you know a little bit about what parenting a parent is and why it is so important, let's move on to your role as the adult child caregiver and how you can prepare yourself for this new role reversal.     Many adult children find themselves in the position of caregiver for their aging parents and if you are listening or watching this episode, you have probably come to find yourself in this position or will be in this position soon enough. It is our hope that this episode, as well as the rest of our discussions and episodes, can help you and your loved one navigate this journey you both are on.     As a caregiver for your parent or loved one, you will find yourself in charge of many things other than just your loved one's care. You will need to know your loved one's medical information and history, information about their financial situation, who to contact to relay information to family and friends, their legal information, including their will and any wishes they have for after they are gone. The list goes on and on.     Many times, family caregivers feel overwhelmed when the time comes to provide care for their loved ones, and that is because they were not prepared. Preparing to care for your parents ahead of time can ease the transition of the care process and reduce everyone's stress and raise your level of comfort. Talking to your parents about what to do when they are unable to take care of themselves can be uncomfortable not only for you but also them, but it is an important conversation to have, although it will likely be more than one conversation.     When talking about caregiving, make sure to include siblings and other important relatives, even if they are not in the area. Together, you can all come up with a care plan, whether it be one person providing continuous, around the clock care, or taking turns providing care for your parents. Who provides the care will likely be determined by where your loved ones will be living out the remainder of their days and how much care they will require.     Making these plans in advance allows everyone to have a say, or at least be heard. When the time comes that your loved ones need help with day-to-day living activities, they can be reassured by the knowledge that they already have a plan in place and know what will happen next.     Having a plan before the time comes is helpful, but it is also important to revisit and reevaluate the plan occasionally. Things can change. Your sibling that was going to move in with your parents may have moved across the country for a job and can no longer provide the care they had planned for. Or your loved ones may need more care than you initially thought and are unable to stay by themselves. You should also reevaluate the care plan when it is in place. While caring for your loved ones, you may find that your plan no longer covers all of their needs, and that's okay. When you already have a plan, it is easy to adapt it to fit your current needs. Adapting a plan is much easier than creating an entire plan from scratch while also providing care.     As your parents' caregiver, you will often find yourself making decisions. The most important decision you will have to make, though, is when to let your parents decide. Making all the decisions for your loved ones will end up making them feel inadequate and less like themselves. As a caregiver, you want to make sure you are allowing your loved ones to decide as much as they can, allowing them to maintain their independence for as long as possible. Your goal is to make sure that they are safe and healthy, your goal is not to control them. Making sure they are able to make decisions for themselves, even if it is just what they are eating for lunch or what shoes they are wearing for the day, gives them control over their circumstances when they don't have control over much else.     In a How Stuff Works article, Jennifer Sellers writes that because people are starting families later, and older adults are living longer, many folks are taking care of their older parents while also raising children of their own. People in this group are known as the sandwich generation. An AARP report found that 44 percent of 45- to 55-year-olds had both at least one living parent and one child under the age of 21. If you are also a part of the sandwich generation, you will most likely find yourself parenting your parent, as well as your own children.     When taking care of two generations, you have to make sacrifices and decisions that you deem best. There will come a time when you have to decide between your child and your parent, and that is a tough decision to make. When making these decisions, make sure both parties are aware of any conflicts that arise. If your daughter has a soccer game at the same time as your parent's doctor's appointment, make sure they both know about the other's occurring conflict. Hopefully, your children and parents will make the decision easy on you and no feeling will be hurt, but that might not always be the case.     Scheduling time alone, and together, ahead of time can help ensure everyone is getting the care and attention they need. A family calendar can be a good visual tool for everyone to use.     It is also important to schedule time for yourself, especially when caring for two generations. Caring for just a parent or a child is already a lot but adding in the other generation puts even more stress on you, so it is important that you plan time ahead for yourself. Planning ahead also makes it more likely that you will actually get this time to yourself, as everyone in the household will be aware in advance that you will be unavailable, unless of course for an emergency.     Now that we've talked some about your role as the adult child caregiver and how you can prepare for it, we're going to take a look at some of the ways you can actually parent a parent.     Just like how your parenting style changes as your children age, the way you provide care for an aging loved one will change over time and will be dependent on your loved one's physical and mental capabilities. You may gradually have to provide more and more care as your parents age and need more help. You may also suddenly find yourself providing care full-time. Each caregiving situation is unique, and your situation may be similar to someone else's, but it won't be the same.     Sellers has a few suggestions that can help you successfully provide care for your loved one and allow them to maintain their independence and dignity. First, participate in open communication with your parent and any other parties involved, such as your siblings or your parent's health care providers. You should also promote independence in the parent, whenever possible, even if there are limitations. You can reach out to support systems, such as family members and volunteer groups, when you need help. Observe your parent's routines and habits and be aware of any changes that happen. You should also familiarize yourself with your parent's financial and insurance details since as their caregiver, you will most likely be the one dealing with their finances. Lastly, educate yourself on eldercare issues. Knowing about issues that may affect your loved one can save you a lot of time and stress and can potentially save your loved one's life.     When parenting a parent, it's important that they continue pursuing their interests, as long as it won't be detrimental to their health. If your parent likes gardening, you can help them garden outside. If they are unable to get on the ground, you could get them raised garden beds. If they are wheelchair or bed-bound and unable to easily get outside, you can bring the garden to them with a small, movable, indoor herb and flower garden. Our example is gardening, but you can help them to pursue any interests they may have. If you are unsure how to help them pursue their interests safely, you can start by getting them a book on the subject their interested in. Participating in things they are interested in helps keep their brain stimulated and helps fight off depression.     Another way you can parent your parent is by allowing them to participate and do things on their own. Making sure they still have the opportunity to feel needed and a part of the family, and not just someone you are taking care of, will help them retain some feelings of normalcy. Let them give you advice and feel helpful. They can help you pick out gifts for other family members or help you write thank you cards.     Letting them do things on their own means just that. Let them dress themselves, cook for themselves, and eat by themselves, even if it is time consuming and messy at times. You can invest in items that can help them do these tasks, like a long-handled shoehorn to put on their own shoes. Or precut veggies so they can cook dinner without having to chop things with a knife. Allowing them to do the things they are able to do, no matter how slowly, helps them maintain their independence. Just think how you would feel if someone was constantly doing simple tasks for you and wouldn't let you even button your shirt by yourself. You would be frustrated. That's how your loved one feels when you do these tasks for them.     Similar to how you have to babyproof your home before a new baby arrives, you will want to make sure your loved one's living space is safe and accessible to them, whether it be your own home, theirs, or an assisted living facility. Installing brighter lights can help your loved one see better, as it can be harder for them to see in dim light as they get older. Rugs can be a fall hazard, so make sure you remove those, too. You will also want to make sure the entrances and exits of their home are safe for them to use. This could mean installing new handrails, fixing steps, and making sure outdoor lights are in working order.   Another important aspect of parenting is ensuring your loved one's health. Going with your parents to their doctor appointments allows you to ask any questions you or your loved one has, and you can make sure to keep a record of their medical history and information when you are there in person. When you go with your loved one, you can also get first-hand information of what medications they are taking and what the side-effects are. As the caregiver, you are the one that will notice patterns in your loved one when they may not. You may notice a medical issue before they do and going to their doctor with them ensures that you have the chance to inform their doctor of any potential problems your loved one may have.     When parenting a parent, it is also important to remember that they are your parent, and they have a lot of life experience that you shouldn't negate just because they need your help now. Treating your loved one as such will help the transition from total independence to whatever level of care they are receiving now.     If you are interested in learning more about how to provide care and what types of care are available for your loved one, visit our YouTube channel and checkout our Resources and Services playlist.     Now that you are familiar with some of the ways you effectively parent your parent, we're going to move on to our final section for this episode, which is what you should and shouldn't do while caring for your parent.   When it comes to what you should and shouldn't do while parenting a parent, most things are dependent on the situation. And since every caregiving situation is different, you will have to decide for yourself what you should and shouldn't do while parenting your parent. That being said, we've gathered a few things we think you should and shouldn't do while parenting a parent.     First, you shouldn't dismiss what your loved one has to say, even if you don't think it is important. Sellers suggests that you should respect your parent's experience and knowledge. When you become like a parent to your own parent, it's easy to infantilize him or her. Remember that your mom or dad's failing health doesn't negate his or her lifetime of know-how.     You should also abide by your commitments. It's not healthy for you to be at anyone's beck and call, but when it comes to your parents, be sure to honor your promises and let them know what can be expected from you, and when it can be expected. If you continuously break your commitments to your loved one, they will feel unwanted, unneeded, and unloved and even could start to feel as a burden to you. Your intentions are not to hurt their feelings or make them feel this way, but when you don't prioritize them, that is what you are doing. The same goes for yourself.   You should prioritize yourself and make and keep commitments to yourself. Just like how you have to put your own oxygen mask on first on a plane, you have to make sure your mental state is sufficient to take care of another person, and if it isn't, you need to commit to taking a break and recharging so that you can come back and continue to provide care. For more information on how to prioritize and take care of yourself, check out our episode on Caring for the Caregiver.     Another thing you should do is visit often. If your loved one doesn't live with you, loneliness can creep in and affect their physical and emotional state. You should also encourage your siblings, friends, and friends of your parents to visit, as well. You shouldn't convince others to visit or force them to when they are not wanting to. Your loved one will most likely notice when someone doesn't want to be there, and they won't enjoy the visit. It will also make them feel like they are more of a chore for people, instead of an individual people are excited to visit with.     Lastly, you should know where your parent stands financially and legally. It's important to know details of your parent's accounts, such as whether or not they have long-term care insurance, which lawyer holds a copy of their will and whether or not their monthly bills are being paid on time. You shouldn't hold their finances for them and make all their financial decisions for them, unless your specific situation calls for it. If your loved one has dementia or Alzheimer's, you may be put in charge of their finances, but you should still try to let them have as much control as they can, as long as they can.     Hopefully you have learned a bit about parenting the parent today. We hope this episode has given you some idea of the role of the adult child caregiver and given you ways to prepare for the time when you are caring for your parent, as well as give you some idea of what you should and shouldn't do while caring for a parent. We want to say thank you for joining us here at All Home Care Matters, All Home Care Matters is here for you and to help families as they navigate these long-term care issues. Please visit us at allhomecarematters.com there is a private secure fillable form where you can give us feedback, show ideas, or if you have questions. Every form is read and responded to. If you know someone who could benefit from this episode, please share it with them.   Remember, you can listen to the show on any of your favorite podcast streaming platforms and watch the show on our YouTube channel and make sure to hit that subscribe button, so you'll never miss an episode. Join us next time on All Home Care Matters where we will be discussing a topic that can be difficult for families with younger children, and that is What's Wrong with Grandpa? This topic will discuss ways for families to help children understand when a grandparent has dementia.   Sources: https://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffbevis/2018/10/24/parenting-your-parents/?sh=35a664b570a9   https://health.howstuffworks.com/wellness/aging/elder-care/child-becomes-parent.htm   https://www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/2006/09/art1full.pdf   https://www.interimhealthcare.com/blog/july-2019/dealing-with-role-reversal-from-child-to-parent-ca/   https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1282187/                            

    The Long Term Care Crisis in America

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 11, 2021 14:15

    Before we get started we want to give you a quick update on the interview we had schedule for today's episode. Unfortunately, when we began the interview we started having some technical difficulties and due to the importance and nature of the interview we collectively decided it would be best to reschedule it.   So in place of the interview, we are going to be discussing an issue that has or will affect every family at some point and that is the long-term care crisis in America. First, we will talk a little about what long-term care is and who is in need of it. Then, we will gravitate towards why long-term care is becoming a crisis and what you need to do to prepare for it.   Maybe you're already experiencing some of these issues or you're looking towards the near future and are unsure what it may hold. Regardless of your current situation we hope that this episode will give you some ideas and suggestions for your long-term care situation. Let's move on to the rest of the show.   As we age, many of us will end up needing long-term care, which is a type of care required if you are unable to perform daily activities on your own. According to Genworth, daily activities means things like eating, bathing, dressing, transferring, and using the bathroom. For many long-term care providers, the goal of long-term care is to allow the recipient, and as often as it is in our case our loved ones, to maintain their lifestyle. As caregivers for our loved ones, we are allowing them to maintain as much freedom as possible and to live out the remainder of their lives as they wish.   Being the primary caregiver for our loved ones is usually the most cost-effective option, but it is not the only way long-term care can be provided. Long-term care facilities and professional home care providers are all options when it comes to long-term care for our loved ones. Often times, it comes down to what a family can afford. Medicare and Medicaid and traditional insurances don't usually cover the cost of long-term care (this is where long-term care insurance is typically used), leaving families to try and cover the costs on their own.   Today, seven out of ten older adults will need some sort of long-term care support and 63 percent of family caregivers have to use their own retirement savings to help fund and pay for care.   With the aging baby boomer generation, the long-term care crisis will soon reach an all-time high. The COVID-19 pandemic has already seen to it that hospitals and other care facilities reached their full-capacity. America does not currently have the medical infrastructure to support the influx of patients that the pandemic has brought, and it certainly doesn't have the infrastructure to support the 71.6 million baby boomers that will be needing care in the coming years.   Long-term care helps with daily living activities, but it can also include community services such as meals, adult day care, and transportation services. These services may be provided free or for a fee. Preparing for long-term care ahead of time can not only give you peace of mind when the time comes that you need long-term care, but it also ensures that the financial burden will not fall on your loved ones.   According to Market Watch, long-term care is extremely expensive, and for many Americans, it is simply unaffordable. Most seniors simply don't have the average $100,000 a year for a nursing home, $45,000 for assisted living, or $33,000 for in-home care.   A report by the Long-Term Care Financing Collaborative found that the out-of-pocket costs of such assistance can be catastrophic, and few people have the necessary resources…to meet this need. Private insurance can cover some of the costs, but it won't cover everything. Market Watch states that the average premium today is $2,050 a year for a 55-year-old man and $2,700 for a woman of the same age — with premiums rising 25 percent to 100 percent annually. That is, if you can find a policy. Insurers are pulling out of the market in droves as lifespans and health care costs rise — and profit margins fall.   Medicaid will cover the costs of skilled nursing care for lower-income seniors, but they don't help middle- or upper-class seniors and Medicare doesn't cover any of the costs. Families that leave the workforce to provide care for their loved ones forego approximately $300,000 ($324,000 for women and $284,000 for men) in retirement income. For many families, quitting their own jobs to provide full-time care is the only option. At All Home Care Matters, we fully support families as the primary caregiver, but we want you to be prepared to be a primary caregiver, instead of being thrust into the roll unexpectedly.   The cost of long-term care isn't the only reason for the crisis. There's also a shortage of room in facilities and a shortage of staff and unfortunately, both of these shortages cause the price of long-term care to increase even more, creating a very costly cycle.   Now that we know about the long-term care crisis in America and how costly long-term care can be for the care recipient and their family, let's take a look at who needs long-term care and what the specific long-term care options are.   In GenWorth's 2018 Beyond Dollars report, they state how seven out of ten people will need long term care at some point, yet six out of ten people are convinced the need for care will never happen to them. In fact, 63 percent of care recipients and 61 percent of caregivers report that, prior to the moment care was needed, they had never considered that the need for long term care at some point was a very real possibility. Among those that had considered the need for care prior to the need revealing itself, less than 25 percent had made any plans to cover this type of situation because they didn't want to talk about it or admit that care was needed and many also assumed that they had more time.   When we do think about a time that we will need long-term care, we often think of it as being when we are in the end-of-life stage, but that isn't always the case.   Hank, a long-term care recipient, never thought he would need long-term care, especially at his age. On Father's Day, he had a stroke and was unconscious for 48 hours. He thought he was going to die. Luckily, his son found him in time and got him help. After his stroke, Hank's son stayed with him, helping him with his daily living activities, like bathing, until he got some of his strength back. His son was able to go back to school and continue classes because of a caregiver that was able to come into Hank's home and help him with daily tasks like laundry and preparing food.   Before his stroke, Hank never thought about what if. He hadn't prepared for the expenses that came with long-term care or for the lack of income and the bills that added up while he was unable to work for several weeks. Hank says he can't change what happened in the past, but he can change what's happening now. Nobody knows when something similar is going to happen that is going to require you to get help and Hank wants to make sure his son and others prepare for that moment ahead of time.   As we've seen with Hank, anyone can be in need of long-term care at any point in their life. Besides age, accidents, illnesses, strokes, and other chronic conditions can all lead you to need long-term care. Cognitive illnesses, such as Alzheimer's and dementia are one of the leading causes for long-term care, as well. According to GenWorth, 5.8 million Americans currently have Alzheimer's, and that number continues to grow steadily. In fact, by 2050, this number is projected to increase to almost 14 million. For more information on Alzheimer's and dementia, you can visit our official YouTube channel for our playlist dedicated to Alzheimer's and Dementia educational videos.   Age, gender, family and housing situation, health, and lifestyle all factor into whether or not you will need long-term care. As you get older, it becomes more likely that you will need long term care. Gender goes hand in hand with age, as women have a greater likelihood of needing long-term care than men because of their likelihood to live longer than men. People who live alone and are without a support system in their area are more likely to need care from a paid caregiver.   People living with family or having a support system in the area don't have a lower risk of needing long-term care, but they most likely will not need full-time care from a paid caregiver, as they have loved ones near that may be able to help provide care in some way. Having any chronic health conditions, like diabetes or high blood pressure, or a family history of chronic health conditions may also increase your risk of needing long-term care. Just like with most things in life, having a poor diet and lack of exercise can increase your risk of needing long-term care.   Thinking about and preparing for the what if, as Hank said earlier, can make all the difference when the time actually comes that you need long-term care. Preparing funds ahead of time, whether it be starting a new account to save specifically for long-term care or other health costs or deciding on an amount of retirement money to use can help you and your family budget for a future that may include long-term care.   Getting regular check-ups and leading a healthy lifestyle that includes eating healthy foods, staying hydrated, getting enough sleep, and getting an adequate amount of exercise can help you combat the need for long-term care, but it won't make certain that you won't need long-term care in the future. We never know what will happen, so it is best to be prepared.   When planning for long-term care, having an idea of how you will pay for the associated costs is a good start. You will also need to determine if a family member will provide care for you in your own home, or possibly in theirs. If you choose to go with professional home care services, you will have to determine what sort of care you want to receive from them and they can help you in deciding what type of care may be best suited for your needs.   There are a few different options you can choose from for long-term care and many of them will depend on what level of care you will be needing, which you most likely will not know until the time comes. There are three main types of care settings you need to know about when choosing what type of long-term care is best for you, in home care, community care, and facility care.   The in-home care option means that a caregiver can help you with daily tasks such as personal care, hygiene, bathroom assistance, and memory care. They can also assist with any domestic needs that you may have as well like laundry, cleaning, cooking, transportation for shopping and appointments. One of the nice features of home care is that the care is customized specifically to the individual and not a one size fits all approach. People with cognitive illnesses can benefit from the home care option due to the close one-on-one interaction they will have with the caregiver and from being in their familiar environment at home.   Adult day care is an example of community care. Adult day care provides a safe place for a care receiver to stay while their loved ones are working or away for a few days. It also allows seniors to socialize and participate in activities they find enjoyable. Many families choose this option when they are the primary caregiver and work at the same time or when they want to make sure that their loved one is getting the social interaction they need. However, most adult day cares have criteria that individuals must meet to make sure they are a good fit for their programs.   Facility options include assisted living and nursing homes. Assisted livings are recommended for individuals that don't require twenty-four-hour care and are able to stay on their own for a period of time. Depending on the facility, it could be a few hours at a time, or it could be overnight. Most assisted living facilities also have someone on standby in case of emergencies.   Nursing homes are a great option for patients that require full-time care and do not have the support system that is able to provide it at home or they need even more help than their family is able to provide. Often times people with cognitive illnesses will end up needing to live in some type of a facility during their long-term care. There are also specialized facilities for cognitive illnesses or specific memory units within a facility that take care of those patients. Patients in memory units quite often have more bad days than good by the time they end up living in a memory unit.   The long-term care crisis in America is only just beginning. With the aging population rising and the cost of health care at an all-time high, we can expect the crisis to worsen. It's important to plan ahead now, so that when the time comes, and it may come sooner than you think, you will be prepared for it.   We want to say thank you for joining us here at All Home Care Matters, All Home Care Matters is here for you and to help families as they navigate long-term care issues. Please visit us at allhomecarematters.com there is a private secure fillable form there where you can give us feedback, show ideas, or if you have questions. Every form is read and responded to. If you know someone is who could benefit from this episode and please make sure to share it with them.   Remember, you can listen to the show on any of your favorite podcast streaming platforms and watch the show on our YouTube channel and make sure to hit that subscribe button, so you'll never miss an episode. Join us next time on All Home Care Matters where we will be discussing a topic that can be difficult for families and that is Parenting the Parent.   Sources:   https://www.marketwatch.com/story/americas-long-term-care-crisis-is-worsening-2019-07-22   https://www.genworth.com/aging-and-you/finances/what-is-long-term-care.html   https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/what-long-term-care   https://web.archive.org/web/20200428233813/https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2020/04/28/millennials-overtake-baby-boomers-as-americas-largest-generation/   https://pro.genworth.com/riiproweb/productinfo/pdf/282301.pdf                    

    Quick Tips: Common Issues to Address with Aging Parents

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 8, 2021 6:21

    On this episode of All Home Care Matters, we are going to be talking about Common Issues to Address when Helping Aging Parents. We've gathered some tips, tools, and resources that we think can help you and your aging parents navigate this new, possibly difficult, and confusing path. Now, let's move on to the rest of the show.   Many older adults don't need any help in their day-to-day lives, but that may change with time, especially as lifespans are increasing and many adults are living well into their 80s, 90s, and some even live into their hundreds. As we get older and older, the likelihood that we will need some sort of help, either from family or from a medical service, increases greatly.   At some point, you may find yourself in a position where you will be helping your aging parents. According to Better Health While Aging, family members are by far the number one source of “long-term care supports and services” for older adults, so depending on your proximity to your parents, you most likely will end up helping your parents when they reach a certain age.   One of the most common issues to address when helping aging parents is the actual act of helping. Your aging parent may not want to admit they need help, but that is something they are going to have to come to terms with. Make sure you sit down with your loved one and your family to express your concerns for your loved one and establish a plan to help them in whatever ways are necessary.   It could be just helping them establish a time when you can take them to the grocery store and to their medical appointments, or it could be a deeper conversation about the type of help you think they need and they think they need. Make sure to keep them in the loop while discussing future plans so they are not completely blindsided. They are less likely to become argumentative if you approach the subject over a period of time and allow them to have input that you seriously consider.   When helping aging parents, another concern you will be faced with is their safety, especially when you are unable to be around them all the time. According to AARP, 60 percent of family caregivers are juggling paid work and caregiving. While you are away, you may worry about your loved one, and that's normal. We all worry about our loved ones, even if they are not in a place where they are needing our help.   You and your loved one will need to think about whether or not they should be driving, their financial situation, and even how safe they are in their own home. For some tips and resources to ensure your loved one is safe at home, check out our recent episode on Aging in Place.   We've talked a lot about caring for the caregiver on this podcast, and today is no exception. It's important to take care of yourself while you are caring for your loved ones. You should set up boundaries with your loved one and schedule time for yourself in advance. Scheduling ahead of time allows you to ensure that someone you trust, another family member, can be ready to help your loved ones if need be.   Medical and health issues are another common issues that you will likely have to address when helping aging parents. Many older adults develop chronic conditions and illnesses as they age and need medication daily to manage them. As we get older, we also have a harder time recovering from illnesses, so you may find yourself helping them recover, much like you would your child. Your loved one may not notice additions symptoms they develop, so going to their doctor appointments with them can ensure they are getting seen and treated for things before they get out of hand. And taking your loved on to their appointments also means you won't have to worry about them driving themselves.   Planning ahead is one of the most important things you can do when it comes to helping aging parents. Before your loved one even comes to the point where you start to wonder if they are beginning to need help, you should sit down and make a plan of what they want to happen, what kind of assistance and care they want, whether they want to stay in their own home, move in with you, or live in a facility if the time comes when they are unable to live alone. Knowing how to use their financial assets ahead of time will also help in making a plan to help your loved one.   Better Health While Aging believes that planning ahead tends to reduce later stress, hassles, and sometimes expenses, and we firmly believe this, too.   We know this is not an exhaustive list of issues to address when helping aging parents, but we hope it may help you and your loved one and give you an idea of where to start.   We want to say thank you for joining us here at All Home Care Matters, All Home Care Matters is here for you and to help families as they navigate long-term care issues. Please visit us at allhomecarematters.com there is a private secure fillable form there where you can give us feedback, show ideas, or if you have questions. Every form is read and responded to. If you know someone is who could benefit from this episode and please make sure to share it with them.   Remember, you can listen to the show on any of your favorite podcast streaming platforms and watch the show on our YouTube channel and make sure to hit that subscribe button, so you'll never miss an episode. Join us next time on All Home Care Matters where we will be welcoming a very special guest who will be sharing their experience caring for their son with special needs and the heartwarming journey they both shared.   Sources: https://betterhealthwhileaging.net/what-to-address-when-helping-older-parents/   https://www.aarp.org/ppi/info-2015/valuing-the-invaluable-2015-update.html        

    An Interview with Music Therapist Alexis Baker MT-BC

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 6, 2021 45:26

    All Home Care Matters had the privilege of welcoming music therapist, Alexis Baker to the show. During the interview Alexis demonstrates and shares how music therapy through a therapeutic process helps seniors and olders adults become engaged and active through music. Alexis is founder and owner of Bridgetown Music Therapy, which improves the lives of older adults through the use of music. She is a licensed and board-certified music therapist with 8 years of experience.   Alexis earned her Bachelor of Music Therapy degree from Marylhurst University in 2013. Over the years, she has worked with a variety of populations in multiple settings, but ultimately decided to specialize in serving older adults in 2016. Drawn to their rich wisdom, unique life stories and sense of humor, Alexis absolutely loves this age group and is passionate about making a difference in their lives using music and expressive arts therapy. Connect with Alexis and Bridgetown Music Therapy: Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bridgetownmusictherapy Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/bridgetownmusictherapy/ LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/alexis-baker-mt-bc-42b7b93b/ Website: https://www.bridgetownmt.com/care   Stay Connected: Listen to the podcast on Apple: https://apple.co/2JEKJFC Listen to the podcast on Google: https://podcasts.google.com/search/%22all%20home%20care%20matters%22 Follow us on Twitter: @allhcms Like us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AllHomeCareMatters/ Follow us on Instagram: @allhomecarematters Visit our website: https://www.allhomecarematters.com Email: contact@allhomecarematters.com

    Everyday Activities to Boost Memory in Older Adults

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 4, 2021 14:54

    Today, we are going to be discussing everyday activities that boost memory in older adults. First, we'll talk about cognitive health, what it is, and things that affect it. Then, we will differentiate between normal age-related memory and cognitive issues that most individuals experience and the cognitive decline that happens with cognitive issues, such as Alzheimer's or dementia.   After which we will see why cognitive function decreases with age. Then, we'll talk about how older adults without cognitive issues can boost their memory and what everyday activities they can start trying now. We'll then move on to some daily things seniors with cognitive issues can do to help improve or delay the cognitive decline they are experiencing. Finally, we'll talk about the importance of exercising your brain now and how it can help you later. Now let's move on to the rest of the show.     The National Institute on Aging states that Cognitive health, which is the ability to clearly think, learn, and remember, is an important component of performing everyday activities and is just one aspect of overall brain health. Our brain health is determined by how well we are able to function across several areas which include: cognitive health, motor function, emotional function, and tactile function.     Several studies have shown that taking care of your physical health, managing high blood pressure, eating healthy foods, engaging in physical activity, keeping your mind active, staying connected with social activities, managing stress are all linked to cognitive health and can help improve brain function and a combination of all of these as lifestyle changes can actually help reduce your risk of Alzheimer's disease. Now, I know that was a big list of things I just gave you, but most of them are things you are probably already doing and things we are constantly recommending on this podcast.     Taking care of your physical health means that you make sure you are going to your scheduled doctors' appointments and keeping up with treatments and any care plans you may have. You should also reduce your risk of falling at home to prevent possible brain-related injuries that may come from a fall. If you are interested in ways to make sure your home is safe as you continue to age, check out our Quick Tips episode on Safely Aging in Place.     Many observational studies have come to the consensus that having high blood pressure between the ages of forty and sixty is a risk factor for cognitive decline as an older adult. The National Institute on Aging suggests that preventing or controlling your high blood pressure can help protect your brain and heart. Since high blood pressure can happen without any symptoms, it is important to go to your doctor for regular health screenings. If you have high blood pressure, you're not alone. One-third of Americans have high blood pressure, and nearly two-thirds of older adults have high blood pressure. Your doctor may suggest exercise, changes in your diet, or medication to help control your high blood pressure.     A healthy diet has yet to be scientifically proven to reduce the risks of cognitive decline, but researchers are currently working on it. For instance, some people on the Mediterranean diet have been shown to have a lower risk of developing dementia. Even if scientists are unable to find a connection between eating healthy and lowering your risk of cognitive decline as an older adult, eating healthy is helpful for your overall brain health. If you're interested in nutrition tips for seniors, we've done a few episodes covering the subject in the past.   Make sure you drink plenty of water and are getting the nutrients your body needs. Talk to your doctor for help developing a nutrition plan specifically for you. As we age, our body changes and we need different things to fuel our bodies than we used to. Your doctor or a registered dietician can help determine the right plan for you.     Being physically active has many benefits. The National Institute on aging says that being physically active can keep and improve your strength, allow you to have more energy, improve your balance, which can help reduce your fall risk, prevent or delay heart disease, diabetes, and other concerns, and can help improve your mood and reduce depression. Studies have found that ongoing physical activity benefits your brain health and cognitive function. Aerobic exercise, which we commonly think of as cardio, seems to be more effective than nonaerobic exercise when it comes to cognitive function.   The University of Nebraska-Lincoln suggests that activities such as walking, dancing, swimming, water aerobics, jogging, aerobic exercise classes, bike riding (either stationary or on a path), gardening activities, such as raking and pushing a lawnmower, tennis, and golf (without a golf cart) are all beneficial for your health. Older adults should aim to participate in some form of aerobic activity for a total of two and a half hours a week. If you are just starting out or have chronic pain or other health conditions, don't overdo it. Make sure you talk to your doctor before starting any new exercise programs.     While keeping your body active is important, so is keeping your mind active. Being intellectually stimulated has been connected to cognitive health, but it hasn't been proven. An ample amount of studies are being conducted on what types of mental activities help with cognitive function, but they are all ongoing. At the very least, no studies have shown any harmful effects of keeping your mind active. Learning a new skill, volunteering, and hobbies are all things you can participate in that may benefit your brain health by keeping your mind active. Most of these activities will also help ensure you have much-needed social interaction as you get older, as well.     Stress is a normal part of life, but over time, chronic stress can change the brain, affect memory, and increase the risk for Alzheimer's disease and related dementias. Learning to manage stress now can help your body bounce back from stressful situations and reduce your risk of affecting your cognitive function. For some helpful tips and a list of ways to help manage stress, listen to our episodes on caring for the caregiver and self-care.     Now that you know about cognitive health and some things you can start doing now to protect and improve it, let's move on to the difference between normal age-related memory and cognitive issues that most older adults will experience and the cognitive decline that happens with cognitive issues, such as Alzheimer's or dementia.     The Alzheimer's Society states that many of us get a little more forgetful as we get older. Most people will need a bit longer to remember things, get distracted more easily, or struggle to multi-task as well as they once did. This may become noticeable particularly from middle-age - usually taken as during our 40s, 50s, and early 60s - onwards. These changes are normal, but they can be a nuisance and at times frustrating. However, you may worry that these things are an early sign of dementia. It's important not to worry too much about this. For most people, these changes will be the result of normal aging and won't be down to dementia.     The Alzheimer's Society also has a helpful chart you can look at to compare the signs of normal aging versus dementia. However, it should not be used to self-diagnose anything. If you or your loved one are experiencing any sort of cognitive decline, see your doctor. They can determine whether it is because of the normal aging process or not. You can find a link to the Alzheimer's Society's website and their chart in our show notes.     An article written for Harvard Health Publishing states that scientists used to think that brain connections developed at a rapid pace in the first few years of life until you reached your mental peak in your early 20s. Your cognitive abilities would level off at around middle age, and then start to gradually decline. We now know this is not true. Instead, scientists now see the brain as continuously changing and developing across the entire life span. There is no period in life when the brain and its functions just hold steady. Some cognitive functions become weaker with age, while others actually improve.     Some brain areas, including the hippocampus, shrink in size. The myelin sheath that surrounds and protects nerve fibers wears down, which can slow the speed of communication between neurons. Some of the receptors on the surface of neurons that enable them to communicate with one another may not function as well as they once did. These changes can affect your ability to encode new information into your memory and retrieve information that's already in storage, affecting both your long- and short-term memory.     The brain is continuously changing and growing as we age and it's important to make sure we are keeping it active and healthy. Symphony Senior Living explains that when your brain is healthy, you can help delay cognitive issues such as Alzheimer's and other types of dementia. They also have a few suggestions for older adults with normal aging to do daily that can boost their memory.     Card and board games that encourage thinking and calculation such as gin rummy, mahjong or Scrabble, or chess are excellent activities to add to your regular schedule to exercise memory muscles. If you are social distancing, many of these games can be played online with your loved ones, as well.     It's important to stimulate your brain with new information and events. If you don't, your ability to process new information will decrease over time. Brain games like Sudoku, word searches, and crosswords are great ways to stimulate your brain with new information. Reading also helps your brain retain its ability to process new information and has even been linked to longevity.     As we stated earlier, learning a new skill is also beneficial for your brain health and a great way to keep your mind active. You are never too old to learn. Whatever is it you want to learn, a musical instrument, creative writing, or maybe knitting, you should just start. Look for local classes in your area or you can take a virtual class. No matter what you choose, learning something new is a great way to stimulate cognitive function for a healthy, engaged brain.   Keeping active, both physically and mentally, is important for everyone, but it is especially important for people with dementia or other memory conditions. Saran Craig, the Clinical Program Innovation Manager at Senior Link says that providing structure and routine for a person living with dementia helps to maintain their cognitive function, sense of security, and can calm anxious or aggressive behaviors. Games, exercise and outdoor activities, music, art, and maintaining a day-to-day routine have proven to be particularly helpful and beneficial for both physical and cognitive health.     Games are a great way to help someone with dementia practice their mental skills, which can help prevent or slow their memory decline and give them the self-confidence they may be lacking. Simple math can become a problem for many with dementia, but card and board games, like chutes and ladders and go fish, can help them gain confidence in themselves and allow them to practice some math.   Playing trivia can also be a fun way to help stimulate their brain and help prevent their memory from declining further. Playing matching games routinely can help improve memory, concentration, stimulate problem-solving skills and hand-eye coordination.   In an article for the New York Times, Gretchen Reynolds tells us that findings suggest that walking a few times per week might alter the trajectory of the disease and improve the physical well-being of people who develop a common form of age-related memory loss, dementia, that otherwise has few treatments. If you or your loved one are able to go for a walk, you may find this to be true. However, going for a walk most likely will not improve memory, but it may help in preventing any further decline.   Journaling may also be something that someone with dementia may find helpful. Journaling can help manage stress, which we know from earlier can help boost memory, and writing about how we feel or what we did that day stimulates the brain.   If you or your loved one has been diagnosed with dementia or if you would just like to learn more, you can find our Dementia and Alzheimer's playlist on our YouTube channel to watch some or all of the episodes we currently have released on dementia.   Make sure you are exercising your brain now instead of beginning when you notice any cognitive decline. There are tons of ways you can engage your brain. I'm sure you will be able to find a few ways to stimulate your brain and help improve your cognitive function. Starting earlier in life can help you prevent or slow any cognitive decline or issues you may face as you age and having the tools to help now can help ease your mind, and stress levels, if you experience memory issues later in life.     We want to thank you for joining us here at All Home Care Matters, All Home Care Matters is here for you and to help families as they navigate long-term care issues. Please visit us at allhomecarematters.com there is a private secure fillable form there where you can give us feedback, show ideas, or if you have questions. Every form is read and responded to. If you know someone is who could benefit from this episode, please share it with them.   Remember, you can listen to the show on any of your favorite podcast streaming platforms and watch the show on our YouTube channel and make sure to hit that subscribe button, so you'll never miss an episode. Join us next time on All Home Care Matters where we will be welcoming a very special guest, Alexis Baker. Alexis is a Board Certified and Licensed Music Therapist and will be sharing the many benefits and tools of music therapy. This is an interview that you won't want to miss!   Sources: https://www.symphonyseniorliving.com/blog/activities-that-help-memory-in-seniors/   https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2016/01/the-preschool-inside-a-nursing-home/424827/   https://www.senioradvisor.com/blog/2017/02/5-benefits-of-putting-a-preschool-in-a-nursing-home/   https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/cognitive-health-and-older-adults   https://www.nia.nih.gov/news/high-blood-pressure-linked-cognitive-decline   https://food.unl.edu/physical-activity-older-adults   https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/about-dementia/symptoms-and-diagnosis/how-dementia-progresses/normal-ageing-vs-dementia   https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/how-memory-and-thinking-ability-change-with-age   https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/24/well/move/a-1-hour-walk-3-times-a-week-has-benefits-for-dementia.html   https://www.seniorlink.com/blog/helpful-daily-activities-for-dementia-patients-50-expert-tips-and-suggestions-to-keep-your-loved-one-engaged          

    An Interview with Author and Caregiver Lauren Dykovitz

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 27, 2021 59:51

    All Home Care Matters is honored to welcome Lauren Dykovitz to the show to discuss her new book and her journey caring, loving, and supporting her mother who was diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer's. Through caring for her mother she wanted to help others facing similar situations with their loved ones. As a result she has written two books and started a blog that attracts thousands of readers to help them with caregiving 101, avoiding caregiving burnout, and help provide them with the caregiver support that so many families need and benefit from while caring for their loved ones.   Lauren Dykovitz is a writer and author, who lives in New Jersey with her husband and two black labs. Lauren's mom was diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer's in July 2010 at the age of 62. Lauren was only 25 years old at the time. She quit her full-time job and became a caregiver for her mom at age 28.   Lauren started the Life, Love, and Alzheimer's blog and social media pages to document her journey and share her experience as a caregiver. Lauren self-published her first book "Learning to Weather the Storm: A Story of Life, Love, and Alzheimer's" in 2017 and her second book "When Only Love Remains: Surviving My Mom's Battle with Early Onset Alzheimer's" in 2021. Although her mom passed in April 2020, it is Lauren's mission to help others on their Alzheimer's journey by sharing stories and lessons from her personal experience. In many ways, she feels like she is just getting started!   Connect with Lauren: https://lifeloveandalzheimers.com/ https://www.facebook.com/lifeloveanda... https://www.instagram.com/lifeloveand... Order the Lauren's First Book: https://www.amazon.com/Learning-Weath... Order Lauren's New Book: When Only Love Remains: Surviving My Mom's Battle with Early Onset Alzheimer's: Dykovitz, Lauren: 9798520743910: Amazon.com: Books https://www.amazon.com/When-Only-Love... Sign-Up for Lauren's Updates and More: https://mailchi.mp/1afb83f4267e/first... (Link to sign up for her mailing list to receive the introduction to her new book, as well as any updates!)

    Quick Tips: Aging in Place

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 25, 2021 9:27

    Today on All Home Care Matters we will be discussing a Quick Tips episode about safely aging in place. We've gathered some tips, tools, and resources that we think can help you and your loved one stay safe at home.   If you have loved ones who have decided that they want to remain living in their home then we hope that these tips and resources will help you and them. Let's get started.   Each year, the number of seniors that choose to live at home and age in place rises. Seniors today are more active than previous generations and are living longer than before, which is excellent, and we love to hear that our loved ones are living longer, but it also means that more families are taking on the burden of caregiving. However, caregiving, at least for most families, is a burden that is expected and carried with love. Providing care for a loved one allows us to spend precious time with them, creating memories that will last a lifetime.   Aging in place is something more seniors are wanting to do, as they want to live out the remainder of their time in an area they are familiar with and often want to die in their own bed in their own home. If you or your loved one are considering aging in place, there are a few things you can do to prepare and plan to make staying at home during the end of life safe for everyone involved.   The first thing you need to do when you are planning on aging in place is to assess your home. You will need to plan for any major changes you need to make, like moving the master bedroom to the first floor to avoid stairs. Just like when you have a new baby and baby-proof your house before they arrive, you will need to ensure your house will continue to be safe as you age and have limited mobility.   You will need to ensure you have a safe way to enter and exit the house, preferably without stairs. If you must use stairs to come and go, make sure you have sturdy handrails. There may come a point where you will need a wheelchair and having a ramp installed already will make that adjustment in your life much more manageable at the time. Wheelchair ramps can be quite pricey, but there may be local groups in your area that build ramps for seniors for free or for a reduced price. You can find more information on home safety improvement programs at your local senior center or United Way.   Another thing you may need to change if you have the means to is your flooring. Having one floor type throughout the main living space will make going from one room to the next much safer than if you have to go from hardwood to carpet and step over any transition pieces. Having steps in between main living areas, like the kitchen and living room, can also be hazardous while aging in place. If you have steps, try to make them as safe as possible by installing handrails, even if it's just for a few steps. You should also install sturdy handrails for any flights of stairs between stories, especially if you are still planning on utilizing the second story as you age.   Any rugs you have on the floors should also be removed. They can cause someone with limited mobility to fall and as you age, you will come to a point where you find yourself with limited mobility, so it is important to minimize your fall risk.   You may also want to install brighter lights, or more light fixtures, to help you see better as you age. Many seniors find themselves having difficulties seeing in normal lighting as they get older and have an easier time seeing in brighter light. If you are interested in difficulties with vision as we age, check out our episode on Cataracts that we recently released. We also talk about how seniors can benefit from brighter lights in that episode.   Another room that will be important to modify to ensure you can safely age in place is the bathroom. According to Belvedere Home Care, 80 percent of falls in the home occur in the bathroom. Getting up and down is difficult with limited mobility and even showering becomes more dangerous with age. To make sure you stay safe at home, install grab bars in the bathroom, for the toilet and in the shower, to make sure you have something to steady yourself on and pull yourself up with. You should also consider getting a shower chair or bench and a removable showerhead to avoid a fall while showering.   As you age, many changes will happen to your body and it is hard to tell how your body will react to the aging process ahead of time, so it is important to be prepared for as much as possible, so you won't have to worry about it later. Accidents and falls can happen anywhere. Senior Home Companions recommends installing a landline phone in every room, if possible. If you can't have a landline phone in every room, you could make sure you always carry a cell phone with you or have a life alert button on hand in case you have an emergency.   If you ever do have an accident or an emergency, having an emergency information sheet on hand can be lifesaving. When planning on aging in place, you should make an emergency information sheet that includes a list of all medications you need and when you need them, a list of all your doctors and their information, and a list of family members that need to be contacted during an emergency. You should make sure all your emergency contacts have a copy of this sheet and have a copy next to every phone and on the fridge so that it can be easily located in case of an emergency.   Aging at home will require you to accept that you will need help. Things will become more difficult with age and if you are prepared for that and accept it ahead of time, it will make the aging process a lot easier on you. If you own your home, make sure you have a plan for house and lawn maintenance. You can have someone come mow your lawn for you, there may even be volunteer groups that would be willing to provide lawn care and other home maintenance activities for you.   Having someone come do your yard work for you may be easy help to accept, but there will come a time when you will need help doing things you didn't think you would need help with, like cooking, cleaning, personal care, and that's okay. Your loved ones may come and help you prepare meals or bring meals to you. Having help with cooking will make sure you are still getting all the nutrients your body needs and will help reduce your risk of a fall or accident in the kitchen.   When deciding to age in place, you will also need to consider the need for a caregiver as you age. You may not think you will need one now, but that may change, and it's important to plan for it. You should discuss with your loved ones if a family member will provide care or if you will hire a home care company. Having a plan in place, and money saved up specifically for that use, will make it easier on yourself if the time comes that you do need a caregiver.   Lastly, it is important to reassess your needs when necessary. For example, if you are in a two-story house and sleeping upstairs in the master bedroom, but you are having trouble climbing the stairs, it is time to change your sleeping arrangements. If something changes with your health, which it is likely to do as you age, it is important to reassess your needs to ensure you are as safe as possible while you age in place.   We want to say thank you for joining us here at All Home Care Matters, All Home Care Matters is here for you and to help families as they navigate long-term care issues. Please visit us at allhomecarematters.com there is a private secure fillable form there where you can give us feedback, show ideas, or if you have questions. Every form is read and responded to. If you know someone is who could benefit from this episode and please make sure to share it with them.   Remember, you can listen to the show on any of your favorite podcast streaming platforms and watch the show on our YouTube channel and make sure to hit that subscribe button, so you'll never miss an episode. Next, on All Home Care Matters we will be welcoming a very special guest, Lauren Dykovitz. Lauren cared for her mother after a diagnosis of early onset Alzheimer's and has shared her and her mother's story in two books that she has written. The second book was just released in July and is already a #1 new release on Amazon. This is an interview that you won't want to miss.   Sources: https://seniorhomecompanions.com/blog/20-healthful-tips-for-aging-in-place-in-2020/   https://belvederehealthservices.com/belvedere-home-care/blog/safety-seniors-preventing-falls-bathroom                  

    An Interview with International Dementia Expert Tim England

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 23, 2021 72:21

    Today on All Home Care Matters, we have the privilege of welcoming International Dementia Expert, Speaker, and Champion, Mr. Tim England.   Tim England demystifies and destigmatized dementia in the community and advocates for people living with dementia and their families to live well. Being a Dementia Care Specialist, an experienced Educator, an effective Consultant and an Advance Care Planner he encourages others to make a positive difference to people living with dementia in their community. Tim achieves this by sharing information about dementias pathology, the personal impact of dementia, and what can be done to help.   Before he changed careers 11+ years ago and entered the Aged Care Industry Tim had been very successful in a number of positions within other industries including:- Scuba Diving, Retail Sales, Professional Sales training, Hospitality, and Learning & Development, and produced and delivered pragmatic leadership and coaching workshops to front line staff and line management.   Tim was the creator of the world's first publicly accessible shark diving program at the internationally acclaimed tourist venue Oceanworld in Sydney, Australia. This benchmark program allowed individuals, who had no prior scuba diving experience, to swim underwater in a public aquarium with over 70 sharks. He's program became the framework for international aquariums to duplicate. In 2010, Tim choose to become a professional Care Worker within the Community Aged Care sector.   Since entering the industry he has worked extensively in the community where every day and every client presents copious challenges and opportunities to excel in client centered care. In 2013 and while working full time Tim enrolled into full time study at the University of Tasmania as a mature aged student to complete the first ever Bachelor of Dementia Care program via the world renown Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre. Graduating in 2016 he is currently 1 of only 400 individuals with this degree and is listed on the University of Tasmania Dean's Roll of Excellence.   Tim is currently completing post graduate studies to gain the world's first Masters of Dementia by end 2021. Since 2017 Tim has hosted hundreds of free public dementia education events to raise the awareness of dementia. The current COVID issues has put a temporary hold on these events. However, his community work has been recognized by state parliament, twice in the Australian Journal of Dementia Care, and by Rotary Australia when awarded the ‘Paul Harris Award' for Community Service, and Tim is a member of the GOLDEN KEY International Honor Society. Issues surrounding Covid-19 has not stop Tim.   Recently he has begun a YouTube channel called ‘Ask a Dementia Champion' that has the goal of raising the level of dementia awareness and knowledge in the community and to destigmatize dementia more broadly by sharing his dementia knowledge and experiences. Finally Tim has also been a consultant for a number of university research projects and is currently an Associated Investigator for a local university dementia research project. Tim's style is relaxed and uses simple non-complicated terms and language to effectively inform and advise others so that correct choices are made, and he is committed to finding, sharing, and creating bold and innovative new ideas in health and dementia care.   We want to say thank you for joining us here at All Home Care Matters, All Home Care Matters is here for you and to help families as they navigate long-term care issues. We also want to again say thank you to Tim England for taking the time to speak with us today about how to raise awareness about dementia for families and communities. Please visit us at allhomecarematters.com there is a private secure fillable form there where you can give us feedback, show ideas, or if you have questions. Every form is read and responded to. If you know someone is who could benefit from this episode and please make sure to share it with them.    Connect with Tim England:   Website:- https://www.dementiachampion.com/   LinkedIn:- linkedin.com/in/tim-england-62585b146   Facebook:- https://www.facebook.com/Timdementiachampion-2029847003961480/   YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCB8s20W723M8fvRbslm6OfQ   Ask a Dementia Champion YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8v8oBGY2KMMW4V0W4tZzNw   Suggested Reading: https://dementiadiscussed.files.wordpress.com/2018/05/a-tale-from-a-dementia-champion.pdf   Stay Connected with All Home Care Matters: Listen to the podcast on Apple: https://apple.co/2JEKJFC Listen to the podcast on Google: https://podcasts.google.com/search/%22all%20home%20care%20matters%22 Follow us on Twitter: @allhcms Like us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AllHomeCareMatters/ Follow us on Instagram: @allhomecarematters Visit our website: https://www.allhomecarematters.com Email: contact@allhomecarematters.com

    An Interview with Author and Hospice Nurse Beth Cavenaugh R.N.

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 21, 2021 54:34

    All Home Care Matters is honored and privileged to welcome Author and Hospice Nurse, Beth Cavenaugh R.N. to the show for a discussion on hospice and her book Some Light at the End now in its 4th edition. A terminal diagnosis can be scary and the options can feel so limited. Knowing what to expect and what to ask will help you ease into the end of your life with a plan.   Find peace and beauty in the next steps so you can make informed choices about everything: your caregivers, your relationships, your treatment, and even your breakfast—ice cream sundae, please! In this tender yet transparent guide to your final days, experienced hospice nurse Beth Cavenaugh reveals what options you may have as a patient with a terminal diagnosis. With personal stories and a touch of humor, Some Light at the End will help you find support to understand this process, be better informed, and anticipate the unknown.   Ease into the end of your life with a plan, knowing you will be taken care of and your wishes respected and what you need to know about hospice and end of life care by reading Some Light at the End for the empowerment you deserve in this final stage of your beautiful life.   Connect with Beth: www.bethcavenaugh.com   To Purchase Beth's Book: https://www.amazon.com/Some-Light-End...    

    What is Medicare?

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 19, 2021 16:37

    Today on All Home Care Matters, we are going to be discussing Medicare. First, we will be talking about what Medicare is and how it differs from Medicaid and other insurances. Then, we'll look into how you can apply and receive Medicare before moving on to talk about how Medicare can help you and your family.   If you're ready to learn more about Medicare then let's get started.   According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, Medicare is a federal health insurance program created in 1965 for people ages 65 and over, regardless of income, medical history, or health status. It was expanded in 1972 to cover certain people under age 65 who have a long-term disability. There are currently over 60 million people in the United States on Medicare.   In 1945, President Truman called for the creation of a national health insurance plan but was unsuccessful. President Kennedy also tried to create a similar plan, but he was also unsuccessful in his attempt. Finally, nearly twenty years later, President Johnson signed Medicare into existence. Former President Truman got to see his idea come to life and he got to play a major role in it when he and his wife Bess, were the first two Medicare beneficiaries.   During the first year, nineteen million Americans signed up to receive Medicare. Over the years, there have been many changes and additions to Medicare legislation. Just last year, regulations were added due to the Covid-19 pandemic. If you are interested in seeing what regulations were added or changed due to the pandemic, you can find a good overview on the Commonwealth Fund's blog. You can find a link to the blog in our show notes for this episode. You can also visit medicare.gov for more information on the current and up-to-date regulations and stipulations on Medicare.     There are three parts of Medicare, Part A, Part B, and Part D. Medicare Part A covers inpatient hospital stays, care in a skilled nursing facility, hospice care, and some home health care. Medicare Part B covers certain doctor's services, outpatient care, medical supplies, and preventive services. Medicare Part C helps cover the cost of prescription drugs, including many recommended shots and vaccines. For more details on each of the individual parts of Medicare, visit medicare.gov.     Almost everyone over 65 is eligible for Medicare Part A and most do not have to pay a premium either. If you or your spouse are eligible for Social Security payments, you are likely eligible for Medicare Part A, as well. In order to not pay a premium, you must have paid payroll taxes for more than ten years. For those with disabilities that are under 65, generally, if you receive Social Security Disability Insurance, then you are eligible for Medicare. In 2016, 15 percent of Medicare beneficiaries were under 65 years old. There is, however, a two-year waiting period to get Medicare this way. But if you are diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as ALS, or end-stage renal disease, which is permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or a transplant, there is no waiting period for Medicare eligibility.   Earlier, we told you about the three parts of Medicare, and you may have wondered why we didn't include the fourth part for Part C. Part C does exist, but it is actually separate from Medicare… in a way. Medicare Part C is what is known as Medicare Advantage. Medicare Advantage is one of the options you have when deciding how to get your Medicare coverage. With Medicare Advantage, you enroll in a private health plan, such as a health maintenance organization, or you may be more familiar with it by the abbreviation HMO, or preferred provider organization, or also known as a PPO, and receive all Medicare-covered Part A and Part B benefits and typically also Part D benefits. Basically, it is an all-in-one coverage plan that bundles the original Medicare options.   President Clinton signed Medicare plus Choice into law in 1997 and it was updated and changed to Medicare Advantage in 2003. Since then, enrollment in Medicare Advantage has grown. Last year, more than 24 million beneficiaries enrolled in Medicare Advantage, and enrollment is expected to grow to 26 million this year.   If you are interested in pricing and Medicare plan options, please visit medicare.gov for more information.   Medicare and Medicaid often go hand in hand, but people tend to get them confused. Medicare is an insurance program, whereas Medicaid is an assistance program. Medicare is also a federal program, while Medicaid is run by state and local governments. With Medicare beneficiaries you usually have to be over the age of 65 to qualify, but there are no age restrictions with Medicaid. Medicaid provides Americans with free or low-cost health coverage to low-income people, families and children, pregnant women, the elderly, and people with disabilities. To see if you qualify for Medicaid, visit healthcare.gov.   If you are having trouble remembering which one is which, remember that Medicare provides care, or insurance plans, while Medicaid aids needy families. Now, we know that Medicaid is no longer just for people with low-income, but the majority of people using Medicaid do have low-incomes and remembering that is easier than trying to say Medicaid comes to the aid of low-income people, families and children, pregnant women, the elderly, and people with disabilities.   Medicare is a federally funded insurance that is open to almost everyone over the age of 65 and it is often more cost-efficient than private insurances. Private insurances, however, have more options and pay scales to choose from. Private insurances offer things that Medicare doesn't, like dental, vision, and hearing. Oftentimes, you may be able to find a plan that will work with Medicare and use it to cover what Medicare will not.     When choosing a Medicare plan, medicare.gov suggests considering costs, coverage, your other coverage, prescription drugs, doctor and hospital choice, quality of care, and travel when deciding between what sort of coverage you need. You can find more information on what you should consider when choosing coverage at medicare.gov.     Cost is a big determining factor when choosing an insurance plan. If you are paying for insurance completely out-of-pocket Medicare is most likely the option for you. If your employer provides insurance for you, they may pay part or all of your monthly premium, even after retirement, but that all depends on your employer. They all differ, as they all have different private insurance companies and plans.   According to Medical News Today, the average monthly premiums for private insurance in 2019 cost families $20,576 per year, the cost for individuals $7,188 per year, and cost for families $6,015 per year after their employer covered part of the cost. Medicare Part A typically has no monthly premiums and Medicare Part B has a standard monthly premium of $148.50, resulting in $1,782 a year.   Private insurance is open to everyone, so if you do not meet the age requirement or one of the other stipulations for Medicare, private insurance is always an option.   If you are interested in signing up for Medicare, visit medicare.gov to start the process. If you are 65 and receiving Social Security, you may have already been automatically enrolled, so make sure you double-check before you try to sign up. There are also only certain times of the year that you can sign up for Medicare, just like with private insurance. Depending on when you are trying to sign up, you may have to wait for the next enrollment period.   Once you are enrolled in Medicare, there are a few things you should do right away. You can find a Welcome to Medicare checklist on medicare.gov or the links in our show notes if you would like to look at the full list. First, you need to decide what Medicare coverage you would like. You can choose from the Original Medicare or Medicare Advantage. If you choose the original Medicare, you can also choose additional coverage to go along with it. Next, you need to give Medicare permission to talk to someone you trust.   If you are getting Medicare for your loved one, you need to fill out the Authorization to Disclose Personal Health Information form so that Medicare can interact with you directly. Then, go online and create a Medicare account at medicare.gov. From here, you can manage your Medicare information anytime, create a list of your prescriptions, view your Original Medicare claims status, pay your Medicare premiums, and more. You can also print an official copy of your Medicare card if you need it. Make sure you tell your doctor about your new Medicare plan and if you have other insurance, make sure to let Medicare know, as well.   During the first year you have Medicare, you can schedule a free “Welcome to Medicare” preventive visit with your doctor. It includes a review of your medical and social history related to your health and counseling about preventive services that may be right for you. During your first year, you should also find out what your Medicare plan covers. You can find out by visiting medicare.gov/coverage or you can use their free app, What's Covered.   If you are on Medicare and you have a limited income, you may qualify for financial help. Visit medicare.gov to see if you are eligible to get help paying your Medicare health and drug costs. You should also get into the habit of filing and checking on your claims to make sure you are not being charged for services you never received.   If you choose a Medicare Advantage plan and would like to change or add on to your plan, you can do that, but make sure you do it within the first three months. If you would like to add or remove drug coverage or switch to an original Medicare plan, as long as you do it within the first three months of having Medicare, you can do so with no penalties or waiting period. If you decide you want to change your plan after the first three months, you can still do that, but only during certain times. Medicare Advantage's open enrollment is from January 1st through March 31st. During this period, you can switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to another, switch from Medicare Advantage to Original Medicare, or enroll in Medicare Advantage for the first time.   The annual open enrollment period for Medicare is in the fall from October 15th through December 7th. During this period, you can change or add to your Medicare plan or enroll in a new Medicare plan. Any changes you make to your coverage will begin on January 1st. There are a few other times you can add or change your Medicare coverage plan like if you reach the age of 65, you lose your insurance, or you move. For more information on Medicare enrollment, visit medicare.gov.   If you or your loved one have questions about Medicare and cannot or do not have access to the internet or a computer, you can call 1-800-MEDICARE, or 1-800-633-4227 at any time. If you have difficulties with hearing or speech, you can also call their TTY number, 1-877-486-2048.   If you or your loved one are struggling to understand Medicare and everything that comes with it, know that you are not alone. Many people don't understand Medicare, which is one of the reasons we have decided on discussing Medicare today. With your State Health Insurance Assistance Program, otherwise known as SHIP, you can get free and personalized health insurance counseling. A trusted insurance agent or broker can also help you understand Medicare and help you go over the options provided to determine the best plan and coverage for you.   Before Medicare and Medicaid were created in 1965, roughly half of seniors were uninsured. Today, both programs cover nearly one-third of all Americans. Without Medicare and Medicaid, a significant number of Americans would be unable to afford the medical care they needed to stay healthy and productive. These programs have saved countless lives since being established. Without them, many seniors would not have been able to afford a stay in the hospital and most likely would have avoided going, even if meant refusing life-saving treatment.   Many seniors worry that their medical expenses will ultimately fall on their loved ones and end up refusing to seek medical help when they need it, but with Medicare, they can seek the help they need and not worry about the financial burden. According to Medicare.gov, Medicare covers 23 types of preventive services, including flu shots and diabetes screenings. Some of these services are free, and for others, you only have a small copayment or deductible to pay, depending on which plan you have.   Medicare can help you and your loved one by providing them with insurance that allows them to seek medical help, but also allows them, and you, peace of mind. If you haven't already, join the millions of families that use Medicare to help ease some of the financial burdens that come with aging. Combined with private insurance, you can make sure your loved one is covered and never has to worry about their medical expenses. When neither you nor your loved one has to worry about the costs, you can enjoy spending time together and making memories with them.   If you have any questions about Medicare, please visit medicare.gov for more information. You can also talk to your insurance agent or broker. They should be able to help you go over your options and find the best coverage for yourself or your loved one. You can also visit Medicare on Facebook and Twitter. They post content regularly that you may find helpful.   We want to say thank you for joining us here at All Home Care Matters, All Home Care Matters is here for you and to help families as they navigate long-term care issues. Please visit us at allhomecarematters.com there is a private secure fillable form there where you can give us feedback, show ideas, or if you have questions. Every form is read and responded to. If you know someone is who could benefit from this episode and please make sure to share it with them.   Remember, you can listen to the show on any of your favorite podcast streaming platforms and watch the show on our YouTube channel and make sure to hit that subscribe button, so you'll never miss an episode. Next, on All Home Care Matters we are very excited to share with you that we have some very special guests who will be joining us over the next few episodes. Stay tuned you won't want to miss these interviews!     Sources: https://www.medicare.gov/what-medicare-covers/your-medicare-coverage-choices/whats-medicare   https://www.kff.org/medicare/issue-brief/an-overview-of-medicare/   https://assets.aarp.org/rgcenter/health/fs149_medicare.pdf   https://www.medicareresources.org/medicare-benefits/medicare-advantage/   https://www.hhs.gov/answers/medicare-and-medicaid/what-is-the-difference-between-medicare-medicaid/index.html   https://www.healthcare.gov/medicaid-chip/   https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/is-medicare-better-than-private-insurance#what-private-insurers-offer   https://www.medicare.gov/media/9211   https://www.medicare.gov/blog/medicare-and-medicaid-keeping-americans-healthy-for-50-years   https://www.medicareresources.org/basic-medicare-information/brief-history-of-medicare/   https://www.medicare.gov/what-medicare-covers/your-medicare-coverage-choices/consider-these-7-things-when-choosing-coverage              

    How Hospice Helps Families with End of Life Care

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 15, 2021 17:38

    Today on All Home Care Matters, we are going to be talking about how hospice helps families. If you want to learn more about hospice, you can watch or listen to our previous episodes, What is Hospice, or What is Palliative Care. You can find them on our website, wherever you get your podcasts, or on our YouTube channel. Today we're going to go over what hospice is, how it began, and how it is helping families today. Now let's move on to the rest of the show.   The American Cancer Society describes hospice care as a special kind of care that focuses on the quality of life for people and their caregivers who are experiencing an advanced, life-limiting illness. Hospice care provides compassionate care for people in the last phases of incurable disease so that they may live as fully and comfortably as possible. Hospice's goal isn't to treat the disease but to treat the symptoms and make the end-of-life as comfortable and fulfilling for the patient as possible.   The founder of the first modern hospice, Dame Cicely Saunders, said that “You matter because of who you are. You matter to the last moment of your life, and we will do all we can, not only to help you die peacefully but also to live until you die.”   Dame Cicely Saunders established the first modern hospice in West London in 1967. She did not invent hospice, as it had been around for some time, but she did make it what it is today. Before her, those that were dying and in pain had to wait until their painkillers wore off before they could be given their next dose. People feared addiction for those that were suffering, which seems odd today, but before 1967 was commonplace. Dame Cicely Saunders saw that her dying patients were being forced to suffer through their pain until their inevitable deaths and worked to change how end-of-life care was managed. She created an approach that emphasized pain management, emotional and spiritual support and family counseling. She insisted that dying people needed dignity, compassion, and respect, as well as rigorous scientific methodology in the testing of treatments, and abolished the philosophy that the patient must be cured, and if they were unable to, they must be lied to about their prognosis.   One of Dame Saunders patients transferred from another hospital to her hospice care facility said that “[the previous hospital] used to see how long I could go without an injection. I used to be pouring with sweat because of the pain. I couldn't speak to anyone and I was having crying fits. I think I've only cried once since I've been here . . . The biggest difference is feeling so calm. I don't get worked up or upset."   Dame Saunders' Hospice made such a difference in the end-of-life care of patients, and it has only improved since then. Today, hospice's philosophy revolves around palliative and not curative care. It focuses on the care and comfort of the patient by managing the symptoms and not the disease. Its goal is to improve and uphold the patient's quality of life instead of the amount of time the patient has left and neither postpones nor hastens death. Hospice also aims to educate and support the patient, the family, and other caregivers throughout end-of-life care.   When thinking about hospice care for your loved one, first you must determine their eligibility. A social worker will likely come and assess your loved one to see if they are ready for end-of-life care, but there are a few things you can check on your own. If their doctor has anticipated six months or less for the remainder of your loved one's life, assuming the illness takes its projected course and if your loved one chooses to forego life-prolonging, aggressive treatments for the terminal illness  and related diagnoses, they most likely qualify for hospice.   Once your loved one has been accepted into hospice care, they will receive care wherever they are, in their own home, in the hospital, in a facility, or any other place they may be. They will be given a primary caregiver, along with hospice staff, and will have the option to have 24/7 care. They will also be monitored by an interdisciplinary team and have an end-of-life plan tailored to fit their needs.   Hospice supports not only the patient but everyone involved. They will help you through the end-of-life process, so you don't have to go through it alone. They can give you resources and suggestions that can help you make the most of the time you have left with your loved one.   As the older population in the United States grows, more and more families are going to be considering end-of-life care. In 2015, 1.43 million Americans received hospice care and that number is steadily climbing each year. Hospice care requires 24/7 caregivers and a caregiving team involving a somewhat large amount of people. It can be quite expensive, and that financial burden may be weighing heavy on you right now but try not to worry about the money too much. There are a few ways your loved one can get free care or help covering the costs of hospice care. If your loved one is on Medicare, they can be provided hospice care at no cost to them. Medicare will cover 100% of the costs. Medicaid and private insurances will cover the costs, but you will have to talk to your insurance agent and doctor to see what they will cover. Some hospice care groups offer discounted rates or even free care, so be sure to check with the hospices in your area to see what their rates are and how they can work with you. Some organizations and non-profits will help you cover the costs. You can check with your local senior center or united way for more information on programs or resources they offer.   There are non-profit and for-profit hospices. They both run on the same philosophies and carry out treatments the same way, but they differ on the financial side. The Medicare Hospice Benefit established in 1983 provides Medicare beneficiaries with access to high-quality, end-of-life care services. This benefit is what allows Medicare to completely cover the costs of hospice care, but it also recognized hospice care as a viable concept and form of healthcare service for terminally ill patients in the United States.   Hospice took a while to gain traction in the United States, possibly because of its philosophy to only treat the symptoms and not treat the disease, but by 1983, it was widely accepted in the country. With this benefit passed, millions of Americans were finally given access to quality end-of-life care, something many would have been unable to afford otherwise.   According to Crossroads Hospice, the biggest difference between for-profit and non-profit hospices is that non-profit hospices are not required to pay taxes to state or federal governments on the funds they receive from Medicare. Tax exemption is a standard of all non-profits and is not exclusive to hospice care. For-profit hospices are also prohibited from using donations to directly pay for patient care. Non-profit hospices mainly run on donations, holding fundraisers and soliciting donations from the community to pay for patients' care.   Since for-profit hospices are not allowed to use donations to pay for patient care, many for-profit hospices create a non-profit foundation that is separate from the hospice to collect donations. The for-profit hospice foundations must each have a specialized mission, like securing supplies to help patients with special needs or providing hospice education to area healthcare providers.   Regardless of whether the hospice is for-profit or not, you want to make sure you are selecting the right program for your loved one. Each hospice is different and has its own structure for care teams, programs, and even philosophies. When searching for a hospice provider, you should contact and interview several in your area before you decide on one. Your loved one's doctor may also help you make this important decision by helping you figure out what the most important parts of care are for your loved one. For some, it could be having a nurse on hand at all hours, but others may only need a nurse at certain times of the day, if ever.   It is also important to note that hospice care may lapse if your loved one's illness improves or your loved one outlives their prognosis with no changes. Especially now, hospice care providers are hard to come by. The Covid-19 pandemic has many hospice providers, as well as most other healthcare providers, severely understaffed and they are struggling to provide care to all the patients they already have, let alone prospective patients.   So please be patient during this process. Hospice care providers and other caregivers are trying their best to make sure your loved one has the best quality of life, but they are also doing the same for numerous other families.   Hospice cares for patients with serious illnesses and diseases at the end of life, but what does that really mean? A 2017 study by the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization found that 27% of patients had been diagnosed with cancer, while 18.7% had cardiac and circulatory, another 18% had dementia, 11% had respiratory issues or diseases, 9.5% were stroke patients, and 15.6% had other unlisted illnesses or diseases. If your loved one suffers from any of these illnesses or diseases and has been told they are nearing the end of their time, hospice may be the right care provider for them.   Choosing the right hospice for your loved one and yourself gives your many things: care support, the backing of an expert team, respite care, grief support, help with planning, less stress, better health, and peace of mind. Since hospice care is provided wherever the patient is, oftentimes it is in their own home, and the family, you, are the caregiver. According to Daily Health Wire, hospice care teams visit the patient in the home on a routine basis to assess, monitor and treat symptoms, and they train the family and loved ones how to care for the patient when medical personnel isn't around. When care is provided in a nursing home, the hospice team provides care in addition to the care the patient receives from nursing home personnel.   Hospices don't just have nurses, but they also have other trained professionals, including physicians, social workers, chaplains, and personal care specialists. Many even have volunteer support. The entire team works with the patient to meet their physical, emotional, social, and spiritual needs, along with the family, to improve the quality of life for both you and your loved one.   As a caregiver, you know how important is to take care of yourself while taking care of your loved ones. If you need help figuring out ways to help manage your stress or balance caregiving with your life, we have several episodes on the subject that can be found on our website, YouTube channel, or wherever you get your podcasts. If you need a break, whether you just need an hour to run errands or you need a few days away for whatever reason, respite care is something you might find useful.   A hospice caregiver can come into the home and watch over your loved one for a few hours while you are away. Many hospices also have a facility where your loved one can stay if you need to leave for a few days. Check with the hospice providers in your area to see what is available and to ask if they are able to provide these services.   We also need to make mention that when a family has hospice service that the hospice provider does not replace the home care support that a family may already have in place. This can become confusing for families and this is something that we have found families that we provide care for have thought that by having hospice come on-board to provide services for their loved one that they would no longer need or require home care because of this. This is not accurate.   When a family has hospice care this does not replace the home care support that they had prior to hospice. Whether it is hospice, home health care, or home care all three of these professions and services work independent of each other. If you have more questions or are interested in more information make sure to visit our website and there you'll find a secure fillable form that you can fill out and someone will reply to you and answer any questions that you may have or provide any resources or information that you request.   Linda Hickey, the daughter and full-time caregiver of Ruth, appreciated having a respite-care option. "My sisters and I had split up the responsibilities, but at times, it still felt overwhelming. Caring for her full time was exhausting," she explained. A local hospice cared for Ruth as a respite care patient, giving the family time to recharge. Time away, even just a little bit, can help you come back refreshed and ready to continue caregiving.   Another thing that hospice provides is grief support. The end-of-life stage is difficult for both you and your loved one and the right hospice can help you both through it - through emotional and spiritual support. Social workers, chaplains, and volunteers are all available to help your loved one come to terms with their situation and help you through the bereavement process. Even once your loved one has gone, they usually offer support to you and your family, because they treat each patient as an individual, and not a statistic.   They can also help with the planning that may be overwhelming for you. They can help with the power of attorney and a living will, as well as helping with the creation and follow-through of an individualized care plan.   Having a hospice provider on your side alleviates some of the caregiving burden and stresses that come with it, allowing you to enjoy more of the time you have with your loved one, rather than worrying about caregiving and other responsibilities.   Perhaps one of the greatest things that hospice provides is peace of mind for both you and your loved one. With hospice, you know that someone that cares is always on hand, or just a phone call away, allowing family members the chance to spend precious quality time with their loved one. And even during this sad and difficult time, many families have made great memories with their loved ones, thanks to hospice care.   Finding the right hospice provider for your family and your loved one can make all the difference in their lives, so don't wait too long. Get started today so you can enjoy tomorrow with your loved one.   We want to say thank you for joining us here at All Home Care Matters, All Home Care Matters is here for you and to help families as they navigate long-term care issues. Please visit us at allhomecarematters.com there is a private secure fillable form there where you can give us feedback, show ideas, or if you have questions. Every form is read and responded to. If you know someone is who could benefit from this episode and please make sure to share it with them.   Remember, you can listen to the show on any of your favorite podcast streaming platforms and watch the show on our YouTube channel and make sure to hit that subscribe button, so you'll never miss an episode. Join us next time on All Home Care Matters where we will explain what Medicare is and what it isn't.   Sources:   https://www.trihealth.com/dailyhealthwire/health-topics/well-being/7-ways-hospice-care-helps-families   https://www.cancer.org/treatment/end-of-life-care/hospice-care/what-is-hospice-care.html   https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5072234/   https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5072234/?report=printable   http://www.nnecos.org/resources/Documents/2018%20SLIDES/NNECOS%20Hospice%20101.pdf   https://casahospice.com/the-history-of-hospice-care/   https://www.bmj.com/content/suppl/2005/07/18/331.7509.DC1   https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/hospice-care.htm   https://www.crossroadshospice.com/hospice-resources/education-for-families/non-profit-vs-for-profit-hospices-what-is-the-difference/      

    How to Talk with Loved Ones with Dementia

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 14, 2021 16:20

    On this episode of All Home Care Matters, we are going to be discussing how to talk with your loved one with Dementia. If you are new to the show we have multiple episodes and resources on Dementia and Alzheimer's. If there is a specific topic or situation that you are looking for you can find them on our website, wherever you get your podcasts, or on our YouTube channel, where we have an entire playlist dedicated to Dementia.   If this is your first time joining us, first we want to thank you for listening, but we will also be briefly going over what dementia is to begin the episode. Then we will dive right into some communication strategies that may help you talk to your loved one. Now let's move on to the rest of the show.   First, what is Dementia? According to the Alzheimer's Association, Dementia is an umbrella term for loss of memory, language, problem-solving, and other thinking abilities that are severe enough to interfere with daily life. The most common cause of dementia is Alzheimer's. Traumatic brain injuries, diseases like Parkinson's or Huntington's, and protein build-up in the brain are a few other causes of dementia.   These types of dementia are not reversible, but there are a few types that are. Brain tumors, thyroid issues, infections, and immune disorders, and even some medications, can cause dementia or dementia-like symptoms. Treating the initial cause of these health issues can reverse dementia and dementia-like symptoms.   Dementia usually starts slow and progressively worsens. Some signs to look for in your loved one are problems with short-term memory, issues keeping track of their purse or wallet, having trouble paying bills on time, struggling with planning and preparing meals, not being able to remember appointments, issues with traveling, or wandering through their neighborhood.   The Mayo Clinic states that there is no sure way to prevent dementia, but there are steps you can take that might help. More research is needed, but it might be beneficial to do the following: keep your mind active, be physically and socially active, quit smoking, get enough vitamins, particularly vitamin D, manage cardiovascular risk factors, treat health conditions, maintain a healthy diet, and get quality sleep.   Brenda Gurung, an Alzheimer's Association certified dementia practitioner says that “Alzheimer's and other dementias are difficult disease journeys, but there is so much opportunity for connection and success together. When you understand even a bit of what's happening in the brain — and when you embrace some simple techniques — you'll have more delightful visits with your loved one, deeper connections, and a smoother journey.”   Once we know how dementia can affect communication, we can then figure out the best ways to create a communication strategy that is tailored to our loved ones. Dementia affects a person's communication and cognition, memory and focus, language skills, visual perception, and problem-solving skills, which are all needed in social situations.   In a blog post for A Place for Mom, the largest senior living referral service in the U.S. and Canada, Merritt Whitley offers some tools that you may find helpful when having a conversation with your loved one with dementia. You should limit potential distractions and be as present with them as you can. Turn off the TV and any other distracting electronics. The quieter and calmer you can make the space, the better.   If you are not home and not able to find a quiet space, try to find a more secluded area and a space to sit down. For example, if you are at a café, find a seat away from the counter and the door to limit the number of people that walk by. If simple distractions, like the television or someone walking by you, take your attention away from a conversation, imagine what your loved one must feel like. Simple distractions can make any social situation too overwhelming for your loved one with dementia, so try to limit them as much as possible.   When talking to your loved one, try your best to speak naturally and use gestures. Don't raise your voice when talking to them. Raising your voice raises the pitch of your voice, as well, and makes it harder for your loved one to hear and understand. Talk in clear, calm, and simple sentences. You can try using gestures or small body movements while you talk, but don't use overly exaggerated movements. You don't want to embarrass your loved one or make them feel like they are incompetent in your eyes and using exaggerated gestures will likely make them think that.   Your loved one may need more time to respond than you might think. If they don't respond right away, don't try to answer for them, or repeat the question, unless they ask you to. Your loved one just needs more time to process what you said and then to process what they want to say. Wait for them to respond. If they are having trouble thinking of the correct word, don't jump in and tell them. Let them come to it on their own. It may take time, but if you answer for them or tell them what to say, they may become defensive and no longer want to participate in the conversation.   You will also want to stick to one topic while talking to your loved one. They may be unable to follow a conversation if you are jumping from topic to topic quickly. Your loved one will take longer to processes information, and if you change topics, they will likely become confused. Ask them open-ended and observational questions. Don't ask them if they remember a certain item or day, as it can be confusing for them and make them upset.   While conversing with your loved one, don't refer to yourself or others by their relationship. For example, don't mention your brother, use his name, instead. Using names in place of relationships can be especially helpful if your loved one believes they are in an earlier time in their life. Trying to bring them back to reality with titles and relationships may end up confusing them more and make them lash out.   Figures of speech and slang words can be difficult for your loved one to understand, so try not to use them. Esther Heerema, a social worker for Very Well Health, says that using phrases like, “it's no use crying over spilled milk” are confusing for your loved one and they may try to find where the milk has been spilled. Using the proverb interpretation test, where the test taker is asked to interpret abstract ideas such as “it's no use crying over spilled milk” is one way that doctors screen for symptoms of dementia.   Some open-ended questions can confuse your loved one and make conversation more difficult for them. Asking your loved one what they want to wear for the day or where they want to go can be overwhelming for them, but if you give them a few choices, it can make the decision easier, and still give them a sense of independence. You can try putting out two outfits and asking your loved one which one they would like to choose, and you can do the same with where they would like to go for the day.   When holding a conversation is difficult, there are other things you can do to let your loved one know you are there for them. You can maintain eye contact, smile, hold their hand, or even just sit quietly and be present with them. During the later stages of dementia, it may be difficult for your loved one to communicate verbally, but there are still things you can do together and experience. Utilizing all of their senses is a useful tool when communicating with a loved one with dementia. You can look at old albums, play music you know they enjoy, and cook their favorite foods for them to smell.   Remember that there will be good days and bad and try not to become disheartened with the bad days. While taking care of a loved one, it is important to take care of yourself, as well. If you are interested in learning more about caring for yourself while providing care, check out our quick tips episode on managing caregiver stress, or check out one of the full-length episodes on how to help the caregiver.   If your loved one is being aggressive or volatile, do not interact with that behavior. If they shout at you that they do not want to take a bath, don't give them a bath. It's important to respect the communication that they are able to give you at that time. And you don't just completely abandon the task. Try to come back to it in a few hours if your loved one is in a better headspace.   The Alzheimer's Society recommends preparing for your conversation with your loved one ahead of time. Imagine yourself in their shoes and think about how you would feel if you were struggling to communicate. While caring for your loved one daily, it is easy to forget how they are feeling is singular to that moment, especially when dealing with cognitive issues.   Before starting a conversation, make sure you have enough time to spend with your loved one. You don't want to make them feel rushed, as it can give them more stress and make them not want to participate with you. Look back on previous conversations and think about what strategies you have used and how they worked for you. If you know gestures make it easier for your loved one to understand you, try to incorporate them more in your conversations.   It's important to treat your loved one with respect. Don't talk to them like a child, even though you may be tempted to. You will want to make sure you are at eye level during your conversation. Try not to be too tall that you are looking down on them. If they are sitting down, sit down with them. If you are in an area where you are unable to sit with them, kneel down next to them, even if it is uncomfortable for you.   You can also plan what you are going to talk about ahead of time. You can use their own environment to come up with a topic. Talking about things they can visually see may make the conversation easier for them to follow. If your loved one experiences Sundowner's Syndrome, try to plan a time to communicate with them when you know they are more likely to be present. For more information about Sundowner's Syndrome, you can check out the episode we did on it on our podcast or visit our website for resources.   Sometimes, individuals with dementia that speak more than one language will revert to using their first language. If you notice this happening, see if you can have a family member or friend help translate your conversation. You can also try using a translator app but using technology may end up confusing your loved one more. There may also be organizations in your area that can help you translate a conversation with your loved one.   You should also make sure they are not hungry, in pain, or need to go to the bathroom before you try to have a conversation. All of these things can be distracting to your loved one and they may not be able to communicate that they need something when they are trying to focus on a conversation, too.   When there are other people around, make an effort to include your loved one in conversation. You can ask them simple yes or no questions in group settings so that they can still feel included. If possible, make others aware ahead of time of the proper ways to communicate with your loved one. Mainly, let them know to give your loved one time to respond and keep sentences clear and concise. Your loved one will appreciate being included, even if they are unable to keep up with the conversation for the entire duration.   It is also important to note that talking to too many people at once can be overwhelming and cause too much stress for your loved one, so make sure you are keeping an eye on the situation so you can tell when they have had enough socialization. You want your loved one to enjoy social settings and look forward to them, not become overwhelmed by them.   When talking to your loved one, don't ask them why. Questioning them will only make them doubt themselves and cause them anxiety. If your loved one seems to be stuck in a loop, asking the same question over and over again, don't ignore them, but you also don't want to keep answering the same questions over and over. Instead, try to divert their attention. If they are asking you who you are, you can say your name and then ask them to tell you about a topic you know interests them. This can be a hobby, a favorite author, a favorite food, really anything you know that they are usually able to talk about.   If your loved one is telling you or someone else about a past event and they don't have the details correct, do not interject and tell them they are wrong or try to correct them. If you interject, you will end up making them anxious or angry and make them believe you think they are stupid. Instead, talk about the memory. Talking about it, even if the details are wrong, can help their cognitive function and make them happier.   The only time you should correct them is when they are talking to their doctor, and they have given them information that you know is incorrect and could be harmful. In this situation, try to tell their doctor in a way that does not seem condescending to them. If this happens frequently, try to inform your doctor of any medical information and changes before the appointment starts and you can always call them before or after the appointment if necessary.   Caring for a loved one with dementia is difficult. Make sure you have a good support system and take the necessary time you need for yourself. As a caregiver, you are not able to provide adequate care if you are not able to have a break and care for yourself too. Reach out to local organizations and remember you can visit our website for resources on caring for yourself while caring for a loved one with dementia.   We want to say thank you for joining us here at All Home Care Matters, All Home Care Matters is here for you and to help families as they navigate long-term care issues. Please visit us at allhomecarematters.com there is a private secure fillable form there where you can give us feedback, show ideas, or if you have questions. Every form is read and responded to. If you know someone is who could benefit from this episode and please make sure to share it with them.   Remember, you can listen to the show on any of your favorite podcast streaming platforms and watch the show on our YouTube channel and make sure to hit that subscribe button, so you'll never miss an episode. Join us next time on All Home Care Matters where we will be discussing How Hospice Helps Families.   Sources: https://www.aplaceformom.com/caregiver-resources/articles/dementia-communication     https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/what-is-dementia     https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dementia/symptoms-causes/syc-20352013     https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/about-dementia/symptoms-and-diagnosis/symptoms/tips-for-communicating-dementia     https://www.verywellhealth.com/how-to-talk-to-someone-with-dementia-97963     https://dailycaring.com/3-traps-to-avoid-when-talking-to-someone-with-dementia/     https://thegreenfields.org/things-to-say-alzheimers/     https://training.mmlearn.org/blog/how-to-talk-to-someone-with-dementia-alzheimers-or-memory-loss      

    Allergy Help for Seniors

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 11, 2021 17:32

    On today's episode, we are going to be talking about how to help seniors with allergies. We will start off with what allergies are and what causes them. Since seniors with allergies are also prone to hay fever, we will also cover what hay fever is, how to prevent it, and what to do if your loved one is experiencing it. We will also be talking about how to help your loved ones suffering from allergies, and we'll be discussing ways to spot when your loved one may be experiencing allergy symptoms, how to prevent their symptoms, and other ways to help them through allergy season.   Now let's get started.   Allergies affect more than 50 million Americans each year and are especially a nuisance for seniors. Seasonal allergies usually develop early, but they can develop later in life. According to Dr. Christopher Randolph of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, allergies have a larger impact on the lives and health of the elderly. If you notice allergy symptoms in your loved one, let their doctor know. It can be hard for their doctor to diagnose allergies during a short visit, especially when they are monitoring other serious health issues or attempting to diagnose any new complications that you or your loved one presents them with.   You should also talk to their doctor before giving them over-the-counter allergy medicine. First-generation antihistamines, like Benadryl or the now discontinued Chlor-Trimeton, can have some pretty serious and even dangerous side effects. The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology lists anxiety, confusion, sedation, drowsiness, urine retention, dry mouth and eyes, and dizziness as some of the potential side-effects.   Many of these side-effects can end up causing your loved one to fall and injure themselves or develop a painful urinary tract infection. Not only do these side effects have the potential to cause an injury to your loved one, but they make everyday life harder and more uncomfortable than it should be for older adults.   If your loved one chooses to take over-the-counter allergy medicine, you should speak to their doctor or pharmacist about second or third-generation antihistamines, like Zyrtec, Claritin, or Allegra. These options are still antihistamines and can still cause your loved one to experience many of the side effects that first-generation antihistamines cause, but they are less likely to do so.   It is also important to inform your loved one's doctor of any medications you give them, as they can potentially cause changes in mood or behavior in the elderly and may lead to dangerous interactions with other commonly prescribed medications. Keeping their doctor up to date on any medications your loved one is taking, including both prescription and over the counter, is an important task to remember.   Your loved one may be suffering from a stuffy nose, and you might just assume that it is just allergies or a slight cold, but there are a number of medications that offer this side-effect in the right conditions and their doctor won't be able to tell if their prescribed medications are being interfered with if they are not up to date on what your loved one is currently taking.   For seniors that have been dealing with seasonal allergies their whole lives, you most likely won't have to come up with a new treatment plan. They, like many Americans, probably have found a routine that works best for them, which might include a favorite antihistamine or nasal steroid. You may have to adjust their allergy treatment plan, though. What once worked for them may no longer be enough to combat their symptoms.   If they take antihistamines daily, but their usual choice of medicine isn't working, try switching brands and see if that helps. There are several second and third-generation antihistamines that can be found at your local pharmacy or grocery store. You can ask a pharmacist for help if you are unsure of which medicine you should try.   If your loved one has Alzheimer's or Dementia, they may not be able to let you know they are experiencing allergy symptoms or tell you what works best for them. You will have to be on the lookout for symptoms during peak allergy season. Do you already know they get seasonal allergies? You may be able to start giving them their allergy medicine if you notice the pollen count rising in your area. You can always talk to their doctor if you are unsure what to do in this situation.   If you are interested in learning more about Alzheimer's or Dementia, check out some of the episodes we've done covering these topics or visit our website for more information. You can also view our playlist on Alzheimer's and Dementia on our YouTube channel.   For those that have developed seasonal allergies later in life, those that are finding themselves needing a new way to manage their allergies, or those that want to manage their allergy symptoms without taking a daily antihistamine or other medication, there are a few ways to manage allergy symptoms without the use of medications.   Now, none of these will completely make your allergies disappear, but they may help alleviate some of the symptoms. And, paired with a daily antihistamine or other medication, can help your loved one feel more like themselves during peak allergy season.   First, you will want to make sure that your loved one has a high-efficiency particulate air, or HEPA, filter for their air conditioner and make sure it is routinely serviced. A HEPA filter removes allergens from the air and helps prevent them from circulating around the house. You should also refrain from leaving the windows or doors open when the pollen count is high. Check your local weather report to see what the pollen count is and try to limit outdoor exposure when it is too high. If you need to be outdoors, wear sunglasses to help prevent eye irritation and sun damage and wash your hands when you come back inside.   If possible, change clothes and take a shower, as well so you can limit the number of allergens in the home. Keeping a normal cleaning schedule that includes dusting and vacuuming the home can also help remove allergens inside. Having a clean space can also help improve your loved one's overall mood and if their allergies are making it difficult to enjoy time outside, having a clean house is one less thing they will have to worry about.   Eating foods that help lower inflammation, like apples, flaxseed, ginger, leafy greens, walnuts, and anything high in Vitamin C, may help decrease some of the symptoms your loved one might be experiencing, as well. Allergens cause irritation and inflammation in the body and foods that reduce inflammation, like those we just listed, may help your loved one manage their allergy symptoms. You should also dry their clothes, and your own, in a dryer and not hung up outside to prevent allergens attaching to the clothes before they are brought back inside.   For most Americans, allergies are a nuisance, but for seniors, they can present a real danger. Seniors with other health issues, like COPD or high blood pressure, can be severely affected during allergy season. The most common allergy symptoms, runny nose, itchy, watery eyes, sneezing, chest congestion, and difficulty breathing, can cause other reactions in seniors with respiratory illnesses or diseases.   If your loved one uses an inhaler to help manage their allergies, make sure to always have it on hand. Even if you are only leaving the house to run to the post office, make sure you bring their inhaler with you. You never know when your loved one may need it and it is better to always carry it with you. You can also talk to their doctor and ask them if they can prescribe your loved one backup inhalers, that way you can always have one at home and another to carry one with you. This is also a good practice to keep if you have asthma. And if your loved one does have asthma, allergies can definitely trigger an attack, so you will also want to make sure your loved one or you are always carrying an inhaler during allergy season in case they need it.   Seasonal allergies and their symptoms are not life-threatening, but they can be if your loved one takes any medications that their doctor is unaware of. Unless you are a doctor or a pharmacist, you probably don't know how a certain medication will interact with another, so it really is important to tell your loved one's doctors any and all medications they are taking.   If your loved one has allergies, they may have gotten hay fever at some point in their life or they may have it while you are providing care for them. You may be wondering, what exactly hay fever is. Hay fever, or allergic rhinitis, affects somewhere between forty and 60 million Americans a year. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, allergic rhinitis develops when the body's immune system recognizes and overreacts to something in the environment that typically causes no problems in most people. The name hay fever is a bit of a misnomer. Hay can cause some people to develop hay fever, but not everyone that experiences it is ever around hay. And hay fever does not cause a fever. People experiencing hay fever may have a runny nose, itchy eyes, mouth or skin, sneezing, stuffy nose, and fatigue, which is usually due to getting poor quality sleep with a stuffy nose.   There are two types of hay fever that people experience, seasonal and perennial. Seasonal hay fever usually happens from springtime through early autumn and is usually caused by outdoor mold or pollen. Perennial hay fever is usually experienced year-round and is caused by inside allergens, like dust, pet dander or pet hair, cockroaches, and mold.   It is also possible for food allergies to present themselves as hay fever. If your loved one experiences perennial hay fever and almost constantly has nasal congestion, ask their doctor if there's a chance that they have any food allergies you are unaware of. Don't remove any food groups from your loved one's diet without consulting with their doctor first.   Since hay fever usually presents itself as prolonged nasal congestion, your loved one might not know they are experiencing any allergy symptoms and think they have just come down with the common cold, which they might! It is possible to mistake a cold for allergies and vice versa, but if your loved one always has a stuffy nose in the spring, it is highly likely that they have seasonal allergies.   Doctors usually suggest treating hay fever the same way you treat allergy symptoms. You will want to keep the windows closed during peak pollen periods and use a HEPA filter for your air conditioner. Wear glasses outside to minimize irritants getting in your eyes. They also suggest using mite-proof bed covers to limit exposure to dust mites and a dehumidifier to control mold. You should also wash your hands after petting an animal and have someone else groom your pet if you have hay fever.   According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, intranasal corticosteroids are the single most effective drug class for treating allergic rhinitis and can significantly reduce nasal congestion as well as sneezing, itching, and a runny nose. Your doctor or an allergy specialist can determine if these are the best medication for your loved one to take to control their hay fever symptoms. Since these are nasal sprays and not an oral medication, they avoid many of the side effects that come with taking antihistamines. The usual side effects of nasal sprays include irritation in the area sprayed and nose bleeds.   Antihistamines can also help your loved one manage hay fever, but they come with all the side effects we talked about earlier in the episode. Another option that can help with hay fever is a decongestant. If your loved one has high blood pressure or heart disease, check with their doctor first before using any decongestant. Decongestant nasal sprays work well. Most people that use them feel relief in minutes and it lasts for a few hours. If your loved one uses this option, make sure they only use it for a few days at a time, unless otherwise instructed by their doctor. Using a decongestant nasal spray for too long can end up causing more swelling in the nasal cavity.   If your loved one is constantly suffering from allergies or hay fever and medications just are not working well or the side effects are too much, immunotherapy may be an option for them. Immunotherapy is usually long-lasting and has far fewer side effects than a daily antihistamine. Your loved one may be able to receive allergy shots or sublingual tablets, which dissolve under the tongue. Allergy shots inject a small amount of allergens directly into the arm, increasing the dose each week until a certain level has been achieved.   At this point, the patient then gets a shot once a month until another level is achieved and then once every six months. The period of time between shots can vary from person to person, though. This process lasts anywhere from three to five years and the effects of the shots, either lessening the allergy symptoms or making them disappear completely, lasts several more years. Typically, you would need to start the cycle again in six years.   Allergy shots can be time-consuming and take a while to actually see any improvement. If you do not want to deal with the shots, a sublingual tablet may be for you. Your loved one can take these year-round or they can start a few months before allergy season begins for them. However, there are more restrictions for this treatment. Currently, sublingual tablets are only available to treat certain grass and ragweed pollens and indoor dust mites.   It is still a fairly new treatment, as it was approved by the FDA in 2014, and as the years go on, they will be able to treat more allergens. Sublingual tablets are taken daily and dissolve under the tongue. These can be taken up to three years. After that, you will need to devise a new treatment plan with your loved one's doctor. For both of these treatment types, your doctor may refer you to an allergist if you don't see one already.   Allergies can be miserable and make you feel terrible constantly. We hope this episode has been helpful to you and given you new ways to help you manage your loved one's allergies.   We want to say thank you for joining us here at All Home Care Matters and for being a part of our 100th episode. All Home Care Matters is here for you and to help families as they navigate long-term care issues. Please visit us at allhomecarematters.com there is a private secure fillable form there where you can give us feedback, show ideas, or if you have questions. Every form is read and responded to. If you know someone is who could benefit from this episode and please make sure to share it with them.   Remember, you can listen to the show on any of your favorite podcast streaming platforms and watch the show on our YouTube channel and make sure to hit that subscribe button, so you'll never miss an episode. Join us next time on All Home Care Matters where we will be discussing How to Communicate with a Loved One who has dementia.   Sources: https://www.agingcare.com/articles/help-elders-survive-allergy-season-150138.htm   https://www.homecareassistancenaples.com/how-to-manage-allergies-in-seniors/#:~:text=Allergies%20pose%20a%20greater%20threat,COPD%20to%20high%20blood%20pressure.   https://www.dispatchhealth.com/blog/how-to-care-for-a-senior-with-allergies/   https://www.lifecareservices-seniorliving.com/blog/survival-guide-allergies-aging/   https://www.medicalalertadvice.com/articles/seasonal-allergies-and-seniors/   https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5362176/   https://www.aafa.org/allergy-facts/#:~:text=How%20Common%20Are%20Allergies%3F,types%20of%20allergies%20each%20year.   https://acaai.org/allergies/types/hay-fever-rhinitis      

    What is the Difference Between Live-In Care and 24-Hour Care?

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 9, 2021 10:24

    We all try our hardest to provide the best quality of care for our aging loved ones, but there may come a time when we alone are no longer enough, especially when we have full-time jobs and commitments outside of the home, which the majority of people today do. When seniors need continuous care, there a few different types of care to consider. Putting our loved ones in a nursing home is an option, but finding the right fit is difficult, and a lot of the time, nursing homes are not an option we want to take, for one reason or another.   According to a 2017 fact sheet by AARP, 52 percent of adults turning 65 will need some kind of long-term care during the remainder of their lives and that number goes up each year. Choosing a type of long-term care is something more and more families are being faced with. Something most families and seniors are comfortable with and prefer is continuous in-home care. This allows the senior to remain in their home, in an environment they are familiar with.   There are two types of continuous in-home care services that can be provided. The first is live-in care, where a caregiver lives in the home for days at a time. The second is 24-hour care. With 24-hour care, a few caregivers operate on a rotational shift schedule instead of one caregiver providing all the care.   Today on All Home Care Matters, we will be discussing the pros and cons of live-in care versus 24-hour care. It is important that you know all the details before choosing a type of care for your loved one and we hope that today's episode will be able to help families currently researching the types of continuous care find the right fit for them.   Before we get into the two types of care, we are going to explore some of the things that may determine if your loved one needs continuous care. In an article written for Home Care Assistance, author Amber Lambert offers some reasons you may be in need of 24-hour or live-in care. If your loved one has dementia or difficulty doing day-to-day tasks due to memory issues, a full-time caregiver can watch over them for their own safety and help when needed. Seniors with dementia may need help managing sundowner's syndrome.   If you're interested in learning more about sundowner's syndrome and what it means for your loved one, we recently covered this topic on a recent episode. Listen to the What is Sundowner's Syndrome? episode and visit our website for more information.   Your loved one may get to a point where they cannot safely bathe themselves or perform other daily tasks on their own, such as cooking or taking care of their pets or even get to their appointments or pick-up their prescriptions. A caregiver can assist the senior while they complete these tasks or do them for the senior if necessary. A caregiver also provides companionship, which is just as important as any of the other assistance they provide. A friendly face to talk to can improve a senior's mood and overall quality of life.   Now, on to the pros and cons of live-in care. Live-in caregivers live in the house during their shifts.   They have to have their own space with their own bed, which can be difficult for seniors and their families to provide if they don't have a lot of extra room. Caregivers also get a four-hour break during the day and an eight-hour sleeping break. During their four-hour break, another caregiver or a family member may be needed to provide care while they're away. If the caregiver is needed during their sleeping break, they are usually paid more money on top of their base pay. Live-in care is not available in every state. If it is not an option in your area, 24-hour care is available in every state.   With live-in care, there is more consistency for the senior. Typically, one caregiver is in the home Monday through Thursday and a second caregiver is in the home Thursday through Sunday. With 24-hour care, the caregivers switch off shifts every twelve hours and have to brief each other on any necessary information for the upcoming shift. This potentially allows room between shifts for something to be forgotten or left out. With live-in care, one caregiver provides care for three or four days at a time, leaving less room for error between shift changes.   Having fewer caregivers in and out of the home also helps the senior better build a relationship with the caregiver. A caregiver providing live-in care sees the senior more than 24-hour caregivers do, as they can be in the home up to 5 days in a row. This schedule allows them to not only provide companionship to the senior they are caring for but also friendship. Having the same person looking after the senior is something a lot of families like about live-in care. They build trust over time and worry about their loved one less when they are unable to provide care for them themselves.   We know what live-in caregivers provide and how often they work, but how much will a live-in caregiver cost for the family or senior? Live-in caregivers are paid at a flat-rate, and not hourly. There may be additional costs, like if they have to provide care during their eight-hour break or if the family needs additional coverage during their four-hour break, but overall, there is one cost per day that is usually an average of 250 dollars a day depending on your state and local area. Unfortunately, Medicare will not cover any of the costs of live-in care, but long-term care insurance, Medicaid, and veteran's aid may help cover some of the costs.   Now let's move on to the pros and cons of 24-hour care. Two or three separate caregivers provide care through separate eight- or twelve-hour shifts, depending on the agency you go through and your personal preference. With 24-hour care, the caregiver is always awake and alert, ready to provide care and assistance whenever needed. They don't require a sleeping space, and knowing that a professional caregiver is alert at all times gives peace of mind to many families.   Unlike with live-in care, 24-hour caregivers are paid at an hourly rate, which when broken down can cost more than live-in care – (but remember with 24 hour care the staff is awake and alert at all times without a 4 hour break during the day and a 8 hour sleep or rest period where they are not on duty), especially since Medicare doesn't cover any of the costs. Just like with live-in care, long-term care insurance, Medicaid, and veteran's aid may help cover the costs of 24-hour care.   If cost is a big determining factor of which type of care you will be choosing, it might help to know the average time your loved one might need care. Women needing long-term care, on average, need two and a half years of care. Men, on the other hand, tend to need one and a half years. These numbers are only averages and don't necessarily reflect on your own situation, as everyone is different. An AARP study also found that only 14 percent of individuals needing long-term care needed care for five or more years.   When deciding between live-in care and 24-hour care, make sure to discuss the options with your doctor. They will help you decide the amount of care necessary for your loved one and advise you on the best course of action to take for caring for your loved one. Another tip when researching care is to ask if there are any contracts that would make you and your loved one responsible or committed to the care option you choose for a specific amount of time. We always advise families that if they are unsure on the amount of care or the type of care that will best serve their needs that they can start with one option and then always change it if they find it is too much or not enough. We do not use contracts at our company, rather, we tell families we want this to be a good fit for not only them, but also their loved one and not obligate them with a contract.   However, we understand that a lof of companies require families to sign a contract for a certain amount of time that they will then be committed to. Just remember, whether it is for 24-hour care, live-in care, or respite care to ask these questions and to do your research before choosing the company that will be caring for your loved one.   We want to say thank you for joining us here at All Home Care Matters, All Home Care Matters is here for you and to help families as they navigate long-term care issues. Please visit us at allhomecarematters.com there is a private secure fillable form there where you can give us feedback, show ideas, or if you have questions. Every form is read and responded to. If you know someone is who could benefit from this episode and please make sure to share it with them.   Remember, you can listen to the show on any of your favorite podcast streaming platforms and watch the show on our YouTube channel and make sure to hit that subscribe button, so you'll never miss an episode. Join us next time on All Home Care Matters where we will be discussing How to Help Senior's with Allergies.   Sources: https://www.nursenextdoor.com/blog/what-is-the-difference-between-live-in-care-and-24-hour-care/   https://www.payingforseniorcare.com/live-in-caregiver   https://www.24hrcares.com/resource-center/home-care-vs-live-in-care/   https://www.assistinghands.com/70/illinois/lombard/blog/live-in-care-vs-24-hour-home-care/   https://www.fsl.org/what-is-the-difference-between-live-in-care-and-24-hour-care/   https://homecareassistance.com/blog/live-in-care-vs-24-hour-home-care   https://www.morningstar.com/articles/957487/must-know-statistics-about-long-term-care-2019-edition   https://www.aarp.org/content/dam/aarp/ppi/2017-01/Fact%20Sheet%20Long-Term%20Support%20and%20Services.pdf  

    Quick Tips: Recognizing the Signs of Stress in Seniors

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 4, 2021 8:13

    We've recently discussed stress in the caregiver and how you should care for yourself while caring for others in order to prevent caregiver burnout. On today's Quick Tip episode, we'll be taking a look at the warning signs of stress in seniors. After going through the signs and symptoms, risks, and common causes of stress in seniors, we can then begin identifying how family, caregivers, and friends can help to minimize stress in their aging loved ones.   Stress affects all age groups, but it specifically impacts seniors more than any other age group. In older adults, the immune system isn't able to work as well as it once was. It takes longer to fight off common ailments, such as the cold. Stress affects older adults in a similar way.   When we're young, we recover from illnesses quickly because our immune system is working at top speed all the time. We're able to manage stress better when our immune systems are not compromised. But as we age, our immune system gets run down and is easily overwhelmed. When our bodies are busy fighting illnesses and diseases, stress can be extremely hard to manage.   Stress can appear in numerous ways. As a caregiver, you might be the first person to notice the signs of stress in your loved one. According to the Institute of Aging, the most common signs of stress to look for are: Changes in eating habits, changes in mood, including greater irritability, anxiety, sadness, indifference, or even unusual elation or overactivity Difficulties with short-term memory Difficulties with concentration Unusual patterns of judgment Withdrawal and isolation Less attention to personal hygiene, grooming, and self-care Tension headaches More aches and pains in general Frequent sickness Weight gain or weight loss Difficulties sleeping Low energy and fatigue   This is by no means an exhaustive list of signs. Stress affects everyone in different ways. If you think your loved one may be showing signs of stress, make sure to talk to their doctor. Signs of stress can just as easily be symptoms of other undiagnosed illnesses or diseases.   Stress happens. Everyone gets stressed and shows some of the symptoms we listed earlier. Chronic stress, however, is long-lasting and can be very dangerous for older adults. According to Yale Medicine, chronic stress is a consistent sense of feeling pressured and overwhelmed over a long period of time. The American Psychological Association says chronic stress can be the cause of issues like anxiety, insomnia, muscle pain, high blood pressure, and a weakened immune system. If not properly taken care of, chronic stress can also lead to heart disease, depression, obesity, and other major illnesses.   There are many things that cause stress in older adults. Existing health issues are a major contributor to chronic stress. It may seem like an endless cycle at times, as stress may make the illness worse, and the illness also causes them to stress more. Losing friends and loved ones and worrying about losing friends and loved ones in the future causes most everyone, not just older adults, stress.   Financial responsibilities, everyday tasks and chores, adjusting to needing a caregiver, the loss of something constant, like a career, that has recently ended are some of the main sources of stress that many older adults are facing today.   For older adults with caregivers, the caregivers, family, and friends are going to be the first to notice the signs of stress in a senior.   They could be having problems with their short-term memory. You may ask them what show they watched the day before and they can't recall, even if it's something they watch regularly. You might notice they aren't eating as much as normal, or they're eating more than they usually do. Whatever signs they may be showing of stress, it's the people they're around the most that will likely notice first.   Now that you've recognized the signs of chronic stress in your loved one, the next step is to talk to the senior about their stress levels. Oftentimes, they know that they are stressed, but they don't know how to manage it on their own. Sometimes, talking about whatever is causing them stress is enough. They may be grieving the loss of a partner and being able to talk about it with either yourself, a friend, or even a counselor, will help their stress subside.   Exercise and diet is a great way to manage stress. If the senior is able to walk around safely, going on a nature walk, or even a walk around the house, can greatly help the situation. Yoga and other forms of meditation are also great for combating stress.   It's also important to find ways to manage your own stress as a caregiver. Chronic stress can have lasting negative effects on your health. Learning to reduce and manage stress when we are young can result in fewer health problems when we're older.   Helping an older adult identify their stressors is another important step to helping them reduce and manage their stress. Just being able to identify what is triggering their stress may help solve most of their issues. Once they understand what their stressors are, you can work on a plan together to reduce their overall stress.   If you are unsure how to help your loved one with their chronic stress, that's okay. Consult a physician or mental health professional. They can help determine what is causing your loved one's stress and the best course of action to take. They will also be able to help you make a long-term stress management plan specifically tailored to the older adult.   Minimizing stress in older adults can potentially minimize other health problems. If you notice your loved one exhibiting any of the signs or symptoms we have mentioned, discuss it with the older adult, and if necessary, their doctor. Stress has many harmful symptoms that can make life difficult and uncomfortable for your loved one. Managing their stress quickly will result in a better quality of life, for them and for you.   We want to wish everyone a safe and Happy 4th of July and say thank you for joining us here at All Home Care Matters, All Home Care Matters is here for you and to help families as they navigate long-term care issues. Please visit us at allhomecarematters.com there is a private secure fillable form there where you can give us feedback, show ideas, or if you have questions. Every form is read and responded to. If you know someone is who could benefit from this episode and please make sure to share it with them.   Remember, you can listen to the show on any of your favorite podcast streaming platforms and watch the show on our YouTube channel and make sure to hit that subscribe button, so you'll never miss an episode. Join us next time on All Home Care Matters where we will be asking the question What is the Difference Between Live-In Care and 24-Hour Care. This is an issue that comes up quite often when families are exploring options of care for their loved ones – and surprisingly they are not the same thing.   Sources: https://blog.ioaging.org/medical-concerns/signs-stress-seniors-recognize-stress-early-generate-resiliency/   https://www.stress.org/how-stress-affects-seniors-and-how-to-manage-it   https://www.yalemedicine.org/conditions/stress-disorder#:~:text=%E2%80%A2A%20consistent%20sense%20of,changes%2C%20medications%2C%20setting%20realistic%20goals   https://www.apa.org/topics/stress/chronic     https://www.health.harvard.edu/stress/stress-relief-tips-for-older-adults

    An Interview with Barbara Tien Co-Founder of PONGA

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 2, 2021 54:35

    We are honored to have had the privilege to welcome Barbara Tien the Co-Founder of PONGA to All Home Care Matters. Ponga is a fast, easy, and fun way to organize your pictures and explore the stories. Your stories come to life with words, voice, video, and other media. Your stories are personal, engaging, and accessible. With Ponga, you circulate them privately—free of the prying eyes of social media! Barbara also helped to establish a Family Council (one of the first of its kind in her community) for families who have loved ones in facilities to help create accountability and to create a voice for the residents/patients and their families.

    An Interview with The Golden GeroPsych Girls (Dr. Lisa Taylor & Dr. Kristen Dillon)

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 28, 2021 44:50

    Today, we have the distinct honor and privilege to welcome Dr. Lisa Taylor and Dr. Kristen Dillon. If you are familiar with their other name, The Golden GeroPsych Girls then you are in for a very informative and in-depth interview and discussion on the field of Geropsychology and how it is helping seniors and their families.   We are including both the bios of the doctors and how to connect with them on Instagram for more information.   Kristen Dillon, PsyD, ABPP, is a staff geropsychologist in Hospice & Palliative Care and on one of the Community Living Centers. Her research and clinical interests include anticipatory grief, ambiguous loss, caregiving, bereavement, existential concerns, and older adults with serious mental illness. She is also interested in the impact of death and dying on Veterans and families, including family dynamics and PTSD. She was trained in Meaning Centered Psychotherapy through Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and utilizes this intervention regularly with Veterans and families. She is board certified in Geropsychology through the American Board of Professional Psychology.  In her spare time, Dr. Dillon enjoys spending time with her husband and two daughters, singing, playing the guitar and being around people who make her laugh. She also enjoys hiking and is currently attempting to hike NH's 48 mountains over 4000 feet.    Lisa Taylor, PsyD is a clinical psychologist in Home-Based Primary Care (HBPC), and the Community Living Centers (CLC) which includes three Dementia Care Units (DCU) and a Geriatric Psychiatric Unit (GPU). Her clinical interests include Geropsychology, behavioral health, working on interdisciplinary teams, and utilizing evidence-based treatments including STAR-VA. In her free time, Dr. Taylor enjoys spending time with her husband, her adorable rescue dog, Emma, and visiting the beach, and local eateries.   We want to thank you for joining us here at All Home Care Matters and again say thank you to our guests the Golden GeroPsych Girls for taking time from their busy schedules to speak with us today about the benefits of Geropsychology. All Home Care Matters is here for you and to help families as they navigate long-term care issues. Please visit us at allhomecarematters.com there is a private secure fillable form there where you can give us feedback, show ideas, or if you have questions. Every form is read and responded to. If you know someone is who could benefit from this episode and please make sure to share it with them.   Remember, you can listen to the show on any of your favorite podcast streaming platforms and watch the show on our YouTube channel and make sure to hit that subscribe button, so you'll never miss an episode. Join us next time on All Home Care Matters where we will be welcoming Barbara Tien the Co-Founder of Ponga.     To Connect with Dr. Taylor and Dr. Dillon on Instagram: @goldengeropsychgirls

    Dealing with Difficult Behaviors in Dementia

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 26, 2021 13:35

    As dementia progresses, the care required becomes more complex and demanding. As a dementia caregiver, you might find yourself in more and more difficult situations, which you don't necessarily feel ready or equipped to handle. These can be anything from hallucinations to mood swings to struggling to help your loved one to eat or move around.   Caring for a dementia patient certainly comes with its own unique set of challenges. Because dementia is a progressive disease, the type of care needed progresses with it, making for many unpredictable days and consistent learning and re-learning. Strategies of care that might have been affective in the early stages can stop working altogether. You'll find yourself getting more creative, and possibly more desperate, as time goes on.   We understand that the middle and late stages of dementia require a lot from a caregiver – and that you might feel stuck in a never-ending learning curve. This care is intensive and around-the-clock. It demands a lot from us, and you might not always be sure that you're handling everything right or might be at a loss of how to handle some situations altogether.   First of all, I want you to appreciate yourself for all that you're already doing. No one goes into dementia caregiving with a step-by-step pamphlet to help them through every situation. You learn as you go, and this requires a ton of trial and error, infinite patience, and perseverance.   As long as you are acting in love and doing your best, you are not doing anything wrong (even when it feels like you might be). Still, I know that a little guidance and wisdom can help you to feel more supported, confident, and prepared. It never hurts to get some help, right?   On today's episode of All Home Care Matters, we're going to discuss ways to handle the most difficult situations with a dementia patient. These strategies can help to make tough situations a little bit easier, and to calm things down faster and more efficiently when necessary. These are proven strategies that have helped caregivers to better understand what their loved one is going through – so they can know how to handle it.   If your loved one is in the middle stages of dementia, you'll notice drastic shifts in their behavior and function. Your loved one might be struggling more than ever to communicate or gather their thoughts. They might struggle to eat, dress, or do other activities of daily living.   Remember that while this is a huge transition for you, it's an even bigger transition for your loved one. Life as they knew it no longer makes sense. They can no longer perform tasks that they used to do with ease. Even thinking has become a struggle.   Because of this, you'll notice that your loved one's mood and behaviors have changed. They might become more irritable, frustrated, or downright angry. They could refuse to eat, bathe, or get dressed. They could refuse any help whatsoever. They are trying to make sense of a warped reality and accept losing their independence – this is far from easy and is bound to lead to mood changes.   Of course, these mood changes do not make life easier for the caregiver. Your responsibility is increasing and at the same time, your loved one is making it harder for you to do your job. You may find yourself losing patience pretty easily, and possibly even snapping or crying in the middle of the day.   As the disease progresses, it's more important than ever to find time for yourself, also. Listen to our episode on Caring for the Caregiver to learn more about destressing and self-care advice.   Now, when your loved one is struggling to communicate, you might struggle to know how to handle it. Maybe they aren't responding to you anymore, so you don't know how they feel about a certain situation, or maybe they try to speak to you, and you have trouble following their train of thought. What should you do?   You can assist with communication by speaking in a direct, gentle tone, and making eye contact. Use body language to further emphasize what you are saying. This can help your loved one to understand what you are saying, at least on some level.   At the same time, make sure to give your loved one time to respond – even if it's a long time. It might take your loved one quite a while to put her thoughts together, but that doesn't mean she isn't trying. Don't interrupt her when she does begin to speak and listen patiently while she gets the words out.   Make sure that when you communicate, it's in a place with minimal background noise or distraction. Offer reassurance when your loved one is struggling – this can encourage them to keep going.   Don't overdo the questions. Only ask one question at a time, and make sure the questions are yes or no. For example, instead of saying “do you want to wear the green shirt or the blue shirt?” ask, “do you want to wear the blue shirt?”   One of the biggest communications struggles a person might have at this time comes with your loved one's lack of a filter. You might notice that as time goes on and the dementia progresses, your loved one is becoming increasingly brash with their words. They might say hurtful or embarrassing things, in public or in private.   The general rule is to let it be. If your loved one says something that you disagree with, don't argue with them. Just move on to something else. I know this is easier said than done, but when you argue, you risk exacerbating the situation. This might lead to a full-on meltdown that is far more difficult to manage.   If your loved one says something inappropriate or offensive in public, deter from the situation. Bring your loved one's attention to something else as quickly – and as calmly – as possible. For instance, if you're at a coffee shop, you can have your loved one pick from the pastry situation.   If you're at the grocery store, you can ask them if they would like a certain type of produce. It doesn't matter what you say, just quickly and calmly change the subject. The best thing you can do in these situations is turn your loved one's attention onto another subject matter.   If your loved one is experiencing a hallucination, you want to approach this in much the same way. You may feel tempted to shut down the hallucination, but this can actually lead to increased confusion and a worsened mood – and the hallucination can become more severe.   Instead of shutting it down, validate it, make it positive, then change the subject. For example, if your loved one says that there's a stranger in the home, tell them “yes, that's a nice stranger. He's a friend. Do you want spaghetti for dinner?”   Again, bringing their attention somewhere else is usually enough to end the hallucination altogether. The last thing you want to do during a hallucination is deny it or make a huge deal out of it, because this can lead to a severe mood swing that can be almost impossible to manage or calm.   In general in any mood-heavy situation with a dementia patient, you don't want to be rational or logical. While it might be tempting to calmly explain a reality to a person who is hallucinating or speaking out of term, this will not be affective with a dementia patient.   You see, dementia patients cannot think rationally at all. They don't understand that what they're saying is inappropriate, and they don't understand that what they're hallucinating is not real. If you try to change the way they perceive the world and themselves, they will only get sad and frustrated. That's why validation, followed by distraction, is really the best method for these types of situations.   Along similar lines, if your loved one forgets that their parent is deceased, or that they're divorced, or any other major life event – there is no need to remind them. Reminding them of their loss or heartbreak will recreate unnecessary pain and heartache. If your loved one is happily carrying on about visiting with their deceased mother later, instead of shutting this down, ask questions. Have your loved one describe the person they lost. This can calm them down.   Now, some families struggle with knowing what to do when their loved one asks to go home, if they are living in a nursing home or other facility. Rather than telling them that they won't be returning home, redirect the conversation. Ask your loved one to tell you what they remember about home, or to describe home. This distracts from the situation while helping your loved one to engage in happy memories.   If your loved one wanders away or gets themselves in a dangerous situation, refrain from telling them never to do it again. This simply will not be affective. People in the mid and late stages of the disease will not remember to do it again, so it's not worth telling them not to.   Instead, take action to prevent it happening in the future. Make sure the doors are locked. Get an automatic tea kettle that won't light on fire if it's left on. Listen to our episode on home safety tips to learn more about how you can prevent dangerous situations from happening.   One of the most difficult situation caregivers face with dementia patients is aggression. This aggression can sometimes become violent. Even though it is incredibly hard to do, it is important that caregivers handle these situations in a calm and patient matter. Responding to anger with anger will only make it worse.   Instead of responding with anger, try to understand the cause of the anger. Has your loved one recently switched medication? Have they eaten today? Could it be sundown syndrome? If you know the cause, you might able to step in and make a change.   Secondly, respond to your loved one with empathy, patience, and support. Try to distract them from their anger by introducing another activity or conversation. It might help to take your loved one into another room. Sometimes a change in surroundings is enough to change a train of thought, and combat anger.   If nothing else works, you can simply give your loved one space until they calm down. Make sure that they are safe and keep watch over them, but don't involve yourself any further. They will calm down eventually – even if it's in the form of falling asleep from exhaustion.   Many dementia patients lose the ability to distinguish between reality and fantasy. Because of this, they may become increasingly paranoid, and make huge statements that are completely false (like my daughter doesn't love me, or my son is out to get me).   These delusions are difficult to witness. When they happen, it's important to remember that it's the disease speaking, not your loved one. You must separate the behavior from the person, or you will suffer.   Don't tell your parent that they're wrong, argue with them, or try to disprove what they are saying. This will only cause greater distress and agony for everyone involved. Again, you can deflect from the situation and turn your loved one's attention somewhere else. Otherwise, you can step out and give your loved one space until they forget about it.   Difficult dementia behaviors can be overwhelming for caregivers to handle – but if you approach everything with a sense of calm and patience (even if you have to fake it), you'll find that these situations are a little bit more manageable.   We want to thank you for joining us here at All Home Care Matters, All Home Care Matters is here for you and to help families as they navigate long-term care issues. Please visit us at allhomecarematters.com there is a private secure fillable form there where you can give us feedback, show ideas, or if you have questions. Every form is read and responded to. If you know someone is who could benefit from this episode and please make sure to share it with them.   Remember, you can listen to the show on any of your favorite podcast streaming platforms and watch the show on our YouTube channel and make sure to hit that subscribe button, so you'll never miss an episode. Join us next time on All Home Care Matters where we will be welcome two very special guest, Dr. Lisa Taylor and Dr. Kristen Dillon. They are Geropsychologists who specialize in serving the senior population as well as the families of seniors. This is an interview you won't want to miss if you are caring for a senior loved one.   Sources: https://www.alz.org/help-support/caregiving/stages-behaviors/middle-stage   https://www.alz.org/help-support/caregiving/daily-care/communications   https://www.alz.org/help-support/caregiving/stages-behaviors/late-stage   https://www.caregiver.org/resource/caregivers-guide-understanding-dementia-behaviors/   https://www.caregiver.org/resource/ten-real-life-strategies-dementia-caregiving/   https://www.aplaceformom.com/caregiver-resources/articles/dementia-behaviors   https://www.alzheimers.net/1-6-15-new-approaches-difficult-behaviors    

    Quick Tips: Fall Prevention Tips for Seniors

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 19, 2021 9:22

    If you have an elderly loved one, chances are you've spent a lot of energy worrying about falls and their safety. And you should be. According to the National Council on Aging, one out of four Americans over the age of 65 experiences a fall every single year. Not only that, but falls are a leading cause of death among the elderly in America.   As our loved one's age, there is so much for us to keep track of: medications, diets, health care. Falls should be high on this list as well. Falls can result in devastating consequences for many seniors and their families. Common fall-related injuries include broken bones, fractures, and head injuries. We need to do what we can to help prevent our loved ones from falling.   In today's quick tip episode of All Home Care Matters, we'll go over all you need to know about falls. We'll talk about the most common causes of falls, how to prevent falls, and how to know if your loved one has fallen and is hiding it from you. We hope that by the end of this episode, you will feel confident in protecting the senior in your life from experiencing a fall.   There are many reasons that seniors experience falls at a higher rate than other parts of the population. A senior might fall due to problems with vision, or a decline in physical strength, or even a chronic disease, among other causes.   Seniors are more likely to have impaired vision, which can make it difficult to notice hazards, even if they're in great health otherwise. If a senior cannot see well, they might not notice a wet floor, a stair, or a crack in the sidewalk. This can lead to an increased chance of falling down.   As seniors age, many face declines in their physical strength. It becomes more straining to exercise or engage in physical activity, so many older adults choose not to (or to exercise far less frequently). This results in weakening muscle strength, loss of balance, and reduced coordination. Simply put, it's easier to fall down when your body is much weaker than it used to be.   Chronic diseases like arthritis, Alzheimer's or Parkinson's disease can also increase the likelihood of falling. Seniors will have a harder time keeping their balance, gripping onto railings or canes, and they will be all-around weaker. Further, it will be more difficult for a person with a chronic disease to respond to a fall or recover from one.   Believe it or not, medications are another common cause for falling in seniors. Common medication side-effects are dizziness, low blood pressure, and drowsiness – all of which can increase the likelihood of falling.   Other common causes are surgical procedures that leave a person's body weaker or less mobile than they were before, environmental hazards like loose carpet or wet shower floors, and behavioral hazards like lifting heavy items or hiking on rough terrain.   These are just some of the causes of falling – but in reality, any of these and more can cause a person to suffer a fall. That's why it's so important to take the necessary steps to prevent a fall before it happens.   The best thing you can do to help prevent falls is to make your loved one's home a safe place for them to be. Remove any tripping hazards like loose rugs, exposed wires, or loose floorboards.   Remove furniture that might be blocking a walkway, to ensure that there's plenty of space to move around. You can also clean up clutter that is blocking pathways or making it harder to be mobile. This might include stacked newspapers, laundry piles, or even loose shoes. Be sure that walkways and staircases are free of clutter.   Make sure to install grab bars and handrails around the house – especially by the stairs and in the bathroom. A grab bar by the toilet can help a person sit up and down without falling down. A handrail in the shower and tub can do the same. Have a handyman install the bars to ensure that they are assembled safely.   Similarly, you can add nonslip mats to the kitchen and bathroom floors, as well as to the porches outside. This will protect your loved one from slipping and falling on wet ground.   Believe it or not, the way your loved one dresses can also help to prevent falls. Have your loved one wear shoes, even in the house, for extra traction. Make sure that they never walk on wood or tile floors in only socks. Have them avoid wearing any loose or too-long clothing that they might trip over.   In addition to environmental prevention, you can also prevent falls through physical prevention. If your loved one's vision is impaired, make sure that they wear glasses so they can see better. Even if their vision is fine, make sure that they get it tested at least twice a year to make sure. If they are struggling with a chronic illness like Parkinson's disease, a wheelchair might be safer than relying on their two feet to carry them around.   You can also make sure that your loved one is getting plenty of sleep and exercise. The stronger and more alert they are, the less likely they are to take a fall.   In addition, you can have them limit alcohol and drink more water to prevent feelings of dizziness or light-headedness. Alcohol can actually affect a person's balance and reflexes, so it should be avoided altogether.   It's important to note that many seniors do not tell anyone after they've experienced a fall. This means that a senior could live with an injury for a while without anyone even knowing – and that injury can get much worse.   There are many reasons a senior won't share this information. They might be embarrassed, or afraid that they will lose some of their independence. Many seniors worry that they will be forced to move to a facility or won't get to live on their own anymore. If a senior has dementia or a cognitive issue, they might have forgotten the fall altogether. Regardless of the reason, it's important to understand that you won't always be told if a fall occurs. That's why you need to be able to identify the signs of a fall – so you can step in and make sure your loved one gets the care they need.   When you see your loved one, always check for a sign of a fall. It might not be extremely obvious, so it's important to be vigilant in your examination (without letting your loved one know that you are on the lookout).   Look for bruises and swelling – particularly on the hands or arms. Your loved one may have tried to brace themselves for the fall and bruised or injured their hands and arms. Similarly, if your loved one has a black eye or a bump on their head, this is a sign of a fall.   If your loved one is experiencing sudden cognitive difficulties – like a lack of awareness, taking longer to do things, or a struggle with comprehension – this could be a sign of a brain injury from a fall. Take your loved one to the hospital immediately.   There are also less obvious signs. If you notice that something is missing from the house, like a lamp or another object, this might mean your loved one has fallen. It's possible that they tried to grab onto a lamp on the way down and broken it in the process.   If you notice any changes in your loved one and think they may have taken a fall, don't wait to take them to the doctor. Injuries like sprains, concussions, or even brain bleeds can be subtle at first and lead to devastating consequences.   When we put in the steps to prevent falls, we can have a little more peace of mind that our loved one is safe and secure. Of course, there's no 100% guaranteed way to prevent a fall, which is why it's critical to understand the signs and symptoms of a fall-related injury. The more prepared you are, the better equipped you'll be to help your loved one when necessary.   We want to thank you for joining us here at All Home Care Matters, All Home Care Matters is here for you and to help families as they navigate long-term care issues. Please visit us at allhomecarematters.com there is a private secure fillable form there where you can give us feedback, show ideas, or if you have questions. Every form is read and responded to. If you know someone is who could benefit from this episode and please make sure to share it with them.   Remember, you can listen to the show on any of your favorite podcast streaming platforms and watch the show on our YouTube channel and make sure to hit that subscribe button, so you'll never miss an episode. Join us next time on All Home Care Matters where we will discussing Dealing with Difficult Behaviors in Dementia.  Sources: https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/prevent-falls-and-fractures   https://www.agingcare.com/articles/falls-in-elderly-people-133953.htm   https://www.everydayhealth.com/longevity/future-planning/prevent-falls-at-home.aspx   https://www.visitingangels.com/knowledge-center/care-options/elderly-fall-prevention-spotting-the-warning-signs-risk-factors/453   https://blog.ioaging.org/home-care/secret-senior-falls-what-you-and-your-parent-caregiver-need-to-know/   https://advocateformomanddad.com/senior-falls-and-tbi/        

    Understanding Cataracts

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 16, 2021 14:49

    The month of June is cataract awareness month, so this week on All Home Care Matters, we will be discussing all things cataracts. First, we're going to talk a little about what cataracts are and how you get them, and then we'll move on to what you can do to prevent them. Then, we'll see how to help your loved one manage their cataracts and protect their vision. Now you know what we'll be discussing this episode, let's jump right in.   A cataract is a clouding of the lens in the eye that affects vision and is mostly related to age. According to an article published by the Cleveland Clinic, for your eye to see, light passes through a clear lens behind the colored part of your eye, or the iris. The lens focuses the light so that your brain and eye can work together to process information into a picture. When a cataract clouds over the lens, your eye is unable to focus light in the same way.   By the age of 80, more than 50 percent of all Americans have a cataract or have had cataract surgery. According to Icon Eyecare, to make sure cataracts don't affect your vision, it's important to get regular eye exams - especially if you're over the age of 55.   Cataracts are the leading cause of vision loss worldwide. In a report by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago, researchers predicted that from 2014 to 2032, the number of cataract cases will increase by 50 percent. Within the next decade, the United States will be faced with one of the biggest healthcare crisis's it has ever had to deal with, and no one seems to be talking about it yet.   The aging population in the United States will reach an all-time high in 2030, when the Baby Boomer Generation will all be 65 or older. With old age, cataracts and other vision problems worsen. Age is the biggest factor in cataracts, but it isn't the only thing that can cause them. There are four other types of cataracts, secondary cataracts, traumatic cataracts, congenital cataracts, and radiation cataracts. Secondary cataracts can form after an eye surgery or develop due to other health problems, like diabetes.   Traumatic cataracts happen after an eye injury. They can happen immediately or even years after the initial injury. Congenital cataracts appear at birth or in childhood and tend to be so small that they do not affect vision. Radiation cataracts can develop after some forms of radiation. All of these types of cataracts can hinder vision and make day-to-day activities difficult. Older adults, as well as everyone else, should see their eye doctor regularly to keep their vision working properly.   The National Eye Institute lists some of the noticeable symptoms of cataracts as: having cloudy or blurry vision, colors looking faded, you are unable to see well at night, lamps, sunlight, or headlights all appear to be too bright, you see a halo around lights, you have to change your glasses prescription often, or you are seeing double of things. Seeing double sometimes goes away as the cataract gets bigger.   Now, this list is somewhat lengthy, but it is in no way exhaustive, and these are not exclusive symptoms of cataracts. All of these symptoms can also indicate a number of other eye problems or diseases. Schedule an appointment with your loved one's eye doctor if they are experiencing any of the above symptoms. Early treatment of any eye disease may just end up saving your loved one's vision.   Cataracts are a common occurrence, and it is very likely that either you or someone you know has a cataract right now. If you think you might be experiencing cataract symptoms or are just wondering what it's actually like living with cataracts, Jim Mathie a former fire chief in Deerfield Beach Florida, speaks about life with cataracts and the difference he noticed as soon as he got them removed at Rand Eye Institute.   “Wow, what a big difference,” Mathie says about his cataract surgery. He goes on to say that the difference is like night and day and he just hadn't realized how bad his vision had been before. He had his surgery on a Thursday and it was so easy he doesn't even remember it. The next day, he went back for an exam and he could see everything. He had so much clarity and was suddenly noticing how vivid all the colors were. He had been getting his yearly eye exams and knew that he had a cataract in one eye. At first, it was manageable, but after five years, he knew it was time to do something about it. He was avoiding driving at night because he assumed it would be an issue. But, what really made him decide to get the surgery was that he was no longer able to enjoy his favorite hobby, diving.   Mathie dove three to four times a week and had started to notice that he was unable distinguish things like fish and lobsters in murkier waters when they were right in front of him. Before his cataract, he had no issues seeing in murky water. He knew it was time to fix his vision, and today he is enjoying his passion, scuba diving, and loving his cataract free life. If you, like Jim Mathie, have noticed your vision deteriorating, or noticed your loved one's vision deteriorating, talk to your eye doctor and see if cataract surgery will work for you.   There are some things we can do while we are younger to prevent cataracts, but cataracts due to aging are not preventable. Cataracts due to age can be fixed or at the very least, the symptoms can be managed, with the help of your doctor. Cataracts caused by other health issues may be prevented by using protection from the sun, such as hats and sunglasses, and eating leafy greens and other fruits and vegetables. Eating a healthy diet will help with many health problems, and not just with cataracts, but I'm sure you already knew that.   If you smoke, quitting smoking will also significantly reduce your chances of getting cataracts. If you are ready to quit smoking, you can call the American Lung Association's Help Line at 1-800-LUNG-USA, that's 1-800 586-4872 today for free help with quitting. You should also talk to your doctor about quitting. They can help you create a plan and track your progress. They can also prescribe medication to help if you need it.   Getting your eyes dilated can also help prevent cataracts. Adults 60 and older should get their eyes dilated at least once every two years. Eye doctors can check for cataracts and monitor existing cataracts while dilating your eyes.   According to aging care dot com, age-related cataracts affect older adults' vision in a few different ways. Clumps of protein build-up reduce the sharpness of the image reaching the retina. The clumps of protein can also cloud the lens and reduce the light that reaches the retina. Over time, the protein can tint the clear lens, turning it a yellow or brownish color, adding a brownish tint to their vision.   Approximately one in five older adults have cataracts. Cataracts are not contagious. If you have a cataract in one eye, you may not develop a cataract in your other eye and you cannot spread them to other people, either.   Depending on the severity of the cataracts, seniors may only need new glasses or a magnifying lens to see better or use brighter lighter at home. Anti-glare sunglasses can help seniors see better while outside or in the car. If none of these options help, surgery is a safe and effective treatment for cataracts.   According to Comfort Keepers, cataract surgery is widely regarded as one of the safest medical procedures. It has a success rate between 95 and 98 percent. For this procedure, the patient usually only needs minimal sedation, which is safer for older adults. Seniors with other health issues are often unable to receive surgeries due to their health conditions but are still able to receive cataract surgeries because of how safe and fast they are. While the risk of complications is low for cataract surgery, it is still important to talk to your doctor about the risks involved.   Cataracts are removed one eye at a time. The senior will have to have the surgery performed on one eye and then wait three to four weeks for the other eye. During this waiting period between surgeries and during the four weeks following the second surgery, senior should try not to rub their eyes or lift heavy objects. They should also continue wearing sunglasses and hats to protect their eyes from the sun.   Once a cataract has been removed, it will not come back. A secondary cataract can form in the same eye, but it is not the original cataract coming back. The secondary cataract can be corrected with a Y A G laser capsulotomy, which is quick and painless.   It is very likely that your loved one has cataracts. They may not even notice any symptoms. If they are experiencing any vision discomfort or other problems, schedule an eye appointment to see if they have any undiagnosed eye conditions. Their doctor can help you make the best course of action for their vision.   Cataracts can make daily activities difficult at first, especially when you are first adjusting to blurry vision. You may notice your loved one being slightly unsteady on their feet or unsure of their movements while they are adjusting to their new stage of vision. They are at a higher risk of a fall during this time, so make sure to remove any obstacles that could hinder their movements and result in a fall.   Your loved one may also need help doing household tasks, like cooking and cleaning, while dealing with cataracts. They may be unable to read a recipe to make their meals and their blurred vision also makes cleaning up messes difficult. Helping your loved one cook meals and clean up around the house, at least until they have either adjusted to their blurred vision or are able to get the cataracts removed, will be extremely helpful to them.   If your loved one has a cataract and you are interested in ways to maintain it without surgery, have them try some eye exercises. Family Vision Development Center says that certain eye exercises can help to strengthen your eyes and ease eye strain. And, while strengthening your eye muscles cannot actually cure cataracts, it can help to slow the progression.   They recommend gently rolling your eyes in a clockwise circle a few times, then reverse to a counterclockwise motion. You can also try moving your eyes from side to side, or in the shape of a figure 8. You can also try changing focus, by focusing on a finger held a few inches from your face, then shifting to an object farther away, then back again.   Learning to live with cataracts can take some time and adjustment. If your loved one is still driving, remind them to be extra cautious and try not to drive at night, as the glare from streetlights can provide hazardous driving conditions for someone with cataracts.   Are you worried about your parent or aging loved one driving, with or without cataracts? You are not alone. In another episode of this podcast, Is Your Loved One Safe Driving, we talked about aging loved ones and what to do when you think they are no longer safe behind the wheel. Please listen to the episode and check out the show notes for resources on safe transportation options and other related driving topics.   Prevent Blindness, the number one volunteer eye health and safety organization, offers free information on cataracts. Their organization has created the Cataract Awareness Month campaign and is very knowledgeable when it comes to cataracts and other causes of vision loss. You can call them at 1-800-331-2020 or visit them on the web at preventblindness.org. Their goal is to eliminate preventable blindness in the United States.   If you or your loved one, or someone you know, is experiencing cataracts and do not have the financial means to fix them, Prevent Blindness may be able to help. Check them out today or send their information to someone in need.   If you are interested in learning about other eye conditions that could be affecting your loved one, listen to our episode on Understanding Glaucoma and visit our website for more information.   Of the five types of cataracts, age-related cataracts are the most common cataracts to be seen, and they disproportionately affect the older population. Losing your vision is frightening and causes your loved one to worry. It is important to let them know that you are there for them during this time and help them perform their daily tasks safely. Make sure your loved one visits their eye doctor regularly so that any vision problems can be caught and fixed before they become a real problem.   Luckily, cataracts can be fixed in a fast and safe procedure, restoring your loved one's sight in a matter of weeks. If they are unable to have the cataracts removed, there are still a few options that can help them see better, like using brighter lights and magnifying glasses. For more information on understanding cataracts in seniors, check out the resources on the show notes for this episode.   We want to thank you for joining us here at All Home Care Matters, All Home Care Matters is here for you and to help families as they navigate long-term care issues. Please visit us at allhomecarematters.com there is a private secure fillable form there where you can give us feedback, show ideas, or if you have questions. Every form is read and responded to. If you know someone is who could benefit from this episode and please make sure to share it with them.   Remember, you can listen to the show on any of your favorite podcast streaming platforms and watch the show on our YouTube channel and make sure to hit that subscribe button, so you'll never miss an episode. Join us next time on All Home Care Matters where we will be sharing Fall Prevention Tips to help keep your loved ones safe.   Sources: https://www.agingcare.com/articles/what-is-a-cataract-age-related-eye-diseases-108282.htm   https://www.nei.nih.gov/learn-about-eye-health/eye-conditions-and-diseases/cataracts#:~:text=Cataracts%20are%20very%20common%20as,%2C%20hazy%2C%20or%20less%20colorful.   https://iconeyecare.com/eye-care-blog/10-cataract-facts-cataract-awareness-month/#:~:text=June%20is%20National%20Cataract%20Awareness,virtually%20pain%2Dfree%20surgical%20procedure.   https://www.comfortkeepers.com/info-center/category/senior-health-and-wellbeing/article/the-myths-and-facts-of-cataracts-what-seniors-shou   https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/8589-cataracts   https://preventblindness.org/cataract-awareness-month-2020/   https://preventblindness.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Future_of_Vision_final_0.pdf   https://www.businessinsider.com/aging-population-healthcare   https://www.lung.org/quit-smoking/i-want-to-quit   https://preventblindness.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/CataractRelease2020.pdf   https://www.fvdcpc.com/2021/02/26/simple-strategies-living-with-cataracts/   https://www.bettervision.net/cataracts/5-tips-for-living-with-cataracts/   https://www.randeye.com/after-cataract-surgery-jims-interview-hd/        

    Keeping Seniors Safe in the Heat

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 15, 2021 8:11

    With the summer months coming and the temperatures starting to rise, seniors and the elderly need to protect themselves from the heat. The warm weather can help improve many seniors' daily outlook on life as the effects of Seasonal Affective Disorder go dormant. If you think your loved one may have Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, check out our episode on SAD, Are You Sad? for more information on what SAD is, how it affects seniors, and ways you can help your loved one overcome it.   The long summer months are something most of us look forward to throughout the winter. It is important for seniors to take the necessary precautions when spending time outside in the heat and in the sun. Seniors without air-conditioning are at the highest risk of extreme heat. Without being able to cool off inside, they can easily overheat and suffer from a number of heat-related illnesses and even death. If you know a senior that doesn't have air-conditioning, and can't afford one, the federal Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) helps adults 65 and older who have limited incomes cover the cost of air conditioners and utility bills. You can call the National Energy Assistance Referral hotline at 1-866-674-6327 for more information on this program.   One of the ways our bodies regulate temperature is through sweating. However, adults 65 and older don't sweat nearly as much as younger adults do and are unable to regulate their body temperature through this way, which is why the heat is more dangerous for older adults. From 1999-2009, 40 percent of heat-related deaths occurred in seniors. We hope today's episode can help lower that number in the future. Heat-related illnesses are preventable if you know the facts ahead of time.   What can seniors do to protect themselves from the heat? Stay cool and stay hydrated. Seniors need to drink plenty of water to combat extreme heat. Older adults shouldn't wait until they're thirsty to drink water. If you have medication that requires you to drink less water, talk to your doctor to find out how much water they recommend you drink daily. If you need to cool down quickly, take a cool shower or bath. If you are having trouble overheating and are still feeling the effects of the heat an hour after finding a cool place to rest, please call your doctor.   Older adults should wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing that isn't restrictive when outside. Wearing long sleeves and hats can also prevent painful sunburns. Try to limit outdoor and strenuous activities to early morning and or evening when the sun doesn't pose as much risk and it is cooler out. Make sure seniors are getting plenty of rest during warm weather, too. The heat makes us tired and it's important to listen to what our bodies need. As the caregiver, you may be the one to notice when your loved one needs to rest or needs to hydrate if they are unable to recognize it for themselves. You also want to make sure to never leave an older adult in a shut-off vehicle without the windows down, even if you're just running into the post office to drop off an envelope. The effects of the heat can happen fast and if your loved one has any chronic medical conditions, it can quickly become deadly.   Dr. Michael Fitch, M.D., professor of emergency medicine at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center says “If you have an older relative or neighbor, it's important to keep in frequent touch with them during times of hot weather. Keeping in mind that someone may not even be aware of feeling hot or thirsty, it is very important for others to check on the health and well-being of loved ones and friends.”   Now that you know the dangers of extreme heat, we're going to move on to the three major heat-related syndromes and what you can do to protect your loved one and prevent heat-related sickness. The first, heat cramps, is a condition that involves muscle spasms and pain. It typically occurs during or after strenuous activities, but it commonly occurs in older adults due to dehydration. Making sure the senior is drinking plenty of water is the most important thing you can do to prevent dehydration. If they have trouble drinking water, try giving them foods with high water content, like watermelon, cantaloupe, citrus fruits, tomatoes, cucumbers, and celery. If they become dehydrated and are unable to properly hydrate themselves, they may need IV fluids.   Heat exhaustion is the second heat syndrome. The National Institute on Aging states that heat exhaustion is a warning that your body can no longer keep itself cool. You might feel thirsty, dizzy, weak, uncoordinated, and nauseated. You may sweat a lot. Your body temperature may stay normal, but your skin may feel cold and clammy. Some people with heat exhaustion have a rapid pulse.   If you notice your loved one experiencing heat exhaustion, get them to a cool place immediately and try to hydrate them. If they have high blood pressure or heart problems, call 911 as soon as possible. Also, call 911 if they don't recover quickly after getting them in a cool area and water. If not taken care of, heat exhaustion can quickly become heatstroke.   Heatstroke can occur anywhere from 15 minutes to several days after being exposed to extreme heat. Heatstroke happens when the body heats up faster than it can cool off. The National Institute on Aging lists the signs of heatstroke as fainting or becoming unconscious, a change in behavior, such as confusion, agitation, staggering, being grouchy, or acting strangely, a temperature over 104°F (40°C), dry, flushed skin and a strong, rapid pulse or a slow, weak pulse, and not sweating even if it is hot. Seek medical help immediately if you think your loved one is experiencing heatstroke.   Extreme heat can be dangerous, but as long as you take the right precautions and recognize when your body has had enough, it is easy to prevent any ill effects of heat. We hope that having the tips and information to help avoid potential heat strokes, dehydration, and other health risks can be helpful to you and your loved one and can help seniors and the elderly to enjoy summer and the warmer weather safely.   We want to thank you for joining us here at All Home Care Matters, All Home Care Matters is here for you and to help families as they navigate long-term care issues. Please visit us at allhomecarematters.com there is a private secure fillable form there where you can give us feedback, show ideas, or if you have questions. Every form is read and responded to. If you know someone is who could benefit from this episode and please make sure to share it with them.   Remember, you can listen to the show on any of your favorite podcast streaming platforms and watch the show on our YouTube channel and make sure to hit that subscribe button, so you'll never miss an episode. Join us next time on All Home Care Matters where we will be discussing Understanding Cataracts.   Sources: https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/older-adults-heat.html   https://www.wakehealth.edu/Stories/Tips-to-Keep-the-Elderly-Safe-in-Extreme-Heat   https://www.wakehealth.edu/Stories/How-to-Stay-Cool-When-Its-Hot   https://www.wakehealth.edu/Stories/Heat-Safety-Tips   https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/hot-weather-safety-older-adults#:~:text=Heat%20Stroke%E2%80%94A%20Medical%20Emergency,-If%20you%20have&text=People%20who%20become%20dehydrated%20or,being%20grouchy%2C%20or%20acting%20strangely   https://www.healthinaging.org/tools-and-tips/tip-sheet-hot-weather-safety-tips-older-adults   https://www.lifespan.org/lifespan-living/elderly-and-heat-dangerous-combination   https://www.dripdrop.com/blog/heat/seniors-and-heat-illness-why-the-elderly-are-more-affected-by-the-heat   https://www.acf.hhs.gov/ocs/low-income-home-energy-assistance-program-liheap   https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heat-exhaustion/symptoms-causes/syc-20373250#:~:text=Heat%20exhaustion%20is%20a%20condition,heatstroke%20being%20the%20most%20severe.

    An Interview with Craig Fowler CEO of Joygage Dementia Engagement Software

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 11, 2021 42:15

    All Home Care Matters is honored to have the privilege to welcome Craig Fowler to the show. If you are caring for a loved one with dementia or Alzheimer's then this interview will be full of in-depth information on an exciting platform that Craig has developed to help families and their loved ones with dementia stay stimulated and engaged. Craig Fowler is the founder and CEO of Joygage, an engagement on-demand subscription service designed and developed to improve the quality of life of persons living with Alzheimer's and dementia and provide respite for their care partners. He was guided and inspired by his caregiving journey supporting his father who was the primary caregiver for his mother who lived with early onset dementia for more than ten years. He created Joygage to serve the Alzheimer's and dementia community by creating a service that focuses on improving quality of life, daily happiness, and dignity of persons living with Alzheimer's and dementia instead of trying to "cure" or “fix” them. Aside from Joygage, he's also currently serving as a board member of the Dementia Action Alliance.    Connect with Joygage: wecare@joygage.com https://www.joygage.com/  

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