- Preparing Your Home for a Loved One with Alzheimer’s: A Caregiver’s Guide
- Alzheimer’s and Keeping Active/Involved
- The Benefits of Cooking with Alzheimer’s
- Keep Your Pets Close: How Animals Help Dementia
- Helping Alzheimer’s Sufferers Cope with the Loss of a Loved One — A Guide for Caregivers
- Dementia and Hygiene: How to Solve Hygiene Problems Common to People with Dementia
- Budget-Friendly Smart Home Accommodations for Seniors and Individuals with Special Needs
- Alzheimer’s, Dementia and Money Management
- Overdose Response Guide: Awareness, Prevention, and Preparedness for Caregivers of Addicts
- 6 Signs of Elder Abuse in Seniors with Dementia
- How to avoid and detect Elder Fraud: A guide for older people, carers and relatives
According to Reuter’s, about 28 million people out of 36 million have not had their Alzheimer’s or dementia diagnosed. Here are the 10 warning signs the Alzheimer’s Association recommends you should be looking for to catch an early diagnoses:
- Memory loss that disrupts daily life.
- Challenges in planning or solving problems.
- Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, work or leisure.
- Confusion with time or place.
- Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships.
- New problems with words in speaking or writing.
- Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps.
- Decreased or poor judgement.
- Withdrawal from work or social activities.
- Changes in mood or personality.
Emmet Pierce for Insure.com recognizes the following as 7 warning signs it might be time for your elderly loved one to stop driving:
1. There are too many near misses.
2. They have physical difficulty turning to check traffic.
3. They often become lost.
4. Their response time is too slow.
5. Their car shows many minor dings and dents.
6. Inability to cope with the normal frustrations of driving.
7. They start getting too many tickets.
If you note one or more of these signs, it might be time to have a frank talk with your loved one about their driving habits and about possibly enrolling them in a refresher driving course. Information about these classes can be found at the AARP website.
Find out more about these tips here: 7 Signs Dad Shouldn’t Drive Anymore
Dr. Richard C. Senelick recommends the following:
1. Make sure your home is well lit. Install night lights where appropriate, even in places you walk infrequently (you never know). Check with an electrician to see if you can install stronger bulbs in your regular home fixtures. Carry a pocket flashlight with you, which is especially handy to have getting from your car to inside.
2. Declutter your home. Asses the edges of your area rugs, runners, and mats. Make sure you have enough room to navigate around furniture. Tuck extension cords and wires securely out of the way. Keep clutter off the stairs, and make sure your handrails are sturdy.
3. Think about side affects from your medicines. Blood pressure medicine can cause dizziness when you stand, creating a perfect chance for falling. Other medications can also make you dizzy and weak feeling. Address this concern with your doctor or pharmacist.
4. Check the safety of your bathroom. The bathroom can be the most dangerous room in your house, so take plenty of precautions. Think about installing grab bars by the toilet and shower. Consider putting a stool in your shower, and another outside of it to sit on when drying off. Your safety is more important than your pride.
5. Reorganize your storage. Put things you use on a regular basis within easy reach. Having to climb stools is unnecessarily risky.
Read Dr. Senelick’s full article here: Aging & Injury: 5 Ways to Avoid Falls at Home.
Over 5 million American’s suffer from Alzheimer’s, and dealing with the disease can be difficult for everyone in the family.
Jennifer DuBose of Chicago Parent recommends the following to deal with helping children cope:
– Tell children early on. Kids are intuitive and will know something is up, so don’t leave them to draw their own conclusions.
– Keep it simple. Give your kids the amount of information you think they can handle. As they get older or your loved one’s status worsens, you can explain the condition even more fully.
– Check in on how your kids are feeling and watch for behavioral problems. Enlist the help of other adults in your child’s life to provide support.
– Take care of yourself. You’ll have more to offer your loved one and your children if you get occasional respite.
According to Mayo Clinic staff, there are more than 65 million Americans providing care for a loved one. While caregiving can be extremely rewarding, it can also be physically and emotionally taxing.
The Mayo Clinic identifies the following as signs of caregiver stress:
- Feeling tired most of the time
- Feeling overwhelmed and irritable
- Sleeping too much or too little
- Gaining or losing a lot of weight
- Losing interest in activities you used to enjoy
There are ways to deal with this stress. The Mayo Clinic recommends taking the following steps:
- Accept help. Be prepared with a list of ways that others can help you and let the helper choose what he or she would like to do. For instance, one person might be happy to take the person you care for on a walk a couple of times a week. Someone else might offer to pick up groceries for you.
- Don’t give in to guilt. Feeling guilty is normal, but understand that no one is a “perfect” caregiver. You’re doing the best you can at any given time. Your house does not have to be perfect, and no one will care if you eat leftovers three days in a row. And you don’t have to feel guilty about asking for help.
- Get informed. Organizations such as the Red Cross and the Alzheimer’s Association offer classes on caregiving, and local hospitals may have classes specifically about the disease your loved one is facing.
- Join a support group. A support group can be a great source for encouragement and advice from others in similar situations. It can also be a good place to make new friends.
- Stay connected. Make an effort to stay in touch with family and friends. Set aside time each week for socializing, even if it’s just a walk with a friend. Whenever possible, make plans that get you out of the house.
- Commit to staying healthy. Find time to be physically active on most days of the week, and don’t neglect your need for a good night’s sleep. It’s also crucial to eat a healthy diet.
- See your doctor. Get recommended immunizations and screenings. Make sure to tell your doctor that you’re a caregiver. Don’t hesitate to mention any concerns or symptoms you have.
Also recommended is taking a break from your caregiving duties. There are many options, including adult care centers, day hospitals, in- home care, and short term nursing homes.
Read more about what the Mayo Clinic has to say about caregiver stress and prevention here: Caregiver Stress: Tips for Taking Care of Yourself
According to Mayo Clinic staff, nutrition is critical to senior health, especially for those seniors that are seriously ill or suffering from dementia.
Unfortunately, spotting malnutrition in adults can be tricky. The Mayo Clinic recommends the following steps to catch improper nutrition:
“Observe your loved one’s eating habits. Spend time with an older loved one during meals at home, not just on special occasions. If your loved one lives alone, find out who buys his or her food. If your loved one is in a hospital or long term care facility, visit during mealtimes.
Look for physical problems. Red flags for malnutrition might include poor wound healing, easy bruising, dental difficulties and weight loss. Watch for signs of weight loss, such as changes in how clothing fits.
Know your loved one’s medications. Many drugs affect appetite, digestion and nutrient absorption.”
You can also try to prevent the causes of inadequate nutrition in your seniors life. The Mayo Clinic suggests the following could be triggers of malnutrition:
“Health problems. Older adults often have health problems that can lead to decreased appetite or trouble eating, such as chronic illness, use of certain medications, trouble chewing due to dental issues, problems swallowing or difficulty absorbing nutrients. A recent hospitalization may be accompanied by loss of appetite or other nutrition problems. In other cases, a diminished sense of taste and smell decreases appetite.
Limited income and reduced social contact. Some older adults may have trouble affording groceries, especially if they’re taking expensive medications. Those who eat alone may not enjoy meals, causing them to lose interest in cooking and eating.
Depression. Grief, loneliness, failing health, lack of mobility and other factors may contribute to depression — causing loss of appetite among older adults.
Alcoholism. Alcoholism is a leading contributor to malnutrition — decreasing appetite and vital nutrients and frequently serving as a substitute for meals.
Restricted diets. Older adults often have dietary restrictions, including limits on salt, fat, protein and sugar. Although such diets can help manage many medical conditions, they can also be bland and unappealing.”
For more information about recognizing and dealing with senior malnutrition, read the whole Mayo Clinic article here: Senior Malnutrition
Taking simple precautions can truly be a lifesaver.
Home accidents are a major cause of concern; a simple fall can result in serious injury. Which is why Always There’s employees are carefully trained to improve and ensure safety in the home.
The best way to prevent accidents is to eliminate potential hazards. We check for hazards every time we visit your home—and when we spot safety hazards, you’ll be the first to know. You’ll also be glad to know we document all safety hazards—and intervention steps taken—on our weekly service reports. Read the rest of this entry »
Proper planning starts with a basic understanding of the insurance system
If you are navigating the seas of home care for the first time, you may be wondering, “doesn’t Medicare pay for help in the home?” Before answering that question, you should understand the difference between Home Health and private-duty, in-home care. Home Health care is medically focused while private-duty care usually focuses on non-medical care, such as bathing, dressing, meal preparation, and light housekeeping. Some states, however, allow private-duty nursing (like wound care, injections, and venipuncture) as well. Each Always There office can tell you about the laws in their state. The other big difference between Home Health and private-duty care is the payer source – who pays the bill. Home Health can be covered by traditional health insurance and Medicare. Private-duty care is usually paid by the client, or by a long-term care insurance company, if the client has that kind of policy.
Read the rest of this entry »
Periodically updated with new information.
At Always There we always want to keep our clients apprised of the latest resources and information about their care. Below are links to organizations, information, and services to help seniors and their families stay informed. Read the rest of this entry »