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Caring for a Spouse with Alzheimer’s Disease or Dementia

Thursday, November 30th, 2017 5:27:14 PM
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As the disease progresses and Alzheimer’s symptoms change – your relationship will too

When any friend or family member receive an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, it can be challenging to accept. When this person is your husband or wife, the impact is especially difficult. You may find yourself taking on the role of caregiver or begin to notice changes in your relationship. Memory care specialists are uniquely aware of the way ever-changing Alzheimer’s symptoms impact you, your spouse, and your marriage.

It is common for a spouse to assume the role of caregiver when their husband or wife receives an Alzheimer’s diagnosis. A spouse is often the first to recognize Alzheimer’s symptoms in their loved one, including behavioral changes, forgetfulness, confusion, and even depression. These changes in your spouse are bound to change your relationship, family life, and careers.

Caring for a Spouse: Stephene Moore and former U.S Rep. Dennis Moore’s Story

Dennis Moore is a lifelong Kansan, having served six terms in the U.S House of Represented for Kansas’s 3rd District. His wife Stephene has worked as a nurse, focusing on women’s health, for more than 25 years. In 2012, Dennis was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.

After his diagnosis, Dennis retired from his position to focus on his health. He and his wife spoke with local radio station KCUR 89.3 to discuss the Alzheimer’s symptoms he experiences, his diagnosis, and what it means for them. To listen to their complete interview, visit KCUR by clicking here.

What We Can Learn

Dennis and Stephene’s experience with Alzheimer’s is unfortunately not an uncommon story. However, there is plenty that spouses and families can take away from the Moore’s story and apply to their own situation.

1. Recognize and report Alzheimer’s symptoms

You know your spouse better than anyone else. If you begin to notice changes in their behavior that are related to Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, don’t be afraid to speak up. While your loved one may deny any changes or symptoms, speak with a medical professional about your concerns. An early diagnosis can often help you both prepare for the future.

2. Make the tough decisions early on

While it is not always possible, an early Alzheimer’s diagnosis can help you and your spouse make plans for the future. Talking to employers and family members about the diagnosis is important. You can decide together when the best time to stop working will be. Investigate insurance and other financial aid benefits available. Although it is difficult, making decisions about palliative and hospice care while your spouse is still well enough is essential. Making these tough decisions early on will be helpful for you both as the disease progresses.

3. Support for your changing relationship

Cognitive regression, behavioral changes, and need for outside care assistance will inevitably cause changes in your relationship. You may find yourself grieving for the loss of your spouse as their memory worsens. Talking with family, friends, and even professionals can help you cope. Local support groups offer resources such as support groups for the family members of loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease.

[Alzheimer’s Association Resources]

Caring for a loved one, especially a spouse, with Alzheimer’s is a challenging and often stressful responsibility. Know that you are never alone. There are professionals trained and experiences in providing Alzheimer’s care and support available to help.

For more information about memory care services provided by Comfort Care Homes, please call our office at (316) 444-0532 or visit our website: http://comfortcarehomeswichita.com/

Enjoying Holidays: Tips for Caregivers of Seniors with Alzheimer’s

Tuesday, November 21st, 2017 6:54:10 PM
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Keep celebrating the holidays, even as your loved one’s situation changes

The holiday season is often a time for family parties, shared meals, and gift giving. As we get older, we all look back on favorite holiday memories, remembering special outings, events, and presents. If you have a senior loved one with Alzheimer’s disease, celebrating these memories may seem bittersweet. Holidays can become filled with stress, frustration, and sometimes sadness. Understanding that holidays may be different now and preparing you and your loved one accordingly can help keep joy during the holidays.

Try these 3 tips to celebrating the holidays with loved ones with Alzheimer’s or dementia:

1. Find balance

Many family members feel overwhelmed by caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s, and this can be exacerbated during the busy holiday season. Finding a balance between caring for others and caring for yourself is key. Consider simplifying your holiday celebrations to cut back on planning, shopping, or cooking tasks that can become time-consuming.

While you want to spend quality time with your loved one during the holiday, don’t feel like you have to miss out on other traditions. If you receive invitations to celebrations your loved one with Alzheimer’s cannot attend, go without them. Knowing you have a support system of family, friends, or professionals to keep your loved one company will help you enjoy other activities and free time.

[Holiday Hints for Alzheimer’s Caregivers]

2. Prepare Loved One With Alzheimer’s

Sometimes extra help may be needed to provide adequate Alzheimer’s care. If your loved one is in a memory care facility and unable to go to holiday events, bring the party to them. Visiting in smaller groups for shorter periods of time may be beneficial to loved ones with dementia who become overwhelmed.

Sticking to your loved one’s schedule during holiday festivities is essential. Making sure they get enough rest, drink plenty of water, and take medications on time will impact their comfort and mood. Having a quiet place for them to rest away from loud, crowded events can help ease their discomfort.

[10 Holiday Survival Tips]

3. Involve the Whole Family

Family members and friends who have not seen your loved one in a while may be surprised by their change in behavior or abilities. When planning holiday activities, make it clear to these guests that the situation has changed. Instead of elaborate gifts or complex games, try making favorite foods and listening to music. Guests can take turns visiting with their loved one in a comfortable, non-threatening environment.

Being patient and flexible can go a long way when celebrating the holidays with a loved one who has Alzheimer’s or dementia. If you remain positive and take each day as it comes, you and your loved one will have a more enjoyable time.

[Tips to Enjoying the Holidays]

The holiday season should be a time for family, friends, and celebration. While your loved one may not be able to recall all of your favorite memories with them, they can still enjoy the atmosphere and companionship that comes with the holidays. Taking the extra time and effort to consider their wants, needs, and abilities when planning holiday events can help ensure comfort and joy for all.

If you and your family see that a loved one with Alzheimer’s could use some extra assistance, consider ComfortCare Homes in Wichita, KS. Our residential memory care facilities provide the loving, personal care needed by seniors with dementia. We are happy to help you start the conversation about memory care with family members or your senior loved one. Please visit our website to learn more.

For more information about memory care services provided by Comfort Care Homes, please call our office at (316) 444-0532 or visit our website: http://comfortcarehomeswichita.com/

Support the Central and Western Kansas Alzheimer’s Association Chapter

Thursday, November 16th, 2017 7:50:38 PM
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Join Comfort Care Homes Wichita in fundraising for Alzheimer’s research at RIVALZ 2017

When a loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, you may find yourself wanting to do something to help. Providing emotional and physical support, a listening ear, and a helping hand are great places to start. But in the face of such a destructive disease, one that 5 million Americans live with every day, there is definitely a desire to do more. The Alzheimer’s Association is leading national organization dedicated to accelerating research and education and has local chapters across the country. Participating in fundraising opportunities with our local Central and Western Kansas chapter is a great way to get involved in the fight to end Alzheimer’s disease.

Our Local Chapter: Central and Western Kansas

Comfort Care Homes Wichita is an active participant in our local chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. Our president, Doug Stark, sits on the board of our local chapter and helps make decisions about fundraising events, promotions, awareness, and education.

Last month we organized and hosted the 2017 Walk to End Alzheimer’s, an annual event which encourages residents of Western and Central Kansas to walk, fundraise, and learn about Alzheimer’s disease. Our staff at Comfort Care Homes Wichita walked for family members, friends, Residents, and other loved ones. This event was incredible for our community and our efforts in raising money for Alzheimer’s research.

Upcoming Events: RIVALZ Flag Football Game – November 18, 2017

The next local Alzheimer’s Association fundraising event is coming up on November 18th. Two teams of women divided to reflect rivalries (such as Blondes vs Brunettes) compete in a friendly, but fierce, flag football game to inspire fundraising, awareness, and action in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease. While the teams have already been set, there are still ways to participate in this fun event!

We’re very close to reaching our goal and your participation is key! Purchase tickets to the event and direct your donation to either team. Proceeds from both teams go directly to the Alzheimer’s Association. Direct donations to players or teams can be made online if you’re unable to attend.

For complete event information, view the secure website here: http://act.alz.org/site/TR?fr_id=10805&pg=entry

For more information about the Alzheimer’s disease care services provided by Comfort Care Homes, please call our office at (316) 444-0532 or visit our website: http://comfortcarehomeswichita.com/

Compassion Fatigue: Working Self-Care into Your Dementia Care Plan

Thursday, November 9th, 2017 7:11:53 PM
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It is common for family caregivers to experience a myriad of emotions when providing dementia care for a loved one. On one hand, it can be personally rewarding to provide meaningful care for a loved one who once cared for you. However, it is not uncommon to feel overwhelmed, stressed, frustrated, and even angry. This type of emotional exhaustion is called compassion fatigue and is something many caregivers face.

If you provide care for a loved one or are facing hard decisions about bringing professional care into the picture, you may find yourself placing the needs of others ahead of your own. Self-care, breaks, and outside assistance are essential to every dementia care plan and will benefit you and your senior loved one.

What is Compassion Fatigue?

Compassion fatigue is a state of extreme tension or stress that occurs when someone is helping someone who is suffering or in distress. Compassion fatigue is often a pre-cursor to caregiver burnout and causes family caregivers to feel emotionally drained. Caregivers experiencing compassion fatigue often bottle up emotions, feel isolated, have poor stress management, and may participate in destructive behaviors. [http://www.compassionfatigue.org/]

Compassion fatigue may be the result of providing long-term care for a loved one with a chronic disease, such as dementia or Alzheimer’s. Family caregivers may at first feel concerned for their loved ones suffering but then eventually start to experience the suffering themselves but in the forms of helplessness, hopelessness, and a sense of isolation. [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4683933/]

Finding Wellness for Caregivers

If you identify with compassion fatigue or simply feel the need for support as a caregiver, you are not alone. There are steps to wellness that can help improve your caregiving experience, which will benefit not only you but your loved one and family as well.

1 – Recognize the Signs

Compassion fatigue cause caregivers to act uncharacteristically towards loved ones. This may include yelling, resentment, isolation, and/or guilt. Being able to recognize these changes in yourself or a family member who is a caregiver can help you make positive changes in your dementia care plan. This will benefit your loved one with dementia and the caregivers providing for them every day.

2 – Make a Daily Self Care Plan

It can be easy to commit so fully to caregiving that you no longer properly care for yourself. Self-care is an essential part of a dementia care plan for caregivers. Self-care can include exercise, taking breaks, asking for help, and talking about frustrations with trusted friends or professionals.

3 – Find and Utilize a Support System

Family caregivers often feel personally responsible for the well-being of a senior loved one. It is important to recognize and utilize dementia care plan resources such as siblings, friends, and professionals that can assist with caregiving. For loved ones with dementia, there will likely come a time when professional assistance is required to maintain their well-being. Research dementia care options before you become overwhelmed.

Asking for help is a sign of strength, not one of weakness. Knowing your limits and when to ask for professional caregiving assistance is the best thing you can do, not only for your senior loved one but for yourself as well. Consider ComfortCare Homes for your dementia care needs in Wichita, KS.

Resource:

Dementia Action Alliance

For more information about the Alzheimer’s disease care services provided by Comfort Care Homes, please call our office at (316) 444-0532 or visit our website: http://comfortcarehomeswichita.com/

Dealing With Dementia through Communication and Understanding

Thursday, November 2nd, 2017 3:55:09 PM
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How to approach a loved one about changes caused by dementia or Alzheimer’s disease

The symptoms of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease present differently for everyone. For adults experiencing symptoms, they may not recognize the changes or hide concerns to their families. If you begin to notice changes in a loved one, it may be difficult to approach the topic without causing insult. Dealing with dementia in a positive way is a topic explored by expert Teepa Snow and the topic of upcoming webinar “I Noticed Some Changes – Let’s Talk”

About Teepa Snow and Positive Approach® to Care

Teepa is a leading American educator on dementia and host of this month’s webinar on dealing with dementia. She has worked as a Registered Occupational Therapist for over 30 years and using this experience, developed Positive Approach® to Care techniques for families and professionals working or living with dementia. These care techniques consider what is known about brain function and changes that happen in dementia with positive therapeutic approaches to caregiving.

Through educational presentations and resources, Teepa helps families and professionals better understand how it feels to be living with the challenges and changes that come with dementia. [Source]

“I Noticed Some Changes – Let’s Talk”

On Monday, November 6th, Teepa Snow invites people living with dementia, friends and family care providers, and professional care providers to attend the webinar “I’ve Noticed Some Changes – Let’s Talk.” This event is broken into 3 sessions that will follow the same topic but direct advice and tools to the different audiences mentioned above.

The webinar will review common approaches to dealing with dementia and identify problematic approaches to sharing concerns about changes with loved ones. Teepa will discuss the brain changes are part of dementia symptoms and how this can make seeing another’s perspective difficult for people with dementia. Finally, Teepa will explore alternative approaches and positive conversation starters to discuss dementia changes with loved ones. [Source]

Dementia Care Resources in Wichita, KS

As this webinar is a virtual event, people across the nation are encouraged to join. Visit the Teepa Snow Positive Approach to Brain Change website to register for this month’s event today.

Finding local resources to help your loved one with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease is essential for not only their well-being but yours as well. As dementia progresses from talking about symptom changes to needing full-time assistance, there are care options available.

ComfortCare Homes in Wichita, KS, provides residential Alzheimer’s and memory care for seniors. A variety of care services are provided to meet the needs of seniors in all stages of dementia. For more information, please explore our website or contact our office We are happy to answer any questions you may have!

For more information about the Alzheimer’s disease care services provided by Comfort Care Homes, please call our office at (316) 444-0532 or visit our website: http://comfortcarehomeswichita.com/

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