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5 Care Giving Tips for Families That Are Dealing with Dementia

Thursday, May 18th, 2017 1:11:47 PM
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 When you have a family member that has Alzheimer’s or another memory related disease, a lot of things change. Dealing with dementia means changing how life is approached and in some cases can alter lifelong relationships. This transition is not easy for the person who is suffering from the disease and for those that are providing care. Additionally, the changes that happen over the course of the disease can be difficult for the family as well. The good news is that there are a few things that can be done. These tips will help to transition a little easier for all.

 

Tips for Seniors and Their Families That Are Dealing with Dementia:

  1. Routines Around the Senior Are Essential: Try to keep meals, sleep and bathing schedules so that there is an expected flow to the day. Sudden changes to a senior with dementia’s environment or schedule abruptly can cause them to become emotional or confused.
  2. Allow the Elderly to be in a Familiar Setting: Confusion is scary but having a special chair, photos around that can act as reminders or even drinking a different thing than what they normally would can cause the symptoms to get worse.
  3. Play Music or Introduce Music Therapy: If you haven’t read about music therapy, it is something you want to consider with a senior have any memory problem. Music can sooth the symptoms of assist in reducing some Alzheimer’s symptoms and increases the mood.
  4. Reduce Noise and Agitation: Noise is usually a sundowning trigger and can agitate symptoms. Agitation will make the symptoms worse and the episode can last for a longer period or be worse than it needs to be. Gentle sound and lighting is the most helpful environment to reduce agitation.
  5. Give them What They Expect: More than simply providing a routine of meals and company at standard times, dealing with dementia also requires you to provide the entire family with an expectation. Small kids to older adults all have difficulties dealing with unexpected shifts in routine.

 

Some studies suggest that melatonin can help with sleep cycles and also lessen some of the symptoms of dementia related illnesses as well as can reduce the severity of dementia and Alzheimer’s symptoms in the evening. Of course, never give a supplement or medication without checking with a senior’s medical professional first. However, it could be a good resource for those that are struggling with evening amplification of symptoms.

ComfortCare Homes of Wichita, KS provides memory care services to the following cities and neighborhoods:

Wichita, Derby, Augusta, El Dorado, Newton, Hutchinson, Pretty Prairie, Kingman, Norwich, Conway Springs, Belle Plaine, and the surrounding areas of Kansas.

Tips for Coping with Sundown Syndrome

Friday, May 12th, 2017 5:51:44 PM
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Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia are degenerative diseases. As a memory illness progresses and a senior’s memory fades, the symptoms they present change. Sundown syndrome, also known as sundowning, is a symptom of Alzheimer’s that occurs in the middle stages of the disease. The sleep disruption, confusion, and behavioral changes that come with sundowning can be overwhelming for family caregivers.

Below are some tips for coping with sundown syndrome and other Alzheimer’s symptoms:

Recognize the Signs

Sundown syndrome, or sundowning, received its name because it’s symptoms typically occur in the late afternoon or evening. Alzheimer’s symptoms such as confusion are exacerbated by the end-of-day physical and mental exhaustion. According to the Alzheimer’s and Dementia Caregiver Center, as many as 20 percent of seniors with Alzheimer’s will experience increased anxiety, confusion, and agitation late in the day (http://www.alz.org/care/alzheimers-dementia-sleep-issues-sundowning.asp) Being able to recognize sundowning and other Alzheimer’s symptoms is the first step in providing proper dementia care.

Manage Triggers to Create a Safe Environment

Poor lighting and shadows often increase confusion and anxiety with seniors experiencing sundowning. Keep the home well-lit in the evenings to help your loved one recognize their surroundings and that they are safe. Since exhaustion contributes to Alzheimer’s symptoms, make a comfortable and safe sleep environment. Sticking to a sleep schedule and avoiding mental stimulants like caffeine, sugar, or watching television before bed are also helpful.

Know When to Look For Help

Even when you are able to identify Alzheimer’s symptoms and the negative effects of things like sundowning, there may come a time where professional help becomes necessary. Professional caregivers and senior living facilities specially trained in memory care may be better suited to care for your loved one. What is most important to know when coping with memory illnesses is that you are never alone.

Reference:

http://www.alz.org/care/alzheimers-dementia-sleep-issues-sundowning.asp

 

ComfortCare Homes of Wichita, KS provides memory care services to the following cities and neighborhoods:

Wichita, Derby, Augusta, El Dorado, Newton, Hutchinson, Pretty Prairie, Kingman, Norwich, Conway Springs, Belle Plaine, and the surrounding areas of Kansas.

Senior Comfort Care: What You Should Know About Respite Services

Thursday, May 4th, 2017 1:16:23 PM
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Providing elderly care to a senior parent or loved one is very rewarding, but it does have its drawbacks. It can have adverse effects on your health, professional life, or ability to care for your children. Since you need to care for yourself before being able to care for others, respite care exists as an option for family caregivers.  Respite care lets family caregivers take a break from caring for their beloved senior, providing temporary relief so you can take a much-needed vacation, or have a business trip that cannot be postponed. Respite care can be used for any length of time, whether it is an hour or two a week to part-time each day.

What is respite care?

  • While providing comfort care for a beloved senior can be tremendously rewarding, sometimes people need a break to run errands or relax. Respite care offers you the chance to do so by allowing someone else to take on the responsibility of providing care for your ill or older loved one. From a few hours a week to a few weeks a year, respite care is available in any situation to help you rejuvenate yourself in order to provide the best care possible for you loved one. 

What is comfort care?

  • Comfort care is a service which aids in the care of seniors with mental illnesses or physical disabilities. These services also provide home care for cases where the senior is uncomfortable or unable to leave the home. Providing a range of other services such as meal preparation, exercise, and socialization, comfort care is a beneficial arrangement when caring for an aging loved one.

Making a schedule can be helpful in deciding whether you need respite care, comfort care or a combination of care services. Respite care can include activities that engage your senior loved one, which benefits their mental wellness as well as yours. Include your loved one in any decisions regarding their care plan and reassure them that they will benefit from respite care as well.

 

References:  https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/publication/end-life-helping-comfort-and-care/care-options-end-life

https://www.medicare.gov/coverage/hospice-and-respite-care.html

http://www.aarp.org/relationships/caregiving-resource-center/info-08-2010/pc-respite-care-a-break-for-the-caregiver.html

 

ComfortCare Homes of Wichita, KS provides memory care services to the following cities and neighborhoods:

Wichita, Derby, Augusta, El Dorado, Newton, Hutchinson, Pretty Prairie, Kingman, Norwich, Conway Springs, Belle Plaine, and the surrounding areas of Kansas.

How to Utilize Medical Professionals to Ease Pain in Seniors and Enhance Their Dementia Care Plan

Thursday, April 27th, 2017 1:40:11 PM
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Steps Taken to Ensure Patient Comfort

One of the most important things that you can do to ensure that a senior is getting the most out of their dementia care plan is to take steps to ensure that they are getting the right medications and that underlying conditions are being treated in the proper manner. The US National Library of Medicine, National Institute of Medicine (NCBI) states that pain management and the assessment of pain is one of the biggest contributors to being prescribed antipsychotic medications in patients who don’t actually need them. This is because when pain is not managed properly in a patient that also has Alzheimer’s or is part of a dementia care plan, they cannot always express their symptoms or the pain that they are in. This can cause non-verbal behavioral issues and create a pattern of behavioral symptoms that are then misdiagnosed for something else.

What Is Being Done to Prevent Misdiagnosis and Improve Pain Management

One way to make sure seniors with Alzheimer’s and other similar diseases are getting the best treatment is by working with a PCP (Primary Care Practitioner). PCPs are licensed to provide medical guidance to address pain, specifically, as part of the dementia care plan. Additionally, they also will work with clients with memory-related illnesses to determine what kind of medication will be best for them. Medical professionals are committed to making sure that Alzheimer’s and dementia patients get the care that they need and deserve, even though some of these individuals are unable to reliably convey their symptoms or how medications make them feel. Aside from pain, some of the issues that they pay special attention to are anxiety, depression and other pain related conditions.

Testing Without Speaking

Because dementia care plan patients can not always report their symptoms, medical professionals may choose to have their patient’s blood analyzed in their lab in order to determine which medication is best. By monitoring the of the blood to see how it metabolizes prescribed medication, PCPs can determine which medications have the best effect and which works most efficiently at a biological level. This allows the patient that cannot speak or convey their symptoms or those that cannot be mindful of their own medications, to get the most of the medication that they take.

 

References:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3817007/

 

ComfortCare Homes of Wichita, KS provides memory care services to the following cities and neighborhoods:

Wichita, Derby, Augusta, El Dorado, Newton, Hutchinson, Pretty Prairie, Kingman, Norwich, Conway Springs, Belle Plaine, and the surrounding areas of Kansas.

How to Manage Wandering When You Provide Care at Home for a Senior with Dementia or Alzheimer’s

Thursday, April 20th, 2017 1:03:57 PM
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When providing care at home for an Alzheimer’s or Dementia patient, one of the biggest worries is wandering. Sometimes, the patients get a massive urge to leave and walk around. This can cause problems if you aren’t prepared for what may happen. Below are some tips and tricks to manage to wander.

Activities and Outings

For most seniors, the urge to get out and do something is ever-present and they only get to act on it every once in a while. For the care at home provider, this is the perfect opportunity for outings to take place. Try finding some local, senior-friendly events to go to. Consider taking them to a bingo night at the local senior center. Sometimes there are concerts or local events that the patient might be interested in, so consider checking local event calendars to see what, if anything, is going on out in the world.

Walks and Leisure

Local recreation centers often have tracks specifically made for running or walking. Care at home providers may also consider going to a leisurely stroll through a park or hiking trail. If your patient has a pet, you also might consider taking them to a dog park to socialize with other seniors or people in general. There are many things you can do to manage the urge to wander.

Games and at Home Activities

Some other ideas for managing wandering are entertainment. Keeping seniors entertained is actually quite simple. Try playing board games with them, or even card games. Keeping their mind focused on other activities makes Alzheimer’s and Dementia care at home a breeze.

Family and Friends

Oftentimes there is a need for the family to be involved in the care at home process. It should be noted that the family can’t always be around. Helping them get out and make friends can be a good way to stave off the need to wander.

Wandering is a definite concern if you are responsible for a senior with diminished mental capacities, reduced cognitive function or a memory-related condition. These are just a few ways to avoid the onset of wanderlust. Use this list as a jumping-off point to make a special bond with your senior loved one.

Seniors Can Find Comfort and Companionship at Alzheimer’s Facilities in Wichita, KS

Thursday, April 13th, 2017 6:22:48 PM
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Discover how pet therapy can help a beloved elder in your life

One of the hardest things in life can be seeing a friend or loved one suffer from the effects of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Fortunately, with Alzheimer’s facilities available, your loved one can get the care and support they need.

We understand the difficulties that can come with senior care, and one of the biggest is problems with memory and cognition. As we age, many things can get weaker, and our memory is no different. Fortunately, that’s where pet therapy can help. Pet therapy is when seniors or other people with assisted living needs are given a pet to take care of some of the time. Having an animal to take care of and spend time with has been shown to help seniors get through difficult days, as well as reduce the effects of depression and anxiety. Because of this, many Alzheimer’s facilities in the area offer pet therapy services and have many four legged friends to keep our guests company.

Additionally, pets have been shown to help seniors in several ways besides those listed above. Some of these include:

  • Pets can have a calming effect that can lower blood pressure and heart rate
  • Pets can reduce stress levels as well as increase serotonin production which helps mood stability
  • Exposure to animal dander can help improve immune system function
  • The friendly companionship of animals can help reduce feelings of isolation or anxiety
  • The presence of a pet can help curb behavior issues in many seniors
  • Several studies have shown that having a pet helps improve Alzheimer’s patient’s appetites, which can have long term benefits on their health

As you can see, having a pet around is good for everyone, and especially for those in Alzheimer’s facilities.

 

ComfortCare Homes of Wichita, KS provides memory care services to the following cities and neighborhoods:

Wichita, Derby, Augusta, El Dorado, Newton, Hutchinson, Pretty Prairie, Kingman, Norwich, Conway Springs, Belle Plaine, and the surrounding areas of Kansas.

Music Therapy and the Impact on Memory Care for Seniors

Thursday, April 6th, 2017 2:09:15 PM
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If you have a loved one with Alzheimer’s or another dementia related disease, then you may be aware of the later-stage developments of the disease and the benefits of memory care that includes music therapy. This type of treatment can be applied for dementia and similar illnesses to reduce isolation and to improve memory recall.

Music Therapy and Dementia

Music affects a certain area of the brain which is processed instantly due to the fact that recognition of music and familiar patterns requires little to no neural processing.  It has been shown to be successful in allowing for more effective communication between caregivers and memory care patients at varying stages.

In earlier stages of memory loss, it is encouraged to remain socially engaged with activities that involve dancing or movement. This is a good time to try new places, finding venues and allowing the person to establish a connection with music that the person liked in the past. For our grandparents today, think like Frank Sinatra or classic rock. If possible, karaoke is also a good idea.

As a person progresses to the moderate stages of their disease, music therapy is used often around the home as a background soundtrack to improve mode and to relax. Once a person can no longer go out of the home safely, dancing maybe replaced with walking or swaying.

As memory diseases develop, patient’s often undergo emotional withdrawal. Reductions in degeneration have been noticed for those using music earlier in their memory care process, but interestingly, it has been proven that even introducing music therapy in later stages can provide a positive effect.

In fact, some would say that this is where music therapy has made some of the most noticeable changes, mainly because when the treatment is included in late stage degeneration, there is an increased chance of lack of communication or being able to express wants and desires. It has been noted that once patients were introduced to the therapy at this stage by incorporating familiar music from their past and encouraging as much participation as within the patient’s capability.

Spreading the Word About Music Therapy

In 2008, Music and Memory was established as a solution to connect seniors with dementia and Alzheimer’s to be able to have readily accessible playlists. They worked with caregiving facilities in New York to get iPads for seniors living with memory loss conditions. The results were outstanding and it proved to make a dramatic difference in the understanding and acceptance of the therapy. Then, in 2012, a documentary entitled Alive Inside: A Story of Music and Memory was released in America. The documentary detailed the improvements made by seniors, showing the work done by the organization that revolutionized access to this therapy. It acted as an educating tool and continues to foster a sense of acceptance and utilization of the music therapy benefits as part of a person’s memory care treatment.

References:

http://www.musictherapy.org/about/history/

https://www.alzfdn.org/EducationandCare/musictherapy.html

ComfortCare Homes of Wichita, KS provides memory care services to the following cities and neighborhoods:

Wichita, Derby, Augusta, El Dorado, Newton, Hutchinson, Pretty Prairie, Kingman, Norwich, Conway Springs, Belle Plaine, and the surrounding areas of Kansas.

The Healthy Link Between Fitness and Alzheimer’s Care

Tuesday, March 28th, 2017 8:54:17 PM
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Exercise and Alzheimer’s Care, may not seem like it, but the two go hand in hand. Fitness is one of the few things that a person can do to not only help to prevent the oncoming symptoms of memory loss diseases, but it has been shown that there is a beneficial link when routine fitness is added to an individual’s care plan. More importantly, there is a link between increased fitness and decreased brain atrophy, which is so common with Alzheimer’s. This means that if you have a loved one with dementia or Alzheimer’s, you can be sure that improving activity levels for them can possibly help them fight off the symptoms of memory and cognition reduction.

Alzheimer’s Care Professionals Promote Active Lifestyles

The reason that professional eldercare aides promote active lifestyles for seniors is because fitness can have a positive impact on all health issues for an aging individual. Exercise and being active can improve blood pressure, lower glucose levels, increase natural tiredness that results in better sleep and even improve the brain power of an individual. Additionally, the added activity during the daytime can improve natural sleep cycles, and reduce the likelihood of sundowners.

Little Changes for Big Results

Over the last several years, more and more advanced studies have been done on what causes and may alleviate the symptoms of the disease. While research is still being done, many Senior care professionals believe that while exercise is crucial in Alzheimer’s care, it does not have to be a strenuous activity or require a lot of time. Rather, it is actually most effective in combating the disease when done on a regular basis, while combined with mental activity, increased social activity, and a diet that supports healthy brain function.

Integrating Fitness with Alzheimer’s Care

There are many exercise options available that can be done by seniors on their own, or with the help of a caregiver. We recommend 20-30 minutes a day, but speak to your primary care provider before starting a fitness regime. Some of these options include Water aerobics for a low impact option in a class setting, walking or hiking for an easy way to get activity, or daily stretching or geriatric yoga to help restore balance and flexibility.

ComfortCare Homes of Wichita, KS provides memory care services to the following cities and neighborhoods:

Wichita, Derby, Augusta, El Dorado, Newton, Hutchinson, Pretty Prairie, Kingman, Norwich, Conway Springs, Belle Plaine, and the surrounding areas of Kansas.

Dementia Treatment Training Provides Unique Solutions for Seniors

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017 9:06:13 PM
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When a loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or any other memory related condition, there are special considerations that need to be made. Unfortunately, while there is no cure for the condition, professionals familiar with dementia treatment options are able to assist with creating a more independent life.  This is most often done by providing support in the areas which are most often challenge patients with reduced cognitive function. In the early stages senior assistance services or family can usually help enough to allow for the senior to remain independent in their lifestyle. However, as memory reduces dementia treatment sometimes becomes necessary.

The Importance of Skilled Memory Care Assistance

It is important to understand the areas that are specifically focused when acting as a caregiver for anyone with deteriorating cognitive capabilities. Home health aides with dementia care training skills will have received advanced training to help individuals in ways that goes beyond what a typical senior citizen may need, including:

  • Unique techniques for assisting individuals with Alzheimer’s or dementia
  • Managing, mitigating and reducing the effects of confusion or disorientation
  • Restraint-free support for wandering elders
  • Nutrition and lifestyle assistance to support healthy sleep habits

Improve Communication and Create a Support System

Communication skills are often one of the most important tools that can be gained because as seniors lose their own ability to understand verbal information. For this reason, a familial and social support system that understands the goals of the dementia treatment support specialist is vital for individuals suffering from Alzheimer’s or related memory diseases.

Good communication between care professionals and actively involved family or friends ensures that everyone has an understanding of the unique needs for an elder with reduced memory or cognitive function.

Specific communication goals for the entire dementia support system should focus on:

  • Communication with the elderly with memory loss
  • Reducing barriers in comprehension
  • The fundamentals of non-verbal communication
  • Specific issues related to the later stages of Alzheimer’s and dementia

Of course, professionals that are qualified to provide dementia treatment support will have certification. This type of training can be found through a number of sources and is also available to the public for people who may be non-professional caregivers such as immediate family. The Alzheimer’s Association (alz.org) currently offers their own curriculum course for dementia care training. Additionally, they also have a list of approved training curricula that can be gained from other companies or organizations.

References:

https://www.alz.org/professionals_and_researchers_11176.asp

ComfortCare Homes of Wichita, KS provides memory care services to the following cities and neighborhoods:

Wichita, Derby, Augusta, El Dorado, Newton, Hutchinson, Pretty Prairie, Kingman, Norwich, Conway Springs, Belle Plaine, and the surrounding areas of Kansas.

4 Foods That Reduce the Risk of Alzheimer’s or Dementia

Thursday, March 16th, 2017 1:40:34 AM
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Recent studies suggest that patients with Alzheimer’s or dementia is steadily increasing. In fact, did you know that after the age of 65, the chance of getting these diseases doubles for an individual every 5 years as they age. Additionally, when you consider that between 2010 and 2050 the elder population in America will nearly double thanks to baby boomers becoming senior citizens, it’s no doubt that you or someone you love is likely to be affected by a memory related disease.

If you have concerns about Alzheimer’s or dementia affecting you or someone you love, you’ll be happy to know that nutrition can play a huge role in both the development and onset of memory related illnesses. The reason for this is two-fold. While memory diseases don’t require special diets and individuals diagnosed with these issues don’t need to make changes specifically for their brain or memory functions, often people who recollection difficulties will forget to eat. A well balanced diet is needed to provide healthy brain function. So, eating healthy and getting enough nutrients to support brain function is obviously important. Additionally, there have been a variety of foods that can be incorporated that have been showing promising benefits for patient’s with Alzheimer’s or dementia. Read on to find out more about these foods and how they can help cognitive skills and abilities.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Because of its beneficial effects on heart health, omega-3 fatty acids have had a lot of research done on them recently. One of these benefits is its effect on brain functions. Omega-3 fatty acids, especially the variety known as DHA, which is found in fatty fish seems to be the key. DHA is used by the body for brain development and is believed to contribute to its continued health. Additionally, all forms of omega-3 fatty acids, including those found in flaxseed and olive oil work as an anti-inflammatory and may contribute to reducing protein buildup on the brain which can contribute to the symptoms of Alzheimer’s or dementia in people.

Foods Rich in Vitamins C and E

One of the by-products of a long life is free radicals, the unstable molecules that build up and cause cellular damage. Like any other part of your body, your mind can also absorb too many of these free-radicals and take damage from it, which can contribute to mental decline.

One of the ways our body cleanses itself of these unstable molecules is with anti-oxidants. Foods that are good sources of antioxidants include vitamin C rich foods such as broccoli, red pepper or strawberries, and vitamin E rich foods such as almonds, or olive oil.  A recent study, researchers found that people who consumed high amounts of vitamin E foods had an amazing 67% lower chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Foods High in Folate

For many years physicians have known that a diet lacking B vitamins, especially folate, can cause a person to have difficulties with cognitive functions. Recent studies have shown us that part of this may be caused by folates ability to balance homocysteine levels, an amino acid which can impair memory and cognition and is believed to dramatically increase a person’s risk Alzheimer’s and heart disease. The vitamin folate can be found in most dark green plants including spinach and green beans.

Curry

This was first discovered when researchers noticed that countries that use Curries in their cuisine also had a considerably lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Once further studies were done, it was concluded that Turmeric, which is the prime ingredient of curry, was the reason for this. Turmeric contains a compound called curcumin which is a powerful antioxidant, anti-amyloid, and anti-inflammatory. This powerful combination binds itself to amyloid proteins and prevents them from causing plaque, and eventual mental decline.

References:

http://advances.nutrition.org/content/6/2/154.full

https://www.alz.org/care/alzheimers-food-eating.asp

ComfortCare Homes of Wichita, KS provides memory care services to the following cities and neighborhoods:

Wichita, Derby, Augusta, El Dorado, Newton, Hutchinson, Pretty Prairie, Kingman, Norwich, Conway Springs, Belle Plaine, and the surrounding areas of Kansas.

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