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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.

Residential Caregivers Help Patients with Alzheimer’s Get the Sleep They Need

Thursday, March 9th, 2017 7:48:21 PM
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Did you know that one of the earliest symptoms of Alzheimer’s is a loss of sleep? Individuals that have this dementia-related disorder often find that their sleep patterns are interrupted in the early stages of the disease and as it progresses, patterns of healthy sleep can be more difficult to attain. This symptom ultimately plays back into the disease itself as cognitive functions decline and memory becomes weaker when tired. The sleep disturbances in the early stages of Alzheimer’s become an inconvenience without causing intense memory lapses, but as the disease progresses on, maintaining a healthy sleep cycle can become an important aspect of care because it can also contribute to increased symptoms. As you may already know, especially if you’re dealing with a friend or family member that is going through the transitions, the cyclic effect of loss of sleep is a tough cross to bear.

Unfortunately, while scientists know that there is a link between sleeplessness and memory-related conditions, they don’t entirely understand why. Sleep patterns are disrupted for seniors for a number of reasons including complications with the heart or lungs, chronic pain, mood disorders or medication side-effects. Alzheimer’s patients are known to take naps during the day as well, a problem that can cause for being restless in the later hours.

How Can Home Care Aides Help with Sleep?

Many of the contributing factors to sleeplessness can be controlled through monitoring and being mindful of time. Because memory loss patients often have difficulties managing their time, having a person around to encourage following doctor’s directions, maintaining healthy habits, to serve meals at routine hours and to engage them mentally during the evening hours when sundowning and confusion are common are just some of the ways that seniors can benefit.

Additionally, one of the biggest ways that seniors can benefit from working with a professional health aide is by being active during the daytime hours. Consider the times that you have seen your beloved elder napping in the middle of the day. It’s hard to wake them because you know how little sleep that they get. Skilled aides are familiar with activities that can help to keep their clients engaged, planning out the time to go on errands and watching for signs of fatigue that may indicate a change in schedule is needed. When you are with someone much of the time, you also get a feel for moods. Having someone on hand can make the difference between getting out in the afternoon or falling asleep.

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.

5 Warning Signs to Watch for When Considering Assisted Living for Seniors with Alzheimer’s Disease

Thursday, March 2nd, 2017 9:47:42 PM
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If you are like many American’s, you have a loved one that needs some assistance to get through the day. If they have Alzheimer’s disease or any other dementia-related disorder, the needs challenges that may be present can sometimes be overwhelming. While you want the best for your them, sometimes providing the care they need can be too time-consuming, have too many financial responsibilities, or simply require more help than you can give. If you too are having difficulties taking care of your loved one who has Alzheimer’s disease, then here is a handy list to help you decide if outside assistance may be right for them and help you to make the best choice for your family.

If you are witnessing the following symptoms and they seem to be affecting the lifestyle and quality of care of a beloved elder in your life, it is certainly time to start the discussion of assisted living and in home care.

  1. Aggression – Many seniors that are suffering from dementia will lash out at people around them either verbally or physically. When this happens, it can cause increased stress on family and friends, and even cause them to feel resentful. This can be caused by spatial and time confusion and often will require skilled assistance as symptoms progress.
  1. Escalating Care Needs – If you have concerns about a seniors self-care capabilities because you feel that maybe their health risk is increasing because of unattended medical needs, if you feel they are at risk when living independently or even if you are beginning to feel burdened by taking care of them, then it is time to seek outside assistance. These can all be signs that the senior in your life requires more care than you can give on your own and it’s better to ask for assistance.
  1. Sundowning – Otherwise known as “Sundowner Syndrome”, is when a senior can become greatly agitated and is more pronounced the later in the day it gets. It is a common symptom of Alzheimer’s disease and can cause many difficulties for the senior as well as increased stress to their family and care providers. If you notice that this symptom is elongating, being more pronounced as the days go on, reducing stress and having the support in place can help to reduce future occurrences.
  1. Wandering – A common challenge with those with memory loss, this symptom can be exasperated further by Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. While it may seem like a minor inconvenience to outside observers, it can increase senior’s difficulty with even mundane tasks and can lead to increased risks of falls and other preventable injuries.
  1. Serious Gaps in Memory– Those suffering from dementia related illnesses will show memory loss or gaps in memory in a number of ways. As this symptom becomes more common, it can effect the senior’s health because routine care such as cleaning or medications are forgotten without prompting or reminders. If memory loss is adding to your loved one’s state of mind and being able to live independently, this can indicate a safety issue and one that must be addressed.

A final consideration that you need to address is that if it is becoming too difficult or stressful for you to take care of your loved one with Alzheimer’s disease, it may be a sign you need some professional assistance. While it can be a difficult decision to put your loved one in the care of another, many times it’s the best for both of you. Feeling stressful or resentful to a loved one you are caring for will only add to both of your difficulties and make things more challenging. With a skilled caregiver supporting your loved one, you will have more time to spend quality time with them as well as the joy of knowing they that their needs are being met.

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.

“Is Alzheimer’s hereditary?”

Thursday, January 19th, 2017 1:34:55 PM
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We know that of the thousands of genes passed down from one generation to the next, some are common to all people and others have slight variations that account for physical differences and also underlie many diseases. Scientists have determined that among these are two types of genes that can play a role in Alzheimer’s.

“Risk” genes do not directly cause dementia but may affect the risk of developing the disease. Evidence suggests that a person with these genes whose parent(s) were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s faces a higher risk — on average, about double over their lifetime — compared to someone with no family history of the disease.

“Deterministic” genes are those that directly cause the disease. Although these genes can be passed down through multiple generations, scientists have found “familial Alzheimer’s disease” to be extremely rare, accounting for less than 5 percent of cases.

Although researchers have made progress in determining the role genetics play in Alzheimer’s, the connection is still not fully understood. While evidence suggests that a history of Alzheimer’s in our family increases our risk of developing the disease, this does not mean it is inevitable. Environment and lifestyle also play a key role in determining the diseases that may affect us.

Please support our local Alzheimer’s Association at 316-267-7333

 

“Why is our Mom suddenly accusing us of stealing from her?”

Thursday, January 19th, 2017 1:34:30 PM
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It is common for someone with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia to misplace things.  Since your mother is unable to recall her actions and therefore cannot come up with a satisfactory explanation for why things may be missing, she “believes” they must have been stolen.  As you and your siblings are the people most accessible, in her mind you must be the culprits.

Realize that your mother is not doing this out of anger or malice, but that her actions are part of this terrible disease.  She does not understand what is happening to her or why things are the way they are.  She likely never had reason in the past to distrust you, but for her the past is gone.  The “fact” that you would steal from her is as frightening to her as it is to you – but she cannot help herself.  Your mother is living in her own reality and it is one you cannot change.  If there is a bright side to this tragic scenario it is that she is living moment to moment and will just as quickly forget that something is missing or that she ever accused you of stealing it.  Until the next time.  That is simply the unfortunate reality of Alzheimer’s disease.

It is absolutely crucial that you and your family not take your mother’s accusations personally.  Even though she may no longer be able to recognize the love and care you offer, your good deeds will always triumph over any misunderstandings.

Please support our local Alzheimer’s Association at 316-267-7333.

 

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