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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.

 

“Is a Senior Living Community an appropriate option for someone with Alzheimer’s?”

Thursday, January 19th, 2017 1:34:06 PM
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Larger group facilities are not ideal for persons suffering from memory loss. As the name suggests, most senior living “communities” are designed to foster social interaction; i.e., to bring people together. But by the very nature of their disease, people with Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia become isolated from those around them and incapable of social interaction. In addition to loss of memory, the disease causes loss of communication skills and changes in the person’s behavior and personality. This can be devastating to relationships.

Aside from the social aspects there is the loss of judgment that accompanies the disease. As functioning becomes increasingly impaired, people with Alzheimer’s literally lose their way in the world. They may be prone to wandering. They become dependent on caregivers for help with tasks such as dressing, washing and even eating. And with the loss of judgment comes an increased demand for safety.

For these reasons, people with Alzheimer’s or some other form of dementia are best cared for in a secure, home-like environment with familiar surroundings and a high ratio of caregivers to residents. It is a specialized environment and a level of care that conventional group facilities are simply not equipped to provide.

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

 

“Is a Senior Living Community an appropriate option for someone with Alzheimer’s?”

Thursday, January 19th, 2017 1:33:47 PM
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Larger group facilities are not ideal for persons suffering from memory loss. As the name suggests, most senior living “communities” are designed to foster social interaction; i.e., to bring people together. But by the very nature of their disease, people with Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia become isolated from those around them and incapable of social interaction. In addition to loss of memory, the disease causes loss of communication skills and changes in the person’s behavior and personality. This can be devastating to relationships.

Aside from the social aspects there is the loss of judgment that accompanies the disease. As functioning becomes increasingly impaired, people with Alzheimer’s literally lose their way in the world. They may be prone to wandering. They become dependent on caregivers for help with tasks such as dressing, washing and even eating. And with the loss of judgment comes an increased demand for safety.

For these reasons, people with Alzheimer’s or some other form of dementia are best cared for in a secure, home-like environment with familiar surroundings and a high ratio of caregivers to residents. It is a specialized environment and a level of care that conventional group facilities are simply not equipped to provide.

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

 

The 7 Stages of Alzheimer’s: Stage 1 “Business As Usual”

Thursday, January 19th, 2017 1:33:26 PM
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Firsthand experience with people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s can be misleading – symptoms appear, the diagnosis is confirmed, and the individual soon shows increasingly severe signs of cognitive impairment.  As time goes on, the decline becomes even more evident and more rapid, but we’re only seeing the end result of a process long in the making.  The fact is, from Stage 1 through Stage 7, the progression of Alzheimer’s Disease may take as long as 25 years or more.

Medical evidence reveals that Alzheimer’s disease may be damaging the brain for nearly two decades before the first symptoms appear.  During this time – the period researchers have identified as Stage 1 – the person shows no outward signs.  Cognitive function is normal, and for the individual it’s seemingly business as usual.

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

 

The 7 Stages of Alzheimer’s: Stage 2 – “Just Getting a Little Forgetful”

Thursday, January 19th, 2017 1:32:12 PM
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Minor forgetfulness is the most typical symptom exhibited by people in Stage 2. However, “forgetfulness” is a familiar complaint among members of our nation’s 65-and-over population, even those not suffering from Alzheimer’s. In fact, at least half of all persons in this age group report occasional mild difficulty in recalling someone’s name or remembering where they left items such as keys or eyeglasses. Forgetfulness can be caused by any number of factors, many unrelated to Alzheimer’s Disease. But while forgetfulness is simply a normal aspect of aging and may not be particularly noticeable to loved ones, or even the family physician, persons with these symptoms may later be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. In confirmed cases of Alzheimer’s, it is routinely discovered that the individual had previously exhibited “Stage 2” symptoms.

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

 

The 7 Stages of Alzheimer’s: Stage 3 – “Symptoms Becoming Noticeable”

Thursday, January 19th, 2017 1:31:41 PM
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In Stage 3 of the disease’s progression, the person’s difficulty in performing certain mental tasks becomes evident to family members and close associates. The individual may be unable to find the right word when speaking or recall something they just read. If he or she holds a job, co-workers or supervisors may notice an obvious decline in job performance, particularly if it involves complex planning or organizational skills. The individual may find it increasingly difficult to master new job skills, to comprehend technical data or follow detailed instructions. This inability to concentrate can produce feelings of anxiety. In such cases, professional counselors may recommend taking retirement or withdrawing from demanding activities to ease the psychological stress. For the majority of people in Stage 3, obvious signs of dementia will appear within two-to-four years.

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

 

The 7 Stages of Alzheimer’s: Stage 4 – “Diagnosis: Alzheimer’s”

Thursday, January 19th, 2017 1:30:51 PM
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At this stage, diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease can be made with considerable certainty. The individual exhibits increased difficulty with numbers, often apparent in their inability to manage finances (i.e., they frequently write the wrong date or wrong amount on checks or payment slips). They may have trouble remembering the day of the week or month of the year. They may forget details from their own past. As their personal frustration with these previously simple tasks increases, they become more reserved and less responsive to others. Rather than acknowledge the pain of their decreased mental capacity, they attempt to deny it; to hide it – even from themselves – by withdrawing from conversations and social interaction. Studies show the duration of this stage has a median of approximately two years.

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

 

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