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“Caring For Someone With Alzheimer’s: Holiday Travel”

Thursday, January 19th, 2017 12:23:38 PM
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I would suggest that families think hard before making any travel plans that include a loved one with dementia. Their condition may make extended travel impractical or at least unadvisable. Families should never let a loved one with Alzheimer’s travel alone. Crowded transportation terminals can pose a special threat for someone who is already disoriented. The peace of mind that an accompanying personal care assistant or home health aid can provide is well worth the cost. If you’re staying in a hotel with someone who has Alzheimer’s, be mindful of the dangers posed by balconies, stairways, tightly arranged furniture, extreme bathwater temperatures, and other unfamiliar aspects of your surroundings. One final note of caution: for individuals who exhibit certain behaviors, travel should be discouraged all together. These would include consistent disorientation or agitation in their already familiar settings; wanting to go home during short visits away; delusional, paranoid, aggressive or uninhibited behavior; incontinence; anxious or fearful behavior in crowds; and wandering.

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

 

“Caring For Someone With Alzheimer’s: Holiday Safety”

Thursday, January 19th, 2017 12:22:16 PM
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A more frenzied pace, bustling crowds, a schedule that is anything but routine – these are signs of the holidays. These are also someone with Alzheimer’s worst nightmare. That’s why it’s important to take special precautions if your holiday activities involve caring for a loved one with the disease. If they are accompanying you shopping, go during hours when the stores are less crowded. Consider smaller, out-of-the-way shops rather than busy malls. Never leave your loved one alone in the car, or unattended waiting somewhere for your return.

If you cannot have them with you at all times, arrange for someone else to stay with them while you shop. If you are having them help with your holiday preparations at home, monitor their kitchen activities. Keep sharp knives and other potential risks out of their reach. Remove decorations or obstacles that might cause a fall in halls and pathways. Be sure to check the microwave, dishwasher and trash cans after their visit to prevent any unpleasant – or even dangerous – surprises.

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

 

“Caring For Someone With Alzheimer’s: Holiday Gatherings”

Thursday, January 19th, 2017 12:21:58 PM
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The holidays can be stressful for anyone, but they pose special challenges for people suffering with Alzheimer’s. The disorientation and sense of confusion that accompany the disease can make holidays together difficult. While a loved one with Alzheimer’s may find joy in helping with holiday preparations, it is important to consider their limitations. Invite them to join in simple traditions – perhaps decorating or baking, making pudding, stuffing stockings. But remember, just one thing at a time.

If family members are planning to visit, keep in mind that small groups are preferable to large gatherings. Ask guests to call ahead to determine the best time to visit, and let your loved one know in advance who is coming. Encourage visitors to reintroduce themselves if necessary, in a casual, comfortable manner.

As odd as it may seem, consider having everyone wear name tags. This can help with recognition and relieve the stress your loved may feel trying to recall names.

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

 

“Mom’s condition is getting to be more than we can manage…”

Thursday, January 19th, 2017 12:21:00 PM
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Mom’s condition is getting to be more than we can manage.  What should we look for in a care facility?

We know that Alzheimer’s disease places extraordinary demands on caregivers. The strange mix of symptoms and behaviors requires a specialized setting and a unique mix of skills to ensure proper care.

Medical studies as well as our own experience have shown that social interaction is absolutely essential in caring for people with Alzheimer’s. At the same time, we recognize how important it is to encourage the person’s independence and self-sufficiency to foster self-respect.

Years of experience have taught us that personal space, an individualized schedule filled with familiar elements, and one-on-one communication can be achieved only in a non-institutional setting in which the person remains an individual.

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

 

“My 84-year-old dad continually asks about his mother who passed years ago…”

Thursday, January 19th, 2017 12:20:17 PM
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My 84-year-old dad continually asks about his mother who passed years ago.  How can we keep this from causing friction?

As people advance through the stages of Alzheimer’s, they often lose the ability to distinguish between past and present. They may not recognize their own family members, or mistake them for friends or relatives long since gone. People and events from their past become real to them again, and they may persist in statements you know not to be true. At this stage, it’s best to switch from a reality orientation to validation.

Make an effort to distinguish between their reality and yours. Your loved one is not “wrong” or intentionally denying the truth; they are simply trying to cope with their own truth. Recognize the disease for what it is and go along with them. Understand that what they’re really seeking is the comfort and assurance their memories contain. Direct the conversation toward those feelings and respond in a positive way. If they ask about Mom, you can answer, “Your mom was really special, wasn’t she? I bet she was a great cook.” Above all, avoid arguing or adding to the frustration you both already feel. After all, as your loved one suffers through this tragic disease, how important is it to be “right?”

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

 

 

“How do we know when it’s time to look for care outside the family?”

Thursday, January 19th, 2017 12:19:50 PM
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Caring for a family member with Alzheimer’s is an ominous task. In addition to the physical demands, there can be untold mental stress as you witness a loved one evolve from the self-sufficient individual you knew into a helpless stranger. The decision to seek an alternative is one each individual or family must make on their own.

Obviously the most important consideration is the health and well-being of the person with the disease. When their physical and social needs become more than you can satisfy in the normal functioning of your daily life, it’s time to look for an alternative. But other considerations are important too, including your own health and well-being.

More than 40% of Alzheimer’s caregivers rate the emotional stress as “high” or “very high”, and approximately one-third show symptoms of depression. At some point, care outside the family is in everyone’s best interest.

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

 

“It’s obvious Dad can no longer care for Mom by himself…”

Thursday, January 19th, 2017 12:19:28 PM
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It’s obvious Dad can no longer care for Mom by himself.  How can we get him to accept the facthe needs help?

Caring for a family member with Alzheimer’s can be overwhelming, especially for someone whose own abilities may be in decline. Yet telling your Dad he needs help can cause resentment. Put yourself in his shoes and the reason may become clearer.

Chances are your parents lived their adult lives making their own decisions. Now, because of circumstances beyond their control, their independence is slipping away. That’s hard to accept. So despite your good intentions, your Dad hears suggestions to get help as criticism, confirmation that he’s no longer able to meet his “responsibilities.”

The best advice is to try to see the world through his eyes. Offer suggestions instead of “orders.” Avoid language he might perceive as criticism. If he has friends in similar circumstances, ask how they’re doing. Emphasize the positive, that getting help probably made their lives better. Plant ideas that allow your dad to reach the right conclusions on his own. But take it slow. Suggest that checking into help now might make it easier “down the road,” in case the time would come he couldn’t care for Mom.

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

 

“My dad has just been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. What changes can we expect in his behavior?”

Thursday, January 19th, 2017 12:19:03 PM
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People diagnosed with Alzheimer’s may initially react with a sense of dread. As the disease progresses and things once easy for them become increasingly difficult, we find they can get frustrated and depressed. We know that understanding and emotional support are just as important as physical support.

In addition to loss of memory, Alzheimer’s disease causes loss of communication skills and loss of judgment. Family members often notice changes in the person’s behavior and personality. This can be devastating to relationships. Recent studies we’ve seen estimate that nearly 10 million Americans provide unpaid care for people with Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia. More than 40 percent of caregivers rate the emotional stress of caregiving as high or very high, and approximately one-third show symptoms of clinical depression. Thus the victims of Alzheimer’s extends beyond just those with the disease to include their networks of family and friends as well.

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

 

“My wife keeps insisting that we ‘go home’ to the place where she grew up 70 years ago…”

Thursday, January 19th, 2017 12:18:40 PM
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My wife keeps insisting that we ‘go home’ to the place where she grew up 70 years ago. How should I handle this?

For people unaccustomed to dealing with the effects of Alzheimer’s disease, the endless questioning and insistence on “truths” that are not true, can be both trying and heartbreaking. As the disease progresses, people with the disease often lose their ability to distinguish between recent events and memories implanted long ago. Mom and Home brought comfort in the past. And to someone with the disease, past and present are interchangeable.

These situations demand patience and understanding on the part of loved ones and caregivers. The best approach is to transition from a ‘reality’ orientation to ‘validation’. Instead of confronting your wife with “the facts,” try to shift your conversations to her underlying feelings. Her childhood home obviously holds a special place in her memories, so make an effort to reinforce those memories in a positive way. “That was a beautiful place, wasn’t it. I bet your neighbors envied you.” Understand that your wife’s disease has created a wall between her reality and yours. She’s not “wrong” or intentionally denying the truth; she is simply trying to cope with her own truth.

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

 

“We finally convinced Mom that she can’t take care of Dad by herself anymore…”

Thursday, January 19th, 2017 12:18:09 PM
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We finally convinced Mom that she can’t take care of Dad by herself anymore. But how can we keep her from feeling so guilty?

Your parents have cared for each other the entire time they’ve been together. It’s only natural that when one is no longer able to do that, there would be a sense of guilt. But evidence suggests that your mother’s continued efforts to care for your father herself puts her own health at risk. In fact, over 60% of those caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s actually die before the one with the disease.

Moving your father to a ComfortCare Home is more like a change of address than a change of lifestyle. Unlike an “institution,” a ComfortCare Home provides individualized care in a residential setting complete with each Resident’s own furnishings and mementos. Nothing alleviates feelings of guilt more convincingly than the realization that both the person with the disease, and the caregiver, are better off when care is entrusted to us.

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

 

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Testimonials

I am so proud of my father for making the crucial decision to allow ComfortCare Homes to care for my mom.  It is hard to decide to “give up” but he knew mom was in great hands.  I appreciate the staff support of me and my family in caring for mom after dad passed away.  I felt confident and positive at the whole expereince.  Thank you ComfortCare Homes (Founders Crest).

- Bryan Wilson

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