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Alzheimer’s Care Experts Share Advice On Dementia And Balance

Friday, June 23rd, 2017 1:21:15 PM
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Seniors often experience problems with impaired balance in their golden years. Falls present the leading cause of injury in the senior population and those who are afflicted with some form of dementia are even more so at risk. If your loved one has been diagnosed with dementia, it is very important for them to try everything they possibly can to maintain their balance and minimize fall risks. This can help slow down the progression of the disorder and keep them vital for longer.

For seniors living with dementia, problems with balance often occur when the cognitive disease affects portions of the brain responsible for balance and coordination. As a matter of fact, the first signs of dementia are shuffling gait, clumsiness or slow-footed walk.

Though diminished balance and mobility issues present a problem that cannot be reversed for those living with dementia, Alzheimer’s care experts recommend taking some preventative measures that can ensure a safer environment for your loved one and help improve their balance and gait.

Build strength with safe Alzheimer’s care assistance

If your loved one is in the early stages of dementia, Alzheimer’s care providers suggest encouraging them to start a low-impact regimen that can improve their balance. Stretching exercises are often recommended. A family member or caregiver should assist your senior mom or dad with their exercise routine, making sure they are safe and well hydrated.

Another thing to consider is purchasing walking aids and encouraging your loved one to use them. Your senior mom or dad can have a safer footing by using a walker or a cane. In addition to this, your parent can also enhance their footwear, opting for shoes with non-skid soles as they can be helpful in increasing mobility and reducing the risk of falls.

To reduce fall risks that could cause serious injury, you might want to consider fall-proofing your senior mom or dad’s home. When fall-proofing the home, it is important to make pathways easily accessible and free of clutter, install grab bars in the bathroom, remove or fixate all rugs, carpets, and electrical cords to reduce tripping hazard, and rearrange furniture.

Furthermore, Alzheimer’s care providers also suggest enhancing lighting throughout the house, especially in frequented areas such as staircases, kitchen, and the bedroom. On the other hand, if your senior mom or dad is in the advanced stages of dementia, it might be better for them to live in a safer facility that provides around-the-clock care.

Seniors with dementia and Alzheimer’s don’t need clinical care in a large institution, as most of them simply react better to calm, familiar surroundings where they can receive adequate care. Alzheimer’s care services can allow your loved one to age with the dignity that they deserve, with specialized care in a real home setting and well-trained, caring personnel.

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.

Tactile Art & Senior Assisted Living Activities

Tuesday, June 13th, 2017 5:59:25 PM
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Learn how tactile activities benefit seniors with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease

As dementia or Alzheimer’s disease progress, it becomes difficult for seniors to do the hobbies and activities they once loved. Their mind is unable to process complex activities and diminishing fine motor skills make sewing, writing, and other small tasks nearly impossible. Senior assisted living facilities can offer mental stimulation and socialization through tactile art activities.

What is tactile art?

Tactile art is also known as sensory art and includes any physical interaction with art through the sense of touch. Tactile art is frequently used to teach young children or the visually impaired about the world around them. In a similar way, seniors with dementia can use tactile art to re-learn their surroundings, strengthen motor functions and control, and express themselves in a meaningful way.

Whether you are the primary caregiver or your senior loved one is in a senior assisted living facility, finding activities to keep them engaged can be difficult. Sensory and tactile art can be implemented in a variety of activities to meet the abilities and interests of your loved one.

Sensory activities for memory care

Using modeling clay or play-dough is one form of tactile art. The creation of a final product is not necessarily the goal, but rather a mental stimulation through touch that benefits a senior’s health. Sponge painting, potato stamping and even painting with hands can be unique tactile art activities.

Picking up everyday objects can help seniors with dementia understand their surroundings and feel secure. This is especially important if they are living in a senior assisted living facility that they may not be familiar with. Feeling different types of fabric, metals, wood, door locks, and more provides sensory stimulation. Seniors can learn through their hands and may find comfort in familiar objects like dolls, cushions, or blankets.

Tactile stimulation

If your loved one is unable to participate (or uninterested) in tactile art, senior assisted living facilities and caregivers can support mental stimulation through other ways. Passive tactile stimulation can be as simple as holding a hand or giving a shoulder rub. Relaxing scents such as lavender can calm an agitated senior and stimulate their sense of smell.

A virtual beach or other location can be created with scented candles and the sound of crashing waves played through a speaker. Your senior can run their hands through sand or pick-up shells you have placed out. As an adult with a healthy brain, these activities may seem childish or strange. But the benefits tactile stimulation has on seniors with dementia and Alzheimer’s can be incredible.

Ask your loved one’s senior assisted living care providers if tactile art is a healthy option for their overall care. Together, you can integrate new activities to stimulate their senses, promote mental wellness, and improve their quality of life.

 

Resources:

http://www.alzheimers.net/2014-01-23/sensory-stimulation-alzheimers-patients/

https://www.nccdp.org/resources/AlzheimersDementiaActivityIdeas.pdf

http://www.best-alzheimers-products.com/tactile-stimulation.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.

June is Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month

Thursday, June 8th, 2017 1:04:14 PM
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You recognize Alzheimer’s symptoms – here’s how to make a difference.

If you have a loved one with a memory illness, you are probably familiar with dementia and Alzheimer’s symptoms. They may not remember familiar people or places, become easily confused and agitated or have trouble caring for themselves. The type and severity of Alzheimer’s symptoms that seniors with the disease present change as the disease progresses.

As a caregiver or loved one of a senior with incurable dementia, you may feel helpless. You might ask yourself, “What can I do to help raise awareness about Alzheimer’s symptoms and dementia diseases?” There are millions of Americans who have felt this same desire to do more. The Alzheimer’s Association celebrates June as Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness month to help increase awareness about Alzheimer’s disease, share the latest dementia research, and raise money for federal funding.

Go Purple for Alzheimer’s Disease

Purple is the official color of the Alzheimer’s movement. Get the facts about Alzheimer’s symptoms, prevention, treatment, and more and then show your pride by wearing purple this June. This simple action can help spread awareness and spark conversation between seniors, caregivers, family members and celebrity advocates alike.

Share Your Story

Many people who have been impacted by Alzheimer’s disease share their stories online and through social media. This community leans on each other for emotional support, resource sharing, and care recommendations. You can update your Facebook profile picture to raise awareness – try it here! Join conversations on Twitter and Instagram by using the hashtag #EndALZ and #MyAlzStory to learn about the Alzheimer’s symptoms and situations others are experiencing.

The Longest Day: June 21st

June 21st is the first day of summer and the longest day of the year. “The Longest Day” is a worldwide celebration of doing activities you love to fundraise for Alzheimer’s research. Consider partnering with your local chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association by selecting an activity you love & fundraise to end Alzheimer’s disease. Check out the events at the Central and Western Kansas Chapter here or look into global teams you can fundraise with no matter where you live.

Take time this June to learn more about the causes and symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, the latest research and treatment, and how you can get involved. Creating awareness for those living with dementia as well as the stories of families impacted by the disease can make a huge impact. Even after June is over, continue to explore the dementia resources and care services for you and your loved ones!

Resources:

2017 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures

Central and Western Kansas Alzheimer’s Association Chapter

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.

Know the Differences: Forgetfulness vs. Alzheimer’s or Dementia

Friday, June 2nd, 2017 1:58:35 PM
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Have you ever forgotten where you placed your keys or missed a doctor’s appointment because it wasn’t written on your calendar? Most of us will admit that our busy schedules and everyday distractions have caused us to forget certain things. At what point should these occurrences be considered signs of Alzheimer’s or dementia? Learn the differences between normal forgetfulness and serious memory loss so you can know when it is time to seek assistance.

What is forgetfulness?

Many people worry that forgetfulness is the first sign of Alzheimer’s or dementia. There are many causes for forgetfulness and memory loss that are not serious or permanent. Some types of medication, stress and anxiety, or emotional distress can cause intermittent forgetfulness. Speaking with a doctor about your medications and mental health can help you improve your focus and memory.

If you forget an acquaintance’s name, misplace your cell phone, or cannot remember the name of a popular actor, don’t fret. This type of forgetfulness is common and does not necessarily indicate Alzheimer’s or dementia symptoms. Managing stress in a healthy way as well as limiting alcohol intake can make everyday forgetfulness less common.

When does memory loss become serious?

When signs of Alzheimer’s or dementia present in seniors, it can be hard to distinguish the difference between a serious mental disease and everyday forgetfulness. Only a doctor can confirm a dementia-related diagnosis. If you observe a senior loved one with these symptoms, it may be time to seek assistance:

  1. Unable to remember things, recognize family members or follow directions
  2. Asking the same question or telling the same story repeatedly
  3. Becoming lost in familiar places
  4. Neglecting personal hygiene and nutrition

The signs of Alzheimer’s or dementia are more severe and constant than everyday forgetfulness. Being able to recognize these signs as abnormal helps you seek out professional assistance. Always consult a doctor if you are concerned about a loved one’s memory loss.

There are many programs, support groups, and assisted living communities for seniors with memory loss issues. Sometimes the care required cannot be provided by family members alone. When you or a loved one are facing an Alzheimer’s or dementia diagnosis, know that you have many options for support and assistance.

References: https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/publication/forgetfulness

 

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 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.

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