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Caregiver Tips: Calming a Confused Senior with Dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease

Friday, August 18th, 2017 2:32:30 PM
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Ease stress and frustration through assisted living techniques

For seniors in the early stages of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, memory loss is common. While the rest of their cognitive abilities may still be strong, remembering names, places, and words become difficult. They may become frustrated at this new-found confusion, agitated that they are unable to recall familiar things. As their disease progresses seniors with dementia will have increased confusion, leading to agitation, panic, and even aggression.

As a family member or primary caregiver for a person with severe memory loss, these episodes of confusion can be alarming. Seeing a loved one frightened by newly unfamiliar surroundings is heartbreaking. If you find yourself wishing you could do more to calm and console your loved one, there are support and resources available. Assisted living professionals who interact with and care for residents with severe dementia and Alzheimer’s have advice for family members and loved ones of seniors with dementia.

What causes agitation in dementia and Alzheimer’s patients?

Dementia is a progressive disease and over time it causes brain cells to deteriorate. It is this deterioration that dementia symptoms including memory loss, confusion, agitation, restlessness, and fatigue. Because there is not yet a cure for dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, there is nothing that can be done to stop or reverse this deterioration.

However, environmental factors can exacerbate their symptoms. Being aware of your loved one’s surroundings, daily routine, preferences, and triggers can help you maintain a comforting environment for them. Change is a major cause of confusion and agitation in dementia patients. Their world is becoming increasingly unfamiliar to them and seemingly small changes can disrupt the comfort of their daily routine.

Common environmental changes that affect behavior include:

– Being suddenly admitted to a hospital or assisted living facility

– Changes in scheduled caregiving

– New visitors or too many people visiting at once

– Confrontation or perceived threats                     [Source]

Tips to Prevent Confusion

While you can try to monitor the daily situations and interactions your loved one faces, ultimately you cannot control the world around them. Accidents and emergencies happen. Being prepared to respond, console and care for a confused senior is the best way to support their well-being.

Assisted living professionals offer the following tips to family members seeking to prevent confusion and agitation:

Create a calm environment

Being overstimulated by loud talking, commotion, and unfamiliar faces causes stress for seniors with dementia. Having a quiet space that is comfortable can provide refuge to an overwhelmed loved one. Comfort objects such as blankets or clothing items can provide a distraction and added security.

Monitor personal comfort and any additional symptoms

Make sure your loved one has taken their medications properly. Ensuring that they have eaten, had enough water to drink, and received adequate sleep is also important. Being vigilant about personal care can help seniors with dementia be more comfortable.

Avoid surprises and sudden changes in routine when possible.

We have learned that change is a major cause of confusion and agitation for seniors with dementia. As your loved one’s illness progresses, there may come a time when they need professional care. Before moving your loved one into an assisted living facility, consider part-time care or adult day care options. If these options are introduced in the early stages of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, your loved one has the opportunity to familiarize themselves with caregivers and become comfortable in surroundings outside the home.

For more information about adult day can as a transition into full-time assisted living, read our “Why Adult Day Care is Important” article.

How to Respond to A Confused Senior

Even if you do everything within your power to provide a comfortable, safe environment for your loved one, the nature of the disease makes confusion and agitation inevitable. Know that you are not responsible and that help is available for you both.

Follow these 4 Steps to Responding to a Confused Senior with Dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease:

  1. Listen to frustrations – Validate their emotions and sympathize with their situation.
  2. Provide reassurance – Although you may not understand, provide comfort and reassurance. Trying to reason with a confused senior may not be affective because their brain simply doesn’t process information the way a healthy brain would. Make sure they know they are safe and that you support them.
  3. Modify the situation – If they seem agitated by loud sounds, try moving to a quiet area. In overwhelming situations filled with new faces or places, distraction can be helpful. Give your loved on a task to focus on, something simple like folding towels, buttoning a sweater, or completing a puzzle. Occupying their mind with something other than confusion can ease behavioral symptoms.
  4. Share your experience – Speaking with your loved one medical professional or assisted living care providers is essential. These specialists will be able to alter medications or therapy plans and provide advice on how to respond in the future. [Source]

Know Where to Find Help

As your loved one’s disease progresses, you may need additional support and help providing adequate memory care. Preparing for this reality in advance is beneficial to both you and your senior loved one. Trained assisted living professionals are able to meet the unique needs of Alzheimer’s and dementia patients.

To learn more about memory care and how specialized care can help, please call ComfortCare Home of Wichita at (316) 444-0532 or visit our website by clicking here.

Additional Resources

Anxiety and Agitation – Alz.org

Treatments for Behavior – Alz.org

Dementia Care Relaxation Techniques & Therapies

Differentiating Depression from Dementia: Assisted Living Wichita KS Specialists Can Help

Thursday, August 3rd, 2017 6:46:29 PM
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If you are the primary caregiver for a loved one with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, you know how much the symptoms can vary. The type and severity of symptoms are may be different from one day to the next, even changing from morning to night.  With all that goes into providing dementia care, you may not even be aware that your loved one may be experiencing depression as well.

According to recent studies, up to 40% of people with Alzheimer’s or dementia also suffer from depression. Sudden changes in mood, disinterest in activities or hobbies, desire to be alone, and physical pain are a few symptoms that are common between depression and dementia. Assisted living Wichita KS professionals, specially trained in memory care, can help you determine whether your loved one’s dementia symptoms are actually signs of depression. [Alzheimer’s Association]

What does depression look like in seniors with dementia?

Depression in seniors with dementia is harder to identify because of the emotional and behavioral changes that dementia brings on its own. Symptoms of both can be very similar. However, assisted living Wichita KS professionals know that in seniors with dementia and depression, their depression symptoms may be less severe and intermittent than a person without dementia.

This means you may not be looking for the stereotypical signs of depression, but rather a sporadic display of symptoms.

How can I help my senior loved one?

Assisted living professionals who care for seniors with dementia full-time can provide better insights and observations because they interact with residents every day for the whole day. If you are spending one afternoon with a loved one who has dementia, the limited time you spend together may not indicate symptoms of depression. For this reason, assisted living Wichita KS  may become the best long term care option.

If you are concerned about your senior loved one having depression, consult with a medical professional right away. While there is not a singular test that verifies a depression diagnosis, a trained medical professional will be able to listen to your observation of symptoms and make a proper plan of care.

For a senior with dementia, a depression diagnosis does not have to be devastating. The overlapping of symptoms can actually make treatment easier! Therapy methods that are successful for patients with dementia can also be beneficial to those with depression. Both conditions can potentially be managed through the same medications, activities, and therapy techniques.

Where can I find help?

Dementia is a degenerative disease that unfortunately does not have a cure. This means that your senior mom or dad’s condition will continue to get worse as time goes on. However, they should not have to sacrifice their comfort and well-being as a result. There are memory-specific facilities and assisted living Wichita KS that are wonderful options for senior care. Many assisted living facilities offer varying levels of care, such as part-time adult day care, that can ease seniors with dementia into their new surroundings.

If you are providing senior care for a loved one with dementia, know that you are not alone. Utilize local resources and expert assistance from assisted living Wichita KS.

To learn more about dementia and depression and how assisted living can help, please call ComfortCare Home of Wichita at (316) 444-0532 or visit our website by clicking here.

Do You Know the Benefits of Assisted Living?

Thursday, June 29th, 2017 1:59:33 PM
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Seniors with memory care needs can thrive with assisted living

The prospect of placing your parent in an assisted living facility or bringing home care help into their home can be intimidating. You want them to be comfortable and receiving the best care possible. Especially if your loved one has a memory illness, remaining in familiar surroundings can be beneficial for their well-being.

Whether your loved one needs around the clock care or just occasional assistance and social interaction, there are many benefits to assisted living. Consider this when researching memory care options in Wichita, KS:

  1. Memory care professionals know how to care for Alzheimer’s and dementia patients

While family caregivers often want to care for senior loved ones with memory illnesses, as their disease progresses it becomes necessary to enlist professional care. Assisted living professionals can engage and care for seniors with dementia in ways that keep them calm, happy, and comfortable.

  1. Consistency is key

For many seniors with dementia or Alzheimer’s, sticking to a routine schedule is beneficial. New surroundings and people can cause confusion and frustration. If your loved one is seeing familiar faces and participating in routine activities as part of an assisted living care plan, they may feel more secure.

  1. Assistance offers relief for family caregivers

If you often feel overwhelmed caring for a parent or senior loved one with dementia or Alzheimer’s, you are not alone. Part-time care in the form of adult day care can offer relief for family caregivers. You can take the time to rest, schedule appointments, run errands, or attend to other obligations. You are able to care for your loved one best after you care for yourself.

The benefits of assisted living are more numerous than those listed here. The amount of care required and for what amount of time can be customized based on your loved one’s needs.

Consider the benefits of memory care assistance and the real benefits of assisted living in Wichita, KS. You may find that seeking help is the best choice for you and your loved one.

 

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.

Testimonials

“This is the best place for people with memory problems that are advanced.  I am very comfortable leaving my mom in your care.  I don’t know how we could have made it through till now without you.  Now that my mom is at Founders Crest (ComfortCare’s newest Home), I believe there is no other place she could be more well taken care of.  Mama is treated as an inidvidual and not just any old lady.  Thankful!”

- Lisa Boorigie

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