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Home Care: 8 Things You Should Know Before You Hire a Caregiver

  
  
  

home care, caregiver, senior care, Easy Living Services

 

 

 

Each week, Easy Living Services interacts with clients that are struggling to make decisions not only for themselves, but also for a loved one.  Each family has questions and we took our most common queries and posted them below.  We hope you find them useful!

What are the three most important qualities to look for in a caregiver?
  • Compassion, Passionate about helping others & Skilled -  Caregivers that are Certified Nursing Assistants who have a minimum of 5 years experience.  Demand a rigorous screening process that includes an extensive background check, in-depth interview and personal and professional reference checks. Only with an agency that provides this are you ensured of working with a highly skilled caregiver who is passionate about caring for those who need assistance.  For your peace of mind, our referred caregivers meet all of these criteria and are fully insured.
What kind of services should I expect from my caregiver?
  • All non-medical assistance that will keep your loved one safe and comfortable at home, at the hospital or in a nursing or re-hab facility. Companion / Homemaker / Personal Care - Caregivers can provide light housekeeping, errands, meals, socialization and companionship.  Personal Care can include bathing, dressing, grooming, safety, sanitation and meal preparation.
What if my caregiver can't make it due to illness?
  • Ensure that your provider has a large staff of qualified, professional and reliable caregivers -  In the event of  caregiver illness or emergency absence this ensures that a replacement is available. Easy Living Services maintains a backup program and has a large network of professionals available to assist with your needs.
Why should I use an agency instead of hiring a private caregiver out of the newspaper or internet?
  • You will want to ensure that caregivers are screened, trained, have an excellent work ethic and are insured for your safety - Caregivers that have been professionally trained specifically in working with persons who are disabled, recovering from an illness or injury as well as senior care must be adequately screened to ensure that they are qualified to care for your loved one.  Working with an agency is like having an insurance plan ensuring that you have a qualified caregiver available when you want and need "life made easier".
What is live-in care and how is the cost determined?
  • Clients requiring around the clock care can opt for a caregiver to live with their loved one.  The caregiver must be able to sleep 7-8 hours at night and have a separate room for sleeping.  Live-in services are available for both Companion and Personal Care. Instead of paying an hourly rate Live-In rates are normally a flat fee per day making the cost a more affordable option.   Easy Living Services rates are highly competitive - starting at $175/Day.
Can I have flexible hourly care?
  • Yes. Some clients require only part-time care. Easy Living Services offers hourly care services starting at only $16.95/Hour.  (Some minimums may apply.)        
What about emergency care after business hours?
  • Your caregiver provider should be available 24 hours, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.  When their office is closed, there needs to be an on-call knowledgeable person availble to assist with any emergency needs. Easy Living has an on-call knowledgeable person available to assist with emergency after hour needs 24/7/365.
Why would I want to use a locally owned company rather than a franchise agency?
  • Ask yourself if a bigger company is necessarily a better company. Home Care agencies are one of the largest growing industries in today's market.  "Big business" has seized this opportunity.  Franchised, "locally owned" agencies are on every corner.  A franchise owner typically goes to franchise school for a couple of weeks and then becomes apart of a large corporate run entity.   At Easy Living you control your Home Care service and selection guided by our expertise and insight.  At Easy Living caring is more than just a business, it is our philosophy in action every day! 

 

Easy Living works with only the best Atlanta caregivers. Many of our clients have used our service for 10+ years and the feedback is consistent in superior levels of satisfaction. We are your Home Care staffing expert - we've been assisting Atlanta families for over 20 years!

For more information on professional In-Home service for your loved one, please contact Easy Living services today at (770) 442-8664.

 

Home Care for Atlanta Seniors | Easy Living Services

Dementia & Summer Activities

  
  
  

dementia, Alzheimer's, chronic disease, senior care,The "good ole summer time" brings back many fond memories even for those with Dementia. Summer takes us back to camp, fishing and swimming, boating, family reunions, picking flowers, weddings, and picnics.  Enjoying summer activities with your loved one who has dementia is a great way to engage them in reminiscing the past.  Although your loved one may have limitations on how much physical activity they can participate in, a picnic is a fun outing that may stimulate memories of summers gone by.

  • Plan your picnic - Decide on the perfect spot, perhaps a place that has special meaning for your loved one or a family favorite park or lake.
  • Select a basket - Any container that has a handle will work well.   
  • Decorate - Select a theme and gather items that your loved one can glue or tie on the basket.  Select decorating ideas to fit the abilities and interests of the person with dementia.  
  • Decide on your menu - Make a list of food and drinks that you will want to bring on the outing.  Ask your loved one with dementia to help by telling you their favorite summer foods.  Be sure to include items that represent summer; lemonade, watermelon, potato salad, ice cream, and don't forget the burgers!  Finger foods make picnicking easier, especially for someone who now has difficulty using utensils. Keep items that can spoil quickly in a cooler right before and immediately after serving.
  • Gather the essential items - People with dementia respond better to some things more than others.  For example when selecting a tablecloth, select a solid color vs. the traditional checkered pattern. Dementia can create depth perception problems and patterns are more likely to cause injuries.  Select bold and solid colored picnic ware, studies show that plates that are in sharp contrast to the food and the table help people with advanced dementia more easily distinguish one from the other which may prompt them to eat more.  Using utensils with large handles or finger foods will also be helpful.  Flexible straws or cups with lids can help prevent spills.  
  • Pack items for activities - Is their a special game or outdoor activity that your loved one is fond of such at horse shoes or croquet?  Photo albums of vacations and family gatherings are very stimulating for those with dementia.  Music is a must!  There is so much research on the positive effects of music and dementia.  Even for people with later stages of Alzheimer's music moves and gets a response when nothing else seems to connect.  Select music that are old time favorites for your loved one.
  • Beat the heat - Be certain to bring along proper protection from the blazing sun.  Select a spot in the shade, bring a hat and sun screen, and pack plenty of water for not only the person with dementia but for the entire family.  Remind your loved one to drink water throughout the picnic.  Plenty of water is essential to avoiding dehydration.  
  • Last minute checklist - Avoid rocky, uneven paths or steep hills to avoid trips and falls.  Become familiar with the location of the restroom.  Select an area that is on the quieter side to avoid extra confusion for the person with dementia. 

Lastly summer passes so quickly...organize your picnic and enjoy each and every warm, sunny day!

The above tips were provided by the Alzheimer's Foundation of America.

If you are finding it difficult to juggle it all - work, family, errands and other demands that often leave you over taxed.  Where do you turn when a loved ones needs are more than you can manage on your own?  What do you do when some of the care alternatives seem like a complication rather than a solution?  We understand, in fact, we have been there.

Consult Atlanta's most trusted source for quality Home Care, Easy Living Services. Offering flexible care plans designed to guarantee safety, comfort, companionship and personal care and attention to your loved one at home.

Finally, a real solution.  At last, peace of mind.  Call us at 770-442-8664.  


  

Home Care for Atlanta Seniors | Easy Living Services

Alzheimer's - Tips to Eat and Drink Safely

  
  
  

Alzheimer's, Alheimers, dementia, caring for a loved one, senior care, Home CareIndividuals with late stage Alzheimer's may have difficulty swallowing food and liquids which can cause aspiration into the airway and lungs and eventually become pneumonia.  Use these helpful tips with a loved one challenged with Alzheimer's to avoid eating and drinking mishaps.

  • Limit noise and any distractions when eating.
  • Keep items on the table to a minimum which can cause confusion.
  • Choose foods that are soft and can be chewed or swallowed easily. 
  • You may need to mash or puree food items.  Baby food is not appropriate for adults with difficulty swallowing it is too thin. 
  • Serve only one food at a time.  Too many items on the plate can be overwhelming.
  • Demonstrate eating by lifting the spoon to your mouth.  Provide verbal prompting for eating, chewing and swallowing. Keep in mind that it may take longer to finish eating, allow for plenty of time.
  • Thicken liquids to lower the risk of choking due to swallowing problems.  Add cornstarch or unflavored gelatin to water, juice, milk, broth and soup.  Commercial food thickeners can be purchased at the drug store.
  • Check with your doctor to see if a multi vitamin or high protein drink is needed.
  • Staying hydrated may be a problem.  Encourage fluids by offering small amounts throughout the day.  Along with water hydration can come from fruit, soup, milkshakes and smoothies.
  • Always test the temperature of foods and beverages before serving them to someone with Alzheimer's.
  • Use serving items that are easy for your loved one to use.  You may need to use a bowl instead of a plate and a spoon instead of a fork, or even hands if it is easier.
  • Avoid foods that are difficult to chew like large cuts of meat, carrots and whole apples.  Keep foods bite-size and easy to pick up and eat.
  • Have your loved one sit up straight with their head slightly forward to help avoid choking.
  • You may need to check your loved ones mouth to make sure their food has been swallowed.
  • If pocketing food in the mouth is a problem, to induce swallowing give a small amount of unsweetened lemon juice.  The natural reaction to lemons is to pucker and suck.
  • Be prepared for an emergency and learn the Heimlich maneuver! Go to U-Tube to watch a demonstration or do an on-line search for more information.

If you are finding it difficult to juggle it all - work, family, errands and other demands that often leave you over taxed.  Where do you turn when a loved ones needs are more than you can manage on your own?  What do you do when some of the care alternatives seem like a complication rather than a solution?  We understand, in fact, we have been there.

Consult Atlanta's most trusted source for quality Home Care, Easy Living Services.  Offering flexible care plans designed to guarantee safety, comfort, companionship and personal care and attention to your loved one at home.

Finally, a real solution.  At last, peace of mind.  Call us at 770-442-8664.  

For more information on Alzheimer's and Dementia visit our resource library at the link below:

http://easylivingservices.com/atlanta-home-care-resources--easy-living-services/
 

-Atlanta Alzheimer's Care Guide

Home Care for Atlanta Seniors | Easy Living Services

Caregiver Resources: Palliative Care at Home

  
  
  

What comes to mind when you hear the term "Palliative Care"?  If you are like me, it's synonomous with Hospice Services.  In fact, when a nurse practitioner recently recommended it for my father, I became alarmed.  I knew Dad's COPD, Congestive Heart Failure, and Diabetes conditions were serious but felt unprepared to hear a recommendation for "Palliative Care".  That's because my understanding of the term was flawed. I believed that Pallative care  was designed to keep terminal patients "comfortable" at life's end.  Dad's conditions were serious and definitely difficult to manage but no one had labeled them as terminal.  I came to learn that Palliative care can be a vital addition to an active treatment plan for many serious and chronic diseases.  

Care at home

Are you or a loved one missing out on the benefits of Palliative Care?

With medical advances, Americans in general, are living longer.  However, many find themselves also living with chronic disease conditions.  The burden these diseases place on patient and family members can be enormous.  Where can a family turn for assistance when the chronic medical needs of a loved one are becoming difficult to manage?  For many, Palliative Care can offer patients and their families another layer of support.  

Unfortunately, many people do not take advantage of this resource due to misunderstanding of Palliative Care and its goals.  In fact, research indicates that many physicians often equate Palliative Care with Hospice and therefore, are unlikely to recommend it to patients unless they have a terminal/end stage illness.  The reality is that Palliative Care is beneficial for many patients with serious or chronic illnesses along with curative treatment. 

Palliative Care:  The Definition

"...is specialized medical care for people with serious illnesses.  This type of care is focused on providing patients with relief from the symptoms, pain, and stress of a serious illness, whatever the diagnosis.  The goal is to improve quality of life for the both the patient and family.  Palliative care is provided by a team of doctors, nurses, and other specialists who work with a patients primary doctors to provide an extra layer of support.  This care is appropriate at any age and at any stage in a serious illness, and can be provided together with curative treatment."  

In short, Palliative care is NOT end of life care.  It's designed to enhance the care a patient is already receiving by improving care coordination, better managing and controlling symptoms, and helping families navigate the complexities of living with chronic disease. 

Is Palliative Care Right for Your Loved One?

Consider turning to Palliative Care for extra support if you or a family member are dealing with any of the following issues:

  • Serious illness such as Cancer, Congestive Heart Failure, COPD, Emphysema, Lung Disease, Kidney Failure, Liver Failure, Neurological Disease (ALS, Parkinson's, MS...), Dementia.
  • Unmanaged symptoms like pain, shortness of breath, fatigue, anxiety, depression, poor appetite, nausea, constitpation.
  • Difficult side effects from treatments such as chemotherapy or radiation.
  • Frequent ER visits or hospitalizations for the same symptoms or conditions. 
  • Indecision regarding treatment options...needs assistance evaluating medical choices and finding necessary resources.
  • In need of assistance coping with the stress of a chronic disease and emotional or spiritual support.   

What assistance does Palliative Care include?

Patients and their families gain access to a team of professionals including physician, nurse practitioners and social workers all working together in support of the patient. The team works in concert with the patient's primary medical care team to provide assistance in reducing pain, minimizing side effects and symptoms, connecting patients with complimentary services like acupuncture or massage therapy for stress reduction, disease education and more.  While primary care physicians and specialists are typically focused on treating the disease condition, a palliative care team will devote their efforts to enhancing quality of life.  

Is Palliative Care covered under insurance plans?

With a physician's referral, pallative care is often paid under Medicare Part B, Medicaid and most private insurance plans.  Check with your plan for coverage details and applicable co-insurance fees before initiating care.   

What benefits does Palliative Care Offer?

In my Dad's case, the Palliative care team offered a great deal of education and advice for minimizing his primary concern, frequent trips to the ER and hospitalizations for CHF symptoms and complications.   The team helped us develop a detailed  "Action Plan" to better manage his symptoms.  The plan was presented as a flow chart and detailed the actions we were to take with progressive symptoms.  It really helped reduce anxiety levels for all parties and restored a feeling of control over the process.  

Additionally, Dad had so many specialists who operated independently.  It was often frustrating because there was virtually no coordination between the different physicians. Information frequently wasn't shared between offices and family members were constantly having to follow up.  It was a real relief when the Palliative Care team stepped in to coordinate medical care between the different specialities.  They assisted us in making care choices by educating us on the "pros and cons" of options.  

The team also recommended some complimentary therapies which helped alleviate some of my father's symptoms and discomfort.  Specially trained massage therapists worked to reduce swelling in extremities through lymphatic drainage.  This greatly reduced pain and improved dad's mobility.  Dad was also connected with a social worker who helped him deal with some of the anxiety associated with health conditions.  Most of these services were provided in the comfort of Dad's own residence which was a "plus" for the family.

After gaining a new understanding of Palliative care, I am now able to recommend these services to our agency's clients.   Often, Easy Living caregivers work in conjunction with Palliative Care providers to maximize the quality of life for clients with dealing with serious disease conditions.  

Interested in learning more?   Call Easy Living Services today at
770-442-8664.  We're pleased to help in any way possible. 
Home Care for Atlanta Seniors | Easy Living Services

Family Caregivers May Be at Risk for Cognitive Decline

  
  
  

It's fairly obvious that long term caregiving for a loved one diagnosed with Alzheimer's or dementia can take its toll on the caregiver's emotional and physical health.  New studies suggest that toll may even include higher risk for cognitive decline or developing dementia over non-caregivers. family caregiver, taking care of a loved one, Atlanta Home Care,

A 2011 study published in the Journal of American Geriatrics Society identified this link as well as the risk factors for cognitive decline including social isolation, depression, stress, poor lifestyle choices such as unhealthy diet and lack of physical activity. 

Studies have shown, for example, that caregivers of Alzheimer's disease patients had lower scores on tests that measure attention, visual processing speeds, and memory than adults of the same age who were not caregivers. Additional stressors like disturbed sleep and fewer positive experiences excacerbated the processing problems.  Another study published in 2010, followed more than 1,200 older married couples in rural Utah for 12 years and found that spouses of husbands or wives that developed dementia had a 600% greater risk of developing dementia themselves. More studies are needed to further explore the nature of the relationship between caregiving and cognitive decline.

The good news is that although primary family caregivers are more susceptible to the risk factors...they potentially have the ability to modify behaviors and environments before they become compromised.  Family physicians should pay close attention to older patients who are caring for spouses impacted by the disease. Efforts need to be made to decrease stress levels in those patients, and help them focus on the positive aspects of caregiving over the negative.  

Consider the following tips: senior respite

1)  Schedule mini-workouts throughout the day. Ten minute sessions sprinkled over the course of the day are easier to block out than an hour away. Excercise boosts endorphins which promote a positive attitude.

2)  Take time to play.  In the early stages of Alzheimer's disease, the caregiver and patient can enjoy some activities that gave them joy in the past.  Taking walks, gardening, doing puzzles, playing with a pet are some ideas for simple activities that can bring happiness to both parties.

3)  Appreciate the humorous side of things. Laughter is an antidote to stress, anxiety and boredom.  Caregivers should give themselves permission to laugh about some of the absurd situations they find themselves in when caregiving for a dementia or Alzheimer's patient.  Watching comedy shows or funny movies can bring some sunshine into an otherwise grey day.  Laughter will work to soothe both caregiver and patient. 

4)  Count the blessings.  A daily gratitude list can chase away the blues and shift focus on a loved one’s capabilities.

5)  Accept the situation.   Its normal to want to avoid facing what is happening to a loved one with Alzheimer's disease or dementia.  After all, the disease is progressive.  Taking steps to understand its predictable progression will allow a caregiver to mentally prepare for the future and reduce anxiety over an uncertain future.  Understand that a loved one's difficult behavior usually results from confusion, disorientation, and frustration. This will assist the caregiver in letting go of blame and unfullfilled expectations.

Do you need help caring for a spouse or loved one?  Respite time is essential for primary caregivers.  Get the rest you need so that you can continue to provide the care your loved one depends on.  Call Easy Living Services at 770-442-8664 and we'll send a qualified, compassionate caregiver to care for your loved one safely at home. 

Home Care for Atlanta Seniors | Easy Living Services

Dementia - Spending Quality Time With A Loved One

  
  
  

Dementia, taking care of a parentDementia is a progressive disease and it may become difficult to visit your loved one when they are in the later stages.  They may not recognize you or even be able to converse making it hard to know how to be supportive.  Make the visit more meaningful by planning your visit in advance.

You might want to bring:

  • A photo album
  • Music you know they love
  • A favorite food
  • A book or church bulletin to read aloud
  • A special memento
  • Lotion for a hand or foot massage
  • A pet, if allowed

Touch can be instrumental to carry out activities such as bathing or dressing.  Research shows that people with dementia can tell the difference between this activity and expressive touch.  Expressive touch is when we hold hands, put an arm around the person, or give a back rub or hug.  This conveys acceptance, nurturing and caring.  A caring touch can trigger the brain to release natural chemicals that suppress pain and depression.  Massage a loved one's hand, brush their hair or apply lotion to the hands and feet.

Be careful to avoid speaking down to your loved one.  If you haven't always called your loved one "sweetie," "dear," or "honey" don't do it now it will only make them more agitated.  Keep in mind that they were high functioning adults and you should respect their dignity in small ways.  Remember to speak slowly, people with dementia take longer to process what you have said.

Keep in mind that the sense of smell is so basic that when we smell a certain odor it can bring back memories from decades ago.  You might want to bring along the following:

  • A rose, a lavender sachet, or a candle that smells like pumpkin or apple pie
  • A favorite perfume or aftershave
  • Aromatherapy oil

We all know the power of music, it can transport you back to a place and time and evoke such vivid memories and sensations.  There has been a lot of research on the positive effects that music has on individuals with Dementia.  Therapist have been using music therapy to promote memory and a sense of self in the treatment of persons with Dementia for an extensive number of years.  Selecting songs that have a personal meaning; a song played at their wedding, songs that were popular during their youth, can have a calming and uplifting effect.  It can provide memory recall, positive changes in moods and stimulate and promote interest.

Some times experiencing different textures can be stimulating to a person with Dementia.  A cozy throw, cool stone or even a stuffed animal may provide comfort.  Wrapping someone's hands or feet in a hot, wet towel might feel very soothing and relaxing.  Opening a window to feel a breeze and also be an enjoyable experience. 

Use your imagination.  Think about what would bring you comfort.  What would feel good to you?  For each visit plan a simple, new, creative way to bring pleasure, serenity or comfort.  The quality of time spent with your loved one will improve for both of you.

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Home Care for Atlanta Seniors | Easy Living Services

Sleep Disorders in Seniors...Early Predictor of Parkinson's Disease?

  
  
  

Recently, I came across some information that I found helpful as it relates to a elderly loved one. My dad's chronic vivid and active nightmares caused me to do a little research.  It's definitely an issue that I will discuss with his physician.  Consider the following:

senior companionsRecent scientific research has identified a probable link between REM sleep disorders and degenerative neurological conditions like Parkinsons and memory loss issues. Mayo Clinic researchers have found that people with REM sleep disorders have approximately double the risk of developing cognitive impairment or Parkinsons.  The onset of the cognitive impairment is on average about 4 years after first diagnosis of the sleep disorder.  This is significant because it may allow physicians to intervene early in the disease process, minimimizing brain cell death.

What is an REM sleep disorder?  What symptoms are associated with this condition?

When people are in the deep REM (rapid eye movement) sleep stage, their muscles are "paralyzed" so that they do not physically act out their dreams.  However, in a person with REM sleep disorder, the muscle paralysis is absent so his/her body is free to move and act out the dream sequence.   

This condition is most common in middle aged and elderly people.  Men are more often affected than women.  In most cases, the behavior comes on gradually and worsens over time.  When the disorder appears suddenly, it is typically related to drug or alcohol withdrawal. 

Patients suffering with this condition can experience nightmares in which they are attacked and pursued and in response, scream, cry, kick, punch, thrash and sometimes jump from bed while still asleep.  Not all dream sequences involve a frightening experience.  My dad, for example, had a fantastic dream where he dove to catch a football and scored the winning touchtown in the Superbowl!  Unfortunately, he also dove out of bed, knocking over a lamp, crashing into a nightstand and doing a number on his knee.  He has also been a "boxer" in his dreams, complete with loud "trash talking"  and a fierce punch that almost clipped me when I went to check on him.  These stories are little humorous but other experiences have been no joke. The behavior associated with REM sleep disorder can be frightening to experience and upsetting to observe. This intense physical activity while sleeping can lead to injury to self or mate. Upon waking, the individual may remember the dream but not his actions.

Can REM sleep disorder be treated?

The condition can be treated with prescription medication. Low dose benzodiazepine may be prescribed which is believed to suppress the muscle action.  Physicians are cautious when using this medication to treat patients who also have signs of dementia or gait disorders.  Melatonin has also been prescribed and used with some success as a natural alternative. You will definitely want to have your loved one evaluated by a physician for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.  Your physician will want to follow him closely due to the link between REM sleep disorder and possible serious neurological conditions.

Implement physical safeguards such as placing mattress on floor or place a pad on the floor next to the bed, using padded bedrails, moving the bed away from other furniture or windows and removing unsafe objects from the room.  His or her mate should also consider sleeping elsewhere until symptoms resolve.

REM sleep disorder can be a serious condition.  Don't chalk up the symptoms to "old age"; seek medical advice.  Evaluation and treatment of this condition may alert your loved one's physician to hidden risk factors for Parkinson's disease and other neurological conditions down the road. 

 

 

 

 

Home Care for Atlanta Seniors | Easy Living Services

Improving Communication with a Dementia Patient

  
  
  

dementia and communication

Communicating effectively with a loved-one who has been diagnosed with Dementia poses a real challenge for all family members.  The disease is a progressive brain disorder that, over time, diminishes a person's ability to think clearly, process information and communicate well with others.  Dementia may also cause intense mood swings and personality changes.  Learning how to better relate to the person with dementia and making adjustments in communication style to fit their limitations will greatly reduce stress levels and strengthen relationships.

The following are some strategies for enhancing communication with your loved-one:

  • Minimize distractions.  Effective communication starts with getting the person's attention.  Take steps to minimize noise or competing activity. For example, you may need to turn off the TV or close a door.
  • Set the proper mood.   Make certain that your body language and facial expressions are consistent with your message.  Set a relaxed tone by using a calm, pleasant voice. If appropriate, use physical touch for reassurance and to keep him/her focused. 
  • Simpify your message.  Use simple words and sentences.  Do not include a great deal of detail or background information.  Speak slowly and distinctly, over-annunciating, if neccessary.  Be prepared to repeat yourself several times, slowly and calmly if he dosen't comprehend the message at first.
  • Avoid "interrogations".   Do not ask too many questions at once which could cause your loved one to become overwhelmed and shut down.  Use questions with simple "yes" or "no" answers rather than open ended questions.  If you are asking him to make a choice between multiple options, consider using visual prompts to facilitate.  For example, if you are asking your mom to choose between two blouses, show the blouses to her to facilitate. Also, keep in mind that his or her short term memory may be significantly impaired.  Asking  questions such as, "what did you have for lunch" or "what time did you have physical therapy" will be difficult and frustating for the dementia patient.
  • Use affection to offer reassurance. A person living with dementia may feel very confused, anxious, and self-conscious.  He or she may believe certain events occurred when in fact, they did not.  The feelings and fears associated with these imagined events are very real to the dementia patient  Often, the best way to help your loved one cope with these feelings is to offer verbal and physical expressions of affection and reassurance. Avoid the tempation to openly dismiss the events as this could cause your loved one to become defensive or frustrated.  Instead acknowlege their feelings and remain empathetic.
  • Use humor to keep the dialogue open.  Dementia typically does not impair a person's ability to see the humor in a situation.  Enjoy a good laugh together to keep the communication lines open.

It can be a real challenge both mentally and emotionally, to maintain effective communications with a dementia patient.  Taking the time to better understand the challenges a dementia patient faces can enhance your relationship with a parent or loved one.  Experimenting with different communication strategies can help you develop the tools needed to connect with your loved one.  Ultimately, it's the connection that enables a caregiver to continue caring for the long haul.

Need more information on Dementia related topics?   Explore our complete list of informative articles at www.easylivingservices.com.

Can't find the information you are searching for?  Call us at 770-442-8664. 

We're here to help!

 

 

 

Home Care for Atlanta Seniors | Easy Living Services

Alzheimer's - Therapies That May Help

  
  
  


Alzheimer's therapies, home care, Atlanta caregiver, taking care of a loved oneThere are several different types of Alzheimer therapies that are continuing to show great progress for many who suffer from this disease.  The therapies range from aromatherapy and music to therapies geared towards correcting insulin levels and targeting amyloids.  There is also a great deal of buzz and positive results from the use of coconut water and coconut oil.  While some of the therapies are drug-based, many are not, and there are new therapies being further researched on a daily basis. 

Studies have also shown that your loved one's diet may greatly impact the progression of Alzheimer's as well.  It is important for your loved one to remain healthy and if one therapy does not seem to be working, do not give up hope.  Just try something new!  No one is genetically or biologically the same; therefore, the severity of the Alzheimer's varies from person to person.  It is also the same with the reactions and progress from the therapies. 

Keeping a loved one with Alzheimer's at home requires series of steps to be taken to make the process as easy as possible.  Keep things simple; have written instructions for their daily routine and be sure to include activities such as eating, fluid intake, bath time, and exercise.  When preparing food keep the food in small portions that are simple to eat.  Everything included in the meal should be extremely easy to handle.  Keep your loved one involved in activities and "chores" around the house so that they can continue to feel productive.  It will provide them with a challenge to remain active and the emotional benefits for your loved one will be great.  Most people who suffer from Alzheimer's do not like feeling left out or even feeling that they are alone at any time.  It is important to remember to stay in the room with your loved one as much as possible and to set up activities around the main part of the house for their participation.

No one will ever be content hearing the news that they suffer from Alzheimer's or Dementia; all one can do is remain positive, try various therapies, keep a healthy and balanced daily diet, work closely with your doctor, and pray for the day that a cure is found for this disease.

For more information on Home Care for a loved one with Alzheimer's call us at 770-442-8664.

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Home Care for Atlanta Seniors | Easy Living Services

Dealing with Senior Aggression: In-Home Care Solutions

  
  
  

agressive behavior in seniorsIt seemed as though your mom was really sailing through her old age.  Still relatively healthy and sharp, your normally sweet tempered mom is suddenly prone to angry outbursts and cursing.  What's going on?

A trip to your parents' physician is definitely in order, especially, if violent or physically aggressive behavior has emerged.  The physician will want to determine whether the behavior problem stems from an emotional vs. physical/disease related issue.  Leading causes of verbal and physical aggression include:   

  • An underlying health problem like urinary tract infection, pneumonia, and endocrine problems associated with the thyroid or adrenal glands can cause aggressive behavior.  Medication reactions and interactions as well as drug or alcohol abuse can also create this type of behavior.
  • Unrecognized or verbalized physical pain can lead to sudden displays of anger and aggressive action.
  • Depression and mental diseases can manifest as aggressive behavior. A depressed senior may feel sad, hopeless or guilty which can evolve into anger and frustration.   Any small incident can ignite an "over the top" reaction. 
  • One of the leading causes for aggressive behavior among seniors is dementia including Alzheimer's Disease.  "Sun-downing" describes the agitated behavior a dementia patient may exhibit in the early evening hours.

Aggressive behavior related to a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease is not curable so effective management tools are essential.  As a family member, how will  you best respond during one of these episodes?

Suggestions for diffusing agitated/aggressive behavior:

  • Do NOT argue or correct your loved one when he/she is agitated. Arguing only serves to increase the liklihood of escalation.   Use a calm, confident voice to communicate and avoid making sudden or large movements. 
  • Do NOT minimize or dismiss their anxiety and concerns.  The anxiety or delusions she may be experiencing can be extremely realistic and alarming.  Telling her that "it doesn't exist or not to worry" will not bring comfort.  Instead, acknowlege just how frightening or upsetting the experience must be. 
  • To the extent possible, reduce environmental stressors. An individual suffering with dementia may reach a point of "sensory overload" which triggors the aggressive behavior.  Excessive noise, temperature extremes, new people or environments, hunger, need to empty bladder or bowels, multiple activities...all can lead to a "melt down."  Take the time to observe unique triggers for your loved one.
  • Do NOT insist on completing an activity that is agitating your loved one at the moment.  For example, if getting her into the shower is a struggle; reschedule for a later time.  Remain flexible as much as possible on non-essential activities.  Consider enlisting the support of another trusted person to assist.  Perhaps, a new face will elicit cooperation.
  • When your parent is upset but NOT displaying physical aggression, try communicating at or below eye level to appear non-threatening. If physical aggression is threatened, use a calm, firm voice and remain at or slightly above eye level.
  • Always try and redirect your loved one away from the activity or situation that is triggering the anxiety.  Suggesting that you take a walk together can be a great way to redirect and diffuse the situation.  Allow your parent to express their feelings openly while you just listen.  Changing the topic to something pleasant or reminiscing about happy times can be a successful tactic.   Get your parent started on an activity that affirms their usefulness like sorting laundry, clipping coupons, folding clothes, setting the table, etc.

Do you need assistance caring for a loved one at home?  Easy Living Services can help.

Call today and learn more about flexible care plans, designed for your unique family.  

770-442-8664.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Home Care for Atlanta Seniors | Easy Living Services
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