Alzheimer’s is a complex condition that often presents overwhelming issues for those providing care. As the disease continues into later stages, those with Alzheimer’s become increasingly dependent on communication through behavior rather than speech, and oftentimes these behaviors are of an inappropriate nature. For instance, someone with more advanced Alzheimer’s disease may present the following: Read more
Picture how it would feel to awaken in an unfamiliar location, not able to remember how you arrived there or even what your name is. Progressing into complete disorientation, then quickly leading to anger and fear, you might find yourself lashing out at the unknown person positioned beside your bed, talking to you in a quiet voice. Read more
Dementia confusion, a typical occurrence in Alzheimer’s, can lead to recent memories being forgotten about or distorted, while memories from the more distant past usually stay unaffected. This can cause past events to make more sense to a senior with dementia than the present. A person’s alternate reality can be the senior’s way of making sense of the present through past experience.
Seniors with Alzheimer’s disease often have problems expressing themselves, and at times their alternate reality has more to do with a physical requirement or a distinct feeling they want to express rather than the actual words they are saying.
- “I need to deliver all these casseroles to the neighbors before the end of the day.” Though these casseroles do not exist, the words could actually represent a need for meaning in everyday life or wanting to be involved in an activity. A suitable response to find out more could be, “Why did you make casseroles for our neighbors?”
- “When will my wife be coming home?” This question may be more about a need for affection or acceptance or a home-cooked meal than it could be about wishing to see his wife, who passed away many years ago. An appropriate reaction to uncover more might be, “Why would you like to see her?”
Keeping a diary of these kinds of events can help you notice a pattern in the older person’s dementia confusion. The more you listen in and pay close attention, the easier it will become to understand the thinking behind the alternate reality and the ideal way to react.
Is It Alright to Play Along?
As long as the scenario isn’t going to be unsafe or improper, it is perfectly fine to play along with the senior’s alternate reality. Doing so won’t make the dementia worse. Keep in mind, the senior’s reality is true to him/her and playing along can make your loved one feel more comfortable.
If the situation is inappropriate or may possibly cause harm to the older adult, try to respond to the perceived need while redirecting him/her to something safer or more appropriate.
Bear in mind these 3 actions:
- Reassure the older adult.
- React to his/her need.
- Redirect if required.
Also, call on the caregiving team at Endeavor In-Home Care, providing senior home care in Phoenix and the surrounding areas, including specialized dementia care. Our caregivers are on hand to provide compassionate, professional respite care services for family care providers who could use some time to rest and recharge. Contact us any time to learn more at 480-498-2324.
“How on earth could you think that I have dementia? There is not a single thing wrong with me!”
If a senior loved one with a dementia diagnosis communicates feelings like this, you may think to yourself that the senior is essentially in denial and reluctant to admit to such a concerning diagnosis. Yet there could be a different reason: anosognosia, or someone’s actual unawareness that he or she is affected by dementia. Read more
Search online for the words “activities for seniors” and you’ll probably find an assortment of games, crafts, memory-stimulating puzzles, and of course, the requisite bingo. What you will not find, unless you search much longer, are the purposeful, philanthropic activities that bring purpose to our lives. And yet, if you ask older adults what they would most like to do, the majority of them will not mention art projects, games, or bingo. What they want most of all is to feel useful. Read more
Providing Alzheimer’s care for a loved one is hard under the best of scenarios; add in a global pandemic, one that calls for social distancing, masks, and intensive sanitation of both ourselves and the environment, and the challenge may seem insurmountable. Read more
There are a number of age-related concerns that can have an impact on senior nutrition, but new research is revealing that it’s more important than ever to maintain a healthy diet for seniors: the potential impact on cognitive function. And it may surprise you to learn that malnutrition in seniors is actually quite common. Per the National Resource on Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Aging, as many as of 35 to 50 percent of the senior residents in long-term care facilities are faced with malnutrition, along with as many as 65 percent of older hospitalized adults. Read more
Although an astounding number of older adults are dealing with the challenges of Alzheimer’s disease, an even greater number of family members are struggling with caring for them. Surprisingly, nearly 75% of family caregivers are managing their senior loved ones’ dementia care needs by themselves, with only 26% reaching out for professional care support. Read more
The most up-to-date Alzheimer’s statistics are worrying. The disease has become the 6th leading cause of death, rising above both breast and prostate cancer together. And while deaths from several chronic conditions, including cardiovascular illnesses, are declining, those from Alzheimer’s have jumped more than 100%. The toll the disease takes on family caregivers is similarly staggering, with more than 16 million Americans supplying over 18 billion hours of caregiving for a member of the family with Alzheimer’s. Read more
Everyone has trouble solving problems or getting organized at times in their life.
When, however, may these signs of difficulty indicate that there could be something more serious happening? Alzheimer’s disease is an issue that most family caregivers put a considerable amount of thought into throughout their care experience with their senior parent, and it is important to be able to recognize early warning signs of the progression. While memory loss is the first thing that most people think about when they consider the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, the reality is that there are many other signs that could indicate that your senior is at the beginning of their progression with the disease.
One early warning sign of Alzheimer’s disease is difficulty solving problems or making plans.
While it is perfectly normal to occasionally experience confusion when making complex plans or when managing a challenging task, such as balancing a checkbook, if your parent is having frequent or marked difficulty with planning or problem solving, it may be time to discuss it with their doctor.
Some problem solving or planning difficulties that may be an early warning sign of Alzheimer’s disease include:
-A marked difficulty with concentration and seeming distracted when they should be focusing on a specific task
-Difficulty following a set of tasks, particularly something familiar such as a recipe that they have made several times before
-Inability to keep up with their regular household bills
-Receiving cut-off notices for their utilities
-Getting overdraft notices for their bank account
-Inability to make simple organizational choices such as how to put items away in a drawer or linen closet
Starting senior care for your aging parent can be one of the best decisions that you can make for them during the course of your care journey.
Having a senior home care services provider in the home with your aging parent can ensure that they have ongoing access to the care, support, and assistance that they need to manage their individual needs, challenges, and limitations in the ways that are right for them while also respecting the care that you give them on a regular basis. This means that your parent can stay healthy, safe, comfortable, and happy while also pursuing a lifestyle that is an active, engaged, and independent as possible throughout their later years. As their family caregiver, this will give you confidence and peace of mind that your senior will get everything that they need both when you are with them and when you are not.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering Elder Care in Scottsdale, AZ, please contact the caring staff at Endeavor Home Care today. Call (480) 535-6800.
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