Alzheimer’s Care can Help Patients Be Productive and Happy.

A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease is terrifying. Even at the early-onset stage it delivers images of a loved one, or maybe of you, sitting unresponsively in a nursing home activity room. Alzheimer’s, however, is a progressive disease, and may take years to advance. As a matter of fact, some early-onset Alzheimer’s patients continue to work. Employers, under the Americans with Disabilities Act, make accommodations for employees with the disease, just as they would for those with other impairments.

alzheimer's careSome of the accommodations are the same ones used at home for individuals in the early stages of the disease. Employers provide a voice-activated recorder to give the employee verbal instructions, make checklists of tasks and reduce the peripheral jobs to concentrate on primary functions. With accommodations at work and some in-home Alzheimer’s care assistance from a senior care service many people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s live productive and happy lives for years. The in-home care can be adjusted as the patient needs more assistance. That continuity is a source of comfort and assurance as the disease progresses.

In addition to workplace accommodations, many patients find that they remember more and function better with memory training. This is another service a senior care organization can provide. The caregivers can become trusted friends that add to the security and self reliance of Alzheimer’s patients, especially when they are able to offer the added resource of prayer and faith.

A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s is frightening and life-changing, but with assistance, early-onset patients can still be productive and vital. That’s where we come in. If you have questions about how we can help you or a loved one cope with a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, contact us.

Alzheimer’s Care: Beating the Stigma Attached to Alzheimer’s/Dementia

alzheimer's care

Dementia sufferers should know that this is only a blip on the radar screens of their lives.

Almost five and one-half million elderly people in America have Alzheimer’s. It is one of the leading causes of death in the country for which there is no prevention and no cure. That figure is expected to triple by 2050. Additionally, there are different types and gradations of dementia, such as early on-set dementia and vascular dementia. Nationwide, Alzheimer’s care centers are springing up which include memory support care services. Developers see the need for care centers, they are consulting the demographic, and they are moving to supply the services.

However, Medicare doesn’t cover long-term nursing home expenses. In-home care is covered for 100 days, following which it will pay 80 percent of the costs. Medicare will pay, though, for Alzheimer’s care in the home, but only if the patient is at the very advanced stages of the disease. What about the millions of dementia sufferers who still have productive years ahead of them? The second they mention the word Alzheimer’s or dementia, they are shunned as if they were lepers. What is being done to help them?

The answer is a lot. A rather unfortunately titled article in The Guardian describes an English movement to restore the humanity to those elderly robbed of their credibility. According to Having Alzheimer’s is An Adventure, Not a Disease, a movement called “dementia friends” is being established. It will educate people regarding the origins of dementia, its sufferers’ needs and how to see dementia in a positive, instead of negative, light. In America, the movement is called Momentia, established in Oregon. Momentia instructs dementia sufferers how to accept this change in their lives and move on.

But it’s more than that. The movement teaches dementia sufferers that this is only a blip on the radar screen. They are still viable human beings with something to offer. The problem is that when an elderly person mentions the word dementia, people retreat with terrible looks on their faces. Most sufferers don’t even mention the word, which accounts for elders’ voluntary retreat from productive living. It is the general public that needs to be educated about Alzheimer’s care and dementia, not just the sufferers.

Awareness of the problem is becoming widespread, and folks are primed to do something about it. Many states have awareness and education programs for the edification of the general public. Even the United Nations has established June 15 as an international elder abuse awareness day, in response to a World Health Organization report that four to six percent of the elderly suffer some form of abuse. Financial abuse is one of the leading abuses of the elderly, and the more so if the elder suffers from dementia. Indeed, if dementia sufferers are still viable members of society, these abuses would be greatly reduced.

When you contact us about Alzheimer’s care for a loved one in Paradise Valley, Mesa, Phoenix, Sun City, Scottsdale or Tucson, rest assured you will be working with caregivers who are well educated in working with dementia patients. They, too, understand the stigma attached to dementia, and work hard to dispel such thoughts.

Alzheimer’s Disease Third Stage and Homecare Services

homecare servicesAlzheimer’s Disease typically progresses through stages with Stage Three being the last and most severe one. This final period lasts anywhere from one to three years and is quite trying for everyone involved with your loved one’s care. Because of the difficulty, it is often advised to utilize homecare services for additional support.

You can help your loved one by knowing the symptoms to look for and then doing what you can to help.

  • Loss of communication—Your loved one will likely begin to lose their ability to speak. As you help him or her through their daily activities, talk with them about what you are doing as if they had the ability to respond.
  • Excessive movement—Offer activities that allow them to move in meaningful ways. Give your loved one soft material to rub, a doll to rock, or task them with wiping tables.
  • Loss of normal movement—Help them with lifting their arms and bending elbows or other movements that seem to be difficult.
  • Loss of desire to eat—Offer meal replacement drinks with as much nutrition as possible. Also, feed them fresh fruit, ice cream, or other foods they enjoy.
  • Choking—If your loved one begins having trouble swallowing, talk with their doctor or the pharmacist. Thickening agents are available and they make drinks easier to swallow. You can also offer foods that are easy to swallow such as mashed potatoes.
  • Lack of emotion—Sing songs that are familiar and look for any eye movement. Touch them frequently by brushing their hair or rubbing lotion on their arms and hands.
  • Seizures—Talk with your loved one’s doctor and they may prescribe anti-seizure medication.
  • More susceptible to infection and illness—Ask any visitors who may have a fever or cold to postpone visiting until they are well. You can also assure proper hand washing techniques and use anti-bacterial wipes on faucets, doorknobs, counter tops, and other areas that are touched often.

While there are typical patterns with Alzheimer’s Disease, it progresses differently in each person. For more information on this condition or abut how we can help, please contact us.

Alzheimers Care: Stage 2 of Alzheimer’s Disease

alzheimers careAlzheimer’s Disease is a condition that follows three typical stages. When you know the stage your loved one is in and how you can help them, it allows both you and him or her to feel more comfortable and get the Alzheimers care that is needed.

The first stage, mild Alzheimer’s lasts on average two to four years. As the disease progresses to Stage Two it turns into moderate Alzheimer’s and lasts an average of four years, but can last anywhere from two to ten years.

Symptoms and how you can help:

  • Sleeping disorders—Keep a routine at bedtime. This will help to signal that bedtime is coming. Do things such as wash hands and face, get on pajamas, have a snack, turn the lights on lower, and play soft music.
  • Eating disorders—Have finger foods and snacks available. Some goods ideas are fresh cut fruit and vegetables, sandwiches, cookies, tater tots, enriched drinks, and other small items that are easy to eat with the hands only.
  • Sundowner’s Syndrome—Your loved one may start to display behavior problems during the early evening hours. Try your best to keep the routine structured and the environment calm. Encourage activities that are calm starting late in the afternoon. Washing dishes, setting the table, listening to music, and washing dishes are good examples.
  • Daily activities start becoming difficult—When you see your loved one starting to have trouble doing daily things such as dressing, help them by giving simple directions with one step. Allow them to continue doing as much as they can for themselves, but you may need to mirror the required actions. For instance, brush your teeth to show them how.
  • Incontinence—Remind your loved one to use the restroom every two hours. If accidents begin happening, use adult incontinence products. Also, teach and use good hand-washing techniques.
  • Loss of communication—Your loved one will likely begin to lose the power to express themselves. They may use repetitive speech or use words out of order. Listen to the words and pick out the keywords so you can best help your family member.
  • Falls—Make your environment as safe as possible as your loved one has an increased risk for falling. Look for things that may pose a trip hazard such as footstools, throw rugs, and other things. Also, install grab bars in the shower and near the toilet. Stairs and hallways should be well lit to avoid falls.
  • Argumentative, angry, aggressive—Do not argue with your loved one or try to reason. Be gentle and try to distract them and remove them from the area if it’s highly stimulating.
  • Wandering—Keep your loved one’s environment safe and secure. Put locks on each exterior door, on both the top and bottom. You should also consider adding motion sensors to the doors to notify you that a door has been opened. Tell your neighbors about your loved one and tell the local police in case they see your loved one wandering around without supervision.

Stage 2 of Alzheimer’s Disease causes your loved one to need more and more supervision. We would love to help you. For information on this condition, contact us.

Memory Care: Stage One of Alzheimer’s Disease

memory care calendar

Using a calendar that’s visible helps people with memory issues feel more comfortable

Alzheimer’s Disease typically follows recognizable patterns in its progression. In each of its three stages, there are specific behaviors and symptoms that are considered “normal.” It is helpful to know these stages as a caregiver so you can make the best decisions for the memory care of your loved one.

If your family member is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s Disease, he is in Stage One that typically lasts for two to four years.

Symptoms and how you can help:

  • Time or place disorientation—Avoid arguing and don’t correct your loved one all the time. Offer a gentle reminder of where you are and what is going on.
  • Short-term memory loss—Consider using a board of some sort that shows the day of the week and date. You can place appointment reminders here, too. Also, use this area to keep glasses, keys, and other things used on a daily basis.
  • Lack of energy—Encourage naps each day during appropriate times.
  • Hard time concentrating—Don’t expect the Alzheimer’s patient to focus on a task for longer than 20 minutes.
  • Short tempered, rage, over-reaction, hysteria—Do your best to keep routines. This will help your loved one know exactly what to expect. Also, do not respond to everything, it is the disease talking. Try to stay calm.
  • Depression—Severe depression is experienced by nearly ¾ of those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Watch for depressive behaviors and talk with your family member’s doctor about these behaviors you may witness. It can be helpful to use an anti-depressant to treat the depression.

Helping your loved one with Alzheimer’s Disease can help you, too. For more information on this condition, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Alzheimer’s Caregivers: 7 Ways to Talk About It With Others

Caregivers at home for Alzheimer’s patients face a difficult task not only of taking care of a loved one with Alzheimer’s, but also of having to redefine roles and relationships. A once-independent spouse now needs to accept the fact that they need help. A parent must now be taken care of by the children for whom they’ve provided care all their lives. It is a world that is turning unpredictably upside down for many.

caregiversAlzheimer’s, unfortunately, is one of those “invisible” conditions. If the person looks fine, then they must be fine, right? In fact, sometimes the person with Alzheimer’s may not know that they have been diagnosed with it because even those closest to them are uncomfortable discussing it. However, talking about it is the first step to understanding it and to understanding what you can do to help your loved one. Here are seven ways to talk about it:

1. Be sure the person is aware of it. “You’ve got Alzheimer’s,” is a very blunt way to approach someone, and not the best thing to do for most people. If you are going to be taking care of someone with Alzheimer’s, even if you use a phrase like “memory problems”, be sure they understand that this something that’s going to affect their lives, and that you’ll be there to help.

2. Share the diagnosis. This will help you gain support from others. It also keeps you from feeling like you have to pretend that everything is fine.

3. Talk with your loved one about how to tell others. Close friends and relatives may be told one on one. When former President Ronald Reagan chose to tell others, he did so in the form a written letter.

4. Expect that some people will not believe the diagnosis at first. Especially in its early stages, Alzheimer’s is very hard to notice. Excuses are often offered, such as “Oh, you’re (or he’s or she’s) just getting older.” Instead of trying to force them to see, just accept that they are having a difficult time accepting the diagnosis.

5. Understand that some friends and even family may become very uncomfortable at the idea. They may not know how to respond to it. If some show signs of discomfort, don’t hit them with everything at once. Ease into it a little bit at a time.

6. Let people know that cards, letters, and even visits are welcome. Let them know when good times to visit are. Even mild to moderate Alzheimer’s patients can start to feel shunned by friends and family who won’t come around because they’re unsure if they should.

7. If anyone asks if there’s anything they can do, be ready with a list of suggestions. There’s no need to take this on by yourself, and if you have friends and family willing to lend a hand, accept the offer.

Alzheimer’s is a difficult condition for both the patient and the caregiver. If you can build up a support team of people willing to help, to talk, and to listen, you’ll find you have a lot more options than you may have first thought when it comes to caring for your loved one. Contact us to see how we can help and become part of your support team.

Dementia Care: How to Know When Help is Needed

dementia careIf you have a loved one who has been diagnosed with dementia it can be difficult to determine if it is still safe for them to live independently. Often family members worry but the loved one insists everything is fine and help is not needed. News stories of dementia patients wandering away from home and requiring a search and rescue effort increase concern for family members. No one wants their loved one to become a missing dementia patient. How do you determine when dementia care is required to keep your loved one safe?

First, you should be aware that it is possible to provide dementia care in home. In other words, it is not necessary to move your loved one to an assisted living facility especially at the early stages of dementia. If your loved one strongly desires to stay in their own home it can be achieved. In addition, you do not have to provide the care yourself. It can be exhausting and overwhelming caring for a dementia patient especially if you do not have the appropriate training.

To determine if your loved one needs dementia care you should ask yourself the following questions:

How do they spend their time during the day?

* Are they still able to successfully shop and cook for themselves?

* Are they consuming nutritious foods? Do they need help eating?

* Are they able to keep their house clean or are dishes and laundry piling up?

* Do they keep up with paying bills on time?

* Have there been any instances in which the water was left running or the stove left on?

* Are they able to adequately maintain their personal hygiene?

* Do they tend to wander?

* Do they wear inappropriate clothes for the weather or wear the same clothes for days?

* Do they take their medication as prescribed or do they have trouble keeping track of what to take when?

If any of the above questions were answered in a way that makes you realize your loved one is no longer capable of living independently contact us at Endeavor Home Care. We offer home care services that include errands, light housekeeping, meal preparation, grocery shopping, medication reminders, transportation for doctor appointments, and companion care in Arizona cities including Tuscon, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Gilbert, Chandler and more.