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
Each year, thousands of American seniors are told they have Parkinson’s disease, but they do not. For a number of these people, the true diagnosis is a similar but not as well-known disease: dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB).
Dementia with Lewy bodies affects as many as 1.3 million Americans, according to the Lewy Body Dementia Association (LBDA). And that estimate could be too low, considering that a number of people who’ve been incorrectly diagnosed with Parkinson’s still have not been given an accurate diagnosis.
Signs and symptoms for the two diseases can be very similar, in particular as they progress, because they exhibit the same root modifications in the brain.
Here are the symptoms you should be aware of, according to the LBDA:
- Intensifying dementia – Increasing confusion and reduced attention and executive function are frequent. Memory impairment may not be obvious during the early stages.
- Frequent visual hallucinations – These are commonly complex and detailed.
- Hallucinations of other senses – Touch or hearing are probably the most typical.
- REM sleep behavior disorder – This can appear decades before the onset of dementia and Parkinson’s.
- Frequent falls and fainting – Includes unexplained loss in consciousness.
- Other psychiatric disruptions – These differ from patient to patient.
Is the correct diagnosis really critical? Diagnosing DLB quickly and properly may possibly mean the difference between life and death, according to Howard I. Hurtig, M.D., Chair, Department of Neurology, Pennsylvania Hospital and Elliott Professor of Neurology. Incorrectly treating DLB can not only result in serious adverse reactions, but could even exacerbate symptoms and prevent accurate symptom management.
Much of the confusion among doctors is due to the fact that both Parkinson’s disease and DLB come under the exact same umbrella of Lewy body dementias.
An important distinction is in the “one-year rule” associated with cognitive symptoms. Patients with Parkinson’s disease ordinarily do not present cognitive issues until at least one year after mobility symptoms start. DLB is the exact opposite, with cognitive symptoms appearing first for at least one year.
Endeavor In-Home Care offers Mesa respite care and dementia care services for the surrounding areas. Contact us at 480-498-2324 to arrange a free home care assessment or to learn more about the way we can help your loved one with dementia, Parkinson’s disease, or any other condition common in aging.
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.
Naturally, families want to do all they can to satisfy their senior loved ones’ needs, but dementia caregiving can result in an exceedingly high level of both mental and physical stress. This takes a toll regarding the caregivers’ own general health over time, specifically when the disease progresses. And many family members think there is an all-or-nothing approach: either oversee the senior’s needs at home, or face moving him or her into residential care.
Endeavor Home Care, fortunately, offers an alternative that is beneficial to seniors with dementia and to their family caregivers: the addition of certified in-home dementia caregivers to offer as much or as little respite care as needed. Read on to learn more about why dementia care at home is highly beneficial:
- Highly trained care. Because our care providers are both skilled and experienced in the numerous intricate components of Alzheimer’s disease, along with other types of dementia, they can proactively cope with, and more successfully manage, even the most challenging of behaviors, like wandering, aggression, and sundowning, among others.
- Enhanced safety. The possibility of accidents is increased for everyone with dementia. Even something which seems as easy as helping your family member into the shower or onto the toilet may pose a dangerous fall risk. Trained caregivers understand how to look for and prevent falls, keeping both you and your cherished loved one safe from personal injury.
- Sustainable aging in place. Sometimes, family caregivers become so stressed with attempting to meet all of a senior loved one’s needs in tandem with their own that a move to a residential dementia care facility seems inevitable. But working together with a specialist in dementia care opens up the possibility of long-term, effective care in the home.
- Ease of mind. Understanding your loved one is in capable hands allows you to take a breath, relax, and step away from the stresses of caregiving in order to alleviate stress and the prospect of caregiver burnout and depression.
It’s best to look into in-home dementia care choices at the beginning of the disease, to accommodate a more seamless transition and also to make certain that your loved one receives the best dementia care at home from the start. Contact our Mesa senior care team at 480-498-2324 to ask about a consultation in the comfort of home, where we can establish a highly individualized plan of care that will improve wellbeing for your loved one today, and as needs change in the future. See our full Arizona service area at the bottom of our website.
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.
Although we’ve yet to find a cure for the disease, there are two distinct types of Alzheimer’s treatments which can help reduce a number of the more prevalent signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s. In the event a senior you love is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, listed below are two options the doctor may suggest:
- Cholinesterase inhibitors: By hindering the breakdown of acetylcholine, a compound required for memory, attention, learning and muscle activity, these prescription drugs can provide some success for the mild to moderate stages of Alzheimer’s for some patients. Dr. Zaldy Tan, medical director for the UCLA Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care Program, warns however, to be aware that results are going to be limited at best. “The best case scenario is that the patient’s memory and cognitive function may improve slightly to what it was six months to a year ago – it’s not going to turn back time,” he explains. Included in this class of medications are galantamine (Razadyne), donepezil (Aricept) and rivastigmine (Exelon).
- Memantine: In the moderate to severe stages of the disease, the doctor may recommend memantine (Namenda) which takes an alternative approach compared to the cholinesterase inhibitors, avoiding the overstimulation of glutamate NMDA receptors which often will help restore limited memory functionality. Doctors will frequently add memantine to a patient’s care plan alongside a cholinesterase inhibitor once the disease advances.
Determining the effectiveness of these treatments takes patience, as each takes 4 to 6 weeks before benefits is will be realized. And, it is crucial to weigh the benefits against any negative effects, which could include confusion and constipation in memantine, and nausea, vomiting and a reduced heart rate with cholinesterase inhibitors.
One of the best ways to help individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease live life to the fullest is through employing the services of a specially trained caregiver who understands and will help manage the assorted struggles of dementia. Contact Endeavor Home Care at 480-498-2324 for more information on our professional, compassionate Phoenix home care services and learn how we can help a family member with Alzheimer’s.
When a parent has dementia, dining out poses a challenge.
It’s not always avoidable, however. Your mom really wants to attend her granddaughter’s wedding dinner. Her best friend is having a birthday gathering at a local restaurant. You’re not sure it’s a good idea.
It could be a baby shower, graduation dinner, or family reunion. If she is eager to attend, forcing your mom to stay home may upset her. Here are four ways to make sure the evening is a success.
Talk to the Host in Advance
Make sure the host knows your mom has dementia. Going to a crowded restaurant can be stressful when you have dementia. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible for your mom to have a good time. If the host knows in advance, it’s easier to make arrangements that will ease your mom’s stress during the event.
Carefully Pick Seating and Leave Room for an Escape
See if it can be arranged that your mom has a corner table away from noisier attendees. Noise can make for a very stressful evening out. A corner table nearer a door may work best.
By being near a door, if your mom needs to leave for a few minutes, her escape route is right there. In inclement weather, she may need a quiet indoor space to go to. Talk to the restaurant’s event planner to see if there is a sitting area that will work for her. If the weather’s good, she can head outside to regroup. A bench outside that’s away from crowds will work.
Do a Trial Run
Take your mom to the restaurant beforehand. Take her at a quieter time of day when she’s at her best. Enjoy a meal, if possible, or simply have the host give a tour. Take a video if it’s allowed and replay it often. The more familiar the setting is, the easier the event will be for your mom.
Be Prepared to Leave Early
Your mom may start out strong and become agitated after an hour or two. Arrive as close to the time the meal will be served as possible. Once the meal’s over, your mom is free to leave. Make sure she knows that she can leave when she wants to once you’ve had your dinner.
If you cannot leave, have an elder care provider available to bring your mom back home and spend time with her. Caregivers can drive your mom to and from events and businesses. They are companions who can take your mom for a ride or play games with her at home. She gains a friend while you can stay out and enjoy the evening.
Discuss your family’s needs with an elder care agency. They can walk you through the range of services and pricing information. Call now to get started.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering Home Health Care in Sun City, AZ, please contact the caring staff at Endeavor Home Care today. Call (480) 535-6800.
It may sometimes be a bit intimidating to know what to mention and how to behave when spending some time with a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease. And, sadly, due to a number of inherent elements of the disease, oftentimes family and friends feel so uncomfortable that they avoid going to see the person anymore. Understanding more information on the disease and things to anticipate, and planning ahead about how to best manage challenging behaviors can help.
The chief difficulties family caregivers and friends encounter with their loved one with Alzheimer’s disease fall into one of three categories: changes in behavior, changes in memory and communication ability; and the level of difficulty will probably fluctuate based on the particular stage of the disease the senior is currently experiencing.
To help overcome these challenges while making the visit as enjoyable as you can, Endeavor Home Care’s Alzheimer’s care professionals in Arizona recommend the following approach:
Begin your visit with a smile, and be prepared to re-introduce yourself if needed.
Use very simple language and brief sentences, and talk slowly.
Refrain from arguing with or correcting the senior.
Bring photos from a favorite past memory for reminiscing.
Listen to a number of the person’s favorite tunes together, and maybe even ask him or her to dance!
Taking a walk together if at all possible, or just about any other physical exercise, can make the visit more fun for both of you.
Remain calm during your visit, even when the senior gets agitated or exhibits inappropriate behavior.
Keep a sense of respect during your conversation, understanding the senior may repeat questions and statements.
Reduce distractions in order to give the person your full attention.
Above all, bear in mind who the individual was pre-dementia, and remind the person what she or he did which has inspired you or helped you become the person that you are today.
For additional tips on effective communications with those with Alzheimer’s disease, or for specialized hands-on care assistance, contact the Arizona dementia care team at Endeavor Home Care. Our skilled dementia caregivers are fully trained and experienced in a number of tactics to make sure seniors with Alzheimer’s disease remain secure and safe and are able to live life to the fullest, with the utmost respect and compassion all of the time. Call us at (480) 535-6800 or contact us online for more details.
Do you recall how challenging it could be when you were young to learn the lesson of sharing with your brothers and sisters? While the incredible importance of taking into consideration other people’s feelings, and also being fair, was impressed upon us early on, it may still be a challenging goal to minimize sibling squabbles regarding complicated decisions we struggle with in adulthood – such as how to fairly divide caregiver costs and requirements for our aging parents. Read more
“How can you say I have Alzheimer’s disease? There is nothing wrong with me!”
If you’ve ever heard a senior loved one with dementia frustratingly express this or perhaps a very similar sentiment, you might have believed the person was just in denial and not willing to accept a difficult diagnosis. The simple truth is, however, that oftentimes people who have dementia and other conditions are experiencing anosognosia – an unawareness of their impairment. Read more
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