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Memory Care You can Use to Connect with Your Loved One

memory care

Enjoying activities like painting, drawing, and playing music, can help strengthen memory.

When an older family member struggles with memory loss and dementia, we often lose the ability to communicate with them in a way that is satisfying to both of us. Although there is a caregiver in the home so we don’t worry about their safety or health, and we know that trained aides use memory care techniques to sustain our loved one’s cognitive abilities, we want to do something ourselves to hang onto the bond we have with our loved ones.

Trained workers use Reality Orientation, Fantasy Validation, Music and Art Therapy with other techniques to connect with elderly clients, but there are some things you can do too, using the same principles, to maintain the bond with your elderly family member. Playing music, making art and cooking together are all great ways to connect with loved ones who are limited in their communication. Besides that benefit, studies show that these therapies can reduce pain and discomfort in the elderly.

When you play songs from their youth, you stimulate memories that can foster your loved one’s ability to connect with you. They often reminisce, and you may even learn something about your past from engaging them at that level. Research also shows that the mind uses organization tasks to process the music and that can help people reinforce cognitive abilities. When you introduce rhythm and respond to it by moving or dancing with your loved one, you further tap into that organizational element.

Drawing, painting or coloring with an impaired elderly person enables connection by accessing emotions and pleasure areas that the person has trouble verbalizing. When language begins to slip away, emotions are still strong; drawing, using color and texture can activate those emotions and the memories that rise with them.

Even cooking with your loved one is a powerful tool. Food, in its preparation and in the eating of it, is so important to family life and to who we are as individuals( especially women). Simple recipes like scrambled eggs, cakes and cookies, even making a peanut butter sandwich together, can bring back those emotional memories of family that connect us to our loved ones.

For more information on how to enrich your loved one’s life, or to find out how a live-in aide can give you peace of mind,contact us. Together,as a team, we can keep your family ties stronger, longer.

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.

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.

Caregiving in Fountain Hills, AZ: Learn More About World Alzheimer’s Day 2012

September 21st is World Alzheimer’s Day. “Dementia: Living Together” is the theme for this year’s event. World Alzheimer’s Day was created by the World Health Organization in 1994 to draw attention to Alzheimer’s Disease. This special day will highlight a month of worldwide activities designed to combat the social stigma Alzheimer’s victims and caregiving family members face.

Alzheimer’s is the most common dementia. It is a slow, progressive disease that gradually robs victims of their memory. There are no cures or effective treatments for the disease’s symptoms. In fact, experts can’t even figure out how to slow it down. The number of people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s is expected to explode in the next few decades as the post-World War II generation, the baby boomers, age.

Misconceptions and detrimental attitudes about Alzheimer’s are still too common. Caregivers struggle as their loved ones slowly lose touch with reality. They face not only overwhelming physical care and financial stress, but also the social stigma of Alzheimer’s. National Alzheimer’s Day will help victims and caregivers by encouraging positive discussions about this devastating disease.

The World Alzheimer’s Report will be released during September. Worldwide seminars, special events and workshops highlighting Alzheimer’s awareness will also take place this month. Increasing numbers of people are familiar with Alzheimer’s because of loved ones who are victims. Unfortunately many still don’t recognize Alzheimer’s symptoms or behavior. National Alzheimer’s Day will educate community members to be aware of symptoms and of dementia victims in their area.

Many communities will host fundraising Memory Walks on National Alzheimer’s Day. Caregiving families, their friends and neighbors will walk together to remember those lost and to encourage those currently fighting the disease.

Dedicated researchers are actively fighting the disease. Many diseases have been eradicated or tamed by devoted researchers who have the money to take on the task. National Alzheimer’s Day will highlight one of the worst diseases researchers have ever battled. The day will raise research money, provide information and promote awareness about Alzheimer’s victims. It will highlight their caregivers’ struggles to keep them safe. Anyone dealing with Alzheimer’s dreams of the day this deadly disease will be cured. A world without Alzheimer’s is definitely going to be a better place for all of us.

When researching options for caregiving agencies in Fountain Hills AZ, call us at (480) 535-6800. Home care counselors at Endeavor Home Care are available to talk with you about your in-home care needs including how to reduce caregiver stress while providing better, affordable care. We are an elder care agency providing home care in Fountain Hills, AZ.