Even the most simple needs can be a struggle to communicate for aging adults with Alzheimer’s disease. As a family caregiver trying to communicate with seniors with Alzheimer’s, you may feel at times as though you’re trying to solve a puzzle in determining how to meet the needs of someone you love and ensure life is as fulfilling, safe, comfortable, and enriching as can be. Read more
Trying to connect with an aging loved one with Alzheimer’s through conversation, particularly in the middle and later stages, is often a challenge – both for you and for the person with Alzheimer’s. Brain changes affect the ability to listen, process, and respond appropriately to conversations, and it’s up to us to put into action innovative Alzheimer’s communication tactics to more effectively interact with a loved one with dementia. Read more
Of course, there are plenty of benefits of physical exercise that most people are aware of, but what isn’t as well known are the best exercises for people with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Exercise can help lower the chance of muscle weakness and other issues that stem from inactivity, can reduce the impact of psychological and behavioral changes, and more. Read more
The holidays are filled with parties, celebrations, and get-togethers. Yet for older adults, holiday outings call for a little extra planning, and sometimes, it’s challenging for family members to plan holiday activities for aging adults. Try these tips from the Chandler home care experts at Endeavor In Home Care to enjoy joyful activities with loved ones of all ages this holiday season. Read more
Of all the outcomes of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, one of the most concerning is the individual’s tendency for wandering. The dangers of wandering with dementia may cause the older adult to become disoriented or lost. Wandering may possibly occur if the senior loved one is:
- Tending to a simple necessity such as trying to find a glass of water or visiting the bathroom
- Wanting to keep a familiar past routine such as planning to go to a job or shopping
- Trying to find someone or something
- Frightened, confused or overwhelmed
If you are caring for a loved one that is experiencing a form of dementia, it is important to keep the senior safe, and also to be certain that his/her needs are fulfilled in order to attempt to stop the desire to wander in the first place. Try the following dementia wandering prevention tips if a senior loved one in your care begins to show signs of wandering:
- Utilize any locks that are in place which the senior is not able to master, such as a sliding bolt lock above his/her range of vision, as well as alarms, even something as simple as placing a bell over doorknobs. It’s also a good idea to register the person for the Alzheimer’s Association’s Safe Return Program.
- Disguise exits by covering doors with curtains, positioning temporary folding barriers strategically around doorways, or even using wallpaper or paint to match the doors to the surrounding walls. You can even try placing “NO EXIT” signs on doors, which may sometimes dissuade people in the earlier stages of dementia from trying to exit.
- An additional hazard for individuals who wander is the elevated risk of falling. Examine each room of the home and take care of any tripping concerns, such as removing throw rugs, electrical cords, and any obstructions which may be blocking walkways, ensuring sufficient lighting is switched on, and utilizing gates at the very top and bottom of stairways.
It’s important to keep in mind that with guidance and direction, wandering is not necessarily a problem. Go for a walk outside with the senior anytime weather allows and the person is in the mood to be on the go, providing the additional benefit of fresh air, physical exercise, and quality time together.
For additional dementia wandering prevention tips, contact the dementia care specialists at Endeavor In Home Care. Our compassionate care team is available to provide respite care for families, assistance with personal care needs, and engaging activities to help your loved one remain active. Give us a call today at (480) 498-2324 to schedule a free in-home assessment and to learn about why we are one of the leading providers of at home care in Phoenix and the surrounding areas.
If a loved one has recently been diagnosed with dementia, your top priority is probably his or her safety and wellbeing. The familiarity of being able to remain living in the comfort of their own home rather than face a move away to a facility is important, but how do you ensure continued safety and wellbeing as the disease progresses? One of the first things you can do to ensure a safer environment is to make a few adjustments around the house. It is possible to create a dementia-friendly home, which can encourage continued independence for the older adult you love.
For people with any type of dementia, consistency is key. This means assisting with visual and written cues and providing plenty of time and instructions, when needed, to help him or her perform tasks and maintain independence. By thinking through the tasks where assistance might be needed – for example, the steps to follow during a morning routine — things like toothpaste, toothbrush, comb, and washcloth can be put in easy-to-use locations which will help prompt a senior to recall what he or she needs to do next.
Creating a dementia-friendly house is not hard when you follow the ABCs: ensure it is Accessible, Bright, and Calm by using these tips:
Nurture independence by boosting accessibility based on the individual’s particular challenges. As an example:
- Place commonly-used items in prominent, easy-to-reach locations.
- Label cabinets, the refrigerator, doors, as well as other regions of the house the individual may frequent with pictures or words to describe whatever they could wish to gain access to.
- Minimize any tripping hazards, such as throw rugs and electrical cords, to ensure clear pathways.
Lighting is an essential component to consider for anyone with dementia:
- Keep rooms well lit, making use of natural lighting as much as possible, or the highest wattage bulb recommended for the older adult’s light fixtures.
- Keep blinds/curtains closed in the evening to help minimize disturbing window reflections that could be misinterpreted as an intruder and also to help the older adult feel secure.
- Always make sure lighting is purposefully placed to eliminate shadows which can cause the senior distress.
Designating a place of retreat for your loved one to de-stress can be extremely helpful. Include:
- Several key items or activities which are typically soothing for the older adult: a stuffed animal or pillow to hug, a well-liked photo album to look through, etc.
- A favorite scent that evokes peace, such as vanilla or lavender.
- Quiet, soothing music.
One of the most effective techniques to help an older adult who has been diagnosed with dementia is to partner with a dependable home care agency like Endeavor In Home Care. Our caregivers are specially trained to understand the needs of those with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease and will help to make your home a safe and calming space. What’s more, our care team can help your family member remain active and engaged with specially designed memory care activities, reminiscing, and outings to see friends. For family caregivers, our reliable respite care services allow you to have peace of mind while taking time for yourself.
For more modification tips and ideas to create a dementia-friendly home, or to request a free in-home consultation for more information on our experienced, creative care for people diagnosed with dementia, reach out to Endeavor In Home Care, a Phoenix professional home care provider for the surrounding communities, at (480) 498-2324.
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
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