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
Caregivers give up so much of themselves for the sake of the ones they care for – both emotionally and physically. It’s easy to become worn down and to start to experience feelings like apathy, exhaustion, and a withdrawal from the person in your care. This is often known as compassion fatigue or secondary traumatic stress, and it can be harmful to your own health and wellbeing. It could also hinder your ability to be as warm, nurturing, and caring as you need to be for the person you’re caring for. 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.
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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