sad senior woman looking out

4 Signs of Senior Depression and What You Can Do to Help

sad-senior-looking-longingly

Watch for these four indicators of senior depression.

Lots of people go through times when they just want to be left alone for a while with their thoughts, to work through concerns in their lives free from distractions, or simply to enjoy some downtime. For older individuals, however, being isolated for too long may be indicative of a more serious condition: senior depression. Read more

elderly care phoenix

How to Still Make Every Day a Great Day While We’re Getting Older

Beautiful Woman“It’s just been one of those days,” we sometimes lament, shrugging our shoulders gloomily. After all, sometimes things happen that are entirely out of our control, and some days all of these things seem to happen at the same time and make us wish we had stayed in bed! But the truth is, there are steps we can all take to turn those tough days around and discover purpose and meaning within our various daily challenges and experiences—especially those of us getting older. Read more

elderly care chandler

Anosognosia – Is Mom Denying She Has Dementia?

Senior man sitting on sofa“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

elderly care mesa

Senior Driving Safety: When Is It Time to Give Up the Car Keys?

Discussing an Elderly Parent's Ability to Drive a CarIt is among the more difficult decisions we face in older years, and an extremely delicate subject for adult children to initiate with their elder parents: relinquishing the car keys. Driving ourselves, while supplying an inherent experience of freedom and independence, may become extremely unsafe due to a number of variables linked to getting older. And letting go of that independence for sake of senior driving safety can feel defeating. Read more

chandler az elder care

Use Your Holiday Visit to Check on Senior Safety

Smiling Mature nurse embracing  senior woman and holding a Christmas gift while sitting on the sofa.Living across the country from family makes it hard to see our aging loved ones as frequently as we’d like, but during the holidays, families make it a priority to spend quality time with each other – making it the perfect opportunity to ascertain senior safety for your loved one. There are quite a few red flags that are unnoticed in weekly telephone conversations, emails, or even through Skype, but which often become very clear when the family gets together during the holiday season. Read more

dementia care gilbert

How to Deal with Dementia at the Holidays

Photo of elderly woman having breakfast with her caregiversViewing the holidays through the lens of Alzheimer’s disease can seem to be anything but merry and bright. Family may perhaps be overwhelmed with caregiving responsibilities, and the disruption to routine can result in additional distress for a senior learning how to deal with dementia at the holidays. Read more

Family Dynamics

How to Overcome Family Dynamics in Caring for Elderly Parents

Family DynamicsIf you want to see a family that has unending patience with each other, stays together through any situation and has unconditional love for each other, you’ll want to watch reruns of The Waltons. But if your family members are like most, there’s definitely some degree of dysfunction, some lingering stubborn sibling rivalry, and in many cases a little residual competition to be Mom’s and Dad’s favorite. These sorts of family dynamics can be aggravated when caring for elderly parents with family members, resulting in the resurfacing of old childhood issues.

Clinical psychologist Craig Grether shares, “When there is a family crisis with a parent, the adult children, no matter how educated they are, no matter how successful, with a variety of life experiences, they regress to the same dynamic of whatever was going on when they were 7, 8, 10, 12 years old.”

The reality is, approximately 40% of family caregivers are experiencing significant family disputes, and 65% feel care needs for elderly parents end up being unequally distributed among siblings. Disagreement commonly occurs whenever there’s a notion that one family member isn’t pulling his or her weight in terms of meeting the proper care demands of an older family member – reigniting any earlier family dynamic problems that until now may seem to have been hidden. With family caregivers at risk for such challenges as depression, alcohol or other substance abuse, sleep loss, and career pressures, it’s easy to understand how rapidly tempers can surface between family members.

So, just how can members of the family come together and make a plan of care that’s fair to all? The conclusion: there are times when it’s just not attainable, and it’s necessary to come to a place of acceptance that your younger brother might not be equipped, for whatever reason, to handle caring for Dad at the level you’d like. Letting go of preconceived expectations and also any feelings of resentment is essential to gaining peace for yourself and to be able to focus on providing the best care for your senior loved one.

Regardless of your family’s dynamics, Endeavor Home Care’s San Diego caregivers are on hand to supply a regular, trustworthy resource to ensure that all care requirements are fully fulfilled at all times. We work together with family members to help fill in the gaps in caregiving, enabling them to focus on spending quality time together and alleviating the anxiety often associated with meeting the everyday needs of elderly parents. Contact us at (480) 535-6000 or review our full service area to learn more.

Insomnia

Can Chronic Insomnia Lead to Alzheimer’s Disease?

InsomniaIt is a common problem for many older adults – falling and staying asleep for a full night’s rest. Other than feeling a tad foggy the next morning, however, and feeling the need for an afternoon snooze to catch up on lost sleep, the actual repercussions have felt negligible. That is, until a recent study suggested a potential link between chronic insomnia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Deep sleep enables the brain to remove toxins, such as the amyloid plaques related to Alzheimer’s disease, and it appears that a build-up of these toxins is shown to harm the brains of lab animals. Consequently, a human study is launching to better understand the interconnection and its impact.

Through the use of a strong MRI system, the strength of the brain’s signal to get rid of toxins can be reviewed: a strong signal in brains whose toxin elimination is successful, and a less strong signal in people who may be developing Alzheimer’s. The objective will be to assess if too little deep sleep does, in fact, affect the likelihood of a future Alzheimer’s diagnosis, and if so, to determine the best treatment options to improve sleep quality.

The difficulty in the human leg of the trial will be in assisting people to feel comfortable enough in the MRI machine to achieve the natural stages of sleep, between the noise and cramped and sometimes claustrophobia-inducing quarters. However, it’s a much more feasible and less-intrusive option than the laboratory animal study, which involved creating a window in the skull and watching the brain with a strong microscope and laser. And the payoffs may potentially be life-changing: identifying people at risk for Alzheimer’s disease because of inadequate sleep, and opening doors to new treatment options.

Per Bill Rooney, director of Oregon Health & Science University’s Advanced Imaging Research Center, “It could be anything from having people exercise more regularly, or new drugs. A lot of the sleep aids don’t particularly focus on driving people to deep sleep stages.”

Financing for human trials is currently in place, and the research is slated to start this year.

Are you currently providing care for a senior loved one and finding it challenging to get a restful night’s sleep? Or does your family member have a problem with sundowning, chronic insomnia, or other issues that make evening sleeping tough for you both? Contact the Arizona and San Diego senior care experts at Endeavor Home Care for overnight respite care, offering you the chance to sleep while knowing your family member is safe and sound and well cared for!

Taking Care of Parents

When Taking Care of Parents Turns into a Battle of Wills

Taking Care of ParentsIt is an amazing feeling to know that you are protected, safe and cared for. Dads and moms thrive on making certain their kids are surrounded in the comfort of understanding their needs will be fulfilled, providing the safety net that permits them the self-confidence to explore the world around them. Yet there comes a point in all children’s lives when the craving for self-sufficiency is more compelling than the benefit of protection, and they have to discover firsthand what it means to stumble, fall and get back up again independently.

These types of protective instincts quite often trigger once again for adult children who find themselves taking care of parents as they age. We wish to help them to reduce risks, to ensure they are safe from harm. Yet at the same time, it’s all too easy to fall into a pattern of overprotectiveness if we’re not always careful, which can result in feelings of bitterness as well as resentment on the part of the senior parents.

According to professor of human development and family studies at Pennsylvania State University Steven Zarit, “One of the scariest things to people as they age is that they don’t feel in control anymore. So if you tell your dad not to go out and shovel snow, you assume that he’ll listen. It’s the sensible thing. But his response will be to go out and shovel away … It’s a way of holding on to a life that seems to be slipping back.”

A recent study investigated the impact of stubbornness in older adults’ relationships with their adult children. While the seniors were less inclined to rate themselves as appearing stubborn, their younger loved ones more regularly noted stubbornness as an issue. The key for adult children is in knowing their parents’ reason for digging in their heels to hold onto their freedom and autonomy, and to avoid arguing and generating an attitude of defensiveness. Clear, open and truthful communication among both sides can go far towards smoothing the waters and making sure that each individual is heard and understood.

So what is the easiest method for taking care of parents without seeking to control them? A healthy dosage of patience, respect and empathy will go a long way. Positioning yourself within the senior’s shoes and knowing the importance of self-sufficiency allows adult children to step back, instead of stepping in. Allow the additional time an older adult needs to finish a task, rather than doing it for the person. Continue to look for opportunities to show the older person you appreciate his or her suggestions and recommendations. For additional suggestions about offering care that doesn’t cross the line, contact the San Diego home care experts at Endeavor Home Care by calling (480) 535-6800. And see our full California and Arizona service area here.

Alzheimer's Memory Loss

How to Cope with Alzheimer’s Memory Loss and a Desire to “Go Home”

“Home sweet home,” the saying goes; but if you are caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s who is experiencing memory loss and insists home is somewhere other than where he or she is currently living, what do you do? When you are providing care for a loved one with dementia, unfortunately this discussion can be a common occurrence. And the bewilderment and sorrowful yearning being conveyed are nothing less than heartbreaking – and, if we’re truthful, annoying.

At Endeavor Home Care, our professionally instructed San Diego dementia care team helps families control difficult events such as this, and we recommend trying the following to help restore peace to an upset loved one with dementia:

  • Instead of rationalizing, help the senior feel validated. Reasoning or arguing with a senior with dementia can actually increase frustration and unrest. Even if the older person is in the same home she’s resided in for the past 20 years, within her thoughts, “home” could represent the enjoyment she felt in her childhood home together with her parents. Her sentiments of loss are quite real, and should be acknowledged.
  • Provide reassurance. Maintain a calm, soothing tone of voice and body language and take a seat next to the person, providing consolation through a hug, hand-holding, or maybe lightly touching the person’s arm, if these kinds of actions are accepted.
  • Next, redirect. Once you’ve provided a soothing presence and affirmed the person’s views, redirection to some pleasurable, entertaining activity will be helpful. Taking a walk outdoors or in a different part of the house, playing favorite music, or checking out photograph collections are just a couple of suggestions; consider the particular person and incorporate the things that work best for her.

For further suggestions about helping restore peace to a troubled loved one with memory loss resulting from Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia, contact Endeavor Home Care at (480) 535-6800. We can help keep seniors safe, enrich socialization, and present them with opportunities to strengthen both cognitive and physical wellbeing through services such as:

  • Patient, sensitive assistance with personal care responsibilities such as bathing and dressing
  • Participating in conversations and reminiscing about the past
  • Helping the senior to participate in physician-approved exercises
  • Playing board games, cards or games on a tablet device with the senior
  • Planning and making nutritious meals
  • Running errands such as picking up groceries and medications
  • Providing transport to health care appointments and other outings
  • And so much more

Whether just a few hours each week of respite care for primary family caregivers are necessary, or full-time, seamless, around-the-clock caregiving is wanted, we’re always ready to partner with you to deliver the highest quality dementia care. Contact Endeavor’s San Diego dementia care experts to find out more and to arrange for a free in-home assessment.