Social Relationships And Interactions
Individuals with Alzheimers and dementia may struggle with staying social or navigating social interactions. These conditions can cause changes in mood, behavior, and personality, such as lowered inhibitions and feelings of lethargy or depression. As these conditions worsen, patients may even forget who their loved ones are or how to talk and interact entirely.
Interacting with patients with memory loss conditions can be challenging, both for loved ones and caregivers. Its important to learn how to properly communicate with patients you will likely have to use new strategies to make these interactions successful. Above all else, be patient while you learn how to navigate these situations. The more practice you have, the easier it will be to interact with all of your patients.
Despite the challenges of doing so, patients need to maintain social connections. Social interaction may reduce the risk of developing dementia or Alzheimers, but its also thought that it can increase the quality of life for patients who have already been diagnosed. Try to help your patients maintain their relationships with their loved ones while encouraging them to make new friendships and connection
Ask Very Simple Questions
Any questions you ask should be easy to understand and answer. Instead of saying, Hi Richard, We were wondering if you might want to take a walk before going to eat your lunch this afternoon? try Richard, can we go for a walk? or Richard, its time to eat. Always address them with their name and allow them a moment to process and react or answer the question. You dont want to overwhelm them with long-winded questions or by asking too many at once.
A great way to continue to promote independence and self-autonomy even as dementia progresses is to offer simple choices. For example, Julio, would you prefer to wear your green shirt or blue shirt today? When you give simple choices, you offer a supportive environment that allows your loved ones with dementia to still have some control over their life.
Plan For Doctor Visits
As a caregiver, you’ll play a critical role in doctor appointments. Plan ahead to make the most of your time:
- Organize paperwork. Give staff copies of documents that allow you to make medical decisions.
- Avoid stress. Visit when the person is alert. Bring an activity for the waiting room.
- Be ready to ask and answer questions. Write down questions, symptoms, and notes on behaviors ahead of time. Take notes and talk about future care.
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Tips For Caregivers: Taking Care Of Yourself
Being a caregiver can be extremely rewarding, but it can also be overwhelming. Caring for a person with Alzheimer’s or a related dementia takes time and effort. It can feel lonely and frustrating. You might even feel angry, which could be a sign you are trying to take on too much. It is important to find time to take care of yourself. Here are some tips that may offer some relief:
- Ask for help when you need it. This could mean asking family members and friends to help or reaching out to for additional care needs.
- Eat nutritious foods, which can help keep you healthy and active for longer.
- Join a caregiver’s support group online or in person. Meeting other caregivers will give you a chance to share stories and ideas and can help keep you from feeling isolated.
- Take breaks each day. Try making a cup of tea or calling a friend.
- Spend time with friends and keep up with hobbies.
- Get exercise as often as you can. Try doing yoga or going for a walk.
- Try practicing meditation. Research suggests that practicing meditation may reduce blood pressure, anxiety and depression, and insomnia.
- Consider seeking help from mental health professionals to help you cope with stress and anxiety. Talk with your doctor about finding treatment.
Ultimate Guide To Caregiving For Alzheimer’s Patients
As they become less able to do things theyve always been able to, they will become more reliant on the people around them.
If youre responsible for the well-being of a dementia patient, its important to know how best to care for them. Our guide for caregivers and dementia care includes some helpful tips for coping with the most common challenges you will face and help reduce the caregiver burden.
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How To Use The Videos
This video series was designed with flexibility in mind. It can be used by caregivers, health professionals and educators. You can view one video segment at a time or all together in one sitting. Additionally, educators can use the videos for one-on-one or group instruction.
- Caregiver is challenged with repetitive behaviors and watches applicable video.
- Staff at an assisted living facility uses the videos for training.
Ten Tips For Communicating With A Person With Dementia
We arenât born knowing how to communicate with a person with dementiaâbut we can learn. Improving your communication skills will help make caregiving less stressful and will likely improve the quality of your relationship with your loved one. Good communication skills will also enhance your ability to handle the difficult behavior you may encounter as you care for a person with a dementing illness.
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Alzheimer’s Disease & Down Syndrome: A Practical Guidebook For Caregivers
The risk of Alzheimers disease in adults with Down syndrome can stir deep feelings of fear and anxiety for family, friends, and caregivers who are otherwise trying to focus on supporting and celebrating a healthy and fulfilling adult life for an individual that they love. Education is one way to reclaim some power over a situation where it is impossible to have total control. This booklet was written to help empower families and caregivers with knowledge about the connection between Down syndrome and Alzheimers disease, suggestions about how to carefully and thoughtfully evaluate changes that may be observed with aging, and guidance about how to adapt and thrive within an ever-changing caregiving role when a diagnosis is made.
Alzheimers Impacts Men Women Differently
Alzheimers disease affects differently on men and women as, ultimately, it is a brain condition. The brain concentration and design are different in both men and women, due to which Alzheimers disease has a different effect on the brain.
The brain suffers from atrophy, or it shrinks when it comes in contact with Alzheimers disease. The atrophy of the brain occurs early in women in comparison to men. Women also tend to lose the gray matter inside the brain quicker than men.
Although it is true that both men and women lose gray matter in the brain, they lose it from different areas of the brain. The loss of the hippocampus is more prominent in men than women. Hippocampus is the area of the brain related to cognitive learning and memory.
A finding also suggests that women have more significant volume losses while men have a worse mental function.
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The Alzheimers And Dementia Care Journey
Caring for someone with Alzheimers disease or another type of dementia can be a long, stressful, and intensely emotional journey. But youre not alone. In the United States, there are more than 16 million people caring for someone with dementia, and many millions more around the world. As there is currently no cure for Alzheimers or dementia, it is often your caregiving and support that makes the biggest difference to your loved ones quality of life. That is a remarkable gift.
However, caregiving can also become all-consuming. As your loved ones cognitive, physical, and functional abilities gradually diminish over time, its easy to become overwhelmed, disheartened, and neglect your own health and well-being. The burden of caregiving can put you at increased risk for significant health problems and many dementia caregivers experience depression, high levels of stress, or even burnout. And nearly all Alzheimers or dementia caregivers at some time experience sadness, anxiety, loneliness, and exhaustion. Seeking help and support along the way is not a luxury its a necessity.
Just as each individual with Alzheimers disease or dementia progresses differently, so too can the caregiving experience vary widely from person to person. However, there are strategies that can aid you as a caregiver and help make your caregiving journey as rewarding as it is challenging.
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Wandering: A Problem For A Person With Alzheimer’s Disease
Keeping the person safe is one of the most important aspects of caregiving. Some people with Alzheimer’s disease have a tendency to wander away from their home or their caregiver. Knowing how to limit wandering can protect a person from getting lost.
- Make sure that the person carries some kind of identification or wears a medical bracelet.
- Consider enrolling the person in the Alzheimer’s Association Safe Return program if the program is available in your area. If the person gets lost and is unable to communicate adequately, identification will alert others to the person’s medical condition.
- Notify neighbors and local authorities in advance that the person has a tendency to wander.
- Keep a recent photograph or videotape of the person with Alzheimer’s to assist police if the person becomes lost.
- Keep doors locked. Consider a keyed deadbolt or an additional lock up high or down low on the door. If the person can open a lock because it is familiar, a new latch or lock may help.
- Install an “announcing system” that chimes when the door opens.
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Communicating With Your Loved One
It can beemotionally wrenchingifyour loved one cant rememberwho you are orwhat youve done together but its advised to continue to address them as an adult. Do your best to remain calm, because people with dementia react to emotions and tone of voice.If a person is stressed and nervous, she will sense this feeling andislikely to increaseheranxiety or distress,saysLaci Cornelison, MS, LBSW,a research assistant and instructor at theKansas State University Center on Aging.Focus on connecting with the person as a human being,whether that is through spoken word or touch: Holding hands, hugs, sitting next to them.Connection can be attained in many ways outside of verbal communication.
Interact With Others And Learn About Sleep Hygiene
According to an article in Current Treatment Options in Neurology, structured social interactions have been shown to help people with AD sleep better. Sleep issues can arise from feelings of stress or loneliness as a result of little-to-no social activity. In addition, educating yourself and/or the PWD about proper sleep hygiene can promote more restful sleep.
Managing Daily Tasks & Responsibilities
Unfortunately, along with all of the troubling behavior weve listed so far, dementia will also progress to a point where they can no longer manage daily tasks and will need assistance with everything from eating nutritious meals to getting dressed in the morning. Heres how you can help people with dementia manage day-to-day self-care and health and simultaneously promote a sense of control and independence.
Link Between Diabetes And Alzheimers
Scientists and researchers have found a link between type 2 diabetes and Alzheimers disease. According to them, the most common link between these conditions is due to the lack of exercise or being overweight.
Diabetes that is not under control can increase the sugar level in the blood to a dangerous level which causes damage to the vital organs in the body.
Diabetes could also be the main reason behind vascular dementia. It is the condition in which memory loss occurs due to brain damage due to less blood flow to the brain. This blood flow to the brain might get reduced as diabetic people often suffer from the thickening of the blood.
Inflammation and blood vessel damage are also among the connections between diabetes and Alzheimers. People that have high blood sugar levels can cause inflammation, due to which the risk of heart attack and stroke increases. Inflammation among the blood vessels can also make them resistant to insulin.
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The Ability To Ask For Help
Asking for help isnt always easy, but the truth is, most people would be happy to share the load. Have a running list of every person whos reached out, and jot down a few ways that they may be able to help. For example, a neighbor may be happy to drop in for 30 minutes once or twice per week to give you an opportunity to go for a walk. A friend may be willing to pick up groceries while theyre doing their own weekly shopping or provide transportation to a medical appointment.
If someone cant help you, theyll let you know, but unless you ask, you wont know what others can do to provide you some relief.
S To Take After A Loved Ones Alzheimers Diagnosis
An Alzheimers diagnosis can be a traumatic experience, even if its not entirely surprising. Before proceeding further, the Alzheimers Association recommends getting a second opinion to confirm the diagnosis. Proactively seeking an accurate diagnosis as early as possible ensures appropriate treatment and gives your loved one the opportunity to take an active role in their care plan, including whether they want to continue living at home, which memory care facility they want to live in, and who should make decisions on their behalf when they can no longer do so.
Once an Alzheimers diagnosis is confirmed, you should expect to experience a full spectrum of emotions. Nora OBrien, a Doctor of Physical Therapy and Executive Director of Willow Gardens Memory Care, speaks to the importance of processing the roller-coaster of emotions that may accompany an Alzheimers diagnosis. She says, Give yourself and your loved one time to grieve and feel emotions which may include denial, sadness, anger, guilt and frustration. Remember that your loved one is more than this disease. Though your relationship may change over time and you and they will experience loss, their need for belonging will remain.
Alzheimers is a chronic disease that may continue for 20 years or more. It may not be realistic to mentally prepare for every challenge and victory the coming years may bring, but there are a few steps you can take to gear up for the journey.
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Learn About Burnout In Alzheimers Caregivers
Dementia care is incredibly demanding and emotionally challenging. Deciding to care for a loved one with Alzheimers at home is a huge decision that affects all aspects of a family caregivers life. Taking steps to prioritize self-care is crucial for your well-being and that of your care recipient.
Ensure The Home Is Safe
If youre caring for a loved one at home, take steps to prevent falls and other accidents. For example:
- Place carpet or grip strips on stairs.
- Place latches on cabinet doors.
- Place covers over electrical outlets.
- Remove small rugs.
- Place handrails and mats in the shower.
Depending on the severity of their cognitive symptoms, you may not want to leave them unattended in the shower or tub or allow them to cook by themselves.
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Caregivers Handbook: A Guide To Caring For The Ill Elderly Disabled And Yourself
Close to 66 million informal or family caregivers offer assistance of all sorts to adults in America. Their efforts are vital to the lives of people struggling with illness, disability, or the changes that often accompany aging. This Special Health Report, Caregiver’s Handbook: A guide to caring for the ill, elderly, or disabledand yourself, will assist you in meeting the needs of the person you care for while attending to your own. It includes financial, legal, and medical information thats vital to caregivers, as well as a special section devoted to caring for yourself as you navigate caregiving challenges.
Setting Up A Care Plan For Alzheimers Disease
Alzheimers disease is a progressive illness, and caregiver responsibilities typically increase as the disease advances.
Responsibilities can include making important health decisions for a loved one, so setting up a care plan early is important.
Heres how to prepare for the future:
- Discuss your loved ones wishes in the early stages of the disease. This allows them to express their end-of-life care wishes, such as the type of medical treatments they want.
- Get permission to speak with their healthcare team. Before AD progresses, complete a HIPAA authorization form. This allows you to discuss a loved ones medical history with their doctors.
- Consider legal matters. Youll need authorization to make medical decisions on their behalf. Contact a family lawyer for assistance with creating a medical power of attorney. Also talk with your loved one about advance care directives, which outline their wishes in the event of a medical emergency. For example, it may cover how they feel about life support.
- Consider financial matters. You can also become their financial power of attorney. This allows you to make financial decisions on their behalf. Also, read their insurance policies to understand their coverage . It would help to also discuss their funeral and burial wishes.
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