Working With Hospital Staff
Remember that not everyone in the hospital knows the same basic facts about memory loss, Alzheimers disease, and related dementias. You may need to help teach hospital staff what approach works best with the person with Alzheimers, what distresses or upsets him or her, and ways to reduce this distress.
You can help the staff by providing them with a personal information sheet that includes the persons normal routine, how he or she prefers to be addressed , personal habits, likes and dislikes, possible behaviors , and nonverbal signs of pain or discomfort.
Help staff understand what the persons baseline is to help differentiate between dementia and acute confusion or delirium.
For more information on dealing with dementia and hospitalization, see the University of California, San Francisco, Memory and Aging Centers Tips for Hospitalization.
Financial And Legal Sources Of Support And Advice
We know how hard it is when you, or someone you care for, lives with a diagnosis of dementia. And if you or someone you love has a diagnosis or is suspected to have dementia, its natural to worry about how youll cope, now and in the future.
But youre not alone. In this booklet, youll find information on the legal terms you might encounter when you care for someone with dementia, advice on the financial benefits that you may be able to claim, and details of services and organisations that can support you.
There may not be a cure for dementia, but there is care and care can change lives.
Talk With Your Family And Children About Caregiving
Be honest while explaining dementia to children. Children are very intuitive. They will know that their grandparent, aunt or uncle are changing and that their behavior is odd. Explain the disease and that loving the senior family member is most important. Engage them and empower them to be part of the caregiving process. Younger children can read to the senior, or help you with chores. The family will be less stressed when the situation is discussed out in the open.
You might also wish to share ideas with your kids on how to communicate with your loved one:
- Go with it. If the grandparent says something that doesnt seem to make sense, tell children to just play along. Its sort of like playing make believe.
- Plan ahead. Suggest what to talk about, or choose an activity in advance.
- Use activities. Try a coloring book, listen to music or sing songs together.
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Ways To Care For Someone With Vascular Dementia
If youre caring for someone whos had a stroke, then you know forgetting words, dates and faces is pretty common. However, a stroke can trigger other kinds of memory loss, such as trouble planning, making decisions and reasoning. This type of memory loss is called vascular dementia.
Though its symptoms may be similar to Alzheimers disease, vascular dementia is caused by stroke blocked blood vessels in the brain. When areas of the brain are deprived of blood and oxygen, brain cells die. This can cause memory loss.
Any type of memory loss can feel devastating, whether its vascular dementia, Alzheimers, or frontotemporal dementia. But there are many tools and resources to help your family cope. Here are 5 ways you can care for your loved one.
Hospital Visits During Covid
Due to COVID-19, hospitals continue to update appointment and visitor policies to comply with state department of health guidelines to protect the health and safety of patients, visitors and employees. For example, visitors may be required to wear a face mask or cloth face covering. Or, they may not be allowed to accompany patients in clinics, hospital departments or the emergency room, with exceptions in certain cases. Before you plan a visit, call or check the hospitals website for information on their policies. Get the latest public health information on the coronavirus at coronavirus.gov.
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Use Repetition And Visual Cues
People can help the transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 by:
- avoiding close contact with people who have contracted the virus
- covering their mouth and nose when they cough or sneeze
- avoiding touching their eyes, nose, and mouth
- cleaning and disinfecting frequently used objects and surfaces
- washing the hands regularly with soap and water
- using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
People with dementia may require additional support and visual cues to help them remember essential hygiene practices. Caregivers may wish to consider practicing thorough hand washing with the person.
They can also place a bottle of alcohol-based hand sanitizer in an easily accessible place, such as an end table next to the persons chair or on their nightstand.
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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Resources For Dementia Caregivers
There are many resources available to caregivers of a person diagnosed with dementia. The Alzheimer’s Association will refer you to your local chapter for information, resources, and their hands-on caregiver training workshops.
“I’ve been to our local association’s caregiver workshops and to their monthly support groups, too. Every time, when I leave, I’ve learned something — techniques, strategies, things like that — and that I’m not alone in this,” says George Robby who is caring for his wife with Alzheimer’s in their Chagrin Falls, Ohio, home.
Other good sources of information, assistance, and support include your local Area Agency on Aging and, for those caring for veterans, the Veterans Administration’s Caregiver Support Program . Some senior care companies, including Silverado Senior Living and Home Instead Senior Care, offer programs and skill-building workshops at their facilities.
Tips For A Healthy And Active Lifestyle For People With Dementia
Eating healthy and staying active is good for everyone and is especially important for people with Alzheimers and related dementias. As the disease progresses, finding ways for the person to eat healthy foods and stay active may be increasingly challenging. Here are some tips that may help:
- Consider different activities the person can do to stay active, such as household chores, cooking and baking, exercise, and gardening. Match the activity to what the person can do.
- Help get an activity started or join in to make the activity more fun. People with dementia may lack interest or initiative and can have trouble starting activities. But, if others do the planning, they may join in.
- Add music to exercises or activities if it helps motivate the person. Dance to the music if possible.
- Be realistic about how much activity can be done at one time. Several short mini-workouts may be best.
- Take a walk together each day. Exercise is good for caregivers, too!
- Buy a variety of healthy foods, but consider food that is easy to prepare, such as premade salads and single portions.
- Give the person choices about what to eat, for example, Would you like yogurt or cottage cheese?
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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.
Keep Up Social Connections Just 10 Minutes A Day Can Help
Things like music therapy or just playing some pleasing, quiet music, a massage, or exercise can help the mood and behavior of some people with dementia. Unfortunately, the research on these alternative therapies is not far-reaching enough to suggest them as treatment or therapy for dementia patients, but you could see if these work for your loved one.11
Encourage people to visit and meet with the patient. Sometimes the embarrassment or fear of others seeing the changed behavior, personality, and memory of the individual can be discouraging when it comes to having visitors. Overcome this, because these relationships are crucial. Keep up their routines and hobbies and interests as much as possible. If they were a weekly church-goer, go to church with them. If they liked walking in the park every evening, they should continue to do so, but with someone to help them if they forget their way home. Keep up as much of a semblance of normalcy as you can. As one study found, the impact this can have is huge! Researchers found that dementia patients who indulged in as little as 60 minutes of conversation every week which translates to an average of 8.5 minutes a day saw reduced agitation levels. This also cut down the perception of pain they were living with.12
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Going To The Hospital: Tips For Dementia Caregivers
A trip to the hospital can be stressful for people with Alzheimers disease or another dementia and their caregivers. Being prepared for emergency and planned hospital visits can relieve some of that stress. This article suggests ways to help you prepare and tips for making your visit to the emergency room or hospital easier.
Preparing For The Appointment
Congratulations, you made the appointment! Now, you need to devise a plan for appointment day.
Youre probably a combination of relieved and anxious as you set about developing a plan. Youre likely imagining all the problems this doctor appointment will solve. You may be thinking of it as a game-changer.
As youre subconsciously pinning all your hopes and dreams on this one appointment, let me be the party-pooper who brings you back down to earth. Youre better servedas is your parent or partnerby keeping your expectations low enough you cant trip over them.
Sounds pessimistic, sure. That, and it helps avoid an emotional rollercoaster of unrealistic expectations and bad outcomes later. So, devise a great plan. Work your plan to the best of your ability. Just dont plan your results.
Connect With A Dementia
In Johns Hopkins Maximizing Independence at Home trial,researchers found that patients who were in contact with a care coordinatorat least once a month for 18 months were 50 percent less likely to move toan institution or pass away than those in the control group. Carecoordinators can help with safety concerns, medical attention, medicationmanagement, legal andadvance-care-planningadvice, nutrition support and more. They can be especially helpful when aloved one is dealing with other medical conditions for which she needstreatmentand research has shown that about 60 percent are.
Ftd Caregiver Health And Support
Caring for someone with a frontotemporal disorder can be very hard, both physically and emotionally. Many caregivers face declines in their own health. To stay healthy, caregivers can:
- Get regular health care.
- Ask family and friends for help with child care, errands, and other tasks.
- Spend time doing enjoyable activities, away from the demands of caregiving. Arrange for respite careshort-term caregiving services that give the regular caregiver a breakor take the person to an adult day care center, a safe, supervised environment for adults with dementia or other disabilities.
- Join a support group for caregivers of people with frontotemporal disorders. Such groups allow caregivers to learn coping strategies and share feelings with others in the same position.
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Caring For A Parent With Dementia At Home: 3 Must
Seniors with dementia can remain in their homes or with family caregivers longer if they have proper education and resources, according to the Johns Hopkins Memory and Alzheimers Treatment Center.
In a Johns Hopkins study, about 300 elderly adults with dementia and their family caregivers received monthly consultations on home care for dementia patients from professionally qualified teams, as well as referrals and counseling on health, nutrition, activities, and more. A similar number of participants did not receive these resources. The families who had help stayed in their homes an average of 9 1/2 months longer. Self-rated quality of life for elderly adults and family caregivers in this group rose significantly during the study.
Before choosing to provide Alzheimers home care for a loved one, consider your ability to offer these three things that Johns Hopkins researchers noted were vital for success.
Safety precautions. Seniors with dementia often experience disorientation and begin to wander. A fall may result in hospitalization or immediate need for a long-term care facility. Safety needs change as dementia progresses:
Health care. Regular medical treatment and appropriately administered medication can help loved ones age at home longer. But some health conditions when coupled with dementia present real challenges. Consider these example health concerns when determining whether you can care for a dementia patient at home:
Getting Started With Visiting Angels
At Visiting Angels, we make it easy to find the right services and the right care provider for your loved one.
When you contact us, we’ll start by scheduling a free, no-obligation consultation. This consultation will give us the chance to learn about your loved one’s situation in detail, laying the foundation for your loved one’s care plan. At the same time, we’ll help answer any questions you have about in-home care.
We may discuss your loved one’s care schedule or develop an initial care plan. Your loved one’s care schedule can include part-time, full-time, or 24/7 caregiving and will be based around your loved one’s established routines. We can also schedule care to accommodate any family members who live with your loved one or who perform care visits on a regular basis.
Following the consultation, we will continue to develop your loved one’s care plan. In many cases, we will coordinate with the doctors and other health professionals at this stage. This allows us to develop your loved one’s care plan in accordance with medical directives. For example, we can plan and prepare meals according to nutrition recommendations provided by your loved one’s doctor.
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Adapt Activities Of Daily Living
Activities of daily living are basic personal care tasks that most people can do independently, but they become increasingly difficult for Alzheimers patients as their functional abilities decline. Understanding how memory loss impacts each ADL, timing them wisely, and adapting the steps and products involved will ensure they are completed in a way that preserves your loved ones dignity.
For many people with Alzheimers disease, bathing is a frightening and confusing experience. Elders may think they have showered recently, but in reality their last shower was days or even weeks ago. They can become confused by the process or become afraid of the water and the possibility of falling. Sensitivity to these issues and planning ahead can help make bath time easier on both of you.
Getting dressed may not seem very complicated, but Alzheimers patients and caregivers face some unique hurdles with this task. Both physical and cognitive decline affect an elders ability to recognize when it is time to change soiled clothes, choose appropriate items to wear, and take off/put on clothing and footwear. Minimizing these challenges can make a significant difference in a loved ones sense of control and independence.
Toileting and Incontinence Care