Keep Communicating While Giving Them A Bath
Its crucial to inform them about each step before you do it, whether youre aiding in the shower or providing a sponge bath. Although the senior may not comprehend all you say, it will keep them calm and involved in the process. Surprises can cause irritation, anger, and perplexity. So in a quiet, soothing voice, describe every step. Like, Im going to help clean your neck with this warm towel, okay? I will lift your leg and wash it, but Ill keep you safe and warm with this towel.
Are Residents Actively Engaged
Ask to review the communitys calendar of events. A well-designed activity schedule should include programs based on a variety of interests and abilities. Take home the calendar to review, then make sure theres something planned for every day of the week. When you come back for a second visit, make sure that the activity scheduled is actually taking place.
While youre visiting, make a point to observe an activity for at least 10 minutes. Can you imagine your loved one enjoying it? As residents adjust to their surroundings and staff, you might be surprised that theyre willing to try something totally new. If most of the residents appear relaxed and involved, thats a good sign. For those residents who choose not to participate, does the staff encourage them?
You may find residents are grouped by their cognitive level. The goal is to improve their quality of life by maintaining or slowing down the progression of decline. For residents who are in the early or middle stages of Alzheimers, participation in life skill activities may inspire connection.
Repetitive Speech Or Actions
People with dementia will often repeat a word, statement, question, or activity over and over. While this type of behavior is usually harmless for the person with dementia, it can be annoying and stressful to caregivers. Sometimes the behavior is triggered by anxiety, boredom, fear, or environmental factors.
- Provide plenty of reassurance and comfort, both in words and in touch.
- Try distracting with a snack or activity.
- Avoid reminding them that they just asked the same question. Try ignoring the behavior or question, and instead try refocusing the person into an activity such as singing or âhelpingâ you with a chore.
- Donât discuss plans with a confused person until immediately prior to an event.
- You may want to try placing a sign on the kitchen table, such as, âDinner is at 6:30â or âLois comes home at 5:00â to remove anxiety and uncertainty about anticipated events.
- Learn to recognize certain behaviors. An agitated state or pulling at clothing, for example, could indicate a need to use the bathroom.
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Moving Elderly Parents To Assisted Living
This entire process can be very difficult for some older adults. Leaving a home full of memories is an emotional decisioneven for seniors who are looking forward to assisted livingand downsizing when you have accumulated a lifetime of possessions is a lot to ask of someone. Be kind, be sensitive and try to make it be about your parent and not about you. It will take some time for Mom and/or Dad to settle in to their new home, but they will probably enjoy the change once this transition period has passed
The Plate Colour Matters
In a study conducted at Boston University, researchers found that patients eating from red plates consumed 25 percent more food than those eating from white plates. This appears to be connected with the way someone living with dementia sees food on a plate. If you cant really see food because its on a white background you are much less likely to eat it.
The use of colour helps to stimulate interest in dementia patents, as often they have trouble distinguishing between colour. If the food is too close to the colour palette of the plate, people with dementia can struggle to distinguish the contrast between the two and realise there is food to be eaten.
A company called Eatwell Tableware have a fantastic selection of innovative tablewear designed for those with dementia or motor impairment.
Sentai – Meal reminders and much more
Using smart technology, Sentai can take care of daily reminders like gently telling someone with dementia that its time to eat. Sentai can help them to retain their independence by giving you piece of mind with live updates and insights as to their wellbeing, without being intrusive. If something doesnt seem right, or they press and emergency button, Sentai will immediately let you know.
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Do Not Keep Correcting The Patient
People with dementia do not like it when someone keeps correcting them every time they say something that may not be right. It makes them feel bad about themselves and can make them drift out of the conversation. Discussions should be humorous and light and one should always speak slowly and clearly using simple and short sentences to capture and keep the interest of the dementia patients.
Try To Introduce Care And Support Gradually
If youre arranging care at home, it can be helpful to introduce this idea gradually. It might be easier for the person to understand if you talk about getting some help more generally. If the person is reluctant to have help at home, talk to a homecare agency or your local adult social services team about this.
It might be possible for them to arrange a trial period or to gradually build up visits. This can help to develop the relationship between the person with dementia and the homecare assistant. It may help the person accept the amount of help they need, whether this is help with taking medication, household tasks or personal care.
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How To Get The Nhs To Pay For Care
Many people find this book a cost-effective starting point, It takes you step-by-step through the whole NHS Continuing Healthcare process, right from the start, including how to approach the NHS, what should happen, the pitfalls to avoid, what to do and say before, during and after an assessment, whats right and whats not, how to challenge decisions, how to pull apart the NHSs assessment notes, etc.
It gives you a firm understanding of the process and lots of useful and practical information.
Getting Our Approach Right
People may refuse help from some care staff but not others. This is likely to be to do with the quality of relationships and the type of approach. Refusing personal care from a particular staff member may be the persons way of saying I dont know who you are, I dont trust you, Im embarrassed or Youre going too fast. All of these messages can be addressed for example, we can:
- give clear explanations and repeat ourselves as necessary
- not ask for too much at one time
- work at building a closer relationship with the individual, showing that they are valued as a person and not just seen as a focus for a care task
- ensure that we are going at a pace with which the person feels comfortable and safe, not hurried or rushed
- ensure we are respecting their dignity and modesty as much as possible.
Refusing help is how some people communicate their need to believe that they are still independent. It is very important that we respect this and ensure that we help people to do everything that they can still do for themselves. It is often easier for a person to accept help with aspects of a task that they find difficult if they have a sense of achievement gained through completing some parts of the task on their own. For more on these ideas, look at the section on Communicating well.
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Do Offer Assurance Often
Many times, people with dementia may experience feelings of isolation, fear, loneliness or confusion. They may not be able to express this in the right way and thus may wander off or keep saying that they want to go back home, especially if they are in a senior living facility. This is not the time to shut them out. Its a good idea to assure them that they are safe and in a good place.
If you are close enough, provide a comforting hug every once in a while and remind them that they are in a place that has their best interest at heart. Where possible, engage in exercise or take a walk as even light physical activity may help to reduce agitation, restlessness and anxiety.
Individual Preferences And Routines
Each one of us tends to live our life according to a set of routines. Some are imposed by necessity, but many reflect preferences and choices when we go to bed, when we get up, whether we get dressed before we have breakfast or vice versa, and so on.
A person with dementia may refuse to fit in with a routine that does not match their own. This is a positive sign! It shows us that the person still has a sense of their own identity and autonomy. Care services need to be flexible enough to fit in with the individuals routines. For example, if someone has always worked nights, it might be most natural for them to be up and about at night and this should not be seen as a problem. In this situation, the main challenge will be to find ways of engaging the person and providing company when there arent many other people around. In accepting a care service or moving into a care home a person hasnt given up their right to live according to their own standards and routines.
Tips For Moving Someone With Dementia
It can be a challenge to care for a loved one with Alzheimers or other forms of dementia at home. And it can be equally as challenging to make the decision to move mom or dad into a memory care community. You could experience feelings of sadness, worry and guilt wondering when a dementia patient should be moved. Even thinking about taking dementia patients out of their environment can leave you stressed and confused about what your next step should be.
Planning and preparation is key to a successful move. There can be multiple circumstances which could cause older individuals to be uprooted from familiar surroundings. For those suffering memory loss, the experience can be especially confusing and even traumatic. Social Work Today recommends you look for those senior living communities that have transition expertise to guide your move and prevent transfer stress.
When youre researching memory care communities for a loved one, your research may take you online, on a search through your local neighborhood or following up on leads from trusted sources. But the best way to investigate a community is firsthand. We welcome you to schedule a private consultation at Mission Chateau, where our professionals can answer your questions personally and streamline your decision-making.
Do Keep Eye Contact When Speaking
Communicating with a dementia patient requires a lot of patience, especially during later stages of dementia. It is vital to ensure that you talk in a place that has good lighting, a place that is quiet and without too many distractions. Do not try and stand over the person you are talking to, but rather try to be at their level and keep eye contact at all times. Take care to make sure that body language is relaxed and open. Prepare to spend quality time with the person so that they do not feel rushed or like they are a bother.
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Try Some Of These Best Foods For Dementia Patients To Eat
There are lots of fads and daily news on the latest food to help slow down dementia. Advice from the Alzheimers Society and other expert dementia organisations is clear: there are foods that can help reduce some of the symptoms, but mostly its common sense. A healthy balanced diet with treats in moderation of course. Some suggestions include:
How To Choose The Right Doctor
Okay, youve decided an appointment is in order. Chances are, your parent or partner hasnt been to a doctor in quite some time. You may be a little anxious about how long its been. Consequently, you may be feeling some internal pressure to get it right, thinking this is your one shot.
If you overthink this part, youll quickly get stuck in action paralysis.
Most folks think a geriatrician is the way to go, and it is the most frequently-sought specialty. Also, youll probably have better luck finding a unicorn. Feel free to Google your area, but dont be discouraged.
Next in popularity are internists, blessedly more bountiful. Primary care physicians, general practitioners, physicians assistants, and nurse practitioners are also very good choices.
Getting an accurate diagnosis is also important, and this is where neuropsychologists and neurologists come in handy. But if youre in a situation where your parent or partner hasnt been to a doctor in some time, start with a PCP or similar first.
A PCP can take a look at the big picture, address a host of potential concerns, and make necessary recommendations and referrals.
The main thing is to get an appointment, not get sucked into a research project. Ask friends whove been down this path for recommendations.
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Planning When To Intervene
Sharon and I wanted to avoid being forced to make a quick decision due to a crisis situation. We agreed on the criterion that would indicate it was time to intervene: an event in which our mothers failure to make and execute a sound decision would illustrate to her that she was putting others at risk by living on her own.
We hoped that by highlighting for her the potential outcomes in this situation, we could motivate her to make a change before she lost the ability to decide at all. We werent even sure if that window was still open. We prayed that it was.
Get The Lighting Right
To aid a more restful nights sleep the bedroom should be as comfortable as possible. Using blackout curtains are a good idea during night-time to eliminate outside disturbances. Research suggests that light therapy can reduce restlessness and confusion for people with dementia. Should you wish to consider light therapy, it has been proven that violet coloured light promotes drowsiness and a full-spectrum fluorescent light used for the first two hours of the day can be settling. Light therapy that follows a regular pattern can also help with disturbed body clocks.
Safety – if night wandering is a problem, or frequent visits to the loo, you will need to consider some sort of low light to prevent your parent falling in the dark. You may want to invest in a motion sensor night light. A motion sensor light automatically turns on when motion is detected within three metres. It then turns off after 30 seconds of no activity. This means that people with dementia can use the bathroom in the night or get out of bed with less risk of falling. The light is gentle and warm in order to not interrupt sleep.
- Hard to stay awake during the day and taking frequent naps
- Sundowning, sometimes referred to as late-day confusion.
Sundowning is a dementia-related disorder where a person becomes increasingly anxious and unsettled in the late afternoons and evenings. Sundowning is more often experienced with mid-stage to advanced dementia.
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Nutrients To Aid Sleep
Nutrients at night-time such as melatonin can aid a deeper and better quality nights sleep. Such nutrients can also help ensure a person is getting important vitamins which can become depleted when eating a balanced diet becomes problematic. Always check with your parents GP that any supplements or nutrients you buy wont interact with current medication.
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If you are finding it particularly hard to help someone with dementia with their sleep, and its affecting your ability to care for an elderly relative, it may be a good idea to share some of the care responsibilities with a live-in carer, like those found on our best live-in care companies page.
Start A Conversation Early
If possible, begin making the long-term care plan as early as possible after the dementia diagnosis.
If your parent or loved one is in the beginning stages of Alzheimers or dementia, looking ahead to find the right community allows them to be a part of the process, which can make for a smoother transition when moving day arrives.
Ideally, the time to move to a community is when s/he is no longer able to live safely and independently at home or when the level of care required becomes more than what you and/or other caregivers are able to provide from a time and safety perspective.
On the flip side, if your loved one is in mid-to later-stages of the disease, it can be upsetting to engage him/her in selecting a community and planning moving day. In some cases, it is better to wait until the change is eminent to announce the move, and enlist the help of family and friends for decision-making, sorting, and packing.
Visit ourGuide for Talking to a Loved One About Memory Care for more insight into this topic.
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Noticing The Signs: How To Identify When A Person Needs Help
Before diving into the different ways to approach this delicate matter, lets take a look at the subtle symptoms to look out for that indicate early signs of dementia. These warning signs could be cognitive changes, psychological changes, as well as a combination of both.
- Memory loss or subtle short-term memory changes
- Difficulty concentrating and focusing
- Confusion with time or a familiar place
- Difficulty carrying out normal routine tasks
- Misplacing things frequently or putting them in strange places
- Failing sense of direction and difficulty with spatial and visual abilities
- Asking questions repeatedly and forgetting the answer that was just received
- Lack of coordination when it comes to basic motor functions
While these symptoms start as mild, they could potentially become more severe when untreated and as time goes by. Be sure to keep an eye out for these things.
For a complete overview of the symptoms, types, and stages of dementia, click here.
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