Best Ways to Manage Incontinence with Dementia

senior woman drinking orange juice in a seat at homeDementia care requires both empathy and creativity to manage a range of complicated behaviors and effects, and that is particularly true in relation to incontinence, something that is quite frequent in Alzheimer’s along with other forms of dementia. These tried-and-true strategies are usually successful in decreasing the effect of incontinence and reducing an escalation of emotions in someone you love with Alzheimer’s.

  1. Pick your words very carefully. As opposed to describing incontinence products as “diapers,” for instance, call them “briefs” or “pull-up underwear.” Nevertheless, take the cue from your loved one; if she or he chooses to make use of the expression “diapers” and appears to be confident with that, then follow along.
  2. Clear away regular underwear from the senior’s dresser. To avoid misunderstandings or opposition to wearing incontinence products, make certain that those are the sole option in his or her wardrobe.
  3. Try a variety of products. With different brands, sizes, and absorbency levels available, it might take some trial and error to come across one that is most comfortable and effective.
  4. Use backup products overnight. To help stop the older adult from waking up during the night from incontinence-related issues, try placing booster pads inside the absorbent underwear, and use products marked for heaviest coverage. Waterproof mattress protectors and disposable bed pads are also extremely helpful.
  5. Ensure easy access to the bathroom. Conduct a walk-through of the areas the older adult spends time in to evaluate how straightforward it is for him or her to get to the bathroom. Specifically, get rid of any clutter, cords, or throw rugs in the person’s walking path to protect against falls.
  6. If an accident does occur… Maintain a calm demeanor so as not to offend (or further upset) the senior loved one, and say something like, “It looks like something may have spilled on your pants; let’s get you some clean clothes,” or “It appears as if your pants are wet; that happens every now and then.”
  7. Address reluctance to keep products on. For seniors who frequently try to remove incontinence products, first see if you can discover the particular reason why. If discomfort is a factor, try different types of products for one that might be more comfortable. Or your loved one might be trying to change if there’s a feeling of wetness.

In all cases, watch the senior’s skin for indications of rash or irritation, and contact her or his medical professional if observed.

For more incontinence care tips, or to learn more about Generations at Home’s reliable, professional Alzheimer’s disease care, contact us at 727-940-3414.

Help Calm Agitation for a Senior with Alzheimer’s Disease with These 5 Steps

happy senior woman with dogAgitation is among the more difficult results of dementia, and can be exceedingly complex for family members to handle. The key is in taking steps to address agitation before it’s felt and conveyed by the older adult, which involves keeping an eye on what has initiated these feelings in the past, and establishing a home environment in which those triggers are removed or minimized. The following tips can help:

  1. Designate an area of retreat. When life begins to get overwhelming, having a specially created area for the senior to go to de-stress often works wonders in restoring calm. This can be a designated room, or merely a comfortable corner with numerous calming activities readily available, quiet music, a relaxing scent to enjoy like lavender or vanilla – whatever delivers peace and relaxation for the older adult.
  2. Evaluate the home for upsetting items. Look closely at exactly what your senior loved one is easily agitated by, such as specific decorations, mirrors (that could give the illusion of somebody else watching), window coverings that may not sufficiently filter out the darkening evening sky (prompting sundowning issues), etc.
  3. Minimize noise along with other distractions. Soft carpeting is frequently more soothing for those with dementia than harder floor materials that could reverberate or accentuate the noise of footsteps. Keep the television or radio at a reasonable volume, and set to a station that plays soft music as opposed to alarming, graphic news presentations. Close windows if outside noises seem to trigger discomfort.
  4. Change lighting. Make sure that each room the senior may enter is well lit, with natural light whenever feasible, or higher wattage lightbulbs, very carefully adjusting to remove any abnormal shapes or shadows created by the light.
  5. Keep commonly used items easily accessible. Whatever the older adult has a tendency to want to utilize or hold regularly ought to be put into a prominent location where he or she can find it quickly. Placing labels with words or pictures of what the senior may want to locate in cabinets or the refrigerator is also a great way to help prevent aggravation.

Let Generations at Home’s experienced dementia caregivers help preserve the most calming and peaceful environment for a senior you love, and provide the skilled, innovative, compassionate care that makes life the very best it can be. Some of the many ways we are able to improve life for those with dementia include:

  • Specifically created activities based on a senior’s particular interests and abilities
  • Companionship in order to help seniors stay socially engaged
  • Evening respite care, allowing family caregivers the chance for a restful night when a cherished older adult is challenged by sundowning
  • And a lot more

Give us a call at 727-940-3414 to ask about an in-home consultation and learn more about our top-quality dementia care for seniors today!

How to Help when Dementia Affects Vision

Pondering manThe intricate steps necessary to enable us to see are mind-boggling. In the blink of an eye, our brains are able to take transmitted details of the world around us, interpret that information based on input from other senses, memories, and thoughts, and then create a perception of that information for making us aware of what we’re seeing.

It’s no surprise that those with Alzheimer’s disease can suffer from visual deficits and misperceptions, especially in the aspects of:

  • Depth and/or color perception
  • Contrast
  • Motion recognition
  • Peripheral vision

Furthermore, individuals diagnosed with dementia can often suffer from a distorted sense of reality in the form of illusions. As an example, an individual with dementia might see a shadow on the ground, and mistake it for something harmless, such as the family dog, or a threat, such as an intruder – which may pose quite a challenge for family members. Some other examples of visual misperceptions in dementia can consist of:

  • Misjudging reflections in glass or mirrors for another person. This could easily lead to distress in thinking another person is present, or thinking that a bathroom mirror reflection means the bathroom is already Believing that images on television are real and taking place in the room.
  • Difficulty with sitting in a chair or on the toilet, fearing a fall.
  • Stress in overstimulating surroundings that cause confusion.
  • Reaching for objects that are not there, or missing the mark in trying to grab an item.
  • Issues with self-feeding and drinking.

Here are some ways to help:

  • Maintain sufficient lighting through the entire residence, and take away any particular items which cause anxiety or visual confusion if possible.
  • Use contrasting colors whenever feasible, for example, serving dark-colored soup in a light-colored bowl, or a fried egg on a brown plate. If at all possible, carry this notion through to home furnishings, with darker furniture on a light carpet, and different paint colors on trim vs. walls.
  • Close blinds or curtains both in the evenings and anytime the sun causes a glare.
  • Take advantage of adaptive tools such as remote controls and phones with large buttons to provide the senior loved one with sufficient opportunities for independence.
  • Ensure your loved one has ongoing access to eye care, and notify the eye doctor about the older adult’s dementia diagnosis.

Our professional dementia care team in St. Petersburg, FL can help implement these strategies and so much more to reduce the effects of vision problems. Call us at 727-940-3414 for more information.

Why Laughter May Be the Best Medicine in Dementia Care

two happy elderly women spending time with each other at homeProviding dementia care for a person you love is certainly not something to laugh about. Yet scientific studies are frequently pointing towards the benefits of laughter, and incorporating it into dementia care may be just what the doctor ordered to enhance quality of life for your loved one.

For example, an Australian study just recently revealed that humor therapy can aid in eliminating agitation in people who have dementia as successfully as antipsychotic medications, with no unwanted side effects. Shared laughter connects us, and helps people who have cognitive difficulties to feel accepted, safe, and at ease. As stated by Lori La Bey, founder of Alzheimer’s Speaks, “When anyone is sick or having a hard time, they still like to laugh. I spend a lot of time teaching people that feelings don’t go away, and it’s okay to get back to that zone.”

Laughter also produces endorphins, which suppress stress hormones, and can even improve blood pressure and minimize pain for aging parents – all of which make it well worth adding to your dementia care regimen, either by enrolling in a laughter yoga class together with your loved one (which incorporates clapping, singing, silly poses, and of course, laughter) or simply implementing ideas including these in your own home:

  • Add some lightheartedness and silliness randomly through the day. Sing goofy songs, dance around the house, tell simple jokes, and develop an environment of happiness for the senior.
  • Recognize that what works today might not work tomorrow – and sometimes even an hour from now. Evaluate your loved one’s responses, and if anything seems to boost anxiety, shelve the idea and attempt again at a later date.
  • Remove arguing and correcting from conversations with the older adult. A straightforward “yes” and redirection to a different subject or activity goes a long way in preempting negativity.
  • Emphasize to yourself that it is completely acceptable to be joyful. Laughter and dementia don’t have to be mutually exclusive.

Let Generations at Home help brighten life for a cherished older adult with dementia! Each one of our specialized dementia caregivers is completely trained and experienced in numerous creative, effective care techniques. Older adults achieve the added benefit of improved socialization, coupled with necessary respite from care duties for family members, making a partnership with a Generations at Home caregiver a win-win!

Researchers Are Taking a Second Look at This Promising Alzheimer’s Treatment

people looking in brainAfter sixteen long years without having any truly viable treatment options for Alzheimer’s, there is some hope on the horizon, in a stunning reversal regarding the previously-rejected antibody therapy, aducanumab. The most recent research shows that large quantities of the medication do, actually, lessen cognitive decline at the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s.

As stated by Rebecca Edelmayer, director of scientific engagement at the Alzheimer’s Association, “It could be a game-changer for the field. It could be one of the first disease-modifying therapies approved for Alzheimer’s disease.”

Biogen, the maker of aducanumab, has discovered noticeable benefits for dementia patients in a number of areas: activities of daily living, memory, language, and orientation. Biogen stated its plans to pursue regulatory approval in the United States, with a long range aim of releasing the medication internationally.

With a forecasted request for approval by the FDA as soon as early 2020, the medication is slated to potentially become the first treatment method to actually reduce the clinical decline of Alzheimer’s. Likewise, it will open doors to other treatment options that impact amyloid beta plaques, connecting other trials that target the immune system, inflammation, blood vessels, and synaptic cell health. As discovering the most effective treatment of the disease is a challenging endeavor, it’s expected that a mixture of these treatments will be essential, according to Edelmayer.

The next challenge? Convincing the FDA to approve the medication after earlier failed trials. If approved, aducanumab will first be provided to individuals who had signed up for previous clinical trials, and hopefully, soon offered to other individuals dealing with the problems of Alzheimer’s as well.

For the nearly six million senior Americans battling Alzheimer’s (and that figure is expected to more than double in the next 30 years), and the loved ones who take care of them, these current findings could very well be life-changing, as there are currently only minimally effective symptom-management medications available. Even as we wait for a cure, we at Generations at Home are ready to help dementia patients through highly skilled, trained, and qualified caregivers who utilize creative, therapeutic approaches that focus on each person’s distinct strengths and making sure that each individual is living to the fullest.

For more information regarding highly effective Alzheimer’s care that helps strengthen quality of life in the comfort of home, reach out to the dementia care professionals at Generations at Home at 727-940-3414 and ask for an in-home assessment or additional useful resources.

Why Nonverbal Communication for Alzheimer’s Patients is Often Better Than Words

Senior woman spending quality time with her daughter

When communicating with a loved one with Alzheimer’s, it is helpful to use a range of nonverbal communication methods.

Connecting with a cherished older adult struggling with Alzheimer’s, especially in the middle and later stages, is often discouraging – both for you and also for your loved one. Brain changes affect the ability to listen, process, and respond appropriately to conversations, and it’s up to us to put into action new methods of communicating to more effectively interact with a senior loved one with dementia.

What’s promising is, it is easier than it may look. We already communicate nonverbally in a variety of ways:

  • Physical contact
  • Posture and body movement
  • Eye contact
  • Facial expressions
  • Gestures
  • Personal space

Take a look at these techniques to include nonverbal communication in your interactions with a senior loved one:

  • Offer support through caring touch. If your family member is comfortable with touch, hold and pat the senior’s hand, rub the senior’s back, place an arm around his or her shoulders, and share warm hugs.
  • Look the person in the eye. Eye contact expresses interest in the senior, even when no words are spoken.
  • Recognize personal boundaries. Refrain from overwhelming the person by allowing adequate personal space, and making sure you are at the same level as the person, never towering over the senior. Your face should be at eye level.
  • Always keep a relaxed, patient and confident attitude. Quash any anger, annoyance or impatience, and focus on maintaining a peaceful and pleasant look on your face when communicating with your loved one. If this proves to be problematic because of challenging behaviors, step away briefly and practice deep breathing or other relaxation strategies, such as:
    • Square breathing: Use a finger to draw the shape of a square in front of you. When tracing the first side, breathe in deeply for a count of three; for the next side, hold your breath for one second; for the third side, breathe out for a count of three; and for the fourth side, hold your breath for one second. Do it again as necessary.
    • Relaxing phrase repetition: A couple of examples to get you started: This will pass, and everything is ok. I can handle this. I am secure and well.
    • Distracted thinking: Practice concentrated refocusing. Try saying the alphabet backwards, stating as many state capitals as you can, or singing the words to a popular song.

Learn more creative methods of effective Alzheimer’s care by getting in touch with Generations at Home. Our care providers are specially trained in the most current Alzheimer’s care techniques, and we’re always available to assist a family member with dementia to remain safe and calm, and to enjoy life to his/her greatest possible potential. Reach out to us at 727-940-3414 at any time for assistance.

The 5 Things to Avoid When Caring for Alzheimer’s

When a caregiver comes out with an older woman for a walk, she always takes a plastic bottle with water.While there are some commonalities, Alzheimer’s disease impacts each individual uniquely. Our highly trained dementia caregivers know, for instance, that while one person may appreciate being outdoors, a different individual may be overloaded by so much sensory input and favor a quieter indoor environment. One person may enjoy a morning bath routine, whereas a bit of creativity is needed to help another maintain good hygiene.

We also recognize there are certain triggers that may often exacerbate the challenging aspects of Alzheimer’s disease. Family care providers should be especially careful in order to avoid the following when caring for Alzheimer’s in a senior loved one:

  1. Dehydration. Those diagnosed with dementia might not be in a position to identify when they’re thirsty, or may refuse when provided fluids. It’s crucial to ensure appropriate hydration to avoid further confusion and weakness. Plain water is the best, nonetheless, if rejected, try flavored waters, along with different types of cups or bottles.
  2. Isolation. Individuals diagnosed with dementia experience loneliness as much as anyone else, and without adequate social stimulation, can become increasingly agitated or paranoid. An established care provider, like those at Generations at Home, who are fully trained in dementia care, can offer appropriate socialization, giving members of the family a much-needed break from care.
  3. Sugar. It’s not unusual for those with Alzheimer’s disease to have a heightened desire for cookies or cake, along with other sugary snacks, but it also can produce additional irritability. Try offering a variety of healthier choices, like fruit, yogurt, or sugar-free treats.
  4. Sleeping pills. With the challenges of common sleep problems such as sundowning, it could be tempting for family members to supply sleeping pills to a loved one with Alzheimer’s to encourage a more restful night. However, these drugs raise the risk for falls and other accidents and contribute to fogginess and confusion. Talk to the senior’s physician for a natural sleep-inducing option.
  5. TV. Be mindful of what’s on TV; programs that contain criminal activity, violence, as well as the nightly news can instill worry and paranoia in those with dementia. It might be better to leave the television off and engage your loved one in alternative activities, including games, puzzles, reading together, exercising, and reminiscing – or choose to view movies you have carefully evaluated to make sure content is suitable.

Every member of our dementia care team is fully trained and experienced in providing person-centered, compassionate care to successfully manage the issues inherent with Alzheimer’s, and to increase total wellbeing. Contact us at 727-940-3414 for additional dementia care tips, and for an in-home consultation to find out how our specialized in-home Alzheimer’s care can make life better for your senior loved one.

Reasons Why Women Are at Higher Risk for Alzheimer’s Disease

Researchers are finally beginning to get a grip on the imbalance between Alzheimer’s diagnoses in women and men. Currently, as many as 2/3 of those with Alzheimer’s in the U.S. are female, and as scientists begin to understand the particular nuances behind this trend, we can begin to address them.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association’s Director of Scientific Engagement, Rebecca Edelmayer, “Women are at the epicenter of Alzheimer’s disease as both persons living with the disease and as caregivers of those with dementia. Over the last three years, the Alzheimer’s Association has invested $3.2 million into 14 projects looking at sex differences for the disease and some of the findings today may explain risk, prevalence, and rate of decline for women.”

The longstanding belief has been that women simply have a longer expected lifespan, and we know that Alzheimer’s becomes more prevalent as age increases. Yet the theory has shifted to include the following additional determinants:

  • Biology. Vanderbilt University Medical Center researchers discovered that women with mild cognitive impairment had a more accelerated spread of tau (the protein in the brain linked to death of brain cells), as well as a greater extent of tau network connectivity, than that of men.
  • Memory. A study conducted by the University of California at San Diego School of Medicine revealed higher scores on verbal memory tests in women than men, which may contribute to the ability of women’s brains to compensate for cognitive impairments and to the delay of a diagnosis and subsequent treatment.
  • Employment. Memory decline in women ages 60 – 70 who never worked was greater than in women with consistent employment, per the findings of a study conducted by the University of California Los Angeles – indicating that “consistent cognitive stimulation from work helps increase cognitive reserve in women.”
  • Lifestyle. Because a healthy lifestyle, including a lower incidence of stress, helps reduce Alzheimer’s risk, women are particularly vulnerable – as they are most often in the role of family caregiver, a known inducer of stress.

All of these findings highlight the need for women to take good care of their own health and wellbeing, and Generations at Home is here to help. We provide the trusted St. Petersburg senior care that enables family caregivers to take much needed breaks from caring for their loved ones and focus on self-care. Our caregivers are specially trained and experienced in meeting the unique needs of those with Alzheimer’s disease, giving family members the peace of mind in knowing their loved ones are receiving the very best care. Call us at 727-940-3414 to learn more about our Alzheimer’s care services.

Help for This Common Alzheimer’s Care Concern: Resistance to Personal Hygiene

Towel LifestyleOf the many challenges related to providing care for a loved one with dementia, the Alzheimer’s Association reveals that the most prevalent difficulty is with personal hygiene, for a variety of reasons:

  • Reduced sense of vision and smell
  • Comfort found in familiarity (i.e., wanting to wear the same clothes over and over again)
  • The complexities of bathing, compounded by cognitive impairment and confusion
  • Fear of falling, the sounds and sensations of the water, and more

Cajoling, arguing, and reasoning are rarely effective tactics with those impacted by Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia. Instead, try these creative approaches if your loved one resists maintaining proper hygiene:

  • Prepare the bathroom in advance so the room will be comfortable and you won’t need to juggle gathering up supplies in conjunction with assisting the senior. Warm the room with a space heater, and place soap, shampoo, towels, washcloth, etc. within easy reach, as well as remove any throw rugs or other tripping hazards.
  • A shower chair and hand-held sprayer often make a more comfortable bathing experience for those with dementia. Face the chair away from the faucet, and use towels to cover parts of the body before and after they are cleaned to keep the senior warm and to avoid feelings of exposure.
  • Have the senior assist with bathing tasks as much as possible to promote independence. It may be as simple as offering a washcloth or the shampoo bottle for the senior to hold.
  • If hair washing is difficult for either of you, forego that task during bath time, and arrange for weekly trips to the salon.
  • Plan a special outing with the senior, such as a lunch date with a friend, and center bath time around getting ready for the event.
  • Bring in the recommendation of a medical professional, who can advise the senior about the increased risk of infection or skin problems without proper hygiene. Sometimes hearing from a trusted third party carries more weight than from a family member.
  • Engage the services of a caregiver, allowing the senior the dignity of having personal care needs tended to by a professional, rather than a family member.

At Generations at Home, each of our caregivers is adept in safe hygiene procedures for older adults, with specialized training to help those with Alzheimer’s disease feel comfortable with personal hygiene tasks, including creative approaches to safe bathing, skin, hair, and oral care, restroom assistance, and much more. Call us at 727-940-3414 or contact us online to discover effective solutions to the concerns you and your loved one are facing!

Flying Solo? Here’s Why It’s Vital to Partner with Professionals for Dementia Care.

daughter visiting her senior mother in hospital

Learn how in-home dementia care from our St. Petersburg home care experts can provide needed respite.

Although millions of older adults are struggling with the challenges of Alzheimer’s disease, a far greater number of family members are struggling with caring for them. Surprisingly, nearly 75% of family caregivers are managing their senior loved ones’ dementia care needs on their own, with only 26% reaching out for professional care assistance.

Unsurprisingly, families want to do all they can in order to satisfy their loved ones’ needs, but dementia caregiving can cause an exceedingly high level of both mental and physical stress. This takes a toll on the caregivers’ own health and wellbeing in the long run, particularly once the disease progresses. And many members of the family assume there’s an all-or-nothing approach: either oversee their loved one’s needs in the home, or confront moving him or her into residential care.

Generations at Home, fortunately, has a solution that is good for seniors with dementia along with their family caregivers: the addition of a professional in-home dementia caregiver to provide as much or as little respite care as necessary. Here is why we believe that dementia care at home is best:

  • Highly trained care. Because our care providers are both skilled and experienced in the many complex facets of Alzheimer’s disease and other kinds of dementia, they will proactively address and more effectively manage even the most difficult of behaviors, including wandering, aggression, sundowning, and more.
  • Enhanced safety. The possibility of accidents is increased for those with dementia. Even something that appears as uncomplicated as assisting your loved one into the shower or onto the toilet can cause a dangerous fall risk. Skilled care providers know how to watch out for and avoid falls, keeping both you and your family member safe from harm.
  • Sustainable aging in place. Very often, family caregivers become so stressed attempting to meet all of a senior loved one’s needs in combination with their own that a change to a residential dementia care facility seems inevitable. However, partnering with a professional dementia care provider opens up the possibility of long-term, beneficial care in the home.
  • Ease of mind. Knowing your senior loved one is in qualified hands enables you to take a breath, relax, and step away from the pressures of caregiving for the much-needed breaks that decrease stress as well as the potential for caregiver burnout and depression.

It’s better to look into in-home dementia care possibilities as early in the disease as you possibly can, to allow for an even more seamless transition and to be sure that your loved one gets the most beneficial care from the very beginning. Reach out to us at 727-940-3414 to inquire about a consultation from the comfort of home, where we can create a highly customized plan of care which will increase quality of life for your senior loved one today, and also as needs change in the future.