Managing It Together When Mom Starts to Show Early Signs of Dementia

An adult daughter and her mother spending time

When a senior parent starts to show signs of dementia or decline, it’s time to have some difficult, but necessary, conversations.

The first signs might be so subtle that many people would not even detect that anything is amiss. Mom is extroverted, pleasant, and conversational while visiting close friends and family and while running errands. However those closest to her have begun to pick up on concerns: being forgetful about the soup cooking on the stove, resulting in a scorched pan. Putting her keys in the cookie jar. Neglecting to pay expenses.

As an adult child of a loved one in the beginning stages of compromised safety or perhaps the capability to make reasonable decisions, it is normally extremely challenging to transition to a greater degree of involvement and assistance – yet it is also essential to take steps sooner rather than later.

Similar to bringing up any confrontational topic of conversation, speaking with your parent with regards to the concerns you are seeing is likely to be met with resistance and defensiveness in the beginning. And yet, it’s essential to detail the particular factors behind your concern, and also the negative consequences if these signs and symptoms continue or become worse.

Generations at Home recommends this strategy:

  1. Be certain that a durable power of attorney has been appointed.
  2. Confirm with your siblings that the problem needs to be addressed, and discuss together what options are accessible for the senior’s care as needs continue to progress.
  3. Remain loving but steady in your approach. Explain the choices you’ve thought through. If she balks at the thought of moving to an assisted living facility, which many seniors do, suggest an in-home caregiver instead, permitting her to stay independent and safe within the comfort of home.
  4. Be aware that it will likely take multiple conversations before the senior accepts the need for assistance – which is why it is important to start the process without delay.

At Generations at Home, we’re experienced in helping seniors to feel comfortable and positive regarding how our services will help enhance safety and overall quality of life and wellbeing. As soon as your family decides the time is right for assistance, we can help with highly personalized care that will meet a wide range of needs, such as:

  • Companionship
  • Meal planning and preparation
  • Housework and laundry
  • Transportation
  • Running errands
  • Highly specialized care for dementia
  • And much more

Whether the need is for just a few hours each week to boost safety and socialization, full-time care, or anything in between, partnering with Generations at Home increases quality of life for seniors and offers peace of mind for people who love them. Call us at 727-940-3414 for an in-home consultation to find out how we can assist.

Holiday Visits Can Help Determine if Dementia Care Is Needed

A happy grandmother with her family on Christmas Eve

Learn the signs of early dementia in this article from the St. Petersburg, FL home care experts.

From the second the door swings open and your senior parent wraps you in a warm hug, through the merry holiday dinner and each timeless family tradition, possibilities abound for not just quality time together, but also to evaluate how your senior loved one is really doing and if any warning flags are observed.

In particular, certain indicators could reveal cognitive issues, including Alzheimer’s disease. Because Alzheimer’s happens to be more and more common in senior loved ones, and because early detection and treatment are key, the dementia care team at Generations at Home suggests monitoring for any of the following common signs of early Alzheimer’s disease during your holiday visit this year:

  • Social differences. As outlined by John Ramsay, CEO of Shift 8,“Dementia can cause people to become closed-off, avoiding any sense of social interaction.” Take note of any indications both in the senior’s behavior and conversations that point to his/her preference for reclusiveness and isolation, particularly if the person has always appreciated socializing.
  • Mood swings. Depression, anxiety, and apathy are all early components of dementia. The illness has an effect on a person’s ability to process and manage emotions, often times the result of the inability to remember what sparked an adverse feeling, leading to additional irritation.
  • Loss of memory. Issues with memory are at the heart of Alzheimer’s disease, notably, short-term memory. Notice whether or not the senior seems to have a problem with recent events, but is able to fully engage in conversations in regards to the past.
  • Problems with altered routines. Identifying a sense of disorientation, anxiety or agitation is not uncommon during the holiday season, with its possibility of disruptions to the normal routine. People with Alzheimer’s tend to depend greatly on familiarity and may also appear out of sorts when deviating from the usual.
  • Physical changes. Take note of any evidence of a decline in hygiene or in the cleanliness and organization of the home, particularly if the senior has previously been thorough in maintaining a sense of order.

Any of these concerns ought to be brought to the attention of the senior’s primary care doctor at the earliest opportunity.

And, it is beneficial to have a trusted senior care partner on hand who is familiar with the intricacies of dementia along with other difficulties of aging, and will provide you with the professional assistance which enables aging parents to stay safe and well. Contact the St. Petersburg FL home care experts at Generations at Home at 727-940-3414 to learn more about our highly skilled, professional dementia care team and for a free in-home assessment to find out how we can help.

What a Herd of Elephants Can Teach Us About Alzheimer’s

Pinellas County dementia care

Can we learn something about Alzheimer’s from an elephant? Learn more in this article.

The old saying is true: elephants truly do have incredible memories, even in their old age. To illustrate, they can remember and return to very particular locations many years after visiting them, irrespective of age. Just what exactly can we discover from elephants that might lead to increasing our own brain functioning as we age?

Surprisingly, older elephants’ brains reveal no accumulation of the amyloid plaques a number of scientists are linking to Alzheimer’s. And even though other specialists tout the need for adequate sleep to permit the brain the opportunity to clear away plaques, elephants are stamping over that theory, sleeping as few as 2 hours daily.

But one factor rises above the rest that just may be the answer: socialization. Scientific studies increasingly point to the link between isolation and cognitive decline, as well as the advantage of retaining reliable social contacts. Elephants remain socially engaged in close family herds for a lifetime, while our human busyness frequently prevents the type of meaningful, sustained relationships we so desperately need.

Investing quality time together with your senior family members is easier with a little assistance from the professional caregivers at Generations at Home.We’re readily available to help with housework, shopping, cooking, personal care needs, and much more, freeing up valuable time for seniors and their loved ones.

We’re also skilled in encouraging aging parents to stay active and engaged in the community around them, and can provide transportation and accompaniment to senior centers, exercise programs, and enjoyable outings, as well as increasing socialization right at home with discussions, games, and pleasant activities.

As we await a cure or at the least, an effective treatment option for Alzheimer’s disease, realize that the care team at Generations at Homeis fully trained and skilled in specialized dementia care. As a result, those impacted by the condition are equipped to live life to their greatest possible potential, and family caregivers are given the support they want in managing a number of the more difficult aspects of the disease, for instance sundowning, aggression, wandering, and more.

Contact us at 727-940-3414to take the initial step in boosting wellbeing for your senior loved one! We’re available for as much or as little assistance as required, from just a couple hours enabling family members to take a much needed break from care, up to full-time, around-the-clock care, and everything in between.

How Concerned Should You Be About Guns and Dementia?

senior aiming a revolver pistol

What you need to know about guns and dementia.

With an impassioned level of debate rivaling the Hatfields and McCoys, it appears insurmountable to come to a resolution around the issue of gun control. Yet in spite of which side of the fence you are on, there’s one little-discussed scenario that will cause all of us to take pause: the frightening mixture of dementia and firearms.

A third of all seniors in the United States report owning a firearm, and an additional 12% are living in the house of a gun owner. Bearing in mind that nearly 9% of those over age 65 have some form of dementia (and that number is anticipated to more than double by 2050), it totals an incredible number of older adults with dementia living with guns. Together with irregular states of confusion, aggression, and other difficult behaviors, having guns in the house sets the stage for possible tragedy.

Within the state of Washington alone, a government study found that tens of thousands of older adults (54,000) reported memory decline and confusion along with access to firearms – and as many as 15,000 of those respondents reported that the firearms they had access to were both unlocked and loaded.

In fact, in one single year alone, a Kaiser Health News report uncovered upwards of 75 reported homicides or suicides committed by people with dementia, in addition to instances of firearms being brandished against those closest to them – family members, neighbors, caregivers. Additionally, the suicide rate for older adults is greater than for any other age bracket, with guns being the most prevalent source for senior men, as reported by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).

The Alzheimer’s Association recommends removing firearms from the houses of those with dementia; however, if that isn’t a choice families are prepared to consider, it is vital that you be certain firearms are stored properly – locked, unloaded, and kept separate from ammunition. A bit of creativity can help as well – as an example, replacing real guns with toy models that allow a person who was an avid hunter to safely maintain his connection to that activity.

For more recommendations on keeping people who have dementia safe, call the skilled dementia care team at Generations at Home. Our fully trained and experienced caregivers are adept in assisting with the more challenging components of dementia, and in determining when a senior might be in crisis and require medical help. Our dementia respite care services allow family caregivers the chance to rest and renew, understanding their loved one is incompetent and caring hands. Call us at 727-940-3414 to find out more.

A Whole New Take on the Cause of Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer's disease brain puzzle piece

Pinellas County home care team, Generations at Home shares new Alzheimer’s disease cure theory.

Today, Thomas Edison’s words ring true regarding the race to obtain both the main cause and a cure for Alzheimer’s disease: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Each day seems to bring hopeful news of another clinical trial, followed shortly after by the aggravating news that results failed to meet expectations – and so the cycle persists.

A neuroscientist, Christian Holscher, is indicating that to be able to win the war against Alzheimer’s, we must look past the tried-and-tried-again plaque theory. In fact, he points to the identifier of the disease himself, Alois Alzheimer, who stressed that while certain plaques were found particularly in older brains, there was clearly no conclusive proof that they actually result in the disease. Yet researchers have continually honed in on these plaques as the culprit, and then turn up empty-handed.

Holscher proposes a unique avenue that needs to be explored instead in our mission to eradicate Alzheimer’s: the link between Alzheimer’s and insulin. We realize that those with type 2 diabetes are at greater risk for developing Alzheimer’s; and, we understand that brain cells require insulin to grow and stay healthy. Could insulin deficits lead towards the type of irreparable neuron damage exhibited in Alzheimer’s?

Studies of brain tissue from persons with Alzheimer’s that are deceased confirmed that insulin’s effectiveness in brain cell growth was destroyed, and surprisingly, it was true in both diabetic and non-diabetic patients – leading scientists to the conclusion that testing diabetic treatment options on those with Alzheimer’s is worth a try. A current clinical trial to check this theory demonstrated promising results, with neuron deterioration ceased in patients throughout the 12-month study.

Generations at Home continues to closely follow any and all developments regarding the continuous quest for a cure for Alzheimer’s disease. Our care team is highly skilled and experienced in successfully managing some of the more difficult elements of the disease, while helping those impacted to live life to their fullest potential. Whether the need is for just a few hours each week for family caregivers to take a much-needed break from care, full-time, 24-hour monitoring and assistance, or anything in between, Generations at Home is here for support.

Call us at 727-940-3414 to request additional Alzheimer’s disease resources and to schedule a free of charge consultation, right in the comfort of home, to learn more about our specialized dementia care services.

The Alzheimer’s Supplements to Avoid

Senior couple looking at medications

Always obtain your health care provider’s approval prior to trying anything new.

As the saying goes, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. That can easily be applied to the recent increase of corporations offering alternative supplements, dietary programs, and herbal concoctions in order to treat, or at the very least lessen, the ramifications of Alzheimer’s disease. The Alzheimer’s Association aims to alert us, however, to go forward with careful attention when investigating treatment options for a loved one with dementia – and always obtain the health care provider’s approval prior to trying anything new.

A number of the latest trends in treating the disease, which are outside the FDA’s research and approval and are also centered on individual reviews as opposed to fact-based science, include ginkgo biloba, coral calcium, coconut oil, huperzine A and CoQ10 – an antioxidant produced naturally but in declining amounts as we grow older. In particular, the Alzheimer’s Association reports their concerns about these and other popular alternative treatments:

  • Ginkgo biloba: Clinical trials of thousands of adults over age 75 have shown no statistical distinction between those taking this plant extract and people taking a placebo.
  • Coral calcium: Coral calcium has been shown to supply no substantial health benefits, and those promoting and distributing it as a cure for Alzheimer’s are currently under investigation with formal complaints filed by both the FTC and FDA.
  • Coconut oil: Promises are that coconut oil may provide an alternative source of energy to brain cells in place of reduced glucose levels in people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. The Alzheimer’s Association cautions that while there may be benefit, no clinical testing or scientific evidence is available.
  • Huperzine A: Used as a conventional Chinese healing product, huperzine A is a moss extract available as an unregulated dietary supplement. A clinical trial was conducted by the Alzheimer’s Disease Cooperative Study that showed no benefit to huperzine A in Alzheimer’s patients, and that significant side effects might result when taken in combination with other Alzheimer’s treatments.
  • CoQ10: While CoQ10 is a naturally-occurring antioxidant within the body, it has not been researched for its usefulness in managing Alzheimer’s disease, and also could result in harm to the older adult if taken in large quantities.

The bottom line? Consult with your senior loved one’s doctor about treatment options for Alzheimer’s and follow his / her instructions carefully. For additional details on safe and effective Alzheimer’s care, delivered in the convenience of home, get in touch with Generations at Home’s specialized dementia care team. Our care staff is fully trained and experienced in highly skilled, patient and compassionate Alzheimer’s and dementia care, allowing seniors to maintain the best possible quality of life, safety, independence and respect. Give us a call today at 727-940-3414 or contact us online for a free in-home assessment to find out more.

Tips for St. Petersburg Seniors to Prevent Cognitive Dysfunction After Surgery

Senior Woman in hospital

POCD occurs in more than 25% of seniors after non-cardiac surgery.

Undergoing surgery for older adults always involves some inherent risks, but there’s a little-known effect impacting a substantial number of seniors after surgery that we all should be informed about: POCD (postoperative cognitive dysfunction). POCD occurs in more than 25% of seniors in the days and sometimes even weeks after non-cardiac surgery, and can present with an array of symptoms, several of which are often almost indiscernible: forgetfulness, lack of concentration and focus, as well as other forms of cognitive decline that impact quality of life. Read more

Could It Be True? Telling Lies to Someone with Alzheimer’s May Be Best.

Alzheimer'sAt an early age, we learn the tale of George Washington’s misadventure with the cherry tree and his bold admittance to his parents, “I cannot tell a lie; I chopped down the cherry tree!” Truthfulness is embedded within our character, and in many cases telling a tiny white lie can wrack us with guilt. But could it actually be good to fib when communicating with a family member with Alzheimer’s?

In accordance with the Alzheimer’s Association, “loving deception” entails allowing someone with dementia to maintain uncorrected misconceptions to be able to reduce anxiety and agitation. For example, say your father with Alzheimer’s consistently asks for his parents. The simple truth is, his parents both passed on many years ago; but protecting him from re-experiencing the raw sadness of learning this truth again and again provides a bit of comfort. A suitable response could be, “They are not here right now, but they’re out together enjoying the afternoon.”

Martin Schreiber, author of “My Two Elaines: Learning, Coping and Surviving as an Alzheimer’s Caregiver”, explains that there’s little or no benefit to correcting loved ones with dementia. He reports, “This is about the importance of joining the world of the individual with Alzheimer’s.”

Nonetheless, it is important to confine the white lies to situations where the senior would be upset and gain no benefit from being told the truth, especially when questions regarding the problem are repeatedly being asked. There is certainly a time and place for honesty in Alzheimer’s disease, such as when a loved one has just passed away, and the person deserves the chance to sort out initial grief.

These additional tactics will help restore calm, in lieu of lying:

  • Shift topics to something more fun or calming.
  • Make an effort to discern the emotion being expressed and help manage that.
  • Pay attention to the individual with empathy and acknowledge the feelings being experienced.

With huge numbers of Americans currently living with Alzheimer’s disease – as many as 5.5 million estimated in 2017 by the Alzheimer’s Association, and a full 32 percent of those ages 85 and older – it is essential for all of us to understand strategies to effectively communicate with those impacted by Alzheimer’s as we anxiously await a cure.

For additional communication advice and methods to try with your loved one with Alzheimer’s disease, contact the St. Petersburg dementia care specialists at Generations at Home. We’re available to provide highly trained, specialized in-home caregivers for those with Alzheimer’s, as well as education for families to better manage the condition. Give us a call at 727-940-3414 for assistance.



How Rethinking Decades of Alzheimer’s Research Could Lead to a Cure

Alzheimer's ResearchFor those who follow the latest research in Alzheimer’s disease, we are all too familiar with amyloid plaques, the troublesome buildup thought to be linked to Alzheimer’s. But is it possible that the buildup is, in fact, helpful?

Neuroscientists Rudolph Tanzi and Robert Moir, from Harvard’s influential teaching hospital, Massachusetts General, are making breakthroughs with their latest findings. They’re suggesting that amyloid-beta is actually a constructive part of our immunity, with the task of protecting the brain from foreign cells; much in the way an oyster develops a pearl, for self-protection. Developing this idea, Moir explains, “Maybe amyloid plaques are a brain pearl, a way for our body to trap and permanently sequester these invading pathogens.”

It is a major shift in thinking. Amyloid-beta transitions from being our enemy to becoming a necessary component of our immune system. The problem lies in an overproduction of the plaques that can then impact healthy brain cells, leading to Alzheimer’s disease.

Although the research took years to accomplish, the results are well worth the time put in. Not only were medical scientists able to validate the virus and bacteria killing ability of amyloids in the laboratory, but identical results were found when tested in animal models. In fact, mice with encephalitis and meningitis infections were safeguarded against the disease when producing amyloids, while those lacking amyloids perished within a small period of time.

Theories are still being researched; the immune system could be attacking healthy cells in the brain, not unlike what happens in other autoimmune disorders. Or, it could be the result of an overreaction to a virus or bacteria that enters the brain. Once the cause is pinpointed, it could potentially allow doctors to halt the process in the early stages and prevent the resulting dementia.

Generations at Home is a leader in providing dementia care for those impacted, as we wait for a research breakthrough that leads to a cure. Whether the need is for short-term respite care to allow family caregivers a break, full-time care day and night, or anything in between, we’re available to make life more comfortable for those with dementia and those who care for them. Call us at 727-940-3414 or contact us online to learn more about our services.