Wandering and Alzheimer’s: Why It Happens and How to Help

dementia care experts

Wandering is a common side effect of Alzheimer’s disease.

Of the many effects of Alzheimer’s disease, perhaps one of the most concerning is the individual’s tendency for wandering as well as the potential dangers that may occur if the senior becomes disoriented or lost. Wandering can take place when the older adult is:

  • Scared, confused or overwhelmed
  • Trying to find someone or something
  • Bored
  • Seeking to keep a familiar past routine (such as going to a job or shopping)
  • Taking care of a basic necessity (such as getting a drink of water or going to the bathroom)

The objective is twofold; to help keep the senior safe, and to make certain his / her needs are fulfilled to attempt to prevent the need to wander to begin with. Try the following safety measures in case your senior loved one is likely to wander:

  • Be certain that the residence is equipped with a security system and locks that the senior is unable to master, such as a sliding bolt lock above his or her range of vision. An assortment of alarms can be bought, from something as simple as placing a bell over door knobs, to highly-sensitive pressure mats that will sound an alarm when stepped upon, to GPS devices which can be worn, and more. It’s also a great idea to register for the Alzheimer’s Association’s Safe Return Program.
  • Conceal exits by covering up doors with curtains, setting temporary folding barriers strategically around doorways, or by wallpapering or painting doors to match the surrounding walls. You could also try placing “NO EXIT” signs on doors, which can sometimes dissuade people in the earlier stages of dementia from trying to exit.
  • Another danger for individuals who wander is the additional risk of falling. Look over each room of the house and address any tripping concerns, such as removing throw rugs, extension cords, and any obstacles that may be obstructing walkways, adding extra lighting, and placing gates at the top and bottom of stairways.

It is important to keep in mind that with supervision and direction, wandering is not necessarily an issue. Go for a walk together outside anytime weather permits and the senior is in the mood to be mobile, providing the extra advantage of fresh air, physical exercise, and quality time together.

While often tricky to manage, the dementia care team at Generations at Home has been specially trained to be equally watchful and proactive in deterring wandering and to utilize creative strategies to help seniors with dementia stay calm and happy. Email or call us at 727-940-3414 for more information!

 

Why Is Dad Being So Irrational? Tips To Understand and Respond to Senior Paranoia

St. Petersburg FL home care

Dementia can cause irrational thoughts.

“I’m telling you, there is a dog in my closet! I hear it growling all night long. We have got to find its owner!”

Hearing a senior loved one express worries such as this that you know to be untrue is unsettling – yet not abnormal. Your very first impulse could be to attempt to rationalize with the person with a response such as, “Nonsense! There’s not a chance a dog may have gotten into the closet!” All the same, for several different reasons, this can be the least successful option to handle irrational ideas and behaviors within the senior population.

Alternatively, at Generations at Home, we suggest the following strategies to help restore a feeling of calm and wellbeing:

  1. First and foremost, schedule a check-up with the senior’s doctor. It’s important to identify any cognitive problems and to make certain he or she receives appropriate treatment if necessary. There also could possibly be prescription medication side-effects taking place.
  2. Seek out the thinking behind the irrationality, and then decide how to solve the issue. For instance, possibly the heating and cooling vent in the closet is loose, or an air vent is blowing onto a row of hangers and bringing about a strange sound.
  3. Instead of wanting to correct the individual, react lovingly with assurance and empathy. Focus on acknowledging the feelings being expressed, as well as on letting the person know that you’re going to be there to assist. Accompanying the senior into a different area and providing interesting distractions, such as listening to music, baking, gardening, or browsing through photos together, can help you restore calm.
  4. One of the most helpful ways to conquer any obstacle is by determining what has helped others in a similar situation. Consider joining an in-person or online community of family caregivers, allowing for the exchange of insightful recommendations and information. A wide range of choices are readily available, such as AgingCare.com’s caregiver forum.
  5. Enlist the support of a professional in-home care provider, such as Generations at Home. Our caregivers are proficient at helping aging parents remain active and engaged, as well as helping to decrease challenging behaviors. Partnering with a trusted caregiver also gives you necessary respite, to take a break from caregiving duties while knowing your loved one is benefiting from superior care.

For additional suggestions about assisting your parent through obstacles with aging, dementia or chronic illness, reach out to the senior care experts at Generations at Home. We’re always available to answer any questions, share resources specific to the challenges you are encountering, and to provide a free of charge in-home consultation and development of a customized care plan to improve quality of life for a senior loved one. Reach out via our online contact form or call us any time at 727-940-3414.

How Caring for Aging Parents is Causing Many People to Quit Their Jobs

businesswoman looking out of an office window

Family caregiving can have a large impact on work performance.

Recently, actor Rob Lowe brought family caregiving into the spotlight by sharing his story of caring for his mother and the toll it took on his own life. He explains, “When you’re caring for a loved one, there’s nothing you won’t do to give them as much comfort and peace of mind as you can possibly provide. Often that means you’ll skip your social obligations, wreck your diet, suffer sleep deprivation, and even risk your career.”

Of course, this is nothing new to the vast majority of the U.S. workforce (3 out of 4 employees) who are simultaneously providing care for someone at home. And according to a survey conducted by Harvard Business School, 80% of those family caregivers are struggling to keep up with their career commitments as a result of their caregiving duties. And nearly a third of them end up relinquishing their careers to focus more on the care their loved one requires.

Yet conversely, employers seem to be less aware of the challenges faced by their employees, and the stress that results from juggling responsibilities between home and work, noting in the survey excuses such as, “It’s none of our business,” and “The volume of use of caregiving benefits is low enough that it is not necessary to track it.” And the majority of those employees are in agreement that their organization’s culture is not as supportive as they’d like with regard to meeting needs on the job as well as at home.

So how can employees help to drive the workplace changes needed to ensure that the ever-growing army of working family caregivers receives both the understanding and resources needed for a successful work/life balance? It begins with speaking up to create the necessary awareness of the issue. Employers need to understand the impact family caregiving has on their staff in order to retain the employees most likely to leave over caregiving stress: younger workers, higher-ranking workers, and higher-earning workers. Research and recommend caregiving benefits the employer can offer, and then don’t be afraid to use those benefits when offered.

Additionally, keep in mind that Generations at Home in St. Petersburg, FL provides a highly personalized care solution that allows employed family members to focus more fully on their careers, knowing their senior loved ones are receiving the high quality care they need at home. Contact us online or call us at 727-940-3414 to arrange for a free in-home consultation to learn more about our professional in-home care services for seniors, and how we can partner with your employer to explore caregiving benefit offerings for employees.

Making Your Marriage a Priority as You Care for an Aging Parent

Mature couple holding hands

Caregiving for a senior can impact your marriage relationship. Learn tips to keep your marriage intact here.

In marriage, we agree to stick together for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness as well as in health – but what does not come up in our vows to each other is the way to preserve marriage while caregiving as our parents age.

Nevertheless, with our life span increasing, it is essential to put together a strategy based on both the needs of our parents as they age, as well as the multitude of day-to-day needs, all while honoring our cherished relationship with a spouse. It is a challenge that is contributing to anxiety and strain for 80% of couples surveyed, leading to detachment and much less quality time together. The following areas in a marital relationship are especially impacted by caregiving for a senior parent:

  • Finances. Still retaining the top spot for the reason cited for divorce, fiscal stress is magnified if the senior has not executed a financial arrangement for long-term care. Truthfully discussing frustrations with one another and working together to examine choices to pay for services can help.
  • Exhaustion. As gratifying as it might be, meeting the needs of an elderly family member calls for a great amount of time and effort – leaving little left over at the end of your day for your spouse. Agree to accept the help of others or hire professional in-home senior care help, so you can be sure to provide for quality time with your significant other.
  • Frustration. Mounting frustration and decreased patience are a couple of frequent side effects of fatigue, and sadly, we tend to lash out at those we love the most when feeling overwhelmed. Allow imperfection, practice understanding, and look for professional assistance if needed.

So how else are you able to try to avoid these issues and keep a strong and healthy marriage? These tips may help:

  • Make sure your spouse is always a high priority. Thoughtful gestures can go a long way towards this end, such as writing a note of love and appreciation, getting up a couple of minutes early to share a cup of coffee together before the day becomes hectic, or setting aside time at the conclusion of the day to talk and unwind.
  • Joining an online support group for family caregivers can allow you the opportunity to share irritations with individuals in similar situations, relieving concerns.
  • Seek out the services of a certified counselor, either for you separately or for the two of you as a couple.

An additional great way to accomplish a healthy life balance is through partnering with an established and trusted in-home care provider, like Generations at Home. We provide customized respite care solutions that allow loved ones to take time away from caregiving, while providing seniors the opportunity for enhanced socialization with a helpful and fully-trained caregiver. Contact us at 727-940-3414 to explore our senior care options today!

Life with an Aging Parent: Are You Becoming a Helicopter Child?

helicopter parents sandwich generation

Are you guilty of hovering too closely over your senior parents when it comes to home healthcare?

We’ve all known helicopter parents, particularly when a son or daughter goes off to college. The fact is, we might be guilty of hovering a tad too closely ourselves. Discovering that appropriate balance between caring and overstepping our boundaries is not very easy.

And now, due to the added number of sandwich generationers providing care for both aging parents and children, we’re at risk of acquiring an additional badge of overbearingness: that of a helicopter child. It’s not uncommon for adult children to find themselves slipping into a role reversal in regard to their senior parents, with the very best of intentions, of course; obviously, we would like to keep our loved ones safe. Nevertheless, this could lead senior loved ones to feel indignant, upset, or frustrated at their newfound loss of control.

If you believe you are infringing on your elderly parent’s rights and sense of self-worth and control, here is insight on how to come in for a landing, and resolve to step in only when absolutely necessary.

Discuss expectations. Engage your parent in a conversation about aging expectations, and exactly how she would want you to help with obtaining those goals. For example, in the event the senior were to be diagnosed with dementia, would the personal preference be to move into an assisted living facility, or stay at home with support? If the senior were to fall, necessitating surgery or rehabilitation, how would she picture her healing experience? Would she be happy getting assistance with personal care tasks, including bathing and using the toilet, from you or from a skilled caregiver?

Speak up when necessary. When safety is jeopardized, it is crucial to step in, keeping a respectful, collaborative mind-set. The objective is to ensure that the senior preserves as much self-sufficiency as is feasible. If she’s hesitant to accept assistance or even to make prudent decisions, such as using a walker when needed to avoid a fall, it may be beneficial to enlist the help of her medical doctor or a geriatric care manager to offer suggestions.

Otherwise, step back. If you want to control circumstances that are not affecting the senior’s health or safety, and she is cognitively still capable of making her own decisions, it is far better to let those concerns go. “A child should be sensitive to a parent’s need for self-determination and maintaining self-identity,” shares Barry Jacobs, clinical psychologist and author of The Emotional Survival Guide for Caregivers: Looking After Yourself and Your Family While Helping Aging Parents.

Get in contact with Generations at Home at 727-940-3414 for expert senior care assistance which is always geared towards ensuring as much independence as possible for senior loved ones, permitting family caregivers the opportunity to step back and give their parents the independence that they need while remaining safe.

Get Out and Play at Any Age! And Then Reap the Health Benefits

Happy and funny senior couple playing hulahop in park

Learn the senior health benefits of good old fashioned play, in this article from the St. Petersburg, FL home care experts.

Do you recall that feeling as a young child once the school bell rang, signifying the conclusion of science and the start of the best part of the day: recess? There was clearly an immense sensation of freedom bounding out onto the playground, leaving behind the stress of school work for a quick period of unstructured play.

Unfortunately, for the majority of adults, this is nothing but a fond but distant memory. Yet is it feasible, as well as beneficial, to recapture the happiness of playing? Experts like Dr. Stuart Brown, founder of the National Institute for Play, answer with a resounding YES. As he explains, “Play is something done for its own sake. It’s voluntary, it’s pleasurable, it offers a sense of engagement, it takes you out of time. And the act itself is more important than the outcome.”

The primary advantages of play, no matter a person’s age, include:

  • To be connected: Particularly in our smartphone-driven society today, taking time to engage with others in person is key to our social wellness – whether through sports activities, card clubs, weekly board game competitions, or other shared pastimes and interests.
  • To sharpen your mind: While the jury is still out on the success of memory games in decreasing the chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease, there is certainly benefit to be gained in enhancing thinking and problem-solving abilities.
  • To improve relationships: The everyday challenges inherent in most of our relationships are eased when a sense of playfulness is included, making it possible for more powerful bonds as well as the capacity to better conquer difficulties should they arise.

Carving time out from a busy schedule to just play can seem impossible. However, with a little assistance from Generations at Home, an even more fulfilling lifestyle can easily become a real possibility. We are available for as much or as little assistance as needed, offering an array of services for older adults, such as:

  • Planning and preparing meals
  • Food shopping, picking up prescription medications, and any other errands
  • Light housekeeping and laundry
  • Personal care assistance such as aiding with bathing and dressing
  • Transportation and accompaniment to medical appointments and fun outings
  • Companionship to take part in discussions, reminiscing, exercising, games, and enjoyable interests
  • And much more

Maintain a healthy life balance by permitting us to help, while you have some fun. Call us now at 727-940-3414 to learn more!

A Hospital Visit for Thanksgiving? It’s More Common Than You Think for Seniors!

senior man eating in hospital bed

Avoid a hospital visit for seniors this Thanksgiving with these tips.

Even though we might imagine a Norman Rockwell-worthy Thanksgiving gathering, with the entire family relishing quality time together and Grandma’s classic food, the truth for a lot of families consists of something unanticipated: a visit to the hospital. The fact is, studies illustrate that emergency room visits for older adults jump an astounding 10% – 20% during the holidays.

While pinpointing the actual reasoning behind this increase is challenging, it isn’t surprising that one component could be members of the family who have not spent time with an elderly relative within the months prior to the holiday season, going home and identifying that their loved one’s condition has deteriorated.

Dr. Tamara Kuittinen of Lenox Hill Hospital explains, “It’s an issue of out of sight, out of mind for many people. If you haven’t seen your mom in 6 months, you may not be fully aware of the aging process and her health in general.”

There are lots of proactive steps that family members may take in order to prevent a holiday emergency situation:

  • Record key contact information for your loved one’s primary care physician and other specialists. Include all prescribed medications by each doctor and any drug allergies or other issues. Calling the correct physician for guidance about your worries is a great first step over an emergency room visit, unless of course the senior is having a genuine emergency.
  • Talk with your loved one about assigning a health care proxy, who’s able to serve as a voice in making health decisions in the event that your senior loved one is not able to do this. Ensure a living will is in place.
  • Check in with the older adult regularly all year. For families who live at a distance, it can be important to enlist the assistance of your loved one’s neighbors or friends to visit the senior regularly and to keep you updated with any irregularities they see.

An established in-home care agency in St. Petersburg FL, like Generations at Home, is the perfect year-round solution to make certain seniors continue to be healthy and well, and that any variations in condition are addressed immediately – making sure the holiday season stays as festive and pleasant as it should be. Just some of the countless ways we are able to help are:

  • Planning and preparing nutritious, delicious meals, in compliance with any dietary limitations
  • Providing accompanied transport to medical appointments and procedures, exercise programs, and fun outings
  • Examining the house for fall hazards and suggesting adjustments to ensure safety
  • Helping with safe ambulation and transfers
  • Personal care such as bathing, showering, and using the restroom
  • And so much more, according to each person’s individual needs

Call us at 727-940-3414 to request a free in-home consultation for more information on ways that we can help increase safety and overall well-being for your senior loved one.

Paid Family Leave for Senior Care: The Benefit Employees Really Need

St. Petersburg FL care solutions

Are employers starting to take notice of a need for senior care leave?

Employers have long recognized the necessity for new mothers or fathers to take time away from their career to focus on the various requirements of an infant, but what has been identified much less is the equally important need for adult children to take time away to look after their aging parents. But as our life expectancy continues to expand, and as baby boomers are going into their senior years, the balancing act to take care of professional and family lives is now more prevalent.

Trying to balance a career alongside senior care requirements can be extremely challenging. In fact, providing care alone, without adding in work-related stress, places family caregivers at a higher chance of depression, substance abuse, and a range of physical issues: heart-related illnesses, infections, and cancer, just to mention a few.

And while the Family and Medical Leave Act helps to ensure that employees of larger companies gain access to 12 weeks of unpaid leave, only 13% of employees receive paid family leave – a crucial component for several to make sure financial requirements are met. And a full one out of every seven employees who take care of an older parent wind up reducing their time in the office, accepting a lesser-paying position, or leaving the workforce entirely.

One potential solution to keep an eye on is the Family and Medical Leave Insurance Act, or FAMILY Act, introduced a short time ago to give partial income to family caregivers for up to twelve weeks for providing care for a family member facing a health concern. To date, five states have passed similar policies (New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and California – plus Washington, DC).

Despite the fact that paid leave for caregivers is costly for companies, Maureen Corcoran of Prudential Financial notes, “It is not more costly than losing employees early to disability, to early retirement, to presenteeism (when employees show up for work but don’t get much done).”

Thankfully, there is one other option already available to all family caregivers: partnering with an expert home care agency like Generations at Home. We provide loved ones with the peace of mind needed to focus on the job, confident their senior loved one is receiving the best possible quality of care, customized to each individual’s distinct needs.

Contact us at 727-940-3414for more information about our quality St. Petersburg, FL in-home care services, to request educational resources specific to the precise challenges your senior loved one is encountering, and to request a free in-home assessment to understand how we’re able to enable you to establish a healthier life balance.

Caring for Senior Loved Ones You Don’t Care For

Senior father and son family issues

How do you overcome childhood hurt when caring for a senior parent? Learn tips in this article.

When it comes to caregiving for a family member, family dynamics can play a big part in the caregiver’s outlook. For people who have been raised by loving parents who provided for all their needs, offering the same level of care may just be second nature. But what if you’ve been negatively affected by childhood experiences, determined to distance yourself from problematic family relations later in life, simply to wind up going back to look after them in a period of need?

AARP offers some helpful tips for family members who would like to do something to overcome old wounds with regard to providing care:

  • Develop emotional boundaries. It’s feasible to offer compassionate caregiving while remaining emotionally detached. Imagine tending to the needs of someone you’d never met, and try to hold that mindset with a difficult family member, attempting to help keep personal feelings and hurts out of the picture while meeting his / her care needs with compassion.
  • Try to separate the past from the present. While your family member may have displayed a pattern of causing you pain in past times, perhaps with furious outbursts or deprecating comments, it’s important to separate that pain from today’s struggles. For example, someone with Alzheimer’s may go through a stage of aggressive behavior that is a hallmark struggle associated with the disease, as opposed to a continuation of parenting mistakes.
  • Start to change what you expect. Some members of the family move into a caregiving role with the purpose of changing the course of a relationship, convinced that if only they forget about past hurts and supply the best possible care, the individual may be converted into someone caring, kind and considerate after a lifetime of issues. The stark reality is, story book endings are quite few. Keeping expectations realistic helps reduce potential future disappointments.

First and foremost, recognize that no one needs to feel “stuck” in looking after a difficult family member. The professional home care team at Generations at Home is fully trained, experienced, and equipped to give you the highly skilled and compassionate care that allows family members peace of mind. A number of the various ways we can help include:

  • Personal care assistance, such as with bathing, dressing, and using the restroom
  • Cooking meals
  • Keeping the home environment clean and tidy
  • Running errands
  • Providing transportation to health-related appointments and other outings
  • Companionship
  • And more

Contact us at 727-940-3414 for a free in-home assessment and to discover a Pinellas County senior care solution which will work for your family.

Tips for Aging for Seniors Without Children

Senior woman with laptop

This strong and self-reliant genre faces a number of unique issues in aging.

Are you a “solo ager“? This is the new term being passed around to describe baby boomers who do not have children. This strong and self-reliant genre faces a number of unique issues in aging, chiefly who to designate as guardian and decision-maker in case they become unable to do so themselves. In her book, Essential Retirement Planning for Solo Agers, author Sara Zeff Geber, Ph.D. outlines several options to consider: Read more