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.

Important Facts and Figures to Know from the Alzheimer’s Association’s 2019 Report

Closeup of various reminders attached with magnetic thumbtacks on metal

Learn about the newest and most important information regarding Alzheimer’s Disease

The Alzheimer’s Association has released its 2019 Facts and Figures Report, and with a full 5.8 million Americans currently diagnosed with the disease – including one out of every ten seniors – it’s important for all of us to understand the latest developments in research and treatment options.

According to the report, the number of Americans diagnosed with Alzheimer’s is expected to explode from 5.8 million in 2019 to an estimated 13.8 million in 2050. And while the impact is greatest on older adults, the disease begins to create changes in the brain a full 20 years or more before symptoms are evident.

If you’re one of the millions of family members providing care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s, you’re well aware of the investment in time required: combined with other family caregivers, totaling 18.5 billion hours in 2018 alone. In fact, 83% of dementia care is provided by family and friends. And the impact on a caregiver’s health is significant, with nearly 60% reporting emotional stress and nearly 40% suffering from physical stress.

Risk factors have also been updated in this year’s report, and include:

  • Age: Not surprisingly, risk increases dramatically with age, from as little as 3% in the 65 – 74 age group, to 17% in those ages 75 – 84, to a whopping 32% for those age 85 and older.
  • APOE gene: Of the 3 forms of the APOE gene (e2, e3, and e4), which transports cholesterol in the bloodstream, the e4 form is linked to the highest prevalence of the disease.
  • Family history: Individuals with at least one first-degree relative (parents, siblings) are at a higher risk for developing Alzheimer’s, and the risk increases when shared lifestyle and environmental factors are at play (i.e. unhealthy eating or obesity).

Of significant importance is the finding that although healthcare providers are advised to regularly assess cognitive functioning for all seniors, only 16% of those over age 65 report receiving a routine assessment, and more than half have never received an assessment at all – in spite of the fact that 94% of physicians noted the importance of such an evaluation.

Per Joanne Pike, Dr.P.H., chief program officer for the Alzheimer’s Association, “Early detection of cognitive decline offers numerous medical, social, emotional, financial and planning benefits, but these can only be achieved by having a conversation with doctors about any thinking or memory concerns and through routine cognitive assessments.” Generations at Home remains committed to following the latest developments in Alzheimer’s disease, and to providing the exceptional, highly skilled care that allows for the highest possible quality of life at all times for those with dementia. Contact us online [KW3] or call us at 727-940-3414 for more educational resources related to Alzheimer’s, or to learn more about our specialized in-home dementia care services.

How to Be Happy—Even with Chronic Pain or Illness

senior man playing with his dog

Living a joyful, happy life is possible despite chronic pain.

Have you ever woken up and thought, “It’s going to be one of those days!” Maybe your alarm didn’t go off, the hot water heater decided to quit working, and the dog chewed up one of your favorite shoes overnight. Now imagine if every day were “one of those days!” For a person living with a chronic disease (and that’s the majority of the senior population, daily struggles and challenges can be a given.

Yet there are several steps that older adults can take to discover and maintain a life of joy, even in the face of chronic illness. For instance:

  • Follow passions. Finding purpose and meaning in each day is crucial – and attainable. Many older adults find fulfillment in helping and encouraging others. Others thrive on being lifelong learners. For some it may mean documenting the past for the next generation. Brainstorm ideas until you come upon one that sparks passion, and then make it a reality.
  • Practice positivity. One great way to achieve a more positive outlook on life is by journaling. Encourage your senior loved ones to begin each day by creating a list of everything they’re thankful for that morning, including the seemingly mundane: the smell of fresh coffee brewing, a cat curled up in a sunbeam, an upcoming lunch date with a friend. At the end of each week, sit together and read back through the previous entries for a quick and effective pick-me-up.
  • Avoid negativity. Adding in a measure of positivity as outlined above can naturally lead to reduced negativity, but there are additional steps that can be taken as well. For instance, allow for breaks from activities that induce frustration to allow needed time to de-stress. Place the focus on tackling tasks that can be accomplished successfully, and find an alternate solution for those that are too challenging, such as delegating those tasks to another family member or friend, or engaging the services of a professional.
  • Leave the house. Maintaining as active a lifestyle as possible outside of the home can be so refreshing for older adults. Help your senior loved ones go out for hair appointments, shopping excursions, visits with friends, and other fun outings, as much as they are able. Even simply stepping outdoors and relaxing on the front porch when weather permits can greatly enhance someone’s mood and outlook.

At Generations at Home, it’s our goal to help older adults achieve the highest possible quality of life at all times. Our fully trained and experienced caregivers provide cheerful companionship, engaging activities, transportation, and more. Contact us online or call us at 727-940-3414 and discover the difference our in-home care services can make for your senior loved one!

How to Help Aging Parents Who Are Reluctant to See a Doctor

doctor explaining medication schedule to senior man

Find helpful information that can persuade your aging loved ones to get the medical care they need.

Why don’t we face it: many of us put off going to the doctor’s office. It could be uncomfortable and downright distressing when something is wrong and we are confronted with the prospect of an undesirable diagnosis. Nonetheless, we recognize it makes sense to do what’s most beneficial for our health and wellness and to be conscientious about obtaining necessary healthcare.

For senior loved ones, many other concerns enter into play as well, commonly resulting in the decision to skip that check-up or follow-up appointment, even if it is obviously not in their best interest. Whenever a senior loved one digs in her heels, refusing to see the doctor, it is important to first realize why the resistance is happening, to tackle those concerns, and after that to know how best to provide encouragement.

One of the main reasons seniors avoid healthcare appointments and procedures is fear. It might appear safer and easier just to disregard symptoms and hope they will fix themselves on their own. For other people, the worry can be financial. Or they might want to prevent the distress of being reminded of a weight problem, or to disclose living an unhealthy lifestyle.

Whatever the reason, the bottom line is that it is vital for the elderly to manage their own health, which calls for routine medical examinations and staying proactive in bringing to light any worries. So as an adult child, how can you best help overcome your parent’s resistance to seeing a doctor?

At Generations at Home, we’ve learned that perhaps the most effective approach to convince aging parents to take care of themselves is by their adult children discussing what it means to them. Our parents have cared for us all of our lives, and want what is most beneficial for us. Sharing your point of view can go a long way towards convincing them of the necessity and subsequently encouraging them to remain healthy. For instance, try initiating the discussion like this:

“Mom, the pain you have been experiencing in your wrist is really concerning me. Can we go to have that looked at so that I’ll be able to stop worrying?”

You could be pleasantly surprised at how easily your aging parent will agree, understanding that it will help you. If you continue to struggle with assisting your loved one to be aware of the need for proper medical care, turn to Generations at Home. We are experienced in assisting families with navigating the often challenging transition to agree to assistance in the home, and sometimes the recommendation of an experienced, unbiased third party will make a world of difference in easing concerns and moving the focus towards the many benefits of Pinellas County, FL in-home care. Call us now at 727-940-3414.

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.

Avoid the Dangers of Loneliness Through St. Petersburg In Home Care

Serious senior woman in her 90s, with eyes closed.
Decrease loneliness in seniors through engaging the services of our St. Petersburg in home care team.

With well over 325 million people residing in the U.S. alone, it is difficult to think that loneliness would be so common. Yet more than half of the elderly live alone, and more than a million of them are likely to be chronically lonely. In reality, about 50% of seniors researched reported that their central resource for company is the TV.

Being lonely may result in severe health concerns as well, reported to have as great an impact as smoking and obesity, and can ultimately cause depression, hypertension, dementia, and also an earlier mortality rate than others who happen to be socially connected.

What can you do to make sure your senior loved ones avoid sinking into isolation? The Campaign to End Loneliness advocates using the following measurement tool. Check in with the seniors in your life to evaluate their answers to these three statements:

  1. I am satisfied with my friendships and relationships.
  2. I have plenty of people I feel comfortable asking for help at any time.
  3. My relationships are as gratifying as I would like them to be.

If loneliness is a worry for a loved one in your life, there are a lot of actions you can take that can help:

  • Consult with your senior loved one’s neighbors, friends, and people in his or her religious organization to try and coordinate frequent visits.
  • Incorporate technology, such as Facetime and Skype, allowing the senior to be connected remotely.
  • Consider available activities and courses for older adults at the local community college, senior center, and fitness center.

It is also important to eliminate clinical depression and other health conditions as the underlying reason behind your loved one’s loneliness. A senior who’s isolating herself/himself as a consequence of psychological or physical complications requires experienced healthcare services to address the condition and receive relevant care.

One of the better strategies to decrease loneliness in seniors is through engaging the services of Generations at Home’s St. Petersburg in home care team. Our caregiving companions spend quality time with older adults through:

  • Cheerful conversations
  • Engaging in fulfilling activities such as playing games, cards, exercise, hobbies, and favorite pursuits
  • Sharing mealtimes together
  • Supplying the transportation and accompaniment necessary to help seniors remain active in the community around them
  • And so much more

Contact us online or call us any time at 727-940-3414 for assistance in making sure your senior loved one is socially active and enjoying life to the fullest!

St. Petersburg Home Care Tip: Rethink How We Look at Aging

Senior couple having fun riding motor scooter.
Older adults are able to enjoy and pursue new interests and activities, which can lead to a revived happiness for life.

A Google search for the term “aging” produces topics such as “coping with aging,” “what you can do about aging,” and even “the cure to aging.” The unfavorable connotations to getting old are, unfortunately, so embedded within our society that it is expected that by 2021, we’ll be purchasing over $300 billion in anti-aging products.

Even though it’s not hard to get caught up within the difficulties that could be realized in getting older – health problems, the passing of family and friends, and cognitive issues – what’s getting lost in the shuffle are the incredible benefits of aging. Consider, for example:

  • A recent study by Stony Brook University found that the elderly are happier generally, with reportedly diminishing feelings of anger and anxiety in later years.
  • Socialization and conflict resolution skills are superior in old age, in accordance with research carried out by the University of Michigan.
  • In a game targeted to induce and analyze regret, seniors out performed their younger counterparts with their capability to handle emotions.
  • And according to Cornell sociologist Karl Pillemer who questioned 1,200 elderly people, the opinion was that the last 5 or 10 years were in fact the happiest of their lives. “Many people said something along these lines: ‘I wish I’d learned to enjoy life on a daily basis and enjoy the moment when I was in my 30s instead of my 60s,’” Pillemer shares.

Not only that, but retired adults are able to enjoy and pursue interests and skills minus the time limitations of younger, employed adults, which can lead to a revived happiness for life, new social ties, and improved bonds with existing family and friends.

Generations at Home helps emphasize the benefits of aging in lots of ways. Rather than simply coming in and executing tasks that a loved one can no longer manage, we identify the person’s individual skills, empowering him or her to follow new pursuits with the support of a helpful caregiver.

Whether it’s studying a brand new skill or language, taking a visit to a long-desired destination, deciding to get physically healthier, or whatever a senior’s goal, we’re available to offer inspiration, transportation and accompaniment, and a number of other services to help seniors thrive and live life to the fullest. Help your senior loved one imagine and achieve brand new dreams! Get in touch with the St. Petersburg home care professionals at Generations at Home by contacting us online or calling us at 727-940-3414 and asking about an in-home consultation to find out more.

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!

Help Seniors Overcome the Holiday Blues with These Tips

Senior woman wearing santa hat

Older adults can reduce their risk of experiencing the holiday blues with these tips.

Ah, the holidays: they can either be the most wonderful time of the year, or the most challenging. For some seniors who have lost relatives, are battling chronic health issues, or are going through isolation and loneliness, the holidays can lead to depression. And, the family caregivers who care for a loved one are also susceptible to holiday blues, due to an overabundance of stress.

It’s possible, however, to bring back the holiday season to an occasion full of joy. Generations at Home provides the following suggestions:

Seek medical assistance. First of all, it’s crucial to communicate any suspected indications of depression (changes in sleeping and eating habits, absence of desire for previously enjoyed hobbies and socializing, sluggishness and persistent despair) to your elderly loved one’s (or your) primary care doctor. There are successful treatment options readily available, and also it’s essential to eliminate various other health issues.

Make wholesome choices. With many high-fat, high-sugar, high-salt food products to choose from through the holiday season, it is relatively easy to let a healthy diet slip and overindulge. However eating unhealthy, as well as drinking an excessive amount of alcohol, can contribute to feelings of depression. It is also essential to have lots of sleep; eight hours is best for most adults.

Create new traditions. In many cases for seniors, holiday traditions have had to change over the years. Starting a new normal is not usually easy, but can lead to renewed interest in holiday celebrations. Try participating in an evening of caroling, a shopping and lunch outing at a brand new venue, going to the neighborhood high school’s holiday play or performance, etc.

Reminisce. Rather than steering clear of emotionally charged discussions about lost relatives or past holidays, invite the senior to discuss memories, and take sufficient time to pay attention and engage in the conversation. Looking through pictures or watching home movies will help the senior process the loss and begin to move ahead toward acceptance and comfort.

Help others. Almost nothing enhances our spirits quite like knowing we’ve helped somebody else. Search for opportunities for your senior loved one to volunteer in some capacity to assist people in need: baking cookies for a local homeless shelter, buying small toys and gifts to give to the children’s hospital, putting together care packages for the people in the military services, etc.

For even more tips to motivate your elderly loved one to remain active and engaged during the holidays and all year long, reach out to Generations at Home’s home care experts. Our fully trained caregivers are skilled in assisting older adults to live life to the fullest, and we’re here for you with as much or as little assistance as required. Call us at 727-940-3414 to learn more.