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Get Better Results by Using Journaling in Dementia Caregiving

Portrait of middle-aged lovely womanIn St. Petersburg, FL, being a dementia caregiver for someone you love is a fluid, ever-evolving undertaking. One day may be calm and peaceful, with your family member enjoying activities, eating healthy meals, and sharing laughter with you; while the next day could be fraught with agitation, anxiety, and sullenness. What will today bring?

Identifying how to best manage the difficult behaviors as well as ensure life is as enjoyable and comfortable as it can be for an individual with dementia can be made easier through a simple tool: journaling. Here’s how you can implement it in your daily caregiving routine, and how to utilize your journal to enhance quality of life for a senior in your life:

  • Monitor symptoms and caregiving needs on a daily basis. Your notes don’t have to be lengthy, but record any difficulties that occur, particularly time of day and what could have initiated the issues. Additionally, include tasks the individual was able to accomplish independently, together with the ones that were challenging. At the conclusion of every week, look back over the behaviors to determine if a pattern can be noticed – such as heightened agitation before meals or bedtime.
  • Track eating habits. Note which foods are most appealing to your senior loved one, which are least difficult for him or her to self-feed, exactly how many meals/snacks are being eaten as well as what times throughout the day, etc. Make sure to record beverages, to guarantee the older adult is taking in sufficient quantities of water to remain hydrated. In going over your notes, you could find that six smaller meals through the course of the day are better for your senior loved one than three larger ones, for instance.
  • Track safety concerns. Maintaining safety is a top priority in dementia care, with a variety of dangers that can result from wandering, dizziness/balance problems, hallucinations, and misunderstanding what common items are used for, such as thinking a household cleaner could possibly be a sports drink. Securing dangerous items or putting them in out-of-reach places is essential, and keeping a list of changes made to the house environment for safety’s sake can be extremely helpful to alert other loved ones to potential risks.

It is also a good idea to bring your journal with you to your loved one’s medical appointments, and bring any concerns documented to the doctor’s attention. This enables you to be completely prepared prior to appointments with concerns you want to get addressed, making the most of the limited time available to consult with doctors.

Make contact with our highly skilled and knowledgeable St. Petersburg, FL dementia care experts to get more tips along with specialized in-home care that increases safety while maximizing independence, purpose, and meaning – making every day the very best it can be for a person with dementia.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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.