There’s nothing better than a tall, cold drink on a warm summer day, but for someone with dysphagia, this simple pleasure can be downright dangerous. Dysphagia – or trouble swallowing – affects millions of older adults, due to weakened mouth and/or throat muscles. Alzheimer’s, MS, cancer, and stroke are all culprits as well.
Signs of dysphagia include:
Coughing, gagging or choking when eating, drinking, or taking medication
A gurgling sound in the senior’s voice after eating/drinking
Additionally, if you suspect dysphagia in an older family member, ask him or her the following questions – and check with the doctor right away for further guidance:
Are you coughing or choking when trying to eat or drink?
Are you having frequent problems with food “going down the wrong pipe?”
Is food … Read More »
“Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.” – Dr. Seuss
Memories are what binds together our past experiences with who we are today; and for a senior with Alzheimer’s, confusion around these memories can have a powerful impact. One of our goals as a home care company in Santa Rosa, CA and surrounding areas in caring for seniors diagnosed with dementia is to help them store and share memories in order to make sense of daily life.
A great way to make this happen is through the creation of a memory book, which includes pictures and short descriptions to refer back to when an older adult has questions regarding his or her identity, relatives, etc. Memory … Read More »
Caring for someone you love with dementia is definitely nothing to laugh about. Yet studies are increasingly pointing towards the benefits of laughter in dementia care, and adding it may be exactly what the doctor ordered to boost well-being for a senior loved one.
As an example, an Australian study just recently revealed that humor therapy is effective in reducing agitation in individuals with dementia as effectively as antipsychotic medications, without any negative side effects. Shared laughter connects us, and assists people who have cognitive difficulties to feel understood, secure, and at ease. As stated by Lori La Bey, founder of Alzheimer’s Speaks, “When anyone is sick or having a hard time, they still like to laugh. I spend a lot of time teaching people that … Read More »
The intricate steps needed to make it possible for us to see are mind-boggling. Within the blink of an eye, our brains have the capability to take transmitted details from the environment around us, translate that information based upon input from other senses, thoughts, and experiences, and then build an understanding of that information to help make us conscious of what we are seeing.
It’s unsurprising that Alzheimer’s impacts vision, and therefore people with Alzheimer’s can encounter misperceptions and visual deficits, particularly in the aspects of:
Depth and/or color perception
What’s more, individuals who have Alzheimer’s can frequently encounter an altered sense of reality in the form of illusions. For instance, someone with Alzheimer’s disease could see a shadow on the ground, and mistake … Read More »
Being a caregiver for someone with Alzheimer’s disease or any other kind of dementia requires empathy, creativity, and patience, the capacity to step away from your individual reasoning and logic and realize why a specific behavior is occurring, and then to understand just how to effectively manage it. That is certainly the case with senior personal care needs, such as a loved one who won’t change his/her clothing, in spite of how dirty or unkempt an outfit has become.
There are several reasons why a senior with Alzheimer’s disease may insist upon wearing the same outfit, including:
Memory or judgment problems, including losing track of time or thinking the clothes were recently changed
The comfort and familiarity of a particular piece of clothing
A need to maintain control
Struggles with … Read More »
Disbelief. Shame. Awkwardness. Discomfort. Many of these types of feelings can cycle through a family caregiver’s heart when a loved one with dementia displays disinhibited behaviors, such as:
Rude or tactless comments
Inappropriate sexual advances or remarks
Removal of clothing at improper times
And other socially unacceptable actions
The complicated changes that occur to the brain in Alzheimer’s disease may cause a complete turnaround in an older adult’s personality and behaviors, such as a formerly genteel grandma suddenly swearing like a sailor. For an individual who is confused, uncomfortable, disoriented, or has simply forgotten social skills and graces, these behaviors are actually quite common, so it’s crucial to learn how to specifically manage them should they arise in someone you love.
Hired Hands Homecare’s Alzheimer’s care experts suggest trying the following tactics … Read More »
Providing caregiving assistance for your family member with dementia is complicated under the best of conditions; mix in a global pandemic, one that calls for social distancing, masks, and meticulous sterilization of both ourselves and the environment, and the challenge may seem impossible.
Hired Hands Homecare’s team of caregivers offers the following dementia caregiver tips to help reduce anxiousness and irritation for those diagnosed with dementia, while keeping both them and their caregivers safe:
Make self-care a top priority. Now more so than ever, it’s extremely important to assess your own personal degree of stress, and take action to make sure you’re healthy – both physically and emotionally. You can only supply the best help for a senior loved one if your … Read More »
Although there are a variety of age-related issues that can impact senior nutrition, research is now pointing to an even greater reason for ensuring our older loved ones stick to a healthy diet: potential cognitive impairment. And malnutrition in older adults is more common than you may think. According to the National Resource on Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Aging, upwards of 35 to 50% of the elderly residents of long-term care facilities are struggling with malnutrition, and as many as 65% of older hospitalized adults are estimated to be malnourished as well.
Malnourished older adults are twice as likely to see the doctor, and three times as likely to be hospitalized. They also encounter lessened muscle strength and poor healing. Not only that, but a recent study points to the … Read More »
The many advantages of staying physically active are clear, but what is not as well known is that exercise can be extremely beneficial for those with Alzheimer’s disease, for a number of reasons: reducing the risk for muscle weakness and other issues that stem from inactivity, easing the effects of psychological and behavioral challenges, and much more.
As with anyone considering starting a new exercise routine, the doctor should first be consulted. Then, try these dementia exercise suggestions, utilizing the following strategies per each person’s individual abilities and the appropriate stage of the disease:
Older adults in the initial stages of Alzheimer’s disease can often still fully enjoy active and social exercises like walking, dancing, bowling, golf, and swimming, even though some degree of … Read More »
Have you ever gotten out of bed and said, “It’s probably going to be one of those days!” Perhaps your alarm didn’t go off, the hot water heater decided to stop working, and the dog chewed up one of your favorite shoes overnight. Then imagine if every day were “one of those days!” For an individual living with a chronic disease (and that’s much of the elderly population), routine struggles and challenges can be a given.
However, there are many steps that older adults can take to realize and maintain a life of joy, even in the face of a chronic disease diagnosis. For instance:
Follow passions. Discovering purpose and meaning in each day is essential – and possible. Many seniors find gratification in assisting … Read More »