Try These Creative – and Effective – Dementia Communication Techniques

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Nonverbal dementia communication techniques are often the most effective.

Communicating with a senior loved one struggling with the difficulties of Alzheimer’s, especially in the middle and later stages, is often discouraging – both for you personally as well as for the senior loved one. Brain changes impact the capacity to hear, process, and respond appropriately to conversations, and it is up to us to implement innovative dementia communication techniques to better connect with a senior loved one with dementia.

The good news is, it is quite a bit easier than it may seem. We already communicate nonverbally in lots of ways:

  • Touch
  • Posture and body movement
  • Eye contact
  • Facial expressions
  • Gestures
  • Personal space

Try out these dementia communication techniques to integrate increased nonverbal communication in your interactions with a loved one:

  • Offer support through caring touch. If a senior loved one is comfortable with touch, hold and pat the senior’s hand, massage the senior’s back, place an arm around his or her shoulders, and give warm hugs.
  • Look the senior in the eye. Eye contact shows interest in the individual, even when no words are said aloud.
  • Honor personal boundaries. Refrain from overwhelming your loved one by permitting sufficient personal space, and making sure you’re at the same level as the individual, never towering over her or him. Your face should be at eye level with the older adult.
  • Maintain a calm, patient, and positive demeanor. Suppress any anger, annoyance or impatience, and focus on sustaining a relaxed and pleasant expression on your face when with a loved one with dementia. If this is impossible because of challenging behaviors, step away momentarily and practice deep breathing or other relaxation techniques. For example:
    • Square breathing: Use a finger to trace the shape of a square in front of you. When drawing the first side, breathe in deeply for a count of three; for the following side, hold your breath for one second; for the third side, breathe out for a count of three; and for the fourth side, hold your breath for one second. Repeat as necessary.
    • Calming phrase repetition: A couple examples to help you get started: This will pass, and things are ok. I’m able to manage this. I am secure and well.
    • Distracted thinking: Practice concentrated refocusing. Try saying the alphabet backwards, stating as many state capitals as possible, or singing the words to a well-liked song.

Find more creative dementia communication strategies by contacting Responsive Home Care, the top rated providers of home health services in Pembroke, FL and the surrounding area. Our care providers are specially trained in the most up-to-date Alzheimer’s care techniques, and we are always available to help a loved one with dementia to remain safe and calm, and to enjoy life to his/her fullest possible potential. Reach out to us at 954-486-6440 any time for assistance.

This Latest Alzheimer’s Treatment May Help Combat Memory Loss

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Learn about the latest dementia treatment and how it’s helping with memory loss.

Memory loss and Alzheimer’s go hand in hand, and until now, researchers have been stumped in determining how to prevent, or remove, those beta-amyloid and tau proteins at the heart of the problem. Yet recent research has shown incredible results in significantly reducing memory loss in those with dementia, through a cap-like device that transmits electromagnetic waves.

Shown effective in mouse experiments, trials proceeded to human participants, who wore the device twice daily for an hour over a period of two months. To confirm results, the participants were tested using the Alzheimer’s Disease Assessment Scale-Cognitive Subscale (ADAS-cog), and incredibly, a full four-point score increase was achieved at the end of the trial. In laymen’s terms, this equates to regaining a full year of cognitive functioning that had been lost.

Dr. Gary Arendash, CEO of NeuroEM Therapeutics, the company responsible for the study, added, “We were particularly surprised that this highly significant improvement in the ADAS-cog was maintained even two weeks after treatment was completed. The most likely explanation for continued benefit after cessation of treatment is that the Alzheimer’s disease process itself was being effected.”

Blood work, cerebrospinal fluid assessment, and MRI scans confirmed a disaggregation of beta-amyloid plaques and tau tangles, as well as improved communication between brain cells in the area key to cognitive function.

And perhaps most encouraging: all of the participants wanted to continue utilizing the head devices after the study was completed. The next step will be to engage in a larger clinical trial, to include the original participants and others, lasting 17 months. The goal is to make the device available to the public by 2021.

Stay tuned! Responsive Home Care, the Sunrise elderly care experts, remains on top of this and other trends in the quest to effectively treat, and eventually cure, Alzheimer’s disease. In the meantime, we will continue to provide highly customized, creative, compassionate dementia care for seniors at home throughout Broward County, Florida. Contact us at 954-486-6440 for a free in-home consultation to discover more about how we’re helping improve life for those with dementia.

5 Things That Can Worsen Alzheimer’s Symptoms

When a caregiver comes out with an older woman for a walk, she always takes a plastic bottle with water.While there are certain commonalities, Alzheimer’s disease affects each individual differently. Our specially trained dementia caregivers know, for example, that although one individual may enjoy being outside, a different person could possibly be overwhelmed by so much sensory input and prefer a quieter indoor environment. One may enjoy a morning bath routine, while a measure of resourcefulness is necessary to help a different person maintain good hygiene.

We also realize there are specific triggers which can often exacerbate the challenging elements of Alzheimer’s disease. Family members must be especially mindful to prevent the following:

  • Dehydration. Individuals with dementia may not be able to identify when they are thirsty, or may resist when offered fluids. It is imperative to ensure adequate hydration to prevent additional weakness and confusion. Plain water is the best; nevertheless, if rejected, try flavored waters, or try different types of cups or bottles.
  • Isolation. Individuals with dementia suffer from loneliness as much as anyone else, and without having adequate social stimulation, may become increasingly agitated or paranoid. An experienced caregiver, like those at Responsive Home Care, who are thoroughly trained in dementia care, can offer suitable socialization, giving family members a much-needed break from care.
  • Sugar. It’s common for those with Alzheimer’s disease to experience a heightened desire for cookies, cake, and other sugary snacks; however, it could also lead to greater irritability. Try offering a variety of healthier options, like fruit, yogurt, or sugar-free goodies.
  • Sleeping pills. With the challenges of common sleep disorders such as sundowning, it can be tempting for family members to supply sleeping pills to a senior loved one with Alzheimer’s to encourage a more restful night. Yet these drugs raise the risk for falls and other injuries and contribute to fogginess and confusion. Speak with the senior’s physician for a natural sleep-inducing substitute.
  • TV. Be careful of what’s on TV; shows containing crime, violence, and even the nightly news can instill fear and paranoia in individuals with dementia. It may be a good idea to leave the TV off and engage your senior loved one in alternate activities, such as games, puzzles, reading together, exercising, and reminiscing – or choose to view videos you’ve very carefully reviewed to make sure content is suitable.

Each member of our dementia care team is thoroughly trained and experienced in providing person-centered, compassionate care to effectively manage the difficulties inherent with Alzheimer’s, and to boost quality of life. Give us a call at 954-486-6440 for additional dementia care tips, and for an in-home consultation to find out how our specialized home health care in Pembroke Pines can make life brighter for your senior loved one.

Dementia Care Tips: Best Approaches to Avoid Personal Care Resistance

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Use these tips to help a senior loved one with dementia manage personal care tasks.

Of all the challenges related to providing care for a senior loved one with dementia, the Alzheimer’s Association indicates that the most prevalent difficulty is with personal hygiene, for a variety of reasons:

  • Diminished sense of vision and smell
  • Comfort associated with familiarity (i.e., wanting to wear the same clothes again and again)
  • The challenges of bathing, compounded by cognitive impairment and confusion
  • Anxiety about falling, the sounds and feelings associated with the water, and so much more

Cajoling, quarreling, and reasoning are rarely practical techniques to employ with those impacted by Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. Alternatively, consider these creative approaches in the event your loved one resists maintaining suitable hygiene:

  • Organize the bathroom ahead of time so the room is likely to be comfortable and you won’t need to juggle acquiring supplies together with helping the senior. Warm the room with a space heater, and set soap, shampoo, towels, washcloth, etc. within easy reach, plus eliminate any throw rugs or any other tripping hazards.
  • A shower chair and hand-held sprayer frequently make an even more calming bathing experience for anyone with dementia. Position the chair away from the faucet, and use towels to cover up parts of the body before and after they have been cleaned to help keep the senior warm and to prevent feelings of exposure.
  • Have the senior help with bathing tasks whenever possible to maintain independence. It could be as basic as providing a washcloth or the shampoo bottle for the senior to hold on to.
  • If hair washing is hard for either of you, forego that task during bath time, and schedule regular outings to the salon instead.
  • Arrange a special excursion together with the senior, such as a lunch date with a good friend, and center bath time around getting ready for the event.
  • Bring in the assistance of a healthcare professional, who can advise the senior regarding the increased chance of infection or skin issues without proper hygiene. Often hearing from a dependable third party holds more weight than hearing the same information from family members.
  • Engage the services of a caregiver, providing your loved one the dignity of having personal care needs tended to by a professional, rather than a relative.

At Responsive Home Care, the leaders in home health services in Pembroke Pines, FL, each of our caregivers is experienced in safe hygiene procedures for older adults, with specific training to help those with Alzheimer’s disease to feel comfortable with personal hygiene tasks, including creative approaches to safe bathing, skin, hair, and oral care, restroom assistance, and much more. Give us a call at 954-486-6440 or contact us online to discover practical solutions to the worries you and your loved one are facing!

Broward County Family Caregiver Common Stress Point: Making a Mistake

Partnering with an agency like Responsive Home Care can reduce the trepidation and anxiety in managing care at home successfully.

“Of course Grandma can move in with me!”

Increasingly more family caretakers are making this commendable choice every day, signifying the beginning of lifestyle changes they can only truly have an understanding of once immersed in them. And even though the positive aspects of providing care for an older parent are immeasurable, they’re not without a variety of dilemmas as well.

It might seem second-nature to take care of daily activities for a senior loved one; yet it’s not quite as intuitive as it seems initially. As an example, helping a senior in the shower or bath the wrong way may lead to a fall. Poor incontinence care could cause skin damage and infection. Noncompliance with a prescribed dietary plan can lead to a variety of health problems.

It is not a surprise that in a newly released report shared by AARP, “Home Alone Revisited,” a lot of family caregivers mentioned anxiety over the possibility of making a mistake in the care they provide. The study features responses from a survey sent to over 2,000 family caregivers, who revealed that although they believed their care was making it possible for their family members to stay at home instead of moving to an assisted living or nursing home setting, they expressed anxiety over their experience to do the tasks needed.

Respondents in the study divulged that the most emotionally frustrating element of caregiving is incontinence care. And, nearly ¾ of family caregivers surveyed are regularly performing medical duties in relation to pain management – tasks for which they wished they had obtained better training and recommendations from the senior’s medical care team.

Heather Young, dean emerita at the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at the University of California, Davis (and co-author of this report) explains that, “Too often (family caregivers) are unprepared and do not get the support they need to assume these important roles.”

Asking for help and training in unfamiliar tasks is critical for family caregivers. Those who partner with an established in-home care provider, such as Responsive Home Care, can reduce the trepidation and anxiety in managing care at home successfully. Our team in home health care in Coral Springs, FL are professionally trained in the countless intricacies of aging care, and can provide family members with valuable guidance and education. We also offer trusted, reliable respite care services that make it possible for family caregivers to step away from their care responsibilities while knowing their senior loved one will be safe and well cared for.

Call our team in home health care in Coral Springs, FL at 954-486-6440 or contact us online for a free in-home consultation to find out more.

How to Help a Loved One with Alzheimer’s when Wandering Occurs

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Alzheimer’s disease often causes a person to wander, possibly into a dangerous situation. Learn more about how to keep your loved one’s home safe to prevent wandering.

Of the numerous ramifications of Alzheimer’s disease, perhaps one of the most worrying is the person’s tendency for wandering and also the potential dangers that can develop if the senior becomes disoriented or lost. Alzheimer’s wandering can occur any time the older adult is:

  • Frightened, confused or overwhelmed
  • Searching for someone or something
  • Bored
  • Attempting to preserve a familiar past routine (for example, going to a job or shopping)
  • Taking care of a simple necessity (such as getting a drink of water or going to the bathroom)

The objective is twofold; to help keep your loved one safe, as well as to make certain his / her needs are fulfilled to try and stop the desire to wander. Try the following safety measures if your senior loved one is likely to wander:

  • Make sure the home is equipped with a security system and locks that the senior is not able to master, such as a sliding bolt lock above his or her range of vision. A variety of alarms can be found, from something as simple as placing a bell over door knobs, to highly-sensitive pressure mats which will sound an alarm when stepped on, to GPS products that may be worn, and more. It is also wise to register for the Alzheimer’s Association’s Safe Return Program.
  • Conceal exits by covering up doors with curtains, positioning short-term 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 those in the earlier stages of dementia from trying to exit.
  • Another danger for those who wander is the elevated risk of falling. Go through each room of the home and tackle any tripping concerns, such as removing throw rugs, extension cords, and any obstacles which might be obstructing walkways, installing extra lighting, and placing gates at the top and bottom of stairways.

It’s important to keep in mind that with guidance and direction, wandering is not necessarily a problem. Take a walk with each other outside if weather allows and the senior is in the mood to be mobile, providing the added benefit of fresh air, physical exercise, and quality time together.

Although often difficult to manage, the dementia care team at Responsive Home Care is specially trained to be equally vigilant and proactive in deterring wandering and to employ creative approaches to help seniors with dementia stay relaxed and content. Reach out to us at 954-486-6440 to learn more about Alzheimer’s from the best home care company in Fort Lauderdale, FL!

Paranoia in the Elderly: What to Do When Dad Seems Irrational

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It surprises some to learn that paranoia in the elderly is a common issue. Learn more about how to respond to an aging parent that may be acting irrational.

“Listen to me, there’s a dog inside my closet! I hear it growling all night long. We need to find its owner!”

Hearing a senior loved one voice worries that you know to be false is unsettling – but not abnormal. The initial impulse may be to try to rationalize with the individual with a response such as, “Nonsense! There’s absolutely no way a dog could have gotten into your closet!” Yet for various reasons, this is often the least successful solution to take care of paranoia in the elderly.

Instead, at Responsive Home Care, we encourage the following approaches in order to help restore a sense of calm and well-being:

  1. First and foremost, arrange an appointment with the senior’s physician. It is vital that you discover any cognitive problems in order to be certain he or she receives appropriate treatment if needed. There also could be prescription side effects at play.
  2. Find out the thinking associated with the irrationality, and then determine how to remedy the situation. For example, perhaps the heating and cooling vent near the closet is starting to become loose, or an air vent is blowing onto a row of hangers and leading to an unusual sound.
  3. In lieu of trying to correct the senior loved one, respond lovingly with assurance and empathy. Concentrate on accepting the feelings being conveyed, as well as on having the person know that you will be there to help. Accompanying the senior into another area and providing interesting distractions, such as listening to music, baking, gardening, or browsing through photos together, can help restore calm.
  4. One of the smartest ways to overcome any obstacle is as simple as finding out what has assisted others in the same situation. Think about joining an in-person or online community of family caregivers, allowing for the exchange of helpful knowledge and information. A number of choices are available, such as AgingCare.com’s caregiver discussion forum.
  5. Seek the support of a professional home care provider, such as Responsive Home Care providing home health care in Pembroke Pines and the surrounding area. Our caregivers are skilled at assisting the elderly to remain active and involved, and in helping to ease challenging and difficult behaviors. Partnering with an established and reliable caregiver also will provide you with much-needed respite to take a break from caregiving duties while being confident your loved one is receiving top quality care.

For more advice on helping your senior loved one through obstacles with growing older, dementia or chronic illness, reach out to the specialists in home health care in Pembroke Pines and the surrounding area at Responsive Home Care. We are always readily available to answer any questions, share resources specific to the challenges you are encountering, and to provide a free in-home consultation and development of a customized care plan to improve wellbeing for a senior loved one. Contact us any time at 954-486-6440.

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

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The report is in: Learn new Alzheimer’s facts and figures here.

2019 Facts and Figures Report, and with a staggering 5.8 million Americans presently diagnosed with the disease – including one out of every ten older adults – it is essential for all of us to be familiar with the latest innovations in research and treatment plans.

Read more

The Importance of Partnering with Professionals for Dementia Care

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Learn how partnering with Fort Lauderdale elderly care experts, Responsive Home Care can help you with dementia care for a loved one.

While an incredible number of older adults are struggling with the challenges of Alzheimer’s disease, an even greater number of family members are trying to cope with caring for them. Incredibly, nearly 75% of family caretakers are managing their senior loved ones’ dementia care needs on their own, with only 26% seeking professional care assistance. Read more

Top Tips for Supporting Someone With Dementia

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If you’re supporting someone with dementia and feel like you’re in uncharted territory, use these guidelines from our Sunrise elderly care experts.

At times, the greatest lessons in life come from going through them firsthand; yet the information we can discover from those who’ve traveled a similar course before us is priceless. If you are providing care for a loved one with dementia and beginning to feel a bit bogged down in this uncharted territory, the guidelines below might help: Read more

In Caring for an Aging Parent, Are You Overstepping Boundaries as a Helicopter Child?

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Learn how to avoid overstepping boundaries when it comes to senior care for parents.

We’ve all encountered helicopter parents, especially when a son or daughter leaves for college. In fact, we could possibly be guilty of hovering a touch too closely ourselves. Learning that appropriate harmony between caring and overstepping our boundaries is not easy. Read more

Ft. Lauderdale Home Care Experts Share 5 Signs of Dementia to Watch During the Holidays

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Learn the warning signs of dementia in this article by the Ft. Lauderdale home care experts.

As soon as the door swings open and your senior loved one wraps you in a warm hug, through the joyous holiday dinner and each timeless family custom, possibilities abound for not simply high quality time together, but also to assess how your parent is truly doing and if any red flags are detected. Read more