How Reminiscence Therapy Can Help Seniors With Alzheimer’s Stay Engaged

eminiscence therapy

To help seniors stay engaged, reminiscence therapy provides a way to walk down memory lane.

Memory loss and dementia may seem synonymous. Yet it is crucial to realize that long-term memory frequently remains intact long into the progression of the disease. Because of this, tapping into those distant memories is an easy strategy to help a loved one with Alzheimer’s stay engaged in current conversations by connecting to the past.

Known as reminiscence therapy, these walks down memory lane help seniors:

  • Minimize some of the adverse effects of Alzheimer’s, for example , restlessness, anger, wandering, and more
  • Decrease negative emotions and stress by shifting the focus to happier times
  • Instill self-confidence by bringing to mind the many accomplishments they have made as well as the lives they’ve impacted
  • Better connect to others through sharing stories

Implementing reminiscence therapy doesn’t need to be elaborate. Start with opening a photo album and simply taking a look at pictures together. Let the person drive the next steps. If a particular photograph sparks a memory and the senior wants to share that, keep the conversation going as long as they would like. If they choose instead to view the photographs silently, you can do the same, while assessing the person’s expression to make sure they are calm and relaxed.

Just as photos can bring enjoyable memories to the surface, they can also remind the senior of friends and family lost, or of a particularly hard time in their life. If the activity invokes anxiety, close the book and move on to something else. It may take a little coaxing to switch gears if the person seems distraught. Moving to a different location, such as outdoors or to the kitchen for a snack, can help. Or try bringing up an alternative memory from a period you know was a positive experience for the older adult.

Other ideas for reminiscing include:

  • Smelling familiar, enjoyable scents which could have meaning for the person: freshly mowed grass, flowers that grew around their family home as a young child, a particular brand of shampoo, bubble bath, or soap they used to bathe the kids when they were little, etc.
  • Making a recipe the older adult especially enjoys and eating it together
  • Engage in an ability-appropriate activity that holds meaning to the past: sorting buttons or nuts and bolts, filing papers, painting, knitting, playing a musical instrument, etc.
  • Listening to favorite music from the past

Let our creative dementia care team help! We provide home health services in Fort Lauderdale, FL and the surrounding area. We’ve got lots of ideas for effective reminiscence therapy that will help a senior you love live life to the fullest. Contact us at 954.486.6440 to learn more.

Is the Alzheimer’s Vaccine, Protollin, Close to Being a Reality?

Protollin

Researchers are studying Protollin, an Alzheimer’s vaccine to help in the fight against dementia.

If 2021 will be recalled as the year for COVID-19 vaccines, perhaps 2022 will make its mark with a different kind of life-changing vaccine: an Alzheimer’s vaccine that can slow or prevent the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

The very first human trial of Protollin, delivered by way of nasal spray, is underway in 16 seniors between the ages of 60 and 85 with early-stage Alzheimer’s symptoms. The predicted outcome is to activate immune cells that will eliminate the beta-amyloid plaque believed to cause the disease.

Coming on the heels of controversial results of Biogen’s Aduhelm, the first new approved drug for Alzheimer’s in decades, the stakes are high. Aduhelm is an antibody infusion that at first seemed to fail in its goal of improving memory and cognition functioning, leading Biogen to discontinue clinical trials. However, several months later, there did seem to be a beneficial impact in a small group of participants, leading the FDA to approve its use – even if the results are not definitively clear.

Finding an effective treatment or preventative option is vitally important. The latest data show approximately 6 million Americans currently identified as having the disease. It’s also one of the leading causes of death in adults in the United States, with a steep incline in mortality rate of 88% between 1999 and 2019. And that figure might only be scratching the surface because it represents only those clinically diagnosed. We all know that people with cognitive impairment may have trouble with receiving an appropriate diagnosis, and they often are challenged by other medical conditions as well.

Researchers are hopeful that Protollin, as well as Aduhelm and other antibody drugs undergoing study, are putting us on a promising path forward. Jeffrey Cummings, a brain-science professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, goes so far as to say, “It just feels like we have turned a corner.”

Our senior caregivers are helping older adults with Alzheimer’s every day, and we excitedly anticipate a point in the future when the disease is defeated. Until then, we’re here for you with creative, personalized care in order to make life the very best it can be for seniors with dementia.

It’s also very important for loved ones caring for someone with dementia to protect their own health by ensuring plenty of time for self-care. Our dementia respite care team is available to help you set up a schedule for regular time away – as much or as little as you want. We’re skilled in effective management of many difficult signs of the disease, including wandering, agitation, aggression, sundowning, and others.

Give us a call 24/7 at 954-486-6440 for a complimentary consultation to receive more information about how our professional caregivers in Fort Lauderdale, FL and throughout the area can help.

Alzheimer’s Research Milestones Reached in 2020

Alzheimer’s Research Milestones

Discover some of the most exciting Alzheimer’s research milestones of 2020.

With so much negative news throughout 2020, it is worth noting some of the incredible achievements the year brought – including the Alzheimer’s research milestones. Katie McDonough, director of programs and services at the Alzheimer’s Association, shares, “There are many things that we’re learning and it’s an exciting time for Alzheimer’s research.”

Listed here are just some of the Alzheimer’s research milestones reached that are taking us ever closer to a cure:

  • Identification of Alzheimer’s disease risk factors. Learning about the leading risk factors for Alzheimer’s, in particular pollution, excessive alcohol consumption, and traumatic brain injury (among others) is estimated to reduce cases of dementia around the world up to 40%.
  • Decreasing rates of Alzheimer’s cases. For the past three decades, dementia diagnoses in Europe and North America have declined by 13% per decade – likely the result of changes in lifestyle.
  • Progress towards earlier diagnosis. The Early Detection of Neurodegenerative diseases initiative (EDoN) has been started, in which digital devices are being developed to diagnose dementia as early as 10 to 15 years prior to symptom onset.
  • Increased attention to MCI. Mild cognitive impairment, or MCI, is now being evaluated more thoroughly, allowing for earlier strategy, diagnosis and treatment.
  • Dementia blood tests. Predictors for the risk of Alzheimer’s disease have become more sophisticated, and in a recently available study from Sweden, researchers identified blood-based proteins that predict future memory and thinking problems.
  • Review of antipsychotic meds. A recent study conducted by the University College London reported an increased rate of the prescription of antipsychotic drugs for people with dementia – possibly linked to the greater need for delirium management along with agitation and anxiety from COVID-19 restrictions. These meds are recommended only when no alternative is available, and the reduction of their use is currently being further explored.
  • Artificial intelligence. At a faster pace and lower cost, an innovative new AI solution is able to identify the formation of proteins within the brain, helping researchers design treatments to help remove these proteins.
  • The FDA accepted this promising drug in 2020 for a priority review process, meaning that sometime in 2021, we should be finding out if it’s approved for use in the general population.

At Responsive Home Care, we are committed to following the current research on dementia, as well as on offering the cutting-edge, highly skilled care that helps individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer’s live to their fullest potential. Whether the need is for full-time care, or just a few hours each week for reliable respite services, reach out to us at (954) 486-6440 for an in-home consultation or to explore options for home health care in Pembroke Pines and the surrounding areas.

Dementia Care Tips: Best Approaches to Avoid Personal Care Resistance

alzheimers care ft. lauderdale

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!

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

home health care Pembroke Pines

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

Closeup of various reminders attached with magnetic thumbtacks on metal

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.

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