How to Help Your Loved One When Alzheimer’s Affects Sleep

If it feels like a senior with Alzheimer’s has completely rewritten the rules on when and how to sleep, you are not dreaming—Alzheimer’s affects sleep. For reasons that are not yet fully understood, a number of people with dementia experience changes to their circadian rhythm, leading to sleepless nights and drowsy days.

The progression of the disease is one contributing factor. Damage to brain cells causes increased weakness, making everyday activities and tasks exhausting. Medication side effects from commonly-prescribed dementia treatments can further exacerbate the issue.

Why a Good Night’s Sleep Is Crucial for a Senior with Dementia

Decreased sleep quality in dementia may lead to an increase in restlessness and delusions and can result in serious safety concerns, including the potential for a senior to wander away and become injured or lost. Not just that, but a senior loved one who is sleepy during the day will also be less likely to engage in healthy activities, such as spending time outdoors and exercising.

And, for a busy family caregiver who also needs rest, it is typically quite a challenge to meet all of the person’s care needs during the day and throughout the night as well.

Ways to Help

Try these strategies for a senior whose sleep patterns are disrupted:

  • Talk to the physician, first of all, for a review of medications. Changing the dosage timing every day may be all it will require to make a difference.
  • Maintain a routine like going to bed and waking up at the same time each day. Limit caffeine, naps, and heavy meals later in the day.
  • Incorporate bedtime activities that are soothing, for example, a warm bath, reading, turning off the television, and playing quiet, calming music.
  • If wandering is a concern, a wireless bed exit pad can notify you as soon as the senior gets up so that you can assist.
  • Try placing a clock that distinguishes between nighttime and daytime near the senior’s bed.

You may want to encourage a senior to try sleeping on their side rather than the back or stomach as well. Recent reports revealed a possible link between side sleeping and much more effective clearing of brain waste, such as excess beta-amyloid. Note that this study was conducted on laboratory animals, and it’s unclear yet whether the results carry over to humans.

Responsive Home Care is available to help as well, with overnight caregivers who are awake and alert, looking after the older adult’s needs throughout the night, so you can get the rest you need. Our care team members are fully trained and experienced in creative, patient approaches to meeting the unique care needs of those with Alzheimer’s disease. Give us a call at 954-486-6440 to learn more about our specialized Fort Lauderdale elderly care offered throughout the greater metropolitan area.

Tips to Help You Become a Champion Caregiver for Elderly Parents

caregiver for elderlyIf someone were providing care services for you, how would you want that caregiver/care receiver relationship to look? What qualities would shift that degree of care from ordinary to extraordinary?

Taking care of an older loved one at home is a noble and selfless commitment. It’s never a responsibility that should be taken lightly, or taken on halfheartedly. These tips make it possible to become not just a fantastic caregiver, but a care champion who empowers an older adult to thrive.

Foster independence. No one wants to feel as if they’re no longer self-sufficient, or that someone is coming in and taking over. Encourage and motivate the senior to do what they are able to do safely and comfortably on their own, providing whatever support is necessary along the way.

Practice empathy. It’s a helpful exercise to routinely put yourself in the senior’s shoes and consider how you would like to be treated if roles were reversed. This may mean setting your own personal feelings aside to better understand those of the other person.

Be creative. Think outside of the box for ideas to brighten every day. For instance, declare Mondays to be “Milkshake Mondays,” experimenting with making and sampling new flavors together. If the senior loves dogs, invite a pet therapist over or spend an afternoon at the local humane society. Have a movie marathon day featuring all of the senior’s favorite films. The ideas are limitless!

Let Responsive Home Care’s trained and experienced care experts assist with additional ideas and help with care needs in the home. Call us at (954) 486-6440 to request a free in-home consultation.

Senior Home Care Tip from the Pros: Create and Follow a Daily Schedule

senior home careLife, especially but not just during the pandemic, can be filled with uncertainty. For seniors who are feeling less in command of particular facets of life, such as losing physical or cognitive functioning, concentrating on what can be controlled is empowering.

A great place to start is by establishing a regular routine, personalized to a senior’s particular interests and needs. Keep in mind that the senior’s routine is certainly not meant to be a strict regimen to be adhered to, but merely the basis for structure and predictability. With the older adult’s direction and input, decide on a preferred framework for every day. A sample daily routine may look like this:

  • Wake up at 7:30 a.m.
  • Take care of personal hygiene needs and get dressed
  • Enjoy breakfast on the back patio while listening to favorite music
  • Engage in light exercise and stretching
  • Work on a puzzle or art project
  • Pack a picnic lunch to take to the nearby park
  • Run an errand
  • Spend some quiet time reading or taking a short nap
  • Make dinner together and tidy up afterwards
  • Take a bath
  • Watch a movie
  • Go to sleep at 10 p.m.

Daily routines are helpful for older adults and their caregivers alike, in many different ways:

  • Routines lower stress and anxiety. Routines are calming and comforting, eliminating the need to wonder and worry about what’s going to occur next, who will be there to assist, and how to ensure that everything is going to be taken care of.
  • Routines create better sleep. Research has shown that sticking with a daily routine aids in sleep quality in addition to the ability to fall asleep and remain asleep.
  • Routines allow for high quality time with friends and family. Older adults and those who care for them can establish routines that incorporate enjoyable time together. Include favorite pastimes, weekly lunch dates at a favorite restaurant, even an end-of-the-day hug.

Our care team is skilled at creating customized care plans and schedules in order to make each day the very best it can be for older adults and those who love them through a full range of in-home support services, including:

  • Morning wake-up assistance, including personal hygiene and cooking a nourishing breakfast
  • Engaging companionship throughout the day and evening – whenever needed
  • Light housekeeping and laundry
  • Shopping and other errands
  • Medication reminders
  • Accompaniment to outings, visits with friends and family, medical appointments, etc.
  • And many others, in accordance with each senior’s specific needs

Call us any time at (954) 486-6440 for more information and to request a free in-home consultation.

Tips for Respecting Elders in How you Speak to Them

Watch what occurs at your next family get together when a new mom places her infant in someone’s arms. The individual is likely to transition instantly into baby mode: a high-pitched, sing-song voice, exaggerated facial expressions, and overly-simplified speech. Of course, this is quite normal and actually beneficial to a baby’s growing brain.

Hopefully, however, when that baby’s great-grandfather enters the room, loved ones refrain from reacting similarly and are better at respecting their elders. Yet it happens so frequently, and can be so damaging to the elderly, that there is a term to describe it: elderspeak.

A recent research study by Susan Kemper, a professor specializing in gerontology at the University of Kansas, matched elderly listeners with younger speakers. In spite of the seniors’ instructions just to listen without interrupting while the younger people spoke to them – thus leaving no suggestion to the speakers that they were having any challenges understanding what was being said – in a great majority of cases, the speakers resorted to elderspeak.

It’s worthwhile to note as well that older adults regularly refrain from using elderspeak with each other. Studies have shown that for a great many older adults, elderspeak conveys superiority and a cold attitude.

Why It’s Harmful

Simply put, elderspeak can be considered belittling and patronizing. It conveys beliefs of inferiority and incompetency to older adults, instead of the admiration and respect they deserve. While typically well-meaning and meant to convey endearment, it frequently has the reverse effect.

What to Do Instead

  • Thoughtfully consider how to address the elderly in your life. Many older adults find terms like “young lady,” “honey,” or “dearie” to be offensive.
  • Use caution when modifying how you communicate with an older adult in accordance with individual need. For example, speaking clearly and slowly while facing a senior loved one with hearing loss is helpful. A high-pitched voice, however, can actually further distort the words. An older adult with memory issues can better follow the conversation if it’s broken down into simple, short sentences and yes-or-no questions. This can easily be accomplished without resorting to baby talk.
  • Don’t forget that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach, as each person has unique preferences and challenges. An open and honest conversation with the person about how precisely they would like to be addressed and spoken to is the ideal path to ensure you’re engaging with them appropriately.

At Responsive Home Care, we place a great emphasis on respectful interactions with each and every senior in our care. Contact us at (954) 486-6440 for an in-home consultation to learn how we can help promote independence for older adults with personalized in-home support.

How to Address One of the Leading Caregiver Struggles: Caregiver Dread

One of the most common caregiver struggles is caregiver dread.

What are your first thoughts as soon as you wake up in the morning? Are you looking forward to what your day holds, or would you prefer to crawl back under the covers and remain there? If you are feeling more dread than delight as you think through your caregiving tasks for the day, you are not the only one. In fact, caregiver dread is one of the most common caregiver struggles we help families with each and every day.

Distinctly different from anxiety, depression, and even burnout, caregiver dread is a heavy, exhausted feeling of duty. It stems from feelings of overcommitment as well as the need to escape from obligations. While feasible to muscle through and carry out needed tasks in spite of these feelings, there are methods to conquer them instead – and restore the joy that comes from making life better for someone you love. To begin with, try these techniques:

  1. Release the guilt. Meeting the care needs of a person can feel unimpactful, mundane, and just downright difficult. It requires selflessness, which can feel burdening. Yet dreading the daily tasks you’re obligated to do in no way is a reflection of how you feel towards your loved one. Acknowledge to yourself that your role is not easy, and it is okay to wish you could be doing something else.
  2. Deliberately search for joy. The little pleasures each day holds may be diminished by the difficulties. Make the effort every day to find five small things which make you smile. Keep a journal of each day’s finds and refer back to it at the conclusion of every week. Engage all of your senses as you look for the day’s joys: the smell of freshly brewing coffee; the beauty of the sunrise; the sound of your cat purring; the invigorating feeling of a hot shower.
  3. Set boundaries. Schedule time daily to spend on things that you enjoy apart from the senior loved one in your care. Plan and look forward to this time when your caregiving responsibilities begin to weigh you down. An established and trusted care partner is vital to ensure that nothing impedes with the important time of looking after yourself.

Remind yourself that the work you are doing in caring for your senior loved one is extremely important. Yet also keep in mind that no one can do it all, and in order to provide the very best care for the senior and for yourself, frequent breaks from care tasks are essential.

Connect with our experts in elder care in Fort Lauderdale and nearby areas at (954) 486-6440 to arrange for regular respite care services and release the stress of caregiving dread. We’re here for as much or as little assistance as you need to help you enjoy quality time together with a family member and also to rediscover joy in your own life as well.

 

Taking Care of Elderly Parents After the Pandemic: The Shift We Can Expect

Employers may now have a different perspective on those taking care of elderly parents post-pandemic.

If there is a single positive after-effect regarding the pandemic, it is the appreciation generated for the plight of family caregivers. Managing work and home life is without question a tremendous challenge for those taking care of elderly parents. As Lindsay Jurist-Rosner, CEO of Wellthy, explains, “Caregiving went from a silent struggle to being in the spotlight overnight.”

Businesses were suddenly thrown into the fire of navigating a world of balancing the safety of staff along with the need to uphold productivity. Here is what we discovered – and what we can expect in the future:

  • More telecommuting. Individuals who began working from home in the last year have, in some cases, demonstrated their ability to be much more productive. Because of this, it is predicted that nearly 25 – 30% of the workforce within the United States will continue telecommuting at least several days a week this year.
  • Less stress. Doing away with the daily commute opens up extra time for self-care for family caregivers, while enhancing peace of mind. This is particularly true for those who relied on public transportation and were wary of compromised health safety. To further boost mental health, many employers are offering subscriptions to mindfulness and meditation apps.
  • A corporate culture of caring. Working from home has opened up the personal elements of our lives to employers. Zoom meetings share our living spaces with each other, including the appearance of pets, children, and other household members. As a result, the workplace has started to become more humanized, resulting in a more empathetic working environment.
  • Emphasis on mental wellness. Along those lines, there is now greater awareness of the significance of attending to our mental health. A Kaiser Family Foundation poll shared that nearly 45% of adults experienced negative mental health affects as a result of the pandemic – and an even more substantial percentage in those who function as family caregivers for older family members. Many employers have started implementing ways to take care of the mental health of their employees, such as offering virtual adventures and trips to give the chance to relax and escape.

Let Responsive Home Care, who offers the best caregivers in Fort Lauderdale, FL and the surrounding areas, further help nurture a better work-life balance with our dependable respite care services. Regular, ongoing respite care is key to the general wellness of family caregivers. Our skilled and compassionate home care team is on hand to help with anything from only a few hours every week up to and including 24/7 care. Call us at (954) 486-6440 to request a no cost in-home assessment to find out more.

 

Can Humidifiers Help With COPD Symptoms?

Are humidifiers good for COPD? We’ve got the answers you need!

For seniors with lung conditions, maintaining the ideal air quality in the house is vital for managing COPD symptoms. Air that is too dry, for instance, may cause or exacerbate health issues; for example:

  • Dry, itchy, or chapped skin
  • Nose bleeds
  • A sore throat
  • Dry eyes
  • Aggravated allergy, asthma, and flu/cold symptoms such as congestion
  • And much more

Yet air that is too humid can cause mold and mildew to develop, which can cause a number of health problems along with causing damage to the house.

So, are humidifiers good for treating COPD symptoms in older adults?

Humidifiers, when used correctly, can help maintain the perfect degree of moisture in the air (between 30 – 50%), and especially for anyone with a chronic lung disease, can foster eased breathing, reduced irritation of nasal passages, and also the ability to more efficiently expel phlegm in coughing.

Furthermore, using a humidifier during the night can ease snoring and congestion, help minimize the amount of any allergens, viruses and bacteria in the air, even relieve a dry scalp. Again, use caution to be sure the level of humidity does not exceed the ideal range, which could bring about disrupted sleep patterns.

There are different types of humidifiers available:

  • Central humidifiers, that are built into the home’s central air conditioning/heating unit; the most costly option, but one that benefits the whole home rather than just one room
  • Impeller humidifiers, utilizing a cool mist, which is a safer alternative because it can’t cause burns; it could, however, trigger allergic or asthmatic problems if overused
  • Evaporators, blowing air through a dampened filter; an economical choice, but can be a problem if allowed to add too much moisture into the air
  • Ultrasonic humidifiers, using vibrations to create mist in either a cool or warm option; offered in a number of sizes
  • Steam vaporizers, which are typically the most affordable and most portable option; water is heated and then cooled before being expelled into the air

Check with a doctor about the advantages of a humidifier in your loved one’s specific circumstances, and which kind is preferred.

Responsive Home Care, the top-rated provider of home care in Deerfield Beach, FL and surrounding areas, is here to assist individuals with chronic health problems like COPD, or simply just the challenges inherent in normal aging, through a variety of home care services. Contact us at 954-486-6440 to see how we can help you breathe easier with reliable in-home support.

The Power of Positive Thinking: How to Overcome Caregiver Stress

Responsive Home Care is the ideal solution to achieve a healthier life balance – both for family caregivers and the older adults in their care.

Our facial expressions reveal so much to people around us, and when you are experiencing an abnormal degree of stress, well-meaning friends will certainly notice it, perhaps encouraging you to essentially, “Cheer up, buttercup!” In reality, of course, it requires a lot more than a few words to turn our mood around and to help us overcome caregiver stress.

Recent research supports the idea of positive thinking as a method to decrease levels of depression and anxiety which occur when we are flooded with stress – something essential for busy family caregivers to take to heart to reduce the possibility for burnout.

Judith Moskowitz, lead psychologist in the research project who subsequently created a course to overcome the unpredictable manner of emotions so frequent in individuals providing care for a senior loved one, says, “We’re not saying don’t be sad or upset about what’s going on. But we know people can experience positive emotions alongside that negative emotion, and that positive emotion can help them cope better.”

The primary techniques in her program include the following:

• Keep a journal of things for which you’re grateful – including the small things.

• Identify at least one uplifting event every single day.

• Talk about this occurrence with your family on social networks.

• Establish one new goal every day, and keep track of your progress in achieving it.

• Identify one of your talents and contemplate how you’re making use of that skill.

• Undertake one daily simple act of kindness for another.

• Think about a negative event, and then discover a way to view it in a positive light.

• Practice focused breathing and mindfulness to bring back a sense of calm.

For those of you providing care for a loved one with dementia, the need to concentrate on positives can be much more vital to overall wellbeing. Family caregivers who participated in a recent five-week study where the effectiveness of these coping skills was evaluated documented a decrease in depression scores of 16%, and a decrease in anxiety of 14%.

In addition to the strategies above, it is necessary for family caregivers to stop isolating themselves and trying to manage their caregiving duties solo, which can very quickly bring on caregiver burnout along with other significant health problems. Partnering with an established Sunrise elderly care, like Responsive Home Care, is the ideal solution to help in achieving a healthier life balance – both for family caregivers and the older adults in their care.

Life is indeed stressful, but we are ready to help! Contact Responsive Home Care, the leader in home health care in Pembroke Pines, and let us help you overcome caregiver stress so that you can concentrate on self-care and good quality time with those you love.

Top Tips to Use Your Time Wisely at the Doctor

doctor visits for seniors - senior care company ft lauderdale

At Responsive Home Care, we’re always available to help seniors through medical appointments and procedures in a variety of ways.

On any particular day, a physician usually has close to 20 patients to see – in addition to calls, paperwork, and other administrative duties. It leaves precious little time spent with each person, which is why it is essential to take advantage of that time and ensure you clearly understand the outcome of doctor visits for seniors.

At Responsive Home Care, our caregivers provide accompaniment for seniors to medical appointments, and suggest the following strategy:

Don’t be reluctant to ask questions. With such a time crunch, your physician may tend to communicate information to you quickly, that’s why it’s up to you to hit the pause button to make sure you fully comprehend everything that is being said and to speak up with any questions you may have, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant it may seem they are.

And, strategize in advance for those questions. It can be tricky to absorb everything being shared with you in the couple of minutes spent together with the doctor. Preparing a list of problems ahead of time will help ensure nothing slips through the cracks. Several questions to consider include:

  •  Exactly what are the long and short term effects of my condition?
  •  What could be the reason for this disorder?
  •  Is there a remedy?
  •  Where may I obtain additional resources?
  •  Will I need any medical tests?
  •  Are there any kind of possible negative effects from those tests?
  •  When can I receive the test results?
  •  What medications exist to help with my health problem?
  •  What are the potential adverse side effects of these drug treatments?
  •  Are there any kind of lifestyle changes I ought to think about making?

Take excellent notes. Bring along paper and a pen, or utilize the notes section of your smartphone or tablet, and jot down responses to your questions along with additional information the doctor provides. It may be helpful to have a dependable family member or professional caregiver from Responsive Home Care with you during the appointment to make sure all things are understood.

Include other medical experts. Bear in mind that although the information provided by the physician is important, other individuals within the senior’s medical team could possibly offer valuable insight as well: nurses, pharmacists, physician assistants, dieticians, physical therapists, etc. Check in with these professionals for additional assistance with carrying out the doctor’s guidelines if warranted.

At Responsive Home Care, a top senior care company Ft. Lauderdale and the surrounding areas trust, we’re always available to assist seniors through medical appointments and procedures in a variety of ways, as well as to help carry out doctors’ recommendations after returning home. We’re able to provide accompaniment to appointments, medication reminders, preparation of meals that are in adherence with any prescribed dietary plan, and many other tasks to ensure optimum health for seniors. Contact us online or call our care team at 954-486-6440 for more information about how to make the most of doctor visits for seniors!

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.