Managing the Common Dementia Behavior of Rummaging

Rummaging through cupboards and closets is a common behavior for those with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

Rummaging through cupboards and closets is a common behavior for those with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

Looking through boxes, cupboards, and closets, pulling out odds and ends from drawers, and sorting repetitively through a number of items can be frustrating for individuals providing care for a member of the family with dementia, but in fact these actions are fulfilling an objective. Rummaging can supply a degree of comfort for individuals with Alzheimer’s, along with the reassurance of identifying familiar objects and finding purpose and meaning.

The important thing then is not to deter rummaging, which may trigger agitation, but to better manage this common dementia behavior if it becomes disruptive. The following tips can help:

  • Keep rummaging to a specific area. Assemble containers of items the senior seems especially drawn to, for example, keys, paperwork, a wallet, tools, gardening equipment, sewing implements, sports memorabilia, and so on. Whenever your senior loved one starts to rummage in other places, pull out one of the bins and guide his/her focus there.
  • Establish an activity aimed at rummaging behaviors. Let the senior know you could really use his or her assistance with a particular activity that takes advantage of these behaviors, for example, folding towels or socks, sorting nuts/bolts in a toolbox, or placing paperwork into folders.
  • Identify other stimulating activities to ease boredom. Rummaging may be the response to feelings of uneasiness, loneliness, or boredom. Try out assorted activities you can do together with the senior, including arts and crafts, puzzles, going for a walk, listening to music, etc.
  • Keep valuables out of reach. Understanding that your loved one has the tendency to rummage, be certain that any essential documents, jewelry, keys, credit cards, etc. are all kept securely away. It is also a smart idea to tuck away the mail when it arrives, to be certain bills along with other items aren’t getting tossed or misplaced.
  • Step up security precautions. Now is a very good time to evaluate how hazardous objects are stored in the house, such as sharp knives, cleaning products, even certain kinds of foods, such as raw meat that the individual may unintentionally mistake for another food product and ingest. Keep all items that could potentially cause the individual injury in secure places, ideally locked away.

Responsive Home Care can assist with the professional in-home care services that offer companionship and engagement in creative, enjoyable, and fulfilling activities for those with dementia that lead to fewer challenging behaviors. Call us at 954-486-6440 for additional information or to schedule an in-home assessment for home care in Fort Lauderdale and the surrounding areas.

Tips to Manage Family Caregiver Stress

man relaxing listing to headphones

It can be stressful to serve as a family caregiver, so learning how to manage emotions is important.

Stress is bound to happen, and actually, not always a bad thing. After all, as the saying goes, “A diamond is just a piece of charcoal that handled stress exceptionally well.” However, especially for family caregivers, the level of stress can rapidly intensify and be frustrating, and when not managed effectively, lead to big health concerns.

Try these suggestions to lower family caregiver stress and obtain a healthier and more relaxed lifestyle – both for yourself and those you love:

  • Alter your self-talk. Through the course of your day, you will probably find yourself entertaining thoughts such as, “I cannot accomplish this!” or “Everything is going wrong!” Stop when negative thinking starts to intrude, and say to yourself instead, “I’m able to take care of this, one step at a time,” or “Help is available whenever I require it.”
  • Take a break. Deescalate stress through any or all of the following strategies:
    • Breathe deeply (breathe in to a count of 4; hold for a count of 4; exhale to a count of 4; hold for a count of 4; repeat as needed)
    • Take a walk or take part in some other regular exercise
    • Pray or meditate
    • Play favorite music
    • Write in a journal
    • Contact a good friend
  • Try a stress-busting activity. There are a variety of pleasing activities that will divert your focus away from what was leading to stress and onto things more positive, such as creating art, reading, enjoying pets or children, doing work in the yard or on a DIY project – the possibilities are endless, and even as little as 10 or 15 minutes invested in the activity will help.

There are even apps especially developed with family caregivers in mind to help minimize stress and restore calm. Find five which can be particularly effective here from DailyCaring.

Caregiver stress is very common for individuals who feel as though they have no support system, and have to handle everything independently. Fortunately, we have an answer! Call Responsive Home Care for an in-home consultation to learn more about how we can share in your caregiving duties, enabling you to gain important time away to destress, with services that include:

  • Planning and cooking wholesome meals
  • Assistance with personal care and hygiene
  • Taking care of housekeeping chores and laundry
  • Accompaniment to medical appointments and interesting outings
  • Companionship to brighten each day with conversations, games, puzzles, hobbies, etc.
  • Medication reminders
  • And so much more

Call us at 954-486-6440 for elderly home care in Fort Lauderdale and the surrounding areas. Learn how a partner in care can make a world of difference in eliminating stress and restoring a healthy life balance for family care providers.

 

Caregiver Resilience During a Time of Crisis

happy senior woman making a heart shape with her hands

Learn caregiver tips to help you navigate a crisis.

Times of crisis can bring out the best as well as the worst in us. During the coronavirus pandemic, we’ve heard stories of people hoarding items and selling them to generate an outrageous profit, together with stories of people who selflessly met the needs of others despite their own fears.

The secret to weathering the storms, which are certain to show up within our lives, is resiliency. Mia Bartoletti, clinical psychologist for the Navy SEAL Foundation, works with families of people serving in the armed forces, and offers suggestions which will help build caregiver resilience through any time of crisis.

  1. Express your reactions. It’s common to experience various responses to a crisis: flashbacks to other very difficult situations, dreams and nightmares, withdrawal and avoidance, trouble with sleeping, irritability, issues with concentration and focus, and hypervigilance. What’s crucial is to make sure these reactions are temporary, and do not advance into longer-term psychological problems. Acknowledge your feelings, and share them with a trusted confidante, or write them in a journal.
  2. Maintain social connections. While your instinct might be to pull away from friends and relatives during a crisis, keeping in touch on a frequent basis with individuals you care about is vital. Finding a support group, whether in person or online, is yet another good way to ensure you’re building and preserving social ties, allowing you to speak with other individuals in the same circumstances.
  3. Take a moment for self-care. This means something different to each individual, but should include enjoyable activities, engaging interests and hobbies, nutritious meals, lots of sleep, and exercise. If you find it is hard to carve out time for yourself as a result of caregiving duties, Responsive Home Care is always available to partner with you to provide trustworthy respite care. Caring for yourself lets you take better care of those you love.
  4. Realize what you are able to control – and that which you cannot. Letting go of what’s out of your control and concentrating instead on what you CAN control is one of the foundations of resilience. Psychologist Mary Alvord, who founded Resilience Across Borders, explains, “Depression is hopelessness and helplessness, and so resilience is the opposite. No, you’re not helpless; you do have control over many aspects of your life.”

It’s always best to seek professional counseling in the event your reactions to stressful circumstances are impeding your ability to maintain a feeling of calm and to tend to the necessary day to day activities of living. And, watch for signs that senior family members are going through undue levels of stress so that you can obtain the help they need also.

Understand that regardless of what life may bring, you can rely on Responsive Home Care to walk beside you with trustworthy, professional aging care services that empower older adults to remain resilient and independent. Contact us at 954-486-6440 to learn more about home care assistance in Plantation, FL and throughout the surrounding areas.

Caring for a Loved One with Alzheimer’s? Daily Journaling Helps!

Portrait of middle-aged lovely womanTaking care of a senior loved one with Alzheimer’s is a fluid, ever-evolving undertaking. One day may be calm and peaceful, with your parent enjoying activities, eating healthy meals, and sharing laughter with you; while the next day may be filled with agitation, anxiety, and sullenness. Exactly what will today bring?

Figuring out how to best handle the challenging behaviors as well as ensure life is as satisfying and comfortable as possible for a senior with dementia can be made easier through a simple tool: journaling[MS1] . Our experts in home health services in Fort Lauderdale, FL share an easy method to implement it in your day-to-day caregiving routine, and how to utilize your journal to improve quality of life for your senior loved one:

  • Track symptoms and care needs on a daily basis. Your notes don’t have to be lengthy, but record any difficulties that occur, including time of day and what might have triggered the challenges. Also include activities the person managed to execute independently, together with those that were difficult. At the conclusion of every week, review the behaviors to find out if a pattern can be noticed – such as heightened agitation before meals or bedtime.
  • Track eating habits. Take note of which foods are most appealing to the senior, which are easiest for him or her to self-feed, how many meals/snacks tend to be consumed and at what times throughout the day, etc. Don’t forget to include beverages, to guarantee the older adult is taking in sufficient levels of water to stay hydrated. In looking at your notes, you may find that six smaller sized meals throughout the course of the day are better for your senior loved one than three larger ones, for example.
  • Track safety considerations. Maintaining safety is a high concern in Alzheimer’s care, with a variety of dangers that could derive from wandering, dizziness/balance problems, hallucinations, and misunderstanding what common items are used for, such as thinking a household cleaner could actually be a sports drink. Securing hazardous items or putting them in out-of-reach places is important, and maintaining a list of changes made to the home environment for safety’s sake can be extremely helpful to notify other family and friends to potential risks.

Additionally, it is recommended to take your journal with you to your loved one’s medical appointments, and bring any concerns recorded to his or her attention. This allows you to be completely prepared in advance of appointments with questions you need to get answered, making the most of the short time available to consult with doctors.

Get in touch with our highly trained and knowledgeable experts in home health services in Fort Lauderdale, FL for even 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 someone with dementia.