New Ideas for Dementia Care That Make a Difference

A caregiver utilizing music as one of a number of new ideas for dementia care listens to headphones with a happy older woman.

Caring for someone with dementia means always searching for new ideas for dementia care, like the ones we’ve provided here!

Taking care of a loved one with dementia is unlike any other responsibility you will tackle. It requires you to dig deep down into your reserves of patience, flexibility, and perhaps most importantly, creativity. You need to be prepared to pivot at a moment’s notice from one strategy to another to promote a fulfilling and enriching life for the person you love, all while dealing with the more challenging facets of the disorder. It requires you to always be on the lookout for new ideas for dementia care that will make life as fulfilling as possible for the person you love.

Our highly trained dementia care team is here to offer support with some innovative tips you can easily implement to make every day the best it can be for a loved one with dementia.

  • Montessori methods: Adapt Montessori principles to create meaningful and engaging activities that stimulate cognitive function and promote independence.
  • The hand-under-hand technique: When assisting with tasks, gently place your hand underneath the person’s hand to support them, promoting a feeling of control and dignity.
  • Red tableware: Studies show that using red plates and cups may increase intake of food in people who have dementia by enhancing contrast and visibility of food.
  • Light therapy: Exposure to sunlight or specialized light therapy devices can help regulate sleep patterns and improve mood in those with dementia.
  • Tailored storytelling: Customize familiar stories to incorporate specifics from the individual’s past. For instance, if the person loved fishing at a certain lake, weave the name of the lake into a story you’re telling to spark memories and conversations.
  • Biophilic design: Incorporate aspects of nature, such as plants or nature-inspired artwork, into the living environment to create a calming and familiar atmosphere.
  • Reminiscence boxes: Create personalized boxes full of meaningful objects or photos from the individual’s past to spark memories and facilitate reminiscing.
  • The magic of music: Music is a remarkably effective tool you’ll likely want to turn to over and over again. This can involve creating a playlist of the person’s favorite songs to sing and dance to together, playing instruments, attending concerts (in person or online), etc.
  • Adaptive games: Adjust simple games like memory matching, puzzles, and bingo to accommodate cognitive changes. For instance, use larger, easy-to-handle pieces for puzzles or vibrant colored cards for bingo to improve visibility and ease of use.
  • Customized workout routines: Incorporate gentle, guided exercises that match the person’s current physical abilities and help maintain mobility. Talk to the person’s doctor for recommendations.
  • Soothing scents: Aromatherapy can work wonders in providing a relaxing effect to decrease anxiety and agitation. Try scents like lavender, peppermint, or vanilla.
  • Virtual reality (VR): VR experiences tailored to the individual’s interests and abilities can offer immersive and therapeutic experiences, triggering memories and boosting mood.
  • Sensory stimulation: Engage the senses with tactile activities like folding clothes or working in the garden, which can soothe and ground those with dementia.

Partner with our dementia care specialists for additional socialization opportunities, creative activities[JL4]  specific to the person’s interests, and the chance for you to step away for some well-earned time to yourself. Serving Fort Lauderdale, Deerfield Beach, Plantation, and the surrounding areas in Broward County, you can reach us any time at 954-486-6440.

Beyond Aduhelm: New Alzheimer’s Treatment Options on the Horizon

An image of a human brain shows a missing puzzle piece that new Alzheimer’s treatment options aim to fill.

Encouraging new research around Alzheimer’s treatment options offer hope for families.

One positive thing about Alzheimer’s disease is it has captured the attention of researchers everywhere who are motivated to discover new treatment options. When an individual you love is diagnosed with the disease, however, the urgency to find help is all the greater. If this is you, be encouraged! Though Aduhelm, the controversial treatment approved by the FDA in 2021, stirred debate and raised questions relating to its safety and effectiveness, researchers have been diligently working on alternative solutions that offer renewed hope.

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Rethinking the Dementia Diagnosis Conversation

An older woman receiving a dementia diagnosis is comforted and encouraged by her doctor.

Learn how doctors are changing the landscape of discussions surrounding a dementia diagnosis.

A dementia diagnosis is never easy. It is the start of a difficult rollercoaster of emotions, all of which are heightened if the diagnosis is given starkly, without compassion or empathy. There are steps doctors can (and should) take when delivering a dementia diagnosis to ease the initial impact, empowering and equipping the individual and family with support and knowledge.

Below are a few of the ways physicians are striving to improve how they talk about dementia, and why it matters.

  • Empathy First: Instead of jumping directly to medical jargon and statistics, doctors are now starting conversations with empathy and understanding. They recognize the emotional impact of a dementia diagnosis and strive to create a secure space for individuals and their family members to express their concerns and fears. In addition to this empathetic approach, physicians are also supporting open dialogue about the practical aspects of managing dementia, like daily routines and available support services.
  • Education as Empowerment: Doctors are shifting towards an educational approach, arming patients and families with knowledge about dementia. By explaining the disorder in accessible language and offering resources for further learning, they empower individuals to better navigate the journey ahead. There’s also an emphasis on the need for proactive measures, such as lifestyle adjustments and early intervention strategies, to improve wellbeing and delay the progression of the disease.
  • Person-Centered Caregiving: Acknowledging that every individual’s experience with dementia is different, doctors are shifting towards a person-centered approach to care. Ideally, they are engaging patients in discussions about their preferences, values, and goals, ensuring that care plans are tailored to the person’s needs and wishes. This customized approach extends beyond medical treatment to cover holistic support, including emotional wellbeing and social connectedness, fostering a feeling of dignity and autonomy.
  • Supportive Networks: Doctors are increasingly connecting patients and families with supportive networks and resources within the community. Whether it’s caregiver support groups, dementia-friendly activities, or specialized services, these networks provide important emotional and practical support throughout the dementia journey. Doctors should also be advocating for the involvement of family caregivers in care planning and decision-making, recognizing their invaluable role in providing continuity of care and enhancing the person’s quality of life.
  • Ongoing Communication: The conversation does not end with the initial diagnosis. Doctors should be dedicated to ongoing communication with patients and families, providing updates on the advancement of the disease, discussing treatment plans, and offering support each step of the way. This ongoing dialogue fosters trust and collaboration, empowering individuals and their families to make educated decisions and adapt to the evolving challenges of dementia caregiving.

If you suspect a loved one may be in the early stages of dementia, or if they have already been diagnosed, it’s essential to find a doctor that follows best practices such as these. It’s just as important to partner with a home care provider with specialized expertise in the unique needs of caring for someone with dementia.

At Responsive Home Care, our dementia care team is fully trained, highly skilled, and well known as the experts in Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood, Lighthouse Point, and the surrounding areas. Our innovative approach to care promotes independence, respect, and dignity. Contact us at 954-486-6440 to learn more.

5 Things to Avoid Saying to a Loved One With Dementia

A young woman hugs a loved one with dementia.

Try these tips to improve communication with a loved one with dementia.

Have you ever said the wrong thing? Maybe your objective was to compliment a friend on her new haircut, but you came across sounding like you were criticizing her previous hairstyle. Selecting our words carefully is always important, but even more so when speaking with a loved one with dementia. The words we say as well as the way we say them can significantly impact the person’s emotional well-being and quality of life.

Here are five things never to say to a person with dementia, along with alternative approaches to foster understanding and connection:

  1. “Do you remember…?” Asking someone with dementia to remember specific details can lead to embarrassment or anxiety if they cannot remember. Instead, provide gentle prompts or share your own memories to spark conversation without putting pressure on them to remember. For example, say, “I remember when we went to that restaurant together. It was such a lovely evening,” allowing them to engage in the conversation without feeling pressured to recall specific details.
  2. “You’re wrong.” Invalidating a person’s thoughts or memories may cause frustration and distress. Rather than dismissing their reality, validate their feelings and experiences. For instance, say, “I understand that you see it that way,” or redirect the conversation to a different topic. By acknowledging their perspective, you validate their emotions and maintain a sense of connection.
  3. “You just told me that.” Continuously pointing out their forgetfulness can be counterproductive and hurtful. Instead, practice patience and respond as if it’s the first time you have heard the information. This approach preserves their dignity and reduces feelings of frustration. You can say, “Thank you for sharing that with me,” and continue the conversation without dwelling on their forgetfulness.
  4. “You don’t have dementia.” Minimizing or denying their condition can lead to feelings of confusion and isolation. It’s essential to acknowledge their reality while offering support and reassurance. Express empathy and assure them that you are there to help navigate any challenges they might face. You could say, “I’m here to support you through this journey, no matter what comes our way.”
  5. “You’re being difficult.” Labeling their behavior as difficult or challenging can escalate tension and hinder effective communication. Instead, approach them with kindness and understanding. Identify the underlying needs or emotions driving their behavior and respond with patience and empathy. For example, say, “I can see that you are feeling frustrated. Let’s take a moment to figure out how we can make things better together.”

Communication can become very challenging as dementia progresses. Let our highly trained, knowledgeable dementia care specialists help. Contact us at (954) 486-6440 for more information on our specialized care for people who have dementia in Fort Lauderdale, Plantation, Deerfield Beach, and the surrounding areas. We understand the unique needs of individuals living with dementia and are dedicated to providing thoughtful care that promotes dignity and quality of life.

Is It Time for 24-Hour Alzheimer’s Care?

A woman considering 24-hour Alzheimer’s care embraces her mother.

24-hour Alzheimer’s care empowers individuals to continue living at home safely and independently.

Caring for a family member with Alzheimer’s disease requires continuous adaptation to the person’s changing needs. As the condition progresses, there comes a point when 24-hour Alzheimer’s care becomes not only beneficial but necessary for ensuring the safety, well-being, and good quality of life for the person.

Here are key indicators that signal the appropriateness of transitioning to round-the-clock care:

  • Safety Concerns: One of the primary reasons behind considering 24-hour Alzheimer’s care is an escalation in safety concerns. Wandering, forgetting to turn off appliances, or experiencing challenges with activities of everyday living increases the risk for injuries or accidents.
  • Sleep Disturbances: As dementia progresses, sleep patterns often become disrupted. Nighttime confusion, wandering, or agitation may lead to sleep deprivation for the individual and you as their caregiver, impacting overall health and well-being.
  • Inability to Perform Basic Tasks: When the person starts to have trouble with basic tasks such as bathing, dressing, or eating, 24-hour care ensures consistent support for these activities, promoting dignity and empowering the individual to maintain the highest possible quality of life.
  • Decline in Physical Health: Dementia can affect an individual’s physical health, resulting in challenges with mobility, coordination, and self-care. Round-the-clock care ensures prompt help with any physical needs which could arise.
  • Medical Monitoring Requirements: Some people with dementia may have underlying health conditions that necessitate regular monitoring. Continuous care allows for close observation of medical needs and timely intervention.
  • Frequent Hospitalizations: If the individual is experiencing numerous hospitalizations as a result of complications related to dementia, 24-hour care may be necessary to provide consistent monitoring and preventive measures.
  • Communication Barriers: Advanced dementia often results in communication difficulties. Professional caregivers experienced in communicating with those who have dementia can enhance the individual’s overall quality of life and minimize frustration.
  • Caregiver Burnout: The demands of providing care for a person with dementia can be overwhelming. If you’re experiencing exhaustion or other signs and symptoms of caregiver burnout or depression, it may be an indicator that 24-hour care is needed.
  • Increased Behavioral Challenges: Aggression, agitation, or challenging behaviors may increase as dementia progresses. Professional caregivers trained in managing these behaviors can provide a more secure environment and prevent potential harm.

Note that if the individual’s behaviors are causing you or the person to be in danger of harm, it is a good idea to investigate care home options, where multiple caregivers are readily available to ensure everyone’s safety.

At Responsive Home Care, we provide specialized dementia care from skilled, trained, and experienced care professionals, customized to the needs of the individual. During the early stages of the disease, this may mean just a couple of hours of help and support. Once the disease progresses, we can increase the level of care to ensure comfort and safety, up to and including 24-hour Alzheimer’s care.

Contact us online or call us any time at 954-486-6440 to learn more about our in-home dementia care in Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood, Lighthouse Point, or the surrounding areas.

Why Meal Prep Is a Great Activity for Someone With Alzheimer’s

A young woman smiles over the shoulder of an older loved one as she rolls out biscuit dough, a great activity for someone with Alzheimer’s.

Working together on the tasks related to preparing meals can be an incredibly beneficial activity for someone with Alzheimer’s.

There is something so special about the kitchen. It’s the first stop kids make once they arrive home from school, in search of a snack as well as the chance to share about their day. It is the spot family members gather to cook holiday meals together. It’s also a place to heat up a cup of milk and find some quiet, reflective solace when sleep is elusive. And, it’s a great place to engage in a meaningful activity for someone with Alzheimer’s.

For a person with dementia, the kitchen can bring to mind cherished memories. Cooking engages all of the senses, making it an excellent activity to unlock the doors of reminiscence. The rhythmic chopping of vegetables, the sizzle of ingredients in a pan, and the tantalizing smell of a well-seasoned dish can stir happy memories, sparking joy and connection.

If you’d like to add culinary techniques to your dementia care toolbox, these suggestions will help.

  • Keep it simple. Use uncomplicated recipes with familiar ingredients to build a sense of accomplishment. If the person has a box of recipes or favorite cookbook, this is a fantastic place to begin. Pull out several recipe options that would be easy to prepare, and then see which ones may spark interest. Or, you can search on the internet for simple recipes according to the person’s particular tastes.
  • Make it personal. Think about the preferences and capabilities of the individual. Activities such as kneading dough, rolling out cookies, or tossing a salad can be empowering, confidence-boosting, and reinforce a sense of purpose while triggering memories.
  • Organize in advance. A structured approach, with ingredients lined up and ready and step-by-step instructions provided, will help ensure a more seamless and enjoyable experience.
  • Stay social. The idea should be to make the activity a time of togetherness, transforming the kitchen into a warm space where stories are exchanged, laughter is shared, and bonds are strengthened.

The end goal should never be to create a Pinterest-worthy culinary production. Rather, focus on all the senses being used and draw on any memories that may come to the surface.

Perhaps, for example, you are making an apple pie. You can talk about how smooth the crust feels while you roll it out and the powdery flour that puffs into the air while you sprinkle it on the dough. Point out the sound of the apples being chopped, the delicious cinnamon butter aroma as the pie bakes. And of course, enjoy a piece of the finished product together, encouraging any stories along the way that the individual would like to share.

At Responsive Home Care, our experienced dementia caregivers are on hand to implement a culinary activity for someone with Alzheimer’s, or a wide variety of other creative and meaningful pastimes. Contact us at 954-486-6440 for more information on our dementia care services in Fort Lauderdale, Deerfield Beach, Plantation, and the surrounding areas.

Reality Orientation in Dementia: The Pro and the Cons

A caregiver helps guide a senior with dementia through reality orientation.

Reality orientation can help loved ones with dementia through confusion.

Did you ever wake up in the middle of a dream and wonder, just for a moment, if what you were dreaming about was real? It can feel very disorienting until you open your eyes and take in your familiar surroundings. An experience like this can give you just a brief glimpse into the ongoing disorientation for a person with dementia. When confusion about time, place, and even identity settle in for a person you love, you’re faced with two options for responding: either stepping into their reality with them, or practicing reality orientation for someone with dementia.

Which Reality Is Best?

In a nutshell, each approach has its place in dementia care. However, there are specific cautions to understand when using reality orientation for someone with dementia. It is important to first understand what is involved with both options and when they could be most appropriate.

Accepting Their Reality

Living in an alternate reality is quite typical for a person in the mid to later stages of dementia. The individual may believe they are a young adult engaged in their previous career (or a different one altogether), with a spouse and young children to look after. Going along with their perception of reality helps them maintain a feeling of self-worth and purpose. It instills comfort and peace, and it is often the recommended approach.

Orienting Them to Your Reality

On the other hand, reality orientation involves providing cues and prompts about the current time, date, and place. Studies have shown that it can improve cognitive functioning, especially when combined with donepezil, and help with some of the more difficult aspects of dementia.

However, reality orientation should be handled gently with compassion, skill, and awareness of the person’s emotional state. For example, if the person asks where their mother is, it could be extremely harmful to respond, “Why, she died 40 years ago! You are 95 years old, so there is no way your mother could still be alive.” In contrast, reality orientation may be effective in ordinary conversations. For instance, if the individual wakes up and asks what day it is, you might respond, “Today is Friday, the day you have your exercise class and then dinner with Steve.”

If the person seems to become agitated or anxious with reality, it’s always best to join them in the perceived reality that feels comfortable to them.

Our specially trained caregivers are pros at knowing how to effectively engage someone with dementia and make each day the best it can be. We utilize imaginative, customized approaches that help with memory, communication, safety, and comfort, while encouraging independence and a sense of purpose and self-worth.

Reach out to us at (954) 486-6440 for more information on our dementia care in Fort Lauderdale, Deerfield Beach, Plantation, and the surrounding areas.

 

Dementia and Conversation Looping: How to Break the Cycle

A young man smiles as he implements techniques to effectively respond to his father, who is experiencing dementia and conversation looping.

Dementia and conversation looping often go hand in hand, which can lead to frustration without knowing how to effectively respond.

If you have ever played music on vinyl records, you know that the needle does not always track properly. Occasionally, a small piece of debris or dust may cause it to get stuck or skip, leaving you hearing only a few words of the song over and over again until the problem is addressed.

In Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, memory blips can result in a similar effect described as conversation looping. Typically occurring in mild and moderate stages of the disease, dementia and conversation looping may look like this:

  • You’re having an engaging conversation about your favorite football team’s latest victory.
  • The individual with dementia suddenly changes gears and asks you if you’ve finished your homework.
  • Knowing it is important to step into an alternate reality or timeframe with the person, you respond that all of your homework is finished.
  • You then resume the conversation about the unbelievable touchdown that clinched the win.
  • The other person asks again if you have finished your homework.

What Is the Appropriate Way to Handle Issues With Dementia and Conversation Looping?

It is beneficial to first understand why the behavior is occurring. We all experience repetition to varying degrees. We may forget that we have told someone a particular memory or story and tell them again. We also may repeat a question we have in mind, unsure whether we actually asked the question or simply just thought about it. These types of situations occur when we are not fully focused or paying close enough attention to the environment around us.

In contrast, conversation loops in dementia can happen as frequently as every couple of minutes. Professor of Psychology at Western Washington University Ira E. Hyman, Jr., Ph.D., explains that with cognitive impairment, “…the work of binding the elements of an experience into a personal memory is disrupted.”

It is important to recognize that correcting someone with Alzheimer’s is not a successful tactic. Understanding that, it’s advisable to continue to respond to the person’s repetitive question or story, keeping your reply brief. You can then try changing the topic to something you know is of particular interest to them now or was important to them during their younger years, as long-term memories stay intact considerably longer than more recent ones.

How a Specialized Alzheimer’s Caregiver Can Help

With many challenging behaviors and symptoms to manage, caring for a person with Alzheimer’s on your own can be daunting. Our caregivers are especially trained in effective approaches to managing the challenges experienced in dementia. Let us partner with you to ensure the highest quality care for someone you love.

Whether you are struggling with wandering, sundowning, hallucinations, aggression, or any other complications a family member is experiencing from Alzheimer’s, we can help. Contact us any time at (954) 486-6440 to learn more about our expert dementia care, available throughout Fort Lauderdale, Deerfield Beach, Plantation, and the surrounding areas.

What to Expect in Dementia: The Impact on All 5 Senses

A woman sits with an older man at a dining table outdoors, trying to figure out what to expect in dementia.

Knowing what to expect in dementia and the changes to each of the five senses will help you make life the best it can be for someone you love.

When we think about what to expect in dementia, the first thing that typically springs to mind is the loss of memory. Cognitive decline is a hallmark effect of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, but there are so many other areas of life that are impacted as well. As a matter of fact, each of the five senses can be altered in many ways that are important to understand.

What Sensory Changes Are Typical in Dementia?

Following are some of the changes you might notice in a loved one with dementia:

  • Taste and Smell: These senses are often the first to change. The decline in the ability to taste and smell could lead the person to eat food that has spoiled, drink a cleaning fluid or some other toxic substance, and remain unaware if something is burning on the stove or in the home. Lock cleaning supplies as well as other hazardous materials safely away, check the individual’s food supply routinely to ensure food is fresh, and make sure smoke detectors are operational throughout the home.
  • Hearing: Although the person might be able to hear just fine, auditory processing changes may make it hard to understand what’s being said. It also may cause anxiety when there are loud background noises and distractions in the environment. Speak slowly and clearly, using short, one-thought statements, and use pictures along with other visuals as needed for more effective communication.
  • Vision: The brain’s ability to interpret what the individual is seeing can cause confusion. It may also lead to an elevated likelihood of falling, as patterns on the floor, shadows, and lighting could be recognized incorrectly as three-dimensional objects. Depth perception is oftentimes also impacted. As much as possible, use contrasting colors to lessen these effects.
  • Touch: The individual may lose the ability to detect cold and hot, putting them at an increased risk for burns along with other injuries. Safety-proof the stove, decrease the hot water heater temperature, and ensure the individual is dressed appropriately for the air temperature, both in the home and outdoors.

An in-home caregiver is the perfect addition to the care plan of someone with dementia. Our trained and experienced professionals can reduce safety hazards while improving total wellbeing. We are able to help effectively manage and defuse the many intricate and challenging effects of dementia, including:

  • Wandering
  • Agitation
  • Aggression
  • Confusion
  • Hallucinations
  • Repetitive behaviors
  • Anxiety and fear
  • Restlessness
  • Sundowning
  • And far more

Contact us at 954-486-6440 for a no-cost in-home consultation for more information on our specialized dementia care in Pompano Beach, Coconut Creek, Coral Springs, and also the surrounding areas and how we are able to make life the very best it can be every day for someone you love.

This Creative Dementia Therapy Is Truly Life-Changing – and Fun!

An older gentleman is smiling and riding in a vintage vehicle, participating in a creative dementia therapy technique called reminiscence therapy.

Try this easy and creative dementia therapy technique to spark engagement in someone you love.

Have you ever experienced that jolt of a distant memory that suddenly pops to the forefront of your mind, perhaps through a song, a scent, an image from the past? For those with Alzheimer’s disease, the strength of long-term memory is particularly impactful, as short-term memory weakens. And it’s what has sparked a growing trend in a creative dementia therapy technique known as reminiscence therapy.

What Is Reminiscence Therapy?

In a nutshell, reminiscence therapy involves tapping into the long-term memory and past interests of someone with dementia. It’s a matter of understanding a period of life that the person enjoyed and remembers, and meeting them there through conversations, photos, and other memorabilia. The internet is a great resource for finding pictures and articles specific to whatever sparks the person’s interest and memory.

A much more elaborate example of reminiscence therapy in action is the transformation of a 9,000-square-foot building in Chula Vista, California, into an interactive 1950s town, complete with storefronts such as a diner, a movie theater, and a clinic, all in operation just as they would have been during that era. Further exploration of the facility will lead you to a 1959 T-Bird, large-scale military airplane models, and an office where staff peck away at manual typewriters.

In reality, this incredible facility is an ultra-engaging adult day/memory care unit. Scott Tarde, CEO, explains, “It definitely made sense to me to create an environment that resonated strongly with people, instead of just four walls and a television.”

Dr. Daniel Bateman, geriatric psychiatrist at the Indiana Alzheimer Disease Center, concurs: “It’s cutting edge and it’s exciting work. One of the great pieces about the concept is that it really focuses on maintaining the dignity and the humanity of people with dementia, which can often be lost.”

Of course, reminiscence therapy doesn’t need to be nearly this in-depth to be effective. At Responsive Home Care, we bring creative concepts such as these on a smaller scale into the homes of those with dementia, with specialized, person-centered, professional Alzheimer’s care. We get to know each individual’s life story, and incorporate those details into our plan of care to ensure that life is lived to the fullest each and every day.

Our specially trained dementia care team can make each day the best it can be for an older adult you love, through customized services such as:

  • Preventing falls and wandering
  • Engagement in meaningful and enjoyable activities
  • Preparing meals and providing help with eating if needed
  • Exercise and physical activity as encouraged by the doctor
  • Accompanied transportation to fun outings, family get-togethers, appointments, etc.
  • Creative tactics to manage challenging behaviors
  • And much more

Caring for an older loved one with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia isn’t easy, and can quickly lead to caregiver burnout or depression without support. We’re here to walk beside you every step of the way to ensure the person you love receives the highest level of care, and that you have the time you need to step away to take much-needed breaks.

Whether you need just a few hours each week of support, around-the-clock care, or anything in between, our dementia care team can help! Contact us at 954-486-6440 to learn more about our dementia care services in Davie, Parkland, Tamarac, and the surrounding areas, and to request a free in-home consultation.

Can You Handle Embarrassing Dementia Behaviors in Public?

An older woman stands in the grocery store, leaning on her cart with a calm expression on her face.

If you’re not sure how to handle embarrassing dementia behaviors in public, these tips can help.

Dementia is unpredictable, to say the least. It can transform a person’s mood, personality, and behaviors in the blink of an eye. When you’re at home caring for a person with dementia, these changes can be hard enough to manage. But what happens when embarrassing dementia behaviors arise when you are at a grocery store, restaurant, or hair salon?

Simple Tips to Change Cringeworthy to Calm

Fear of a public outburst can make you want to eliminate venturing out at all with someone with Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia. However, being out in the community is very important. It gives someone with dementia a feeling of purpose, eases loneliness and isolation, offers opportunities to socialize, and much more.

Understanding how to cope with an uncomfortable situation before going out is key. These recommendations can help.

  • Keep calm. Your demeanor and attitude are highly contagious to a loved one with dementia. Take a deep breath and give yourself a pep talk before stepping out the door. Remind yourself to remain calm and patient, regardless of what happens.
  • Carry cards. If you are worried about how embarrassing dementia behaviors may impact others around you, create some small business-sized cards that you can discreetly hand out. They can simply state, “Please forgive any impolite actions or outbursts. These are the result of dementia.”
  • Track triggers. Keep a journal to make note of details on difficult behaviors in public and then look for commonalities. You might find, for example, that the individual does well in a small store or restaurant, but becomes distraught when there are large crowds, too much noise, or bright lights. There might be a specific time of day that is more distressing to be out, or physical needs could be an issue, such as hunger, thirst, pain, fatigue, or the need to use the restroom.

How In-Home Care Can Help

Our dementia care experts are available to help manage the effects of the disease, with patience, skill, and creativity. As seasoned experts who are fully trained in a wide range of dementia care needs, we have seen it all! We understand just how to restore calm to somebody who is distressed or agitated, ensuring respect and dignity throughout an outburst.

A few of the many challenging symptoms of dementia we are able to help manage include:

  • Aggression
  • Sundowning
  • Hallucinations and delusions
  • Wandering
  • Anxiety
  • Confusion and disorientation
  • And more

Whether you are looking for just a couple hours of respite care to allow time for you to take a break, overnight support or live-in care to ensure safety and wellbeing while you get much-needed rest, or anything in between, we’re here for you.

Give us a call at 954-486-6440 for more tips and resources, and to learn more about our specialized in-home dementia care in Tamarac, Parkland, Fort Lauderdale, and the surrounding areas.

Why Are Your Loved One’s Dementia Symptoms Suddenly Getting Worse?

A daughter holds hands with her elderly father who is experiencing dementia symptoms.

Have a loved one’s dementia symptoms gotten worse all of a sudden? Find out what it might mean here.

Wouldn’t it be helpful if there was an Alzheimer’s care manual, with step-by-step information on what to expect at each stage of the disease? While there are a few general commonalities during the progression of dementia, each person’s experience is different. This makes it difficult to know what to anticipate on any given day.

Even with the unpredictability of Alzheimer’s disease, there are particular situations that are beyond the typical range of expectations to watch for. Perhaps one of the most concerning is a sudden worsening of dementia symptoms. This could occur for many different reasons:

  • Delirium, caused by an infection, surgery or a hospital stay, medication side effects, insufficient sleep, dehydration, or even constipation
  • Brain injury from a fall or a stroke
  • An underlying illness such as cancer or prion disease
  • Sundowning
  • Disruption to normal routine from a move, change in caregivers, hospitalization, etc.

What Are the Typical Stages of Alzheimer’s Disease?

Alzheimer’s disease is progressive, and as of now, incurable. Therefore, a decline in condition is to be expected. A sudden shift in the person’s condition, however, is atypical. Generally speaking, the disease progresses through the following stages:

  • Early: The first detectable signs of Alzheimer’s are typically very mild, including short-term memory lapses, forgetting a word, or getting lost.
  • Middle:In the middle stage of the disease, cognitive challenges progress to the point that the individual struggles with independently performing activities of daily living.
  • Late:The final stage of Alzheimer’s, which may take years to reach, involves a lack of response and recognition of both people and environment, as the body starts to shut down.

If You Observe Sudden Worsening of Dementia Symptoms…

Seek medical help right away if a sudden decline is noted so that the cause can be pinpointed and addressed.

A dementia care journal can be a very helpful tool, before, during, and after worsening symptoms. Daily journaling can help you keep track of:

  • What works and what does not work in helping the person manage challenges
  • The person’s overall demeanor on any particular day
  • Any difficult behaviors noted, with particulars on time of day and potential triggers or contributing circumstances
  • Medications taken and any side effects detected
  • Sleeping and eating habits

These kinds of details will be invaluable in helping to piece together what may have caused a rapid change in condition and just how to remedy it.

Responsive Home Care’s caregivers in Plantation, Lighthouse Point, Hollywood, and nearby areas are highly skilled and trained in caring for those diagnosed with dementia and detecting any changes in condition. Contact us online or call us at (954) 486-6440 and let us walk beside you in your dementia care journey.