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.

Make Life Easier With a Daily Routine for Seniors With Dementia

senior-lady-dementia-eating

A daily routine for seniors with dementia can make life easier!

Do you ever feel lost or disoriented after waking up from a dream? The dream seemed so real, and it takes a few minutes to regain your bearings. For someone with dementia, this confusion is part of everyday life. Our goal in providing care for someone with Alzheimer’s is to help provide as much stability as possible, and one of the simplest ways to achieve this is by building a daily routine for seniors with dementia.

How Can a Daily Routine for Seniors With Dementia or Alzheimer’s Help?

Short-term memory loss makes it challenging for someone with dementia to learn and remember new things. A familiar routine helps build self-confidence, reinforce a sense of independence, and minimize anxiety.

To establish the most comfortable routine for a senior loved one with dementia, try the following:

  • Make it meaningful. Include time every day for responsibilities that increase the person’s self-worth and sense of purpose, according to their abilities: folding laundry, sorting papers, mixing a salad, etc.
  • Choose activities that relate to lifelong interests. Consider the person’s particular interests and incorporate those in some manner into their routine: music, gardening, fishing, knitting, etc.
  • Follow their lead. Retain any routines the older adult already has established: a morning shower before breakfast, meals at the same seat at the table as always, an afternoon television program, a walk after dinner, etc.
  • Adjust as needed. Over time, as the disease progresses, the person’s ability level will change, making it harder to accomplish parts of their routine. The goal should be to always make an effort to provide as many opportunities for independence as possible, even if modifications are needed.

Obviously, life doesn’t always make it easy to follow a daily routine. Even family caregivers require time away for at least a few hours a week. It can be helpful for the person in your care to have a respite caregiver step in before you take time away, incorporating them into their regular routine . That will likely make it easier for you to step away, knowing the senior is already familiar and comfortable with their professional caregiver.

The best care experience for seniors with dementia requires specialized training and expertise. Our dementia caregivers are experts in providing creative, patient care and easing the difficult symptoms of the disease, and we are here with just as much or little assistance as you need. Contact us any time online or at (954) 486-6440 for a complimentary in-home consultation for additional information about our Alzheimer’s care in Fort Lauderdale and the nearby areas.

How to Manage Restlessness in Dementia

senior-dementia-man-confused-and-restless

Responsive Home Care can help to manage restlessness in dementia.

Wandering. Pacing. Fidgeting. As these signs of restlessness develop in aging adults with dementia, it’s important to address them before they escalate to aggression, agitation, or leaving the house. But figuring out why the older adult is feeling restless is sometimes half the battle of trying to manage restlessness in dementia.

For starters, think about the following questions:

  • Are there any visitors who could be producing distress or anxiety?
  • Might they have to use the restroom?
  • Are they bored?
  • Are there a lot of distractions in the room?
  • Have they been sedentary too long and need to move?
  • Is anything causing the individual physical discomfort or pain?
  • Could the senior be thirsty or hungry?

If you aren’t sure, a great place to start is acknowledging any physical needs. Do they need a snack or drink?  If not, also watch out for nonverbal clues that could reveal distress, and call the physician right away for direction in the event that you suspect the person is in pain.

If the problem boils down to emotions, try distracting the person with a soothing activity that they really enjoy, for example, listening to favorite music and dancing together to channel that restless energy in a positive way. Go for a walk outside, if weather permits, or move into another room of the house for a change of scenery and to work on a puzzle together, read, or take part in another enjoyable activity.

The Unique Challenges of Sundowning

Aging adults can feel particularly anxious or confused during the late afternoon and into the evening due to sundowning. If restlessness is happening during this particular time of day, it may be very difficult for family caregivers, who need to be able to rest and get a sufficient amount of sleep.

A team effort is often the most effective approach to sundowning, as it allows the primary family caregiver to take the break they need during the night while ensuring the senior remains safe. Actions you can take include:

  • Create a tag with identifying and contact information for the senior, or purchase an identity bracelet or necklace, and make sure the older adult is wearing it all the time.
  • Talk with the person’s neighbors to let them know about the situation so they can help you keep watch in the event the person does manage to wander away from home.

If you are trying to manage restlessness in dementia, reach out to Responsive Home Care online or at (954) 486-6440 for a fully trained and experienced Alzheimer’s caregiver to take the night shift, or any other shift. A live in caregiver in Hollywood, FL or the nearby areas can provide someone you love with the patient, creative, and compassionate care they need to overcome restlessness and other difficulties of dementia, while giving you peace of mind and a healthier life balance.

Bridging the Gap in Dementia Care: Using Food to Engage and Connect

dementia care

Learn how food can help you engage and connect as you provide dementia care.

Food is a universal language, and it connects us all! Think about how many cherished memories have been made through the years that incorporated food at the center of them all: birthday parties, wedding celebrations, holiday meals. Even average days involve routines that become ingrained in us around food, from that first aromatic cup of coffee in the morning to a shared bowl of buttery popcorn with family while watching a movie.

Of course, food isn’t just needed for our physical health, but it is also often a highly effective way to connect with someone with dementia while delivering dementia care. Here are several activities you can try to help spark memories while appealing to all the senses through food.

  • Preparing. Choose a simple recipe to prepare, like fruit salad or sandwiches. Assemble the ingredients and incorporate them into your conversation. While washing and cutting up fruit, for instance, ask the senior what kinds of fruits they enjoyed as a kid.
  • Decorating. Frost cupcakes while reminiscing about the treats Mom would prepare for school birthday parties. Roll out cookie dough and use cookie cutters and sprinkles to make them specific to an upcoming holiday while you discuss holidays past.
  • Storytelling. Take out a vintage cookbook and look through the recipes together to see if any spark memories. The senior may remember food rationing during wartime, or the time they tried a new recipe at the beginning of their marriage that was a total disaster. If a specific recipe is of interest, make it together!

Consider how you can involve the senses into mealtimes as you deliver dementia care. There is so much more to food than taste! Point out the sizzling sound of eggs frying, delicious scent of the chicken you are roasting for dinner, the cool smoothness of bread dough being kneaded. Attempt to make each plate served appetizing to the eyes as well as the palate. And whenever possible, cultivate conversations that link the person to memories from the past.

Quite often, a person with dementia will encounter a diminished appetite and lose interest in food. Activities such as these can be a terrific way to restore the joy we experience together through shared meals and treats.

Our dementia care experts have lots more tips to make life the best it can be for someone with dementia. Get in touch with Responsive Home Care any time online or at (954) 486-6440 to request dementia care resources or to find out more about our home health care services in Fort Lauderdale, FL and the nearby areas.

Downsizing for Seniors with Dementia

Learn the benefits of downsizing for seniors with dementia.

You’ve come to the realization that the family home is just way too much for your mother and father to take care of. A smaller home became available just around the corner from you that’s ideal: a lovely flower garden in the backyard, a bright, cheerful kitchen, and no stairs to navigate. Now it’s time to begin the downsizing process. The only problem? Mom has dementia.

It’s not uncommon for seniors with dementia to struggle with change. Leaving the familiarity of home and moving into a brand new one can increase feelings of agitation and anxiety, but there are strategies to help ease the transition.

  1. Pace yourself. It’s natural to want to rip the band aid off and make the downsizing process as quick as possible for seniors with dementia. However, a better approach in this situation is taking time to discuss the upcoming changes with the older adult, one step at a time. Keep a consistent and calm demeanor, and empower the person to maintain as much control over the required decisions as possible.
  2. Maintain memories. Take pictures and/or videos of some of the items being donated or discarded and use them to create a scrapbook for the older loved one. This helps aging loved ones to revisit the items anytime they would like, and can also be used to spark conversations and reminiscing after the move.
  3. Create a system. Donating and discarding seniors’ possessions are necessary parts of the downsizing process. Again, include the individual in the decision-making process to the greatest extent possible. There will probably be specific items the older adult can’t stand to part with, which can be placed into storage if the new living arrangement can’t accommodate them. If there are items the senior rarely uses or sees, however, it might be easiest to have those removed before involving the person in the process.
  4. Set up the new home yourself. Arrange the senior’s most loved furnishings and items of comfort in the new living environment before bringing them in. Include photographs of friends and family near the bed, so they can see them when they go to bed and first wake up. Then bring the senior loved one in, and help with rearranging anything they’d like adjusted. This process will lessen the anxiety that may occur for someone needing to unpack and figure out the best locations to place items in a brand new environment.

Our Alzheimer’s care team is thoroughly trained, experienced, and highly skilled, and we are available to help through the downsizing process and beyond for seniors with dementia. Reach out to us at (954) 486-6440 or online for more information about our caregiver services in Fort Lauderdale, FL and the nearby areas.