Problems with Memory: Could It Be Dementia?

Problems with memory could indicate dementia, or could simply be a normal part of aging.

You entirely forgot about the doctor’s appointment scheduled for last Monday, misplaced your glasses for the umpteenth time, and can’t remember the name of the new neighbor for the life of you. Are these problems with memory just a regular part of getting older, or could they signify the beginning of Alzheimer’s disease or another type of dementia?

The fear of developing Alzheimer’s is common; and growing, as dementia has garnered increasing awareness, resulting in anxieties about our own potential loss of independence and functionality, in addition to memory difficulties. Furthermore, it brings up questions regarding future care and living arrangements, if the time should come that support is necessary to remain safe and to tend to daily needs.

Yet it is important to understand that there are a number of reasons for forgetfulness which happen to be totally unrelated to dementia, and some level of problems with memory are simply part and parcel of aging. Recently available statistics show that only 5% of older adults ages 71 – 79 actually have dementia, though that number increases to 37% for people aged 90 and over.

The initial step is to speak with your primary care doctor about any cognitive impairment you’re experiencing, so you can receive a precise diagnosis and treatment. Before your appointment, pay attention to details such as:

  • When the impairment began
  • Whether it was a gradual or sudden decline
  • If it is impacting day to day life: eating, getting dressed, taking care of personal hygiene needs, etc.

The physician will want to rule out issues that can mimic dementia – such as depression and delirium – as well as determine whether the issue might originate from medication side effects. Dementia progresses slowly, and in addition to memory deficits, can impact the ability to:

  • Communicate
  • Reason, judge, and problem-solve
  • Focus and pay attention

For anyone diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, or any other condition that affects the capacity to manage day to day life independently, Responsive Home Care, the leaders in home health care services in Fort Lauderdale, FL and surrounding areas, is always here to provide as much or as little assistance as necessary by well trained and experienced care professionals. A few of the many ways we can help seniors with dementia or other challenges remain safe, comfortable, and independent at home include:

  • Assistance with personal care needs, like showering and dressing
  • Running errands
  • Planning and preparing meals
  • Household chores
  • Engaging activities and socialization
  • And a lot more

Call us at 954-486-6440 for a complimentary in-home consultation to learn more about how our home care services can help.

What to Do When A Senior with Dementia Refuses to Change Clothes

Adult Daughter Helping Senior Man To Button Cardigan

Learn gentle dementia care tips for difficult situations.

Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia requires creativity, patience, and empathy, the ability to step outside of your individual reasoning and logic and understand why a certain behavior is occurring, and then to know the best way to successfully manage it. That is certainly the case when an older adult with dementia refuses to change clothes, in spite of how unkempt or dirty an outfit has become.

There are lots of reasons why an individual with Alzheimer’s disease may insist on wearing exactly the same outfit, including:

  • Judgment or memory problems, for example, losing track of time or thinking the clothes were recently changed
  • The comfort and familiarity of a particular piece of clothing
  • A desire to maintain control
  • Difficulty with the task of changing clothes
  • Feeling stressed by the choices related to selecting an outfit
  • Physical pain and/or fatigue
  • The inability to detect scent or even to clearly see stains on clothes

Our Alzheimer’s care team has some strategies to assist:

  • Most importantly, never argue or attempt to reason with someone with dementia.
  • Purchase extra outfits that are identical to the one your loved one insists on wearing.
  • When the senior loved one is bathing or asleep, take away the dirty clothing from the room and replace with clean items.
  • Make getting dressed as easy as possible, with just a couple of choices which are simple to put on and take off, and allowing as much time as needed for dressing.
  • Offer clothing options in solid colors in lieu of patterns that could be confusing, distracting, or visually overstimulating.
  • Take into consideration any timing issues: Is the senior loved one extremely tired and/or agitated at a particular time of day? If so, try incorporating dressing into the time of day when he or she typically feels the most content and calm.
  • Establish if your own feelings are exacerbating the matter in the slightest. For instance, is it a question of embarrassment that is driving the demand for your senior loved one to dress in a certain way?

Keep in mind that wearing a comfy outfit for an added day may be preferred as opposed to the emotional battle involved with forcing a change of clothing. When it truly becomes an issue however, give us a call! Sometimes, a loved one feels more at ease being assisted with personal care needs such as dressing and bathing by a skilled in-home caregiver rather than a family member. Responsive Home Care’s experts are experienced and skilled in helping those with Alzheimer’s disease maintain personal hygiene with kindness and compassion, and they are always available to help.

Give us a call at 954-486-6440 for additional helpful tips or to arrange an in-home consultation for senior home care in Pembroke Pines and all of the surrounding areas.

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.

The Different Types of Dementia: Is It Alzheimer’s or Something Else?

different types of dementia - ft lauderdale caregivers

Different types of dementia share similar symptoms, but need different treatment.

A senior who exhibits loss of memory, confusion, poor judgment, repetition, and problems with performing daily activities has the distinguishing signs of Alzheimer’s disease, right? Actually, what appears to be a clear case of Alzheimer’s may really be one of several different types of dementia – in particular, one that has just recently been identified. 

Known as LATE, or limbic-predominant age-related TDP-43 encephalopathy, this diagnosis has nearly identical symptoms, but the underlying cause is another story. Instead of the buildup of amyloid plaques and tangles inherent in Alzheimer’s, LATE is diagnosed by deposits of TDP-43 protein, as reported by Dr. Julie Schneider, associate director for the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center. 

And TDP-43 protein troubles happen to be quite common in elderly people, with as many as one in four people over age 85 affected enough to cause noticeable cognitive and/or memory issues. Yet it remains an under-diagnosed condition, which could result in misdiagnoses, and therefore, inappropriate treatment. 

The newest guidelines call for people who have been determined to have LATE to be pulled from Alzheimer’s medication research, concentrating research alternatively on establishing biomarkers to better recognize LATE, to find therapeutic intervention methods, and to expand testing to include a wider variety of diverse populations, in order to improve both prevention and treatment. 

Becoming familiar with the different types of dementia is vital to proper treatment, and according to Dr. James Pickett, head of research at the Alzheimer’s Society, “This evidence may also go some way to help us understand why some recent clinical trials testing for Alzheimer’s disease have failed – participants may have had slightly different brain diseases.”  

Key aspects of LATE include: 

  • Mainly affecting seniors over age 80 
  • A much slower advancement than Alzheimer’s
  • Usually only affects memory
  • Could be accompanied by Alzheimer’s disease, which leads to a far more rapid decline 

Whether Alzheimer’s disease, LATE, or some other type of dementia, Responsive Home Careproviding home and dementia care Hollywood, FL families trust, offers the fully customized, skilled and creative caregiving that helps seniors live the best possible quality of life where it’s most comfortable: at home. Our care aides are fully trained and experienced in assisting individuals diagnosed with dementia, along with helping family caregivers to more fully manage the varying difficulties experienced in each stage.  

Contact us any time at 954-486-6440 to inquire about more dementia care resources, discover answers to your questions, or to schedule an in-home consultation to find how we can assist someone you love with dementia care in Hollywood, FL and the surrounding areas. Visit our Service Area page to view the locations that we serve. 

Coping with Incontinence and Dementia

senior woman drinking orange juice

ntinence and dementia often go hand-in-hand. Learn how to best handle care for incontinence with the senior you love.

Dementia care calls for both compassion and creativity to manage a range of complicated behaviors and effects, and that’s particularly true in relation to incontinence, something that is incredibly common in Alzheimer’s along with other types of dementia. These tried-and-true techniques are usually effective in minimizing the effect of incontinence and curtailing an escalation of emotions in someone you love with dementia.

  1. Choose your words very carefully. As opposed to talking about incontinence products as “diapers,” for example, call them “briefs” or “pull-up underwear.” Nevertheless, take the cue from your senior loved one; if she or he prefers to utilize the term “diapers” and appears confident with that, then follow along.
  2. Clean out regular underwear from the senior’s dresser. To avoid confusion or opposition to wearing incontinence products, be sure those are the sole option in his or her wardrobe.
  3. Test various products. With different brands, sizes, and absorbency levels on the market, it might take some trial and error to discover one that’s most comfortable and effective.
  4. Use backup products overnight. To help prevent the older adult from waking up throughout the night from incontinence-related issues, try inserting booster pads inside the absorbent underwear, and use products marked for heaviest coverage. Waterproof mattress protectors and disposable bed pads are usually also extremely helpful.
  5. Ensure quick access into the bathroom. Perform a walk-through of the areas the older adult spends time in to estimate how easy it really is for him or her to reach the bathroom. Specifically, remove any clutter, cords, or throw rugs in the senior’s walking path to protect against falls.
  6. If an accident does occur… Maintain a calm demeanor so as not to offend (or further upset) the older adult, and say something like, “It would appear that something may have spilled on your pants; let’s get you some clean clothes,” or “It seems like your pants are wet; that happens every now and then.”
  7. Address unwillingness to keep products on. For older adults who regularly make an effort to remove incontinence products, first see if you’re able to uncover the particular reason why. If uncomfortableness is an issue, try several types of products for one that will be more comfortable. Or your senior loved one may be attempting to change if there’s a feeling of wetness.

In all instances, watch the older adult’s skin for warning signs of rash or irritation, and contact his or her medical professional if noted.

For more incontinence care tips, or to find out about Responsive Home Care’s dependable, professional care for assisting with incontinence and dementia, reach out to us at 954-486-6440 for senior care services in Fort Lauderdale, FL and the surrounding area.

Try These Creative – and Effective – Dementia Communication Techniques

Senior woman spending quality time with her daughter

Nonverbal dementia communication techniques are often the most effective.

Communicating with a senior loved one struggling with the difficulties of Alzheimer’s, especially in the middle and later stages, is often discouraging – both for you personally as well as for the senior loved one. Brain changes impact the capacity to hear, process, and respond appropriately to conversations, and it is up to us to implement innovative dementia communication techniques to better connect with a senior loved one with dementia.

The good news is, it is quite a bit easier than it may seem. We already communicate nonverbally in lots of ways:

  • Touch
  • Posture and body movement
  • Eye contact
  • Facial expressions
  • Gestures
  • Personal space

Try out these dementia communication techniques to integrate increased nonverbal communication in your interactions with a loved one:

  • Offer support through caring touch. If a senior loved one is comfortable with touch, hold and pat the senior’s hand, massage the senior’s back, place an arm around his or her shoulders, and give warm hugs.
  • Look the senior in the eye. Eye contact shows interest in the individual, even when no words are said aloud.
  • Honor personal boundaries. Refrain from overwhelming your loved one by permitting sufficient personal space, and making sure you’re at the same level as the individual, never towering over her or him. Your face should be at eye level with the older adult.
  • Maintain a calm, patient, and positive demeanor. Suppress any anger, annoyance or impatience, and focus on sustaining a relaxed and pleasant expression on your face when with a loved one with dementia. If this is impossible because of challenging behaviors, step away momentarily and practice deep breathing or other relaxation techniques. For example:
    • Square breathing: Use a finger to trace the shape of a square in front of you. When drawing the first side, breathe in deeply for a count of three; for the following side, hold your breath for one second; for the third side, breathe out for a count of three; and for the fourth side, hold your breath for one second. Repeat as necessary.
    • Calming phrase repetition: A couple examples to help you get started: This will pass, and things are ok. I’m able to manage this. I am secure and well.
    • Distracted thinking: Practice concentrated refocusing. Try saying the alphabet backwards, stating as many state capitals as possible, or singing the words to a well-liked song.

Find more creative dementia communication strategies by contacting Responsive Home Care, the top rated providers of home health services in Pembroke, FL and the surrounding area. Our care providers are specially trained in the most up-to-date Alzheimer’s care techniques, and we are always available to help a loved one with dementia to remain safe and calm, and to enjoy life to his/her fullest possible potential. Reach out to us at 954-486-6440 any time for assistance.

This Latest Alzheimer’s Treatment May Help Combat Memory Loss

Artificial intelligence, machine learning concept with glowing brain neurons.

Learn about the latest dementia treatment and how it’s helping with memory loss.

Memory loss and Alzheimer’s go hand in hand, and until now, researchers have been stumped in determining how to prevent, or remove, those beta-amyloid and tau proteins at the heart of the problem. Yet recent research has shown incredible results in significantly reducing memory loss in those with dementia, through a cap-like device that transmits electromagnetic waves.

Shown effective in mouse experiments, trials proceeded to human participants, who wore the device twice daily for an hour over a period of two months. To confirm results, the participants were tested using the Alzheimer’s Disease Assessment Scale-Cognitive Subscale (ADAS-cog), and incredibly, a full four-point score increase was achieved at the end of the trial. In laymen’s terms, this equates to regaining a full year of cognitive functioning that had been lost.

Dr. Gary Arendash, CEO of NeuroEM Therapeutics, the company responsible for the study, added, “We were particularly surprised that this highly significant improvement in the ADAS-cog was maintained even two weeks after treatment was completed. The most likely explanation for continued benefit after cessation of treatment is that the Alzheimer’s disease process itself was being effected.”

Blood work, cerebrospinal fluid assessment, and MRI scans confirmed a disaggregation of beta-amyloid plaques and tau tangles, as well as improved communication between brain cells in the area key to cognitive function.

And perhaps most encouraging: all of the participants wanted to continue utilizing the head devices after the study was completed. The next step will be to engage in a larger clinical trial, to include the original participants and others, lasting 17 months. The goal is to make the device available to the public by 2021.

Stay tuned! Responsive Home Care, the Sunrise elderly care experts, remains on top of this and other trends in the quest to effectively treat, and eventually cure, Alzheimer’s disease. In the meantime, we will continue to provide highly customized, creative, compassionate dementia care for seniors at home throughout Broward County, Florida. Contact us at 954-486-6440 for a free in-home consultation to discover more about how we’re helping improve life for those with dementia.

New Research Finds Certain Common Medications Increase Dementia Risk

Research has connected certain medications commonly prescribed to an increase in dementia risk.

They’re currently understood to cause various short-term side effects, such as memory issues and confusion, but new research connects a number of the stronger anticholinergic drugs (such as those prescribed for Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, depression, and overactive bladder) to a markedly higher risk for dementia.

The study included two groups of seniors: 59,000 patients with dementia, and 225,000 without. About 57% of those with dementia, and 51% without, were provided at least one (and up to six) potent anticholinergic medications. Looking at other known dementia risk factors, the outcomes were an unexpected 50% greater chance of dementia in people who were taking strong anticholinergics daily for three or more years, with the greatest risk to men and women who received a dementia diagnosis before age 80.

It is worthwhile to note that there was no correlation observed between dementia and other kinds of anticholinergics (for example, antihistamines like Benadryl and GI medications).

While these findings do not prove anticholinergics as a cause for dementia, at the very least, “This study provides further evidence that doctors should be careful when prescribing certain drugs that have anticholinergic properties,” said Tom Dening, study co-author and head of Nottingham’s Center for Dementia. Dening also stressed that people currently prescribed these medications should not cease taking them suddenly, which can cause a great deal more harm.

The suggestion is for any person worried about this possible link to consult with his / her doctors to consider the advantages against any potential risks, and to investigate alternative means of treatment when possible. As an example, individuals taking medications for assistance with sleeping – something that has grown to be more and more common in older adults – can contemplate behavioral changes and a more therapeutic plan over insomnia medications.

And no matter what the medications a senior loved one takes, proper medication management is key – something that’s easier said than done with many seniors taking multiple medications in a variety of doses at differing times during the day. Responsive Home Care’s medication reminder services are perfect to be sure that older adults take the correct medications at the proper time – each and every time.

Our specially trained and experienced dementia care team is also readily available to provide unique, compassionate, effective care strategies to help minimize the challenging components of the disease, bringing about an increased quality of life for seniors and their loved ones.  Responsive Home Care, provider of in home senior care Fort Lauderdale families trust, is here to help!  Call us at 954-486-6440 at any time to learn more.

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

home health care Pembroke Pines

It surprises some to learn that paranoia in the elderly is a common issue. Learn more about how to respond to an aging parent that may be acting irrational.

“Listen to me, there’s a dog inside my closet! I hear it growling all night long. We need to find its owner!”

Hearing a senior loved one voice worries that you know to be false is unsettling – but not abnormal. The initial impulse may be to try to rationalize with the individual with a response such as, “Nonsense! There’s absolutely no way a dog could have gotten into your closet!” Yet for various reasons, this is often the least successful solution to take care of paranoia in the elderly.

Instead, at Responsive Home Care, we encourage the following approaches in order to help restore a sense of calm and well-being:

  1. First and foremost, arrange an appointment with the senior’s physician. It is vital that you discover any cognitive problems in order to be certain he or she receives appropriate treatment if needed. There also could be prescription side effects at play.
  2. Find out the thinking associated with the irrationality, and then determine how to remedy the situation. For example, perhaps the heating and cooling vent near the closet is starting to become loose, or an air vent is blowing onto a row of hangers and leading to an unusual sound.
  3. In lieu of trying to correct the senior loved one, respond lovingly with assurance and empathy. Concentrate on accepting the feelings being conveyed, as well as on having the person know that you will be there to help. Accompanying the senior into another area and providing interesting distractions, such as listening to music, baking, gardening, or browsing through photos together, can help restore calm.
  4. One of the smartest ways to overcome any obstacle is as simple as finding out what has assisted others in the same situation. Think about joining an in-person or online community of family caregivers, allowing for the exchange of helpful knowledge and information. A number of choices are available, such as AgingCare.com’s caregiver discussion forum.
  5. Seek the support of a professional home care provider, such as Responsive Home Care providing home health care in Pembroke Pines and the surrounding area. Our caregivers are skilled at assisting the elderly to remain active and involved, and in helping to ease challenging and difficult behaviors. Partnering with an established and reliable caregiver also will provide you with much-needed respite to take a break from caregiving duties while being confident your loved one is receiving top quality care.

For more advice on helping your senior loved one through obstacles with growing older, dementia or chronic illness, reach out to the specialists in home health care in Pembroke Pines and the surrounding area at Responsive Home Care. We are always readily available to answer any questions, share resources specific to the challenges you are encountering, and to provide a free in-home consultation and development of a customized care plan to improve wellbeing for a senior loved one. Contact us any time at 954-486-6440.

Important Updates from the 2019 Alzheimer’s Association Facts and Figures Report

Closeup of various reminders attached with magnetic thumbtacks on metal

The report is in: Learn new Alzheimer’s facts and figures here.

2019 Facts and Figures Report, and with a staggering 5.8 million Americans presently diagnosed with the disease – including one out of every ten older adults – it is essential for all of us to be familiar with the latest innovations in research and treatment plans.

Read more

The Importance of Partnering with Professionals for Dementia Care

Shot of a daughter visiting her senior mother in hospital

Learn how partnering with Fort Lauderdale elderly care experts, Responsive Home Care can help you with dementia care for a loved one.

While an incredible number of older adults are struggling with the challenges of Alzheimer’s disease, an even greater number of family members are trying to cope with caring for them. Incredibly, nearly 75% of family caretakers are managing their senior loved ones’ dementia care needs on their own, with only 26% seeking professional care assistance. Read more

Top Tips for Supporting Someone With Dementia

Senior women at home.

If you’re supporting someone with dementia and feel like you’re in uncharted territory, use these guidelines from our Sunrise elderly care experts.

At times, the greatest lessons in life come from going through them firsthand; yet the information we can discover from those who’ve traveled a similar course before us is priceless. If you are providing care for a loved one with dementia and beginning to feel a bit bogged down in this uncharted territory, the guidelines below might help: Read more