5 Things That Can Worsen Alzheimer’s Symptoms

When a caregiver comes out with an older woman for a walk, she always takes a plastic bottle with water.While there are certain commonalities, Alzheimer’s disease affects each individual differently. Our specially trained dementia caregivers know, for example, that although one individual may enjoy being outside, a different person could possibly be overwhelmed by so much sensory input and prefer a quieter indoor environment. One may enjoy a morning bath routine, while a measure of resourcefulness is necessary to help a different person maintain good hygiene.

We also realize there are specific triggers which can often exacerbate the challenging elements of Alzheimer’s disease. Family members must be especially mindful to prevent the following:

  • Dehydration. Individuals with dementia may not be able to identify when they are thirsty, or may resist when offered fluids. It is imperative to ensure adequate hydration to prevent additional weakness and confusion. Plain water is the best; nevertheless, if rejected, try flavored waters, or try different types of cups or bottles.
  • Isolation. Individuals with dementia suffer from loneliness as much as anyone else, and without having adequate social stimulation, may become increasingly agitated or paranoid. An experienced caregiver, like those at Responsive Home Care, who are thoroughly trained in dementia care, can offer suitable socialization, giving family members a much-needed break from care.
  • Sugar. It’s common for those with Alzheimer’s disease to experience a heightened desire for cookies, cake, and other sugary snacks; however, it could also lead to greater irritability. Try offering a variety of healthier options, like fruit, yogurt, or sugar-free goodies.
  • Sleeping pills. With the challenges of common sleep disorders such as sundowning, it can be tempting for family members to supply sleeping pills to a senior loved one with Alzheimer’s to encourage a more restful night. Yet these drugs raise the risk for falls and other injuries and contribute to fogginess and confusion. Speak with the senior’s physician for a natural sleep-inducing substitute.
  • TV. Be careful of what’s on TV; shows containing crime, violence, and even the nightly news can instill fear and paranoia in individuals with dementia. It may be a good idea to leave the TV off and engage your senior loved one in alternate activities, such as games, puzzles, reading together, exercising, and reminiscing – or choose to view videos you’ve very carefully reviewed to make sure content is suitable.

Each member of our dementia care team is thoroughly trained and experienced in providing person-centered, compassionate care to effectively manage the difficulties inherent with Alzheimer’s, and to boost quality of life. Give us a call at 954-486-6440 for additional dementia care tips, and for an in-home consultation to find out how our specialized home health care Pembroke Pines can make life brighter for your senior loved one.

Finding Meaning and Purpose Later in Life

senior care in Hollywood FL

As we age, life changes, but the need for purpose does not. Learn how to help seniors find new meaning for everyday life.

Think of an ordinary day in the life of a senior loved one. Ideally it provides a number of positive and enriching experiences: savoring breakfast, participating in a satisfying activity or interest, visiting with a good friend or member of the family, watching a favorite TV show. Nonetheless, there’s a distinction between positivity and purpose; and the value of a life rich with significance is now more widely known, particularly in the life of aging parents.

Viktor Frankl, world-renowned psychiatrist and survivor of the Holocaust, explains poignantly, “What matters is not the meaning in life in general, but rather the specific meaning of a person’s life at a given moment.”

For individuals whose identity has been devoted to a profession and raising a family, and who now are in a season of retirement and fulfilled family responsibilities, it can be hard finding meaning and purpose later in life. At Responsive Home Care, we make it a priority to help seniors determine their interests and channel them into meaningful activities, such as:

  • Volunteering. For a senior who loves kids, tutoring, reading to, or mentoring students at an area school is a great option. Other individuals may care greatly about assisting veterans, and assemble care packages of personal care products and snack food items to send overseas. Or for animal lovers, bringing treats, blankets, and an affectionate heart to a pet shelter could be very fulfilling.
  • Learning. It is true: you are never too old to master something new. Go to a nearby community college, library, or senior center to find classes or online programs that might appeal to your senior loved one.
  • Helping at home. Well-meaning family caregivers often take over household chores to free their senior loved ones from the tasks they’ve taken care of during their lifetime. Unfortunately, this can have the negative effect of leaving older adults feeling as though they are no longer useful. Engage the senior in work and responsibilities throughout the home which are typically within his / her expertise and interest, such as assisting with organizing meals, folding laundry, sorting nuts and bolts in a toolbox, etc.
  • Documenting family history. Supplying the next generation with the rich genealogy and family history and stories experienced firsthand is a treasure that only older adults can offer. Help your senior loved one document his / her lifetime legacy in a scrapbook, writing, or video recording, and then share with friends and family.

And, call on Responsive Home Care when it comes to tailored in-home assistance that helps older adults discover satisfaction and purpose, while continuing to be safe and comfortable in the familiarity of home. We’re able to offer transportation to engaging and meaningful activities, help plan and implement ideas to accomplish right in the home, or simply just look after some of the everyday tasks in the residence, including cleaning and cooking, allowing family members to savor high quality time with one another. You can contact us any time at 954-486-6440 to learn more about our elder care in Hollywood, FL and the surrounding areas.

The Two Best Currently Available Alzheimer’s Disease Treatment Options

Senior woman checking label on medication

Learn more about the two most common medications for Alzheimer’s disease treatment.

The most recent Alzheimer’s statistics are sobering. The disease is now the 6th leading cause of death, rising above both breast cancer and prostate cancer combined. And while deaths from other chronic conditions, such as heart disease, are declining, those from Alzheimer’s have increased by more than 100%. The toll the disease takes on family caregivers is equally staggering, with over 16 million Americans providing over 18 billion hours of care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s.

Although we’ve yet to discover a cure, there are two distinct types of Alzheimer’s disease treatment options that can help ease some of the more prevalent symptoms. If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, here are two options the doctor may suggest:

  1. Cholinesterase inhibitors: By blocking the breakdown of acetylcholine, a chemical crucial for memory, attention, learning and muscle activity, these medications can provide some benefit in the mild to moderate stages of Alzheimer’s for some patients. Dr. Zaldy Tan, medical director of the UCLA Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care Program, cautions, however, to keep in mind that results will be moderate at best. “The best case scenario is that the patient’s memory and cognitive function may improve slightly to what it was six months to a year ago – it’s not going to turn back time,” he explains. Included in this class of medications are galantamine (Razadyne), donepezil (Aricept) and rivastigmine (Exelon).
  2. Memantine: In the moderate to severe stages of the disease, the doctor may prescribe memantine (Namenda) which takes a different approach than the cholinesterase inhibitors, preventing the overstimulation of glutamate NMDA receptors which in turn can help restore limited memory functionality. Doctors will often add memantine to a patient’s treatment plan in addition to a cholinesterase inhibitor as the disease progresses.

Determining the effectiveness of these medications requires patience, as both take 4 – 6 weeks before results will be realized. And, it’s important to weigh the benefits against any negative side effects, which can include confusion and constipation in memantine, and nausea, vomiting and a decreased heart rate with cholinesterase inhibitors.

One of the best ways to help those with Alzheimer’s disease live life to the fullest is by engaging the services of a specially trained caregiver who understands and can help manage the varied challenges of dementia. Contact Responsive Home Care online or call our care team at 954-486-6440 to learn more about our professional, compassionate services for seniors and how we provide the kind of dementia care Florida families recommend most.

Responsive Home Health is now Responsive Home Care!

Responsive Home CareIt’s official: As of May 1, 2017, Responsive Home Health has changed its name to Responsive Home Care!

As the national home health care regulations continue to evolve, the distinction between home health and home care has become clearer. The difference lies in physician ordered, skilled medical home health versus the supportive, comprehensive personal home care Responsive provides. Although our ownership and our incredible staff who have been responding with care since 1994 remain the same, our new name better describes the work we do, providing in-home care services such as personal care, light housework and meal preparation, medication reminders, companionship and fall prevention, just to name a few.

Our comprehensive care approach helps older adults remain safe and comfortable at home, reducing re-hospitalizations through a team approach to care—meaning our caregivers, care coordinators and nursing staff all work together to meet the many facets of care for the whole person. We also provide oversight of that care to ensure that families and care providers receive the information needed, changes in health are proactively reported, and no need goes unmet. The result? Seniors who are safe, healthy, active and engaged.

 

How to Test Your Loved One’s Driving Skills Yourself

Elder Care Hollywood FL

Elder Care Hollywood FLMany elderly loved ones reach a point in their life when driving can be quite dangerous for not only them, but the people around them. If you’re worried about your loved one’s driving abilities, it might be a good idea to stage a “ride along” during which you make note of her driving so you can talk to her about it later.

Avoid Announcing that You’re Testing Her Driving Skills

If you can avoid it, don’t let your loved one know that you’re testing her driving ability. Giving her a warning means you won’t get to see her actual driving skills. Instead, you’ll see how she wants to you see her drive. On the other hand, you might make her too nervous to drive at all. So it’s best to just keep what you’re doing to yourself until afterward.

Relax and Observe

During the ride, make sure that you’re paying attention but that you’re not jotting down notes as your loved one does something. Be observant without being obtrusive. If you can, relax a bit. The goal is to allow your loved one to drive the way that she normally would drive.

Avoid Critiquing Unless There Is Immediate Danger

Likewise, you want to avoid making comments about your loved one’s driving. Saying things like, “Did you mean to change lanes without using your blinker?” isn’t very subtle. If there is immediate danger, however, such as your loved one not looking before changing lanes, those are the kinds of things you do want to mention in the moment.

Sit Down with Your Loved One Afterward

Once the drive is over, it’s time to talk to your loved one about what you saw. Open by letting your loved one know that you care about her safety and that you love her. You don’t want to beat your loved one up during this conversation, but let her know if you witnessed habits that have you troubled. On the other hand, if your loved one’s driving skills were better than you expected, let her know that you saw some good things, too.

If the test doesn’t go so well, it’s a good idea to start lining up people who can help with transportation for your loved one. Other family members and elder care providers are excellent first choices.

If you or an aging loved one are considering Elder Care Services in Hollywood FL to provide companionship, compassion and motivation, please contact the caring staff at Responsive Home Care. Call today 954-486-6440.

THE PASSION FOR CARING FOR SENIORS EXTENDS TO PETS AS WELL!

Senior Care Fort Lauderdale FL

Senior Care Fort Lauderdale FL

Misty with her husband Keelan, and their senior dog Daisy Mae

For staff members of Responsive Home Care, caring for seniors in our community isn’t just a career, it’s our passion. For some of us, that extends into the animal kingdom as well.

Our HR Manager Misty began with Responsive in January, but her entrance into the world of home health started many years earlier when her grandmother needed care. She describes it as the most challenging and the most rewarding time of her life – working a full-time job in HR and caring for her grandmother every evening and weekend. And years after her grandmother passed, she is still tending to the elderly – this time at home, and with senior rescue animals.

Pictured here is Misty with her husband Keelan, and their newly adopted senior dog Daisy Mae. Twelve year old Daisy was abandoned when her previous owners moved away! She survived in the backyard of the also-abandoned home, and was kept alive by a kind neighbor throwing scraps of food to her over a shared fence. A local rescue group, Good Karma Pet Rescue, stepped in and rescued Daisy and got her on the road to recovery and adoption. Daisy isn’t the couple’s first senior rescue; she joins Gheeg the cat who was adopted three years ago at age 16, and two other rescue kitties.

Good Karma and other local pet rescues are overflowing with loving animals of all ages; please consider adopting a new furry family member today! There are also local rescue groups that specialize in specific breeds of dogs and cats – search for specific breeds of pets on sites like http://www.adoptapet.com/ or https://www.petfinder.com/. Safe a life and adopt a rescue animal today!

If you or an aging loved one are considering Senior Care Services in Fort Lauderdale FL to provide companionship, compassion and motivation, please contact the caring staff at Responsive Home Care. Call today 954-486-6440.

GREAT ADVICE FOR EVERY FAMILY CAREGIVER

Caring for a loved one as he or she ages can be a very rewarding experience, but it isn’t without challenges. Millions of Americans have taken on the role of caregiver for an elderly parent in recent years, and while your relationship with your parent may have always been great, constant caregiving and feeling like there’s a role reversal between child and parent can be extremely stressful. It is important for all caregivers to learn how to manage their emotions for their health and the health of their loved ones.

In the article Taking Care of an Elderly Parent―and Not Loving It? How to Turn Resentment Into Patience and Joy, psychologist Dr. Suzanne Gelb encourages caregivers to do three key things in order to manage stress and find peace in their caregiver role:

1. Release your feelings in a positive way, even if you just need to scream into a pillow.
2. Find and talk to someone else who understands your experience. Seek out caregiver support groups in your area or online.
3. Recognize that there are things you cannot control and let those things go.

Read more of Dr. Gelb’s advice for caregivers in this article from the Huffington Post.

Home care Fort Lauderdale provider, Responsive Home Care, can help you with the caregiving of your senior loved one. Contact us to learn more.

SURPRISING WAYS PETS HELP SENIORS’ HEALTH

Everyone knows a pet can help ease loneliness for an older adult, especially if he or she is living alone or has recently suffered the loss of a loved one.  But did you know that a study by the American Geriatrics Society has shown pets can help lower senior’s blood pressure and score higher in their ability to carry out normal activities of daily living?

Responsive Home Care, the in home senior care Fort Lauderdale families trust, knows how important our clients’ pets are to maintaining their health and well-being. Our agency provides Pet Care exclusively for our clients when they need that extra assistance. The unconditional love of a clients’ pet can help them achieve a healthy and a happy heart!

Read more about how pets improve quality of life for senior citizens.

Many shelters offer discounts for seniors who want to adopt a senior pet. Be sure to ask at your local shelter.

For more information about our top-rated in home senior care in Fort Lauderdale and the surrounding area, contact us today!