Discussing a COPD Diagnosis: How to Communicate Well with Those You Love

happy-senior-man-holding-oxygen-mask-with-copdIt began with those in your inner circle, and it has gradually been spreading outward to friends and acquaintances. Discussing a COPD diagnosis and knowing how to reply to the various questions that arise about it could be uncomfortable – for you personally, and for those you are speaking with as well.

Surprisingly, you could find that the largest challenges come in speaking with your primary caregiving partner – the individual who is closest to you. The caregiver/care receiver relationship can bring up a number of emotions. The individual on the receiving end of care may feel self-conscious and insecure as a result of needing assistance, which may result in feelings of anger and frustration, just to name a few. The care provider may feel incapable of meeting each of the required needs, regretful for mistakes made, and downright fatigued from trying to handle someone else’s care needs with their own.

There are several key techniques to improve communication with your caregiving partner:

  • Make sure you are both completely knowledgeable about COPD, the corresponding symptoms and treatment plans, as well as its typical progression. The doctor can offer educational materials for both of you to better understand what you are facing.
  • Don’t beat around the bush. Honestly and clearly express your emotions and needs.
  • Listen to your partner – and let them know they’re being heard. Maintain eye contact, nod or use other nonverbal indicators to demonstrate you’re listening.
  • Be assertive without being controlling. Your emotions are valid and deserve to be shared in a constructive way without lashing out at the other person.
  • Avoid argumentative phrases and words, such as, “You always…” or “You never…”. The individual is probably going to become defensive, intensifying hurt feelings.
  • Remind yourself that no one is a mind-reader. If you are assuming your caregiving partner knows what you’re thinking or how you’re feeling simply by your actions, it opens the door to misunderstandings.
  • Maintain empathy and respect for each other. You both are facing new and evolving challenges, and will both make mistakes. A little grace will go a long way.

It’s also a wise idea to call a time-out if emotions start to intensify. Take a break from one another and concentrate on calming activities, such as reading, listening to music, exercising, or writing in a journal. When you both feel calmer, try the conversation again.

At Responsive Home Care, we understand the frustrations that can arise when managing a chronic health condition like COPD, and we’re available to help. Our friendly caregivers make ideal companions to talk with and to spend time with, engaging in enjoyable activities together. We work with family caregivers to make sure they have time required for self-care, while enhancing the lives of the seniors for whom they care. Contact us any time to find out more about our home care in Plantation and throughout the area.

Does Having a Sense of Purpose Help Us Live Longer?

What motivates you to get up out of bed every morning? The answer is different for every single one of us, of course, but there is one commonality: it could allow you to live longer. Scientific studies are answering the question, “Does having a sense of purpose help us to live longer?” with a resounding “Yes!” as evidenced in Japan, the country with the highest life expectancy on earth.

Interestingly, there’s no word for our definition of “retirement” in the Japanese language. Instead, there is a focus on maintaining purpose and meaning beyond a person’s working years and defining themselves according to their current pastimes and passions.

So just how can we help older adults – and ourselves – stay involved with what ignites interest and makes a difference in the world around us? Below are a few inspiring ideas to get you started:

Cultivate a sense of compassion for others. There’s no shortage of suffering in this world, and there is something that all of us can do in some way to help lessen the struggles of somebody else. Have a conversation with the older adults in your life about who or what touches their hearts the most – homelessness, mental health, single parents, stray animals, veterans, etc. Direct that compassion into action by brainstorming ways to make a direct impact.

Prioritize family. With so many families living far away from each other, and even further separated recently as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic, make a plan to close the gaps and bring family members closer together. Plan a backyard holiday gathering or family reunion. Commit to a video chat or phone call with a different member of the family weekly to reconnect and get caught up on their lives. Work on documenting your life story, and that of past generations, to share with children and grandchildren.

Redefine retirement. For a senior loved one who is already retired from one career, consider another. Is there an unrealized dream that could be explored, such as earning a degree in a different field of interest? Look into volunteer or part-time job opportunities that offer the opportunity to learn something new while serving others.

Take time to play. Meaning and purpose are found in lighthearted endeavors too! Sports, hobbies, art, music, travel, exploring nature, reading, and many other engaging and fun activities provide possibilities for self-expression and a more enjoyable life. Betye Saar, a 93-year-old artist, explains, “… the creative part of me is forever young.”

Responsive Home Care’s caregiving team is full of innovative ideas to help older adults continue to take pleasure in a life of purpose and meaning. Contact us any time online or call us at 954-486-6440 for additional tips and to find out more about our personalized senior home care in Pembroke Pines and the neighboring communities.

How to Help Your Loved One When Alzheimer’s Affects Sleep

If it feels like a senior with Alzheimer’s has completely rewritten the rules on when and how to sleep, you are not dreaming—Alzheimer’s affects sleep. For reasons that are not yet fully understood, a number of people with dementia experience changes to their circadian rhythm, leading to sleepless nights and drowsy days.

The progression of the disease is one contributing factor. Damage to brain cells causes increased weakness, making everyday activities and tasks exhausting. Medication side effects from commonly-prescribed dementia treatments can further exacerbate the issue.

Why a Good Night’s Sleep Is Crucial for a Senior with Dementia

Decreased sleep quality in dementia may lead to an increase in restlessness and delusions and can result in serious safety concerns, including the potential for a senior to wander away and become injured or lost. Not just that, but a senior loved one who is sleepy during the day will also be less likely to engage in healthy activities, such as spending time outdoors and exercising.

And, for a busy family caregiver who also needs rest, it is typically quite a challenge to meet all of the person’s care needs during the day and throughout the night as well.

Ways to Help

Try these strategies for a senior whose sleep patterns are disrupted:

  • Talk to the physician, first of all, for a review of medications. Changing the dosage timing every day may be all it will require to make a difference.
  • Maintain a routine like going to bed and waking up at the same time each day. Limit caffeine, naps, and heavy meals later in the day.
  • Incorporate bedtime activities that are soothing, for example, a warm bath, reading, turning off the television, and playing quiet, calming music.
  • If wandering is a concern, a wireless bed exit pad can notify you as soon as the senior gets up so that you can assist.
  • Try placing a clock that distinguishes between nighttime and daytime near the senior’s bed.

You may want to encourage a senior to try sleeping on their side rather than the back or stomach as well. Recent reports revealed a possible link between side sleeping and much more effective clearing of brain waste, such as excess beta-amyloid. Note that this study was conducted on laboratory animals, and it’s unclear yet whether the results carry over to humans.

Responsive Home Care is available to help as well, with overnight caregivers who are awake and alert, looking after the older adult’s needs throughout the night, so you can get the rest you need. Our care team members are fully trained and experienced in creative, patient approaches to meeting the unique care needs of those with Alzheimer’s disease. Give us a call at 954-486-6440 to learn more about our specialized Fort Lauderdale elderly care offered throughout the greater metropolitan area.

Why Strength Training for Seniors Is Imperative Post-Pandemic

strength training for handicapped seniorAs we’re finally easing our way out of this pandemic, we’re finding more about how it has harmed senior loved ones – both physically and emotionally. We know older adults have been at a higher threat of serious issues and death due to the COVID-19 virus, although the impact of 15 months of social isolation and physical distancing is similarly distressing.

Dr. Jonathan Bean of the New England Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center at the Veterans Affairs Boston Healthcare System has noticed a “significant decline in functioning” in both his elderly patients and his own mother. Whereas she had been able to walk with the assistance of a walker, be involved in conversations, and participate in other activities of day-to-day life independently pre-pandemic, her self-care and cognitive abilities have diminished dramatically.

Physical therapy Linda Teodosio confirms, explaining, “Immobility and debility are outcomes to this horrific pandemic that people aren’t even talking about yet.” She is noticing a considerable uptick in both falls and chronic disease exacerbation – likely based on poor lifestyle choices due to the pandemic, such as unhealthy food intake and reduced exercise.

As a result, increasingly more older adults require physical therapy as well as other rehabilitative services. Some health plans are addressing the issue by following up with seniors to confirm their wellbeing and also to help connect them to the services they require to restore their strength. Surprisingly, as much as 20% of an older adult’s muscle mass may be lost by just not walking for up to five days, according to physical therapist Sabaa Mundia.

Before leaping into a new exercise routine, however, it’s essential that seniors first schedule an appointment with the physician for a complete exam and recommendations on safe, ability-appropriate exercise. Then make a plan to help the seniors in your life to follow a healthier lifestyle that includes a good amount of exercise.

Let Responsive Home Care help the seniors in your life stay as physically active and engaged as possible to remain strong post-pandemic. Our home caregivers are always on hand to supply the motivation and encouragement to help seniors make physical activity a routine part of every day. We are able to also provide accompaniment to exercise classes, the fitness center, the pool – wherever and whenever a senior wishes to go. Sometimes, just adding in a regular walk with one of our friendly caregivers can make a world of difference in how older adults feel!

Contact us for a free in-home consultation to learn more about how we can help.

Learn Why the Progression of Dementia May Vary for Latinos

progression of dementia in senior hugging caregiverA new study sponsored by the Alzheimer’s Association is uncovering some striking findings in how dementia may present differently in Hispanic people. While additional exploration is required to fully understand whether these differences are the result of social/cultural nuances or perhaps the dementia itself, it’s worthwhile information for Latino families to know.

Daily Activities

One feature of the study was the considerably faster decline in the capability to execute everyday activities, like walking, getting dressed, and taking a shower, when compared with other ethnicities. Andrea Ochoa Lopez, the University of Houston doctoral student who conducted the research, clarified that the cultural dedication to looking after older loved ones may be a contributing factor.

“Some families want to start doing everything for their older members to try and remove some of the burdens and make their lives easier,” she mentioned. “But there is research showing that when cognition is declining, older people actually do better when they stay active. And there is also still stigma. They may not want their elder family member to be seen as ill or mentally unstable.”

Depression and Anxiety

While we realize anxiety and depression are risk factors for dementia, a separate research study of 5,000 people showed a significantly higher percentage of Hispanic individuals reporting these issues: more than 25%, as compared to approximately 16% and 11% in black and non-Hispanic white participants, respectively. Centering on the mental health of people with dementia is vital. Clinical psychologist Michael Cuccaro points out, “We have lots of great evidence that medications and talk therapy help, but minorities have the lowest rate of getting this help.”

Although more thorough scientific studies are necessary to better comprehend these ethnic differences in dementia, finding minorities to be involved in research is still challenging. Latinos currently comprise fewer than 8% of present dementia scientific studies – regardless of the fact the prevalence of dementia in Latinos is as much as 50% more than it is in non-Hispanic whites.

Families interested in current Latino dementia research opportunities can visit the Alzheimer’s Association’s TrialMatch website to learn more.

At Responsive Home Care, our professional caregivers are fully trained and experienced in helping seniors with whatever their particular challenges are, making life the very best it can be. We accomplish this by consulting with each senior in his or her home before the start of services, enabling us to create a customized care plan. We then carefully monitor the care plan over time to make certain that needs are always completely met, both now and as needs change as time passes.

If the need is for only a little assistance with housework and meals, transportation and companionship, or if some more specialized dementia care is needed, Responsive Home Care, the experts in home health care in Pembroke Pines, FL and nearby areas, provides the ideal solution. Contact us to set up your free in-home consultation to learn more.

Searching for an Alzheimer’s Cure: The Link Between Cold Water and Dementia

Alzheimer's cure - link between cold water and dementia

There may be a link between cold water and fighting dementia, according to experts.

In this striking new development towards an Alzheimer’s cure, a “cold-shock” protein, which is found in swimmers’ blood, is showing promising results in slowing and even reversing the progression of dementia in mice – leading researchers to further explore this link between cold water and dementia.

Related to the hibernation capacity in all mammals when exposed to cold weather, the research ties in to knowledge we already possess about how cooling body temperature can sometimes protect the brain. For example, those who experience a head injury are often cooled during surgical procedures.

And while it’s not yet fully understood, researchers know that even though some brain connections are lost during hibernation, they’re fully restored upon the mammals’ awakening in the spring. For those with Alzheimer’s disease, the lost connections lead to confusion, loss of memory, behavioral challenges and mood swings, and more – and to date, once lost, cannot be restored.

In the study, both healthy mice and those with Alzheimer’s were cooled to a level of hypothermia. Rewarming the healthy mice showed a restoration of synapses that the Alzheimer’s mice did not experience – thought to be due to the “cold-shock” protein RBM3 that was evident in only the healthy mice. As a result, researchers surmise that RBM3 may be the key to regaining functionality of brain connections.

At the time of the study, RBM3 had not yet been detected in humans, leading researchers to seek out volunteer winter swimmers, who were already becoming hypothermic on a regular basis and could help researchers determine whether the cold prompted the production of RBM3. The result: a significant portion of the volunteers were found to have high levels of RBM3 in their blood.

There are inherent dangers in exposure to the cold, however. It raises heart rate and blood pressure, slows responses, and increases breathing rate, and is too risky for researchers to recommend for seniors with dementia. The goal is to develop a drug to stimulate RBM3 production in humans and to determine its impact on dementia, in particular, to delay or prevent the disease.

“If you slowed the progress of dementia by even a couple of years on a whole population, that would have an enormous impact economically and health-wise,” explains Professor Giovanna Mallucci, head of the UK Dementia Research Institute’s Centre at the University of Cambridge.

We look forward to learning more about this link between cold water and dementia, and other promising research to help diminish the effects of dementia or possibly lead to an Alzheimer’s cure. Always here to match you with a caregiver in Fort Lauderdale, Florida or the surrounding areas, we at Responsive Home Care are premier providers of highly skilled and creative dementia care. Call us at (954) 486-6440 to learn more.

Safely Celebrating The Holidays During a Pandemic

holidays for older adults during the pandemic

Discover how to make holidays for older adults the best they can be during COVID-19.

Imagine the most perfect holiday season ever. What would it look like? While that image will vary a bit for each of us, it might include gifts, lights, good food, and traditions passed down through the generations. However, what absolutely rings true for all of us is the joy in spending time with the ones we love – and in particular for all of us at Responsive Home Care, safely celebrating the holidays with the seniors we love.

Sadly, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused all of us to reconsider how to safely experience the holidays with our older loved ones. With a bit of creativity and ingenuity, however, it’s feasible to bridge the gap while making new memories with the older adults you love, even if you are not able to be with them in person this season.

Our aging care professionals have gathered several ideas to help you get started:

  • Adjust traditions. Consider the traditions that mean the most to you and your family, and how you can modify them to help keep everyone safe. For example, if the family usually gets together each year to bake cookies, you can utilize Zoom or a similar platform to stay connected while baking from home. Select a favorite recipe, have everybody log on at a specific time, and bake away while talking and listening to some holiday music.
  • Don’t do away with decorations. Seniors who live alone usually look forward to having loved ones, especially grandchildren, visit to assist with holiday decorations. Without in-person visits, older adults might not be motivated to bother with decorations. Again, using a software program like Zoom, schedule for a time for everybody to get together online and share the stories behind the most loved decorations.
  • Enjoy the great outdoors. Safely celebrating the holidays with loved ones doesn’t always have to happen virtually. If weather allows, plan brief visits with older adults outside, safely socially distant and with face coverings. String lights on bushes in the yard and decorate the front porch together.
  • Send smiles. Cards, letters, pictures, telephone calls, small gifts, etc. will all mean a great deal to older adults who will be missing time with loved ones. Coordinate with members of the family to take turns reaching out as much as possible in ways like this so that your older family members are flooded with expressions of love.
  • Share your feelings. There is nothing quite as heartwarming as hearing from someone you love about the impact you’ve made on his or her life. Take this time to convey your gratitude to the older adults you love for the difference they have made in your life, and be specific: “Grandma, your patience with me when I was an adolescent taught me what unconditional love looks like, and thanks to you, I’m a more patient person with my own kids.”

Responsive Home Care, experts providers of senior care services in Pembroke Pines and the surrounding areas, employs caregivers who are fully trained and experienced in enhancing total wellbeing for older adults at home, and we follow rigorous safety protocols for each person’s protection. Call us at (954) 486-6440 to find out how we can help make this holiday season the best it can be for a senior you love with customized, professional home care services.

Your Guide to Safe Disposal of Medications

Senior woman holding pills and reading the information on the label

Learn proper medication management with the help of Responsive Home Care.

With so many aging parents taking several prescriptions, and with physicians changing and adding medications and dosages to find out the perfect solutions, it is critical to know what to do with meds which are no longer needed or that have expired. There are multiple options for managing medications that need to be disposed:

  • Check labels. The medication’s label or informational literature might provide direction on exactly how to safely dispose of the drug. You could also consult the pharmacist for guidelines.
  • Participate in National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. This is the preferred way to responsibly get rid of unwanted medications, and it is organized each year in locations throughout the country by the United States Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration. Find the venue closest to you as well as the next date for the local event.
  • Use caution prior to flushing. Flushing prescription drugs down the toilet is generally not recommended, but there are particular exceptions, laid out in the FDA’s Flush List. Medications currently considered acceptable to flush if another option of disposal isn’t available include:
    • Acetaminophen
    • Benzhydrocodone
    • Buprenorphine
    • Diazepam
    • Fentanyl
    • Hydrocodone
    • Hydromorphone
    • Meperidine
    • Methadone
    • Methylphenidate
    • Morphine
    • Oxycodone
    • Oxymorphone
    • Sodium Oxybate
    • Tapentadol
  • Camouflage when discarding. Many medications can be discarded with regular trash, if safeguards are taken to restrict animals from inadvertently ingesting them or from anyone seeking drugs to locate and ingest them. The FDA advises mixing the meds with an undesirable substance – such as coffee grounds or kitty litter – and then placing in a secured plastic bag before adding to your household garbage bag.
  • Remove identifying information. Make certain to scratch out and/or shred any personal information to safeguard the older adult’s identification and to prevent anybody who is unauthorized from finding the medicine container and acquiring a refill of the medication.

For more help with medications, including medication reminders to make sure senior loved ones take prescription medications exactly as advised by the health care provider, connect with the aging care professionals at Responsive Home Care. We are also available to assist with a wide selection of aging care needs at home that improve overall wellbeing for cherished older adults, such as:

  • Help with personal care and hygiene needs
  • Meal planning and preparation
  • Light housework
  • Companionship to engage in conversations and enjoyable activities
  • And a lot more.

Contact us at 954-486-6440 to let us know more about the challenges a senior is facing, and to ask about a free of charge in-home assessment to allow us to share with you how we can help with senior care in Hollywood, FL and the surrounding areas.

Safe Senior Home Care During the Pandemic

Elderly disabled man with mask sitting in wheelchair, assisted by young female caregiver outdoors

Learn how to choose a safe home care provider.

Looking at the past several months, family caregivers have had to manage seemingly insurmountable challenges connected with the care of the seniors they love. With COVID-19’s particular dangers to the elderly and people with underlying medical conditions, such as for example COPD, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and others which can be common in seniors, families have struggled with just how to hire safe senior home care during the pandemic.

To that particular end, some families made the difficult decision to pause home care services to prevent having anyone outside of the family come into the home – meaning they were suddenly responsible for full-time senior care. Without a care partner, this alone tends to be incredibly stressful, but add to this the various other new responsibilities and concerns brought about by the pandemic, for example shifting to working virtually, taking care of young children who could no longer attend school or daycare, and more.

To say it has been an overwhelming time is an understatement, but now, with numerous new safety protocols in place, is it safe to once again bring in a professional homecare agency to assist?

Responsive Home Care has continued to deliver safe senior home care throughout the pandemic, in accordance with all recommended guidelines. When you are prepared to look into in-home care options, keep these guidelines in mind:

  • Work with an experienced home care agency, like Responsive Home Care, that has a well thought-out COVID-19 plan in place – and ask for information regarding that plan.
  • Plan to be present once the caregiver arrives the very first time to help relieve any concerns you might have, such as making certain he/she is sanitizing surfaces, wearing a face covering, washing hands often, etc.
  • Speak to the senior’s physician about any concerning health issues and also to get tips for any additional safety precautions that ought to be taken during home care visits.

The professional providers of home care in Pembroke Pines and the surrounding area at Responsive Home Care are always available to answer any questions you have as well as share information about the steps we are taking to protect the older adults in our care, including:

  • Wearing face coverings along with other personal protective equipment as appropriate
  • Properly disinfecting and sanitizing any items brought into the seniors’ homes
  • Ensuring all care staff are healthy through routine temperature checks and wellness assessments
  • Practicing safe social distancing protocol
  • And more

Reach out to us at 954-486-6440 any time for more information regarding the countless benefits of professional in-home care, and ways in which we are able to assist an older adult you love live life to the fullest – safely and comfortably in the familiarity of home. See our full service area.

Elderly Care Tips for Deciding if a Medical Procedure Is Now Safe for a Senior

masked senior man talking with healthcare professionalThe COVID-19 pandemic put the world on pause, including, among a great many other activities, healthcare appointments and procedures. In fact, nearly 50% of all adults either canceled or delayed routine health care and elective treatments since the coronavirus crisis began, leading medical professionals to become concerned about the consequences.

As we tentatively strive for a new normal, it is important to talk with your health care provider about any procedures you might have been taking into consideration pre-pandemic, and to get answers to these questions to help you assess the safety of doing the procedures now.

  1. Is the healthcare facility where I will be taken care of also treating COVID-19 patients, and are the same medical staff who will take care of me also taking care of them? If that’s the case, what safeguards are in place to guarantee my safety?
  2. What are the facility’s cleaning/disinfecting policies?
  3. Will I need to be tested for COVID-19 before my treatment?
  4. Are medical personnel being tested for COVID-19? If so, how often?
  5. Do I need to wear a mask? Gloves? Any other personal protective equipment?
  6. Are there any items that I cannot bring with me, for example clothing, books, a phone or laptop?
  7. Can I complete paperwork ahead of time?
  8. May I wait outside or in my car until I am called in for my procedure?
  9. Can a relative or caregiver come with me?
  10. Is follow-up provided in person, or may I make use of telehealth?

In addition there are post-procedure considerations to think through. Many people face concerns with regards to the chance for contracting COVID-19 after being in the hospital, so talk with your medical professional about the need to self-monitor for symptoms, as well as for tips about any further preventative measures you might need to take, such as avoiding contact with others for some time, wearing gloves or a mask in the house when others are there, additional sanitizing measures to take, etc. Your doctor may recommend taking your oxygen levels and temperature at home. If so, make certain to obtain a thermometer and pulse oximeter.

Once you are comfortable with the answers you’ve obtained along with the assurance that the procedure is safe to schedule, contact Responsive Home Care, the best home care company in Fort Lauderdale, FL and the surrounding areas. Our caregivers can help make sure everything is taken care of before, during, and after your procedure, including organizing transportation, picking up groceries and prescriptions, helping you get situated back at home and monitoring for any changes in condition, and much more. Contact us any time at 954-486-6440.

How Do You Keep Senior Loved Ones Safe During the Pandemic and Still Get Out?

senior woman outside with male caregiverAfter months of isolating from family and friends, many people are now getting out and about instead of staying at home. Nevertheless, for seniors in particular, is it safe to think about going out at this time?

Unfortunately, there’s no cut-and-dry answer to keep senior loved ones safe, and a range of criteria need to be taken into consideration to arrive at the best possible decision for every single person. For instance:

  • What health problems is the senior encountering?
  • How challenging has it been for him or her to be separated from family and friends?
  • Is the incidence rate of the virus subsiding or spiking within your town?

As a family caregiver, the best place to get started is sitting down and having a one-on-one discussion with the older adult. If for example, your senior loved one is adamantly and fervently set on a certain activity, such as seeing the grandchildren or going on a walk at the community park, be sure he or she thoroughly understands the potential risks involved.

Make sure you are up to date as well on the most current news from trusted sources on any new recommendations and/or precautions. Consider this information as only one component of your decision-making process, however, as opposed to an end-all perspective.

Then, broach the subject with the older adult’s medical practitioner for an expert opinion as well as for assistance with weighing potential risk factors against the benefits of increased socialization and engagement in the community. You might also wish to talk to other family members and carefully consider their input as well before making the final choice on how best to proceed.

Most of all, take plenty of time to ensure you are doing what’s most suitable for your loved one’s overall health and wellbeing, rather than making a snap decision that you might later regret. If you’re still uncertain about what to do, it could be wise to try to avoid venturing out with the senior for the present time and revisit the matter at a later date. And remember that you always have the option to change your thinking if for any reason you are uncomfortable with the first decision.

Whether you and your loved one are comfortable with the choice to go out and about, or decide to continue staying at home, you can rely on Responsive Home Care to help out with companionship, grocery shopping, meal preparation and a variety of other types of assistance, always in compliance with recommended safety protocols. Give us a call at 954-486-6440 any time to talk to one of our live in caregivers in Hollywood, FL or the surrounding areas, or to schedule a no cost in-home consultation.

Could New Parkinson’s Diagnostic Tests Be Developed Based on Our Sense of Smell?

Parkinson’s Diagnostic Tests - home health careft lauderdale

Parkinson’s diagnostic tests may be impacted in a surprising way.

You may very well not recognize her by name, but you’ve possibly come across her story. Joy Milne has an especially specialized talent: detecting Parkinson’s disease through her nose. Her gift came to light when she sensed what she describes as an “overpowering sort of nasty yeast smell” in her husband of 10 years. Soon noticing other differences in her husband, such as personality and mood differences, he ultimately sought medical assistance, and after undergoing Parkinson’s diagnostic tests, the disease was confirmed. 

Subsequently, upon walking into a Parkinson’s support group meeting, that exact same scent permeated the room – despite the fact that reportedly only Joy was able to sense it. In fact, she was also able to recognize varied degrees of the scent – some whose scent was weak, while for others, it was more powerful. With both her own and her husband’s medical backgrounds (she a nurse and he a physician), this knowledge was definitely meaningful and called for further action.  

Her story led her to help Tilo Kunath, a Parkinson’s disease specialist at the University of Edinburgh, with the aim of creating a tool to provide earlier diagnosis – and in the long run, treatment – of Parkinson’s.  

While initially doubtful of the probability of Parkinson’s being identified through scent, he was open to further exploration after learning about the results dogs were having in identifying the odor of cancer in individuals. He then developed an approach to assess her talents, by supplying her with a random selection of t-shirts – half of which had been worn by a person clinically diagnosed with Parkinson’s, and half by individuals without the disease – and, her accuracy rate was astonishing. In fact, she missed the mark on only one of the shirts, worn by someone without Parkinson’s, but who was later diagnosed with the disease as well.  

Kunath says, “Imagine a society where you could detect such a devastating condition before it’s causing problems and then prevent the problems from even occurring.” Dr. Thomas Hummel of the Technical University of Dresden’s Smell & Taste Clinic, adds that while the idea is fascinating, there are still a number of questions to first sort out. 

Parkinson’s disease, in conjunction with a variety of other chronic health issues, can be more successfully managed through the help of the Ft. Lauderdale caregivers at Responsive Home CareGive us a call at 954-486-6440 to find out if our services are available in your area and to learn more about how we can help you.