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Try This Creative and Effective Dementia Senior Care Idea: A Memory Book

dementia senior care - memory book

A memory book is a great tool for dementia senior care.

“Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.” – Dr. Seuss

Memories are what bind together our past experiences with who we are today; and for a person with dementia, confusion around these memories may have a powerful impact. One of our goals in providing dementia senior care is to help them keep and share memories in order to make sense of daily life.

A wonderful way to help with this is through the creation of a memory book, which includes photographs and short descriptions to refer back to when an older adult has questions relating to his or her identity, friends and family, etc. Memory books  are great for answering repeated questions as well as for helping to clear any muddied waters. For example, if an older adult asks who his sister is, whether he’s married (and to whom), where he used to live, etc., a simple response of, “Let’s look at the memory book,” can be very effective – and, can help with redirection as well for a senior experiencing difficult emotions or behaviors.

The book can (and should) be basic and straightforward. Simply select a sturdy binder, photo album, or scrapbook and place 1 or 2 photos on each page, with a brief description underneath. Include details such as:

  • Close family and friends, including those from the senior’s childhood, if at all possible
  • The older adult’s workplace
  • Special events and milestones
  • Hobbies/interests
  • Pets
  • Previous homes
  • And more

You could set up separate sections for each category, so it will be quicker to locate a particular photo when desired. For a more extensive or elaborate book, you can use the template found here , identifying which pages you want to include that’ll be most helpful for your senior loved one.

For more creative Alzheimer’s resources and care tips, call Responsive Home Care, the leading provider of in home senior care in Fort Lauderdale and nearby areas, at (954) 486-6440. We are also pleased to offer a no-cost in-home assessment to share more about how we can help with the particular challenges your senior loved one is facing. Our highly trained, compassionate dementia caregivers can:

  • Improve socialization
  • Offer creative approaches to manage difficult behaviors
  • Ensure safety in bathing/showering, dressing, etc. in addition to reducing fall risk
  • Provide trusted relief care for family caregivers to take time for self-care
  • Engage older adults in meaningful, enjoyable activities
  • Assistance with preparing meals and clean-up
  • Run errands, such as picking up prescriptions and groceries
  • And so much more

Reach out to our dementia care specialists today to discover an increased quality of life for a senior you love with trusted, personalized home care services.

Searching for an Alzheimer’s Cure: The Surprising New 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. As the leaders in dementia care in Hollywood, FL and surrounding areas, we at Responsive Home Care are always here with trusted, highly skilled and creative dementia care. Call us at (954) 486-6440 to learn more.

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.

Risk of Alzheimer’s: Why Is It Higher for Women?

erase Alzheimer'sResearchers are at long last starting to get a handle on why the risk of Alzheimer’s is so much higher in females than in men. Currently, up to 2/3 of people with Alzheimer’s in the United States are female, and as researchers continue to better comprehend the specific nuances behind this pattern, we are able to begin to address them.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association’s Director of Scientific Engagement, Rebecca Edelmayer, “Women are at the epicenter of Alzheimer’s disease as both persons living with the disease and as caregivers of those with dementia. Over the last three years, the Alzheimer’s Association has invested $3.2 million into 14 projects looking at sex differences for the disease and some of the findings today may explain risk, prevalence, and rate of decline for women.”

The historic notion has been that females essentially have a greater than expected lifespan, and we realize that Alzheimer’s is more prevalent as people get older. Nonetheless, the theory has shifted to also include the following further determinants:

  • Biology. Vanderbilt University Medical Center scientists found that females with mild cognitive impairment had a more accelerated spread of tau (the protein within the brain connected to loss of brain cells), along with a higher extent of tau network connectivity, than that of males.
  • Memory. An investigation carried out by the University of California at San Diego School of Medicine discovered higher scores on verbal memory tests in women than men, which may bring about the potential of women’s brains to compensate for cognitive impairments and to the postponement of a medical diagnosis and subsequent treatment.
  • Employment. Memory decline in women ages 60 – 70 who seldom were employed was greater than in females with regular employment, according to the conclusions of a report conducted by the University of California Los Angeles – indicating that “consistent cognitive stimulation from work helps increase cognitive reserve in women.”
  • Lifestyle. Since a healthy lifestyle, particularly a reduced incidence of stress, helps decrease Alzheimer’s risk, women can be especially vulnerable – since they are typically in the role of family caregiver, a known inducer of stress.

Each one of these results focus on the need for women to take care of their own overall health, and Responsive Home Care, the top providers of home health Hollywood, FL and the surrounding area can find, is prepared to assist. We offer the dependable respite care that allows family caregivers to take much recommended breaks from caring for their loved ones while focusing on self-care. Our caregivers are specially trained and experienced in meeting the unique needs of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease, giving loved ones the peace of mind in knowing their cherished older adults are getting the best care. Contact us at 954-486-6440 for more information.

Dementia Care Tips: Best Approaches to Avoid Personal Care Resistance

alzheimers care ft. lauderdale

Use these tips to help a senior loved one with dementia manage personal care tasks.

Of all the challenges related to providing care for a senior loved one with dementia, the Alzheimer’s Association indicates that the most prevalent difficulty is with personal hygiene, for a variety of reasons:

  • Diminished sense of vision and smell
  • Comfort associated with familiarity (i.e., wanting to wear the same clothes again and again)
  • The challenges of bathing, compounded by cognitive impairment and confusion
  • Anxiety about falling, the sounds and feelings associated with the water, and so much more

Cajoling, quarreling, and reasoning are rarely practical techniques to employ with those impacted by Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. Alternatively, consider these creative approaches in the event your loved one resists maintaining suitable hygiene:

  • Organize the bathroom ahead of time so the room is likely to be comfortable and you won’t need to juggle acquiring supplies together with helping the senior. Warm the room with a space heater, and set soap, shampoo, towels, washcloth, etc. within easy reach, plus eliminate any throw rugs or any other tripping hazards.
  • A shower chair and hand-held sprayer frequently make an even more calming bathing experience for anyone with dementia. Position the chair away from the faucet, and use towels to cover up parts of the body before and after they have been cleaned to help keep the senior warm and to prevent feelings of exposure.
  • Have the senior help with bathing tasks whenever possible to maintain independence. It could be as basic as providing a washcloth or the shampoo bottle for the senior to hold on to.
  • If hair washing is hard for either of you, forego that task during bath time, and schedule regular outings to the salon instead.
  • Arrange a special excursion together with the senior, such as a lunch date with a good friend, and center bath time around getting ready for the event.
  • Bring in the assistance of a healthcare professional, who can advise the senior regarding the increased chance of infection or skin issues without proper hygiene. Often hearing from a dependable third party holds more weight than hearing the same information from family members.
  • Engage the services of a caregiver, providing your loved one the dignity of having personal care needs tended to by a professional, rather than a relative.

At Responsive Home Care, the leaders in home health services in Pembroke Pines, FL, each of our caregivers is experienced in safe hygiene procedures for older adults, with specific training to help those with Alzheimer’s disease to feel comfortable with personal hygiene tasks, including creative approaches to safe bathing, skin, hair, and oral care, restroom assistance, and much more. Give us a call at 954-486-6440 or contact us online to discover practical solutions to the worries you and your loved one are facing!