Category: Benefits of Home Care

Establish a Daily Routine for those living with Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia

Daily Routine

For most of us, routines are a key part of our day-to-day lives. Routines are powerful tools that keep us energized, productive, and most importantly –  grounded during a stressful time.

Overall, routines are a key component of staying healthy. For people with dementia who have trouble receiving and storing new sensory information, routine and repetition are critical to function.

A model routine includes set times for waking up and going to sleep, regular hygiene practices, consistent eating patterns and other key activities. The effect the coronavirus pandemic has had on daily life has unfortunately disrupted much of our normal routine living. Disrupting the routines of those with dementia creates a lot of stress for someone who cannot track information. The pandemic is already stressful enough to most of us, yet for those suffering with dementia this abundance of stress can lead to an increase in confusion and memory issues. The good news is that this is most often temporary and can stabilize once people get back to a routine.

Ways to help

Here are some recommendations for the best ways to help a loved one with dementia during this time:

  • Stick to a routine as much as possible.

    In all the chaos and confusion of the pandemic, creating structure and routine in your loved one’s life can create an environment that is comforting with clear expectations. One way to implement a clear routine is to have a white board, or a calendar on the wall that includes a plan for the day. You can alter these to reflect new activities to be done throughout the day and week.

  • Connect Online.

    Online communication is a valuable tool in times when we may not be able to visit our loved ones face-to-face. From Skype, to Facetime, to Facebook Video calls, there is a great deal of technology that can help you keep in touch with your loved one and fight social isolation.

  • Beware of negative media.

    While online communication can be a good and useful tool for connecting, you must also ensure that your loved ones are not being bombarded by fear and hysteria in the free time they spend online. Exposing your loved one with dementia to too much negative information can have serious effects on their emotional state. While they might not remember the details of newscasts, they hold on to the emotional information. As a result, they may feel increased fear, anxiety and stress, but not understand why.

  • Manage stress

Engage your loved one with activities, hobbies or listening to music.

  • Focus on the Past

Since taking in new information is difficult, focus on reminiscing – talk about past events, trips, other activities that they have done.

Signs to watch

In times of stress, someone with dementia may experience increased confusion or agitation, or may exhibit behavioral changes and act out of character. This is most often only temporary.

However, if you notice some of the following behaviors developing, you should contact your care provider:

  • If your loved one is acting out of character or begins putting themself in danger by wandering off or becoming physically aggressive.
  • If there are new areas of confusion or new types of behaviors that persist over the course of several days.

We understand these are difficult times, and for our loved ones experiencing memory disorders, it can be even more trying. Remember, we are all in this together. .

NursePartners creates permanent care teams to introduce stability and routine into the lives of older adults.  All teams are managed by a registered nurse and certified dementia practitioner.  Care is provided right at home, or wherever home may be.  Want to learn more about how we can help you?  Call us, and ask for Angie, Carole, or Jessica:

610-323-9800

 

Are you Connecting?

Connecting

Never underestimate how important it is to empathize and communicate effectively with your loved one living with dementia.  All too often they become “different” or “unreachable” as their dementia develops. You might despair that the person you once knew is completely gone.

You may grow tired, frustrated, or even angry with your loved one; and from this position any hope of healthy and effective conversation is lost. The good news is that we are in control of these emotions.  With a little bit of compassion, we can find new ways to say hello and build engagement with our loved ones where it is still possible.

 

How can we learn to understand?

In the early stages, talk to them! Ask simple, genuine questions.  See if they want to talk to you about what they are going through and changes they are noticing.  This is going to require patience, your most important skill going forward.  You might as well begin developing it now!  Remember your body language will need to match what you say.  Want to learn more, read our previous post.

In addition to simple conversation, you may want to consider joining a support group or looking for other resources online.  Some of these resources are authored by those who are experiencing dementia themselves. These will help us understand what a loved one is going through.

One blog that we recommend is My Voyage With Dementia. The blog is a collection of thoughts from a 79-year-old man living with dementia in Canada. The author, Bob Murray, uses his blog to keep his mind active and to fight against decline.  He has created an expansive collection of writings that give us an unfiltered look into what the world is like through his eyes.

Another great read is Dancing with Dementia; a book written by Christine Bryden who was diagnosed with dementia at 46. Dancing with Dementia records Cristine’s experience living with dementia, exploring the effects of memory problems, loss of independence, difficulties in communication, and the exhaustion of coping with simple tasks. Like Bob, Christine’s writing is used as a tool of empowerment and shines a valuable light onto the perspective of a person with dementia.

At the end of the day, the more you are informed about dementia the more you can understand the experiences of your loved one and the better you can care for them. It is important to know the facts, the objective data, the things the doctors will tell you about dementia, but it is also essential to know how to connect emotionally.  How do they really feel?  What does the world look like to them?

 

Work with an expert

NursePartners has been working with older adults since 2002.  We love it so much that it is all we do.  All carepartners are dementia trained by certified dementia practitioners.  Want to know more about how we can help you?  Give us a call today at 610-323-9800.

 

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Denise uses the Positive Physical Approach to Care to guide non-verbal client

Home Care or Nursing Home?

There comes a point in every person’s life when they are not physically able to care for themselves anymore. The decision of what to do next can be a difficult one. If you have a loved one who is approaching old age and seems to need care, the responsibility of choosing a care plan may fall on you. How do you know what’s right for the senior in your life? By knowing your options and weighing them carefully. Home Care and Nursing Homes are two viable options for providing care. Understanding the benefits of both can help you make a better decision.

Home Care

Of the two, home care is a more private option and allows your loved one to remain in their own home. Home care is often the first choice for individuals with Alzheimer’s or dementia as it is less disruptive to their current lifestyle. Home care allows for a more personal, one-on-one relationship with the caregiver and ensures that your loved one’s needs are being met all while keeping them in a setting that is comfortable and familiar to them. With home care seniors can remain as independent as possible, rather than needing to turn over basic tasks to the daily staff at a facility. This is especially important for individuals with dementia, as they often find a sense of stability and purpose in the small tasks, they are still able to perform for themselves.

Who you hire for in-home care matters! Your in-home care team needs to be friendly, professional, and patient. NursePartners provides quality certified nursing assistants that specialize in geriatric care. They have at least one-year experience and are managed by registered nurses and certified dementia practitioners. We want to make sure the proper support is in place.

Nursing Home

In some cases care is needed at all times of the day; and for these individuals nursing homes may be a good option. Nursing homes are typically staffed with a variety of medical professionals. These professionals can care for your loved one around the clock and can perform medical and non-medical functions when needed. Though they are all inclusive, nursing homes may remove an individual’s independence and leading to depression. Nursing homes can be noisy and feel unfamiliar for a time before feeling like “home,” which can be a difficult adjustment for some seniors.

 

False choice?

The choice between a nursing home and home care is up to each individual and their family. Sometimes it is a very personal decision, and sometimes it is a logistical one. It also does not need to be one or the other. Many families use home care services to transition a loved one to a facility or supplement care.

As a dementia progresses, many assisted living communities will require that the resident move to a nursing home. This comes at a steep premium. By using home care services at the facility, you can devise a creative solution. You also have two groups of advocates monitoring your loved one and another.

 

Learn more: 610-323-9800.

Call us to learn more about what makes NursePartners different. We are an independent coming, caring exclusively for older adults since 2002. We are locally owned and run by a registered nurse and certified dementia practitioner, Angela Geiger. We would love the opportunity to learn more about how we can support you.

 

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Dementia and Loneliness

Social Isolation for those living with dementia

Living with dementia can often be isolating. Over time, the ability of a person with dementia to communicate may become worse and interactions that once seemed to come so easily may become more difficult. This can be frustrating for everyone involved, though it is important to try and understand the loneliness your loved may be experiencing so you can best engage them.

Take note that there are different types of loneliness – for example, someone can feel lonely, even if they have regular contact with friends and family, while others may have limited contact with people and not feel lonely. NursePartners alters our care approach depending on a client’s personality and life history. We engage with introverts differently than extroverts. We also need to consider the person’s skills when creating opportunities for engagement.

These days it can be tough to have regular face-to-face contact, especially if your loved one lives in a facility or if you live far away. FaceTime will only go so far for someone living with dementia. If they are a Pearl, Ruby, or Amber stage of dementia, it might be nearly impossible to connect with them via video chat. This is because the best way to connect with these people if through sight, touch, taste, and smell. However, you may be able to have a virtual breakthrough if you can engage them through song.

Another factor to consider is that those living with dementia are also usually living with diminishing social circles. They may move away from friends and older loved ones die. It also becomes harder for them to initiate new conversations and build new relationships. This is just another reason why it is important to build you care team early!

Social Isolation in the Age of COVID-19

How would you experience social isolation if you were not processing the rationale behind it? As we head into future months of quarantine and social isolation, consider how this is affecting a loved one living with dementia. Consider how your loved one is remaining socially connected in safe way. Do they have close friends or family that visit? Do they see someone at least once a week? How often do you check in and are these calls effective?

If you are answering no to any of these questions, it is understandable. Life gets busy and sometimes we forget how those living with dementia come to depend on us more over time. Nonetheless, you may want to consider seeking help for your loved one if you feel you are unable to provide this care yourself. (Over time it will become impossible for one person to provide all the necessary care for one other person living with dementia.)

The NursePartners Difference

NursePartners has been caring for older adults since 2002. We specialize in Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, focusing on what the client can still do, not what they cannot. We build stable care teams for our clients, supporting them from three assignments per week to 24 hours a day, every day of the year.

Let us show you how NursePartners can make the difference in the life of you and your loved one. Call us today, 610-323-9800.

610-323-9800

Visiting a loved one with dementia

The relationships we have with others form a central part of our identity. However, these relationships change with someone living with dementia. As the disease progresses, we need to change our approach and still work to mitigate the possibility of social isolation.

Those living with dementia may find it difficult to recall friends and family and the many shared memories created with them. Although they may forget, it is important to continue to visit them as social isolation will still lead to loneliness. Socialization may even slow the progression of dementia.

Here are some tips on how to spend your time together:

 

  • Focus on the present. If you focus on your current environment by engaging them with new tastes, smells, and things to touch.   Do not quiz or force their memory. If conversation is tough, try singing, playing an instrument, or even dancing. You can share a moment without having a long conversation in words.
  • Make them feel needed. Even though they are living with dementia, they still need to contribute. Give them a task to do so they feel helpful rather than a burden.

 

  • Watch your voice tone and connotation. Just because they are living with dementia does not mean they do not have feelings and emotions. If they do not respond, it does not necessarily mean they did not understand what you said. If you hurt their self-esteem or dignity, there may be a backlash.

 

  • Although you want to make them feel needed, keep tasks simple. Focus on one topic at a time. If you are offering choices, try to limit them to two or three. Open ended questions are particularly difficult as the diseases progresses. If they get lost in conversation, you can gently remind them by continuing the conversation instead of pointing out that they forgot.

 

  • Use names with the relationship. For example, instead of just saying “your son” or “Michael”, say “your son Michael” is coming to visit today.

 

  • Watch your body language. This includes your face. Your faces and expressions can indicate that you are not being genuine in your messaging. The person will pick up on this and can react adversely if your overall message is not consistent.

 

  • Minimize external distractions that may exist in the background of your conversation. Spending time together in the right environment can make all the difference when you are visiting a loved one with dementia. Try talking in a comfortable, quiet place, and avoid any other noises which could be coming from a TV or radio. If you position yourself in their line of vision and stay still while you are talking, you will help make the conversation easier to follow.

Remember, the amount of time you spend visiting a loved one with dementia can make all the difference in their quality of life. As we live through quarantine, consider the overall quality of your loved one’s life. Consider companionship options with certified nursing assistants who can assist with care as the disease progresses. Continual social interaction will help improve the quality of life for those living with dementia, with earlier intervention being more rewarding.

Want to learn more about the NursePartners difference?

Call us today: 610-323-9800.

 

What is the difference between Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease?

Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are often used interchangeably even though they mean different things. Put simply, dementia is a broad term we use to describe a collection of symptoms associated with the decline of neurological function. Dementia can be present in a patient for many reasons, although Alzheimer’s disease accounts for roughly 75% of known dementia cases.

Other types of dementia include vascular, Lewy Body, Frontotemporal, and mixed. There are also ‘reversible dementias’ which can be remediated when the root cause is addressed such as severe urinary tract infection, vitamin deficiency, sleep deprivation, and severe depression.

Different forms of dementia have different early symptoms. But there are common early signs across many types. These include:

  • Short-term memory loss
  • Decreased concentration
  • Disorientation
  • Mood changes
  • Judgement lapses

And while some forms of dementia share similar symptoms, others can be identified by their unique effects on patients. For example, someone with Lewy Body dementia might experience visual hallucinations, stiffness and slowness of movement, tremors, night terrors, or may even be observed acting out their dreams. In the case of Alzheimer’s disease, one of the first things to be affected in patients is their short-term memory. In brain scans of patients with Alzheimer’s disease a deterioration of the brain’s regions associated with short-term memory functions can be observed. While Alzheimer’s disease is much more commonly diagnosed than Lewy body dementia, it is important to understand that both are only types of dementia.

There is no test to definitively confirm the presence of Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia, while the person is alive.  However once symptoms begin to appear, physicians can examine the person to determine potential causes. If a neurodegenerative disease such as Alzheimer’s disease is present, early identification allows for the best possible intervention and treatment. This allows you to better structure your relationship, complete future planning with the input of the diagnosed person and try pharmacological remedies.

NursePartners prides itself on our commitment to clients, and their families, who are living with dementia. Are you living in the Philadelphia metro and are looking for support? Give our team a call at 610-323-9800.

Free Evaluations for those living with dementia

Do you have a loved one living with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia? NursePartners is offering a free evaluation that can serve as the basis for their plan of care*. This offer is valid until May 31 if you mention this ad. We are available 24/7/365 at 610-323-9800.

We work with families to weave together an authentic plan of care, incorporating the client’s life histories, preferences, and strengths. This serves as the bedrock for a care plan that focuses on what the client still can do, instead of what they cannot.

NursePartners was founded in 2002 and only cares for older adults. This is because we are passionate about our work and caring for those who have cared for us. Each case is managed by a registered nurse and certified dementia practitioner. They handpick certified nursing assistants to work with each client, based on the employee’s experience, passion, and interests.

Over the years, we have supported clients living with many different types of dementia including:

  • Alzheimer’s
  • Frontotemporal
  • Lewy Bodies
  • Vascular
  • Mixed

No two people are the same, and the journey through dementia is different for everyone. We understand this and have worked with many families over the years. NursePartners practices the Positive Approach to CareTM as developed by Teepa Snow. To learn more, click here.

 

 

* NursePartners waives the evaluation free for clients that plan to use the evaluation as the basis for a plan of care with services through NursePartners.  This is confirmed through payment of a deposit prior to initiation of services.  Clients who would like a plan of care for private use may also contact NursePartners.

Connecting while Quarantined, engage your Senior living with Dementia

We are all having a tough time living life “on hold” and changing our daily habits. However, we understand the end goal and the reasons why we are making these temporary changes.

What if we were living with dementia? For someone whose brain is dying, they cannot rationalize the situation in the same way. We are asking them to change their daily habits, the very habits that help keep them occupied and living with a sense of purpose. If we think changing our habits is hard, it is extremely challenging for a Diamond or Emerald stage person living with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia. Teepa Snow discusses this dilemma in a recent podcast here.

We can mitigate this additional stress though targeted engagement. NursePartners works with clients to build personalized plans of care and add meaning to the lives of older adults living with dementia. We strive to do activities with our clients that are reflective of their life histories and hobbies, adjusting tasks to meet their current skill levels.

During these times it is important to continue to engage with those living with dementia, to make sure they still feel connected, and help ward off the depression of isolation.  If your loved one lives in an assisted living or nursing home, it is likely that the facility is no longer providing their usual calendar of social activities.  If all residents are isolated to their rooms, how are they being mentally stimulated?

NursePartners goes above and beyond simply performing hygiene related tasks, making engagement a cornerstone of our service. If you have not tried us yet, call us to learn more: 610-323-9800.

So, you can do it all by yourself?

It is a natural instinct to jump into the caregiving role. What else would you do for someone that you love? If it is a parent, what better way to return the favor for them raising you? If it is a spouse, you vowed to take them in sickness or in health.

Yes, you should pitch in to care for your parent or spouse, but not alone. Unlike raising a child, an older adult has lived a life rich in experiences and has needs very distinct from a child. Also, unlike a child, the care recipient will become more dependent on you over time, which is a different outlook compared to a child who is growing, developing, and becoming ever more independent.

If you are caring for someone living with dementia, it is even more important to prepare yourself mentally for the road ahead. Have you heard of Teepa Snow’s Positive Approach to CareTM? NursePartners practices this methodology while caring for our clients. As clients progress through the stages of dementia, we focus on what they can still do, not on what they cannot. There are still ways to connect, even far along in the disease progression.

It is important to build your care team. This can mean you and many family members, a completely private staff, or a combination of family and private. Never underestimate the value of having certified nursing assistants in the home, overseen by a registered nurse.

Without a care team, both the carepartner (you) and the care recipient are left with a bad situation. The carepartner is unsupported and operates in a high stress environment, often neglecting their own needs. Over time lack of self-care not only hurts the carepartner, but becomes reflective in the care delivered. Care becomes more routine and less focused on creating meaningful interactions. These meaningful interactions are important for someone living with dementia, especially as their way of communicating evolves over time.

Want to add us to your care team? Call us today to learn more about how NursePartners can better support your loved one at home, or wherever home may be: 610-323-9800.

 

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How to know when its time for home care

Give your thanks by showing them you care

 

This day each year, we gather to give thanks for another year. We are seeing some relatives for the first time in a while. At these reunions we usually put our best face forward. This is no exception for older adults.

 

The Positive Approach to CareTM classifies dementia by six gemstones (click here to learn more). The first two are sapphire and diamond. The sapphire symbolizes normal aging and forgetfulness, which is not dementia. The diamond, however, is the first stage of dementia.

 

A diamond is highly functioning and may not be aware of its own cognitive decline. It can cover up forgetfulness and other warning signs for periods of time, such as during your reunion.

 

We should spend extended periods of time with our loved ones to truly understand their needs. Although casual conversation throughout the reunion will not paint a perfect picture, it can help us understand if we should investigate further.

 

As you talk, test their short-term memory. Alzheimer’s disease inhibits our ability to form new memories first. Discuss something new and bring up the same topic a few hours later. See if they remember having this discussion.

 

During conversion, do they appear frustrated or fixated in a train of thought? Are they unable to “shift gears”?

 

Even if your loved one is not experiencing a cognitive decline, they are still a sapphire. How is their mobility, hygiene, and nutritional intake? Would they be happier or healthier if these basic needs are met? How about socialization? Have they been getting out of the house and trying new things?

 

GEM care for dementia or traditional home care can help your loved one operate at their best. Old age or a progressive disease does not need to prevent them from enjoying their time with us. Have questions about how GEM care or traditional home care can best support your loved one?

 

Call us to learn more or to schedule a complementary wellness assessment by a

Registered Nurse and Certified Dementia Practitioner: 610-323-9800.

 

NursePartners is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a week: 610-323-9800