Category: Benefits of Home Care

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.

 

Philadelphia home care, Philadelphia dementia care, Devon home care, Devon dementia care

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

Debunking common myths about hospice. Why you should seek hospice benefits sooner.

When is the right time for hospice? Many families wait too long to take advantage of this free benefit that complements home care services.
Below we debunk a few of the common misconceptions:

1) Your relative is actively dying. False. Two physicians must determine that your loved one has less than six months to live, if their illness would run its normal course.

2) There are no additional treatments. The client receives palliative care, that considers all aspects of their physical, emotional, and spiritual health. They may continue taking most medications, just cannot seek “extreme remedies”, such as chemotherapy. Currently there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia. Clients in the later stages of dementia, “Ruby” or “Pearl”, are usually eligible for hospice benefits.

3) Hospice is only for the client. The family also receives emotional and spiritual support.

4) All hospice clients die. Clients have “graduated” from hospice if their condition improves.

5) You lose benefits after six months. If clients survive for more than six months, they must seek eligibility again. We have also worked with clients who have used hospice services for many years.

6) You will have to get special medical equipment. Hospice is constantly evaluating the needs of your loved one. Almost anything that is needed can be provided by hospice and paid by Medicare. This is one of the best benefits!

7) Hospice must be provided at home. Although many families would prefer hospice services be given at home, hospice goes anywhere.

8) You must relinquish your other home care services. Hospice works best as a compliment to other support services. There is a maximum amount of hospice services per day, usually around two. Clients eligible for hospice usually also benefit from 24/7 care. Hospice aides and home care certified nursing assistants can work together to care for clients, especially with transferring those unable to get out of bed.

We always recommend that clients explore hospice service options, sooner rather than later. Hospice is a great resource to support the client and their family.

Want to learn more about home care services or hospice options?

Call us today at 610-323-9800.

 

hospice care Philadelphia, home care Philadelphia

 

Make mealtimes easier

The following excerpt is from the Alzheimer’s Association’s article about Food & Eating.  The complete article and webpage can be found here.

During the middle and late stages of Alzheimer’s, distractions, too many choices, and changes in perception, taste and smell can make eating more difficult. The following tips can help:

  • Limit distractions. Serve meals in quiet surroundings, away from the television and other distractions.

  • Keep the table setting simple. Avoid placing items on the table — such as table arrangements or plastic fruit — that might distract or confuse the person. Use only the utensils needed for the meal.

  • Distinguish food from the plate. Changes in visual and spatial abilities may make it tough for someone with dementia to distinguish food from the plate or the plate from the table. It can help to use white plates or bowls with a contrasting color place mat. Avoid patterned dishes, tablecloths and place mats.

  • Check the food temperature. A person with dementia might not be able to tell if something is too hot to eat or drink. Always test the temperature of foods and beverages before serving.

  • Serve only one or two foods at a time. Too many foods at once may be overwhelming. Simplify by serving one dish at a time. For example, mashed potatoes followed by meat.

  • Be flexible to food preferences. Keep long-standing personal preferences in mind when preparing food, and be aware that a person with dementia may suddenly develop new food preferences or reject foods that were liked in the past.

  • Give the person plenty of time to eat. Remind him or her to chew and swallow carefully. Keep in mind that it may take an hour or longer to finish eating.

  • Eat together. Make meals an enjoyable social event so everyone looks forward to the experience. Research suggests that people eat better when they are in the company of others.

  • Keep in mind the person may not remember when or if he or she ate. If the person continues to ask about eating breakfast, consider serving several breakfasts — juice, followed by toast, followed by cereal.

Pride month may be over, but our LGBT sensitivity training continues!

NursePartners offers a LGBT sensitivity training in additional to our base dementia (“GEM”) training.

Why is the LGBT sensitivity training important?

According to SAGE, there are 3,000,000 people in the U.S., aged 55 and older, that openly identify as LGBT. When providing care to this community, there is a distinct set of challenges and way to connect before providing care. It is important that the employees providing the caregiving not only understand basic terminology, but listen and understand needs, said and unsaid.

Based on a SAGE survey of 1,857 LGBT older adults, here are some of our key considerations when caring for those in this community.

  • 40% of LGBT older adults, ages 60 to 75 report that their healthcare providers do not know their sexual orientation.
  • 40% of this same group report that their support networks have shrunk compared to 27% of non-LGBT people.
  • 34% are concerned about “being lonely and growing old alone”, compared to 19% of their non-LGBT counterparts.
  • 34% live alone, compared to 21% of their non-LGBT counterparts.

In Philadelphia, we commit ourselves to LGBT older adults through board membership and activism via the LGBT Elder Initiative of Philadelphia. Many of the SAGE findings have also been reported by the LGBT Elder Initiative here. (The LGBT Elder Initiative also offers great programming… if you were not already aware.)

So, what can a potential client that identifies as LGBT expect from NursePartners before the initiation of services?

  • An in-person assessment by a registered nurse, dementia practitioner, and a SAGE-certified employee. Subsequent LGBT sensitivity training has been done internally.
  • The development of a plan of care that not only outlines physical care needs but paints a picture of that individual’s life up until this point. This allows the care team to find ways to relate to the client before they even meet.
  • Given that the client commits to a regular schedule, they can expect a regular care team with whom they can establish trusting relationships. We take our commitment to HIPAA seriously, and this includes issues particular to LGBT older adults.
  • All carepartners are trained in the Positive Physical Approach to Care, as outlined by dementia care revolutionary, Teepa Snow. Many of these care approaches directly translate to individuals who are not living with dementia. It emphasizes connecting, patience, and “joining the client’s world”.
  • Carepartners working with LGBT older adults will also have received a LGBT sensitivity training provided by us.
  • A continuous relationship with NursePartners admin throughout the entirety of their time with us. We are an open book, with 24/7 effective hours of operation. Yes, we in admin sleep, but never all at the same time!
  • We are locally owned and have been hard at work since 2002. Since then, we have developed a network of providers that have also earned our trust. We are happy to share these resources with you if they are needed.

Want to learn more about NursePartners?  Why not give us a call at 610-323-9800?

Fall Costs for Older Adults in the Philadelphia Metro, Fall Risk Mitigation Techniques

Healthcare Costs Attributed to Falls:

The Pennsylvania Department of Health collects statistics for injuries that result in hospitalizations, per cause, per age group. In 2014, these injuries increased greatly for ages 45 to 64, decreased slightly for those 65 to 74, and increased again greatly for those over 75.

Below are the results for three counties in Pennsylvania: Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia. The numbers are not weighted for total population of each county, but rather represent individual counts.

dementia care costs, home care costs, fall risk Philadelphia, Alzheimer's Association of Philadelphia, Alzheimer's Association of Delaware River Valley

 

The National Council on Aging reported that in 2013, that out of 25 injury categories and 7 age groups, total hospital charges for all injuries and ages was greater than $9,100,000,000. Of this amount, $3,700,000,000 was spent on one injury type for one two age groups. This was for fall injuries for adults aged 65 years and older.

Using numbers from the U.S. census for 2013, the population of these three counties aged 65 years or older is approximately 385,762. In costs are divided evenly among the approximate U.S. population of this same age, 44,701,074.  The total cost of falls for older adults in Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia counties was approximately $31,930,316 in 2013.

9,790 individuals in the Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia counties were reported as having sustained hospitalizations due to a fall.  If we consider national costs consistent, the average hospitalization cost for these local older adults was $3,261.52 per fall.  This figure obscures the true cost. Some of these falls result in death while others lead to chronic and permanent injuries, which require increasing amount of funding for the remainder of that individual’s life.

How can you help prevent falls in older adults?

We do not have to wait around for a fall in order to act. Each of us has a role in mitigating the fall risk of older adults. In the senior’s home, we need to be especially vigilant, because this is where they spend the most time, and usually alone.

These are the concrete steps we can take:

  • Clear floor of clutter.
  • Ensure older adult is wearing nonskid footwear or shoes that fit.
  • If they wear glasses, clean them regularly and ensure use.
  • If the older adult is living with dementia, pay attention to the position of their head. Their line of sight is restricting, so they should be looking down at their path ahead.
  • Complete physical therapy exercises to make gains when possible and reevaluate weaknesses.
  • Keep corridors and bathroom properly lighted.
  • Be available to assistance in case of emergencies.
  • Reorganize closets and kitchen to be easily assessible to older adult.

Most, if not all, of these tasks require a consistent presence in the home to ensure compliance. NursePartners is a privately-owned home care company providing traditional home care and dementia care services. We have been around since 2002, founded and operated by a registered nurse and certified dementia practitioner.

Let us help you help them. Call us to learn about what makes NursePartners the agency of choice for families in the Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia county areas. We also call this area home!

610-323-9800

All sources were referenced today, on June 29, 2019.  The organization names are hyperlinked below.