Tag: home health care

Making mealtimes easier

Family members and caregivers play an important role in identifying eating-related problems of those with dementia. Mealtimes can be made easier by implementing a variety of strategies that promote independence.

These are six common problems and solutions:

Cognitive issues: include the inability to express needs or desires. Sometimes they forget to eat or are unable to distinguish food from the plate as a consequence of changing visual and spatial abilities.

  • Solution: Set an alarm clock or a phone call as a useful reminder for mealtimes. Snacks that don’t need to be refrigerated can be left out where they are easily seen.  Use contrasting plates with placemats.  Remember to keep water or another beverage within sight.  Your loved one might not always be able to tell you when they are thirsty.

Physical problems: include the inability to hold and use utensils; proper posture; fatigue; vision impairment; decreased depth perception; mouth sores; gum disease; dry mouth; poorly fitting or missing dentures; chewing or swallowing problems (dysphagia); and inability to move food inside the mouth.

  • Solution: Finger foods can be a nutritious and easy alternative, enabling a continued level of independence. If the person’s head tilts backward, move it to a forward position while allowing them to eat at their own pace.  You can also use double hand-under-hand to simulate the motion of the person feeding themselves.  This often is the most effective approach.

Menu-related concerns: include an overwhelming amount of choices; unappealing food presentations, smells, flavors, or textures; and foods that from the individual’s personal, cultural, or religious preferences.

  • Solution:  Keep long-standing personal preferences in mind when preparing food.  Understand that new food preferences usually develop. Simplify mealtime by serving one dish at a time.  Whenever possible, engage the care recipient in the process.  Let them express their likes and dislikes and adjust the offerings accordingly.

Lack of physical activity: can decrease appetite.

  • Solution: Encourage simple exercise, such as going for a walk, gardening, or washing dishes.  If your loved one is enrolled in a physical therapy session, try to incorporate the physical therapy suggestions.

Environmental issues: can be noise, visual stimulation, poor lighting, and temperature.  These  all have an effect on your loved one’s ability to eat.

  • Solution: Try serving meals in quiet surroundings, away from the television and other distractions. Keep the table settings simple. Avoid any table arrangements that may distract or confuse the person.  Use only the utensils needed for the meal.  Vision changes for all older adults, but especially for those living with dementia.  Remember that you will need to approach from the right angles in order for them to see you.

New medications or a dosage change may affect appetite.

  • If you notice a change, call the doctor.

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It is common for individuals in later stages of dementia to lose a considerable amount of weight. Physiological changes associated with aging, such as decreased thirst and hunger perception, can further complicate nutrition and hydration status in dementia patients.

 

It is important to address a decreased appetite while still making the most of your loved one’s abilities. Adapt recipes to enable self-feeding abilities at mealtimes, These are important opportunities for them to make choices.

Teepa Snow on Planning Activities to Enrich the Lives of People with Alzheimer’s

Strategies and techniques for dementia care

By now, you all know why we love the nationally renowned dementia care expert Teepa Snow and her GEMS® classification system techniques and strategies.  This Huffington Post article covers the essentials in providing family members and care partners the tools and tips that lead to positive and meaningful relationships with loved ones with Alzheimer’s and dementia.

As a person with Alzheimer’s and dementia progresses, it is important to continue to provide quality of life at each stage. Entertainment and activities are essential for the wellbeing of people with Alzheimer’s. While they do not slow the progression of dementia and Alzheimer’s, these activities can improve the quality of life for your loved ones.

“They can make the difference between a deadly boring day of staring at the floor and a rich sense of purpose and contentedness. They can also help the caregiver make a connection with the person, no matter how brief.”

home care, meaningful activities, engaging, home health care

Move beyond entertainment

Games and activities help maintain motor skills and lessen agitation, depression, and stress. Projects that match your loved one’s skills and profession can provide a sense of independence and ownership. It’s important to adapt the activities you use to your loved one’s natural likes and  disposition. Here are some things to consider when providing a plan of care:

  1. What profession did you loved one choose?
  2. Which roles did they have and can you preserve or re-imagine some of that?
  3. Are they an extrovert or introvert?
  4. What were their hobbies?

While an extrovert is likely to enjoy group activities like bingo, your introvert will much rather do something on their own, such as solving puzzles or organizing coins.

For people with Alzheimer’s disease, a successful activity, whether it’s listening to music or playing a game, helps create meaning and pulls from past interests. These activities can provide your loved one with a chance to be more engaged, while fostering an emotional connection and self-expression.

According to Teepa, the single most important thing for family and professional care partners to keep in mind is:

“Provide more than just entertainment.

People with dementia can become tired or overstimulated if they have too much entertainment.”

Include productive and relaxation activities

It’s important to balance the day, by including productive activities (that the person can realistically to expected to be able to achieve), leisure time, fitness activities and, finally, rest and relaxation. Teepa stressed the importance of modifying your expectations as your loved one progresses through the stages of dementia. Activities that worked well with those in the early stages will not necessarily be successful for those in the mid- to late-stages.

People with dementia have the right to enjoy the highest possible quality of life and care by being engaged in meaningful relationships that are based on equality, understanding, sharing, participation, collaboration, dignity, trust, and respect.

At NursePartners, we work to match a highly qualified and experienced care partners to your preferences and expectations. We strive for hand-picked, exceptional care that meets the needs of each unique individual. Our specialized approach to care includes a customized treatment plan – our caregivers are dedicated to improving quality of life.

By keeping a record of everything from mood behaviors, health problems to daily activities, we can begin to understand what factors contribute to positive moods and overall happiness. Furthermore, our care partners have leading expertise and experience with dementia and Alzheimer’s care. Care partners also assist with transportation, preparing individualized meals, light housekeeping, and personal care.

If your loved one needs home care assistance or relief, our team would love to help. Contact us today.

Chadds Ford, PA Dementia Caregivers

Dementia Caregivers in Chadds Ford, PA

Care. Connection. Companionship.

2Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia can be a challenging journey. Chadds Ford, PA Dementia Caregivers understand that dementia poses many changes that require personalized care, expertise, and compassion. Chadds Ford, PA Dementia Caregivers are an option for providing support to individuals, without moving them from their current residence.

NursePartners’ approach to Alzheimer’s and Chadds Ford, PA Dementia Caregivers is based on The GEMS™: Brain Change Model created by Teepa Snow. NursePartners recognizes Teepa’s positive approach to care as an effective method to provide care for loved ones living with dementia. This approach categorizes dementia stages with six different gemstones, defined by unique characteristics. Click here for an overview of the classification system.

 

1Trained carepartners are knowledgeable and experienced with dementia and adjust care accordingly. After an initial assessment, we create a plan of care to help your loved one live comfortably and safely. This positive approach allows carepartners to fill their time together with meaningful activities and positive interactions to best support every stage.

Our Chadds Ford, PA Dementia Caregivers carepartners are dedicated to improving quality of life. By keeping a record of everything from mood behaviors, health complications, and daily activities, we begin to understand what factors contribute to positive moods and overall happiness.

By appreciating and understanding what is changing and what is still possible, we generate a plan of care that is positive and productive

Some of the services we provide are:

  • 4Companionship
  • Meal preparation
  • Bathing, grooming, and hygiene
  • Mobility assistance
  • Transferring and positioning
  • Feeding / diet monitoring
  • Toileting and incontinence care
  • Light housekeeping
  • Errands and shopping
  • Medication reminders
  • Incidental transportation

Best Chadds Ford, PA Dementia Caregivers