As we know, often it is not what we say, but how we say it, that impacts our probability of success. It is no different than with caregiving.
Someone living with dementia is grappling with a loss of control. They are older adults who have lived their entire lives, led successful careers, raised families, and are used to being in control. It is not easy to accept the fact that they need help from others to carry on with basic tasks.
Therefore, consider the following phrases and how we might change them:
I want you to … –> May I help with that?
You need to … –> Can I do that with you?
That’s not what I told you … –> Would it be alright if?
No, not like that… –> How about we try it this way?
You can’t… –> How do you feel about this?
Let me do that for you… –> How about we do this together?
Why don’t you… –> Do you prefer this or that?
Don’t you remember? –> This is your (house/sister/son,etc.).
Please do this… –> Would you like to do that now or in a few minutes?
In addition to changing our phrases, we can also use new ones when we encounter difficult situations. If your loved one in angered or frustrated, acknowledge how they feel and explicitly express empathy. They do not like their situation any more than you. This will help them feel understood.
Some of these ideas came from the Mayo Clinic’s magazine “Living with Dementia”, specifically Chapter 3, p. 42.
It’s more likely that our parents will need to relocate to a new house as they age. Moving your parents into a new house may be challenging and stressful, whether due to their deteriorating health, the death of a spouse, or simply because their existing home is no longer adequate for their requirements. This blog article will review the importance of relocating your elderly parents, getting them ready for the change, and making the transfer go as smoothly as possible. After reading this article, we hope you understand what must be done to ensure your elderly parents receive the proper care.
Seniors may have an emotional attachment to the house they’re leaving, so it’s normal for them to feel sad and uncertain about the transition. It might be challenging to discuss the move with your elderly parent, but doing so can help the transition go more smoothly. Give them time to adjust to the change and talk to them about where they will live and why they are going. Giving your loved one as much control as possible while they plan and carry out the relocation can help them feel less stressed when asked to leave their long-time residence.
Make a plan and downsize
There is no such thing as early planning when you need to help your elderly parents move house. Downsizing their stuff with them before you start packing is an excellent place to start, especially if they are relocating to a place considerably smaller than their present residence. You may lessen the tension and any sense of being kept hostage by their possessions by selling, recycling, giving unwanted goods as gifts to relatives, or donating them. That is a sensitive procedure you should go through with your parents, at their own pace. You may always hire a professional to help if you’re having trouble finding the time or the emotional stamina for the task. The expert will sit with them and assist them with decluttering and downsizing, listen to their tales, and ensure that each thing goes to its proper home.
Rent a storage unit for what’s left
Your loved one might not be quite ready to part with particular objects. Maybe they want to entrust them to future generations. Whatever the reasons, it’s possible that you’ll have to rent a storage unit to keep the rest of their possessions. Storage facilities are a safe, practical, and accessible solution for anyone needing to store their belongings temporarily during relocation. Furthermore, suppose you need to relocate somewhere in Philadelphia. In that case, local movers can help you get your items safely to any location, whether it is your parent’s new home or a storage unit. Professional movers will offer expert help with any task, making your relocation a breeze.
Involve the rest of the family
It’s not necessary to help your elderly parents move house alone. Even if you may take the initiative, don’t be reluctant to enlist family members to share the workload. One person may, for instance, be in charge of getting moving supplies and finding a storage facility, while another compiles an inventory of every item in the house by room. This procedure will simplify relocation and assist in reuniting the family for a significant life event.
Nobody likes packing the night before a move, including your elderly parents. You want to prevent unnecessary tension, which might result from unpreparedness. As a result, start packing as soon as you have assisted them in decluttering and know what will be moving. Work your way through the house packing the items that aren’t used frequently first before moving on to the items required daily. You may even hire a professional to pack and move your parent’s possessions for them, relieving the tension even more. Doing this assignment early can save you worry in the long run and make the relocation a much simpler process.
Clean the old house
You still have much work to do after you finish organizing and packing. Whether you sell the old residence, rent it, or give it to another relative, you must do the same tasks. Therefore, consider cleaning the house and making necessary repairs before they become irremediable. Taking care of maintenance concerns immediately rather than later when the property is up for sale is preferable.
Prepare the new house
After you’ve located the ideal new residence for your elderly parents, it’s essential to check that it is senior-friendly. That entails making sure there are no stairs or steps that can present fall risks, the restroom is simple to use, and the kitchen is spacious enough to walk around without being restricted. Also, pay attention to how you organize the new home. For example, if the arrangement of the pictures on the living room wall was the same for as long as you can remember, carry it over to the new house. If you need to buy new furniture, arrange things in the same order and include decorations like throw blankets and pillows. Additionally, put pots and pans where you know your loved one can find and reach them.
If your parent is relocating far away, they might need to replace their dentist, doctor, or any other services they have. That may be a specific aspect of moving, but if your family has been seeing the same physician for a long time, the change in routine might be stressful. To prevent papers from sitting at their previous location, make the address changes as soon as possible. Additionally, have their mail forwarded to the new address.
Make the travel arrangements
Transportation may be a little more complicated, depending on how far you relocate your elderly parents. A short vehicle trip is not too challenging if you relocate them down the street. But, if they are traveling a long distance, the physical journey may become problematic. Will your elderly parent feel comfortable driving a long distance in a car? Is it preferable to transport them by train or plane? Find that out and plan a schedule that works for both of you. However, no matter how you plan to transfer them, wait until all their possessions are moved and unpacked.
As you can see, it’s not that difficult to help your elderly parents move house. All you need is a good organization and a well-thought plan. Your loved one should experience a smoother transition if you carefully plan the relocation and the new house is ready to welcome them.
Late-stage dementia can be a tough and challenging time for caregivers and loved ones. However, understanding what to expect during this stage can help make the experience more manageable. The progression of dementia is marked by changes such as memory loss, language impairment, and carrying out familiar daily tasks. Though it’s difficult to predict the exact course of this progressive disorder, the last stage of dementia has specific identifiable characteristics.
As caregivers, it’s important to understand what happens in your loved one’s brain and how that affects their behavior and capabilities. At NursePartners, our Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs), also known as CarePartners, support and care for dementia patients whether they are aging at home or in a healthcare facility. We’ll connect with your loved one as they endure the last stage of dementia symptoms, which can be a challenging and emotionally charged experience.
It’s important to understand the final stages of this disease so you can better adjust your care techniques to be more effective. In this post, we’ll let you know what to look out for during the final stages of dementia.
What is Late-stage Dementia?
Late-stage dementia is the final stage of progressive brain disorder. This is when symptoms become severe enough to significantly interfere with daily life and everyday activities. The exact symptoms will vary from person to person, but they can be extremely challenging for the individual and their caregivers.
At NursePartners, we are trained in using The GEMS™: Brain Change Model, designed by world-renowned occupational therapist Teepa Snow. We use this approach to connect with and care for patients at every stage of dementia.
Under The GEMS™: Brain Change Model, Dr. Snow categorizes dementia stages as gemstones. It’s an approach that encourages a strong care partnership by seeing your loved one as precious, unique, and capable. Our CarePartners use this model to help them to live fully in their moment. The advanced stages of dementia are classified as follows:
Ambers prefer to live in the present and are sensation-driven, manipulating, gathering, and touching objects. They emphasize wants and needs and occasionally wander while unaware of risks. Since they have trouble comprehending and expressing needs due to their limited communication ability, choosing familiar and sensory-stimulating activities is best.
Rubies start to lose their motor coordination. They also experience difficulty with visual awareness and major sensory changes, causing them to require assistance with everyday activities and actions such as brushing, buttoning, and walking. Hand-under-hand assistance helps rubies feel safe and secure.
In the last stage of dementia are our Pearls. They are oblivious to their surroundings like a pearl layered and concealed within a shell. They are also motionless and quiet. Pearls cherish intimate moments by clinging to pleasant noises and recognizable voices.
What are the Symptoms of Dementia Towards the End of Life?
The symptoms of late-stage dementia can vary depending on the underlying cause. Still, people in the last stage of dementia are more likely to experience a decline in physical and cognitive function.
The last stage of dementia symptoms include:
Difficulty remembering names and faces
Struggling to speak coherently
Having a limited understanding of what is being said to them
Inability to walk
Difficulty swallowing and feeding themselves
Inability to use the toilet independently.
They may also suffer from weight loss, incontinence, and sleep problems. In addition, people with late-stage dementia are at an increased risk for falls and other accidents. As the condition progresses, they typically become bedridden and require around-the-clock care.
Further changes are common as a patient’s condition deteriorates within a few days or hours of dying. The person may:
worsen more quickly than before
be unable to swallow
become agitated or restless
develop an irregular breathing pattern
have a chesty or rattly sound to their breathing
have cold hands and feet.
How Long Does the Late-stage of Dementia Usually Last?
On average, the final stage of dementia last one to two years. Ultimately, the length of time a person spends in the last stage of dementia will depend on many factors, including the underlying cause of the disease and the individual’s overall health.
How to Support Someone During the Last Stage of Dementia?
Knowing that your family member or friend is near the end of life can be devastating, but making some plans may make things easier. When someone reaches the final stages of life, one of the main concerns is ensuring they are comfortable and as pain-free as possible.
There are a few things that you can do to manage difficult behaviors associated with late-stage dementia:
Create a calm and safe environment: Make sure the space around them is uncluttered and free from potential hazards. Consider using soft lighting and calming music to create a soothing atmosphere.
Encourage communication: Try engaging them in conversation and activities they enjoy. This can help them feel more connected and less frustrated.
Provide support: It is important to provide physical and emotional support to the person with dementia and other caregivers. This can help reduce stress levels and prevent burnout.
Professional Help for Late-Stage Dementia Available in Philadelphia, Montgomery, Chester, and Delaware Counties
For 20 years, NursePartners has supported families by providing compassionate and experienced nurse care to their loved ones living with dementia. We will work with you to devise a comprehensive care plan for your relative.
Contact us today by calling 610.323.9800 for a free consultation. You may also complete our online contact form.
Modern technology has enabled people to work and communicate from any part of the world, resulting in many families scattered around several cities and states. However, there are instances when your physical presence and attention are needed. Taking care of a senior loved one presents specific practical challenges that can’t be managed from a distance. Relocating to a new city can be traumatic for your loved one, and there are times when moving closer is the best option. But what are the telltale signs that the time has come?
Today, NursePartners shares some tips to help you recognize and respond to the signs.
Signs Your Senior Loved One Needs You
Parents and close relatives who’ve been leading independent lives may not want children, family, or other loved ones to know they require increased care. You may notice their eyesight is deteriorating, and they’re less mobile and active than before. For example, they may have difficulty with day-to-day tasks, such as driving and cooking. A loss of interest in activities and hobbies they previously enjoyed may indicate they suffer from depression and feel isolated.
Before contemplating any action, take a trip to visit them, and talk to friends and any caregivers. By getting a realistic picture of their current situation, you can make informed decisions on the best plan moving forward.
Taking Steps to Move
One of the primary challenges of moving is finding a new home. The best way to overcome these challenges and avoid an emotion-driven purchase is to rent a property in an area close to where your senior loved one lives to assess the situation.
If you plan to purchase a home, for example, top mortgage lenders can help you. The house you can buy depends on your monthly income and total monthly expenses. It means that you have to add up your monthly expenses and divide the total by your gross monthly income. Some online calculators can assist if you aren’t sure how to calculate your debt-to-income ratio. If you’re unfamiliar with the area, it’s a good idea to get a feel for the market and the prices you can expect.
Lastly, develop a plan to help you prepare for the move itself. Don’t think you need to do everything yourself. You can do yourself a big favor by searching online for “movers near me,” then browsing ratings and reviews to get the best deal.
Getting a jump start on this can make all the difference in the world; the sooner you start making a plan, the smoother the process can be. Sure, there will still be a few bumps in the road, but planning ahead is essential when you’re moving — especially if you’re moving yourself and your business.
Arranging Care for Your Senior Loved One
Your loved one may experience loss of memory, act impulsively, or lose their balance when walking, which may be indicative of the early stages of dementia. Depending on the level of care your loved one needs and the amount of time you can spend taking care of them, consider using professional caregivers’ services. In many cases, seniors require specialized treatment as their condition advances.
Take Preventative Action
Whether or not to move closer to a senior loved one isn’t an easy decision, as it involves several changes for you and the person you’re caring for. By carefully assessing the situation and determining the actual level and need of care, it can help make a move successful in the long run.
NursePartners provides services to assist someone living with this ever-changing condition to help them live fully in their moment. Call 610-323-9800.
Centenarians have a lot of lessons to share with us! As our life expectancies increase, it is worth learning from these three individuals, who are still living relatively good lives being 100 years old (or more)!
Some of their advice includes:
Eat fresh food, including preparing it yourself.
Communicate and be open to new ideas.
Reminisce fondly on those who have passed already.
Keep up with the times and adopt technology.
Invest in fulfilling marriages.
Stay independent, but know when to ask for help when you need it.
Be happy and keep in equilibrium.
To learn more, watch the video below.
NursePartners home care team can keep mom and dad functioning at their best. We help older adults with the activities of daily living, in order for them to focus on enjoying life. Services range from basic companionship to 24/7 support for all needs. Call us today to learn more 610-323-9800.
This is the continuation of our series about connecting with a loved one, living with dementia, during the holiday season.
In the previous article about Sapphires, we discussed someone exhibiting signs of dementia, but not actually suffering from the disease. Depression, as well as other possible culprits, are mostly curable. Dementia is different.
What is Dementia?
In this article, we will discuss the first stage of dementia: Diamond.
If you are looking for a three-minute explanation of dementia, here is a great video.
Here are a few important statements to keep in mind:
Dementia is progressive, without a known cure, and leads to death. However, medications and engagement can slow the progression of the disease.
There are over 80 known types of dementia, and sometimes some can exhibit multiple types. The most common type of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease.
Many people are only officially diagnosed further in the disease progression, if at all. (There are many Diamonds that do not know they have the disease, nor do their family members.)
A person living with dementia will loose various skills and abilities as the disease progresses, not just their cognitive capacity.
The first stage of dementia is a Diamond because this gem is “clear and sharp”. Diagnosis is tricky because sometimes picking up on changes requires a long visit.
Diamonds can be successful at established habits and routines. They can engage in small talk and appear pleasant. This is because the first skill to be compromised, in Alzheimer’s type dementia, is short-term memory. In other types of dementia, such as frontotemporal, the person loses the ability to control their impulses.
Established habits and social mannerisms continue, because they were usually adopted at a younger age. These memories and skills are preserved are stored differently in the brain.
Interactions become more difficult as they become more substantive. During conversation difficulties can arise if you reference recently learned information. The person living with dementia becomes less flexible at changing habits and behaviors in response to new information. In conversation, the person will begin to appear overly rigid and are prone to snap if they cannot follow the conversation.
Recommendations for engaging with Diamonds
For those living with dementia and are operating as a Diamond, here are some recommendations:
Throw out the phrase “Do you remember?” and anything similar. They do not remember and you quizzing them will leave no one feeling better. Instead, try to focus on what they remember, resorting to more distant memories.
Involve them in the process as much as possible. They will feel frustrated by being unable to accomplish certain tasks, but your job is to find out the ones they still can do with you or on their own. If they can participate, they will feel competent and valued. Best activities will vary depending on physical abilities and past hobbies, but here are some ideas:
Ask them to help you sort or organize, preferably a task that you are not highly prioritizing, but would be nice if complete.
Have them paint or color certain objects.
Request they tell you a favorite childhood story.
Enlist their help watching a pet dog or cat.
Try a simpler version of a task they used to enjoy. For example, if they used to complete 1,000-piece puzzles, try a 100-piece puzzle.
Do not rationalize or try to occupy the moral high ground. Meet them where they are in their moment. If you seek to stop or prevent a certain activity, offer them an alternative. Substitute, then subtract.
GEM levels can fluctuate based on the person’s energy level, stress, and nutrition. For example, a fatigued or sick Diamond, can operate more like an Emerald for periods of time, before the Emerald stage become their modus operandi. Learn when and how your loved one operates best and use these moments to maximize a connection. Remember, always connect before providing care.
Build your team
It is important to build your care team at this stage before you reach a state of desperation. As the disease progresses, the person will become increasingly dependent on the people who are currently fulfilling the role as caregiver. If this person is you, it will be more difficult to introduce outside help effectively. Your loved one living with dementia may develop abnormal sleep patterns and become less considerate of your needs until theirs are met.
Providing hands on care is more effective after a connection is established. It is recommended that you introduce care early, on a regular weekly schedule, to get the person comfortable with the idea of help before someone needs to actively assist with hygiene and other more private care needs. In this way, you can gradually build your team and establish coverage with a reputable care provider.
NursePartners is happy to complete a wellness assessment, at no cost, if referencing this article. All assessments are completed by a registered nurse and certified dementia practitioner. Your call is answered by a member of the admin team, at any time around the clock: 610-323-9800.
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
NursePartners presents on behalf of the Alzheimer’s Association. One of the most commonly requested presentations discusses the early warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia. We compare these signs with others that are more typical of age-related changes.
It is very important to remember that each person is unique, with their own baseline. If you are looking to identify a developing form of dementia, consider all factors that make up that individual, including their personality, life experiences, family, and education. Warning signs are problematic when a few more or more exist.
The signs of normal aging are just examples. These vary depending on each person. If you have additional questions, you are welcome to call our 24/7 line at 610-323-9800 or the Alzheimer’s Association hotline 1-800-272-3900.
The Clinical Trial Study Group LLC is looking for adults 50 to 90 years old to participate in this study. Participants need to be diagnosed as living with an early stage of Alzheimer’s disease or demonstrate mild cognitive impairments which are indicators for the later development of dementia. The third requirement is that the participant have a “study partner”. This study partner has at least 10 hours per week of contact with the participant, enabling the study partner to provide accurate information about the participant’s cognitive and functional abilities.
What are the early warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias? See this article.
Participants will either receive an injection of gantenerumab or a placebo, beginning every four weeks and then occurring every two weeks.
What is gantenerumab?
“Gantenerumab is a fully human monoclonal antibody designed to achieve specific and highly sensitive recognition of the assembly structure of major
components in Aβ plaques. This hypothesis has been supported by the results of preclinical studies.”
What is a placebo?
A placebo is a “dummy” drug with no active ingredients. It is given in order to mitigate against the psychological bias that result in some participants feeling better or worse just for have been given an injection (versus not receiving one).
Want more information about this study? Call 215-884-1700 or visit the Clinical Trial Center via their website, www.theclinicaltrialcenter.com.
NursePartners, Inc. clinicians are participating in the administration of gantenerumab and the placebo. However, this is a clinical study whose results are uncertain. We encourage those interested to ask more questions and to consider all options.
Our field of vision changes as we age, but the changes are drastic for a person living with dementia. Eventually the field of vision becomes so restricted that sight becomes a main obstacle in carepartners connecting before providing care. The results could worsen anxiety, hallucinations, mood swings, aggression, and other behavioral issues.
Visual deterioration progresses in the following order:
45* peripheral (This is the normal range of vision for an older adult 75 years young.)
Tunnel vision (The width is about a yard in diameter. Loss of sight occurs in all directions: left, right, up, and down.)
Binocular vision (Cup your hands around your eyes or use a pair of binoculars to experience this for yourself.)
Restricted binocular (Cup your hands tighter around each eye, until they are just loose enough to fit a pencil through each opening.)
Monocular (The brain shuts off vision to one eye. This is because the brain is prioritizing other bodily functions such as digestion, respiration, and blood circulation.)
NursePartners practices the positive physical approach to care. We emphasize the importance of recognizing these changes in order to build meaningful and successful relationships. Admin includes dementia practitioners and coaches that train our carepartners in dementia care before placing them to work with our clients.
Want to learn more about our dementia training? Think these approaches can enhance the quality of life for your loved one?
Call us to learn more about how we can help: 610-323-9800.
“Ambers”, or clients living in a middle stage of dementia, experience the world with binocular vision.