Posts Tagged ‘quality time’

Communication with an Alzheimer’s Patient

Sunday, October 31st, 2010

It is a common symptom for an Alzheimer’s patient to get confused or forget words as the disease progresses. They may also speak less clearly in general. Understanding the needs of these patients can become challenging for caregivers as well as loved ones. The patient may also have difficulty interpreting the communication style of others. It is important to practice verbal and nonverbal techniques which take into consideration a patient’s unique circumstances; this can help break the communication barrier.

At the start of the conversation, identify yourself by name AND the loved one as well. This sort of to-the-point clarity can be soothing to Alzheimer’s patients as many experiences difficulty in identification of people as the disease progresses.

Always use a quiet and relaxing tone of voice when speaking to your loved one. Speak slowly and enunciate clearly. When asking a question, asking ONE question at a time, insuring to use the same wording if the patient asks you to repeat. Avoid references that may be confusing to the patient such as pronouns; avoid metaphors as well since the patient might interpret as literal.

It is important to approach an Alzheimer’s patient in a way that is non-threatening. This is a basic way to improve communication between you and the patient. Simply approaching the patient from the front rather than from behind removes uncertainty the patient may have regarding you and the general environment. Try to maintain calm and peaceful surroundings with a minimal amount of background distractions; this is to help avoid disorder or chaos. When speaking to your loved one, demonstrate sincerity by talking face to face, maintaining eye contact and using facial expressions to reflect the sentiment behind your conversation. Smiling, hugging or touching is EXCELLENT non-verbal communication that is gentle and should be well-received by the patient.

While visiting with the patient, be careful not to startle him or her; move about slowly and clearly explain what you are doing. Try to be sympathetic to what your loved one is trying to say to you through words and expressions.

Caregivers and loved ones of Alzheimer’s patients sometimes feel weighed down by the extreme personality and mood changes that are affecting the patient. Effectively dealing with these changes involves being instinctive and adjusting your own communication style to accommodate the changing needs of your loved ones.

Always remember that when speaking to an Alzheimer’s patient to speak clearly and concisely and be calm.

Alzheimer’s Disease

Saturday, October 30th, 2010

Having a clear understanding of what Alzheimer’s disease is and how it affects your loved ones is the first step in learning to cope with the diagnosis.

Alzheimer’s disease often begins with a progressive memory loss, followed by an increase in disorganized thought and speech patterns. There is a continual deterioration in the brain and this enables the disease to progress to a point in which the person becomes helpless and is no longer able to care for themselves. The disease eventually results in death. The exact cause of Alzheimer’s disease is unknown, though there are known genetic and environmental factors that contribute to the disease.

Alzheimer’s disease affects about four million people in the United States.

It is important to get medical attention for this disease AS SOON AS POSSIBLE; this helps prolong the quantity and quality of life. Finding a doctor who is familiar with Alzheimer’s disease is important although, you might want to consider a doctor who is specifically trained for treatment in the diseases of the elderly. Other doctors that can diagnose Alzheimer’s disease include neurologists and psychologists. Be aware though that there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease; however there are medications available that can help treat and slow down the progression of the disease. It is also helpful to have a good support system. Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease is at times overwhelming as well as devastating. Your local Alzheimer’s Association is a good starting point. They are extremely helpful and can offer a lot of advice on caring for your loved one as well as personal coping strategies. They can also direct you to local support groups and organizations. You might want to also locate extra help with the care of your loved one if things become too consuming.

Often, it becomes too much to care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease.  As the disease progresses, your loved one needs more care and it can become difficult to consistently be there to care for your loved one alone. If this should happen, be sure to find an appropriate facility that is skilled at caring for patients with Alzheimer’s and dementia. Research your options before it becomes necessary to that you are prepared to make an informed decision.

It’s important to remember that caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease is an emotionally stressful experience; you need to remember to take care of yourself as well. Take time out for a break and to meet your needs as well so that you can be at your best to deal with your loved one. There are many options such as day facilities that can care for your loved one when you need a respite. Also, educate yourself about the disease; there is a lot of information available on the internet and in libraries on Alzheimer’s disease; education will help you be better prepared of what is to come. Being prepared will help reduce the stress involved if you are better prepared.

Thanksgiving

Sunday, October 17th, 2010

For the most part, Thanksgiving is a day where family and friends travel far and wide to celebrate the day with a huge feast of traditional favorites like turkey, mashed potatoes, dressing, gravy and pumpkin pie. For senior citizens, this day often means loneliness.

Each year, many elderly rely on community outreach programs such as Meals on Wheels, the Salvation Army, and many local organizations to celebrate Thanksgiving. These elderly face many challenges such as being unable to cook a large meal, no family or family that is too far away, as well as other issues.

Below is a small sampling of organizations who help with a Thanksgiving Meal:

  • Self-Help for the Elderly, who opened their doors in 1966, has a Thanksgiving Luncheon at 3 locations. They also deliver meals. Please click here for more information.
  • Glide Memorial Church operates one of the largest free meal programs in San Francisco. The church is located at 330 Ellis Street in San Francisco. Call the church to find out times and days.
  • Tenderloin Tessie’s is one of San Francisco’s oldest community meals. Last year was its 32nd year and the meal was served at the First Unitarian Church at 1187 Franklin Street. Call the church to find out times and days.

Holidays are times to be spent with family, friends, and those you love; the elderly often are unable to do this. These community organizations mentioned as well as many others, help to make the holidays a bit brighter. Please consider donating or volunteering.

How Can I Help?

Saturday, September 25th, 2010

There are many ways to help the elderly. Many are so simple, yet many people do not think of them. Take a look at the list and see what you can do to help an elderly neighbor, relative, friend, or even a complete stranger. Do something—it will make you feel great!

  • Stop and Visit~Senior Citizens get lonely no matter where they are…home, nursing homes, assisted living. It only takes a few moments to stop in and say hello. It’s surprising how much of a difference this makes to senior citizens.
  • Do a Household Chore~Dust a high place that an elderly person might not be able to get to safely, scrub a floor, take out the trash…the list is virtually endless.
  • Read~Oftentimes, the elderly cannot see well any longer or at all and they want to know what is happening in the world. A book on tape is also a great little gift.
  • Cook a meal~The elderly have special nutritional needs and often they do not think about them. When you cook the next time, take a meal to an elderly person.
  • Check on them in bad weather~The elderly may not be able to get out.
  • Transportation~Give an elderly person a ride to the grocery store, bank, or medical appointment.
  • Play a game~The elderly enjoy playing cards and board games as it can give them a feeling of being young again. And that is an awesome feeling to have!
  • Make a phone call~Spare just a few minutes for a senior citizen and see how they are doing or just say hello. It helps the elderly not feel so alone and forgotten.
  • Check detectors~Make sure the smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are in working order; replace batteries.
  • Home Repairs~Check for small repairs that you could do such as patch a hole in a wall, wire an outlet, or fix a leaky sink.

This list is not all inclusive. There are many ways you can help out an elderly person. Check out your neighborhood or your local senior center to see what you can do to help!

The New Look Of Retirement

Saturday, September 11th, 2010

Family photos

The face of retirement and what it means to ‘be retired’ has changed dramatically in the past few years. At one time, it was about getting affairs in order and relaxing after a lifetime’s worth of working hard.

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A Phone Call is All it Takes

Sunday, July 18th, 2010

Elderly care

When an elderly relative is alone, often when they aren’t a parent or guardian at times a phone call or visits can drop in favor of other responsibilities. Yet it is those relatives that can also be at most in need of having someone there for them and watching out for them.

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Don’t Be Afraid of Asking Questions

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010
Elderly Couple with Dog

It is normal to be a bit nervous about having someone come into your home, especially if you aren’t sure about who they are.  An in-home agency understands this and will encourage you to ask questions, and if you would like, allow your family to ask questions to help you feel comfortable with the services you receive.

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Life Saving Underwear May Lead to Clothing That Could Potentially Save a Life Being Developed

Saturday, June 12th, 2010

Scientists have been working on many interesting concepts in the past few years, with a huge focus on more advanced life saving technologies. One group of scientists out of California, led by Professor Joseph Wang of the University of California at San Diego, has created a pair of potentially life-saving undergarments.

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Leaving Your Legacy

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

Family photos

There is a part of us that will always stay with the ones we love, from cherished memories and photographs from the years past.  A new trend that is both a source of comfort for family members and something special that will be cherished for years and years to come is making some re-think what kind of legacy they would like to leave their families.  With the wave of self-publishing availability some are turning to the web to create books on their lives, with photos and stories from loved ones.

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The Importance of Dignity

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

Elderly living

Dignity is a word that seems so often talked about in only abstracts.  It is however a very important step in keeping up a way of living and being content in life quality.  Out of everyone, the elderly especially deserve respect and dignity.

Respect, understanding, and an understanding approach is of top importance when caring for people, and especially the elderly.

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