Learning Patience for Alzheimers Patients

 

We know caring for a person with Alzheimer’s disease at home is a difficult task and can become overwhelming at times. Each day brings new challenges as you cope with changing levels of ability and new patterns of behavior. Learning patience for loved ones with Alzheimers is critical to both the caregivers health as well as your patient. Here are some of our suggestions to help for caring for a patient with Alzheimers… and we’d love to hear your suggestions, too.

Have a Plan

Having a plan for getting through the day can help caregivers cope. Many caregivers have found it helpful to use strategies for dealing with difficult behaviors and stressful situations. Through trial and error, you will find that some of the following tips work, while others do not. Each person with Alzheimer’s is unique and will respond differently, and each person changes over the course of the disease. Do the best you can, and remind yourself to take breaks.

Trying to communicate with a person who has Alzheimer’s disease can be a challenge. Both understanding and being understood may be difficult. Here are 5 tips for better communication:

  1. Choose simple words and short sentences and use a gentle, calm tone of voice.
  2. Avoid talking to the person with Alzheimer’s like a baby or talking about the person as if he or she weren’t there.
  3. Minimize distractions and noise—such as the television or radio—to help the person focus on what you are saying.
  4. Make eye contact and call the person by name, making sure you have his or her attention before speaking.
  5. Try to frame questions and instructions in a positive way.

Exercise

Incorporating exercise into the daily routine has benefits for both the person with Alzheimer’s disease and you! Not only can it improve health, but it also can provide a meaningful activity for both of you to share.

  1. Think about what kind of physical activities you both enjoy, perhaps walking, swimming, tennis, dancing, or gardening. Determine the time of day and place where this type of activity would work best.
  2. Be realistic in your expectations. Build slowly, perhaps just starting with a short walk around the yard, for example, before progressing to a walk around the block.
  3. Be aware of any discomfort or signs of overexertion. Talk to the person’s doctor if this happens.
  4. Allow as much independence as possible, even if it means a less-than-perfect garden or a scoreless tennis match.
  5. See what kinds of exercise programs are available in your area. Senior centers may have group programs for people who enjoy exercising with others. Local malls often have walking clubs and provide a place to exercise when the weather is bad.

Visitors

Visitors are important to people with Alzheimer’s. They may not always remember who the visitors are, but the human connection has value. Here are some ideas to share with someone who is planning to visit a person with the disease.

  1. Plan the visit for the time of day when the person with Alzheimer’s is at his or her best.
  2. Consider bringing along an activity, such as something familiar to read or photo albums to look at, but be prepared to skip it if necessary.
  3. Be calm and quiet. Avoid using a loud tone of voice or talking to the person as if he or she were a child.
  4. Try to establish eye contact and call the person by name to get his or her attention.
  5. Remind the person who you are if he or she doesn’t seem to recognize you.

If you or a loved one need extra help, our personalized and custom health home care is a great option.

Questions?

Hopkinton Home Care wants to answer your personal and confidential questions. Only after we learn what you need can we let you know how we can meet those needs. Give us a call: 508-544-4650.

http://www.hopkintonhomecare.com/


Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease teaches us many great unexpected lessons — both as caregivers and family members — that leave a lasting impression on our lives.

What are some of the most important lessons you’ve learned from loved ones?


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5 Heart-Healthy Habits

@HomeCareHoptown: 5 Heart-Heathy Habits

This month, take a moment to assess your lifestyle. Are you living a heart-friendly life or you are heading for disaster? Preventing heart disease requires attention to many aspects of your life. Consider these heart-healthy habits. Which ones can you add to your heart-healthy lifestyle?

Get your 5-a-day

Make sure you have at least five 80g portions of fruit and vegetables every day. Use the heart matters portion checker to see what that looks like.

Cut the saturated fat

Swap saturated fats like butter, lard, and ghee for unsaturated fats like rapeseed, olive and sunflower oils and spreads. Remove visible fat and skin from meat and poultry, and use low-fat milk and dairy products.

Slash the salt

Avoid adding salt to your food, but make sure you check food labels too. Three-quarters of the salt we eat is already in our food and there can be quite a variation even in basic items like bread and cereals.

Follow a Mediterranean-style diet

Research shows that eating a Mediterranean-style diet can reduce your risk of another heart attack. A Mediterranean diet typically means one that is rich in fruit and vegetables, oily fish, such as sardines, and wholegrain cereals, with modest amounts of meat and low-fat dairy. One of the better-known aspects is the use of monounsaturated fats such as olive oil instead of saturated fats such as butter.

Watch your portions

Eating healthy, balanced diet should help keep your weight under control, but it’s important to keep an eye on your portion sizes too. Use a smaller plate or adjust the proportions so that half of your plate is fruit or veg.

 

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Hopkinton Home Care service areas include Ashland, Bellingham, Framingham, Franklin, Grafton, Holliston, Hopedale, Hopkinton, Northborough, Marlborough, Hudson, Southborough, Upton, Westborough, Whitinsville and surrounding towns in the MetroWest. Contact us today or call 508-544-4650.

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Prescription Drug Abuse in the Elderly and How to Help Your Loved Ones

Substance Abuse in the Elderly

Older adults who suffer from prescription drug abuse do so by accident. They take more medicine than other age groups. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), about 3 in 10 people between ages 57 to 85 use at least 5 prescriptions. This increases the risk for mistakes and drug abuse.*

After recently attending a seminar on the topic, it was important to reach out to raise awareness of prescription drug abuse among the elderly and to raise awareness of the symptoms. Do you know the symptoms? How do you help?

Did you know that elderly adults who commonly take 2 types of medicines have a higher potential for addiction? These are opioids and benzodiazepines.

Opioids are used to control pain. Examples include oxycodone (OxyContin), oxycodone with acetaminophen (Percocet), and hydrocodone with acetaminophen (Vicodin). A person can become addicted if they take an opioid for a long period of time or take too much of an opioid.

Benzodiazepines are used to treat anxiety, panic attacks, or insomnia. Examples include diazepam (Valium), alprazolam (Xanax), clonazepam (Klonopin), and lorazepam (Ativan). A person can become addicted if they take the drug for a long period of time.

Symptoms of prescription drug abuse can be hard to recognize in older adults. This is because they are similar to symptoms of aging. For instance, confusion and memory loss are symptoms of both.

If you care for or spend time with an older adult, be aware of their medicines and behavior.

Warning Signs

The following are warning signs that someone may be abusing prescription drugs. If they:

  • Get a prescription for the same medicine from two different doctors.
  • Fill a prescription for the same medicine at two different pharmacies.
  • Take more of a medicine than they used to or take more than is instructed on the label.
  • Take the medicine at different times or more often than is instructed on the label.
  • Become more withdrawn or angry.
  • Appear confused or forgetful.
  • Often talk about a medicine.
  • Are afraid to go somewhere without taking a medicine.
  • Are defensive when you ask about a medicine.
  • Make excuses for why they need a medicine.
  • Store “extra” pills in their purse or in their pocket.
  • Sneak or hide medicine.
  • Have been treated for alcohol, drug, or prescription drug abuse in the past.

When to see a doctor

If you suspect that an older adult is abusing a prescription drug, contact their doctor right away. Tell them about your concerns. The doctor will likely make an appointment to evaluate the person. They can diagnose if the problem is prescription drug abuse. The doctor also will help determine treatment.

Treatment options for prescription drug abuse vary by person. It depends on what drug is abused, the degree of addiction, and the risk of having a withdrawal of the drug. Treatment may include counseling, medicine, or both.

Questions to ask your doctor:

  • Do I take any medicines that could cause a drug interaction?
  • What should I do if I feel like I’ve become dependent on a medicine?
  • What is the best way to organize medicines so I don’t make a mistake?
  • What are the symptoms for prescription drug abuse?
  • How do I know if I need help?

If you need help with medication management for your loved ones, please don’t hesitate to give Hopkinton Home Care a call. Medication Management is one of our specialties.

Whether we offer support with medication management, bring them breakfast in the morning or simply listen, Hopkinton Home Care makes a significant difference to the quality of care of your loved ones. Hopkinton Home Care wants to answer your personal and confidential questions.

http://www.hopkintonhomecare.com/services.html

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Read more: www.hopkintonhomecare.com

Checklist to Secure the Safety of Your Elderly Loved Ones That Are Living Alone

What is the Cost of In-Home Care?

“Hopkinton Home Care is a Blessing to our Family.”

Reminder: Please get your flu shot!

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January Sparks Increased Loneliness: Here’s How To Help Your Loved Ones

 

Social isolation can be devastating at any time of the year, but the loneliness epidemic is particularly acute in January for the elderly and your loved ones.

The number of socially isolated older people who reach out for support increases over winter and always spikes in January. Hopkinton Home Care owner, Bill Marr, says January is a busy month for companionship services just to keep loved ones busy and minds occupied – while giving caretakers a moment to recover after the long holiday season.

Hopkinton Home Care also offers the following tips for connecting with socially isolated older people in your community to end loneliness:

1. Break the silence.

Older people often feel ignored and invisible in public. When you are out and about, keep an eye out for older people who are alone and might appreciate a chat. Socially isolated older people will often go a day or more without any contact so the conversation that you start may be the only one they have that day. Say hello or offer a smile!

2. Volunteer.
Contact the Elderly is a charity that is supported by a team of over 10,000 volunteers who help to fight loneliness in their communities, and they are always looking for more, particularly drivers to help with vital transport. Research online for other charities where you can volunteer to support lonely older people.

3. Call an older neighbor to see how they are.
Especially in winter months or if you know they have little or no family nearby. Give them a call and see if they need any help.

4. Reach out to your loved ones – connect with them physically or digitally. Hopkinton Home Care can help. If you or a loved one need extra help, our personalized and custom health home care is a great option.

5. Hopkinton Home Care wants to answer your personal and confidential questions. Only after we learn what you need can we let you know how we can meet those needs. Give us a call: 508-544-4650.

Contact Us to Learn More about Hopkinton Home Care

At Hopkinton Home Care, our goals are to provide care and compassion in the comfort of your own home. Hopkinton Home Care is proud to offer exceptional home care services to your loved ones throughout Metrowest Massachusetts.

To learn more about our home health services and how we can help in your loved one’s care, kindly contact us online (http://www.hopkintonhomecare.com/) or call 508-544-4650 and we will be in touch with you shortly.

http://www.hopkintonhomecare.com/

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5 Winter Activities to “Warm the Heart” of Your Loved Ones

Are you on the lookout for ideas to keep your older adult active during these cold, wintry months? Depending on their mobility and health condition, the idea of staying active during months of snow, ice and cold weather can seem daunting.

Fear not, there are loads of creative, safe and impactful senior activities they’ll love that will warm their heart too!

1. Cook together

Making a delicious, hot meal with your parent or spouse has surprising, heartwarming benefits. Not only can you spend time together actively doing something, but the act of reading recipes, measuring, setting timers and cooking is great stimulation for the brain and helps fight cognitive decline and memory loss.

For those who use a wheelchair to get around, tasks that don’t involve standing at the stove are best – reading the recipe, setting a timer, or stirring ingredients together on a low table are creative ways to involve them in the cooking fun.

2. Knit, crochet, or quilt

Can the person you care for turn their hobby into a way to care for others? Knitting, quilting or crocheting make great indoor activities during those winter days spent by a warm fire with a cup of tea.

These activities also carry a positive outcome. Seniors could knit hats to donate to local homeless shelters or hospitals, make a quilt for a grandchild, or crochet blankets for children in need. These are engaging activities for your older adult as well as a way for them give back to others and feel good about themselves.

3. Exercise

Literally, warm the heart by pumping up the blood flow with low-impact exercises your older adult can do at home. Routine exercise is hugely beneficial to older adults and can include activities like daily walks, yoga, swimming, or even getting in a good stretch while sitting in a wheelchair.

Exercise is critical to preventing illnesses and ailments that often accompany old age. It also boosts feelings of positivity and confidence. Regular physical fitness helps with coordination and balance too, which are key to preventing falls in the home. Read our previous post – Exercise Can Improve the Health of an Elder.

4. Video chat with family and friends

Cold winter days can lead to seniors spending a significant amount of time indoors. Combat feelings of isolation or loneliness by taking the time to reach out to friends and family who may live far away.

A free Skype or Google+ account lets anyone video chat using their computer or laptop, or if you have an iPhone, you can video chat via Facetime with others who have iPhones. Set up regular video chat dates with family or old friends during times of the day when your older adult is most awake and alert.

Teaching grandma how to video chat or how to Facebook is a great way to stay connected. Not only does connecting with others benefit your older adult’s overall well-being, it also gives them something to look forward to during seasonally darker days.

5. Make “blessings bags”

Warm the heart by helping your older adult show their community some love. Needing help in their daily life or having to use an assisted walking device or wheelchair can leave seniors feeling helpless or like they’ve lost the ability to help others. Show them this isn’t the case by helping them with a project that makes a positive impact on their community.

“Blessings Bags” are simply bags filled with helpful supplies, snacks, and drinks that can be handed out to homeless people around town or at a shelter.

At your local grocery or pharmacy store, purchase:

  • Warm adult socks
  • Bottles of water or sports drinks
  • Small snacks like granola bars, crackers or fruit snacks
  • Trial size toiletries like toothbrush with toothpaste, deodorant, chapstick
  • Other helpful items like wet wipes, hats, and gloves

Give your older adult some one-gallon size plastic bags and all the supplies to go in them. As a fun activity, they can assemble the “Blessings Bags” and could even write a nice note to place in each one. Stock the car with the bags to have on hand when you go on outings together.

Learn more about the services Hopkinton Home Care can provide to help your loved ones THRIVE through winter: www.hopkintonhomecare.com. 

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Learning More About Hopkinton Home Care

Learning more about Hopkinton Home Care

At Hopkinton Home Care, it’s important for the owner and all CNA’s (Certified Nursing Assistant) that we not only manage your expectations but that you are 110% comfortable with our services. Our job requires many different responsibilities, but care for patients on a daily basis provides us some of the greatest rewards any profession could offer.

Taking a closer look at the daily tasks at Hopkinton Home Care, we can narrow down our top 5 services in the list below. If you require a service not mentioned on our website, please don’t hesitate to ask!

  1. Feed, bathe and dress patients

Care from Hopkinton Home Care helps patients with their basic needs. Generally, this means helping them bathe, dress and feed themselves. These patients might include stroke victims, elderly residents or loved ones, or individuals recovering from an accident, injuries or surgeries at home.

  1. Take patient vital signs and escort to doctor appointments

From temperature to blood pressure, we are responsible for taking and recording patient vital signs. Routine tasks such as these are typically the initial steps of a patient’s visit to a physician’s office or hospital, which means we may also have the responsibility of transportation to and from an office visit.

  1. Serve meals, make beds and keep rooms clean

In line with meeting patients’ basic needs, our duties may include serving meals to patients, making beds and helping clean rooms. This can mean light cleaning or change soiled sheets. It also means getting the chance to have regular, one-on-one contact with patients—the compassionate relationships that can help people make it through times of illness with dignity.

  1. Set up medical equipment, medication management and assisting with some medical needs

Storing and setting up medical equipment might involve medication management and assist with other medical needs. Please discuss with us any and all medical needs to make sure they are in line with our capabilities.

  1. Offer companionship, answer questions and observe changes in a patient’s condition or behavior

Working so closely with patients on a daily or weekly basis, we observe not only the obvious changes in a patient’s physical condition but the subtleties of their emotional state. That intuition can have an immeasurable impact on helping patients make it through a trying recovery or come to terms with a long-term condition.

Whether we offer support with medication management, bring them breakfast in the morning or simply listen, Hopkinton Home Care makes a significant difference to the quality of care of your loved ones.Hopkinton Home Care wants to answer your personal and confidential questions. Only after we learn what you need can we let you know how we can meet those needs. Give us a call: 508-544-4650.

“Just emailing to let you know we’ve decided to go ahead with your company! We both felt comfortable and I like that you do all your hiring and interviews yourself. I’ll be back with my grandmother Wed-Sat and would love to meet an aid or two that you have in mind. Please let me know your availability those days. I look forward to working with you.”

Happy daughter of a new patient

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How to Help the Elderly Get through the Winter Snow Safely and Healthy.

 

 

 

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Exercise Can Improve the Health of an Elder

Engage in exercise with your loved ones!

Most people know that exercising can improve the health of an elder. This is important to reduce stress, encourage independence, enhance the mood and strengthen their physical condition.

In many cases, simple movements can help slow-moving elders get the necessary exercise they need, without having to leave the home. As a safety precaution, we recommend that your loved ones consult with a doctor first and if needed, exercise with a family member.

To get them excited and ready, here are some easy ways to get your loved ones moving!

Stretching: There are several online apps to encourage stretching and yoga. These can be done at home or in a class to help with stretching, but as daily activities decrease, yoga could become more important and may be the only physical activity that is reasonable for some elders. To get started, go to YouTube.com and search for “Stretching for Seniors”.

Strength: As we get older and decrease our activity, our muscles may tend to also decrease in mass and we may become weaker. Muscle mass is important to achieving stability to prevent falls and keep our balance. Help your loved ones gain their strength with some simple training exercises and easy 3 or 5 lb weights! The sense of accomplishment alone will boost their morale.

Balance: Balance brings it all together and may be among the most important to helping the elder achieve more mobility and keeping them safer at home. A simple fall can result in serious injury that might have been caused because of reduced balance. Some elderly diseases such as osteoporosis, reduces the elder’s balance and increases the necessity of balance exercises.

Lastly, as the weather gets nicer – and as the warmth approaches this week – please get outside on a nice walk with your loved ones. It’s a perfect time of year to get some fresh air, enjoy the sunshine and rejuvenate the spirit.

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Elderly group doing back exercises in a fitness center

 

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