All too often, individuals above a certain age may have incidents of memory lapses or other cognitive episodes that may leave them wondering “Is this normal?” “Am I getting dementia?”. Here are some guidelines to distinguish between normal vs. abnormal memory impairment:
Forgetting momentarily where something was placed (i.e. keys) or where one was going.
Increased forgetfulness where you cannot perform tasks of daily living safely such as cooking (i.e. leaving stove on while not cooking, or placing a kitchen towel on an open flame.
Delay recall of recent events, but eventually will recall.
Amnesia, no recall of recent events even the day prior.
Needing more time to learn new tasks or information.
Not able to learn new tasks or information.
Experiencing “tip of the tongue” phenomenon, and word retrieval will eventually come through.
Having difficulty expressing thoughts secondary to poor word retrieval and stringing a cohesive sentence together. Experiencing “aphasia”- a language disorder affecting a person’s ability to communicate.
Information summarized from:
If your memory incidents are frequent and interrupting your daily life, as well as quality of life, talk to your general practitioner about your concerns.
Dysphagia, What is it?
Simply put it is a swallowing impairment. Many Seniors may be experiencing issues with swallowing but are not aware of the signs and symptoms such as:
1. Consistent cough or throat clearing when eating or drinking
2. Low grade fever
3. Oral retention of food after the swallow
Our lovely administrator, Francesca, a geriatric Speech therapist educates our caregivers and CNA’s signs to look for in our clients with dysphagia so we can make appropriate referrals to their primary physicians.
When you or someone you love has Dementia, you may be open to any and all possible ways to treat it and to keep from worsening. At the present moment there is no cure, and a limited number of medications for this progressive disease. Some may look to what vitamins and supplements can do.
New research shows that certain vitamins may actually help prevent dementia or slow down the progression. Below are a few “super-vitamins” :
- Vitamin B1
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin B12 and Folic Acid
- Omega-3 fatty acids
New preliminary evidence suggests that the brain can change for the better with the use of natural remedies. Research informs us that the change will take years, not weeks or months, to see the beneficial effects with a natural approach due to the fact the brain takes a longer time to heal than any other organ.
Aside from these top natural remedies, please be aware that severe imbalances in various hormones (estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, DHEA, cortisol, insulin, thyroid, pituitary and several others) can have profound effects on brain aging. As well as chronic stress, your personal genetics or family history, and the amount of time you exercise and have restorative sleep.
For all these or any other brain aging concerns, see a natural health care practitioner or your primary doctor to discuss further, and of course before implementing a new regimen of vitamins and/or supplements.
Starting in 2019, the Medicare Advantage Plan will now include a “Non-skilled in-home caregiver services and will be allowed as a supplemental home care benefit”. Under the new definition, the agency will allow supplemental benefits if they compensate for physical impairments, diminish the impact of injuries or health conditions, reducing avoidable emergency room utilization. Having a CNA or home caregiver assisting in daily activities is beneficial at reducing hospitalizations and allowing seniors to stay and recover in their homes. In 2019 a plan will now assist in covering these expenses.
Specializing in 24 hour senior home-care for your loved ones. Focusing on consistency of care and placing the right CNA’s for your loved ones wants and needs. We are able to provide services for as little as an hour a day, up to 24/7 care or a live-in option. Not sure how much you need? No problem! Request a free in-home consultation with a PSFS Home-Care case manager today! Individually tailored senior home care services available 24 hours a day and 365 days a year.
Now a days, having a social online presence for any business is a must. With this, we come across a lot of useful and relevant information. The one that tops our list is Dr. Antonio Graham, a geriatrician with training in internal medicine. His account @geriagingexpert, on Instagram, is a must follow. Dr. Graham posts bite sized information posts regarding aging. Aging is a multifaceted issue, but we find Dr. Graham has an ability to post complex information in an easy to understand format. One post, in regards to tips for caregivers of a person with dementia, states this:
- REMINISCE- Never say “Remember”
- REPEAT- Never say “I already told you”
- SAY “Do what you can”- Never say “You can’t”
- ASK- Never command
- ENCOURAGE and PRAISE- Never condescend
These are “rules” we highlight with our own caregivers/CNA’s here at PSFS. As caregivers, awareness of how we are speaking with our clients with dementia, increases our ability to assist them. Having a pleasant tone, exhibiting appropriate body language while following the above – mentioned tips, increases the quality of home-care we can provide.
Give Dr. Graham as well as us a follow on Instagram!
Perfect Solutions for Seniors will now be home care with CNA’s and HHA’s. we are so excited to be able to provide more services to our clients.
Holiday Activities & Home Care
Imagine your house full of people you love, endearing conversations being had between family members, loved ones yelling at the T.V. for sports games, children chasing each other from room to room developing life long friendships with their cousins. Sounds amazing right?
Now imagine you are a Senior, hard of hearing, trying to remember who these people are, attempting to remember “Why am I here again?”, “What are we celebrating?”. A family member asks you a question, and a well meaning daughter or spouse answers for you, robbing you of the opportunity for a social connection. The emotion is much different, right?
Holidays are a joyous occasion but can also be overwhelming for someone with Dementia or even someone who is hard of hearing. Here are some suggestions to help create a welcoming atmosphere:
- Have a photo album labeled with names, and reminisce with them multiple times a day with different family members who can offer different perspectives of the same story
- Incorporate your Senior in activities such as cooking. Have them sit at a table, and mix apples for the apple pie, or fold the napkin linens for the table.
- Have a room designated as a “quiet room”, where one-on-one conversations can be had without environmental distractions. This room is not meant to isolate a Senior, but to increase the social connection that is vital for their quality of life.
- Have a schedule ready to show them the events of the day so they are aware of what is next (this also helps you in organizing your day!)
We often see loved ones do everything for their Senior, thinking they are doing best for them, but often times we are handicapping them. Taking away what they still can do for themselves, and creating dependency. Seniors, even those with Dementia, can still contribute to daily activities, but just with some modified adjustments.
by: Francesca Alonso, M.S. CCC-SLP, Geriatric Speech Language Pathologist, Administrator of PSFS Homecare
Perfect Solutions for Seniors is at Walk to End Alzheimer! If you see us, come say hi!
Here are some useful tips to effectively communicate with a person with dementia. Communication is not a one size fits all, so please tailor your approach to each individual, and remember sometimes its not WHAT you say but HOW you say it.
Begin by Setting a Positive Mood- Your attitude and body language communicate stronger than words.
Be sure to get the persons attention-Limit distractions and noise. Address client by name, identify yourself by name and use non verbal cues and touch to help client stay focused. If client is seated, get down to her level and maintain eye contact.
State your Message clearly. Speak slowly, and distinctly and in a reassuring tone while using simple words and sentences. Ask simple, specific, answerable questions. Only ask one question at a time. Questions with yes or no answers work best. Give instructions that are easy to understand. Break down tasks into simple 2-3 simple steps
Adjust your expectations. Respond with affection and reassurance. Do not use “remember”. Do not test their memory or tell them of their deficits.
When the going gets tough, distract and redirect. By redirecting an individual with dementia, you may be able to avoid or delay outbursts or inappropriate behaviors.
Use validation. Use humor whenever possible.
* From Linda Burhans “Good Nightand God Bless”
Francesca Alonso (pictured above) is a licensed Geriatric Speech Language Pathologist. She has training in management in Dementia care and is on track to becoming a Certified Dementia Practitioner (CDP).