Dementia Progression: The Simple Explanation

Although the two terms are often used interchangeably, Alzheimer’s and dementia are actually two different terms. Dementia is an umbrella term used to describe several conditions, which includes Alzheimer’s, as well as other conditions with shared symptoms. More than mere forgetfulness, an individual must have trouble with at least two of the following cognitive areas to be diagnosed with dementia:

  • Memory

  • Communication and speech

  • Focus and concentration

  • Reasoning and judgment

  • Visual perception (including trouble detecting movement, differentiating colors, or experiencing hallucinations)

Although there are many people who suffer from dementia (approximately 14% of those aged 71 and older), no individual progresses the exact same way, but there is a natural course of the disease. And unfortunately, it can be guaranteed that with time, the ability to function will worsen. The progression of dementia disease is typically characterized into three levels (mild, moderate and severe) as typically used by the general public. Using these designations to identify the correct stage of your loved one can assist with determining the best treatment approaches. Read on to discover symptoms of each stage, where your loved one falls and how the progression of the disease often goes according to the symptoms they display.

Mild Dementia

In this earliest stage of dementia, individuals still function primarily on their own. They are able to travel to familiar places, recall familiar faces and are largely aware of time and place. Many of the symptoms seen in this early stage are typically connected to the normal aging process, with minor deficits in concentration and memory starting to surface. For instance, there may be a slight memory lapses for recent events or word finding problems, but they are still able to maintain a social life. In this stage, difficulties may develop with higher functioning tasks like planning, organizing and concentrating which becomes particularly evident for someone who may still be in the workplace. Difficulty performing instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs) such as cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, and paying bills may become more challenging. Simple reminders along with written to-do lists and schedules can often be enough to compensate for the deficits in this stage, although some may require mild assistance for some of the more complex tasks. Individuals may also experience changes in their emotions with decreased reaction to some scenarios and could start to withdraw from challenging situations. This is the time to ensure that all legal and financial matters are taken care of, should the need for more care arise in the future. Moderate DementiaThe middle stages of dementia are characterized by enough brain damage that deficits become more obvious to the layperson. Someone at this stage can no longer function independently. Symptoms such as difficulty expressing their thoughts, performing daily tasks and short term memory impairments start to become more troublesome. Many people develop some type of aphasia (the loss of ability to express or understand speech) and use jumbled speech such as word substitutions (“book” for newspaper), object description in place of the word (“thing you sit on” for chair) or nonsense words (“thing-a-ma-jig” for watch or any other object). As a caregiver, it is helpful to use to a clear, slow rate, supplement speech with non-verbal communication and provide prompts or assistance to maximize understanding and maintain an individuals safety during day-to-day activities.

An individual in this stage demonstrates noticeable short-term memory deficits and might not remember their address, might be unable to recall their personal history and may get confused as to their location. They retain some memory of their past, but it is spotty and incomplete. They become disoriented with time and place and may not remember the name of their spouse, even though they see them daily. They are typically unable to count to backward from 10 to 1, and sometimes not even forward from 1 to 10. They may also become incontinent at this stage and require assistance for toileting and hygiene. They are no longer able to complete IADLs. Other common symptoms of this middle dementia stage include mood and behavior changes. Delusional thoughts and/or paranoia may develop, such as accusations of spousal infidelity, that the spouse is an imposter, that the house is not one’s home, or that someone is stealing personal belongings. This may result in anxiety, agitation or aggression even towards family and loved ones. Behaviors such as wandering and rummaging may pose safety risks and require more supervision. At this stage, many will present with repetitive speech, gestures, and mannerisms which can be difficult to redirect at times. Other symptoms such as difficulty sleeping or hoarding may also develop.

Severe Dementia

Someone in this last stage of dementia, also known as advanced dementia, will have significant issues with communication, often only using single words or short phrases when speaking, with an inclination toward parroting or repetitive speech. Towards the end of this stage, they may also become completely non-verbal. In this stage, both long term and short term memory often become affected and they may not be able to recall what they ate for lunch, who their family members are, or even what time period they are currently in, often times reverting back to childhood or another significant period in their life. Individuals may no longer be able to walk and will require extensive assistance with daily living activities, such as personal hygiene. They are incontinent of bowel and bladder.

Swallowing also becomes an issue in late stage dementia, and caregivers have to make adaptions, use strategies and alter food consistencies to keep their loved ones from potentially choking or acquiring aspiration pneumonia. Someone in this stage typically requires 24-hour care and will require physical assistance to complete most tasks, including transfers, eating, hygiene, and grooming. Towards the end of this stage, most individuals are bed bound with the inability to roll or sit up in bed, making them bed-ridden at high risk for bed sores. During this stage, caregivers will focus mostly on providing comfort and quality of life. According to the Alzheimer’s Association (2018), there are 16.1 million unpaid caregivers of people with dementia in the United States. While many Americans are caregivers for loved ones, many people also hire someone to provide care or supplement the care they are already providing. There are many options for care, such as in-home care, adult day care, and nursing home care, and there is also financial assistance available. It’s important to remember, providing care for a loved one can be stressful, and self-care is a must. Click here to learn about ways to deal with stress, finding support, and more.

While the exact symptoms described in each stage can differ between individuals, this can be used as a general outline to help families know what to expect and when to expect it. Is your loved one following this path? Share your experiences in our forum or leave your comment below.

 

BLOG CREDIT – Healthcare Straight Up

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National Safety Month

National Safety Month – Fourth of July Independence Day

With Fourth of July coming up, and many celebrations to enjoy, here are some activities to incorporate an elderly loved one.

1. 1. Include them in meal prep for the big barbeque. Have them toss together the coleslaw, or put the silverware together.
2. 2. Have them guide a craft activity for the little ones in the family. There are many pintables that are free online, and your loved one can easily follow to guide the little ones.

3. 3. Set aside a quiet room in the home where they can read out loud to the little ones or vice –versa. At times with too many people, the noise level can be overwhelming, so it is important to have a place for them to relax and have some one-on-one time with a family member. Remember this room is not meant to isolate.

These are just a few ideas but the list is endless! Remember to incorporate your loved one into the activities. They may need guided assistance or supervision but it is important not to isolate.

If the Holidays have you feeling overwhelmed with activities and caring for your loved ones, we can help! Perfect Solutions for Seniors offers respite care ( eldercare) to help families that need assistance only for a short time.

Our consultation is always FREE for our senior in home assessments. Give us a call, we would love to meet you! 941-378-5553

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Caregiver vs CNA - Perfect Solutions For Seniors

Senior In Home Care

Did you know we have two levels of care available for senior in home care? We employee caregivers and Certified Nursing Assistant’s.

Caregivers provide companionship, light housekeeping, homemaking etc. This level of care is for someone who does not need any hands-on care.

Our Certified Nursing Assistants provide the above as well as hands on care. This can include hands on assistance for toileting, transfers, dressing and other activities of daily living.

Our Registered Nurse on staff develops a care plan specified for you, and our CNA follows it. Your care plan is updated every 90 days or if a change in condition occurs.

Depending on your level of care, we will always conduct a free in-home assessment to ensure the right level of care is provided.

At Perfect Solutions for Seniors, we aim to increase the quality of eldercare in the Sarasota area, and that starts with ensuring our client’s get the right care!

#inhomecare #seniorcare #eldercare #aginginplace #sarasotafl #cna #rn #caregiver

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Top 3 Fall Risks For Seniors

After the age of 65 the “F” word changes. Falls! A small trip on a rug or even a pet can lead to a serious and devastating fall. A statistic cites, that a person approaching 80 years of age breaks a hip, they have a one in four chance of not surviving. Top three fall risks include ( Risks For Seniors) :

  1. Slipping in the tub.
  2. Tripping over clutter.
  3. Stairs.

It is vital in a Senior’s home, that it can be somewhat “fall” proof. At PSFS, we recommend finding a Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS) that provides recommendations as to where to put grab bars, cite fall risks and increase overall safety.

As part of our client package, PSFS, offers a Cognitive Enhancement Program, where our Administrator and Speech Language Pathologist will conduct a cognitive screening for the client to stage cognition and offer insight and recommendations to increase overall safety.

This value-added service in combination with our homecare to support a clients’ wants and needs, not only decreases risk of falls but we are also improving the quality of life for our client.

Remember, our consultation is always free. Even if you have questions do not hesitate to reach out. We are here to support you aging in your home, safely!

#eldercare #homecare #inhomecare #seniorcare #aginginplace #dementiacare #RisksForSeniors

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Perfect Solutions Fo r Seniors

Eldercare Company in Sarasota, Florida

Now that we have introduced ourselves, and why we are so passionate about senior in home care, its time to dig into the good stuff! Our services!

We are the only eldercare company in Sarasota, Florida that has a licensed Speech Language Pathologist as our administrator. What does that mean to you?

Francesca, uses her clinical skill to enhance the care plans established by our Registered Nurse’s. Care plans can be enhanced either by setting communication expectations/ or ways to best communicate with client. Francesca supplies one on one education to the family, and the caregiver/CNA placed on the case.

Part of our valued services is our Cognitive Enhancement Program. This program includes our admin, an SLP and certified Dementia Practitioner, providing a screening tool/assessment to stage cognition. From this, she makes recommendations to the care plan or can make recommendations to make the home safer, such as adding grab bars in the bathroom for example.  This value added service is exclusive only to Perfect Solutions for Senior clients’.

We are so proud to have this available for our clients’, and this is just one way we are changing Senior in home care. Our client’s deserve the best, and we are set on delivering that!

 

#eldercare #homecare #seniorcare #inhomecare #dementiacare #slp #rn #cna #caregiver #sarasotafl #eldercarecompanyinSarasota

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Myasthenia Gravis

Myasthenia Gravis

Myasthenia Gravis ( MG) first appeared in medical reports in 1672, but was not named till the 1880’s. Myasthenia Gravis literally means “grave muscle weakness”, and is an autoimmune disorder affecting the neuromuscular junction between the nerve and muscle.

Symptoms include :

  • Drooping of one or both eyelids ( ocular MG)
  • Double or blurred vision
  • Weakness in arms, hands, fingers, neck, face or legs
  • Difficulty chewing, smiling, swallowing or talking
  • Excessive fatigue in exercised muscle groups
  • Shortness of breath

MG most commonly impacts young adult women ( under 40) and older men ( over 60), but can also occur in children. Approximately 15-20% of people with MG will experience a myasthenia crisis, where individuals respiratory muscles will weaken and a ventilator is required. This crisis may be triggered by medication, stress, or infection. It is vital that the individual is followed closely by a Dr.

Due to MG being a lower motor neuron disease, exercise or any activity will not help, in fact it is contra-indicated. Though at this moment  there is no cure, there are ways to control MG.

  1. Thymectomy- is an operation to remove the thymus glands and can assist in reducing symptoms
  2. Antiocholinesterase Medications – these medications slow the breakdown of acetylcholine at the neuromuscular junction
  3. Immunosuppressive meds- these meds MUST be carefully monitored by a physician

When someone with MG is having a difficult time, especially with respiration, they may require assistance in their home. Perfect Solutions for Seniors, a Senior in home care company, is able to provide respite care. Call them at 941-378-5553.

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Tessy’s Story

I grew up in Peru and moved to the U.S. when I was sixteen. I was very young and green, scared,  but I knew the opportunities that the U.S. would bring. Myself and my 5 other brothers and sisters, worked hard to become citizens and made our lives in this country.
During this time, my mom wanted to stay in Peru though we all wanted her here in the U.S. with us. When she no longer could care independently for herself, my family and I didn’t know what to do. We were all here, with our families and responsibilities. It was a tough emotional time for me, not knowing what I could do for her, being thousands of miles away.
We thankfully found a live-in to be with my mom in Peru, and it was such a blessing and relief knowing that my mother could go on living in a home that my family bought for her.
I realized that there are other families that are going through the same thing, and knowing the frustration and turmoil my family and I went through looking for someone to help my mother in a different country, I  looked into starting a homecare company. When Perfect Solutions for Seniors was founded in 2005, I was a one-woman show. I was the owner, receptionist, administrator, marketer and even the caregiver!
 I am no stranger to hard work and starting from the bottom! It was difficult at the beginning, but I believed in providing great care for Seniors. For 11 years perfect solution for seniors was a homemakers and companion company until I spoke to my daughters and we decided to become a home health agency. With Francesca’s intelligence and Cassandra’s dedication we obtained our license, in 2018.
Family is everything to me. Family gave me the reason to look into starting my own company, and family is the foundation for what keeps Perfect Solutions for Seniors striving to provide the best care for our clients.
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My story on,why I am in home care

My story on,why I am in home care

My first job at 14 years old was working with the elderly. I had landed a job at a nursing home in Southwest Florida, as a dietary aid. I remember working there and feeling happy helping those in need. Throughout my teenage years, I was working in either nursing homes or assisted living homes…. I enjoyed being around the residents.,,,,, Listening to their stories and helping them in any and all needs. It came so natural to me, to give and care for others.

I also remember my mother telling me of my grandmother in Peru, how she had someone there to care for her in her home. This always stood in the back of my mind….. How one day I will have to either be there for my parents or hire someone to help them at home. I wanted to learn more of the process…how, why, what, when…it seemed to be a very important decision and process that I should know more about.

Now, at this time, I also have a parent who is in their 80s, lives alone, has some health conditions, and lives far from family. So, I understand and relate to how some of the families or clients may feel or have thoughts on.

I have the desire to help all parties involved; client, families, caregivers, other resources, etc. We all want care.. good quality care… for our loved ones! I want to be part of that process… to help ensure that all people are comfortable, happy, learning, growing, and being! …I want that for my parents, grandparents….I would want that for any one! We are here to help and care for one another, and this is one way that I can offer my help, because it is my passion!

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caregiver company, Perfect Solutions for Seniors

Best Caregiver Company

I’ve always had a passion for serving Seniors. When I was receiving my education for Speech Language Pathology, I knew I wanted to take the medical/ Adult route to serve Seniors with neurocognitive Impairments (i.e. Dementia, Parkinson’s, Stroke, ALS, etc.). I wanted to get to the source of where these impairments where, and assist patients to regain their communication, story telling knowledge, so they can keep and form relationships.
I worked at skilled nursing facilities and hospitals providing therapy for my patients to regain their independence and return home safely. I wasn’t making the impact that I always saw myself doing-I had multiple patients re-admitted for the same issues such as a fall, even though we worked intensively on increasing safety in the home. I kept asking “Why is this happening? We worked on this! “
It was difficult to educate families on the patients’ cognitive needs. Many families would cite, “Well that’s just how he is”. I was worried and concerned that once discharged home, I did not know if my efforts were successful in terms of my patients continuing therapy and demonstrating improvement.
In 2018, I was integrated into my mom’s caregiver company, Perfect Solutions for Seniors.
As a collective group, my mom, my sister and I knew we could provide higher level services to our already clientele. With my assistance and my sister’s, in 2018 we become a licensed Homecare company which allowed us to place qualified CNA’s into Seniors homes—This new licensure enables us to provide higher level homecare to allow the client to stay in their home surrounded by the memories they have cultivated over the years. I love going to client’s homes on the initial visit, and seeing generations of photos on the walls. It reaffirms the love of what I do.
It’s here, where my clinical skills and passion for Seniors’ really came alive. I use my clinical skill set to provide hands on education to my staff and I am able to see how much my client benefits in their home. I am able to see my client in their home environment and cultivate a plan that allows effective communication and for their wants and needs to readily be met—I set high standards for our employees and educate them on how to achieve successful outcomes using a comprehensive training program. Now I can rest easy knowing that our client’s cognitive skills, physical needs and emotional well being are all being successfully achieved, improving their overall quality of life. It is extremely satisfying and invigorating because I can see difference we are making in improving my client’s lives .

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Perfect Solutions for Seniors

Announcement of New Corporate Partner

What is Pragmatics?
Pragmatics is subfield of linguistics of how a person uses language in a social setting. Language or the meaning of message is changed depending on context, social engagement or even a change in prosody.
Pragmatics also includes body language, tone and facial expressions to convey a message and also the ability to tune into these social cues.
As we age we may have less ability to practice our pragmatic skills secondary to social isolation or decreased ability to communicate. This is why Perfect Solutions for Seniors, we are excited to announce our Corporate Partnership with The Senior Friendship Center in Sarasota Florida!
The Senior Friendship Center is a place where our client’s can go to socialize, participate in events, and even have medical services. It is a wonderful organization that provides so many events from music to support groups.
They have a booming event calendar at their two locations, Sarasota and Venice Florida. Visit their website and check them out!
#dementia #corporatepartner #inhomecare #seniorliving #socializationandaging #seniorcare #aginginplace

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