Thursday, May 28, 2015

Five Easy Memory Aids That Can Help Anyone

Here is a great dementia resource for caregivers and healthcare professionals,

Here is information on being the best caregiver you can be

Here is a way for nurses administrators, social workers and other health care professionals to get an easyceu or two

KMBC.com


By Paula Spencer Scott, Caring.com senior editor

Having problems remembering to take pills, buy grocery items or make appointments? Everyone experiences memory problems sometimes. Memory experts often recommend the following simple aids to people with mild cognitive impairment or early symptoms of dementia. But anybody (including harried caregivers!) who's ever forgotten something important can benefit.


1. A GPS system
Remembering routes can be challenging, especially if they're not frequent destinations. And following written directions can be difficult for someone with early dementia, or anyone who doesn't want to be a distracted driver.

Simple solution: a global positioning (GPS) navigation system in the car. Prices have been dropping since these gizmos were first introduced; you can buy a simple unit for less than $200. Many drivers find it easier to follow verbal instructions than to have to read them. And if you make a mistake, the GPS autocorrects and redirects you.

2. Medication reminders
Medication management is the bane of both caregivers and relatively healthy adults looking after themselves. Fortunately a variety of tools exist to help you remember to dispense, or take, meds on time.

Medical alarms can be programmed to send you an email message or a beep to a special watch. Some pill containers themselves will send visual messages. Learn more about medication management for no more missed pills.

3. A small portable notebook
Not all memory aids are high-tech. The lowly notebook can be a lifesaver when it comes to remembering names, details, and to-do lists. The trick is to have the notebook handy at all times. Very small books (such as Moleskine's 2.5 by 4 inch extra-small version) that slip into a pocket or purse work well.

Train yourself to write down everything you don't want to slip away -- the names of those present at a meeting, the sudden thought to call for a haircut appointment, items to pick up at the grocery store on your way home.

The act of writing it down helps to secure a thought in your mind -- and if you forget, you can look it up.

4. A don't-lose basket or shelf
This idea amps up the old adage about "a place for everything." Dedicate a single basket or box to all key items that are often misplaced: car keys, house key, reading glasses, sunglasses, medications and anything else used regularly -- even cellphone, TV remote and sweaters. (Note: For someone with dementia, you'd want to store medications out of sight and out of reach, to avoid accidental overdosing.)

5. A centralized household calendar
It's hard enough to remember your own priorities, let alone everyone else's. Whether your household contains five people and three generations or just one person and a pet, post an oversized calendar in a central place (such as the kitchen). Use a different colored marker to write down each family member's appointments, invitations and travels (or, for a pet, dates with the vet or groomer).

Get in the habit of looking at the calendar every morning and consulting it before you make new appointments. Electronic calendars work well for many people, but for others, they're "out of sight, out of mind." A large planner in your line of vision every day is harder to ignore

Monday, May 25, 2015

What are those with dementia thinking

Here is a great dementia resource for caregivers and healthcare professionals,

Here is information on being the best caregiver you can be

Here is a way for nurses administrators, social workers and other health care professionals to get an easyceu or two

Caring.com
Paula Spencer

In early/mid stages of Alzheimer's:

Most people are aware of initial cognitive changes in themselves (whether they say anything about it or not).
Self awareness doesn't disappear overnight. Research has shown that many people are relieved by a diagnosis of Alzheimer's, rather than upset, because they finally have a logical explanation for something unnerving that's dogged at them.

What helps: Taking action. Take expressed concerns about memory loss or other mental-functioning changes seriously. Recommend an evaluation, given that early interventions can help slow Alzheimer's progress. With someone already diagnosed, press the importance of making decisions regarding the future handling of health and legal affairs while the person is still able to express preferences.

The sense of self struggles to understand the changes, at first.
Some people try to explain it away: "I guess I'm getting old" or, "I never did have a good memory for detail." Some people willfully ignore changes, to the point where they don't seem bothered by them at all. Others actively and pragmatically work around failures of memory or cognition: They write notes, cede tasks that are too difficult, work crosswords or buy computer games to stimulate their brains.

What helps: Empathy and understanding. Don't pooh-pooh such observations. Look for ways to support the person's shortcomings: More clocks, a notebook in every room for keeping track of things, multiple pairs of sunglasses or tissue packs, or whatever seems to get misplaced often.

Awareness of the dementia effects can come and go.

The person may seem quite out of it, but the next be more engaged and "like his old self." Sometimes he used to catch himself, as if he realized this was the fifth retelling of an anecdote (though then he'd tell it anyway!).

What helps: Knowing these fluctuations are normal. Just because the person had clarity one moment, doesn't mean it will persist. Although the disease is progressive, it brings good days and bad days, a graph that would look more bumpy than slanted down a bit more each day.

In later stages of Alzheimer's:
The person is often or always oblivious to their condition.

The excuses or justifications fade away as self awareness fades. This can be a dangerous thing (as in the person who continues driving) or a blessing (as in the case of someone like my dad, who would be far more distressed about the extent of his condition if he were conscious of it)
What helps: Trust your gut. If the person seems content and uncomplaining, he or she may indeed be content, living in the moment. If the person is oblivious to the dementia but a threat to himself or others, you can't wait for clarity to kick in; you have to take action.

Emotional responses flatten or become misplaced – but remain.

I blogged recently about the amazing strength and importance of emotions in those who suffer with Alzheimer's, even for people deep into the disease process. You don't have to be aware of your limitations to be depressed or frustrated by them.

What helps: Physical contact. Touch is a messenger of reassurance and love. Offer a hug. Touch the person on the back or knee before you speak to avoid alarming them. Advanced Alzheimer's patients often find it soothing to stroke a tactile stuffed animal or hold a blanket.
Social skills and inhibitions fade as the social self unravels.
As a growing child learns what's socially appropriate, he shows fewer problem behaviors, like stripping off clothes on a whim or saying whatever pops into one's head. For someone who has Alzheimer's or, in particular, frontotemporal dementia, the opposite occurs. The social self unravels. A sense of what's appropriate or other sensibilities one once believed disappear, causing the person to say or do things that distress (hypersexual behavior, accusations of stealing, etc).

What helps: An ongoing social life. Even when it gets trying because of social inappropriateness, maintaining a social life (visits with relatives, conversation, the companionship of a pet) is important. Many researchers believe social connections help slow the disease process. It's not a cure, obviously, but like hugs and understanding, it never hurts.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Vitamin D may help prevent Alzheimer's

Caregivers and healthcare professionals, here is some great information

Here is a great dementia resource for caregivers and healthcare professionals,

Your residents will love the Amazon Kindle Fire

Here is information on being the best caregiver you can be

Here is a way for nurses administrators, social workers and other health care professionals to get an easyceu or two

Follow alzheimersideas on twitter

The Dementia Caregiver's Little Book of Hope [Kindle Edition

UPI
 
Vitamin D and omega-3 may help the immune system's ability to clear the brain of amyloid plaques, which is linked to Alzheimer's disease, U.S. researchers say.
Study author Dr. Milan Fiala, at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, and colleagues identified key genes and signaling networks regulated by vitamin D3 and the omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid that may help control inflammation and improve plaque clearance.
Previous laboratory work by the team helped clarify key mechanisms involved in helping vitamin D3 clear amyloid-beta, the abnormal protein found in the plaque.
This new study extends the previous findings with vitamin D3 and highlighted the role of omega-3 DHA, Fiala said.
"Our new study sheds further light on a possible role for nutritional substances such as vitamin D3 and omega-3 in boosting immunity to help fight Alzheimer's," Fiala said in a statement.
In Alzheimer's patients and healthy controls, they isolated the critical immune cells macrophages from the blood. Macrophages are responsible for gobbling up amyloid-beta and other waste products in the brain and body.
The study, published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, found both D3 and omega-3 fatty acids improved the ability of the Alzheimer's disease patients' macrophages to gobble-up amyloid-beta, and they inhibited the cell death that is induced by amyloid-beta.


 

Monday, May 18, 2015

Importance of going outdoors for elders


Caregivers, and healthcare professionals, here is some great information


Here is a great dementia resource for caregivers and healthcare professionals,


Your residents will love the Amazon Kindle Fire




Here is information on being the best caregiver you can be


Here is a way for nurses administrators, social workers and other health care  professionals to get an easyceu or two


Follow alzheimersideas on twitter

The Dementia Caregiver's Little Book of Hope [Kindle Edition

Aging Care
How Elders and Caregivers Can Take Advantage of Summer Weather


By Lori Johnston,


Enjoying a breezy spring day or the warm summer temperatures don't have to be a distant memory for elders whether they have dementia or not, and caregivers. After being cooped up in the house for possibly months at a time, senior adults can breathe in the fresh air, even if they are experiencing mobility problems. It takes some advance planning and choosing an activity that won't seem like a chore, but it's worth getting out of the house, for you and your elderly parent.


The benefits of getting outside


A main advantage of heading outdoors, even for a short period of time, is being able to soak up the sunlight, which generates Vitamin D – necessary for the brain, bones and muscle function, says Dr. Michael Raab, a geriatrician with Lee Memorial Health System in Fort Myers, Fla. Some doctors even prescribe sunlight as a source of Vitamin D, which research also finds can improve cognitive function.


Another key benefit is that being outside enables elders to socialize and interact with caregivers as well as other adults, children and animals.


Those activities can give people an extra spring in their step and rejuvenate them, says Christina Chartrand, vice president of training and staff development for Senior Helpers, an in-home senior care agency with offices in 40 states.


Raab adds: "Whatever you can do, it's going to be mentally uplifting."


Although caregivers may be aware of the benefits, sometimes it seems as if the obstacles, such as wheelchair access, bathroom access, frailty and fatigue, are too great to overcome the great outdoors.


Caregivers can start to prepare elders with mobility problems to take the steps to head outside. Your physician can suggest chair exercises to make them more stable and build their muscles, for example.


Even though the temperatures may be pleasant, Raab says it's also important to make sure an elderly family member stays well hydrated; if not, it can impact muscle function and blood pressure and lead to a dangerous situation.


Types of outdoor activities for caregivers and the elderly


Instead of being overwhelmed by the potential challenges, focus on activities and interests that you and the elderly person you're caring for enjoy.


Here are 10 suggestions:


1. Catch a sporting event. The events could be watching a grandchild's soccer game, which are not all-day events, or attending a professional game, like baseball.


2. Fish for fun. For folks who enjoy fishing, you can cast a rod from a pier or other location, even if someone is wheelchair bound.


3. Be a tourist. If you live in a city, take an open-air bus or trolley tour to see the local sights. Another option could be a boat tour, depending on what type of equipment an elder needs to take with them. "It's outside, but you don't have to be walking," Chartrand says.


4. Take a dip. For some folks, it may just be putting a foot in the pool, while others may be able to handle low-impact water aerobics.


5. Stroll around. If a walk is possible, start slow. Raab suggests trying three or four minutes in one direction, turning around and coming back.


6. Be a bird lover. If you have a birdhouse, bird feeder or bird bath in your yard, checking on the those daily give elderly individuals a reason to go outside.


7. Pedal around. Rent a three-wheeled bicycle, which are easier to mount and ride, and also could offer back support.


8. Go fly a kite. Head to a park or beach and get a kite soaring. Let an elderly individual take control, which they can do while sitting down. If children are around, they can get involved by trying to keep the kite in the air.
9. Picnic outdoors. Picnics are another park or playground activity. Elderly individuals can watch children run around or enjoy the buzz of outdoor activity.


10. Celebrate the holidays. From Memorial Day concerts to Fourth of July fireworks, there are plenty of community events this spring and summer with opportunities for elders to get out and be part of the crowd.



Thursday, May 14, 2015

An easy craft for those with dementia

Here is a great dementia resource for caregivers and healthcare professinals,

Here is information on being the best caregiver you can be









Its drawing fireworks. You can do this for  Independence Day, other holidays, or anytime

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Dementia activities

Caregivers and healthcare professionals, here is some great information

Here is a great dementia resource for caregivers and healthcare professionals,

Your residents will love the Amazon Kindle Fire

Here is information on being the best caregiver you can be

Here is a way for nurses administrators, social workers and other health care professionals to get an easyceu or two

Follow alzheimersideas on twitter

The Dementia Caregiver's Little Book of Hope

the replay is available here:
Tom and Karen shared several innovative and practical techniques that caregivers and family members can use to engage and connect with those affected by dementia.
  
If you are looking for meaningful activities for your clients/residents, please take advantage of the webinar replay
 
Additional resources are available in Tom and Karen's book, which is available here: http://www.amazon.com/You-Say-Goodbye-Hello-Montessori/dp/061576245X  
 
 Register free here:  http://www.easyceu.com/

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Dominos, a fun game for those with dementia

Here is a great dementia resource for caregivers and healthcare professionals,

Here is information on being the best caregiver you can be

Lookng for a fun game for those with dementia make sure to see my February article at Activity Director Today.

I do discuss the game of dominos.

Here is how to play

Drawing: Each player then draws seven dominoes for his hand. The remaining dominoes (the boneyard), if any, are left face down on the table to be drawn later if a player is unable to play from his hand.

Begin Play: The player who drew the highest double or the highest domino plays first, playing any domino he wishes from his had.

Object of the game: Scoring points by laying the dominoes end to end (the touching ends must match: i.e., one’s touch one’s, two’s touch two’s, etc.). If the dots on the exposed ends total any multiple of five the player is awarded that number of points. All sides of the first double (the spinner) may be used one piece to each side and later one to each end. All other doubles are played at right angles to the line and the total points on both ends are counted. Dominoing occurs when one player goes out by playing all of his dominoes. The sum of the spots of all opposing players is computed and added to the dominoing player’s score (rounded to the nearest five). In partnership play the spots of the partner of the one who “DOMINOED” are not counted.

Learn why we play it in February by subscribing to Activity Director Today

Fitness is important in dementia prevention. Click below for more info