Home Care for People with Dementia

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1 Hme Care fr Peple with Dementia Learn hw t distinguish the cgnitive changes assciated with nrmal aging frm thse that may signal Alzheimer s. Als, discver hw prfessinal hme care prviders handle issues that arise frm taking care f an elder with dementia. Nrmal Aging r Alzheimer s: What s the Difference? As a lved ne ages, ne f the questins that may cme up fr yu and yur family is hw t tell the difference between the cgnitive changes assciated with nrmal aging and thse that culd signal serius underlying health cnditins, such as Alzheimer s r ther frms f dementia. At this time, there s n definite way t distinguish between benign memry slips and fullblwn dementia, but cnsider this as a general rule f thumb: ccasinally misplacing the car keys is nrmal, while frgetting what t d with them is nt. Here are a few additinal indicatrs that yur lved ne s cgnitive trubles may be caused by smething mre serius that the simple advancing f age: 7 Cgnitive Cncerns That May Be Mre Than Old Age 1. Bad judgement (pr financial decisins, public utbursts) 2. Mvement issues (stiff mvements, hunched psture) 3. Lss f inhibitin (saying r ding scially inapprpriate things) 4. Language prblems (can t frm cherent sentences) 5. Hallucinatins and delusins (seeing things that aren t really there) 6. Truble perfrming familiar tasks (can t remember hw t get t the dctr s ffice) 7. Memry lss that interrupts daily life (regularly frgets recent cnversatins) Ultimately, it s up t yu and yur family t determine if (and when) a lved ne s cgnitive issues warrant investigatin by a medical prfessinal.

2 Prviding care at hme is ften ne f the best ways t keep a lved ne with dementia calm and happy because a regular rutine and a familiar envirnment is less likely t cause cnfusin and anxiety in thse with cgnitive impairment. Hwever, since dementia care can be an arduus undertaking fr family caregivers, yu may eventually need t seek ut a prfessinal caregiver t prvide respite r even full-time care.

3 Hme Care Cnsideratins fr Peple with Dementia Since mre and mre aging adults are being diagnsed with dementia, the number f prfessinal caregivers wh are trained t handle peple with cgnitive impairment is ever increasing. A 2012 MetLife survey discvered 68 percent f hme care cmpanies prvide specific training n Alzheimer s t their caregiver emplyees. This training differs frm agency t agency, but typically tuches n tpics such as hw t deal with hallucinatins and dementia-related behavirs, as well as strategies fr keeping a cgnitively challenged individual safe and mentally stimulated. T exercise an elder s mind and lift their spirits, a prfessinal caregiver will ften create special activities based n the senir s specific hbbies and interests. Art and music are effective frms f therapeutic engagement that can spark memries and emtins in an individual with dementia, n matter which stage they are in. A prfessinal caregiver may have an individual wh has been affected by dementia listen t their favrite sng, r prvide them with art supplies, actins which can ignite seemingly miraculus respnses even in thse wh can t recall their wn names. With family s permissin, a prfessinal caregiver may als be able t take an elder with dementia ut t a lcal museum, park r z t spark engagement. Shuld an elder s cnditin prgress t the pint where they need mre intensive care, a hme care prvider may als be able t help facilitate a transfer t an assisted living cmmunity r skilled nursing facility. Such transitins can be difficult, which is why it can be beneficial t have help f a prfessinal wh has experience with such mves.

4 Handling Hme Care n an Onging Basis Learn what t expect ut f a typical hme care experience, as well as strategies fr addressing cmmn issues that can arise, such as hw t help a lved ne get used t a new caregiver and hw t figure ut if a caregiver is ding their jb prperly. Preparing fr the Initial Visit Each hme care prvider, whether an agency r an independent caregiver, will have their wn particular methd fr learning abut their elderly clients needs and creating a care plan that prvides the prper amunt f assistance. Mst agencies send smene ut prir t the start f care t determine the type f assistance a senir needs and t get a feel fr their persnality. One benefit f wrking with an agency is that they have prcesses in place t ensure that an elder is matched with the right care team. If an agency caregiver desn t appear t be a gd persnality fit fr an elder, it s easy fr the supervisr verseeing that senir s care t find a replacement. Hiring an independent caregiver typically desn t ffer this level f flexibility. One way yu, as a family member, can facilitate the critical knwledge gathering prcess is by being prepared t answer questins abut yur lved ne s health cnditins, care needs, likes and dislikes. A printable wrksheet at the end f this reading utlines sme if the imprtant infrmatin t have n hand abut yur lved ne when yu first meet the individual in charge f verseeing their care. Helping a Senir Adjust t a New Caregiver While it wuld be wnderful if yur lved ne and their caregiver hit it ff right away, this isn t ften the case. The relatinship between a prfessinal caregiver and an elder is ne

5 that must be grunded in trust and gradually strengthened ver time. The hme care prvider yu select shuld take the time t get t knw yur lved ne and ensure that the men and wmen wh will be lking after them have cmpatible persnalities. In additin t getting t knw their cre grup f caregivers, yur lved ne shuld als have the pprtunity t develp at least a basic rapprt with the substitutes wh fill in whenever a regularly-scheduled caregiver is unable t. Yu can facilitate the relatinship building prcess by listening t yur lved ne s thughts and feedback abut their caregivers, and infrming the care advisr if yu feel a certain match-up isn t wrking. Once these cnnectins click int place, the resistance yur lved ne has t accepting an utsider int their hme shuld diminish significantly. They may even begin t lk frward t visits frm their caregivers. What t Expect n the First Day What actually happens n that first fficial day f hme care? This pivtal encunter has fur distinct stages: the intrductin, the discussin, the tur and the fllw-up. The Intrductin If yu re dealing with a hme care agency, chances are that the caregiver wn t shw up n yur drstep sl. They will prbably be accmpanied by the care supervisr that the family (and pssibly the senir themselves) has already had cntact with. Agencies ften d this because seeing a friendly face can ease tensin and pave the way fr a mre hnest, friendly first meeting between yur lved ne and their new caregiver. Building Trust thrugh Discussin Once intrductins have been made, yu (and yur lved ne, if they are cgnitively capable f understanding) will sit dwn with the prfessinal caregiver and the care supervisr t review the care plan. While the care plan will typically have been fleshed ut prir t the first time a caregiver cmes t lk after an elder, it s imprtant t g ver it again-just t make sure everyne understands what the caregiver will be respnsible fr ding. Als, because a senir s needs

6 are always changing, the plan may require revisin. After the agenda has been fully discussed and vetted, the care crdinatr will typically bw ut (after they ve made sure yu knw hw t get in tuch with them), leaving yu and yur lved ne alne with the prfessinal caregiver fr the first time. The first day is mainly abut building a relatinship between the care prvider and the senir they re ging t be lking after; finding cmmn grund and develping a cnnectin shuld be the first pririties. If yur lved ne is cgnitively capable f respnding, the prfessinal caregiver may ask them sme questins t get t knw them better: What are yur hbbies? Hw many children d yu have? What s yur favrite meal? The caregiver may als share a bit f backgrund abut themselves, their training and why they decided t enter the prfessinal care field. Taking the Tur Next, yu and yur lved ne will take the new caregiver n a tur f the huse, shwing them arund and familiarizing them with the lcatin f imprtant rms and items. What happens next generally depends n what the caregiver has been hired t d. If the caregiver is there fr a shrt time t help ut with laundry

7 Weekly Schedule Imprtant Infrmatin t Tell a Hme Care Prvider

8 Time Mnday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday

9 Health Cnditins: Check all that apply Alzheimer s/ Dementia Arthritis HIV/AIDS Incntinence Sleep Disrder (please describe): Cancer Kidney Disease Cataracts Lung Disease COPD Osteprsis Diabetes Parkinsn s Disease Depressin Heart Disease Strke Thyrid Cnditin Other:

10 Medicatins: List all the medicatins yur lved ne takes, including dsage and frequency: Des yur lved ne have any dietary restrictins? If s, please describe: List yur lved ne s hbbies and interests: Describe any ther likes, dislikes, etc. that yu feel the persn taking care f yur lved ne shuld knw.

11

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