Archive for the ‘Alzheimer’s Disease’ Category

Alzheimer’s Disease: Winter Safety Tips for Family Caregivers

January 17th, 2018 No Comments

Alzheimer's Disease

If you provide care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s Disease, you may find that winter time brings a new set of challenges.

Earlier sunsets, colder temperatures, and changes to your loved one’s daily routine can cause confusion and agitation. As a caregiver, it’s important to be prepared for the unique circumstances of wintertime so you can help your loved one adjust and remain comfortable.

1. Carefully choose your loved one’s clothing

For individuals suffering from Alzheimer’s, getting dressed can be a challenge. If they are accustomed to wearing the same types of clothing each day, adding new layers can be stressful. However, it’s important to remember that warmth is also very important, especially for those who have trouble adjusting to colder temperatures. Dress in soft, comfortable fabrics that will provide the insulation needed. If you’re heading outside, ensure that they wear a hat, scarf, and other winter essentials. Choose bright colors or reflective materials that will allow your loved one to be easily seen when he or she is outside.

2. Be prepared for increased sundowning

As we discussed in our previous post, instances of sundowning can increase during fall and wintertime because daylight fades earlier. The low light of winter can cause confusion and agitation in many individuals with Alzheimer’s. It’s important to keep your home well-lit throughout the day and early evening. It’s also important to encourage regular activity and routine each day, to regulate energy levels and maintain a sense of normalcy.

3. Be extra-cautious of wandering

Wandering is a common issue faced by caregivers of individuals who have Alzheimer’s. Because Alzheimer’s Disease affects the memory, many individuals with the disease become disoriented when trying to locate lost objects or navigate home from new places.

Often, they fall into old patterns and routines, such as dressing to go to a previous job. This can cause them to leave their homes and wander off. In winter, wandering can be deadly due to the colder temperatures and other inclement weather.

If you have experienced instances of wandering with your loved one in the past, it might be time to seek additional care from professionals who specialize in memory care.

It’s advisable for those who have dementia to wear an ID bracelet or to carry an emergency ID card. Medic Alert + Safe Return® program is recommended by the Alzheimer’s Association, and is an option for caregivers who want extra peace of mind this winter.

Choose Trustworthy Memory Care Professionals

If you need assistance providing care for an individual with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, it’s important to seek professionals who specialize in memory care.

Caregivers who specialize in memory care and Alzheimer’s Disease have an understanding of wandering and other issues of dementia. They also understand how to secure your home in a way that makes it safe and secure for your loved one who has Alzheimer’s Disease. Visiting Angels provides home health care and memory care services throughout Mercer County and Burlington County in New Jersey. To learn more about our services, contact us today or call us directly at 609-883-8188.

What is Sundowning?

December 5th, 2017 No Comments

sundowning

Many who care for those with Alzheimer’s or other related dementia agree that symptoms get worse in the late afternoon and early evening–the time just before and after the sun goes down. This neurological phenomenon has been named Sundown Syndrome and is often called “sundowning.” Sundowning is the increased state of confusion or agitation that many people with memory issues experience as the day’s natural light fades.

Increased shadows, darkness, and changing ambiance can cause confusion and distress in people who have Alzheimer’s and dementia. This stress and agitation can, in turn, be frightening and/or confusing for loved ones who don’t understand why their loved one is behaving in certain ways at certain times of the day.

The more you know and understand about Sundowning, the more you can help your loved one when and if these symptoms occur.

Symptoms of Sundowning

Symptoms of this condition are associated with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia and may include:

  • Increased confusion as natural light begins to fade
  • Increased mood swings
  • Increased agitation
  • Decrease in energy; lethargy
  • Increased stress or visible worry
  • Increased tremors or shaking
  • Increased hostility or aggression
  • Increased disorientation

People who have dementia and who suffer from Sundowning Syndrome may pace nervously or behave in an odd manner. They may display visible signs of worry such as crying or mumbling to themselves. Dealing with these symptoms can be confusing and frustrating, but there are ways to lessen their severity and make your loved one more comfortable during the toughest part of their day.

How Can You Help?

There are a few ways your help your loved one with dementia make an easier transition from daytime to nighttime.

  • Keep the home well-lit
  • Minimize shadows, especially in rooms your loved one spends the most time in
  • Encourage activity during the day
  • Ensure a regular eating and exercise schedule
  • Consider hiring a professional home health aide who specializes in memory care to provide extra support for your loved one and yourself

For those who have dementia and Alzheimer’s, a specialized caregiving routine can ease symptoms and help them feel more comfortable, no matter the time of day.

Contact Visiting Angels today to learn more about our certified home health aides and how we can help your loved one live more independently at home.

Celebrating Alzheimer’s Caregivers During Alzheimer’s Awareness Month

November 9th, 2017 No Comments

 Alzheimer's Awareness Month

November is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, and it’s an ideal time to celebrate the caregivers who care for those living with this disease—family caregivers as well as professional caregivers. Since President Reagan’s 1983 declaration of National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness month, more cities are recognizing the importance of awareness and extending proclamations to recognize Alzheimer’s caregivers, too.

Caring for someone who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease can be difficult, draining, challenging, and rewarding. These hard-working caregivers do much to improve the lives of those with Alzeimer’s—so it’s important to show gratitude and appreciation.

Alzheimer’s caregivers benefit from having an understanding of sensory stimulation and how to engage Alzheimer’s patients. Alzheimer’s caregiving also involves enhancing the safety of patients’ living areas by placing safety measures, such as exit alarms and signs on doors to prevent wandering, for example.

Ways to recognize and celebrate the Alzheimer’s caregivers in your life during Alzheimer’s Awareness Month.

Encourage Rest for Alzheimer’s Caregivers

Those who have Alzheimer’s often have inconsistent sleep patterns. That means they can be up and active during any time of the night.

These inconsistencies in sleep interrupt the circadian rhythms of not only the person who has Alzheimer’s, but the caregiver as well, since they are the ones getting up with their loved one. Providing proper care to individuals with Alzheimer’s can be demanding–and requires adequate rest. You can show your appreciation for Alzheimer’s caregivers by encouraging rest. It can be as grand as a gesture as buying a spa package or as simple as creating a “sleep care kit.”

Some items you can pack in a sleep care kit:

  • Sleeping mask
  • Calming chamomile or cool mint tea packets
  • Essential oils, including lavender and eucalyptus oil
  • Bath slippers

Any of these relaxation items will help relieve stress and increase one’s sense of well-being.

Recognize and Reward Alzheimer’s Caregivers

There’s nothing like showing appreciation for Alzheimer’s caregivers by simply recognizing them. Sometimes a simple “thank you” goes a long way when it comes to showing appreciation. Say thank you by rewarding caregivers with de-stressing activities that can help them to relax, such as a yoga session or a massage appointment.

Volunteer to Help Alzheimer’s Caregivers

Do you know a family member, neighbor, or friend who is caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or other form of dementia? Why not offer to cover them for even an hour or two so they can meet a friend for lunch or simply take a nap in the other room? They need to take time to recharge.

Taking time to volunteer at a memory care facility is another way to show appreciation. You can help host a lunch for the caregivers, help arrange an awards ceremony, or help orchestrate a special performance for the center.

Final Thoughts

Take the time to recognize Alzheimer’s caregivers this November and show your appreciation.

If you need help caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease or other form of dementia, you don’t have to do it on your own. Contact a professional team with years of memory care experience, such as Visiting Angels.

Visiting Angels serves New Jersey families in Burlington and Mercer Counties.

Visit our Help for Family Caregivers page for additional resources.

 

How Does Alzheimer’s Disease Affect the Body and the Brain?

June 12th, 2017 No Comments

June is Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month.

Each year, the Alzheimer’s Association urges Americans to become familiar with the risks and symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia, and to become involved in the effort to raise awareness for this deadly disease, which kills more people than both breast and prostate cancer combined.

How Does Alzheimer’s Disease Affect the Brain?

Although it is often mistakenly attributed to the aging process and memory loss, Alzheimer’s is a degenerative disease that targets healthy brain and nerve tissue, eventually leading to cell death and brain shrinkage over time. As the disease progresses it begins to impact cognitive function, impairing the ability to think and process memories.

How Does Alzheimer’s Disease Affect the Body?

As it neural function declines, it also begins to impair the brain’s ability to regulate motor skills and physical activities. The earlier stages generally affect cognition and memory, but over time the damage spreads to the areas of the brain responsible for walking, balance and coordination, and swallowing. It may appear that a person suffering from advanced stage Alzheimer’s Disease may be choosing not to eat, but it can actually become physically impossible for them to do so as the brain loses the ability to effectively communicate with the body.

Treating Alzheimer’s Disease

While there is currently no cure for or way to reverse the disease, researchers are constantly working on developing new medication and treatment options to help reverse cognitive decline and deterioration. Treatment is focused on a comprehensive approach that may include medication to help regulate the neurotransmitters in the brain responsible for healthy brain function, as well as occupational and physical therapy to help patients and their families manage symptoms as they develop, and to help maintain the patient’s quality of life for as long as possible.

After the Diagnosis – Helping a Loved One with Alzheimer’s Disease

The disease affects everyone differently. For most people, maintaining their personal independence for as long as is safely possible is the ultimate goal. The Alzheimer’s Society recommends a number of memory aid strategies, as well as assistive technology and equipment to help make the home or care environment as accessible and safe as possible.

Personal and Home Assistance Care in New Jersey

For more information on the risk factors, warning signs, and care options for a loved one suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease, contact us today by calling 609-883-8188 to learn more about our services in Mercer and Burlington counties.


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5 Alzheimer’s Holiday Survival Tips for Seniors and Their Family Caregivers

November 17th, 2016 No Comments

at-home-caregiving-alzheimers-disease-visiting-angels-new-jersey

New Jersey Memory Care Assistance

Many families start the holiday season by giving thanks, sharing laughter, and creating joyous memories. But for those who have Alzheimer’s disease, and for family members who care for them, these holiday sentiments may not be as effortless. For families who have loved ones battling Alzheimer’s disease, the holiday season can be a bittersweet time, often filled with frustration and stress. Holiday travel and festivities can easily agitate, confuse, and overwhelm people who have Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. Meanwhile, both professional and family caregivers can feel overwhelmed, anxious, frustrated, and often lonely during the holiday season, which can lead to stress and depression.

If your loved ones are in the early stages of Alzheimer’s or dementia, family and friends might not notice any changes in their behavior. However, if the disease has progressed into the middle or later stages, it can become more difficult to entertain guests or plan meaningful family activities around the limitations caused by Alzheimer’s disease.

In recognition of both National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month and Family Caregiver’s Month, Visiting Angels offers these 5 holiday survival tips for both caregivers of—and for—seniors who have Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of memory loss.

Holiday Survival Tips

1.) Avoid holiday stress by planning ahead. The stress of the holiday season, coupled with caregiving responsibilities, can take a toll. People who typically experience holiday stress are those that give little thought to the challenges they’ll encounter. Consider planning ahead for what may be expected of you, both socially and emotionally. Talk with family and close friends about holiday celebrations in advance. Whether you’re hosting or visiting during the holidays plan to stay on a regular routine.

2.) Prepare your loved one who has Alzheimer’s for family festivities. Preparing your loved one for upcoming family gatherings can allow both of you to share a memory and enjoy the warmth of the season. Be sure to play familiar holiday music, talk about past holidays, and share photos of relatives and friends past and present. This will help encourage good thoughts and memories. Have a plan in place if your loved one starts getting agitated—too many people and loud conversations can cause anxiety.

3.) Communicate successfully during the holidays. Allow your loved one who has Alzheimer’s to be a part of the conversation. Alzheimer’s disease can diminish a person’s ability to communicate, so encourage family members to remain calm and supportive when a loved one has trouble speaking.

4.) Consult a doctor before traveling with a person who has Alzheimer’s. Traveling during the holidays can be overwhelming and stressful for even the healthiest person. But caregivers shouldn’t rule out travel altogether. Consult with your loved one’s doctor about things you can do to help them through the travel process before booking a flight and packing your bags.

5.) Don’t make too many holiday commitments. As a family caregiver, you already face many challenges in order to balance daily life demands and attempt to adhere to a schedule. Be sure not to lose sight of this when planning for the holidays. For example, if you plan to host a holiday dinner, consider inviting fewer people, or ask another relative or friend to host the event this year.

For families and caregivers of individuals with Alzheimer’s, who need an extra source of support and information can call the Alzheimer Association 24/7 Helpline at 1-800-272-3900.

If you have a parent or other loved one who is battling the stages of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia and could use additional care in the comfort of their home, contact Visiting Angels. We offer professional, individualized, home care senior living assistance to adults and seniors throughout Mercer and Burlington Counties, New Jersey.

For additional Alzheimer’s care tips, check out our blog post: “Alzheimer’s Memory Care: 6 Tips to Help.”

5 Care Tips on Caring for Adults with Early Onset Alzheimer’s

October 16th, 2015 No Comments

Early Onset Alheimer's Visiting Angels New Jersey Senior Care Burlington County

Early Onset Alzheimer’s

Currently, there are approximately 200,000 Americans under the age of 65—many are in their 40s and 50s—who are battling early onset Alzheimer’s disease. Out of the 5 million people in the U.S. with Alzheimer’s, about 5 percent of those have early onset. Watching loved ones experiencing memory problems is difficult, especially when they’re dealing a disease such as Alzheimer’s at a relatively young age. The early stage of Alzheimer’s in younger people is often undiagnosed by health care professionals. Symptoms may include forgetfulness of words/names, losing objects, greater difficulty doing tasks at work, and greater difficulty planning and organizing. As the disease progresses, symptoms cannot be ignored and many people are formally diagnosed as the symptoms become more pronounced. Symptoms include feeling moody, forgetting past history, wandering, personality changes, and confusion. It’s in the mid-stages of the disease where people may start needing more care and supervision.

When providing care for someone with signs of early onset Alzheimer’s disease, it’s important that both you and your loved one face the diagnosis together. Below are five tips to help you gain and establish mutual trust and care for a person battling the early signs of Alzheimer’s.

Care Tips for Early Onset Alzheimer’s: Early Stage

1.) Stay positive. There will be good days as well as bad days. It’s important to learn to enjoy and appreciate both. Each day will be different, so always keep a positive outlook each day!

2.) Keep educated on the progression of Alzheimer’s, as this will prepare you for what’s coming in the later stages.

3.) Encourage your loved one to remain independent. The goal is for them to continue living a reasonably self-sufficient life by doing as much as they can for themselves.

4.) The time is now to decide on important matters. Don’t put off legal, financial, or end-of-life questions for later. It’s important to take care of these matters as soon as possible. All parties should be involved in the decision making if still possible.

5.) Do projects and activities together. Although Alzheimer’s may affect a person’s memory, he or she can still be physically able and willing to enjoy activities such as gardening, housework, listening to music, doing art or craft projects, cooking, reading, doing crosswords, playing cards, visiting friends, walking, etc.

If your family member or someone you know is showing signs of early onset Alzheimer’s and could use extra living assistance while remaining at home, contact Visiting Angels today. We offer professional, individualized, in-home care to New Jersey and adults and seniors. Visit our Alzheimer’s Awareness page for additional resources on the disease.

The Angel You Wished For

November 24th, 2014 No Comments

Alzheimer’s and Memory Care Services in New Jersey

New Jersey Alzheimer's and Memory Care ServicesAre you caring for your loved one who suffers with Alzheimer’s Disease—or other memory-related problems—and wish an angel would come in and take away some of the stress of being a full-time caregiver? Visiting Angels is here to do just that. For patient, compassionate, skilled Alzheimer’s and memory care services in New Jersey, call Visiting Angels today at 609-883-8188.  We’re happy to discuss home care options with you.

November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month, and one-in-three Americans over the age of 85 suffer from this disease. One-in-nine Americans over the age of 65 is afflicted by Alzheimer’s. If you are unable to care for your loved one 24/7 and notice the following memory-related symptoms beginning to worsen, it may be time for in-home care:

  • Changes in mood and personality
  • Decreased or poor judgment
  • Problems with speaking or writing
  • Difficulty completing daily tasks
  • Inability to retrace steps and frequently misplacing items

With specific training and gentle compassion, our home-care providers have the skills you require, offering you peace of mind concerning your loved one. Visiting Angels understands that “one size fits all” doesn’t fit at all. We’ll listen as you discuss what you want and need, and together we’ll tailor a care plan to your satisfaction. That plan will be re-evaluated as your family member’s needs change. Providing the appropriate care necessary to ensure your loved one’s in-home comfort and contentment is where Visiting Angels excels.

The diagnosis of Alzheimer’s brings questions and quandaries. When you require in-home care for your loved one with this disease, call 609-883-8188. Visiting Angels offers trained home care employees to our clients dealing with the issues of living with progressive memory loss. We’re here to help you keep your loved one at home where things are familiar and comfortable, where life is less stressful and normal routines can continue.

Combining care and professionalism, home health aides from Visiting Angels are among the best elder-care providers in New Jersey. When you’re seeking the highest quality of Alzheimer’s care for your loved one, you can count on us. We have the angel you wished for. Call us today.

Seth Rogan Discusses Alzheimer’s On CNN

April 28th, 2011 1 Comment

Actor Seth Rogan, along with his finacee, Lauren Miller, will appear on “A Larry King Special, Unthinkable: The Alzheimer’s Epidemic.” The CNN special airs Sunday at 8:00 p.m. EST. Miller’s mother, age 59, has Alzheimer’s. The couple discuss how Alzheimer’s not only affects the patient, but also the family and friends, many of whom are unpaid caregivers. Rogan told CNN, “I think until you see it firsthand, it’s kind of hard to conceive of how brutal it is.”

Read the full story on CNN.com and watch a video clip of Rogan and Miller by going to http://bit.ly/fqmoQH.

Check out our Resources Page for a wide variety of Alzheimer’s-specific information.

November is Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month

November 4th, 2010 No Comments

Our Community Resource Bulletin for the month of November focuses on National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month. Did you know that 5.3 million people have Alzheimer’s Disease in the U.S.? Contrary to what many think, memory loss is not a normal part of aging. It may be Alzheimer’s—a progressive, fatal brain disease which not only affects the patient, but also greatly affects the patient’s family. Click on our Alzheimer’s Awareness Page for more.