Archive for the ‘Communication’ Category

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.

5 Tips About Having A Conversation With Your Older Parents

January 20th, 2016 No Comments

Starting a Conversation with Your Loved Ones About Aging

Home health care in Mecer and Burlington New Jersey Counties Visiting Angels

If you observed your older parents at gatherings during the holidays, you may have noticed they’re starting to need a little more help than they used to. After ringing in the New Year, maybe you’re thinking it’s time to have a talk with your aging loved ones about a long-term care plan as they age. You certainly don’t want to spend this year continually worrying about their safety and well-being as they go through each day on their own.

For years, our parents were there for us and gave their support during life’s most challenging moments. Now it’s our time to be there for them during their most challenging moments. Whether you’ve noticed your loved ones needing help with day-to-day care (such as dressing, grooming, bathing), if they’re not preparing food or eating enough, if they’re forgetting to take their medications, or if their housekeeping is falling behind, this conversation will spark mixed emotions. Just keep in mind that it’s better to start the conversation now, before it’s too late.

Big life changes may be in store for your loved ones, so plan to have more than one conversation before a crisis situation happens (such as a sudden major fall or debilitating illness) which will impair their ability to function on their own. Below are five ways to help navigate through these conversations.

  • 1. Timing is everything. Plan to talk to your loved ones when there are no distractions or other obligations. For example, the middle of family dinner is probably not the right occasion for this discussion. A good time could be during a morning visit with your parents when they don’t have many activities planned for the day.
  • 2. Share your observations, concerns and feelings. Maybe you’ve noticed that Dad is having trouble getting work done around the house, or Mom is no longer able to keep up with laundry and cooking. Addressing these topics with loved ones can be difficult, but it’s important they know that you care. If you’ve notice your loved one is having trouble, stay persistent, empathetic, and strong as you work with them to find the right solution.
  • 3. Listen to their concerns and wishes. Make a list of your loved one’s concerns so that you’re able to validate them and help guide you both in finding the most appropriate solutions based on their preferences. Understanding the type of lifestyle they wish to maintain can help with planning and lead to positive outcomes.
  • 4. Being an advocate. Emphasize that you’re there to take care of their needs and that they can depend on you. Ensure them that you want to maintain their way of life and need their help to make the best decisions.
  • 5. End the conversation with a plan. Having a plan in place helps to make sure that there are set shared expectations around the next steps. In the event of an emergency your family will be prepared for the next steps.

If you are still uneasy about having a conversation with your parents and need the support and guidance of a professional, Visiting Angels can help. Visiting Angels’ services allow your loved ones to remain independent safely in their own homes. Our Angels are trained to provide a range of in-home, non-medical home care services—including meal preparation, light housekeeping, companionship, hygiene assistance, medication reminders, personal care assistance, and safety supervision throughout Mercer and Burlington counties in New Jersey. For more information or to schedule our services, call 609-833-8188.