“Now What?” Next Steps After a Diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease from the National Institute on Aging, NIH

October 31, 2017

A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease can be difficult, but getting accurate information and support can help you know what to expect and what to do next. Use this checklist to get started.

Learn about Alzheimer’s disease

Being informed will help you know what to expect as the disease progresses. Here are some resources:

  • Alzheimer’s Foundation of America: 1-866-232-8484; www.alzfdn.org
  • Local hospitals: May have educational programs about Alzheimer’s disease/dementia.

Get regular medical care

  • Make regular appointments with your primary care doctor or specialist (neurologist, neuropsychiatrist, geriatric psychiatrist).
  • Consider going to a specialized memory disorders clinic. Ask your doctor for a referral if desired.

Find local services and support

  • Find local services by contacting Eldercare Locator: 1-800-677-1116; eldercare.gov
  • Find your local Alzheimer’s organization, such as an Alzheimer’s Association Chapter: 1-800-272-3900; www.alz.org/apps/findus.asp
  • Find local member organizations and providers affiliated with the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America: 1-866-232-8484; alzfdn.org
  • Contact relevant local healthcare and social service agencies.

 Do some legal, financial, and long-term care planning

  • Prepare or update your will, living will, healthcare power of attorney, and financial power of To find a lawyer, contact your local bar association or the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys: www.naela.org
  • Learn about care you may need in the future and how to pay for it: longtermcare.gov
  • Explore getting help to pay for medicines, housing, transportation, and Visit the National Council on Aging: www.benefitscheckup.org

 Get help as needed with day-to-day tasks

  • Use simple memory aids like a notepad or sticky notes to jot down reminders, a pillbox to keep medications organized, and a calendar to record appointments.
  • Ask family members or friends or find local services to help with routine tasks, such as cooking, paying bills, transportation, or shopping.
  • Consider using technology solutions for medication management, safety (e.g., emergency response, door alarms), and other care.
  • See tips about coping daily, sharing your diagnosis, changes in relationships, and more: alz.org/living_with_alzheimers.asp.

Be safe at home

  • Ask your doctor to order a home-safety evaluation and recommend a home health care agency to conduct it. Medicare may cover the cost.
  • Consider joining the MedicAlert® + Alzheimer’s Association Safe Return® program: alz.org/care/dementia-medic-alert-safe-return.asp

 Stay safe on the road

 Consider participating in a clinical trial

Stay healthy

  • Be active! Getting exercise helps people with Alzheimer’s feel better and helps keep their muscles, joints, and heart in good shape. For tips, see nia.nih.gov/Go4Life.
  • Eat a well-balanced diet that includes fruits, vegetables, and whole-grain products: nia. nih.gov/health/publication/whats-your-plate
  • Continue to enjoy visits with family and friends, hobbies, and outings.

If you live alone

  • Identify someone who can visit you regularly and be an emergency contact.
  • If you are at risk of falling, order an emergency response system. A special pendant or bracelet lets you summon help if you fall and can’t reach the the phone.
  • Consider working with an occupational therapist. This person can teach you ways to stay independent. Ask your doctor for more information.
  • Get tips about self-care, preventing falls, staying connected, and more: alz.org/i-have-alz/if you-live-alone.asp
  • Stick with familiar places, people, and Simplify Your Life.

If you are working

  • If you have problems performing your job, consider reducing your hours or switching to a less demanding position.
  • Consult your employer’s HR department or employee assistance program about family leave, disability benefits, and other employee benefits.
  • Find out if you qualify for Social Security disability benefits through “compassionate allowances.” Visit socialsecurity.gov/compassionateallowances or call 1-800-722-1213.

NIH, National Institute on Aging, Alzheimer’s Disease Education and Referral Center, April 2016

Locally, if you have questions, concerns, a need for help, contact PA HOME CARE of Lancaster at 717-464-2006 or by email to PAHC@pa-homecare.com.  We’ll be glad to help.

When a Person with Alzheimer’s Rummages and Hides Things, from nia.nih.org

August 22, 2017

Someone with Alzheimer’s disease may start rummaging or searching through cabinets, drawers, closets, the refrigerator, and other places where things are stored. He or she also may hide items around the house. This behavior can be annoying or even dangerous for the caregiver or family members. If you get angry, try to remember that this behavior is part of the disease.

 

In some cases, there might be a logical reason for this behavior. For instance, the person may be looking for something specific, although he or she may not be able to tell you what it is. He or she may be hungry or bored. Try to understand what is causing the behavior so you can fit your response to the cause.

 

Rummagingwith Safety

You can take steps that allow the person with Alzheimer’s to rummage while protecting your belongings and keeping the person safe. Try these tips:

Lock up dangerous or toxic products, or place them out of the person’s sight and reach.

Remove spoiled food from the refrigerator and cabinets. Someone with Alzheimer’s may look for snacks but lack the judgment or sense of taste to stay away from spoiled foods.

Remove valuable items that could be misplaced or hidden by the person, like important papers, checkbooks, charge cards, jewelry, and keys.

People with Alzheimer’s often hide, lose, or throw away mail. If this is a serious problem, consider getting a post office box. If you have a yard with a fence and a locked gate, place your mailbox outside the gate.

 

How to Help

You also can create a special place where the person with Alzheimer’s can rummage freely or sort things. This could be a chest of drawers, a bag of objects, or a basket of clothing to fold or unfold.

Give him or her a personal box, chest, or cupboard to store special objects. You may have to remind the person where to find his or her personal storage place.

Keep the person with Alzheimer’s from going into unused rooms. This limits his or her rummaging through and hiding things.

Search the house to learn where the person often hides things. Once you find these places, check them often, out of sight of the person.

Keep all trash cans covered or out of sight. People with Alzheimer’s may not remember the purpose of the container or may rummage through it.

Check trash containers before you empty them, in case something has been hidden there or thrown away by accident.

 

Remember, this behavior is part of the disease and no one is at fault for it.  Learn how to best manage and cope and you’ll all be happier for it.

 

For more information about Alzheimer’s and related dementias, call 1-800-438-4380 to reach the National Institute on Aging’s ADEAR Center. (Alzheimer’s Dementias Education And Referral) or go to www.nia.nih.gov/alzheimers

 

Feel free to contact PA HOME CARE with any questions or for help at home.  We’re here to make your life easier and we’re committed to helping seniors age in place, safely and securely, in the comfort of their own homes.

“With Hearts and Hands, We Care”

call 717-464-2006

email PAHC@PA-HomeCare.com

 

 

Six tips for managing sleep problems…from NIH

August 1, 2017

makingbed380x250r2

Though the following deals specifically with people living with Alzheimer’s, these are good tips to follow for anyone with disrupted sleep patterns.

Alzheimer’s disease often affects a person’s sleeping habits. It may be hard to get the person to go to bed and stay there. Someone with Alzheimer’s may sleep a lot or not enough, and may wake up many times during the night.

Here are some tips that may help caregivers manage sleep problems in people with Alzheimer’s disease:

Help the person get exercise each day, limit naps, and make sure the person gets enough rest at night. Being overly tired can increase late-afternoon and nighttime restlessness.

Senior-Exercise-and-Fitness-Tips

Plan activities that use more energy early in the day. For example, try bathing in the morning or having the largest family meal in the middle of the day.

Set a quiet, peaceful mood in the evening to help the person relax. Keep the lights low, try to reduce the noise levels, and play soothing music if he or she enjoys it.

Try to have the person go to bed at the same time each night. A bedtime routine, such as reading out loud, also may help.

reading380x250r1

Limit caffeine.

Use nightlights in the bedroom, hall, and bathroom.

Learn more about sleep and Alzheimer’s disease on the NIH website.

https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/alzheimers/caregiving

 

What Are You Trying To Say? Dementia and it’s communication code. By Kathy Spence

August 10, 2016

Have you ever become frustrated with your loved one living with dementia because you have tried everything you know to do and still they are angry or sad or scared?  Did you know that if certain needs are left unattended, your loved one’s dementia will present itself in seemingly unconnected ways?

If Grandma is acting out in an angry manner, it’s possible that she may be hungry or thirsty and she is not able to verbalize her physical wants to you.

Angry senior shaking fist

 

If Grandpa just wants to sleep in his chair and you know he had a good night’s rest, the answer may be that he is feeling sad and he cannot put into words what his true feelings are all about.  Over-excitement may lead to the same result, you loved one may suddenly seem sad for no apparent reason.

Senior man sleeping in armchair at home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A sudden bout of loneliness from the senior with dementia may actually have more to do with an unmet need to use a restroom, or an “accident” that they are not able to explain to you in words.

Sad older woman

 

 

 

 

 

Sad older man

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The elderly patient living with dementia may seem scared, more than confused.  A cause for this can be attributed to this person feeling too hot or too cold and just have no ability to verbalize exactly what it is they are needing at this particular time.

 

scared_senior_patient

 

Part of the difficulty in helping your loved one live with dementia is learning a new language, their language of emotional cues.  After having eliminated (to the best of your ability) all of the obvious physical and environmental possibilities, it’s very likely that there is pain involved.

Pain can be radiating from any number of places; stomach ache, bowel or urinary issues, joints, head ache, old injuries, heart or gastrointestinal issues, discomfort in skin creases or folds, uncomfortable sitting or lying down positions, the list can seem endless.

elderly-man-pain

 

 

 

 

 

 

Try your best to get at the nature of the pain and make your loved one comfortable.  When all else has failed, it may be time for a trip to the doctor or hospital.

 

Taking care of someone living with dementia requires a certain amount of “sleuthing” on the part of the caregiver to meet and address all of the often unspoken needs of the elder loved one.  The benefits are worth it when you find those fleeting moments of lucidity and you are there to “see” him or her again, even briefly.

GoRedStroke

 

Isolation and the Older Adult by Kathy Spence

May 16, 2016

Sad older woman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recently much has been said about “sitting being the new smoking” when it comes to health risks.  For our senior population another risk has been well known in anecdotal form, but much less well documented.  That is the inherent risk associated with social isolation as it relates to chronic depression.  According to the National Institute on Health, frequent feelings of loneliness are linked to higher rates of infection, cognitive decline, cardiovascular disease, depression, morbidity and mortality.  This risk is magnified among our older population as they are facing retirement and a perceived loss of self as well as health limitations and possibly disabilities limiting their mobility and ability to do all of the things they want to do.

 
It doesn’t have to be this way.  Older adults, in particular, have shown an ability to thrive with a minimal level of social connectedness.  Even a small social network, church activities, volunteering, visits with family, etc. can bring a level of satisfaction much greater than the lack of same can lead to health issues, particularly depression.  However, this is not a “one size fits all” resolution.  Some folks are happy with little outside contact while others crave more activity.    This is the difference between actual social disconnectedness and perceived isolation.  One elder who appears to be socially disconnected may, in fact, thrive on a certain level of contented solitude.  Another apparently active senior may feel unsupported and not intimate in their relationships and actually perceive themself as isolated.  Ask your older loved one the following questions; “How often do you feel that you lack companionship?” “How often do you feel left out?” and “How often do you feel isolated from others?”  Their answers will be very telling.

 

Sad older man

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So what do we do?  First and foremost, you must know the senior adult that you are concerned about.  Not just know who they are and what their physical needs are, but know them as a person.  What do they enjoy, who do they enjoy time with, what would a perfect day look like to this individual?  Now, how do we get them there?  What resources are available to the elder and their family? What is reasonable and sustainable?  For instance, if regular family time is what your senior craves, is it possible to have a standing date every week, every month, whatever works for you and your family?  If church and activities revolving around church is enjoyable, does the church have transportation available or any kind of outreach program for those at home?  If regular exercise is what’s most enjoyable, a walk can do wonders and can be done with a “buddy” for companionship and safety.  Senior centers are often a viable option and can best be approached on a temporary basis with enough time allowed for the elder to build friendships and enjoy the socialization.  Following are a few more suggestions:

*  Courses in the following, often leading to clubs or informal gatherings to do same; Cooking, Crafting, Computer/Internet, Bird-Watching, Gardening, or any other new activity.

*  Volunteering; opportunities abound across many areas of need; hospitals, churches, schools, public service organizations, also check with your local United Way.

*  Exercise programs geared specifically towards the older adult; check with your local YMCA, Office of Aging, or Senior Centers, as well as Health Clubs in your area.

The possibilities are really endless if approached from a position of what can we do, instead of what the senior is no longer able to do.  At PA HOME CARE we are happy to help in any way that we can.  We’re available by the hour or by the day and anything in between.                                                                                                                    grandparentslrg

Call us today and let’s talk @ (717) 464-2006.

PA HOME CARE of Lancaster;

“With Hearts and Hands, We Care”,

about you and the elder loved one in your life.

 

 

 

Alive Inside: A Story of Music and Memory by Dan Cohen

June 1, 2015

“This film delves into music’s ability to combat memory loss and help to restore a deep sense of self to those who are going through a dementia diagnosis.” from Olivia Maturano, Alzheimer’s Association

 

“Dan Cohen, founder of the nonprofit organization Music & Memory, fights against a broken healthcare system to demonstrate music’s ability to combat memory loss and restore a deep sense of self to those suffering from it.” from http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2593392/

http://www.aliveinside.us/#land

 

Why aren’t we doing this?

We can spend fortunes trying to chemically change and restrict behaviors.

Why not naturally induce this kind of happiness?

It may not work for everyone, rarely does that happen.

But for everyone that it does help, what a blessing!

Kathy Spence, Co-Owner

PA HOME CARE of Lancaster

 

The Glen Campbell Movie

November 6, 2014

Alzheimers knows no boundaries.

Alzheimers has no respect for fame, fortune, love, loss.

Glen and his family are bravely willing to share part of their journey down the path of “The Long Goodbye”.

 

GLEN CAMPBELL - COUNTRY SINGER

Please click thru for a preview of this poignant story as told by Glen and his family.

http://glencampbellmovie.com/

 

Glen Campbell’s “I’m Not Gonna Miss You”

October 17, 2014

Glen Campbell arrives at the 2012 CMT Music awards at the Bridgestone Arena on June 6, 2012, in Nashville, Tennessee. RICK DIAMOND/GETTY IMAGES FOR CMT

 

For years Glen Campbell and his family have been bravely, very public, about the onset of dementia in Glen.  This talented and prolific country music artist has released what they are calling his final song and music video.

 

In his own poignant words, when he sings “You’re the last person I will love” and later, “Best of all, I’m not gonna miss you”, he redefines the heartbreak of Alzheimers and other dementias from the perspective of the person that’s so well known and loved; who is physically here, yet actually gone.

 

Glen is now living in a twenty-four hour per day, long-term care facility but has chosen to share his lucid interpretation of his own “long goodbye”.  Sources have stated that this is the last recording the original “Rhinestone Cowboy” will publicly release.

 

Listen, learn, love…..life is fleeting.

 

Meredith Vieira and special guests talk about Alzheimers

September 29, 2014

Meredith Vieira raises awareness during new talk show

On Sept. 9, Alzheimer’s Association celebrity champion Meredith Vieira dedicated a portion of “The Meredith Vieira Show” to raise awareness of Alzheimer’s disease. Actors Lauren Miller Rogen and Seth Rogen appeared as guests, sharing their personal experience with Alzheimer’s and how they are taking action in the fight. The emotional segment concluded with a special surprise for Vieira – and the Alzheimer’s Association! Watch and learn more

http://blog.alz.org/alzheimers-awareness-comes-to-the-meredith-vieira-show/?utm_source=DM&utm_medium=emai&utm_campaign=womens-newsletter

 

 

Support Group Meeting

April 24, 2014

AlzheimersLogo

Hello Everyone!

 

Coming up on Wednesday May 7. 2014 we will be hosting our next Alzheimer’s/Dementia Community Education and Support Group at the Willow Valley Medical Center, West Entrance.  We meet from 7 – 8:30 PM in the Community Room.

 

In May we will be finishing our discussion about the Gems of Caregiving, focusing on the last two Gems/stages of Dementia.  We will also be showing a 20 minute DVD on Alzheimer’s that is from a patient’s perspective.

 

All are invited to attend this free education and support group!  A joint effort of PA Home Care of Lancaster and The PA Chapter of Alzheimer’s Association.

 

The next group will be held on Wednesday June 4, 2014, same place and time.  Topic will be Dementia and Change – how to help assist with life transition and grieve the losses along the way.

 

 

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