Coping with memory loss

Seeing your loved one dealing with memory loss is never easy, nor is managing your Alzheimer's memory lossown feelings. Though memory loss is typically not reversible, there are things you can do to improve his or her quality of life and to improve the quality of your time together.

Here are some ideas:

1. Focus on memories. In most cases, those in early to mid stages of memory loss can much more easily remember events from their past. If this is a parent or an aunt, reminisce about yours or their childhood. Bring pictures along to make the memories come to life. Childhood scrapbooks or wedding albums can lead to happy, rich conversation with your loved one, whereas more recent pictures may be harder for them to grasp. When they actively remember an occasion, conversation will flow much more easily.

2. Be active together. Rather than forcing conversation, some days it may be better to just take a walk together and see where the conversation flows. Follow along and keep the conversation low pressure. Discuss the current weather. Talk about nature currently surrounding you. Topics like these can tap into their current observations and rely less on recall.

3. Enjoy a favorite pastime together. Perhaps your loved one was a crafter in the past. Take along a simple craft project that you can walk through step by step. Taking things one step at a time can eliminate or reduce frustration and confusion. Maybe your loved one was an avid fisherman. Go fishing! You may have to help with steps you previously didn’t, but experiencing something they love can greatly improve the mood and self-esteem of someone coping with memory loss.

4. Hire some help. You may find that no matter how much time you can give that it isn’t enough. Hiring a home care aide can give you peace of mind and greatly enhance the quality of life of your loved one.

If you could use additional hands-on help or have questions about the roles of home care aids, contact us. Hannah’s Home Care is here for our community and to help our seniors age with grace and support

Why Nursing Home Care May Not Be the Best Choice for your Loved One with Alzheimers

When a loved one who has been independent all her life begins to show signs that she is dealing with dementia family and friends may stress about how to handle the Alzheimer nursingproblem. Lately, the news is full of stories about people combatting Alzheimer’s  and the disease seems to be nearing epidemic proportions. If the disease affects your loved one, family members may volunteer to stay with the person (one out of five Americans is a caregiver) but people with dementia are taxing to care for. They tend to leave home and forget how to get back. They awaken during the night and wander. At some point many families look at nursing homes as their best options.

Nearly half of all nursing home residents are  there because of dementia. In response to that fact, many facilities have built dementia wings. The idea is to take people who are easily agitated and confused out of the mainstream nursing home environment and put them in a calmer, more secure place. The goal is that trained staff can care for and nurture them while offering memory care activities.

However, studies done in 2008 and 2009 found that while the special wings attempted to adapt to Alzheimer’s special needs ( they were less likely to use bed rails that can contribute to falls, and the staffs worked with residents in toileting and other self-care programs), resident moods were lower. In addition, residents in the special wings received more anti-psychotic drugs. In the long run, aside from security, residents of the special halls fared no better or worse than those mixed into the general nursing home population.

What does that mean to you and to your loved one who is beginning to show signs of dementia? Only that experienced in-home care may be more effective in dealing with the dementia than nursing home residence. People allowed to remain in familiar surroundings don’t deal with the “shock” of new housing and don’t have to adjust to the necessary routines of facility life such as early bed times or rising. Because he is the reason the care-giver is in the home, your loved one receives attention and is constantly engaged. He is also secure because his caregiver is aware of where he is and what he is doing at all times.

If your loved one has dementia and you are considering your options for his care, contact us and let us explain in-home Alzheimer’s care to both of you. Dementia does not have to mean your loved one must lose his home and his family life. There is another answer.

Arthritis Awareness: How to Help Your Aging Parents Prevent Falls and Move More

Having parents who suffer from osteoarthritis can be worrisome for adult children. A large part of arthritis awareness entails safe proofing your parents’ home and encouraging them to get physically active. By becoming more aware of their needs, you can have more peace of mind. Here are some safety guidelines and exercises that are helpful for arthritis patients.fall_prevention

Fall Prevention

Having arthritis can increase the likelihood of falls. That’s why it’s critical that a home is safe. Some of the main rooms that need safe proofing include:

  • Kitchens—All kitchen supplies should be easily accessible as you don’t want your parent to stand on a chair and risk falling.
  • Stress the importance of wiping up kitchen spills immediately after they happen.
  • Bathrooms—Use night lights in bathrooms and install handicap railings in showers or bathtubs. Install handicap railings to prevent falls. Use non-skid mats in showers or bathrooms.
  • Stairways—Install handrails on both sides of a stairway. 

Encourage Exercise 

Too often, people with arthritis are less physically active. However, this actually hurts rather than helps. Therefore, discuss with your parents the types of exercises that are safe, besides improving arthritic pain. In fact, exercise has been proven to improve arthritis by as much as 15 to 30 percent more than just taking medications. Here are some suggestions to boost physical activity in your parent.

  • Get your parents a stationary bike. Stationary cycling is ideal for arthritis as it provides a good cardiovascular workout without putting stress on weight-bear joints. If your parent struggles with balance issues, cycling is exceptionally safe because you don’t have to lean a bike to turn.
  • Enroll your parents in a yoga class. Yoga helps reduce stress because of its relaxation techniques. Just be sure you find your parent a yoga teacher can adjust poses and realizes physical limits from having arthritis.
  • Investigate classes in water aerobics. Water walking, especially fun and is gentle on sensitive joints. As water is buoyant, it’s effective in easing joint pain and stress. What’s more, people can burn more calories walking in water than they can by walking on land.  

Additional Considerations and Warnings 

  • Be sure your parents’ home is equipped with adequate light, particularly in hallways and stairways. They should be able to reach light switches on the tops of bottoms of a stairway, besides access flashlights in a power outage.
  • Check the home for any electrical cords or loose carpeting that could cause falls, besides any low-lying furniture.

Caring for aging parents can be both physically and emotionally tiring. The professionals at Hannah’s Home Care provide home-care help for elderly people, such as daily living activities as bathing, meal preparation, light housekeeping, transportation to medical appointments and other services. If you need help with a loved one, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Bath Safety Tips: Keeping Seniors Injury-Free While They’re Bathing

Because there are so many ways that seniors may sustain injuries at home, it is important for caregivers to inspect all residential areas and identify disasters waiting to happen. To make that task easier and help families start the year off safely, we’ve put together a half dozen bath safety tips that may help. Each one focuses on the bath tub and bathing. 2015-02-03-bathsafetyHere they are:
  • Adjust the temperature setting on the home’s water heater to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. According to the American Burn Association’s figures, that is the safest water temperature for the majority of seniors. Those with thin skin or neuropathy may need temperatures lower than that. Just don’t go below 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Otherwise, legionellae could establish itself in the home’s plumbing system.
  • Consider installing an LED faucet aerator with temperature indicator or other device that’s designed to let people know whether they’re dealing with hot or cold water before putting their bodies into contact with it. Prices vary and the devices are typically available through durable medical equipment providers, home improvement and plumbing specialty retailers.
  • If temperature indicator faucets won’t work, try installing anti-scald ones instead. They are generally designed to screw onto an existing pipe and do one of two things automatically. It will either add cold water or reduce the flow of hot water when the water temperature within the fixture reaches 120 degrees Fahrenheit. At that temperature, burns may occur after three to nine minutes of constant exposure.
  • Once that’s taken care of, focus on adding anti-slip materials to the bathtub’s surface and the surrounding floor. There are quite a few materials on the market today that would work, including press-on strips and spray-on coatings. The anti-slip devices shouldn’t end there though.
  • Think about installing a variety of grab bars or tub grips to the bathroom wall and tub itself. They come in a variety of designs, including ones that double as shelving and soap dishes. Ideally, all of the supportive devices should all be professionally installed and be capable of holding the senior household members’ full body weight at any given time.
  • Investing in a series of personal care aids will also improve bath safety. Examples include handheld shower heads, reclining bath lifts, shower chairs, bath seats, bath stools and transfer boards. It should also be noted that today’s durable medical equipment manufacturers make ones that fold up and can be stored away as well as more permanent fixtures.

To find out more about bath safety and how Hannah’s Home Care caregivers may help, please contact us. We’ve been offering unwavering care and companionship for seniors living in, and around, Tacoma, Washington for years.

Safety Practices

Nearly one third of all individuals over the age of 65 fall each year, and that figure increases to 50% by age 80.

For seniors, most accidents involve falls in and around the home.  As our loved ones age, safety is a top concern for family members or friends.

To assist you in identifying potential safety hazards in your loved one’s home, pay attention to these Home Safety instructions:

  • Floor should not be too highly polished and slippery
  • Light switches should be easy to find
  • Carpeting on stairs needs to be secure
  • Store all medicines in a safe place and make sure that the senior can read the labels
  • Make sure that there are no worn edges to carpets or cords to trip over
  • Passages and stairways should be well lit
  • Make sure handrails are well anchored on both sides of the stairway
  • Arrange furniture so that pathways are not cluttered
  • Use a bath seat if it is difficult to stand during a shower or too difficult to get up out of the tub
  • Install grab bars on the side of the tub or shower for balance
  • Use an elevated toilet seat or commode if a senior needs support getting on and off the toilet or if they are not able to bend their hip normally after surgery
  • Install grab bars around the toilet if they need more leverage to get off the toilet
  • Mark “ON” and “OFF” positions clearly on the dials on the stove
  • Keep baking soda near the stove to extinguish small cooking fires, and keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen
  • Make sure the sleeves of the senior’s clothing are not loose or dangling while cooking
  • Home security – pay attention to the security both inside and outside of one’s home
  • If you’re concerned about any safety issues in your loved one’s living environment, give us a call/  We can help guide and assist you with any safety concerns you may have.

Still have questions? please contact us anytime! We look forward to hearing from you.