How to be prepared in Case of Emergency!

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Regardless of who or how, when an emergency strikes there are a few critical items that will make all the difference in the world for those left standing to pick up the pieces.  This information is not age dependent. 
 

  • Keep a list of your ICE (In Case of Emergency) contacts in your wallet/purse and on your refrigerator.  (If you put your ICE contacts in your phone, that’s great as long as your phone is not password protected).  Go deep beyond just your spouse.  Add your children, a best friend, or neighbor – whoever your go-to is if and when you have a problem.  Have a back-up.  Couples get in accidents or serious situations together and then who else is there to notify?
     
  • Keep a CURRENT list of serious afflictions and medications in your wallet/purse AND your refrigerator or cupboard, so it’s accessible for first responders.  Include anything you are allergic to – both medications and items such as nuts or shellfish.  Do this for your spouse/loved one too.  Children should keep a list of their parents’ medications with them as well, especially if they are the back-up person who will respond to an emergency.
     
  • Include a tactful note sharing that your loved one has Dementia and cannot be left alone.  First responders will take spouses to the ER with them so there is supervision until family or a homecare agency can rescue them.
     
  • Review your Power of Attorney information to make sure it is current, and your designees are both willing and able to fulfill the roles you have asked of them.  Make sure that your documents are in synch with Arizona law if they were prepared elsewhere.  Most attorneys will review these documents for free.

Being prepared is crucuial and can save your life  by giving those attempting to asses your current healthcare needs the tools they will need to properly assess your condition. We are here for you at " A Caring Hand for Mom (and Dad)" we are here to help you so please visit our website www.acaringhandformom.com for more information and call us at 800-881-7706.

This information was originally written by Carol Poker-Yount and shared with permission

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How to Find the Best Scottsdale Assisted Living Facilities

It's a well known fact that the mere decision to move your elderly loved one to into assisted living in Scottsdale is one of the hardest choices you'll have to face. However, there are multitudes of resources out there, all devoted to helping make this difficult transition easier to face. Before you can get your senior loved one moved into their new home, you must first take on the job of picking out the perfect Scottsdale assisted living center. Keep reading to learn just how to approach your search for an assisted living facility that can best suit your senior loved one's needs.

Obtain Your Research from a Qualified referral agency, it can save you thousands

Don't dismiss the amount of help a qualified referral agency can offer as they can save you thousands of dollars because they are familiar with the various communities and specials in the area that they may be offering. Take advantage of these resources to find the highest quality Scottsdale assisted living facilities. Although the Internet may appear to be a valuable resource a qualified referral agent is similar to a realtor in that they know the communities in your area the specials that are available and they can help you match those services to your needs and save you thousands of dollars in the process. The agents at A Caring Hand for Mom (and dad) are licensed Healthcare professionals who will not only provide you with the contact information you need to reach out to different facilities, but they will set up tours for you and will even tour with you to help you understand all the services a community may offer or may not offer that the communities marketing representatives may not disclose. As you look around at different assisted living centers, they will help you to discern the facility's true quality and whether they're worth investigating further.

Take a Tour

Of course, ratings and reviews can only offer so much information. Once you've narrowed down your list based on what you've read, it's time to go and observe the facility for yourself. The staff at A caring Hand for Mom (and Dad) will call the facilities for assisted living in Scottsdale, AZ ahead of time to schedule a proper tour. Most facilities will be willing to show you and your elderly loved one around. Now is the perfect chance to get their opinion on their potential new living spaces and start to ease them into the moving process. Look into every facet of life at the center. Ask the staff about entertainment and socialization options for residents, as well as nutrition and dining options and the quality and size of bedrooms and shared areas. You should also make note of the staff's general disposition as well. A team of staff that seems unfriendly or dismissive is the first sign of an assisted living center to be avoided.

Don't Be Afraid to Ask Questions

Ideally, you should make more than one visit to the facilities you're considering. You will more than likely have more questions than can be addressed in one visit, so additional trips offer the chance of additional conversations about your concerns. Try not to schedule every one of your visits to a center for senior living in Scottsdale, AZ. The act of dropping in will let you gain a better glimpse of what each facility is like on the average day, in turn letting you know what you can expect for your senior loved one's day to day life.

A Caring Hand for Mom (and Dad!) offers the most comprehensive listings of senior living facilities in the Scottsdale area. Call us at 800.881.7706 or visit our website today to learn more about what we do and how we can help you.

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The Toughest Conversation: Your Parent and Assisted Living

There's no denying that the decision to place an elderly loved one in assisted living is a tough decision. However, it's the matter of informing your loved one about that decision that, for many, is all the more terrifying. If you're in this exact situation, don't fret! Hundreds of people across the state (and even the country) find themselves in the same boat each and every year. It's completely understandable and common to encounter difficulties with telling your elderly parent of your decision. After all, you will essentially be uprooting them from their longtime home and their sense of independence for a totally new environment and way of living. To help you know how to say and what to anticipate, here are a few suggestions to help you approach your senior loved one.

Start Slowly

Don't throw all the details about your parent's move to assisted living on them all at once. The very concept will likely prove to be a huge shock to the system. Allow your parent the time and space they need to absorb this change by introducing them to the reality of it as slowly as possible. Don't make the decision sound completely absolute. Your parent is still an adult, regardless of their current level of ability, and should still be treated as such. When you first bring up the topic of assisted living in Surprise, AZ, ask your parent how they'd feel about the idea of moving to such a facility. Additionally, you may not want to refer to assisted living under those exact terms, as it can be jarring to hear. You can instead call it a "senior community," or a similar term, if you believe it will help with your parent's comfort.

Understand Their Concerns

It is highly likely that your parent will have at least a few reservations regarding their potential move to assisted living in Surprise, AZ. If so, now is not the time to argue with them. Doing so will more than likely just force them to dig their heels in about the issue. Instead, talk calmly and compassionately with them. Get to the bottom of just what aspects of moving to assisted living bothers them. For some, it may be the perceived lack of independence. Others may worry about their current home and what will happen to it once they leave. By getting to know exactly what aspects of assisted living intimidate your parent, you can help them find a comforting solution to the issue.

Illuminate the Bright Side

Your parent should enter assisted living in Surprise, AZ with the knowledge that the experience does not represent a loss so much as a new beginning. Try and talk with your parent about the advantages assisted living will bring to their lives. This could include much better healthcare, a chance to meet new friends, increased freedom from financial burdens or a similar benefit. Try to tie the advantages in with matters that may have been a source of worry for your elderly loved one previously.

A Caring Hand for Mom is here to help you with every step of the process as you move your senior loved one to assisted living in Surprise, AZ. Call us at 800.881.7706 or visit our website to learn more about our services.

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Making the Move: Your Parent’s Adjustment to Assisted Living

Moving is always a difficult transition. However, it can be especially tough to adjust to for seniors who have had to relocate from their hard-earned homes to assisted living in Peoria, AZ. They will be effectively leaving behind everything they know, everything that has brought them comfort and security in the past, to live in a strange new place. Assisted living may also serve as a deep reminder of your senior parent's growing limitations, making the adjustment that much worse to bear. Luckily, you can help make the move to assisted living a bit easier to deal with. Keep reading for tips on how to help your parent make the most of their new living situation.

Offer Them a Bit of Comfort From Home

One way you can help with your parent's move to assisted living in Peoria, AZ is by encouraging them to include some of their favorite mementos from home. This may include decorations, knickknacks, family photos, heirlooms or other sentimental items your loved one may not want to part with. They can arrange these items around their new bedroom at the assisted living center to remind them that home is never too far away.

Get Involved

When your parent first moves into assisted living in Peoria, AZ, their adjustment may be hampered by feelings of isolation. They will be surrounded by strangers while already dealing with immense changes to their routine and self-sufficiency. Try to visit with your parent as often as possible during this time and beyond. You can also encourage your parent to try and make friends with those around them, whether by taking part in activities in the surrounding area, or within the facility itself. Many assisted living facilities in Peoria will offer their residents a variety of fun things to do and accomplish during their time there. This prevents boredom and will help your parent to make new friends.

Reaching Out

Remember: your parent had their own thriving life prior to their move to assisted living. They had old coworkers, friends and neighbors they spoke to on a regular basis. Help your parent maintain those connections however possible. If they mainly contacted their friends and family by phone, you can purchase a cell phone for them or request a land line be added to their room. Alternatively, you can keep their room stocked with stationery, writing tools, envelopes and stamps so they can send letters to others. If your senior loved one is especially computer savvy, you might get them a laptop or tablet so they can Skype or email with their outside friends. This bit of familiarity will ultimately go a long way!

Getting Acquainted

Ideally, you'll want to help your parent adjust to their new living space long before they actually arrive there. Attend events and routines together so you can both gain a sense of what the facility is like. Having prior familiarity with the center will make it a bit more familiar and the move less jarring to deal with.

At A Caring Hand for Mom, we are 100 percent dedicated to helping senior loved ones gain access to only the most comfortable assisted living environments. Give us a call at 800.881.7706 or visit our website to learn more about how we can help!

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Helpful Tips to Increase Senior Longevity

If you are like most people, you want to spend as much time as possible with your senior loved ones. Unfortunately, when it comes to longevity, the U.S. is somewhat behind other areas of the world. Women, on average, live 83.3 years and men 79.5. However, even though this is the average, it doesn’t mean there aren’t steps you can take to help improve your senior loved ones longevity, even if they reside in a Phoenix based assisted living facility.

Stay Focused on Exercise and Nutrition

If you have a senior loved one who lives in assisted living in Phoenix, AZ, you should make sure they are eating a well-balanced, nutritious diet and that they get plenty of physical activity. The good news is that the majority of assisted living facilities put a priority on these things, but it is still a good idea to check for yourself. The better your senior loved one eats and the more exercise they get, the longer they will live.

Get Regular Doctor’s Exams

There are some seniors who view going to the doctor as scary or something they want to avoid. However, part of quality elderly care in Phoenix, AZ is getting regular checkups at the doctor’s office. These checkups ensure the seniors health is good and can discover any potential issues early on. This is not a part of senior care that should be ignored.

If you have a senior loved one who is living in an assisted living community, there are still things you can do to help extend their life. You can work with the senior living management team in Phoenix, AZ to ensure your loved one remains happy and healthy.

Here are some additional tips to consider:

1. Afternoon fatigue - Fatigue is a common problem among older adults, especially after lunch. Having a glass of water and a high-antioxidant food like a prune can revitalize the body and stimulate the mind. I personally found that taking enough Folic acid each with my vitamins really helps.

2. Exercise your brain - Keeping the brain active and fit is imperative to the health of older adults. Not only does it help delay the effects of memory-loss illnesses like Alzheimer’s and dementia, but it also fosters executive function. Try word games and recall exercises. For example, play memory games like we did with our children like finding 5 objects of the same color during a walk in the neighborhood and recall them when back home.

3. Use walking poles to allow for more balanced mobility. For some people they can be used instead of walkers or canes but talk to your doctor first. Walking with poles engages the muscles of the upper body, which increases upper-body strength and cardiovascular endurance.

4. Dine with friends - Those who share meals with others eat less than those who eat alone. This is an easy weight-loss tactic and one that fosters social interaction and engagement. While this is easy for those aging in community setting, older adults aging at home can plan to have meals with family or friends as often as possible each week.

5. Do different things - Change things up, if you like doing crossword puzzles start from different spots on the grid. If you like to paint start from a different point on the surface you are painting. Routine limits brain stimulation. Introduce new ways of cooking the same food try new reciepies. For example, replace canned peaches with freshly sliced ones. Also, try taking a different route to the grocery store or shopping center.

6. Foot Support - As we age, the fat pads on the bottom of their feet compress, creating fatigue and pain. Consider wearing supportive shoes or inserting foot pads for better stability and comfort or socks that have extra padding and a wicking agent to keep feet dry and comfortable.

7. Fats: Out with the bad, in with the good - Older adults with an increased genetic risk for dementia can reduce the risk by increasing the amount of Omega-3 fatty acids in their diet. These fatty acids, found in fish, nuts, olive oil and green leafy vegetables, can reduce brain inflammation, a contributing factor of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.

8. Decrease salt - High blood pressure, which can lead to strokes and a significant decline in cognitive function, often increases with age. As adults get older, the sense of taste also fades, leading to a desire for more salt on food to enhance flavor. Decreasing salt intake by putting down the shaker or changing it to other non salt flavor enhancers like Mrs. Dash salt substitute or salsa.

9. Balancing act - In addition to exercises that build strength and improve flexibility and cardiovascular endurance, make sure to add balance activities to the daily routine. Good balance requires maintaining a center of gravity over the base of support. Tai chi, yoga, walking on challenging surfaces and water exercises all enhance overall balance.

10. Dance like there’s no tomorrow - Older adults getting regular physical exercise are 60 percent less likely to get dementia. Exercise increases oxygen to the brain and releases a protein that strengthens cells and neurons. Dance involves all of the above, plus the cerebral activity present in learning and memory.

Find out more about caring for your senior loved one by visiting the A Caring Hand for Mom (and Dad) website or call us at 800-881-7706

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Tips to Help Seniors Suffering from Arthritis

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While most people experience soreness and creaky joints from time to time, these pains can change from a seasonal nuisance to a more serious condition as you age called arthritis. If your senior loved one is suffering from this condition, then you will be happy to learn that there is help for arthritis pain. While the medical professionals at the various assisted living facilities in Surprise, AZ may offer some help, additional steps you can take are found here.

Find the Right Type of Exercise

Telltale symptoms of arthritis include tiredness, swelling, reduced flexibility and joint pain. While medication can be somewhat beneficial for these effects, the right types of exercise can also be helpful. Since fatigue can be a serious issue for seniors, it is recommended that all exercises are low-impact and include things such as light weight lifting, swimming, walking, stretching and yoga. There are many assisted living facilities in Surprise, AZ that offer these classes to residents.

Avoid Eating Certain Foods

Doctors have suggested that if your senior loved one suffers from arthritis pain, they should reduce their intake of alcohol, gluten, sugar and salt. All of these foods can lead to increased swelling, which will make arthritis symptoms and pain worse. While this can be challenging, you should be able to speak with the staff at the assisted living in Surprise, AZ facilities where your senior lives or moves into, to ensure these dietary restrictions are kept in mind.

When it comes to arthritis pain, there is no question that it can be debilitating. It can result in serious mobility issues and other problems. The good news is, there are steps you can take to help the pain and discomfort if this condition presents. There are also several new medications that can help ease the pain and loss of movement so speak with your physician about what medications would be appropriate as well as herbal products you may be considering taking as medications interact with each other so it is best to seek medical advice before starting anything new to ease the pain. Here is a list of several Herbal Products that have also been touted as helpful in treating Arthritis symptoms.

The below is information is from Arthritis.org and the Arthritis foundation

Research hasn't always kept pace with the popularity of supplements. But more natural medicines are being put to the test in well-designed clinical trials. Here are nine supplements that are backed by science and shown to be effective in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), osteoarthritis (OA) and arthritis-related conditions.

SAM-e (S-adenosylmethionine)

How it works: SAM-e acts as an analgesic (pain reliever) and has anti-inflammatory properties. It may stimulate cartilage growth and also affects neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, which reduce pain perception. Two studies have shown that it relieves OA symptoms as effectively as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) with fewer side effects and more prolonged benefit.
Best for: osteoarthritis
Also used for: fibromyalgia

Boswellia Serrate (Indian frankincense)

How it works: The active components (Boswellic acids) have anti-inflammatory and analgesic (pain-relieving) properties. It also may help prevent cartilage loss and inhibit the autoimmune process. In a 2008 study, the extract, also known as Loxin 5, significantly improved OA pain and function within seven days. An Indian study also revealed it slowed cartilage damage after three months of use. 
Best for: osteoarthritis

Capsaicin (Capsicum frutescens)

How it works: Capsaicin temporarily reduces substance P, a pain transmitter. Its pain-relieving properties have been shown in many studies, including a 2010 study published in Phytotherapy Research, which revealed a 50 percent reduction in joint pain after three weeks of use. It is available as a topical cream, gel or patch.
Best for: osteoarthritis
Also used for: rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia

Tumeric/Curcumin (Curcuma longa)

How it works: Curcumin is the chemical in turmeric that can reduce joint pain and swelling by blocking inflammatory cytokines and enzymes. A 2010 clinical trial using a turmeric supplement showed long-term improvement in pain and function in patients with knee OA. A small 2012 study using a curcumin product, BCM-95, showed more reduced joint pain and swelling in patients with active RA when compared to diclofenac sodium.
Best for: osteoarthritis
Also used for: rheumatoid arthritis

Avocado-soybean Unsaponifiables (ASU)

How it works: ASU blocks pro-inflammatory chemicals, prevents deterioration of synovial cells, which line joints, and may help regenerate normal connective tissue. A large three-year study published in 2013 showed that ASU significantly reduced progression of hip OA compared with placebo. A 2008 meta-analysis found that ASU improved symptoms of hip and knee OA, and reduced or eliminated NSAID use.
Best for: osteoarthritis

Cat’s Claw (Uncaria tomentosa)

How it works: Cat’s claw is an anti-inflammatory that inhibits tumor necrosis factor (TNF), a target of powerful RA drugs. It also contains compounds that may benefit the immune system. A small 2002 trial showed it reduced joint pain and swelling by more than 50 percent compared with placebo. Look for a brand that is free of tetra-cyclic oxindole alkaloids.
Best for: rheumatoid arthritis

Fish Oil (Omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA)

How it works: Omega-3s block inflammatory cytokines and prostaglandins, and are converted by the body into powerful anti-inflammatory chemicals called resolvins. EPA and DHA have been extensively studied for RA and dozens of other inflammatory conditions. A 2010 meta-analysis found that fish oil significantly decreased joint tenderness and stiffness in RA patients and reduced or eliminated NSAID use.
Best for: rheumatoid arthritis
Also used for: osteoarthritis, Sjögren’s syndrome

Some other notable items:

  • Aloe vera.

  • Eucalyptus. ...

  • Ginger.

  • Green tea

  • Thunder god vine.

Learn more about helping your senior live pain free or when it is time to look at assisted living options visit A Caring Hand for Mom and Dad website or call us at 800-881-7706.

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Questions to Ask when Searching for an Assisted Living Facility

If you are currently caring for an aging loved one, or have discovered they are not doing well living on their own, then it may be time to look into Scottsdale assisted living options. With assisted living, your loved one can have a safe and stable place to live, where they will receive the care they need and you as well as the rest of your family can visit them often. However, before choosing a facility, make sure to ask the questions found here.

Do they conduct tours for potential residents and their families?

While all assisted living facilities in Scottsdale offer tours for anyone interested in their location it is important especially in larger communities to schedule an appointment in advance. The reason for this is a tour in a community can take up to an hour and the staff schedule tours throughout the day so you want to be assured someone is available so you don’t have to sit around and wait or comeback at another time. The marketing representative will want to learn about your loved ones preferences and care needs as well as give you a tour of the property. While you can do some research online, you can’t know for sure what a location is like until you see for yourself. When you visit, make sure to take your loved one along. They need to see and feel comfortable in the location that is ultimately selected.

What security features do they have in place?

Each senior is different, which means their needs are different, as well. As a result, everyone is going to require a certain level of care from the Scottsdale assisted living facilities. Make sure to ask about what security the location has in place to ensure the wellbeing of your loved one. Find out about accessibility, protocol for emergencies and more. This will provide you peace of mind that your loved one will be well cared for at the assisted living facility you choose.

If you are ready to find a senior living facility in Scottsdale, AZ that is right for you and your loved one, make sure to ask the questions here. Doing so will help you narrow down the options and find the best one. You may try to find a facility on your own but using a professional to help you can have many benefits to you and your loved one. Agencies like A Caring Hand for Mom are staffed by licensed healthcare professionals who are familiar with the communities and group homes in your area, the “specials” they may be running that can save you thousands of dollars, as well as help negotiate the rates for you. A Caring Hand for Mom can also help you to determine if the care the facility provides and financial requirements will be right for your loved one on a long-term basis. It is like trying to find a home on your own rather than using a realtor, except the staff of A Caring Hand for Mom are all experienced, licensed healthcare professionals.

Find out more about senior living and choosing a facility by visiting the A Caring Hand for Mom and Dad website and calling them at 800-881-7706.

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What Factors into the Cost of Assisted Living?

When a person or family begins looking into assisted living in Surprise, AZ one of the first questions they are going to have is how much it will cost. While there are some private long term insurances that will cover the cost of this, many people do not have this type of insurance. There are some larger facilities that offer a flat rate, but most do not and certain features and amenities will cause the price to increase. Group homes generally do offer a flat price based on the size of the room, whether the room has a private bathroom as well as the prospective residents level of care, whereas larger assisted living facilities generally have a rate for the apartment and level of care charges depending on the residents care needs. Getting to know what these factors are can be beneficial.

Single or Double Occupancy Rooms

When choosing an assisted living location, you will have to decide if you want a room to yourself or if you are willing to share. Keep in mind, if you are willing to share a room with another your costs will be less but there are some facilities that don’t even offer this option. This is something important that you need to keep in mind if price is a concern since it can lower the price significantly. Almost all assisted living in surprise, including communities and group homes offer private rooms as well as semi private options. The larger communities may also offer one and two bedroom options as well, so depending on your needs and your budget many options are available.

Medical Care and Help

Another important consideration when choosing assisted living in Surprise, AZ is what type of help or medical care is needed? There are some people who are going to require closer help and medical attention, however there are others who are going to be pretty self-sufficient. A general rule is the more assistance and medical services that are needed, the higher the cost of the services are going to be. Some communities as well as group homes are better equipped then others to provide this level of care so it is important to explore the differences. Help from an experienced healthcare professional who is familiar with the options in your area, like you will speak with at A Caring Hand for Mom can be invaluable and will help guide you with your search.

Special Dietary Needs

There are some assisted living facilities that even charge more for special meal plans. While this is not the case for most locations, it is something to ask about if there are certain foods that you cannot have or if you are allergic to something. When you are choosing assisted living in Surprise, AZ make sure to keep the factors here in mind. They will each impact the cost of the services. More information about assisted living is available on the A Caring Hand for Mom (and Dad) website or call us today at 800-881-7706.

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Is Your Loved One Ready to Move to an Assisted Living Facility?

When you make the decision to move your aging loved one to assisted living facilities in Peoria, AZ, you may think that you have everything under control. Unfortunately, many people don’t realize what they forgot, until move in day. To avoid this, make sure your aging parent or loved one is ready for the move by using the information found here.

The Basics

You need to bring along all the “basics” when moving to an assisted living facility in Peoria, AZ. This includes personal hygiene products, assistive devices and any medications that match your current doctor’s orders as even OTC medications need to have been ordered by your doctor in assisted living. Make sure to also pack the clothes your loved one needs, including undergarments and socks, as well as shoes, items to do their hair, hats and other day to day wear items.

The Extras

Once you have all the basics accounted for, it is time to get a few extra items. Some of the items that are considered extras include books, puzzles, pictures and other items that will make the assisted living facilities in Peoria, AZ feel more like home. Keep in mind, each person is different and you should take this into account. If your loved one has a special quilt or hat they want to take along, make sure they can. Keep in mind, depending on the size of the apartment or room you may have chosen, furniture needs may be limited based on the configuration of the apartment or room. Try not to take too much furniture as a cluttered apartment can be more hazardous than helpful.

When you use the tips and information here, you will be able to ensure your elderly loved one is ready to move into an assisted living facility. If you don’t take your time to do this, you may find you have to go back and forth quite a bit on move in day.

Learn more about assisted living by visiting the A Caring Hand for Mom (and Dad) website and check out the many resources on the site. We have articles on making ”A Happy Transition” as well as our “check list” which will help you prepare both emotionally and physically for your move.

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Tips for Alzheimer's Caregivers

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https://www.helpguide.org/The below article is a was originally published by helpguide.org and is for your review, if you need assistance and are considering Arizona assisted living or memorycare options please visit our website at www.acaringhandformom.com or call us today at 800-881-7706 for immediate assistance.  Remember you are not alone we are here to help, so if you are considering phoenix assisted living options call us today. 

Tips for Alzheimer's Caregivers

Preparing for the Road Ahead and Getting the Help You Need

Wife supporting senior

Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease or another type of dementia impacts every aspect of your daily life. As an Alzheimer’s patient loses one ability after another, a caregiver faces tests of stamina, problem solving, and resiliency. Maintaining your emotional and physical fitness is crucial, not just for you but also for the person you’re caring for. Preparing yourself, understanding your loved one’s experience, and seeking support from others can help you succeed on the caregiving journey.

The Alzheimer’s and dementia care journey

Caring for someone with Alzheimer's disease or dementia can be a long, stressful, and intensely emotional journey. But you're not alone. In the United States, there are about 15 million people caring for someone with dementia, and millions of others around the world. As there is currently no cure for Alzheimer's disease—and only limited medical treatments available for the symptoms—it is your caregiving that can make the biggest difference to your loved one's quality of life. That is a remarkable gift.

However, caregiving can also become all-consuming. As your loved one's cognitive, physical, and functional abilities diminish over a period of years, it's easy to become overwhelmed and neglect your own health and well-being. The burden of caregiving can put you at increased risk for significant health problems and an estimated 30 to 40 percent of dementia caregivers will experience depression, high levels of stress, or burnout. Nearly all Alzheimer's or dementia caregivers will at some time experience sadness, anxiety, loneliness, and exhaustion. Seeking help and support along the way is not a luxury for caregivers; it's a necessity.

Just as each individual with Alzheimer's disease progresses differently, so too can the caregiving experience vary widely from person to person. However, there are strategies that can help make the caregiving journey as rewarding as it is challenging. Learning all you can about what is happening and what to expect on the Alzheimer's journey will not only help your loved one, but is also the first step towards protecting your own mental and physical health.

The challenges and rewards of Alzheimer’s care

Caring for a person with Alzheimer’s disease can often seem to be a series of grief experiences as you watch your loved one’s memories disappear and skills erode. The person with Alzheimer's will change and behave in different, sometimes disturbing or upsetting ways. For both caretakers and their patients, these changes can produce an emotional wallop of confusion, anger, and sadness.

As the disease advances, your loved one’s needs will increase and your caregiving responsibilities will become more challenging. At the same time, the ability of your loved one to show appreciation for all your hard work will diminish. Caregiving can literally seem like a thankless task. For many, though, a caregiver’s long journey includes not only challenges, but also many rich, life-affirming rewards.

Challenges of Alzheimer's care:

  • Overwhelming emotions as capabilities lessen
  • Fatigue and exhaustion as caregiving demands increase
  • Isolation and loneliness as independence disappears
  • Financial and work complications as costs rise and resources are challenged

Rewards of Alzheimer's care:

  • Bonds deepen through care, companionship, and service
  • Problem solving and relationship skills grow through experience
  • New relationships form through education and support
  • Unexpected rewards develop through compassion and acceptance

Preparing for the road ahead

The more you learn about your loved one’s disease and how it will progress over the years, the better you’ll be able to prepare for future challenges, reduce your frustration, and foster reasonable expectations. In the early stages of Alzheimer’s, for example, you can support your loved one’s independence and self-care, but the person’s cognitive and physical regression means he or she will ultimately require 24-hour care.  

Though it may be hard to contemplate such a difficult outlook, the sooner you put plans in place, the more your loved one can be involved in the decision-making process. Paying for long-term care can be a major source of stress, so it’s important to research all your options as early as possible. Consult with the patient’s medical team and other family members to make legal and financial arrangements and determine the long-term care options that are best suited to you and your loved one.

Developing your own personal support plan ahead of time

Balancing the enormous task of caring for a cognitively-impaired adult with your other responsibilities requires skill, attention, and meticulous planning. By focusing so diligently on your loved one’s needs, it’s easy to fall into the trap of neglecting your own health. But that will not only hurt yourself, but also hurt the person you’re trying to care for. If you’re not getting the physical and emotional support you need, you won’t be able to provide the best level of care, and you face becoming overwhelmed.

Ask for help. It’s important to reach out to other family members, friends, or volunteer organizations to help with the daily burden of caregiving. Accepting help for mundane tasks such as grocery shopping and cleaning can free you up to spend more quality time with the patient. When someone offers to help, let them. You’re not being neglectful or disloyal to your loved one. Caregivers who take regular time away not only provide better care, they also find more satisfaction in their caretaking roles.  

Learn or update caregiving skills. Being thrust into the role of caregiver doesn't come with an instruction manual, but there are books, workshops, and online training resources that can teach you the skills you need. Learn all you can about symptoms, treatment, and behavior management. As the disease progresses and challenges change, you’ll need to update your skillset and find new ways of coping.

Join a support group. You'll find that you're not alone and you’ll be able to learn from the experiences of others who have faced the same challenges. Connecting with others who know first-hand what you’re going through can also help reduce feelings of isolation, fear, and hopelessness.

Learn how to manage stress. Caregiving for a loved one with dementia can be one of the most stressful tasks you’ll undertake in life. To combat this stress, you need to activate your body's natural relaxation response through techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, rhythmic exercise, or yoga. Fitting these activities into your life can help reduce the stress of caregiving and boost your mood and energy levels.

Make use of available resources. There are a wealth of community and online resources to help you prioritize your efforts and provide effective care. Start by finding the Alzheimer’s association in your country. These organizations offer practical support, helplines, advice, and training for caregivers and their families. They can also put you in touch with local support groups. See Resources and References section below for a directory of associations.

Plan for your own care. Visit your doctor for regular checkups and pay attention to the signs and symptoms of excessive stress. It’s easy to abandon the people and activities you love when you’re mired in caregiving, but you risk your health and peace of mind by doing so. Take time away from caregiving to maintain friendships, social contacts, and professional networks, and pursue the hobbies and interests that bring you joy.   

Signs of caregiver stress and burnout

No matter how strong and resilient you are, you’re still likely to have problems with certain aspects of Alzheimer’s or dementia care. The stress of day-to-day care, watching your loved one’s health deteriorate, and having to make difficult decisions about long-term care can leave anyone feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. Recognizing the signs of caregiver stress and burnout is the first step to dealing with the problem.

10 Signs of Caregiver Stress

If you experience any of these signs of stress on a regular basis, make time to talk to your doctor.

1. Denial about the disease and its effect on the person who has been diagnosed. "I know Mom is going to get better."

2. Anger at the person with Alzheimer's, anger that no cure exists, or anger that people don't understand what's happening. "If he asks me that one more time I'll scream!"

3. Social withdrawal from friends and activities that once brought pleasure. "I don't care about getting together with the neighbors anymore."

4. Anxiety about the future. "What happens when he needs more care than I can provide?"

5. Depression that begins to break your spirit and affects your ability to cope. "I don't care anymore."

6. Exhaustion that makes it nearly impossible to complete necessary daily tasks. "I'm too tired for this."

7. Sleeplessness caused by a never-ending list of concerns. "What if she wanders out of the house or falls and hurts herself?"

8. Irritability that leads to moodiness and triggers negative responses and actions. "Leave me alone!"

9. Lack of concentration that makes it difficult to perform familiar tasks. "I was so busy, I forgot we had an appointment."

10. Health problems that begin to take a mental and physical toll. "I can't remember the last time I felt good."

Source: Alzheimer's Association

When prolonged and excessive stress from caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia leaves you feeling emotionally, mentally, and physically exhausted, you may be facing burnout. Burnout reduces your productivity and saps your energy, leaving you feeling helpless, hopeless, angry, and resentful. Eventually, you may feel like you have nothing more to give.

The warning signs of caregiver burnout include:

  • Excessive stress and tension
  • Debilitating depression
  • Persistent anxiety, anger, or guilt
  • Extreme irritability or anger with the dementia patient
  • Decreased overall life satisfaction
  • Relationship conflicts and social isolation
  • Lower immunity and greater need for healthcare services
  • Excessive use of medications, drugs, or alcohol

Burnout can damage your health and the health of the person you’re caring for, so if you recognize the signs, it’s important to take action right away.

Coping with stress and burnout

No matter the day-to-day demands of caregiving for a patient with Alzheimer’s or dementia, it’s imperative that you carve out time for your own self-care. These tips can help:

Seek regular respite care. You cannot do it all alone. Ask other family members, friends, or members of your place of worship for help with respite care so you can get a much needed break. You can also seek help from volunteer organizations, support groups, day care programs, and residential respite care facilities. Schedule frequent breaks throughout the day, take time out to pursue hobbies and interests, and stay on top of your own health needs. Seek professional help if you recognize you're exhibiting any warning signs of caregiver burnout.

Get moving.  Regular exercise not only keeps you fit, it releases endorphins that can really boost your mood. Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise on most days. If it’s difficult to get away for that long at once, break the time up into 10 minute sessions sprinkled throughout the day. Take a walk or jog outside, dance to your favorite music, work out to an exercise DVD, or cycle to the store. Taking a group exercise class or working out with friends can give you a valuable social outlet as well.

Talk to someone. Talk to a trusted friend, family member, clergy member, or therapist, about how you feel and what you’re going through. The person you talk to doesn’t have to be able to solve your problems, he or she just has to be a good listener. The simple act of talking face-to-face with someone who cares can be extremely cathartic. Opening up won’t make you a burden to others. In fact, most friends will be flattered that you trust them enough to confide in them, and it will only strengthen your bond.  

Take time to play. In the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, include your loved one in short walks, board games, or jigsaw puzzles. Join an online scrabble tournament, practice your golf swing, or play with a pet. A daily dose of fun is good medicine, and doesn’t require money, a car, or huge blocks of time.

Try something new. Challenge yourself to learn a new skill while you are “on the job.” Order a self-paced foreign language program or try an exercise video game. From tennis to golf to pitching a strike, so-called “exergames” offer living room-friendly activities for every age and skill level. With just a few minutes of practice each day, you can flex mental muscle and relieve harmful stress.

See the funny side. Humor is a well-known antidote to stress, sadness, illness, and boredom. Give yourself permission to chuckle at the absurdities you and your loved one experience, and surround yourself with laughter. Instead of heavy dramas on TV or video, go for a hearty belly laugh by watching episodes of your favorite sitcom. Your infectious good mood can help replenish your inner resources and sooth your loved one.

Making time for reflection can help with acceptance

One of the biggest challenges as a caretaker for someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia is to accept what is happening to your loved one. At each new stage of the disease, you have to alter your expectations about what your loved one is capable of. By accepting each new reality and taking time to reflect on these changes, you can better cope with the emotional loss, and deepen the feelings of satisfaction and love in your role as caretaker.

Keep a daily journal to record and reflect on your experiences. By journaling your thoughts, you can mourn losses, celebrate successes, and look for those thought patterns that keep you from acting in the present.

Count your blessings. A daily gratitude list can chase away the blues and let you focus on what your loved one is still capable of, rather than the abilities he or she has lost.

Celebrate what is possible. Your loved one still has many abilities. Structure activities to invite participation on whatever level is possible, and you will both find real enjoyment.

Try to envision your loved one’s world. Imagine not being able to remember and do life’s simple tasks. By valuing what your loved one is able to give, you can find satisfaction on even the toughest days.

Practice relaxation techniques. Meditation, deep breathing, visualization, mindfulness, yoga, or rhythmic exercise can calm, restore, and promote happiness. Experiment with different techniques to find the ones that work best for you.

Improve emotional awareness. Remaining engaged, focused, and calm in the midst of such tremendous responsibility can challenge even the most capable caregivers. By developing your emotional awareness skills, however, you can relieve stress, experience positive emotions, and bring new peace and clarity to your caretaking role.

Tap into the rewards of connecting with the person you're caring for

Even when the person you’re caring for can no longer verbally express love or appreciation, you can find a deeper sense of reward in your role as caregiver by making time each day to really connect with the person. Avoid all distractions and focus fully on the person. Make eye contact (if that’s possible), hold the person’s hand or stroke his or her cheek, and talk in a calm, reassuring tone of voice. When you connect in this way, you’ll experience a process that boosts your mood, reduces stress, and supports your physical and emotional well-being. And it can also have the same effect on your loved one.

How to help an Alzheimer's or dementia caregiver

If a friend or family member is caring for someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia, it’s important to offer all the help and support you can.

Don’t wait to be asked to help. Many caregivers find it difficult to ask others for help, no matter how much they may need it, so make the offer. And when you do, be specific. As well as simply asking, “What can I do to help?” make suggestions like, “I’m free tomorrow afternoon, can I sit with the patient while you take a break?” or “What can I get you from the grocery store today?” Helping out with even the most simple or mundane chores can free the caregiver up to spend more quality time with the patient or take a break to recharge his or her batteries.

Be a friend. Caregivers are prone to withdrawing from family and friends but they still need regular contact with the outside world. Phone calls, texts, or emails are fine, but nothing beats a personal visit to lift a caregiver’s mood. Again, don’t wait to be asked; be the one to reach out.

Be a good listener. Venting frustrations about caregiving can be a great stress reliever. Listen to the caregiver’s fears and concerns without judging.

Show your gratitude. If the caregiver is a sibling looking after your parent, for example, it’s important to express your gratitude. The person with mid- or late-stage Alzheimer’s or dementia may not able to show appreciation to the caretaker so it’s important other family members recognize the caregiver’s hard work and sacrifice and regularly show their appreciation. While a card or a simple “Thank you” can go a long way, when accompanied by the offer of some respite, it can be a blessing.

Recognize the signs of caregiver stress and encourage the caregiver to focus more on his or her own health and well-being.

More help for Alzheimer's, dementia and aging

Resources and references

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Care for the Caregiver: Part 1 (Video)

Care for the Caregiver: Part 2 (Video)

Dementia care specialist Teepa Snow discusses the fear of dementia and dealing with the challenges of caring for a loved one. (YouTube/Senior Helpers National)

Caregiver support

Alzheimer's Associations – A worldwide directory of Alzheimer’s associations that offer information, advice, and support for caregivers. (Alzheimer’s Disease International)

Family Care Navigator – For caregivers in the U.S., a state-by-state resource to help you locate services and other resources. (Family Caregiver Alliance)

Caregiver Action Plan – Create a personalized action plan for caregiving and link to information, support, and local resources. (Alzheimer’s Association)

Alzheimer's Caregiving: How to Ask for Help – Suggestions on how to engage family and friends in helping out with patient care. (Mayo Clinic)

Caregiver's Stress Check – Tests your stress and provides recommendations for addressing common caregiver’s issues. (Alzheimer’s Association)

Caregivers and mental health

Depression and Caregiving – Describes the symptoms of caregiver depression and offers suggestions on what to do for yourself if you are depressed as a result of caregiving. (Family Caregiver Alliance)

Dementia, Caregiving and Controlling Frustration – Discusses causes of frustration, warning signs that frustration is occurring, and several methods caregivers can use to help control or alleviate their frustrations. (Family Caregiver Alliance)

Changes to Your Relationship – Information about how the caregiver’s relationships may change: intimacy with the patient, and closeness to family and friends, with tips for resolving family conflicts. (Alzheimer’s Association)

Preventing Caregiver Burnout

Preventing Caregiver Burnout – Caregiver burnout is something you may not notice, but people you know may notice changes in you and express their concern. (Area Agency on Aging)

 

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Healthy Aging and Brain Fitness

B2ap3 Large Brain

Healthy Aging and Brain Fitness

The brаіn is оnе of the соmрlеx оrgаnѕ іn our body. It is thе rооt оf consciousness. But lіkе оthеr parts оf our body, іt іѕ іmроrtаnt tо keep іt hеаlthу. Brain fitness іѕ kеу tо hеlріng us tо think, react and live a full lіfе.

Fіtnеѕѕ еntаіlѕ еxеrсіѕе аnd the brаіn responds tо this vеrу роѕіtіvеlу. Thеrе are a numbеr оf vеrу еffесtіvе еxеrсіѕеѕ you саn dо tо hеlр promote good hеаlth аnd brain fіtnеѕѕ. Thе brain rеасtѕ wеll whеn it іѕ properly stimulated. Sо the fіrѕt thіng to dо іѕ to mаkе ѕurе уоu provide your brаіn with асtіvіtіеѕ which ѕtіmulаtе аnd сhаllеngе it аnd dо a рrореr brаіn trаіnіng.

Wіthоut getting into specifics, thіѕ can еntаіl mеmоrу gаmеѕ, сrіtісаl thіnkіng gаmеѕ and оthеrѕ. There are еvеn ѕоmе ѕсіеntіfіс games whісh hаvе bееn ѕhоwn tо hеlр stimulate thе brain аnd асtіvаtе сеrtаіn kеу areas.

Thе bottom lіnе іѕ thаt іt іѕ vеrу important tо сhаllеngе your brаіn wіth асtіvіtіеѕ and exercises. Thе оthеr essential part оf brain trаіnіng entails рrоvіdіng it wіth рrореr nutrіеntѕ and wеll оxуgеnаtеd blооd. At a minimum, a healthy basic dіеt іѕ еѕѕеntіаl.

Eat рlеntу of whоlе vegetables, lean рrоtеіn аnd whоlе grains. Avoid preservatives and сhеmісаl аddіtіvеѕ аѕ much as роѕѕіblе. In ѕоmе саѕеѕ thеѕе аddіtіvеѕ can accumulate іn certain аrеаѕ of the body іnсludіng thе brаіn.

It іѕ аlѕо vеrу іmроrtаnt tо kеер уоur brаіn аnd brаіn сеllѕ free оf соntаmіnаntѕ аnd іnfесtіоn. Brаіn сеllѕ need tо ward оff аnу threats frоm еxtеrnаl аgеntѕ аnd gооd nutrіtіоn and antioxidants can gо a long wау towards іmрrоvіng this situation.

The Intеrnеt hаѕ a grеаt dеаl оf hеlрful іnfоrmаtіоn rеgаrdіng brаіn fіtnеѕѕ , there are online programs and local businesses that are set up to help stimulate your brain. Yоu саn fіnd the kіndѕ оf nutrіеntѕ  and super foods whісh are іmроrtаnt. Sресіfісаllу vitamins ѕuсh as Vitamin A, C, B, E and Omega 3 fatty acids as well as fish and other foods  have been fоund tо help thе brain ореrаtе more еffесtіvеlу. Look for our upcoming blog on these foods.

Thеrе аrе also mаnу good websites whісh саn рrоvіdе уоu wіth сhаllеngіng mеntаl еxеrсіѕеѕ. Kеер іn mіnd thаt ѕоmе еxеrсіѕеѕ аrе better suited to help сеrtаіn types оf brаіn funсtіоnіng аnd may bе аррrорrіаtе for dіffеrеnt age grоuрѕ. Fоr example certain kinds оf еxеrсіѕеѕ can bе hеlрful fоr уоungеr сhіldrеn who are developing ѕkіllѕ fоr language, ѕреаkіng, and other соgnіtіvе асtіvіtіеѕ.

And as реорlе аgе, the brаіn can lоѕе some оf іtѕ effectiveness. Mеmоrу саn оftеn become affected. Brain fіtnеѕѕ саn hеlр tо mаіntаіn memory аnd оthеr соgnіtіvе асtіvіtіеѕ at реаk еffісіеnсу.

So vеrу ѕіmрlу, tаkе care оf your brаіn аnd it will take care оf уоu.  Our next post on Thursday April 27th will provide you with concrete steps you can take to improve your Brains function and mental abilities.  So don't miss the next installment on Healthy Aging and Brain Fitness.  If you would like more information on what services are available to you or on memory care services near you visit www.acaringhandformom.com or call us today at 800-881-7706

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What are my options in independent living, assisted living and a group home and what is the difference between them?

Retirement is, for most people, the best period of their lives. They have a lot of free time when they can travel or engage in their favorite past time. With the kids grown up and a lovely husband/wife or companion, a person can enjoy a lot of time outdoors or meet with friends and spend time together; generally one can do whatever he/she wants. But as we age does not bring only positives; there are also downsides. Our bodies are incredible machines that are “designed” to help us survive in this world. But, as they grow older, certain functions which we take for granted may not come as easily as they did in the past. Eye-sight, problems with the joints, heart issues; all these are inherent once we grow older. As a result, more and more day-to-day tasks become more difficult, including maintaining a clean household our body, interacting with other people or ensuring the daily supply of goods and services. When the time arrives, it’s better to look for professional help, instead of opening the door to the possibility of harming ourselves. There are plenty of organizations out there that could provide help to us or our loved ones. The best known are senior living adult communities, places where lots of older adults live together and enjoy their retirement years. But these are not the only ones so contact the professionals like those at www.acaringhandformom.com to help you find all the resources in your area that best suit your needs.  Call them now at 800-881-7706,but let’s continue reading to find out more.

Most people opt for the most independent form of living possible depending on how early they chose to move in their retirement years and their health needs. A person’s options range from independent living and assisted living communities with villas or patio homes and apartments to group homes, which are also a smaller version of assisted living. 

The main characteristic of larger independent living communities is that in this type of residence individuals and couples living there have their own home or apartment and share common areas where they have many opportunities to socialize with other residents. The concept is built around common activities and a sense of belonging. Many of the residents in these facilities had been living alone in their homes or apartments before they decided to move there. The opportunity to socialize and make new friends again brings new meaning to life for so many. But as with everything your health plays an important role in utilizing these opportunities. The main aim of senior living facilities is to help residents live a happy and fulfilling life. The organization running the facility takes care of everything, from gardening, to a chef preparing meals which are served in the main restaurant style dining room, providing security and organizing various activities and events for residents. Because residents in these facilities can take care of themselves, medical assistance is not provided but many communities have access available to home health services onsite. Basically, senior living facilities help residents take it easy during the last part of their lives. Most residents would be able to live normal lives by themselves, but they like to enjoy a care-free time in a community setting.

Assisted living communities are geared more towards persons who genuinely require assistance usually because of a medical condition or physical need. Many people living in assisted living communities require attention when it comes to bathing, doing the laundry or other daily household chores. Doctors and nurses, as well as physiotherapists, in some cases, follow those residents who are living in assisted living residences while the staff provides care 24/7. The larger assisted living communities provide numerous social activities, including birthday celebrations, large holiday celebrations, dining in a restaurant style dining room, entertainment and community trips as well as transportation to local doctor’s offices.

On the other hand, a group home is literally a shared household of between 5-10 residents. The home provides assisted living care usually at a higher level than most bigger communities because of the caregivers close  proximity to the residents and their higher staffing levels then bigger communities usually 1-5 staffing ratio. Group homes provide a home like setting with homemade meals. Residents live normal lives and have either a private bedroom or shared accommodation’s based on their financial situation. Many people living in group homes require attention when it comes to bathing, doing the laundry or other daily household chores. Doctors and nurses, as well as physiotherapists, podiatrists come to the homes and follow those residents who are living there while the staff provides care all hours of the day and night. Depending on the residents psychological or physical abilities as well as their desire to participate in social programs, activities are provided for the residents.

Finally, financial issues also need to be taken into consideration. Costs vary widely depending on your location and the type of community or group home you chose.  In an independent living facility, residents pay rent and other fees like meal plans, external trips which vary from community to community. In assisted living communities residents also pay rent for their apartment and also pay for items such as medication administration and level of care fees which vary widely from $300-$2000 additional per month. In both independent living and assisted living communities resident usually provide their own furnishing for their apartments.  On the other hand, in group homes, the rent includes furniture and care costs are included, usually the only additional cost would be for incontinent supplies, doctor’s visits and medications which are usually covered by Medicare. Group homes are staffed by state certified caregiver’s as well as the manager who is also certified by the state.

I usually tell families if you are more of the social butterfly  and you are still able to participate in larger scale activities and programing the larger communities offer more opportunities for socialization.  Group homes offer more opportunities for supervision and closer monitoring.  If you fall in a larger community in your apartment you will need to be able to push your call button for help or it may be some time before knows you have fallen, if you live in a group home and call for help there is someone there who can hear you. Hopefully this information will prove useful when considering the options you have in order to live a happy and fulfilling life.  So call us today at 800-881-7706 for immediate assistance and visit our website at www.acaringhandformom.com.

 

 

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Creating a guide to help battle Dementia!

Creating a guide to help battle Dementia!

Our lives nowadays are so much different than the ones our grandparents and even our parents lived. People are pushed over their boundaries today, both at work and in their personal life, trying to achieve more and more due to the increasing demands of our society. Because of this, the body of a normal adult gets tired and worn out faster than the one of a person who was born in 1900, for example. That's why in developed countries the retirement age has been constantly decreasing ever since the 80's. This constant battle for survival and prosperity erodes the brain and its functions, increasing the incidence of brain diseases such as dementia. This disease manifests itself through the gradual loss of memory and several functions, including speaking, motor functions and emotions. The most known form of dementia is Alzheimer's disease, the latter making up almost three-quarters of all diagnosed cases of dementia. But then, why doesn't every old man and woman have dementia nowadays? Well, because not all men and women are the same and, secondly and most importantly because there are recipes for avoiding dementia.

One golden rule is to stay involved in sports or to engage in physical activity at least 150 minutes (two hours and a half) every week. This helps the brain maintain its neuronal activity and keeps the body running. Aside from classical cardio or muscular training, it is helpful if you begin or continue some coordination and balance exercises, so that these functions of your brain are kept in perfect shape. Dementia and especially Alzheimer’s disease are characterized by frequent spills, from liquids to food, and these exercises target exactly these kinds of problems. Of course, after a certain age, it's not easy anymore to engage in physical activity. Start with minimal effort and increase the number of exercises as you go. This way, you'll protect your body from any kind of trauma. And, finally, speaking of trauma, the risk of dementia increases when one receives numerous blows to the head, due to the sports or by accident. Be careful, throughout your life, to always protect your head.

Next up comes our diet, which plays a very important part in the battle to prevent dementia. Sugars and fats are not just bad for your weight, but also for your brain. They increase blood sugar levels, eroding your brain and lagging in your thinking. Nowadays, most products, even the ones you wouldn't expect, like pasta, have plenty of sugar inside including high fructose corn syrup which is in many products and is one to avoid. Therefore, always make sure to read the label and check for additional sugar or fats before you buy a product. Try and follow a healthy a diet as possible and include in your daily meals products like beans or grilled poultry and fish. Not to mention the favourites of all doctors, fruits, and vegetables. Following a healthy diet will offer you all the right nutrients, vitamins and proteins that will help you live a long and dementia-free life.

Finally, another great means of battling dementia is social engagement. This will have a tremendous effect of stimulation on your brain, an increased number of social connections helping your neurons connect better with each other. What do we mean by social engagement? Basically, any activity that helps you meet new people, including hobbies, classes, volunteering, joining a club, or just leaving the house and going to the movies. All these will maintain your communication skills, as well as your emotional intelligence. In addition to socializing, some mental stimulation activities would be very welcome. This includes a wide range of activities, from signing up for a course and learning something new to playing games, charades, riddles or making puzzles. Your brain will stay sharp and your attention capacity will remain at high levels.

There you have it. While dementia can be a scary prospect for the latter years of your life, don't panic. If you keep with the rules we've laid on paper today, there's a much smaller chance of dementia occurring in the course of your lifetime. You might say to yourself that these rules are impossible to follow considering the amount of free time people have nowadays, but it's a matter of habit, and of safety; for your brain.  Don’t feel you are alone there are many groups and clubs you can join right in your area so don’t fall out of touch make new friends and live your life to its fullest. 

If you are interested in finding both independent and assisted living options in your area as well as information on senior center’s and activities in your area call us at 800-881-7706 or visit us online at www.acaringhandformom.com.

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When is your home no longer the best option?

Elderly Mother and Daughter

With age comes wisdom, an old saying goes. Most people reach retirement age without even realizing. Studying, then finding a job, building a career and a family, seeing your children grow old, and, afterwards, finally, your last day at work. But that doesn't mean it has to be the last day of your life. Plenty of couples grow old together and spend their retirement years travelling the world or enjoying their favorite hobbies. But, when you grow older, specific problems begin to occur, ranging from health issues to social matters. It's important to be conscientious about these problems and choose the best option for you and your loved ones.

Most people don't realize it, but age can take its toll. From a certain moment onwards, we need proper assistance to live a happy and fulfilling life. There are certain signs that we should look after in order to know when it's better to seek proper care. Probably the most obvious thing to look after is our physical and medical state. As they grow old, people tend to spend more time alone: children leave the household to build their own lives, the spouse or close relatives pass away. At the same time, our medical needs increase, ranging from issues that unavoidably occur with old age (eye problems, diabetes, loss of mobility) to more serious matters, such as Alzheimer, dementia or cancer. The kind of special care required by these conditions is hard to be provided at home, for an average-income family. Retirement facilities are adequately equipped and built for the purpose of taking care of people with medical conditions, being staffed with professional nurses, doctors and physiotherapists.  (Visit www.achfm.com or call 800-881-7706 for more information and resources in your area).

Depending on the level of income you've enjoyed during your working years, you might find it difficult to live from a mere pension. Certain people retire owning large properties and big houses. This can never be a bad thing, but even the maintenance of an average home can be tricky for a working adult. Unless you're very well off, from a certain age onwards, it will become increasingly more difficult for you to clean the house weekly, wash dishes, cook, mow the lawn or drive. This is perfectly normal, don't get me wrong, but when you feel that the daily chores you have to perform in order to keep the home in order are too much, then maybe it's a good idea to look at other options where you don’t need to worry about those things such as in a retirement community. These facilities provide cleaning services and maintain a neat and pleasant interior and exterior environment and you no longer have to worry about maintaining or repairing your home.

The number one problem older persons everywhere talk about is loneliness. Over a certain age, after the children have left the "nest" and the spouse or life partner has passed away, an older person tends to spend most of his/her time alone. Social dynamics change and one of the reasons behind this change is also psychological and physical health. As our neighbors move away and we become less mobile people it becomes harder to make new friends and we become isolated in our homes.  Retirement communities and even group homes are well equipped with programs and materials in order to ensure that new residents spend plenty of time together, socializing, discussing or playing games. These programs can be quite fun and renew ones spirit with new purpose for getting up in the morning or going to dinner with friends.

One last sign, call it more a warning light, would be the financial matters behind a person's needs. After a certain age, people find it difficult to continue to pay mortgages or rent, bills or cleaning ladies, as well as for the daily supply of groceries and services. Joining a retirement home might seem like quite a challenge financially, but it helps you manage money in the long term. With all costs included in the rent, the elder person has nothing to worry about with regard to paying bills or buying food or setting the thermostat at a certain temperature.

There you have it. The last part of our lives can be the experience that we've dreamt of all the time: vacations, socializing and a warming home. Nevertheless, we always have to consider what is best for our health, our well-being and safety. Everything's an opportunity, so don't miss  yours.

Learn about what options are available in Arizona at www.achfm.com or call us today at 800-881-7706.  We will help you explore affordable options that are right for you and your family.  Whether it is socialization and activities or gourmet meals in a large dining room with friends at one of the independent and assisted living communities or assisted living care in a home like setting either at a larger community or in local Group Home with home cooked meals and 24 hour care we are here for you.  So call us today at 800-881-7706.

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What Caregivers Can Do to Care for Themselves

 

 Caregiver, A Caring Hand for Mom, Arizona

 

 

 

What Caregivers Can Do to Care for Themselves

 

One of the most important things mesothelioma cancer caregivers can do — but often forget —is to take care of themselves. The reasoning is simple: The better you feel; the better care you will provide.

 

Caring for a loved one with mesothelioma can be a richly rewarding experience. But it also can be a daunting responsibility that overwhelms a caregiver over time.

 

Caregiving, for most people, is not a planned role. It comes by chance, usually because of a family member’s misfortune. It is taken as an act of love or devotion, yet it still can be emotionally and physically draining.

 

Don’t let that happen — or everyone loses.

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Living with Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease

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If you suspect a loved one is showing signs of dementia and Alzheimer's, seek medical care immediately. Getting an early diagnosis of dementia and Alzheimer’s will come as a shock, no doubt, but early detection offers treatments for dementia that can help your loved one maintain optimal functioning. Even if you have been half expecting a dementia diagnosis, it will come as a blow. Getting support and reassurance will help with the initial upset. However, there is much that you can do in the early stages of Alzheimer’s and Dementia that will help make life easier and more enjoyable - now and in the future.

Alzheimer's Treatment

Drugs are not the only way to treat Alzheimer's disease.

Natural Cures

Many people want natural treatments for Alzheimer's. Natural methods do have a lot to offer, and by using them along with medication, AD can be slowed enough to give many more years of quality life. Natural methods can include supplements such as antioxidants, mental exercises, and physical exercises. Even simple things such as reducing stress and getting enough sleep can help to slow down AD.

Mental Exercise

Working the brain can help keep Alzheimer's at bay. It's a bit like using your muscles. The more they are used the better they work and the stronger they are. You can grow new neurons and synapses by exercising your brain which helps your memory, and the good news is, it's never too late to start.

 

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Healthy Ways to Combat Alzheimer's or dementia

Alzheimer's and Dementia

Healthy Ways to Combat Alzheimer's or dementia

Per experts, the best way to fight off Alzheimer's or dementia is by keeping your brain active and eating a healthy diet.

As people get older their brain’s intelligence is put under strain.

Researchers from the University of Santiago de Compostela in Spain have found in their study that having a higher level of vocabulary is one factor that helps prevent Alzheimer's or dementia. There are several other factors that can help you or your loved ones protect against Alzheimer's in their old age.

There are many studies that link one or the other factor to lower the risk of dementia. However, it’s unlikely that a single factor will be able to prevent this condition. The best way you can ward off the risk of dementia is by following a healthy life style.

Here are some healthy ways you can cut down your risk of developing Alzheimer's or dementia:

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