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Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care

What You Can Expect in the Last Stage of Alzheimer’s

What You Can Expect in the Last Stage of Alzheimer’s The journey through Alzheimer’s can take years, with stops and starts, twists and turns, and plenty of unknowns. As the caregiver for someone with dementia, it’s important to know what may be coming around the next bend so that you can be prepared and provide the most appropriate level of care. While each person experiences Alzheimer’s uniquely, there are some commonalities to each stage. Here's what you may find in a senior who enters the last stage of Alzheimer’s disease: Challenges with eating and swallowing Difficulty walking or no longer able to walk An increased vulnerability to illnesses The need for full-time care and support The best way to support the senior is through preserving dignity and improving quality of life. Think of ways to engage the person’s senses that are meaningful and personal, such as by: Listening to favorite music together Reading aloud Looking through photo albums Preparing the person’s favorite foods Applying lotion with a pleasant scent…

Here’s Why Alzheimer’s Caregivers Really Need Support

Here’s Why Alzheimer’s Caregivers Really Need Support “You can make it, but it’s easier if you don’t have to do it alone.” – Betty Ford We all know that no one person is an island, something that especially rings true for Alzheimer’s caregivers. Nevertheless many family caregivers falter with regards to accepting or asking for the help they need. Because of this, stress is exacerbated, as there is little if any time for self-care – an important feature for anybody in a caregiving role. Why are we often so resolved to address such an extraordinary undertaking independently? Here are a number of common reasons and why we should rethink them: No one else could care for Mom like I will. While you are most certainly not replaceable, the purpose of enlisting help is not replacement, but respite. An older adult with Alzheimer's can benefit from the socialization provided by someone aside from yourself, while you gain the benefit of a much-needed break – ultimately allowing you to provide better care to the senior when you return.…

How to Improve Life with Dementia Through Reminiscence Therapy

How to Improve Life with Dementia Through Reminiscence Therapy Memory loss and Alzheimer's may seem synonymous. However, it is important to realize that long-term memory frequently remains intact long into the progression of the disease. So if you’re wondering how to improve life with dementia, tapping into those distant memories is a perfect way to foster engagement in current conversations by connecting to the past. Known as reminiscence therapy, these walks down memory lane help older adults: Better connect to others through sharing stories Decrease stress and negative emotions by shifting the focus to happier times Minimize some of the adverse effects of Alzheimer's, such as restlessness, wandering, anger, and more Instill self-confidence by bringing to mind the countless accomplishments they’ve made in addition to lives they have impacted Implementing reminiscence therapy doesn’t have to be elaborate. Start with opening a photo album and simply looking at photographs together. Let the person drive the next steps. If a certain photograph…

How to Understand and Prevent Delirium in Seniors

How to Understand and Prevent Delirium in Seniors Although dementia is often the culprit behind the confusion, forgetfulness, and disorientation experienced by older adults, there’s another condition to be mindful of. It is widely prevalent, causes similar symptoms, and most importantly, is curable: delirium. As a matter of fact, as many as ¾ of seniors experience delirium after a surgical procedure or infection, and proper diagnosis is critical to ensure correct treatment. And not only that – there are steps that can be taken to prevent delirium in seniors as well. One of the largest differentiators in delirium is its rapid onset, and its propensity to produce symptoms that come and go throughout the day, compared to dementia’s slow, steady, ongoing and rather predictable decline. For example, a senior with delirium may struggle to recognize or recall the name of a family member or friend, get confused in their surroundings, hallucinate, or have problems with communicating – but later in the day, fully recover functionality…

Living Alone with Dementia: Could It Be Possible?

Living Alone with Dementia: Could It Be Possible? There has long been an assumption that once someone receives a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or another type of progressive dementia, the only option is nursing home care. After all, living alone with dementia isn’t possible – or is it? Statistics demand the need for all of us to think this through for those we love, and perhaps even for ourselves one day. Nearly 61% of seniors with dementia in Canada are living outside of long term care or nursing homes. What’s even more concerning is that much of this population lives alone with no identified caregiver. There are several key areas of concern for a senior living alone with dementia: The ability to manage activities of daily living independently, such as personal hygiene, meals, household management, and problem-solving A heightened vulnerability to senior scams and exploitation The isolation that stems from a fear of unfamiliar places and situations as confusion increases Yet we also know that remaining at home throughout ageing…

Connect More Effectively with This Engaging Activity for Dementia

Connect More Effectively with This Engaging Activity for Dementia Imagine for a moment how it would feel to struggle with the cognitive challenges of dementia. The people who are closest to you are now unfamiliar. The words that would roll off your tongue without a second thought are now just out of reach. In fact, the world as you once knew it has completely turned upside down, leaving you longing for a familiar foothold. One of the kindnesses imparted by dementia is the long-term memories that often remain intact long after short-term memories have subsided. It’s why connecting seniors with dementia to the past is often an incredibly effective way to engage them – through music, photos, movies, and reminiscing. We can now add a new activity for dementia to the list that’s showing remarkable results: virtual reality. Skip Rizzo, director for medical virtual reality at the USC Institute for Creative Technologies, has been using the technology to help veterans experiencing PTSD. He’s now expanding his reach to older adults – beginning with his…

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