Celebrating the holidays with someone who has dementia
Celebrating the holidays with a loved one who has dementia presents some challenges, especially if your family member resides in an assisted living home. It is natural to want to recreate those holiday memories you have shared together and get in touch with the feelings those shared experiences gave each of you. But how do you recreate something that dementia may have changed or faded for your loved one? This loss of shared history never hurts quite as much as it does during the holidays, when so many memories were made.
Talk to your loved one’s caregiver
Before you make too many plans or set up too many expectations, talk to the day to day caregiver of your relative. He or she will be able to give you the best guidance on what plans you should make. Kristie Chadwick, the director of Paradise Living Centers, has extensive experience working with dementia and Alzheimer’s patients.
“This is a really hard time of year for the family members of our residents. They remember the holidays being a certain way, they remember their mom or whomever being a certain way and they want to somehow return to that.”
Their reality must become your reality
Kristi explains that it is vital for you to accept and understand the reality of your loved one at this moment. Their perspective, she says, needs to become your reality.
Most people suffering from dementia lose their short-term memory first. It is only their long -term memories they can grab on to, so they will invariably stop recognizing spouses and grown children. However, they will remember going fishing when they were eight. This person, whom you remembered as a loving mother who loved walking through her neighborhood, may not remember the neighborhood or those long walks. Arranging to take mom on a tour of that neighborhood while you point out various sites to jar her memory, may be far from enjoyable to Mom. In fact, says Kristi, those suffering dementia find that constant pressure to remember very confusing and stressful.
Instead of a walk through the neighborhood, maybe Mom would enjoy a drive to look at Christmas lights. This is exactly the kind of thing you need to discuss with your loved one’s care giver. He or she can tell you what would feel good to your mom now. It’s up to you to accept that it may be quite different from what your mom would have liked a few years ago.
Meet them where they are now
Kristi suggests, “Join your loved one in their journey. Jump in and meet them where they are right now.”
For example, if your father, a former basketball coach, believes you are one of his former athletes, be one of his former athletes. Let him reminisce with you and laugh about Cinderella victories and rue the agony of defeats. Yes, it hurts that your father is not seeing his son. But take this time to get to know a different side of your dad. Do your best to know and interact with the person your dad is right now.
No amount of jarring or flash carding with family photos will bring back what dementia is taking away. Rather than continually setting up unreal expectations that are guaranteed to fail, but sure to upset your loved one, understand where he or she is now. Meet them there, take their hand and create a holiday that brings you together in a way that both of you can enjoy.
To speak with Kristi Chadwick about caring for someone with dementia and learning more about the services Paradise Living Centers provides, visit the website or call (480) 878-4112.
5 signs that assisted living may be the best option for your loved one
How can you tell if your elderly loved one may need assisted living care? This question can spark an overwhelming sense of confusion for all involved. However, it is an important question to consider. As we age, it is normal for mental and physical abilities to decline. Fortunately, assisted living homes provide an excellent option to give your loved one the care and support they may need.
It is common for people to wait until there is an emergency to realize that their loved one is in need care. To help avoid this situation, we recommend taking a proactive approach by regularly visiting and assessing your loved one to help recognize changes and determine their care needs as they age. This will help prevent life-threatening accidents or illnesses. We understand it can be difficult to decide if assisted living is the best option for your loved one. Here are signs to look out for:
- Forgetfulness: The brain is often affected by age. This can cause memory issues and forgetfulness regarding taking medications, going to appointments and other regular activities that can impact health and safety. If your loved one seems to be forgetting daily tasks like, this can be an indication that they need assisted care due to memory impairment. If your loved one has mandatory medications, failure to take these can be very dangerous.
- Neglecting personal hygiene: If your loved one is neglecting their personal hygiene simply, it can be a sign that they are no longer able to shower and do laundry without assistance.
- Unkempt living area: If your loved one’s house and yard seem to be neglected, this is an indication that they might not be able to keep up on things like mowing the lawn and cleaning the dishes. These are two areas that you can help with yourself or hire someone to do.
- Frequent balance issues or falls: This is perhaps the most obvious indication that your loved one may need assisted living services. Balance issues can lead to life threatening falls or accidents. An assisted living home provides round the clock monitoring and care to help your loved one on their feet and keep them safe.
- Finance struggles: If you notice that there are unopened bills, collections, large receipts, etc. this may be a sign that they are no longer able to handle their finances. When this happens, it is important that a family member or trusted accounted step in to make sure everything is in order and to protect seniors as susceptible to scams for this reason.
If your loved one is displaying any of these signs or any other concerning behaviors, it may be time to consider assisted living in Phoenix. At Paradise Living Centers we are proud to be a resource for assisted living and elderly care in the state of Arizona. For more information on the care we provide or any other questions you might have please visit our website or give us a call at (480) 878-4112.
What are the signs and symptoms of vascular dementia?
You may have never heard of vascular dementia until you or someone you know is diagnosed with it. Second to Alzheimer’s, vascular dementia is one of the most common types of dementia. Vascular dementia is caused by problems with the blood supply to the brain. This lack of blood flow to the brain can cause severe blood vessel damage and lead to dementia. Similar to other forms of dementia, it is important to be able to recognize the signs and symptoms of vascular dementia in order to assess the severity of the damage and proper care needed.
What are the symptoms of vascular dementia?
The symptoms of vascular dementia vary depending on the severity of the damage to the brain, area affected, and blood vessels damaged. The most common symptoms are:
- Problems with memory
- Inability to organize thoughts or actions
- Restlessness and agitation
- Trouble with concentration
These symptoms can be more prevalent following a stroke. In fact, vascular dementia is also called post-stroke dementia.
How is vascular dementia diagnosed?
Vascular dementia symptoms can be unrecognizable, making it tough to diagnose. Thus, doctors recommend a professional memory, thinking, and reasoning screening for those who are considered high risk for this form of dementia. People who have had a stroke or mini stroke, exhibit high blood pressure, or high cholesterol are prime candidates and should be evaluated.
In addition to a medical history examination, the doctor may do lab tests, a neurological exam, brain imaging, carotid ultrasound, or neuropsychological tests.
If you or a loved one is diagnosed with vascular dementia, the doctor will then assess the severity of the brain damage and prescribe necessary treatment and care options.
How does Paradise Living Centers care for residents who have dementia?
At Paradise Living Centers, our Care Manager, Kristie Chadwick is a Certified Dementia Practitioner (CDP®) with comprehensive knowledge in dementia care and successful completion of the Alzheimer’s disease and Dementia care training. Her experience and knowledge are invaluable to our residents and their families as we help determine a care plan. We work with the memory care professionals from A Wiser Mind to provide on-site, one-on-one engaging sessions to delay cognitive decline. Our caregivers are also well versed in working with and caring for those with dementia and understand how to best engage with residents for daily living and activities.
To learn more about the dementia care we provide or to schedule a tour of one of our beautiful homes at Paradise Living Centers, please visit our website or call us at (480) 878-4112.
Things to know when looking for assisted living in Phoenix
As aging progresses, many people start to need help with daily tasks such as bathing, cooking food, taking medications, etc. Moving to a home where assistance with these tasks is provided can be a great option to consider. An assisted living will have trained caregivers on staff to provide 24 hour care. This level of care is beneficial for those that may struggle with cognitive or physical challenge and are no longer able to live independently. Looking for assisted living in Phoenix can seem overwhelming, given all the choices available. To simplify the research process, here are some helpful tips:
Determine important factors, like location and budget
It is important to choose an assisted living facility that addresses your loved one’s needs, but it is also important to consider the location, so it is easily accessible for family and friends to visit. Cost is also a frequent concern, so it is necessary to determine a budget and find a place that fits your budget.
Assess loved one’s health situation and needs
Before looking at potential assisted living homes, assess the future resident’s health situation and determine their care needs. For example, if they have a progressive illness such as dementia, you would need to choose a facility that specializes in dementia care and can provide the level of care and resources the resident will not only need now, but also down the road. If your loved one suffers from Parkinson’s, they may need more assistance physically. Check to see that the caregivers provide everything you or your family member may need.
Check referrals and reviews
Referrals can be extremely valuable when looking for assisted living in Phoenix. Because there are so many options, gaining insight from others who have done the research and have a family member living in an assisted care facility can be extremely helpful. Speaking with others that have been through the process, can also save you a lot of time.
Ensure that the facility is licensed by the state:
It is important to check that the facility you are considering is licensed by the state. If it is not, it may not meet state regulations and you do not want to risk the safety and well-being of your loved one at an assisted living facility that is not following the rules and regulations of the industry.
Visit before making a decision
When you are conducting your research for assisted living in Phoenix, we recommend making at least a couple of visits. When you tour a home, you have an opportunity to see the set-up of the home, to observe the residents and caregivers interacting and to ask questions. It is good to meet the staff, talk to the residents, and get a feel for what life in the facility looks like on a daily basis.
At Paradise Living Centers we are very proud of our homes and the quality care we provide our residents. If you are considering assisted living for yourself or a family member, we invite you to schedule a tour of our homes. If you have any questions, please visit our website or call us at (480) 878-4112.
Cognitive Issues in Seniors: Things to remember when choosing their activities
Seniors that develop senior cognitive issues, often experience an inability to do the activities they were good at or once loved. It is extremely frustrating and a reality that can be discouraging for all involved, including family members and friends. To avoid this frustration, it is important to recognize the situation when choosing activities for seniors with cognitive issues.
Muscles tend to remember things that the mind has forgotten. Because of this, it is better to appeal to the senses when choosing activities for seniors with cognitive issues. Your loved one may be losing their memory, but they still have the gift of taste, vision, smell, touch, and hearing. When planning activities catered to cognitive issues in seniors, consider incorporating activities that appeal to one or more of their senses. Studies show that when you use this approach, seniors will be more engaged and enjoy an activity more.
If you are looking for the best activities for seniors, here are some ideas you can pick and choose from:
- Baking: Seniors may not remember how to make their special chocolate chip cookies, but when presented with a lump of dough, you may be surprised at how quickly they roll it out.
- Connecting through music: Engage their sense of hearing by singing, playing, or listening to music.
- Doing an arts and crafts project: Sometimes seeing or creating something beautiful can transform a tough day into a beautiful one.
- Gardening: Everyone loves the smell of fresh flowers. Gardening engages the sense of smell, touch, and vision.
- Get active: Research has shown that physical activity is beneficial to those battling cognitive decline. Physical activity is also a great activity to battle depression which is common in seniors.
Whatever activity you select to do, it is important to concentrate on the process rather than the result. It does not matter if the picture they painted is beautiful. What matters is that your loved one enjoys the time you are spending together painting and that they feel useful while doing an activity. These hobbies or endeavors will provide you and your loved one with something productive to do when you visit and give you something fun to talk about.
At Paradise Living Centers, our Activities Director and our Care Manager plan regular weekly activities for our residents to help with cognitive issues in seniors. These activities include games, arts and crafts, physical stretching and exercise, and social events with families and quarterly outings. To learn more about the care and services we offer or to schedule a tour, please visit our website or call us at (480) 878- 4112.
4 things to learn during bone and joint action week
The Global Alliance for Musculoskeletal Health of the Bone and Joint Decade, has declared October 12 – 20, Bone & Joint Action Week. As we age, we begin to feel the wear and tear in our bones and joints. Bone & Joint Action week was established to help increase awareness on health issues specifically related to bones and joints and to provide access to education and tips for prevention. To help get you started, we’ve outlined 4 valuable questions and answers to explore during bone and joint action week:
Why is bone health important?
Your bones are always changing; as old bone breaks down, new bone is made. When you’re young, your body makes new bone faster than it breaks down old bone, causing your bone mass to increase. Most people reach their “peak” bone mass around the age of 30. After that, bone remodeling starts and you begin to lose slightly more bone mass than you gain. Once this process begins, it continues as you age. That is why it is important to understand what you can do to protect and maintain your bone and joint health.
The likelihood of developing osteoporosis, a condition that causes bones to become weak and brittle is dependent on how much bone mass you gain before you “peak” and how quickly you begin to lose it after that point. If you had a high bone mass at the “peak,” then you have a lower risk of developing osteoporosis.
What affects bone health?
There are many factors that can affect bone health including:
- Physical activity: Those who are more physically active are less likely to develop osteoporosis. This is just one of the many benefits to staying active while you age.
- Diet: A diet rich in calcium and other vitamins will support healthy bones and joints.
- Age: You may experience issues as you age because your bones do become thinner and weaker as you age.
- Gender: Unfortunately, women are more prone to developing bone and joint issues because they have less bone tissue than men.
- Tobacco and alcohol use: Research has shown that regular tobacco and/or alcohol use contributes to weak bones.
- Medications: Long term use of corticosteroid medications or aromatase inhibitors can be damaging to bones.
What can I do to keep my bones and joints healthy?
When it comes to healthy bones and joints, prevention is key. To prevent or slow bone loss and joint issues it is essential to exercise regularly, include plenty of calcium and vitamin D into your diet, and avoid substance abuse.
How can my doctor help?
If you are concerned about your bone and joint health, speak to your doctor. Your doctor can recommend a bone density test to assess your bone density and determine your rate of bone loss. From there, your doctor will be able to discuss possible solutions including necessary lifestyle changes, supplements, and/or medications to slow the bone loss process.
Take advantage of Bone and Joint Action Week to educate yourself and begin to make the necessary changes. Incorporating better care and habits now, can improve bone and joint health, which help prevent potential breaks, fractures and other issues.
At Paradise Living Centers, our residents are assessed regularly and if our caregivers or nurse have any concerns they may recommend a bone density and joint test. We also encourage our residents to participate in daily activities to benefit their health and wellbeing. For any additional questions about the care we offer please visit our website or give us a call at (480) 878-4112.
Why does my elderly parent snore?
It is not unusual to hear an elderly parent snore, and while it can be a disturbance to family members, it can also be an indication of more serious health issues. Surprisingly, it can even be a sign that your loved one suffers from depression. When it is coupled with personality changes due to lack of sleep, it can increase of the risk of certain conditions such as a stroke. Before jumping to any assumptions, it is important to do some research, possibly speak with your loved one’s physician to find out why your elderly parent snores and what you can and should do about it.
Snoring is caused by some degree of obstruction in your breathing. It is important to know that snoring is not a breathing disorder, it is cause by a throat issue. The sounds you hear come from the turbulence cause by the air you breathe being forced through a narrower space. Medical professionals say that snoring is not normal at any age. When you are elderly you are at a greater risks of health complications due to age and if you snore there is more reason for concern. Although most just snoring a minor disturbance, it is important to realize that it is not normal and it should be monitored carefully.
Why does snoring get worse as we age?
There are many reasons why people snore, and why it may get worse as we get older. An increase in snoring is often related to weight gain or a result of prescription medications. Other common reasons why people snore include:
- Mouth breathing due to nasal congestion or partial obstruction with a deviated septum
- Alcohol consumption
- Narcotic substance use or abuse
- Enlarged tonsils or adenoids
What are the treatment options for snoring?
Fortunately, there are many over-the-counter options available for snoring. These products aim to make breathing easier when you sleep, thus eliminating snoring. Treatment options include: nasal strips, sprays, nasal humidifiers, snoring pillows, and positional devices. If weight is the cause, diet and exercise plans may be the best treatment option for snoring.
Although most cases of an elderly parent snoring can be treated with over the counter products or lifestyle changes, they don’t always work. In more severe cases, snoring can be a sign of a serious condition called sleep apnea. Anyone who snores should be tested for sleep apnea as it can be very dangerous. Sleep apnea is defined by Mayo Clinic as a potentially serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts. Testing, treating, and monitoring sleep apnea is easy and should be done to prevent further medical issues.
At Paradise Living Centers, we provide 24/7 awake care and monitor any changes in sleep patterns, including snoring and other sleep disruptions. We are committed to providing the best care and services for our residents as they age. For questions regarding our assisted group homes in Phoenix and Paradise Valley and the care services we are so proud to provide, visit our website or call us at (480)878 -4112.
The importance of respite for family caregivers
Taking care of an elderly parent or loved one offers many benefits for both parties including strengthening the parent-child relationship, bringing fulfillment and happiness, and boosting overall quality of life. Despite these advantages, burnout and stress are extremely common for those who serve as a caregiver for an aging loved one. Too often, caregivers become so involved in taking care of their loved one that they allow their own needs to get put aside.
The number of family caregivers is increasing with an estimated 50 million caregivers in the U.S. today. It is no coincidence that exhaustion, stress, isolation, depression and physical ailments are becoming increasingly common. By taking a break on a regular basis, caregivers can avoid these issues while also becoming a better caregiver in the long run. This is why respite for family caregivers is extremely valuable.
Why is respite so important for family caregivers?
Respite care provides family caregivers with relief and an opportunity to spend time doing things for themselves or just taking some time to relax. Most family caregivers are on the job 24/7 with no options for taking a break. Taking time off will allow a caregiver to feel renewed and refreshed so that they will return a more effective caregiver. Family caregivers may not have a formal job, but they are working and just like others in the workforce, they deserve time for their own activities, socializing and, relaxation. It is essential that caregivers don’t neglect their social life including relationships with friends and family. This will help reduce feelings of isolation and depression, which are common among family caregivers. Respite care makes it possible and it should not be considered a luxury, but rather a necessity for the well-being of both the caregiver and their aging loved one.
Whether going on vacation or just looking for some time on a regular basis, respite care is a great option for you and your loved one. Although it is common to feel guilty with the thought of leaving your loved one, if you truly want the best care for them then you must also care for yourself.
At Paradise Living Centers, in addition care in to the residents in our group homes, we also provide respite care to families in need of short-term care for a loved one, based on our room availability. The caregivers at Paradise Living Centers are certified by the state of Arizona and have undergone extensive training… For them, this isn’t just a job; it’s a calling. Their professional passion means our residents receive the highest possible quality of care.
We understand your concern for your loved one and would be happy to discuss the options for respite care at Paradise Living Centers. For more information please visit our website or give us a call at (480)878 -4112.
5 Things to know in National Cholesterol Education Month
Cholesterol is a popular topic when it comes to health, especially for seniors whose high cholesterol may pose serious health risks. To help raise awareness, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has designated September, National Cholesterol Education Month. The CDC offers a wealth of information on steps you can take to prevent high cholesterol and what the different levels mean. We encourage you to dedicate September to kicking off a healthy fall by educating yourself about cholesterol and the effects it can have on your heart and overall health.
To help you get started, this blog will provide 5 fundamental things to know about managing cholesterol levels and how it can impact your well-being:
What is cholesterol?
Most of the confusion comes from a lack of education on cholesterol. Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance found in your body and in many foods. Sounds bad. However, your body needs cholesterol to function normally and stay healthy. While it is a necessity to live, too much is not good. High levels of cholesterol can cause build-up in your arteries. After a while, this can narrow the arteries and form clots, putting you at risk for heart disease and stroke.
Is all cholesterol bad?
This is one of the most common questions about cholesterol. The answer is no, not all cholesterol is bad. There are two types of cholesterol and they have the opposite effects on your health. The “good” type of cholesterol is called HDL. HDL is good because it has a specific function that keeps your body healthy. Its helps move cholesterol away from arteries and to the liver, where it can then be expelled from your body. LDL is the dangerous form of cholesterol, which creates the build-up in the arteries when you take in too much. These build-ups can clog and narrow arteries, like we explained earlier, thus creating inflammation. When there is too much LDL present, a person is susceptible to a sudden rupture, which sends a clot into the bloodstream and can cause a heart attack and/or stroke.
How do I know if I have high cholesterol?
Unfortunately, high cholesterol itself doesn’t exhibit any symptoms. As a result, people often do not know if they have high cholesterol, unless they are tested. Fortunately, doctors can check for high cholesterol through a simple blood test. The National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) recommends that adults aged 20 years or older have their cholesterol checked every 5 years. This frequency depends on a person’s overall health and family history. It is best to ask your primary physician, how often you should be tested to best monitor and manage your cholesterol.
Can high cholesterol be genetic?
Yes. Genetics are often to blame for high cholesterol levels. If you know that there is a family history of high cholesterol, stroke, or heart attack you should have your cholesterol checked regularly to minimize health risks and take preventative measures if necessary.
How can I lower my high cholesterol?
Fortunately, once detected, high cholesterol can be lowered and maintained through diet, exercise or medication. As stated earlier, high cholesterol can be extremely dangerous to a person’s health, so it is important to address. If your cholesterol is dangerously high, your doctor may prescribe you medication to help lower your LDL levels or suggest specific lifestyle changes. These changes may include:
- Get off the couch and get moving: Incorporating a regular exercise routine into your life can make a big difference. Exercise is good for your heart, it can help with weight loss and lower LDL cholesterol levels.
- Go green: Start eating more low-fat and high-fiber foods like broccoli and spinach. We are not suggesting you become a vegetarian, just to add more dark leafy greens to your plate regularly.
- Kick the habit: If you smoke or use tobacco products, commit to quit. There are a variety of nicotine replacement products and programs that can help.
- Check the scale: If you are overweight, it is important to diet and drop the excess pounds, but it is even more important to maintain a healthy weight. Yo-yo dieting can be just as dangerous as weighing more than you should.
At Paradise Living Centers, our nurse and caregivers work closely with our residents’ families and physician to help manage their health daily. If they have any special dietary needs the team alerts our cooking staff to make sure they are getting the nutrition they need. For any additional questions about services and the care we provide, please visit our website or call us at (480) 878-4112.
If you have concerns about your cholesterol, we recommend you make an appointment to see a doctor and get tested. If you have questions, take advantage of National Cholesterol Education Month to educate yourself on cholesterol and the dangers of high cholesterol can have on you and your loved ones.
Late life depression explained
Late life depression is a very serious issue and is more common than you may think. Aging inevitably brings with it a lot of life changes. Losing a loved one, moving to a new home and physical and mental changes can all impact our emotional stability. These changes and others can contribute to late life depression. This condition can be difficult to detect, but if suspected, it should not be taken lightly and needs to be treated carefully. Left untreated, late life depression can mentally, physically and emotionally cripple a person. Thus, posing a serious threat to those who are already experiencing these changes.
In order to help aging loved ones, it is important to know what late life depression is, to be able to recognize the symptoms, and identify the best treatment options.
Causes of late life depression:
The causes of late life depression are unavoidable for most seniors, which is why so many seniors suffer. The causes of late life depression include:
- Loneliness – loneliness can lead to depression when seniors cannot participate in once loved activities or are moved into an isolated room or facility thus taking away their sense of freedom or mobility.
- Health conditions – the reality of deteriorating health and aging can cause depression amongst seniors. Diagnosis and symptoms of many health issues can alter their daily life significantly.
- Grief – dealing with the death of a loved one especially a spouse can be extremely depressing for seniors and can lead to depression.
- Weight loss
- Inability to sleep
- Social withdrawal
- Decreased self-esteem
- Suicidal thoughts
Treatment for late life depression:
Fortunately, there are many treatment options for late life depression. If you suspect a loved one is showing signs of depression, schedule an appointment with a doctor. The doctor will be able to better evaluate the symptoms and prescribe necessary treatments or medications. Your loved one’s doctor might suggest anti-depression medication, lifestyle changes, or hiring a caregiver. Hiring a care giver is a potential treatment option to not only keep a watchful eye on the patient but to keep them company to battle feelings of loneliness. Adding activities can also be helpful to treating depression such as:
- Therapy animals
- Social events
- Healthy diet
- Music therapy
Late life depression can be life threatening if not properly diagnosed and treated. The key is early detection, diagnosis, and treatment.
At Paradise Living Centers, our resident’s comfort and well-being is one of our top priorities. For any additional questions about services and the care we provide, please visit our website or call us at (480)878-4112.