Prevent Wandering, Part II

prevent-wandering-logo“Not all those who wander are lost”. This line taken from a poem by J.R.R. Tolkien has become famous in itself and seems appropriate when thinking of our senior loved ones living with Alzheimer’s disease and their family. Wandering is one of the potential symptoms of Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia and is a very serious issue that should not be taken lightly. This is the second Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis article focusing on the prevention of wandering, click here to find the first article in this series as well as many other articles related to senior safety and health.

Alzheimer’s is a brain disease that may take those who are diagnosed with it to a different time and place. Wandering is very common as people can become confused about their location and wander or get lost while searching for something, at any stage of Alzheimer’s, even the very early stages of dementia. Typically, those who wander are trying to get to a familiar destination with a specific purpose in mind. To the person who is wandering, they are not lost at all, but instead on a mission.

Watch this touching video about a man with a special mission in mind.

Continuing their effort to bring awareness of important topics that affect the seniors in our Minneapolis communities, such as the risk of our seniors continuing to drive past a safe age and the Sunday Dinner Pledge, Home Instead Senior Care has introduced their latest public education program, Prevent Wandering. This program is full of valuable resources and tips to help family caregivers manage this common issue.

To a person with Alzheimer’s or dementia, once familiar territory can suddenly feel foreign and the individual may walk away in search of the place they are looking for. There are many factors, such as fatigue or overstimulation, that can trigger a wandering episode. Taking proactive steps to safeguard the home and reduce the risk of wandering will help families be prepared if a wandering incident occurs.

Quick Tips to Reduce the Risk of Wandering:

  • Paint doors and door frames the same color as the walls to camouflage the exits
  • Use alarms to alert you when a loved one is on the move
  • Install doorknob safety covers
  • Create pathways to steer clear of wandering opportunities

missing_senior_networkTo help ease the stress and fear for families and the loved ones they care for, Home Instead Senior Care provides a free service called Missing Senior Network, which allows you to alert a personalized list of contacts if your loved one wanders or goes missing. This amazing service is part of the Prevent Wandering public education campaign and allows you to set up a private network including relatives, friends, and nearby businesses to help locate your senior loved one quickly when he or she wanders away. To learn more and sign up for the Missing Senior Network service, visit the website www.missingseniornetwork.com today! There are many other tips and services available, learn more about each one by visiting the helpful website www.helpforalzheimersfamilies.com where you can also find personal experience and tips from readers.

Learning of a loved one’s diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or other form of dementia is scary. Educating yourself and being prepared for the behaviors that can result will not only help the individual living with Alzheimer’s, but also help the family cope with the disease diagnosis and keep your senior loved ones safe in their home. There are many resources available for Alzheimer’s family caregivers. Learn more about these resources, such as the Home Instead Senior Care Alzheimer’s Friendly Business program, by visiting this resource page.

Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis provides services such as companionship, dementia and Alzheimer’s care, as well as support for the family caregivers, to ensure the protection of dignity of the aging senior receiving care. Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis is a local business offering friendly, responsive care right in your Minneapolis, Minnesota community. To inquire about any of our senior services or becoming a CAREGiver, call us at 763-544-5988 today.

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Wanted: A Caring Professional Looking for a Unique and Rewarding Career

Caring for seniors is a labor of love that requires a special person with a loving personality and just the right touch. Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis is looking for dedicated CAREGivers who share a passion for caregiving to provide in-home care assistance to seniors and their family. Could that special person be you?

Advances in medicine and healthier lifestyles are leading to many seniors living longer and more productive lives. This is causing the ‘sandwich’ generation to emerge, which in turn is demanding a greater need for caregivers. The sandwich generation refers to the age group who are caring for their parents and simultaneously caring for their own children. Many Minneapolis families are trying to find the balance of managing a demanding job, raising children, staying on top of their own family’s daily activities, as well as caring for their aging parents. It doesn’t take long before a family caregiver drops one of the many balls they are trying to juggle daily.

Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis Client Care Coordinator, Lori Leigh, explains why this growing field is so important right now and provides a glimpse of what is involved with being an in-home personal care assistant (PCA):

As the New York Times reports extensively, more than 1.3 million new paid caregivers will be needed by the year 2022 to meet the demand of the aging senior population. This demand for caregivers in the workforce is at a critical level, causing caregiving to become the largest occupation in the United States in the next 5 years. A recent report by the Minneapolis Star Tribune echoes the growing demand, stating that healthcare is a gold mine right now with an expected growth in Minnesota by more than 40% by 2022.

So, exactly what does it mean to be a caregiver? As a Home Instead Senior Care CAREGiver, you can help these Minnesota families restore the balance, order, and peace in their lives once again while allowing their aging loved ones the ability to continue living independently at home. The responsibilities will vary depending on the client’s needs, but generally, you will be expected to:

  • Provide companionship and conversation
  • Prepare meals
  • Perform light housekeeping tasks, including laundry
  • Provide medication as needed
  • Assist with errands
  • Accompany senior to appointments

Other responsibilities may be asked of you, but most importantly and rewarding is the joy you bring to a senior’s life and the value you provide to the family.

Leah Beno with Minneapolis KMSP Fox 9 Evening News featured our own Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis CAREGiver, Rebecca, and her client Liz, highlighting their very special bond.

If you believe you are that special type of person who enjoys working with seniors and wants make a difference in the lives of older adults and their families, being a Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis CAREGiver might be the career for you. Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis offers industry leading CARE Training programs that will equip a new caregiver with the skills necessary to provide the best care possible to the senior client. Home Instead also offers training for Alzheimer’s and other dementias.

Home Instead Minneapolis serves the communities in Minneapolis and western suburbs, including Excelsior, Plymouth, Minnetonka, Golden Valley, Shorewood, Wayzata, St. Louis Park, and Lake Minnetonka area. Flexible work hours, a competitive salary package including health insurance benefits, as well as overtime pay and paid travel time between client appointments are just some of the benefits our employees enjoy. Our CAREGivers are bonded and insured and are provided with on-going training and support. We offer this and more through a holistic approach – caring for our CAREGiver’s mind, body, and spirit. We truly believe when we care for our CAREGivers, they are better equipped to have a meaningful relationship with their clients and the families they support.

Becoming a paid home caregiver is a unique job with many rewards, as well as responsibilities and challenges, both physical and emotional. As a Home Instead CAREGiver, you will have the opportunity to meet wonderful seniors in our Minneapolis communities, build fulfilling relationships, and make a difference in the lives of our aging clients. Contact Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis today to learn more about the home care career opportunities by visiting the Careers tab of our website where you can also apply online or contact us by calling 763-634-8247 today.

Prevent Wandering

prevent-wandering-logoDoes this scene sound familiar? Your 76-year old father leaves his Minnesota home one cold winter morning without telling anyone where he was going. After realizing he is missing and frantically searching, he is discovered by some concerned strangers who noticed he looked confused. Even though he’s been retired for 12 years, he thought he was on his way to work and was found approximately 10 miles from his home. We at Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis hear similar stories every day. Minor details may be different with each story, but overall the general theme is the same – the wandering senior has a purpose and intent when they start out, but get lost along the way.

Wandering is a very serious issue for those living with Alzheimer’s disease, or another form of dementia, and their loved ones. Alzheimer’s is a brain disease that may take those who are diagnosed with it to a different time and place. Wandering is one of the potential symptoms of Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia. People can become confused about their location and wander or get lost while searching for something, at any stage of Alzheimer’s, even the very early stages of dementia. Many times those who wander are trying to get to a familiar destination with a specific purpose in mind, such as a former job.

Watch this touching video about a man on a mission.

In an effort to bring awareness of important topics that affect the seniors in our Minneapolis communities, such as prescription medication management and preventing senior hospitalizations, Home Instead Senior Care has introduced their latest public education program, Prevent Wandering. This program offers tips and valuable resources to help family caregivers manage this common issue for even the most prepared families.

The Alzheimer’s Association has identified five common triggers often found when individuals with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia tend to wander. Things such as fatigue or being disoriented are well known triggers, but there are other important factors to be aware of:

5 Common Triggers for Wandering:

  • Delusions or hallucinations
  • Overstimulation
  • Fatigue, especially in the late afternoon and evening
  • Disorientation to place and time
  • Change in routine and unmet needs

Learn more about each one by visiting the helpful website www.helpforalzheimersfamilies.com.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, six in 10 people with dementia will wander and many will do so repeatedly. Any individual living with some form of dementia, including Alzheimer’s, is at risk of wandering. Having the disease itself is a top reason to watch for these signs.

6 Signs to Watch for When Caring for Someone with Dementia:

  • Trouble navigating familiar places – have you noticed Dad has trouble getting to and from places he has frequented for years?
  • Frequent talk about fulfilling non-existent obligations – does Mom tend to repeatedly talk about an appointment that doesn’t exist?
  • Agitation in the late afternoon or early evening hours – commonly referred to as “sundowning”, the individual becomes restless and agitated as fatigue sets in during the early evening hours.
  • A constant desire to go home when they’re already there – reassure your loved one he or she is safe and secure.
  • Unmet needs – needing to use the bathroom, but not able to remember where it is.

missing_senior_networkFor someone suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia as well as those who care for them, wandering can be a very scary issue. Also, research conducted by Home Instead Senior Care, reveals the stress that symptoms of dementia, such as wandering, can play on family caregivers. Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis understands the stress that goes along with caring for someone with Alzheimer’s. To help ease the stress and fear for families, Home Instead provides a free service called Missing Senior Network which allows you to alert a personalized list of contacts if your loved one wanders or is missing. This amazing service, which is part of the Prevent Wandering public education campaign, allows you to set up a private network, including relatives, friends, and nearby businesses to help locate your family member quickly when he or she wanders away. Learn more and sign up for the Missing Senior Network service today!

Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis provides services such as companionship, dementia and Alzheimer’s care, and support for the family caregivers to ensure the protection of dignity of the aging senior receiving care. Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis is a local business offering friendly, responsive care right in your Minneapolis, Minnesota community. To inquire about any of our senior services or becoming a CAREGiver, call us at 763-544-5988 today!

Caring for Seniors: A Labor of Love

The aging population and their need for care have been overlooked for so long, that the demand for caregivers in the workforce is at a critical level. As the New York Times reports, more than 1.3 million new paid caregivers will be needed to meet the demand of the aging senior population by the year 2022. Caregiving is on track to become the largest occupation in the United States in the next 5 years and is expected to replace retail with the most people employed in the field, many of whom will work for home care agencies.

apply_now

With our senior population aging and the ‘sandwich’ generation emerging, there is a great need for caregivers. The sandwich generation refers to the age group who are caring for their parents and simultaneously caring for their own children. When you factor in their daily job and family activities, they can quickly become overwhelmed. Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis Client Care Coordinator, Lori Leigh, explains why this growing field is so important and what being an in-home care assistant involves:

In an effort to meet the demands of the healthcare industry, one health professional in Maryland is proving he can make a difference with the High School Health Education Foundation. Dr. William Leahy, a semi-retired neurologist, created this foundation and has rolled out an education program aimed at attracting new young people to the field of home health care. The program is geared toward high school seniors who otherwise may not attend college, and offers free classroom instruction followed up by on-the-job training at a local retirement community. Textbooks, scrubs, and equipment are also covered by the foundation. This foundation’s education program has proven to be very competitive with high application numbers as well as successful graduates and Dr. Leahy is planning to expand the program to a high school in Washington D.C next. We hope he brings it to Minnesota as well!

returning-home-nutrition-480x450As the Minneapolis Star Tribune recently reports, health care is a gold mine – it is an occupation industry in Minnesota that is expected to grow more than 40% by the year 2022. So, what does it mean to be a caregiver? The type of care will vary and the client’s needs will really dictate what an in-home caregiver will be doing on any given day. The caregiver may be assisting with transportation, doctor visits, errands, meal preparation, medication reminders or light housekeeping. Companionship is the most important aspect of the caregiver’s day and is a big part of the caregiver client relationship, as well as being an advocate for them within the community.

Caring for seniors is a labor of love that calls for just the right person with a special touch. Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis hires dedicated CAREGivers who share our passion for caring for seniors and providing in-home care assistance to join our team. This caught the attention of Leah Beno with Minneapolis KMSP Fox 9 Evening News who featured our own Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis CAREGiver, Rebecca, and her client Liz and highlighted their very special bond.

Every day, families in Minneapolis are struggling to balance raising their own family, a demanding career, and caring for a senior loved one. The family caregivers eventually run out of hours in the day and the stress becomes unmanageable. This is where a Home Instead CAREGiver steps in to help. If you believe you are that special type of person who enjoys working with seniors and wants to make a difference in the lives of older adults as a career, being a Home Instead Senior Care network CAREGiver might be the career for you. Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis provides training as well as on going 24/7 support to our CAREGivers. We also provide advanced training opportunities throughout the year, including dementia and Alzheimer’s specific training, which is currently in high demand.

Home Instead offers flexible work hours, a competitive salary and health insurance benefit package, including overtime pay and paid travel time between client appointments to our employees as well. We offer this and more to our CAREGivers through a holistic approach – caring for our CAREGiver’s mind, body, and spirit. We believe when we care for our CAREGivers, they are better equipped to have meaningful relationships with the clients and their families and it will allow them to do what they do best, which is ensuring seniors live independently as long as possible.

Home Instead Senior Care understands what it takes to provide care to seniors and we are dedicated to hiring the best individuals to fill our needs. To learn more about current openings at Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis, visit the Careers tab of our website where you can also apply online or contact us by calling 763-634-8247 today.

Making the Minnesota Orchestra Hall an Alzheimer’s Friendly Business

AFB3

With the lack of education and misunderstandings about Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias – which eventually impacts thinking, speaking, and behavior – many people with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers would rather not fight the battle of dealing with the public. In fact, families often utilize our home care services to transport and accompany seniors to run errands and attend social events. Because our CAREGivers are educated through an acclaimed training program called CARE: Changing Aging through Research and Education®, they are equipped to handle sensitive situations that arise when people with Alzheimer’s are interacting publically. But family members are often not trained or equipped to assist their loved ones so instead, they either stay home and become isolated or they venture out and find themselves in uncomfortable situations. Home Instead Senior Care is hoping to change this with their public education program, Alzheimer’s Friendly Business. This program aims to offer training to the businesses in your local Minneapolis community which will help educate those serving customers with Alzheimer’s and related dementias and their caregivers, and ultimately ease the daunting task they feel when trying to complete daily routine tasks like banking, shopping, or attending appointments.Alzheimers-Friendly-Businesses-logo-embed

Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis has been busy training local businesses and the latest to jump on board is the Minnesota Orchestra Hall. Beginning in January, 2016 and continuing through April, we are on track to provide training to more than 200 Minnesota Orchestra Hall employees when it is all complete. With the average age of the Orchestra Hall season ticket holder being mid-sixty, the Alzheimer’s Friendly Business program is a great fit. From the employee who holds the door for their guests as they arrive, to the greeters, coat check associate, refreshment servers, ushers, and musicians to the upper level of management, and everyone in-between, customer service is top priority for everyone. Every employee strives to ensure the guest’s experience at Minnesota Orchestra Hall is unmatched, each and every day and that is why they felt it was important to have their employees participate in this training program. The average age of the employees receiving training is 55 years and some employees have been with Orchestra Hall in some capacity for over 40 years.  The employees are patient, really understand what their guests need and try to anticipate their requests – the Alzheimer’s Friendly Business training seems to go hand-in-hand with a local business like the Minnesota Orchestra Hall.AFB5

Recent research conducted by Home Instead shows that 74% of surveyed caregivers for individuals with a dementia illness report they or their loved ones have become more isolated as a result of this disease, and that 85% of the seniors in this survey report feeling a reduced quality of life. These are disturbing findings that, as a trusted provider of home care services to seniors, we cannot ignore.

Do you want to know more about how your business can become more Alzheimer’s friendly? The Alzheimer’s Friendly Business program starts with a training session, which lasts approximately 45-minutes, conducted by our own Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis trainers. This program is designed to help local business’ employees understand the disease and provide simple techniques to ensure customers with Alzheimer’s or dementia are treated with compassion and respect. The training program will educate the local business staff in main areas, such as:

  • Becoming aware of behaviors commonly associated with Alzheimer’s disease
  • Being understanding of the challenges an individual with Alzheimer’s may have
  • Assisting with interactions

Once the employees have completed the training, the business will receive a certification, which is valid for 2 years, reflecting the Alzheimer’s Friendly Business designation, and are also given window stickers and other materials to be used for display. Watch this short video to see a training session in action with our friends at Liberty Oxygen and Medical Equipment:

So, join our movement and make your business Alzheimer’s friendly by learning simple techniques to ensure customers living with Alzheimer’s or other dementias are treated with compassion and respect. Help break through the misconceptions of Alzheimer’s disease and ease the challenges of going into the local community for those customers and their caregivers by completing Home Instead’s thoughtful and thorough training program. Call Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis today at 763-544-5988. Or, if you are a caregiver to a loved one with Alzheimer’s, be sure to tell the local establishments you frequent about the Home Instead Senior Care network’s Alzheimer’s Friendly Business program.

Be a Special CAREGiver

A shortage of caregivers is bringing attention to an occupation that is expected to grow more than any other in the next 5 years, Personal Care Aids (PCAs). Leah Beno with Minneapolis KMSP Fox 9 Evening News featured our own Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis CAREGiver, Rebecca, and her client Liz and highlighted their very special bond.

As the New York Times often reports, more than 1.3 million new paid caregivers will be needed to meet the demand of the aging senior population by the year 2022. Many of these will be employed by home care agencies. In the next 5 years, it will become the largest occupation of the U.S., replacing retail. A research study by the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP shows nearly 44 million adults are currently caring for family members with disabilities or other needs in the home. That is one out of six adults!

Rebecca Hardy, a personal caregiver with Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis, compares the seniors she cares for to veterans. “We don’t want to forget”. Rebecca loves her job and finds the relationships with the seniors she cares for very fulfilling. Her client, Liz Heller, is a retired pastor from Westminster Presbyterian Church in Minneapolis. Though she has a large congregational family, she has no children and knew she’d need some help living independently in her home. Rebecca and Liz are always on the go and their relationship of trust and respect grew into a friendship.

Advances in medicine and healthier lifestyles are leading to seniors living home care mn longer and more productive lives. Many Minneapolis families are trying to manage their own demanding jobs, raising children, as well as caring for a senior family member. Women, especially, are struggling to find the balance of caring for their aging parents and managing their own family’s daily demands and activities. The family caregivers eventually run out of hours in the day and the stress becomes too great to handle. This is where the help of a dedicated, loving person comes in. As a Home Instead Senior Care CAREGiver, you can help these Minnesota families restore the balance, order, and peace in their lives once again while allowing their aging loved ones to continue to live at home.

Caring for seniors is a job that requires a special personality with just the right touch. A loving CAREGiver provides so much joy in the senior’s life and gives relief to their family, but what’s in it for you? Our Home Instead CAREGivers also enjoy:

  • Flexible scheduling
  • Supplemental income
  • No experience or medical skills necessary
  • Training provided
  • A rewarding way to interact with others outside your home

Caregiving is anything you do to enhance the quality of life for seniors and helps to keep them independent. The specific responsibilities will vary depending on the client’s needs, but generally, you may be responsible for:

  • Preparing meals, light housekeeping tasks, and laundry
  • Providing companionship and conversation
  • Providing medication and appointment reminders
  • Accompanying the clients to appointments
  • Running errands

Other responsibilities may be asked of you, but the most important and rewarding aspect of your job is the value you bring to a senior’s life.

As a home care employer, Home Instead Minneapolis offers industry-leading CARE Training programs that will equip the new caregiver with the skills necessary to provide the best possible care to their senior clients. Developed with the help of experts throughout the United States, they also offer an Alzheimer’s and other dementias training program. And, as a Home Instead CAREGiver, you are bonded and insured.

Becoming a paid home caregiver is a unique job with many rewards, as well as responsibilities and challenges, both physical and emotional. As a Home Instead CAREGiver, you have the opportunity to meet wonderful seniors, build fulfilling relationships, and make a difference in the lives of your aging clients. Contact Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis today to learn more about the home care job opportunities and becoming a Home Instead CAREGiver.

Is Your Business Alzheimer’s Friendly?

Can you picture this scene? You are enjoying lunch in a local Minneapolis cafe and an older couple is seated at the next table. The waitress is taking their order and the conversation becomes very awkward because the elderly man is having trouble asking about the menu. He doesn’t seem to remember exactly what he wants to ask or forgets the word he’s trying to use. You can see the frustration and impatience building between the older gentleman and the waitress who isn’t understanding him. Conversations and customer interactions of this type happen quite often when Alzheimer’s disease is involved, but it shouldn’t have to.

With the lack of education and misunderstandings about Alzheimer’s disease – which eventually impacts thinking, speaking, and behavior – many caregivers and their loved ones would rather not fight the battle of dealing with the public. Home Instead Senior Care is hoping to change this with their public education program Alzheimer’s Friendly Business. This program aims to offer training to the businesses in your local community which will help educate those serving customers with Alzheimer’s and related dementias and their caregivers, and ultimately ease the daunting task they feel when trying to complete daily routine tasks like banking, shopping, or attending appointments.

Watch us train Liberty Oxygen & Medical Equipment in this segment on Kare 11 News!

The Alzheimer’s Association reports that 1 in 9 Americans 65 years and older have Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia. The number of individuals aged 65 and older who currently have or will have Alzheimer’s disease is projected to increase from 5.1 million in 2010 to 13.8 million by the year 2050. These numbers are staggering and cannot be ignored.

According to research conducted by Home Instead, 74% of surveyed caregivers for individuals with a dementia illness report they and their loved ones have become more isolated as a result of the disease. The results also show that 85% of the seniors in the survey are feeling a reduced quality of life. The feeling of isolation is a significant issue facing family caregivers and their loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia. The unpredictable nature of the disease is one of the biggest obstacles to going out in public.

Some common behavioral symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease include:

  • Difficulty remembering names and recent events
  • Seeming depressed and disinterested
  • Difficulty completing routine tasks and problem solving
  • Repeatedly asking questions
  • Easily agitated or frustrated
  • Often wandering or lost
  • Difficulty keeping track of items or unable to retrace steps
  • Inability to follow directions
  • Having problems communicating

How can you be prepared to assist a person with Alzheimer’s?

  • Be patient, flexible and understanding
  • Remain calm
  • Stay positive
  • Treat the person with dignity and respect
  • Avoid arguing or embarrassing the person
  • Speak calmly, slowly and offer few options

When interacting with a person you believe struggles with dementia it’s helpful to use a comforting voice, approach the customer slowly and introduce yourself, avoid interrupting the person and be patient. These, and other helpful tips, are just one part of the free training Home Instead is offering to local businesses that are interested in partnering with us. Our local Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis ​office can provide the training to your employees, training management in a “train the trainer” approach or online. It can be conducted in just 30 minutes and, once  completed, your business will receive a certificate and materials you can use to show you are an Alzheimer’s Friendly Business. This certification lasts for 2 years.

Together we can work to achieve the goal of educating those serving customers living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias, along with their family caregivers, and ease the challenges they face when completing routine tasks within their community.

So, spread the word! Join us and help make your business Alzheimer’s friendly by learning simple techniques to ensure customers living with Alzheimer’s or other dementias are treated with compassion and respect. With Home Instead’s thoughtful and thorough training program, local businesses can help break through the misconceptions of Alzheimer’s and ease the challenges of going into the community for those customers and their caregivers. ​​​To start the process of becoming an Alzheimer’s Friendly Business, call our office today at 763-544-5988. Or​, if you’re a caregiver for a loved one with Alzheimer’s, b​​​​​​​​e sure to tell the businesses you frequent about the Home Instead Senior Care network’s Alzheimer’s Friendly Business℠ program.

Senior Safety Starts at Home

Is home a safe place?

Falls are among the leading causes of death and injury in the senior population especially here in Minneapolis where icy sidewalks can be a hazard.  33% of trips to the ER are caused by falls and other accidents at the home. But families can greatly reduce the risks of accidents by ensuring that their older loved ones have the proper home medical care and support. In fact, Home Instead Senior Care polled over 100 emergency room physicians and 48% said home accidents experienced by seniors could be prevented. Unfortunately, the most common response from families when a senior visits the ER due to a home accident is “I was afraid something like this would happen.”  Yet 85% of seniors have done nothing to prepare their homes for aging.

Watch the video below, “Warning Signs that a Senior is Struggling”, to learn how to spot the warning signs that your parent or senior loved one might already be struggling with mobility and some ways to help. These are just the first steps to making your senior’s home a safe place to be.

Doctors Orders

Many people experience problems with their sense of balance as they get older. 100% of ER doctors said that poor eyesight, mobility problems, balance issues, impaired motor skills and dementia are all very serious risk factors for seniors as potential causes of injuries or accidents at home. In addition, problems in the visual and skeletal systems and the nervous systems can be the source of some posture and balance problems, medical experts say. A circulatory system disorder, such as low blood pressure, can lead to a feeling of dizziness when we suddenly stand up. Problems in the skeletal or visual systems, such as arthritis or eye muscle imbalance, also may cause balance problems. Set up a doctor’s appointment for your senior loved one to determine if he/she has any of these issues.

The CDC offers these tips on how older adults can remain independent and reduce their chances of falling:

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Some of the most common recommendations include installing assistive equipment in the bathroom and handrails on stairs, removing clutter and tripping hazards, and improving lighting.
  • Exercise regularly. It is important that the exercises focus on increasing leg strength and improving balance, and that they get more challenging over time. Tai Chi programs are especially good.
  • Ask your loved one’s doctors or local Minneapolis pharmacist to review her medicines — both prescription and over-the counter — to identify medicines that may cause side effects or interactions such as dizziness or drowsiness.
  • Have her eyes checked by an eye doctor at least once a year and update her eyeglasses to maximize her vision. Read more about how a senior’s safety is affected by their senses.
  • Make her home safer by reducing tripping hazards and adding grab bars inside and outside the tub or shower and next to the toilet, adding stair railings and improving the lighting in the home.
  • To lower her hip fracture risk, make sure she is getting adequate calcium and vitamin D from food and/or from supplements, and that she gets screened and treated for osteoporosis.
  • Consider purchasing a medical alert system. Lifeline with AutoAlert provides an added layer of protection by automatically placing a call for help if a fall is detected and you can’t push your button because you are disoriented, immobilized, or unconscious.

Risk Factors at Home

65% of seniors’ homes have at least one potential safety issue, according to adult children. The most common issues are tripping hazards, bathrooms without assistive equipment, and storage that is too high or too low.  100% of ER physicians say it is very important that families of seniors invest in basic home safety modifications. Some of the most common recommendations include installing assistive equipment in the bathroom and handrails on stairs, removing clutter and tripping hazards, and improving lighting. Visit one of Liberty Oxygen & Medical Equipment’s 8 locations for a great selection in adaptive equipment.

Check out ways to help make your senior’s home safer by completing a room-by-room safety check.

This video shows simple things you can do to make life easier for your senior loved one using lighting, color and security measures. Suggestions include fixing lighting in dark pathways or rooms, using contrasting color on walls and counters, checking alarms and making sure all doors are secure.

Home Safety Considerations for Families Living with Alzheimer’s

If you are part of a family living with Alzheimer’s disease, it’s important to remember that one of the keys to aging at home is doing so safely. A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease does not have to signal the loss of independence and freedom. As many as 70 percent of people living in the U.S. with Alzheimer’s today are doing so in their own homes.

Safety at home begins with adapting the environment to support the changing abilities of the person with Alzheimer’s. We offer some free resources for recognizing and dealing with the challenges of caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s. Be sure to re-evaluate home safety measures regularly as the disease progresses. Pay special attention to garages, work rooms, basements and outside areas. Inside the home, there are simple things you can do to modify your kitchen, living room, bathrooms and bedrooms to make them safer for the person with Alzheimer’s.alzheimers caregiver mn

  • Invest in installed, working fire extinguishers and smoke detectors.
  • Lock or disguise hazardous areas using child-proof locks and doorknob covers.
  • Limit access to places with knives, appliances and poisonous chemicals.
  • Add textured stickers to slippery surfaces, remove throw rugs, minimize clutter and limit access to stairs to reduce risk of falls.

Enroll the person with dementia in an emergency response service designed specifically for individuals with Alzheimer’s or a related dementia who wander or may have a medical emergency. Should the individual become lost, a caregiver can report the situation to an emergency response network including the local Alzheimer’s Association chapter and law enforcement agencies that will work to get the individual home safely. You may also want to consider a web-based GPS location management service to remotely monitor the person with Alzheimer’s. Learn more about these resources in this video.

If you enlist the help of caregiving professionals to provide care for your loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia, they’ll be able to point out additional suggestions to make your home a safe environment. Here at Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis, we provide a home safety evaluation as part of our initial in-home assessment to offer recommendations specific to your living space and the needs of the person with Alzheimer’s or dementia.

Successful Family Gatherings With a Senior Who Has Alzheimer’s

By John Stuck
senior giftsIn November, we had a great chat with Dr. Amy D’Aprix and Confidence to Care author Molly Carpenter about dealing with Alzheimer’s and other dementias around the holidays. In case you missed the live chat, download the transcript here! This sparked a lot of conversation from those caring for a senior with Alzheimer’s which continued in December when we chatted with expert David Troxel about Alzheimer’s and Other Dementias: Handling Anger and Combativeness. View the transcript of that discussion as well! molly carpenterBetter yet, join Molly Carpenter on January 21st in a live webchat where you’ll learn tips from other caregivers who have been in similar situations, discuss the successes and challenges you face day to day and share your advice and offer solutions. Register Today!

Whether you’re anticipating a holiday get-together in Minnesota, an anniversary celebration or a family birthday party, including a loved one with Alzheimer’s often requires special considerations. Here are four pieces of advice about hosting a successful holiday family get-together with a family member who has Alzheimer’s:

1. Stick to a familiar environment. Even if Grandma isn’t able to cook the meal this year, consider gathering at her home in Minneapolis like always. Less change, less anxiety.

2. Adjust expectations. If your loved one with Alzheimer’s can’t handle cooking the meal, go the easy route! Purchase the entire cooked meal from a grocery store and use disposalable or dishwasher-safe dishes. Same great family time, less hassle and stress.

3. Prep the kids. Talk to younger family members ahead of time about being patient with Mom or Dad and offer conversation tips. For example, instead of saying, “You already asked me that, Grandma,” just politely answer her question and change the subject to something new.

4. Create opportunities to reminisce. Keep traditions alive such as decorating cookies or doing a craft. Great activities keep the kids busy, and your loved one may not struggle as much with their memory when they’re recalling happy stories from long ago.
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Hopefully these tips are helpful to you and your other family members who are adapting to the reality of your loved one’s memory loss.

Alzheimer’s and Other Dementias Daily Advice App

In addition to trying this advice, I invite you to download the free Alzheimer’s and Other Dementias Daily Companion iPhone app, you can search for helpful tips there, too.

Gaining the Confidence to Care Book

This book focuses on both memory and behavior symptoms that family caregivers often need help with, including their senior loved one’s resistance to common personal care activities. Each of these chapters offer plenty of care approaches and prevention tips, and begin with a relevant and moving real-life family caregiver story.

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Get 3 Free Chapters now Or, Get the Entire Book for Free!

To request a free copy of the book, go to our Contact Us page, enter your information and, in the Comments section, provide your address and note that you’d like the Confidence to Care book. We’ll ship it to you for free! If you’d like to share about your experience with Alzheimer’s and the holidays or managing your loved one’s repetitive behaviors, join our book discussion.

One of the chapters in the book focuses on Anger and Aggression. Here’s a snapshot of what some of you have shared about your experience with anger and aggression in a loved one with Alzheimer’s or other dementias:

“My husband was such a gentle man, but now he has fits of angry outbursts.”

“Mom is quick to raise her voice and become angry with me. I am her daughter and live-in caregiver for the past 2+ years.”

“My mom-in-law has dementia, & it’s really getting bad. She slaps me, curses me, but I just walk it off. It’s really hard, but that’s what I do. It’s really, really hard. Believe me.”

My hope in sharing these experiences is that if you’re dealing with similar behaviors, you’ll find some amount of comfort and hope in the realization that you are not alone.

(Before I go on, I should also mention that not all people with Alzheimer’s or other dementias eventually become violent or aggressive. While these situations happen in some cases, not everyone experiences these behaviors.)

If you are at a loss for how to deal with a loved one’s aggression or anger, I want to assure you that there are ways to help minimize those behaviors.

Here are a few couple tips from the Alzheimer’s and Other Dementias Daily Companion app that the caregivers in our Minneapolis community found most helpful:

  1. Arguing with someone with dementia isn’t helpful. It often adds to their frustration and anger. Try redirection instead.
  2. Look for triggers. Was your loved one scared, tired or frustrated? Did you push them too hard to take that shower?

For additional tips, you can download the app for free or access aggression and anger tips via the Home Instead Senior Care Dementia Support Network online.

(By the way, many of you have asked about an Android version of the app. Currently it is only available for iPhone, but an Android version is in the works! Stay tuned.)

Finally, I invite you to learn more about our Alzheimer’s and dementia CARE services where you can request a CAREGiver who can assist and monitor your loved one so that you can enjoy your holiday gathering as well.

Get Involved With Home Instead’s Initiatives to Help Minnesota Seniors

Be a Santa to a SeniorBy Home Instead Senior Care

The snow is just starting to sneak up on us here in Minnesota and the Be a Santa to a Senior®  campaign is in our sights! This popular campaign that delivered more than 2,500 gifts in 2012 to local needy Minnesota seniors needs your help to provide even more gifts and companionship this year to seniors in the Minneapolis area who otherwise might not receive either.

“Seniors faced with medical bills and the high cost of living can find they have little left at the end of the year,” said John Stuck, owner of the Home Instead Senior Care office serving Minneapolis and the Western Suburbs.

Senior SantaChristmas trees will be going up soon in which generous folks will pick up ornaments with the first names of seniors and their gift requests, buy items on the list and return them in a gift bag to the location. From there, gifts need to be collected, organized, stored & distributed and that’s where we need your help! If you are a corporation, church group, school group or senior care residence who has compassionate volunteers and space to store gifts, please consider volunteering your time and location to our Be a Santa to a Senior program.

The huge success of last year’s program would not have been possible without our partners which include Byerly’s & Lund’s Pharmacy locations, Starbucks, TwinWest Chamber of Commerce, Mulitband, Minneapolis Women’s Club, Park Nicollet Orthopedic Group, Sharepoint Credit Union, MN School of Business, Woodland Elementary. Please consider adding your name to this list and putting a smile on thousands of seniors’ faces.

Contact Us Today!

Join Our Book Discussion – cta-book-largeGaining the Confidence to Care

Subscribe to our blog, Like us on Facebook or Follow us on Twitter to respond to discussion topics we’ll be posting over the next month. We’d love your feedback and fellow caregivers will love your ideas!

Get 3 Free Chapters now Or, Get the Entire Book for Free!

To request a free copy of the book, go to our Contact Us page, enter your information and, in the Comments section, provide your address and note that you’d like the Confidence to Care book. We’ll ship it to you for free!

What You’ll Learn from This Book

This book focuses on both memory and behavior symptoms that family caregivers often need help with, including their senior loved one’s resistance to common personal care activities. Each of these chapters offer plenty of care approaches and prevention tips, and begin with a relevant and moving real-life family caregiver story. The chapter topics include:

  • Aggression and Anger
  • Agitation and Anxiety
  • Bedtime Struggles and Sleep Problems
  • Confusion and Memory Loss
  • Delusions
  • False Accusations and Paranoia
  • Hiding/Misplacing Things/Rummaging
  • Hostility
  • Judgment (problems with decision-making and problem-solving)
  • Medication Mismanagement
  • Mood Changes
  • Repetition
  • Sexually Inappropriate Behavior
  • Social Withdrawal
  • Wandering

All profits from this book will be donated to the Home Instead Senior Care Foundation and designated for dementia-related organizations and causes.