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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Let’s Talk About Driving, Part II

LetsTalkAboutDrivingLogoCaregivers say it’s one of the thorniest conversations they will have. A family scenario that is becoming more and more common is when the adult children feel it is time for their aging parents to give up the car keys, but Mom and Dad have no intention of doing so. Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis’ latest public education program, Let’s Talk About Driving, takes a deeper look into the increased risk of our seniors when they continue to drive past a safe age, especially during Minnesota’s harsh winters. It also offers helpful resources and tips to help their caregivers manage this sensitive subject.

According to research conducted by AAA, fatal crash rates increase beginning at age 75, per mile driven, and increase sharply after age 80. This is largely due to the increased risk of injury and medical complications with seniors, not an increased tendency to get into crashes. AAA also reports that in 2014, approximately 5,709 senior drivers were killed and 221,000 were injured in traffic accidents. These facts and others show alarming trends when our senior loved ones are on the road past an age where their ability to drive safely is compromised. Most older adults recognize their driving limitations and avoid situations that may put them or others at risk, but not all are willing to give up the keys so easily and that is where family members and caregivers need to step in.

To understand what it means to give up driving, it’s important to also understand what the privilege of driving means to a person. The ability to drive offers independence, control, pride and freedom for many seniors, but when their keys are taken away they will feel frustrated, depressed, defensive and helpless. Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis offers resources to help with this difficult transition, such as:

  • Be prepared with new options – there are several senior ride program options, stores and pharmacies that deliver, or find a carpool schedule
  • Make it fun – public transportation can be a whole new adventure when the city bus or an Uber ride are a senior’s new way of getting about town
  • Think outside the box – encourage new activities that don’t require transportation like gardening or walking

thumbnail-4-misconceptionsHome Instead Senior Care Minneapolis first offered advice on the sensitive subject of our senior’s continued ability to drive safely in last month’s blog article by discussing some warning signs that may help you know that seniors may be unsafe on the road.  Situations such as confusing the gas and brake pedals, difficulty staying within the lanes, and driving the wrong speed are just a few things to look for. Learn information on these and other important warning signs by visiting www.caregiverstress.com. While some seniors might not like the idea of giving up their driving privilege, others may consider it a relief and will welcome the idea.

4 Misconceptions About Giving up the Car

  1. Driving yourself is cheaper than paying for alternative transportation.
  2. Driving is more reliable; alternatives are less convenient.
  3. “I can’t give up the wheel. I’ve been driving my whole life!”
  4. “I won’t be able to go anywhere or see anyone!”

Read more about how to handle these typical senior responses.

The dedicated CAREGivers to our senior loved ones are often asked for assistance from the family members to help them navigate the often difficult conversation about this important issue. Home Instead’s CAREGivers can help by offering an objective voice when family members may disagree about a senior loved one’s driving future.

4 Ways to Help Families Navigate Senior Driving Concerns

  • Encourage families to learn the facts first and then decide the best course of action
  • Recommend the CarFit program
  • Discuss conversation starters and strategies for a talk with an older adult
  • Encourage families to put a plan in place before taking away the car keys

Using the above mentioned Let’s Talk About Driving program resources Home Instead Senior Care offers, as well as the Safe Driving Planner families and caregivers can help the seniors make this a smooth transition.

Five Vehicle Technologies for Keeping Seniors Safer on the Road

  1. Smart Headlights
  2. Emergency Response Systems
  3. Blind Spot Warning Systems
  4. Assistive Parking Systems
  5. Drowsy Driver Alerts:

Read more about these assistive technologies recommended by Hartford Funds and MIT AgeLab.

Proud to help bring awareness of important topics that affect the seniors in our Minneapolis, Minnesota communities, Home Instead Senior Care has launched many other informative public education programs such as:

Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis provides services such as transportation and supports the caregivers to ensure the protection of dignity of the aging senior receiving care. Unlike some senior transportation services that just offer door-to-door service, our professional CAREGivers make sure they get all the way inside, provide any assistance required at the destination and return them home safely. Companionship, dementia and Alzheimer’s care and other services are also available. Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis is a local business offering friendly, responsive care right in your Minneapolis, Minnesota community.

To inquire about senior services, call us at 763-544-5988. Also, visit www.letstalkaboutdriving.com for more helpful information and let’s begin talking!

Making the Minnesota Orchestra Hall an Alzheimer’s Friendly Business

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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.

Alzheimer’s Friendly Business Program

Whether you are a family caregiver or have a senior loved one living with Alzheimer’s disease, you have most likely experienced firsthand the challenges of going into the Minneapolis community with someone with Alzheimer’s.. The frustrations and confusion experienced is largely due to the misconceptions and lack of education about Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia. In fact, based on research conducted in 2015 by Home Instead, Inc., 74% of caregivers surveyed report they and their loved one have become more isolated and feel disconnected from their local community. Of this 74% of caregivers surveyed, here are more findings:

  • 87% reported they leave the house less frequently with their loved one
  • 85% feel a reduced quality of life
  • 62% stay at home, spending less at local businesses
  • 55% say staying home is simply easier

Amongst the fears these caregivers reported are:

  • Businesses can be a busy and confusing place for their loved one
  • Their loved one might become confused, anxious or disruptive
  • Concerns their loved one would get lost

These statistics are alarming and concerning! Home Instead Senior Care is committed to change this with their public education program Alzheimer’s Friendly Business.

The Alzheimer’s Friendly Business program starts with a 30-minute training program provided 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. Home Instead’s training will educate the local business staff in these main areas:

  • 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 been trained, the establishment will receive a certification, which is valid for 2 years, reflecting the Alzheimer’s Friendly Business designation and provide window stickers and other materials to be used for display. Watch this short video to see a training session with our friends at Liberty Oxygen and Medical Equipment in action:

As a caregiver, here are some signs to look for that indicate a business may be easier to navigate for your loved one with a dementia illness such as Alzheimer’s disease:

  • Gender neutral bathrooms are helpful if your loved one needs to use the restroom and the caregiver is the opposite gender
  • Restaurants that have secluded rooms or sections available help to prevent agitation for those with Alzheimer’s
  • Plan to visit a business during their down times so you won’t have to wait in line
  • Frequent businesses where the staff is known to be polite, honest and patient
  • Simple processes, procedures or choices will help an individual with dementia illness

Take a moment to watch this touching video on how local businesses help Karen Garner’s family cope with her husband’s young-onset Alzheimer’s:

Although misconceptions about Alzheimer’s disease persist, the broader education efforts are helping more people understand what it means to have Alzheimer’s or other dementia illnesses. Encourage the local businesses you frequent, from your favorite restaurant to your local grocery store to the neighborhood bank, to inquire about the Home Instead Senior Care network’s Alzheimer’s Friendly Business program. Together we can help make the community establishments a safer, more friendly place for those with Alzheimer’s or dementia to visit. Contact Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis today to sign-up for your training!

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:

grab bar
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.

cta-book-large

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.

Free Book, App and Kit for Dealing with Alzheimer’s and Dementia

alz_walkOn September 21, 2013 the Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis team headed to Minnesota’s prized Target Field to walk, raise money and support the Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s®. As the nation’s largest event to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s care, support and research, their vision is a world without Alzheimer’s. As one of the most feared diseases, an Alzheimer’s diagnosis presents many challenges for families who have a senior loved one with this disease, especially since an estimated 70% of people with Alzheimer’s live at home. Plus, it may be impossible to predict behaviors exhibited by a person struggling with Alzheimer’s. “Many family caregivers wake up every day with anxiety and fear because they don’t know how a loved one with Alzheimer’s will act or react,” said John Stuck, owner of the Home Instead Senior Care office serving Minneapolis and the western suburbs. One of Home Instead Senior Care network’s first reported experiences with Alzheimer’s disease involved a senior who refused to change clothes. She insisted on wearing the same gray pantsuit every day, all day. Maybe you face similar frustrating situations as you care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias. Without understanding what triggers the behaviors associated with the disease, or knowing practical techniques to help counter them, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. But discovering simple tips, like buying a duplicate pantsuit to encourage the senior into a fresh set of clothes, can mean the difference between endless frustration and a positive care experience. In recognition of World Alzheimer’s Month (September 2013), Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis is offering a number of free resources to help Minnesota families who are living with Alzheimer’s.

cta-book-largeGaining the Confidence to Care Book

Confidence to Care: A Resource for Family Caregivers Providing Alzheimer’s Disease or Other Dementias Care at Home is your essential handbook to becoming more confident in your ability to understand, manage and even help alleviate dementia-related behavioral symptoms that your loved one may be prone to exhibit.

Why We Wrote the Book

We wrote this book to help you. This book combines personal stories with practical techniques drawn from decades of caregiving experience from family caregivers, professional CAREGivers℠ within the Home Instead Senior Care® network, and internationally recognized experts.

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

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

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!

alz_appAlzheimer’s and Other Dementias Daily Advice App

Families can use this free smartphone app to search behaviors and help find solutions when they have to react quickly to a situation. It’s designed to help families manage issues as they arise, whether at their Minneapolis home or in public. Issues such as: “How do I deal with a mother who is always accusing me of stealing from her?” That’s a common question asked by many sons and daughters caring for a parent with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias. The accusation scenario could just as easily be replaced with: who won’t eat her food, who refuses to shower, who hides her underwear in my purse, who curses at me, who urinates in the bedroom floor vent, or who doesn’t recognize me. While the situation at hand may differ from day to day and from person to person, the core question remains: How do I deal?

alzheimers mn app preview

An App Designed to Help You Deal

We created the Alzheimer’s and Other Dementias Daily Companion App as a pocket guide to help get you through all the dementia care situations you likely never dreamed you’d have to face. You can download this free app now so when you have a question about the best way to handle a home care situation, you’ll have quick, helpful tips from experts and other caregivers instantly at your fingertips.

App Overview & Features

The Alzheimer’s and Other Dementias Daily Companion is an iOS mobile app available in the app store for download at no cost. It offers immediate advice with close to 500 searchable tips and practical solutions to help deal with behaviors and situations related to Alzheimer’s and other dementias.

Features include:

  • 25 topic categories containing close to 500 searchable pieces of advice from experts and other caregivers regarding:
    • Behaviors and situations
    • Emotional support
    • Helpful resources
  • “Ask a Question” submission form if you can’t find the answer you’re looking for
  • 24-hour caregiving assistance available via a toll-free phone number or email submission
  • Functionality to share advice from your own experience for the benefit of other caregivers
  • A built-in rating system for users to provide feedback on each tip so caregivers benefit from others’ insight and evaluation of the advice
  • Access to free Alzheimer’s and other dementias caregiver resources and training materials
  • Ability to access all of the solutions and tips without Internet connectivity

Confidence to Care At Home Kit

alzheimers_kitConfidence to Care also highlights the importance of caring for yourself while caring for others. This at home kit contains, an at-a-glance collection of information, tips and resources to help handle difficult situations, avoid household accidents, encourage engagement and prevent caregiver stress, that is designed for any member of the household to reference, anytime they need it.

Download the Complete Guide

“According to experts, Alzheimer’s either is or may someday be a reality for about one-third of the families in our community,” said Stuck. “We want to replace their fears with a sense of confidence that they are equipped to handle any situation.”

Confidence to Care Book Discussion – Alzheimer’s Affect on the Sense of Smell

cta-book-largeYou’ve received your Confidence to Care book, have hopefully read the first couple chapters and may have some comments or questions. Well let’s hear them! Click here to jump to the bottom of this post and enter your comment.

Haven’t received a copy of the book yet?

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!

First topic – The peanut butter sniff test to confirm Alzheimer’s.

It says on page 3 of the Confidence to Care book that dementia impacts all five senses. Jennifer Stamps, a graduate student in the McKnight Brain Institute Center for Smell and Taste and the University of Florida, chose to focus on the sense of smell and came up with the idea of using peanut butter to test for smell sensitivity. She ran a small pilot study published in the Journal of Neurological Science. The patient closed his or her eyes and mouth and blocked one nostril. The clinician opened the peanut butter container and held a ruler next to the open nostril while the patient breathed normally. The clinician then moved the peanut butter up the ruler one centimeter at a time during the patient’s exhale until the person could detect an odor. The distance was recorded and the procedure repeated on the other nostril after a 90-second delay. Patients in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease had a dramatic difference in detecting odor between the left and right nostril—the left nostril was impaired and did not detect the smell until it was an average of 10 centimeters closer to the nose than the right nostril had made the detection in patients with Alzheimer’s disease.

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Some are skeptical.

“The idea that smell is altered in Alzheimer’s disease dementia patients is well known, and this is nothing new,” neurologist David Knopman from the Mayo Clinic tells NPR. Knopman says this study is nothing more than an interesting observation. The study itself acknowledges that the findings aren’t fully verified. And the study sample of 94 patients (only 18 of whom were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s) is too small to be conclusive.

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What do you think? Has Alzheimer’s affected your loved one’s sense of smell and would you have agreed to this test?

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Don’t miss a single post 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!