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.

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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.

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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.

Home Instead Senior Care Foundation

HomeInsteadFoundationLogoInspired by their experience caring for a grandparent, Lori and Paul R. Hogan set out to help other families in similar situations and soon Home Instead Senior Care was launched. The international company with independently owned and operated franchises, provide in-home non-medical care for seniors. Today, 21 years after it began, the Home Instead Senior Care network has grown to over 1,000 franchises strong and reaches seniors and their families in 18 different countries.

Lori and Paul know firsthand the challenges that go along with caring for a senior loved one, so in 2003, they established the Home Instead Senior Care Foundation. The mission of The Foundation is to enhance the lives of aging adults and those who care for them. To date, more than $1.5 million in grant funding has been distributed throughout the United States and Canada. Programs such as Families First Health and Support Center in New Hampshire, Redwood Empire Food Bank serving Sonoma County California and The OutCare Foundation in Ontario, Canada have all received grant funding through our foundation to help make a difference for the people in the communities they serve. These community grants provide hope to hundreds of thousands of seniors who have experienced the generosity of the Home Instead Senior Care Foundation in a very meaningful way.

Home Instead, Inc. is proud to say they underwrite the operating expenses of The Foundation. This allows 100% of every dollar contributed from the general public to directly support seniors and those who care for them.

The challenge faced by The Foundation is in the numbers. Every day 10,000 people celebrate their 65th birthday. According to the 2012 US Census Bureau Projections, the population age 65 years and older is expected to more than double by the year 2060. In 2012, there were an estimated 43 million Americans age 65 and older. By the year 2060 this number is projected to be 92 million and this older population will represent approximately 1 in 5 residents in the United States. The demographics are similar in Canada and for those seniors age 85 and older, the projection will more than triple by 2060.

In 2010, Met Life Foundation conducted a survey that found most communities across the United States do not have implemented policies, programs or services aimed to meet the needs of the fast-paced growth of our aging population. Adding to this is the economic environment that does not allow for local governments to implement solutions. With these rising numbers, there is an urgent need for communities throughout the United States and Canada to embrace the unique needs of the older generation and implement innovative solutions.

Built on the mission and values that have made the Home Instead Senior Care network the industry leader it is today, The Foundation is steering a movement with hope and optimism for the aging adults in our communities. They are looking to expand the scope of impact through the implementation of programs and services that target the needs of seniors and those who care for them. Along with encouraging our partners and others who also want to invest in a world where all seniors age with greater success, the Home Instead Senior Care Foundation Endowment Fund was established in 2013. This endowment fund impacts the following areas:

  • Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias
  • Health and wellness
  • Education and research
  • Community service
  • General endowment

The success of the endowment fund has allowed the Home Instead Senior Care Foundation to launch innovative programs that lead to better diagnosis and treatment; make healthcare more affordable and accessible for seniors; making research and learning a possibility through scholarships for medical professionals studying geriatrics; and strengthening our communities by providing programs and services that support the elderly.

Other charities that Home Instead Senior Care is working closely with are Help For Alzheimer’s Families and Hilarity for Charity. The Help for Alzheimer’s Families website provides a variety of resources to assist families in dealing with Alzheimer’s and with a dementia diagnosis. Hilarity for Charity was created in 2011 by Seth Rogen and Lauren Miller Rogen. Their charity hosts amazing, one-of-a-kind, and most importantly, hilarious events to raise money and awareness for Alzheimer’s among a younger generation.

Caring for our aging population in a way that offers dignity and hope is critical. To learn more about the Home Instead Senior Care Foundation, visit our website at www.homeinsteadseniorcarefoundation.org and consider a donation. The Foundation values these contributions and recognizes those dedicated and committed to enhancing the lives of seniors. Information about grant requirements and giving methods can also be found on the Home Instead Senior Care Foundation website. 100% of your donation goes to the purpose you choose.

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.

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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Care for the Caregiver to Prevent Distress

cargiver - overwhelmedThe responsibilities and challenges of caring for a loved one in their Minnesota home can place significant stress on the family caregiver. In fact, this stress can build up to actually cause caregiver distress—a situation where the caregiver may become more susceptible to other health risks such as such as ulcers and weight loss/gain or even more chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease. home care mn As we noted in our June blog, there are many risk factors including being a woman and caring for senior with Alzheimer’s Disease. To prevent caregiver distress take the Family Caregiver Distress Assessment, adapted for Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis to learn how to deal with the stress of caregiving and balance the varied emotions that so many family caregivers struggle to understand. The reason this “self reflection” method is so important is that repressing emotions takes a terrible toll on family caregivers.

Research conducted by the Home Instead Senior Care® network reveals that caregivers who hide their emotions are 2.3 times more likely than other caregivers to have experienced depression since becoming a caregiver. Why is it so common for caregivers to hide their emotions (and don’t say it’s a Minnesota Norwegian thing)? As we noted in last month’s seniorcareminneapolis.net blog post, some don’t recognize that they are a caregiver. Others have difficulty processing their emotions and many don’t have an outlet for expressing or sharing their emotions. “It’s difficult to admit feeling angry or frustrated when it comes to caring for your parents,” said Dr. Amy D’Aprix, a caregiving expert. “The uninformed often give disapproving stares if you’re a family caregiver and say you’re feeling frustrated…It’s great to free up caregivers to express their emotions as just that – their true feelings about what they’re going through on their caregiving journey.”

Hear more from Dr. D’Aprix in this video.

Dr. D’Aprix recommends the following process to help caregivers come to grips with the rigors of caregiving.

  1. Acknowledge feelings. It’s OK to feel conflicting emotions as a family caregiver. Perhaps 30% of your emotions are anger-related and 20% are guilt but 50% is love. Try to hang onto that 50% of your heart that knows you’re doing the right thing.
  2. Manage the situation. Oftentimes there’s no other way around it: Caregivers need help. If you can’t find support with family, go to trusted friends, faith community or consider speaking to a home care provider.
  3. Release the feelings in a safe way. Journaling is one effective way that family caregivers can get their feelings out. Talking to other caregivers at a support group or talking to a therapist might also help.
  4. Find solutions. Relaxation is one option. “Make a list of things you enjoy doing to reduce stress,” Dr. D’Aprix advises. Reading, watching a favorite television show, attending a faith service, exercising, visiting a museum, meeting friends and listening to music are all activities that many caregivers enjoy…”

Once you re-discover activities you enjoy, Just 15-20 minutes here and there each day when you can focus on yourself will make a world of difference in managing your caregiver stress.  According to a new Home Instead Senior Care survey, 55% of family caregivers that employed professional caregiving services appeared to have above average or significant levels of stress as they came on board.

home_care_mnThese tips are recommended while taking care of an aging loved one:

  • Work out: Exercise and enjoy something you like to do (walking, dancing, biking, running, swimming, etc.) for a minimum of 20 minutes at least three times per week. Consider learning a stress-management exercise such as yoga or tai-chi, which teach inner balance and relaxation Minneapolis was recently named one of the top healthiest states because of the vast opportunity for exercise.
  • Keep your medical appointments: Make sure you get your annual check-up. Being a caregiver provides many excuses for skipping your necessary check-ups, but don’t do it. A healthy you is worth more to your aging loved one than a sick, weak you.
  • Meditate: Sit still and breathe deeply with your mind as “quiet” as possible whenever things feel like they are moving too quickly or you are feeling overwhelmed by your responsibilities as a caregiver. Many times you will feel like you don’t even have a minute to yourself, but it’s important to walk away and to take that minute.
  • Take a break: Consider respite which is full time-short term care that others can provide (family, friends, volunteers or professional caregivers) while you get a break. Take single days or even a week’s vacation. And when you’re away, stay away. Talk about different things, read that book you haven’t been able to get to, take naps, whatever relaxes you and makes you happy.
  • Indulge: Treat yourself to a foot massage, manicure, nice dinner out or a concert to take yourself away from the situation and to reward yourself for the wonderful care you are providing to your senior relative. You shouldn’t feel guilty about wanting to feel good.

And, laugh! Mary Maxwell has some advice for a senior whose daughter is not making the above mentioned life choices.

Everyone needs some pampering occasionally, for both physical and mental health. If you’re caring for a senior in their home, don’t feel guilty if you treat yourself once in a while…you deserve it and you need it.