Having “The Talk”

home care mnWe’ve all heard about how important it is for parents to have “the talk” with their tween children. While conversations about puberty, sex and drugs may seem daunting to parents (and mortifying to the children), most make sure that their kids have the information they need and their values are heard. So why is it so hard to have “the talk” with our aging parents? You know, the one that starts out asking them if they should really be driving on snowy Minnesota roads and ends detailing their end-of-life plan. The answer is obvious, though the “aging parents talk” is equally as important. Many experts agree: by the time you approach age 40 and a loved one is around 70, you should have had the “talk” about issues such as home care, financial choices, health, driving, dating and end of life. The Home Instead Senior Care® network refers to this concept as the 40-70 Rule®, a program launched in 2008 to start important conversations early, before a crisis occurs.

Backed by new research with seniors, their adult children, senior care and legal professionals, Home Instead Senior Care of Minneapolis now wants to take those important conversations further. The 40-70 Rule: An Action Plan for Successful AgingSM and accompanying resources encourage individuals and families not only to start those vital conversations soon, but to finish them. You’ll come away with  a plan that encourages individuals of all ages to ACT (Assess, Consider, Talk) on their desires and wishes for the future, then put their plan into action. As high schoolers take their ACT to get into a good college, get your ACT to plan for your future and your Mom or Dad’s.

Interactive Conversation Tree

senior care mnHave you really had the conversation with your loved ones about end-of-life wishes? Finances? Future living preferences? When a family lacks clear communication surrounding a loved one’s choices as they age, frustration arises, most often at the worst time. If a senior never expresses his or her desires about end of life care, for example, bedside arguments between family members about “what he would have wanted” or “how she wanted to go” can result. Click here to walk through an interactive guide to find resources that can assist you with the aging considerations you have yet to discuss with your family. If you’ve already had a conversation about health (for instance), click Yes and move onto end-of-life. If not, click No and assess your Mom’s health, considering risks and genetics. Move on from there to making sure Mom is up to date on medical checks and preventative screenings. Each step links to the Action Plan for Successful Aging which includes checklists, thoughts to consider, conversation starters, and resources. This step-by-step approach will open the door to having “the talk” and ensure that all of  the important topics are covered.

Home Instead Senior Care of Minneapolis takes a look at the importance of planning ahead financially for your aging situation through the lens of a mother and her young daughter.

Action Plan for Successful Aging

4070_Aging_PlanBuilding on your conversation, the next step in the 40-70 Rule® is the Action Plan for Successful AgingSM.  Put your plan into action with the assistance of noted experts in aging, finances, health, end of life and communication. This resource will take the guesswork out of some of the issues that many families eventually face. Included are conversation tips and considerations for a variety of circumstances such as living alone, blended families, dementia and religious preferences – topics that so many families are dealing with in today’s world. This Action Plan is written for the individual who wants to face aging with confidence so you may be filling it out with someone you love including a parent, spouse or friend or even for yourself! Topics include:

Living Choices – Where would your patients like to live as they age? Will they stay in their Minnesota home or live in a care facility? Do they need to adapt their home for safety? Who would they call in the event of an emergency? These basic questions will ensure that the family is on the same page about the senior’s future living preferences.

Finances – Have your senior patients calculated the cost involved with meeting their retirement wishes? Have they met with a financial advisor to determine how much they will likely need to cover long-term health care expenses? Calculating the cost now and planning ahead financially can help yield greater peace of mind as they move forward.

Health – Have your patients outlined their goals for a healthy lifestyle as they age? Have they factored their current diet into this equation? Are they up to date on medical checks and health screenings? Addressing health concerns early can be a valuable, preventative tool in successful aging.

End of Life Care Wishes – Many families are not having this important conversation. Without it, they cannot gain a clear understanding of what their parents would like to accomplish before they die or where they would like to end their life. Discussing this difficult topic now will help ensure that the family has a unified plan and advanced directives in place moving forward.

Driving – Most seniors dread the idea of losing the independence associated with driving. Yet, families must be able to address their concerns about driving abilities, not only for the safety of their senior parent but for all with whom they share the road. While the driving topic can often be an emotional one, this chapter provides tips to navigate those emotions and discuss options for independence without a license.

Relationships and Dating – Perhaps Dad passed away and Mom has been spending a lot of time with an older gentleman friend. This can create family awkwardness if intentions aren’t clearly communicated. It’s important for families to talk about the nature of their parents’ relationships and their wishes for companionship as they age. Watch this hysterical video from Mary Maxwell to put yourself in the proper frame of mind!

We hope that completing this plan will help you be better prepared for the road ahead. Download the 40-70 Rule: An Action Plan for Successful Aging to share with your senior loved one, or explore the additional program resources available around these topics so that you and your family has the tools they need to create a successful plan for aging.

Caring for a Loved One with Cancer or Arthritis

caring_cancerThe stress of caring for a seriously or chronically ill senior can take its toll on a spouse. A study from the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center found little difference in quality of life between patients and spouses, but found significant differences based on the phase of their illness, specifically whether the patient was newly diagnosed, facing a recurrence or living with advanced disease. Couples coping with advanced disease had significantly poorer overall quality of life. Spouses reported lower confidence than patients in their ability to manage the illness, and more uncertainty about the illness; patients also reported more social support than did spouses. Exhausted. Anxious. Overwhelmed. If you are the caregiver of a loved one in MN with cancer or arthritis, it is likely that you relate to all of these emotions. Transportation to and from appointments around Minneapolis, frequent hospital stays, and the sheer scope and duration of the illness are challenges many caregivers of these patients face. What is a caregiver to do when they have little time to care for oneself? One solution is to get respite help. Home Instead Senior Care of Minneapolis CAREGivers are trained to provide specialized care for seniors with serious health issues such as Arthritis and Cancer and, based on our home care experience, offer the following tips and advice to family and professional caregivers.

4 Self-Care Tips for Caregivers of Cancer Patients

1. Invite others in.
As the primary caregiver, no one knows your loved one’s situation as intimately as you do. You may find it hard to break away or trust others to take your place, even in the simplest of tasks, but this is exactly why you should. Inviting a friend or family member to pitch in can be a breath of fresh air for all involved, and it gives you a much-needed break.

2. Delegate transportation.
Between treatments, doctor visits and follow-ups, a cancer patient’s calendar can be grueling to maintain alongside your other day-to-day responsibilities. Delegating your loved one’s transportation to and from appointments to a trusted third party may bring some relief to your strained schedule. If family and friends are not available, contact us to inquire about transportation services as a convenient alternative. We’ll even stay with the senior during the appointment and participate in the doctor’s consultation to take notes for you.

3. Take a coffee break.
Or, take a walk, do some yoga, or just do a little bit of nothing at all. No matter how busy and stress-filled the days get, taking quiet moments for yourself is essential to your wellbeing. As a caregiver, what is essential to your wellbeing is essential to your loved one’s wellbeing. Be intentional about carving out a few minutes several times a day to do something that refreshes you, however simple that something might be.

4. Remember.
The work you are doing is hard work, but it is also good work. Yes, caring for a cancer patient can be physically, mentally and emotionally draining, but your efforts are vitally important. You are making a real, tangible difference in the life of someone you love. Don’t give up, but do take care of yourself.

caring arthritisMore Than Joint Pain: Understanding Seniors and Arthritis

4 suggestions to help support a senior as they deal with the stress of living with arthritis pain:

1. Do your homework.
Did you know osteoarthritis pain usually worsens at the end of the day? Or that arthritis causes more activity limitation in its patients than cancer, heart disease or diabetes? Understanding basic facts about arthritis, as well as the individual symptoms and needs of a senior, is key to understanding the challenges of those who suffer from this disease. Taking a moment to read about types and symptoms of arthritis, maintaining an open dialogue with other members of your senior’s care team, and asking the senior questions about his or her arthritis pain will help you in your efforts to provide excellent care.

2. Put yourself in their shoes.
If you suffered from chronic arthritis-related pain, how would that affect your ability to go about a normal day? What struggles would you encounter in daily chores such as cooking meals, running errands or maintaining your home? Imagining your own life with arthritis can help you understand how everyday tasks can become painful challenges. As your senior discovers his or her problem areas, consider ways you can help provide solutions. Perhaps a home helper is in order or other non-medical services such as assistance with transportation, personal care, meal preparation or medication management.

3. Recommend appropriate, accessible fitness programs.
Regular exercise including stretching, aerobics and strength training can help reduce fatigue and improve strength and flexibility, according to the Arthritis Foundation. Exercising through chronic pain, however, can be intimidating for many senior arthritis sufferers. Encourage physical activity by helping the senior investigate programs at local fitness or community centers where he or she can exercise in a group setting with other seniors. Or, consider directing seniors and their family members to a resource like Get Mom Moving, an online program designed to keep seniors active in ways they enjoy most.

In this video, Dr. Eric Otterberg discusses tips for preventing and living with arthritis. Brought to you by Home Instead Senior Care and the Arthritis Foundation.

4. Be an encourager!
Make sure your senior patients know they are not alone. When you run across a program or piece of information they may find helpful, give them a call or drop it in the mail to them. When you see them, ask direct but gentle questions about their arthritis pain and how it affects their day-to-day activities. Simple gestures like these may not seem significant, but they communicate that the daily challenges facing your senior patient have not gone overlooked. Above all, encourage them to keep going, even in the toughest times.

This arthritis sufferer says it best: “Living with this disease is really hard. There have been days I’ve wanted to give up – just become part of my couch – but I don’t. I fight through the pain, pinching and discomfort every day. If I give up, the arthritis wins; and who wants to lose to arthritis?”

5 Housing Options for Seniors: The Advantages and Disadvantages

by John Stuck
When adult children are choosing housing options in Minnesota for their aging parents, there are 5 choices to consider, aging in place, living with family, assisted living, and skilled nursing homes. Each of these options has its advantages and disadvantages that need to be discussed and seriously considered before making any final decisions. Home care can supplement family and senior facility care to ensure that your loved one’s personal and nursing care needs are being met. This 5-part video series provides a glimpse into what each option would be like & will help guide you in making a senior housing option.

Aging in Place

This means seniors are able to remain in their own home safely and securely. This is a good option to consider if your parent is mostly functional in all areas of their life. When considering this option, it’s important you consult an Aging in Place Specialist to assist you in making any modifications to your parent’s home.

The advantages of this option are that it allows the senior to remain safely and securely in their own residence while keeping their independence. This maintains a familiar environment for your parents and fosters socialization with family, friends, and the community.

The disadvantages are the possible expensive financial investment and time needed to provide safe home modifications, and parents may be reluctant to make these changes to their own home. The average annual cost of this option varies depending on the modifications and home care services your parent may need.

Living with Family

This option can be a labor of love and very rewarding for the family members, but there are many things to consider with this option.

The advantages of this option are its low cost of care, intergenerational bonding, and keeping your loved one close to you in your Minneapolis home.

The disadvantages are the stress that becoming a primary care giver can place on that person, the wear and tear on your home, and caregiver burnout from caring for your parent, your own family and your job. Read more about Caregiver Distress. The average annual cost of this option is approximately $5,000 that covers out of pocket expenses such as transportation, food, extra utilities, etc. Read “Your Place or Mine?” to get helpful advice on making this decision.

Independent Living Communities

These are designed for seniors who are able to live on their own, but would like the convenience and security of living in a retirement community of their peers.

The advantages of this option are a smaller space to maintain, outside maintenance services, possible security of a gated community, enjoyment of being around peers, and it may offer activities, help and services that are needed as the senior grows older.

The disadvantages are the extra monthly fees to the residents, restrictions for grandchildren to visit, possible transportation options may be limited, and proximity to family. The average cost is approximately $3000/month.

Assisted Living Services

This includes 24 hour oversight, food, shelter, and a range of services for the senior. This is a good option when your parent requires more support from professional caregivers and needs help with basic living needs.

The advantages of this option are there are that many are available, on-site medical and pharmaceutical assistance, accommodations for the seniors’ changing physical needs, driving and housekeeping services, social activities, and exercise facilities.

The disadvantages are the financial burden of the monthly expenses, depression of the senior for the loss of independence, limitations of possessions that may be brought to the facility, and less socialization with friends and family members.

Skilled Nursing Home

This includes 24 hour care with registered nurses and medical professionals who are able to care for your loved one. This is an option if your parent is no longer able to care for themselves, and is in need of specialized medical care for physical, mental, or emotional conditions.

The advantage of this option is the skilled medical care that your parent will receive, 24 hour assistance with daily living needs, exercise facilities, and physical therapy. There is often a hospital or medical facility close by the home. Often times, there are separate living areas for seniors with Alzheimer’s Disease which can accommodate for the special care needs and advanced security precautions to ensure your loved one is safe.

The disadvantages are the financial expenses, the time it takes to choose which facility that would be best for your parent, availability of the facility, and the proximity for family members to visit. The average annual cost is approximately $77,000.

These 5 options need to be considered seriously and carefully by the senior and family members to make the best, most informed decision for your aging parent for the years to come.

Your Place or Mine?

by John Stuck
When you begin to notice that your senior loved one is having difficulty maintaining independence in their Minneapolis home, families most often have some decisions to make. Could independence be maintained by hiring home care? Is Mom and/or Dad a candidate for a independent senior apartment? Maybe moving them to a Minnesota assisted living facility is the best option? More adult children are choosing to move their senior loved one into their home. That is why Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis created the Too Close for Comfort Campaign. Download this guide for boomers and the seniors who live with them.
too_close_for_comfort_booklet

The reasons different generations decide to live together are as varied as the families themselves, but three factors often come into play:

  • Shared Caregiving: Families are coming together to share caregiving duties — either an elderly loved one needs care or an older adult is providing care to his or her grandchildren.
  • Finances: The economy is affecting everyone, especially Minneapolis seniors living on fixed incomes. Moving in with family can sometimes save money on food, utilities, and other essentials.
  • Physical or Emotional Support: Seniors may feel the need for the physical or emotional support of extended family after losing a spouse, dealing with health issues, or having problems maintaining their property.

See how one family found the decision very easy to make and how they’re making cohabitation work for their entire family.

If you’re already living the intergenerational life, perhaps your family has encountered a few challenges. Regardless of the situation, you or your senior loved ones probably have many questions, such as:

  • Is it best financially to maintain separate residences or to move in together?
  • Do you have the resources to take care of your elderly loved one in your home or should you hire home care? Read our latest blog post on the cost of home care and how to pay for it..
  • What role will adult siblings play?
  • If you’re a senior, will you lose your independence?
  • Should you move Mom or Dad to your home, or should you move into theirs?
  • Is the home safe for a senior and, if not, what changes need to be made?
  • How do you handle separate bank and savings accounts, and joint expenses?
  • Are there young children at home? If so, what do they think about it?

senior_family_meetingCommunication is the key to making your combined family work, says Matthew Kaplan Ph.D., Penn State Intergenerational Programs extension specialist. “Families must address the issues at hand — from multiple perspectives — when they arise…Ask yourself, ‘What can we do to come together and figure things out?'”

Independent research conducted by the Boomer Project on behalf of Home Instead Senior Care sheds new light on the growing population of family caregivers who are choosing to live with and provide home care for a parent.  One of the factors driving this trend is the need for emotional support. For details, view and print the Executive Summary of this research.

The Ups and Downs of Living Together

So what do multigenerational families say about the experience? Living together has its ups and downs.

Positive feelings of care and accomplishment can mix with stress. “Each family member has needs that should be taken into consideration. Individual needs, though, need to be viewed in the context of the health of the overall family unit. People need independence, but interdependence and family unity are important as well, particularly in today’s hectic and demanding world,” Kaplan says.

Support, Inside and Out

If families are living together and seniors need care, adult children will need support inside the home, whether the support comes from other family members or in the form of professional respite assistance.

“The best time to discuss this issue is when you’re willing to give up your house,” Kaplan notes. “That’s when it’s time to get your spouse and children behind the idea and communicate with adult siblings. Talk to your brothers and/or sisters and let them know you may need respite help.”

“When a decision to combine families is made, expectations must be set right away,” he said. “Family members must listen and become engaged in the conversation. The more the family buys in at the beginning, the more likely they will be to come up with great ideas.”

Setting aside time for your nuclear family is important too. “Consistent daily scheduling allows for formal and informal interaction,” Kaplan recommends. “If you do things right, the result is a strong, more unified family.”

Home Instead Senior Care worked with Matthew Kaplan Ph.D. to develop these tips for the multigenerational family.

  1. Take a family partnership perspective. Everyone needs to be informed and to give input into the arrangements.
  2. Set expectations right away. People understand it’s not just what they get out of it, but how they fit into the family.
  3. Ask for help. Engage your children in responsibilities around the home and make it clear to adult siblings that you expect them to be involved. If extended family members will not help with respite care, arrange for a professional caregiver service.
  4. Distinguish between private space and shared space. Shared space should be stocked with material inviting for all ages and items that could stimulate discussion, such as a child’s project or “brag book” of photos. Make clear rules regarding the private spaces set aside for each member of the household.
  5. Make family unity key. Routines, rituals and traditions help draw the family unit together. Plan a family movie or game night or take a walk together.
  6. Keep lines of communication open. Recognize the importance of “my time” and “our time.” Try to take everyone’s needs into account. Visit www.4070talk.com for more information about bridging the communication gap between seniors and their boomer children.
  7. Find threads of common interest and build on those to develop deeper relationships. Focus on activities that provide simple ways to generate a common bond, such as ethnic cooking, family history, health or wellness.

“The main challenge of a multigenerational family is navigating individual needs and family needs,” Kaplan noted. With open communication and a well thought-out plan, the process of moving and experience living together with a senior loved one can be beneficial and rewarding.

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.
alz_app
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.

Seniors and Sex

seniors-and-sexRecent trends in sexual activity among seniors indicate that the taboo topic of seniors and sex can no longer be ignored. Not only can sexuality assist in combatting loneliness and depression as we age, but statistics show that most seniors are more sexually active than their families, care communities and home care providers realize.

So what are seniors saying—or not saying—about sex?

They Have It
A study by the New England Journal of Medicine reports that over 25 percent of seniors aged 75-85 are sexually active. The number rises above 50 percent for seniors ages 65-74. Whether or not senior sexual activity is being candidly discussed within families and health care settings, the statistics are clear: many seniors are having sex.

Their Children Aren’t Asking About It
Sex and dating are, quite literally, the last thing adult children want to talk about with their senior parents, according to results from a survey commissioned Home Instead Senior Care® and summarized on Canada.com. Only a third of adult children reported that they are even the least bit comfortable with the topic. The percentage of seniors who are sexually active and the hesitation of most families to discuss this activity suggest a dangerous communication barrier when it comes to seniors and sex.

They May Not Be Aware Of The Risks
Perhaps most staggering is this statistic cited by CBS News: Sexually transmitted diseases have more than doubled over the past decade in the 50-90 demographic. The assumption that all seniors are aware of the commonly known risks associated with sexual activity is false. Senior baby boomers originally became sexually active at a time when facts about STDs and safe sex were not as readily available as they are today. Add this to existing challenges, such as lack of privacy in community living, and the question of seniors and sex becomes quite complex.

What Does This Mean For Senior Caregivers?
The realities of seniors and sex suggest that professionals in the elder care community need to begin an open and frank discussion with seniors and their families about seniors’ needs for physical connection and emotional intimacy. This is no easy task, but there are helpful resources available. One resource you may encourage seniors and their families to use is the 40/70 Guide. This guide provides discussion tips and strategies to start those difficult conversations. The 40/70 Rule® refers to the respective ages of adult children and their senior parents when they should begin to talk about various aging topics.

It’s also important to acknowledge the role that living situations play in protecting a senior’s privacy and independence. Aging in place resources may be key in retaining an environment where both physical and emotional needs of a senior can be met. Visit HomeInstead.com to learn more about how home care services can help seniors retain their independence.

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?

Join Our Book Discussion

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!

Enter to Win our Contest!

alzheimers care mn

Contest

In conjunction with the Caring for a Person with Memory Loss conference and our support of organizations that provide education and assistance to those dealing with Alzheimer’s Disease, we’re offering a chance to win a $100 gift card to Parasole Restaurants PLUS a $100 donation to the Alzheimer’s Association in your name.

Enter by June 28!

UofMHome Instead Senior Care of Minneapolis is committed to making coping with Alzheimer’s and dementia-related issues, such as memory loss as easy as possible. That is why we were a proud sponsor of the Caring for a Person with Memory Loss Conference in Minneapolis, MN held on Saturday, June 1st. According to Joseph Gaugler, Ph.D., coordinator of the conference, “The Caring for a Person with Memory Loss conference is designed to share tools, skills, resources, information, and wisdom with families and care professionals about the most effective ways to care for persons with memory concerns. With more than 5 million people in the U.S. with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia and 15.4 million people provided care for these individuals, the need to share relevant, effective care approaches and ideas to improve the quality of life of persons with memory loss is more critical than ever. To this end, our June 1st, 2013 Caring for a Person with Memory Loss conference will touch on several key topics including different types of dementia, family dynamics, art therapy, and abuse issue in person with memory loss. As this conference is a community education event and free for families, the kindness of sponsors such as Home Instead Senior Care of Minneapolis is critical to help us provide speaker honoraria, offer copies of presentation materials to attendees, provide refreshments to attendees, and live stream and record the conference for future viewing by attendees and others.”

The conference was a huge success! Thank you to Joseph Gaugler and others for providing this valuable education and awareness to people caring for those with Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Conference Committee

Joseph E. Gaugler, PhD, is an Associate Professor and McKnight Presidential Fellow in the School of Nursing and Center on Aging at the University of Minnesota. His research focuses on Alzheimer’s disease, family caregiving, and clinical interventions for these individuals.

Mark Reese, MA, LPC, LAMFT, is a study counselor at the University of Minnesota. His work focuses on enhancing clinical services for families caring for relatives with memory loss.

University of Minnesota Caregiver Registry

As Dr. Gaugler’s research program continues to grow, he would like to ask you to take a few minutes and consider being a part of the University of Minnesota Caregiver Registry. Becoming part of the registry does not enroll you in any study, but it provides Dr. Gaugler with permission to contact you in the future about any upcoming opportunities to participate in his research as well other basic information. Filling out the University of Minnesota Caregiver Registry form should not take more than 5 minutes. If you have already done this for us and nothing has changed since you filled it out, there is no need to fill out another form. However, if something has changed since you last filled out a Registry form, please feel free to fill out a new form:

If you are a family member or friend who knows someone with memory loss or is helping them, please fill out the University of Minnesota Caregiver Registry-Family form here:
https://umsurvey.umn.edu/index.php?sid=97146&lang=um

If you are a professional who cares for persons with memory loss or their families, please fill out the University of Minnesota Caregiver Registry-Professional form here:
https://umsurvey.umn.edu/index.php?sid=36229&lang=um

Caring for a Person with Memory Loss (CPWML) Annual Conference was Streamed

The CPWML conference recording will be made available on the virtual library site at: http://tinyurl.com/CPWMLresources after the conference. This live stream will be interactive, meaning you can participate in Q & A with presentation speakers.

Caring for a Person with Memory Loss Conference Virtual Library

If you would like to revisit the information presented in this or past Caring for a Person with Memory Loss conferences, please visit our virtual conference library at http://tinyurl.com/CPWMLresources. There you will find Power Point slides and handouts of each presentation, information on how to access recorded presentations, speaker contact information and other resources from past conferences. We have held Caring for a Person with Memory Loss conferences since Spring 2008, and there is a lot of great, free information in the virtual library for you, your family members, or clients!

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