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How To Be An Effective Remote Senior Caregiver

How To Be An Effective Remote Senior Caregiver

For emotional, financial, and other reasons, long-term care for seniors may not be an option, especially if their memory, mobility, and other issues are only moderate. Yet at the same time, completely independent living may not be an option either.

Many children of older adults are all too familiar with this scenario, and they must quickly develop a way to be an effective caregiver for Mom or Dad without taking significant time away from their family and work obligations, not to mention their precious free moments.

One good way to be a good caregiver, and keep your life, is to focus on these three areas.

Remote Senior Caregiver

Physical

Keeping a senior safe and secure inside his/her own home usually revolves around accommodations for everyday life and planning for the unexpected.

These three areas often overlap. For example, when you call to check on Mom or Dad, if it takes more than three rings to get an answer, Mom or Dad may have some additional mobility issues and it is time to at least have a conversation about things like mobility aids and balance supports. These might include walkers, grab rails, and handicap bars for toilet safety.

To continue with fall prevention, make sure that there is no clutter on the floor, especially in halls and other pathways. Also, since our eyes let in less light as we age, ensure that there are plenty of bright lights, preferably with glare-reducing bulbs. Night lights are a good idea as well.

Related Link: Fighting Cancer: Easing the Financial Strain for Patients and Their Families

Next, although they are a little more costly than other such devices, senior fall sensors are often a good idea. These devices automatically detect falls and summon help, a fact which gives both caregivers and seniors additional peace of mind.

Finally, make sure that Mom or Dad use prescribed medical devices, like walking canes. Moreover, using a wall or chair for balance or as a guide is a sign that a cane or some other aid may be necessary.

Emotional

The weekly (or perhaps twice weekly) check-in call is only part of the solution in this area because loneliness is not only common, it’s also dangerous. 40 percent of seniors say they regularly feel lonely, and this emotional isolation is the equivalent to smoking fifteen cigarettes a day in terms of its health effects.

Senior fitness classes are a very good way to address two issues at once. A yoga class or walking group provides needed physical exercise, and at the same time, provides valuable social interaction.

Small changes are very effective as well. Encourage Mom or Dad to pop over to the neighbor’s house once or twice a week. Chances are, they will both look forward to the little visit. A pet might be a good idea as well because it provides companionship and also gives the owner something to do and a reason to stay active.

Financial

Once again, these concerns often overlap. If a senior is physically inactive, it is rather easy for unscrupulous contractors to claim that the home has water damage or foundation issues. Furthermore, if Mom or Dad is lonely, there is an opening for someone to come into his or her life and take money or cause other financial problems.

Small, non-invasive preventative measures are the best way for both remote caregivers and at-home seniors to retain their independence. Check Mom or Dad’s bank account balance once every week or two, looking for unexplained withdrawals. Financial documents, like wills and trusts, need scrutiny as well. Take an afternoon, get all these documents up to date, and stress that they should not be altered unless everyone agrees.

A time may come when it’s necessary for everyone to bite the bullet and relocate Mom or Dad into a long-term care facility. But observing these three areas can delay that time, or even eliminate the possibility altogether.

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How Daily Schedules Benefit Seniors with Alzheimer’s and Dementia

How Daily Schedules Benefit Seniors with Alzheimer’s and Dementia

Remember going to camp as a kid? Waking up to the bell, dining in the mess hall every morning, then heading off for activities like going to the pool, journal time, crafts, canoeing, and hiking? Just as a regular schedule that was planned out and communicated to campers helped keep everyone on task and on time, so does a daily itinerary for someone with Alzheimer’s and dementia. Check out 5 ways daily schedules can help:

How Daily Schedules Benefit Seniors with Alzheimer’s and Dementia

Provides Structure

The bottom line, a daily schedule which creates a framework for the day can prevent surprises and resulting agitation, frustration, and anger that many people with cognitive decline experience. Set a time for activities including waking up and going to bed, brushing teeth and toileting, getting dressed, taking medicines, eating meals, exercising, and even having fun make functioning easier and less stressful for older adults with memory loss.

Dealing with sundowners disease, or the onset of symptoms including confusion, agitation, and outbursts each evening when the sun sets? This confusion and irritability around altered sleep/wake cycles in adults with Alzheimer’s or dementia can be alleviated in part by a fixed series of events that occur nightly prior to bedtime. For example, if a senior with cognitive decline knows that each evening at the same time they first go to the bathroom, then get pajamas on, then brush teeth before crawling into bed, their grasp on when sleep occurs might be made stronger.

Offers Control

This might seem antithetical Рdoesn’t have your day planned out for you to give you less control? Not exactly. For older adults experiencing dementia and Alzheimer’s, a repeated schedule that helps them know what is coming next and what to plan for offers more security and a sense of being in charge of themselves and their activities.

Even allotting an hour or two of free time daily which allows someone with dementia and memory loss to come up with their own activity during that specific time is helpful – i.e. they might choose to work on a puzzle one day, or play cards and crochet the next day. Their continued independence and involvement in decision-making are vital to combating feelings of frustration, anxiety, and depression.

Encourages Activity

If a daily schedule includes a brisk walk for 25 minutes every day at 3 pm, what are the chances that you‚Äôll be exercising every afternoon? Pretty good, right? That‚Äôs the power of daily schedules – they encourage repetition and action, and make getting out and staying active that much more ‚Äúnormal.‚ÄĚ

Seniors with cognitive decline may be wary of staying active and exercising, afraid they will fall or injure themselves. The truth is, however, exercise is one of the most important things you can do for your physical and mental health as you age. Not only does regular physical fitness help build bone mass and muscle strength, and keep the heart and lungs healthy, but it can combat memory loss and dementia too. The boost in blood circulation, heart rate and mental stimulation that goes hand in hand with staying active helps your brain exercise, adapting to new knowledge and situations, and forming new neural pathways for brain cells to communicate with each other.

Helps Caregivers

A daily schedule isn’t just valuable to a patient dealing with memory loss and dementia Рthe people providing care and assisting the patient benefit from a regular agenda as well. The task of caring can include everything from daily duties with helping a loved one take medicine, eat, get dressed, etc. to more administrative jobs like scheduling appointments, refilling prescriptions, organizing transportation, buying supplies, and talking to insurance providers. A routine plan for the day helps carers designate times to execute tasks outside of hands-on care, in windows when their loved one is napping, for example.

In addition, a structured schedule provides more opportunities for meaningful time caregivers can spend with their loved ones outside of caregiving duties. Instead of constantly leading roles of carer and patient, family caregivers especially need to be able to continue to embrace the roles of child and parent. A predetermined list for daily activities and times can open up new windows for engaging, familial contact that is meaningful and healing.

Irreversible. Incurable. Hopeless. These stark words do not need to describe you or your loved one‚Äôs experience with Alzheimer‚Äôs or dementia. By incorporating ‚Äúpre-dementia‚ÄĚ routines, balancing generous rest with activity, and sticking to it, a regular schedule can significantly transform the day to day living of someone with Alzheimer‚Äôs or dementia.

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5 Tips for Caregivers

5 Tips for Caregivers

So, you have opted to take care of your loved one with Alzheimer’s, or another debilitating disease, yourself. Very noble and loving, also very stressful. This poster shows some easy things to do to help manage stress, always remember, the caregiver needs loving care as well.

 

 

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Famous People With Alzheimer’s Disease

Famous People With Alzheimer's Disease

According to Alzheimer’s Disease International, as of 2010, there are an estimated 36 million people worldwide with dementia. Nearly two thirds of them live in developing countries. This figure is set to increase to more than 115 million people by 2050. Much of this increase will be in rapidly developing and heavily populated regions such as China, India and Latin America. Dementia primarily affects older people. Up to the age of 65, dementia develops in only about 1 person in 1000. The chance of having the condition rises sharply with age to 1 person in 20 over the age of 65. Over the age of 80, this figure increases to 1 person in 5.

Many celebrities and famous people also have/had Alzheimer’s disease. In this video you can see some examples of famous people with Alzheimer’s. Sugar Ray Robinson, Ronald Reagan and Rita Hayworth are some examples.
 

 
Besides the list of famous people with Alzheimer’s disease, there’re many famous people who are family members of the patients and are actively taking care of their family members with the disease. In this poster, you can see some examples of famous caregivers.
 

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Imagine a World Without Alzheimer’s

Imagine a World Without Alzheimer’s

September is the World’s Alzheimer’s Month and this is the best opportunity to spread the awareness about Alzheimer’s and dementia. More than 35 million people have Alzheimer’s worldwide and if we add the number of people who haven’t officially diagnosed yet, this number would be much more. So try your best to spread the word and even go purple and participate in the walks to end Alzheimer’s. Just Imagine a World Without Alzheimer’s & we can make it happen!