Posts By: icepickdev

How to Care for Your Aging Parents

Many adult children return home for the holidays and notice for the first time that their aging parents are not able to do as many things as they previously could perform. Often they notice the house is no longer well kept, the outdoor garden is overgrown, and old family friends have moved away. As older adults age in place here is four useful tips for helping to maintain health, wellness, and social connections.

1-    Stay in contact

Isolation causes depression,  a major factor in the declining health of older adults. As we age, it is critical to remain engaged and connected to the outside world. Thus remain connected to your older adult. Call once or twice a week and check-in. Many older adults suffer a sense of loss as they age. Thus, hearing a familiar voice on a regular basis can help them realize that they are not alone and others care for them.

2-    Visit in person

Calling and talking on the phone can never replace an in-person visit. A visit can help put a smile on your loved one’s face, and it enables you to determine how they are doing. It may be difficult to visit regularly,  but try to schedule quality time with them as they need you. If you can only see them once or twice a year, try communicating using video call platforms like Skype and FaceTime. While these applications are not as meaningful as an in-person visit, they offer the potential for connections and will be appreciated by your loved one.

3-    Hire a caregiver

Caregiver companionship is another option to consider for older adults who live alone, especially those who are homebound because of frailty or dementia. Companion care is primarily emotional support and companionship for seniors who are generally healthy and who want to remain independent at home. Most importantly, companions function as an extra set of hands, eyes, and feet to the person you care for when you can’t be there. Companions can assist with meal preparation, light housekeeping, laundry, grocery shopping, and errands. Companions provide valuable social benefits, decreasing isolation and improving the quality of life. Warm relationships are often formed when a consistent companion is on the job — a boon for both the companion and the older adult.

However, do not let the presence of a caregiver Companion take your place. It means the world to older adults when young people visit them.

4-    Community social gathering

Many older adults want to stay in their homes as they age. Moving comes with both physical and emotional stress, and many older adults are afraid of leaving behind beloved neighbors and a family home full of memories. Add the fear of the unknown to those concerns and a move to a senior living community can be downright overwhelming. However, the truth is that for many seniors living at home alone can be unhealthy and even dangerous. Spending most of their time at home, alone can increase their loneliness and can make them inactive.

It’s important to encourage older adults to participate in social gatherings and events, designed specifically for older people. Not everyone has a family to count on. So for tens of thousands of older Americans, the solution has been something called the Village, a neighborhood-based membership organization. Usually, the way it works is that older adults pay dues of a few hundred dollars a year. And then the village provides connections to discounted services, anything from contractors to grocery shopping to home health workers. There are also social activities. It’s a lot of things you might find in assisted living except you don’t have to leave your home. A Village can help make those social connections and keep an older adult physically active. It can also put your mind at ease, as you know that they are not alone.

Traits of the Best Caregivers

A caregiver is responsible for the health and happiness of our loved ones. Hence, it is essential to find the most suitable caregiver for them. How do you know who is a good caregiver? When evaluating caregivers, look for the following traits:

Compassionate

While selecting caregivers, it is essential to ensure that they are compassionate. Compassion maintains and sustains a bond between the patient and the caregiver. It also enables caregivers to put themselves in the patient’s shoes and understand what they are going through. Empathizing with the elderly can help ease their discomfort.

Patient

As the elderly grow older, their bodies and minds work slower than they used to. They forget things easily and need to be reminded of even daily chores, repeatedly. For this reason, caregivers must be patient, so that they remain calm and collected while taking care of your loved one. Being patient means that they will understand if things do not go as quickly as planned and if the patient is being stubborn.

Attentive and responsive to situations

It is crucial for a good caregiver to be attentive. An elderly patient needs constant care and attention. It is the caregiver’s job to continuously monitor, and recognize the needs of the patient, even if he/she cannot communicate them.

The caregiver also needs to pay close attention to early warning signs and observe any change in skin color, appetite, physical condition, and behavior. Sometimes, the patient is unaware that they need help and the caregiver, noticing the signs, must respond to them immediately.

Good Communicator

Caregivers should have good communication skills such that they can communicate well with the patient and you. The caregiver should share crucial details regarding the patient’s care and inform you about any change in plan or condition.

Enthusiastic and Passionate

Having the passion to do what you love can make a huge difference. A passionate caregiver’s work will be evident in how they treat your loved one. They will be working not for money, but out of genuine interest.

Passionate caregivers will be motivated to improve the health of the elderly and will, therefore, be innovative and creative as they plan activities. 

Dependable and trustworthy

Trust plays an imperative role in building strong relationships.  If the patient knows they can rely on the caregiver, they will communicate and participate more with them.

If the caregiver you are interviewing possesses the above-mentioned traits, then you have found the best caregiver for your loved one.

How to Improve Your Memory as You Age

We all tend to forget things. And as we grow older, we all start to notice some changes in our ability to remember things. For example, you’re peering into your refrigerator and can’t remember why. Or you are unable to recall a familiar name or place during a conversation. Memory lapses can happen at any age, but we often become overly concerned as we get older because we worry they may be signs of dementia or loss of intellectual function.

According to the Harvard Medical School, significant memory loss in older people isn’t a normal part of aging—but is due to organic disorders, brain injury, or neurological illness, with Alzheimer’s being among the most feared.

Even though forgetting is common and normal, and most fleeting memory issues that we experience with age reflect normal changes in the structure and function of the brain. With decades of research, there are various strategies we can use to protect and sharpen our minds. Here are a few to try.

Keep Learning

Just as physical activity keeps your body healthy, mentally stimulating activities can help your brain stay in shape. Experts think that continuous learning and education can help keep memory strong by getting a person into the habit of being mentally active. Challenging your brain with mental exercise is believed to activate processes that help maintain individual brain cells and stimulate communication. Many of us have jobs that keep us mentally active, but pursuing a hobby or learning a new skill can function the same way. Read; join a book club; play mahjong or bridge; research your family history; do crossword or jigsaw puzzles; pursue music or art; design a new garden layout. Building and preserving brain connections is an ongoing process, so make lifelong learning a priority.

Stay Physically Active

Maintain a balance between mental and physical exercises. Physical exercises increase oxygen to your brain and decrease the risk of memory loss diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Physical exercise also plays a crucial role in neuroplasticity, which ensures new neural connections. Thus it is important to engage in aerobics, light yoga, or other exercises to help keep the brain’s neurons firing.

Use All Your Senses

The more senses used in learning something, the more your brain will retain the memory. In a recent study, adults were shown a series of emotionally neutral images along with a smell. The participants did not have to remember what they saw. Later, they were exposed to a set of images. No odor was associated with the images. They were then asked to indicate which items they had seen previously. Participants had excellent recall for all odor-paired visuals. This was especially true for images that were associated with pleasant smells. Brain imaging indicated that the piriform cortex, the main odor-processing region of the brain, is active when people saw objects originally paired with odors, even though the smells were no longer present and the subjects hadn’t tried to remember them. So try to use all your senses when exploring unfamiliar territory. For instance, guess the ingredients used as you taste a new dish or sip a glass of wine.

Socialize

Depression and stress are the two main contributors to memory loss. Isolation from family and friends can make an individual feel sad and lonely so look for opportunities that give you a chance to hang out with people. In a recent study, by the Harvard School of Public Health, it was seen that those who were most social had the slowest rate of memory loss.  Hence, plan vacations or picnics with your loved ones, on a regular basis, especially if you live alone.

Emotional difficulties can take just as heavy a toll on the brain as physical problems. Mental sluggishness, difficulty concentrating, and forgetfulness are common symptoms of depression. Memory issues can be particularly debilitating in older adults. Sometimes depression in this population can be mistaken for dementia. The good news is that when the depression is treated, memory should return to normal.

Ignore the Negative

Myths about aging can contribute to a failing memory. Older adults do worse on memory tasks when they have been exposed to negative stereotypes about aging and memory. This same group will do better when messages about aging are positive especially regarding memory preservation into old age. It’s only natural that people who believe that they are not in control of their memory function are less likely to work at maintaining their memory skills and thus are more likely to experience cognitive decline. If you believe you can improve and you practice this belief, you have a better chance of keeping your mind sharp.

Sleep

People usually sleep enough to get through the day. However, that does not ensure full functioning. Research has shown that sleep helps in consolidating memories, which makes it easy to recall them later. For this reason, make sleep your top priority by getting at least 7-9 hours of rest daily.

Use a Mnemonic

A mnemonic is a creative way to remember lists. Mnemonic devices can take the form of an acronym. A popular mnemonic for medical professionals is RICE when recalling first-aid instructions for an injured limb. RICE =  Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. You probably remember from music class the phrase “Every good boy does fine” to remember the musical notes E, G, B, D, and F on the lines of the treble clef. A mnemonic can help a person’s ability to remember something and is a classic memory technique (used by the ancient Greeks) to help the brain better recall important information.

Memory loss as we age is very common and sometimes inevitable. However, many activities can help sharpen your memory. Better memory comes down to three things: motivation, observation, and mechanics.  Taking action now to strengthen and preserve your memory by developing techniques that work for you and practicing a couple of minutes a day to strengthen your memory.

Fall Prevention

Falls are common. We all trip and hurt ourselves, but as we grow older, the risk of serious injury increases. Experts estimate that approximately one-third of older adults 65+ fall one or more times a year. In fact, falls are the leading cause of injury among older adults. As we age, physical changes and health conditions — and sometimes medications — make falls more likely. While fear of falling does not need to rule your life, there are ways to prevent falls. Here are six simple fall-prevention strategies.

Make an appointment with your physician

Begin your fall-prevention plan by making an appointment with your primary care physician. Review with your doctor:

1). All prescriptions and over-the-counter medications and supplements you are taking with your doctor and discuss side effects. Do any increase your risk for falling? You may want to ask your physician to consider changing medications or weaning you off those that may make you tired or affect your thinking.

2). If you’ve fallen within the last year, discuss how and where you fell. If you almost fell but were caught by someone or managed to grab hold of something just in time, be sure to discuss with your physician. These details may help your doctor identify specific fall-prevention strategies.

3). Discuss all your health conditions and how comfortable you are when walking. Your doctor should evaluate your muscle strength, balance and walking style as well as examine your eyes and ears. Your physician may also verify that your vitamin D levels are within the normal range, to ensure strong bones and muscles.

4). Schedule an appointment with your optometrist and have your eyes examined.

Physical activity

Keep moving. Physical activity can go a long way toward fall prevention. Once you have the “all clear” from your physician, engage in activities such as walking, water aerobics or tai chi. Such activities improve strength, balance, coordination, and flexibility.

If you avoid physical activity because you’re afraid of falling, tell your doctor. Your physician may recommend carefully monitored exercise programs or refer you to a physical therapist who can create a custom exercise program aimed at improving your balance, flexibility, muscle strength and gait.

While exercise is important, it’s also important to maintain a healthy diet, drink plenty of fluids and maintain a regular sleep schedule.

Wear sensible shoes

Consider changing your footwear as part of your fall-prevention plan. High heels, flip-flops, and fancy dress shoes with slick soles can make you slip, stumble or fall.  The best option is to wear properly fitting, sturdy shoes with nonskid soles. A sensible shoe may also reduce joint pain.

Improve indoor safety

Take a look around the inside of your home. Spend time examining your living room, kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, hallways, and stairways for potential hazards. To make your home safer:

  • Remove boxes, newspapers, electrical cords and phone cords from walkways.
  • Move coffee tables, magazine racks and plant stands out of high-traffic areas.
  • Secure loose rugs with double-faced tape or a slip-resistant backing or better yet — remove loose rugs from your home.
  • Repair loose, wooden floorboards, and carpeting right away.
  • Store clothing, dishes, food and other necessities within easy reach.
  • Immediately clean spilled liquids, grease or food.
  • Use nonslip mats in your bathtub or shower. Purchase a bath seat.

Shine a light on your living space

Keep your home bright and well lit to avoid tripping on objects that might be hard to see.

  • Increase lighting, especially near the stairs and bathrooms. Use plug-in-night-lights and movement-sensitive lights.
  • Place night lights in your bedroom, bathroom, and hallways.
  • Put a lamp within easy reach of your bed.
  • Consider replacing traditional switches for glow-in-the-dark or illuminated switches.
  • Turn on lights BEFORE going up or down steps.
  • Store flashlights in easy-to-reach locations in case of power outages.

Use assistive devices

Your doctor might recommend that you use a cane or walker to keep you steady. Other assistive devices around the home to consider include:

  • Handrails on both sides of all stairways
  • Nonslip treads for hardwood steps
  • A raised toilet seat
  • Install grab bars in the bathroom as bathroom tiles can be slippery especially when wet.
  • Use nonslip mats in your bathtub or shower.
  • Purchase a bath seat for the shower or tub — plus a hand-held shower nozzle for bathing while sitting down

The good news about falls is that most can be prevented. The key is to know where to look. Some solutions are easily installed and relatively inexpensive. Others may require professional help or a larger investment. If you’re concerned about the cost, remember that an investment in fall prevention is an investment in your independence.

Summer Activities for Older Adults

Leisure time for older adults helps promote mental, social and physical wellbeing. It also helps prevent depression-related problems that may arise from a sense of isolation and disconnection from society. Not sure how to entertain your senior loved ones during the hot summer season? Take a look at these ten outdoor and indoor activities that can keep your loved one entertained, while promoting positive mental and physical health.

1- Go swimming

Splashing around in a private or public pool is a fun and relaxing way to spend time with a variety of people. Swimming is an excellent physical activity that is light on the joints and helpful in strengthening muscles.  Swimming strengthens core muscles, improves body posture, and reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Water exercise is the only non-weight-bearing workout that eliminates the risk of accidental falls during exercise. It is a wonderful summer option to beat the heat of the summer while staying in shape.

2- Go fish

Fishing is a great activity that is accessible even to those who are restricted by a wheelchair or walker. It’s easy to drop a fishing line from a dock (pier or along a riverbank), cast a rod into the water, and socialize while waiting for the next catch. Make an afternoon out of this outing and don’t forget to pack your snacks, drinks, and a blanket.

3- Get your hands dirty

A great summertime activity is gardening. It provides an opportunity to take in the fresh air and engage in physical activity, which is not that strenuous.  Individuals may garden in a backyard or community garden where volunteers are highly appreciated.

4- Work for a cause

Find a good organization to volunteer your time and energy. Volunteering is extremely beneficial. Working for others gives a sense of purpose, something we all question as we age. Philanthropic organizations, churches, schools or green societies are some organizations that can help keep your loved one engaged while offering a sense of purpose.

5- Check your local newspapers

Engaging in outdoor community events is an excellent way to socialize. Many communities sponsor car shows, musical performances, flea markets and bingo nights. Choose an event that best suits your needs and spend your day making others smile.

6- A book of memories

Now and then, staying inside is a wonderful option to beat the heat. Stay at home and go down memory lane. Scrapbooking is a fun and creative way of documenting memories immortalized in photographs and memorabilia. This activity also assists with cognitive exercise and stimulation as it triggers recalling important events. Making a scrapbook is not only an affordable and simple activity, but it provides significant health benefits. A recent study found that scrapbooking can help older adults cope with loss and grief as it helps to relive cherished memories.

7- Get Creative

Getting in touch with your creative side is another fun way to spend time. Painting, drawing, coloring, and sculpturing are all delightful diversions that can channel a person’s thoughts and emotions. It also helps in improving eye-to-hand coordination and in boosting confidence. Research has found that these creative activities can help battle chronic illness by decreasing negative emotions and increase positive ones, reducing stress and anxiety and improving medical outcomes. Another fun option to consider is creating mosaics out of flower pots, eggshells, tiles, and other tiny items. Eye and hand dexterity is essential for this art activity. Mosaics hone imagination and creativity skills as they create colorful masterpieces out of assembled pieces of art.

8 – Dine al Fresco

Good company, food, and a lovely ambiance are all a recipe for success. Satisfy your palate and take time for some quality bonding. Grab a meal outdoors and enjoy the world as it marches by.

9 – Invest in a Bird feeder for Bird Watching

Birds provide beautiful entertainment, and birds chirping signals an opportune time to invest in a feeder. Whether blue jays or hummingbirds, bird feeders attract nature to you. For added fun, there are loads of kits and instructions on the internet for building your own bird feeder.

10 – Plant an Herb Garden

To go along with healthy eating, a modest herb garden provides not only gardening fun, but healthy and tasty ingredients for your favorite dishes. You don’t need a lot of space to grow a herb garden. Pots of all sizes can accommodate herbs such as rosemary, chives, basil or thyme. 

Daily engagement in activities can improve everyone’s well-being. While these ten suggestions offer some great activities to engage in, be mindful of the health conditions of your loved one and participate accordingly.

Top Tips for Finding the Right Caregiver

Most people want to continue to live in their own homes for as long as possible. For those who are older or dealing with a disability, remaining in their home can often be a challenge without outside help. For many individuals requiring assistance with their daily activities, they often rely on unpaid care provided by family members and friends.

More and more, older adults and their families are recognizing the benefits of hiring paid caregivers. Professional caregivers help seniors not only remain in their homes longer, but they provide additional comfort and safety. They also offer families peace of mind. More people are finding that they can afford paid caregivers because many state governments and insurance policies cover the cost of private outside help.

So how do you find the right caregiver for your particular situation? Here are a few tips for choosing an in-home caregiver:

1.     Assess home care needs

Before you go out looking for a caregiver, know exactly why a caregiver is needed. Is there a requirement for more assistance with health care, personal care or household care? Is home health care the primary focus with the additional support required for physical therapy or medication management? Or is there more of a need for non-medical personal care such as bathing, dressing, toileting, and meal preparation? Maybe the focus is on providing a companion to escort or drive the older adult to appointments and outings. Do they want someone to help with housecleaning, shopping, running errands, bill paying or money management?

Determining what is required and the type of experience and skill sets a caregiver has to offer is a crucial component in finding a caregiver who is the right fit. Selecting a caregiver that matches the needs of your loved one is crucial for helping their overall health and wellbeing.

2.     Prepare a job description

Take the time to write a job description. Be sure to include details such as a certain level of healthcare training (for example, Certified Nursing Assistant, Licensed Practical Nurse, Registered Nurse) being able to drive or able to operate special equipment. Making a list of what the job entails can help the caregiver make an accurate decision about the duties required after the interview. For all parties involved it’s crucial, to be honest, and upfront about what tasks will need to be undertaken by the caregiver. You don’t want to hire a caregiver only to find out later that they are not qualified for the job. 

3.     Ask around

Research and get to know the resources in your community that hire caregivers. It is essential to ask family, your church group, neighbors, medical professionals and members of your local Village about the positives and the negatives of a caregiver agency to narrow down options. Read online reviews for agencies. If you know someone who has used a caregiver from an agency, follow up on that lead.

After determining which caregiving agency you’ll work with, ask to interview the potential in-home caregiver. Don’t go exclusively on a resume. Many caregivers can look good on paper, but will not be a good fit for your situation because of cultural, religious, social or some other reason. Once it’s time to schedule an interview, prepare a list of questions to ask a caregiver. You may wish to invite another family member or friend to provide a second opinion. An interview is a powerful tool for determining a person’s personality as well as how the caregiver will interact with your loved one. Be sure to ask any potential candidates if they have done the types of tasks required and about their qualification. You may wish to introduce your loved one during the interview and assess how the caregiver interacts to determine if this is the right fit. 

4.     Follow up

Once you have agreed upon a caregiver, be sure that the agency has checked references and conducted a criminal background check. You’ll want to be sure that the caregiver is licensed and bonded by the agency. If they are not, you may want to look somewhere else.

After, the caregiver has started to work, set up a schedule to monitor the quality of the services the caregiver provides. Schedule informal meetings by making regular home visits. Get periodic reports from the agency. If there are any problems, address them immediately. Do not wait around. Also, be sure you have a backup plan in case the caregiver or the agency fails to follow through or if problems arise.

At some point, you or your family may also want to hire an independent care manager to monitor the situation if you are unable to do it yourself.

Finding a caregiver that matches the personality and the needs of an older adult can be life-altering.  The right caregiver can enhance the quality of life for a senior while also putting the family at ease knowing that a loved one is in good hands.

How to Beat the Summer Heat for Older Adults

As summer rolls in, the number of older adults who suffer from heat stroke and dehydration increases. Those 75 and above, are the most susceptible to heat because it takes their bodies longer to cool down. Dehydration diminishes a person’s ability to regulate their body temperature, thus placing them at a higher risk of developing a heat illness. That’s because when we age, our bodies become less efficient at regulating temperature. Older adults don’t sweat as much as young people, which is one of the body’s most important heat-regulation mechanisms.

There are a variety of lifestyle and health factors that increase the risk of developing a heat-related illness among this population:

  • Dehydration
  • Chronic illnesses such as heart and kidney diseases; blood circulation conditions
  • Prescription medications that reduce sweating
  • Salt-restricted diets
  • Overdressing
  • Lack of airflow or access to air conditions

Help your older loved one beat the heat by taking the following steps.

Proper ventilation at home

Try to maintain a cool environment at home. Central air conditioning is the best option, but if that is not possible, a window air conditioning unit will also work.  Alternatively, fans can also provide relief. Make sure to position fans near windows while keeping all windows in the house open to allow continuous circulation of air.

Make use of air-conditioned public spaces

If air conditioning is not an option in the home, then take your loved one to public spaces with air conditioning. Some great options include a shopping mall, library, restaurant or even a local senior center.

Hydrate!

High temperatures in the summer make us sweat more, which can cause heatstroke. To avoid this affliction, keep your loved ones hydrated by encouraging them to drink water. Also, include foods in their diet that have a high water content such as cucumbers, melons, and berries.

While drinking eight glasses of water is a goal to strive for, also incorporate beverages that have electrolytes as those replace the minerals that a person loses while sweating.

Studies indicate that when you feel thirsty your ability to regulate heat begins to decline. For older adults, who already struggle to manage internal body heat, dehydration can block the body’s natural cooling process even more.

Older adults need to drink water and juices regularly. A good rule of thumb is to drink fluids at every meal, as well as sipping fluids throughout the day.  Avoid alcohol as well as caffeine including coffee, tea, and soda as they are a diuretic and can cause more dehydration.

Beat the heat by planning ahead

If outdoor activities are on the schedule be sure to time your outing for before noon or after 4 pm. The hottest portions of the day are typically between noon and 4 p.m. Instead, take a walk early in the day or late in the evening when temperatures and humidity are at their lowest points.

Change your wardrobe

Wear clothes that are loose fitting, containing natural fibers such as cotton and allow room for circulation. A light colored, long sleeved, loose-fitted shirt, paired with a wide-brimmed hat and a pair of sunglasses is the ideal summer fashion statement. This attire allows the heat from being trapped close to the body while keeping the sun off the skin.

Be aware of early warning signs

Check on your loved one at least twice a day. Early warning signs of heat exhaustion include excessive sweating, tiredness, weakness, dizziness, headache and muscle cramps. If untreated, heat exhaustion can progress within 10 – 15 minutes into heat stroke (a more serious condition). Heat stroke is caused when the internal body temperature rises faster than it’s able to lower naturally.  Symptoms of heat stroke include nausea, vomiting, fainting, headache, rapid heartbeat or excessive sweating. If symptoms of heat stroke are present, call 911.

To help those suffering from heat-related illness here what you can do immediately: First, have the person lie down in a cool place, and if you can put a fan directly on that person even better. Then take steps to lower body temperature. Air-conditioning, offer cool fluids, or providing access to a cool bath will also help.

Warm temperatures can be a welcome shift, especially when dealing with aches and pains, but older adults need to protect themselves against the dangerous effects of hot weather. When it comes to warm conditions, too much of a good thing can become a health hazard.

4 Simple Ways of Helping Someone Cope with Sundowning

4 Simple Ways of Helping Someone Cope with Sundowning

If you have a loved one who suffers from dementia, you might also notice a change in their behavior as late afternoon and early night approaches.  Doctors call this ‘Sundowning, a ‘Sundown Syndrome’, or even ‘late-day confusion’.

People suffering from Sundown Syndrome may show the following symptoms during the latter half of the day:

  • Anxiety and agitation
  • Sadness
  • Restlessness
  • Confusion
  • Disorientation
  • Mood swings
  • Hallucinations or delusions
  • Extreme pacing
  • Wandering
  • Rocking

For some people, the symptoms they face diminish immediately. However, for some, they continue on, disturbing their sleeping schedule: leaving them wide awake at night and making them sleepy during the day.

Preventing Sundown syndrome is impossible, however, as a caregiver, you can engage in a number of techniques that can help reduce the ‘late-day confusion’ and agitation that your loved one faces.

The following may help:

1.        Make a schedule and try to follow it

People suffering from Alzheimer’s usually cannot remember new things, which makes it hard for them to develop new routines. This unfamiliarity in their daily life can cause stress and agitation which seems to play a role in causing the symptoms to surface.  Hence, keep your loved ones calm and collected by setting a regular time for eating, sleeping, etc. The familiarity provides them with security.

2.        Light it up for them

Theories to explain Sundowning are many, but one reason that stands out is the change in a patient’s sleep-wake cycle. To address the issues, experts have suggested adjusting the lights in the room – by adding bright or fluorescent lights. This can help prevent those with Sundowning from assuming that it is nighttime, which in turn, will make them less agitated and confused.

3.        Distract and attract

Divert the person away from self-consuming thoughts and anxieties by engaging in activities that they love. These may include engaging in physical exercise, going for walks, or even playing music. Distractions help reduce daytime napping, increasing the chances of peaceful sleep at night.

4.        Be there for them but do not overdo it

Try to stay calm when you’re dealing with a patient or loved one. Do not argue with those suffering, even if they face hallucinations or delusions. Just reassure them, tell them they will be fine and that you are there watching out for them. Your presence in itself offers them the familiarity they crave.

Managing Sundown Syndrome is not easy. It requires patience and time but a little support from you can help ease your loved ones’ anxiety and confusion.

10 Things Everyone Should Do As We Age (And that your Care Manager Can Help You Carry Out)

  1.  Identify a trusted person Identify a trusted person or persons to receive your essential documents. We’ll call this person the Information Keeper. This may be an adult child, a long-time friend, or someone who can be counted on as absolutely trustworthy. Set a date for this person to review this checklist.
  2.  Choose one or two people to become your legal and/or durable medical power of attorney (DPOA). Include these names, signed and notarized in the estate plan documents. But it is surprising how many families don’t have one when they need it. A generic DPOA form can also be downloaded free from the internet.
  3.  Have a signed advanced healthcare directive and fill out a Medical Order for Life-Sustaining Treatment (MOLST). Competent elder care attorneys should also include this document in the estate plan. This document is available for free from your physician’s office or from the internet for free. It is vitally important that you express your end of life wishes now, so that family members don’t have to make those decisions for you.
  4.  Make a list of all bank accounts, passwords, investment records and financial planning. The professionals you are working with should be on the list. And you should give permission in writing to each of them, such as your accountant, elder care lawyer, and financial advisor to communicate with your appointed trusted person.
  5.  List all of your insurance policies and provide the location of these written documents. This includes life, disability, health, property, and anything else you own that will protect your heirs. Millions of dollars of life insurance proceeds go uncollected each year because the beneficiaries do not know that the policies exist or that they are the recipients.
  6.  Make a copy of your mortgage statement, other loans and debts, financial statements, and bank statement. These should be updated quarterly as they change and amounts fluctuate. If you become incapacitated, your designated person would need to step in and handle your affairs. Make sure they have the financial information necessary.
  7.  Make a list of all physicians, care providers, medications and allergies you take and give the list to the Information Keeper along with written permission to speak with your doctors. This could be a life-saving measure if you are unable to communicate. This one is simple and won’t take much time.
  8.  Talking about death and your burial wishes to your family is difficult but do it anyway. Create or have on hand information about your wishes for burial or disposition of your remains.
  9.  Update your will and/or trust with your elder care attorney. Laws vary by each state and these need to be current in the state where you now live in retirement. If you’ve never gotten around to updating your will or trust, then make a date and see a lawyer.
  10.  Call a family meeting to discuss the items on this checklist. Transparency is critical to avoid conflicts down the road. Everyone should know your wishes.

Corewood Care Managers are trained nurses and social workers dedicated to providing expert guidance and advocacy to deliver safe and cost-effective long-term care solutions. We understand the importance of delivering solutions that help our clients and their families reclaim their lives and increase their quality of life, all while maximizing independence, safety, and comfort. Our Care Managers will develop a comprehensive, personalized care plan offering you and your family options of how to proceed with both immediate care and long-term care. If you wish to learn more or have any questions about our new operational guidelines, please call our office directly at 301-909-8117.

First Quarter: Corewood Care Giving Back

First Quarter: Corewood Care Giving Back

At Corewood Care we strive to give back to the community and provide the community with the resources they need. Below is an overview of some of the events we have sponsored this quarter.

Thank you to everyone who has been a part of our events so far this year. Make sure to explore our social media pages to learn about future Corewood Care events!

Parkinson’s Foundation of the National Capital Area (PFNCA) Event – Corewood Care, Kensington Park and Kendra Scott came together to support the Parkinson’s Foundation of the National Capital Area (PFNCA).  The event took place at Kendra Scott in Downtown Bethesda this April. 20% of all proceeds were donated to the PFNCA. Kendra Scott is a woman owned business, offering beautiful and affordable jewelry.

Caregiver Stress Relief Seminar – As part of our community seminar series, our team held a Caregiver Stress Relief Seminar at Brookdale Olney Assisted Senior Living this April.  Our Care Management team spoke to caregivers and individuals who needed support. If you are a caregiver in need of stress relief information, check out the Mayo Clinic’s resources. Learn how respite care and support groups may be of help to you. 

Bowling for Alzheimer’s Event – Corewood Care has joined the fight to end Alzheimer’s and will be participating in the annual Walk to End Alzheimer’s on October 13, 2018. This event is held in more than 600 communities nationwide, and is the world’s largest event to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s care, support and research. This inspiring event calls on participants of all ages and abilities to join the fight against the disease. If you are still looking to join a team, consider joining ours!

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