How To Have Your Elderly Parents Properly Cared For Without Going Broke in The Process

elderly parents

Your Mother has Alzheimer’s. She needs around-the-clock supervision and help at home. Her insurance doesn’t cover it and you can’t afford a Nursing Home nor care for her full-time. What’s Your Next Move? [Read more…]

Why it’s Totally Ok To Shamelessly Lie, Cajole and Steal From Your Elderly Parents

…a one minute read

elderly parents

I asked you a few posts ago to “forget logic” with a parent suffering from Alzheimer’s or Dementia …didn’t I?

We all know that lying and stealing are generally bad things, and you are right, under normal circumstances telling lies is pretty much a bad personal policy in general.

Except, there’s nothing normal or traditional about caring for a parent suffering from dementia. So nothing you think would normally work will apply here!

[Read more…]

How To Sneak Up On Alzheimer’s Disease By Doing Smart Planning

a 2 minute read…

Alzheimer's care

I don’t think the WHY one needs to properly plan for this devastating disease is any longer debated or doubted, rather the HOW becomes the central hub of both debate and action around this topic.

However if you are still questioning why you may need to prepare for future Alzheimer’s care here are some hair-raising stats:

[Read more…]

My Mother Doesn’t Know Who I am!

dementiaThis is going to be a tough one guys… there’s no easy way out or around it, only through it.

As Dementia percolates through your Mom’s brain, it systematically destroys everything in its path, every cell containing every memory, and every memory linking to precious moments …until it eventually gets to those neurons where memories of you as a child, a young woman, your graduation, wedding and birth of your children reside. These memories are now all gone!

[Read more…]

Gadgets That Make Life Simpler For People with Dementia and Alzheimer’s

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If there’s a group of people that can benefit from new ideas, inventions and technologies to help cope with day to day needs are dementia and Alzheimer’s patients and their families.

[Read more…]

Living with Dementia -6 Tips for Caregivers

…a 3 min read

Caregiving for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia it’s like an Iron Man race you can’t train for, and where tempo and speed shift on you with no heads up, warning, and you have to be ready.

Needless to say caregiving for someone with dementia will either evolve you as a human being, or it will consume you.

[Read more…]

Noise Pollution: A Health Hazard in Elder Care

noise pollution

Be aware of noise pollution when caring for the elderly.

In my last post, I wrote about music as a beneficial form of therapy for the elderly who suffer from memory disorders, which begs the question: what about the sounds of everyday life?

The Environmental Protection Agency explains the consequences of unwanted and disturbing sound, which is the basic definition of noise pollution — an environmental stressor we cannot taste, smell or see: “Sound becomes unwanted when it either interferes with normal activities such as sleeping, conversation, or disrupts or diminishes one’s quality of life.”

Noise pollution can lead to health problems, too. “Studies have shown that there are direct links between noise and health.  Problems related to noise include stress related illnesses, high blood pressure, speech interference, hearing loss, sleep disruption, and lost productivity.”

Alzheimer’s and dementia patients are particularly sensitive to stimuli that a healthy person can normally filter. In creating a safe and comfortable environment for my parents, I found myself thinking like a parent creating a healthy environment for her children: routines, which are so important for kids to feel stable, are just as important for the elderly. A typical day for my parents revolved around “quiet” time and “noisy” time.

As caregivers, we shouldn’t take any of the five senses for granted when developing strategies for care — including hearing. Patients will react differently to auditory input and so we should be keenly aware of sound “hazards” in the patient’s surroundings.

NOISE POLLUTION AS ENVIRONMENTAL STRESS

When I was caring for my mother, I noticed that some ordinary sounds – such as a loud TV — were particularly disturbing for her. She would grimace and want to retreat to what I can only describe as her “safe space” where she detached from the world.

To help her, I avoided over-stimulation without completely dulling surrounding noises. Agitation and discomfort might otherwise have affected her cardiovascular health and emotional well-being.

I knew my mother well and so I could gauge what I thought she would like or wouldn’t like based on how she reacted to the world before Alzheimer’s disease. Neurologists had no answer for me, but all I really needed to know was old-fashioned common sense. In short, just keep the patient comfortable.

Sound is energy and vibration. While an Alzheimer’s patient may not be able to cognitively understand a sound — a spoken word may be interpreted as just that, a sound with no meaning — they may certainly be able to “feel” it, which explains the positive effects of music.

CONVERSATION AS NOISE POLLUTION

Noise pollution isn’t just about unwanted sounds; it’s also about conversation. I would always ask our health aides to refrain from any conversation when standing within earshot of my father, who was then in the beginning stages of dementia and my mother, who had advanced Alzheimer’s.

Imagine being surrounded by negative conservation or even a pleasant chat that your brain can’t process for context. Eventually, the meaningless “sound” may become jarring. You’re powerless to make it go away if you’re “stuck” in your body.

In one instance, my father overheard one side of a stressful conversation an aide was having over her cellphone about money. Because he was confused at that moment, he couldn’t properly interpret what he had heard. Later, he spoke to me as if he had been involved in her dilemma, which was a needless source of stress and anxiety for him and for me as well, as I had to go to great lengths to clarify that no one was stealing his money. (This is a major stressor for the elderly who perceive they are “losing” their possessions as they gradually let go of what they once managed.)

It’s crucial, then, to watch one’s words when speaking in front of dementia patients who are still aware of surroundings.

In my mother’s case, it was impossible to tell in the advanced stages of the disease if and how her brain could interpret sound. I erred on the side of caution: even in a state of stupor in which she was completely unresponsive, I encouraged everyone who came near her to keep unpleasant sounds and conversations at bay.

While it may seem obvious that no patient or even a healthy individual would want to tolerate noise pollution, consider this: the elderly in many nursing homes who do not enjoy private rooms must endure an almost constant stream of distracting and unpleasant noises that interfere with peace and quiet: working staff, sick roommates and their visitors, loud television sets, beeping medical equipment and other sounds create a cacophony of noise.

This situation is yet another reason to consider in-home healthcare alternatives for the elderly where caregivers can control the environment.

Some Alzheimer’s and dementia patients tend to yell or wail loudly when they feel nervous, which is a whole other aspect of elder care. My parents were relatively quiet but in all cases, it’s imperative to be conscious of noise levels. (Read what worked or didn’t work for some caregivers at Caring.com’s support group.)

In my experience, I simply tried to imagine how I would feel if I were sick and bewildered, not just for the sake of empathy, but also to gauge what would be an appropriate level of noise for my parents.

If you found this post of interest and value, kindly click your favorite social button below and share.

maria de los angelesMaria de los Angeles is an award-winning writer based in Miami who became a caregiver to her parents in 2008. Since then, she has been a passionate advocate for eldercare and caregiver issues.

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ATTENTION! Free Report Reveals Secret Formula For Getting Elder Care at Home …without going broke in the process!

We find ways to help families get the personal care services at home they need and deserve regardless of the insurance landscape or personal situation!

Call us With Your Questions or Concerns and Get Rid of All That Doubt and Uncertainty! 

CALL:   305-220-4544   [Miami Dade Area]

1-877-746-8908   [For Out of Area Families]

17 Not-So-Obvious But Unmistakable Warning Signs Your Parent Is Declining in Function and Will Soon Need Help at Home

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Wrinkles should merely indicate where smiles have been. ~Mark Twain, Following the Equator

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ATTENTION! Free Report Reveals Secret Formula For Getting Elder Care at Home …without going broke in the process!

You know instinctively this day is coming. The day when the next call you’ll get could be from a neighbor, a police officer, or just a total stranger who is trying to help your wandering and disoriented parent. The day when they can no longer shop, bathe, or eat by themselves. They day when they call you by a different name.

Any one scenario above can be pre-planned or even avoided. The key is to know what signs to look for!

It’s amazing how much pain and frustration a little bit of planing can save you when the time comes to face a parent’s inevitable decline into a state of permanent convalescence.

The question is, when that day comes  —Will they have the foundation OF care YOU planned and created for them?

Now remember, these are not signs that they need help URGENTLY …but rather not-so-obvious warning signs that NOW it’s the time to start planning some sort of Home Care or personalized caregiver program.

Not knowing these NOT-SO-OBVIOUS warning signs is why almost everyone gets caught unprepared and tool-less.

The result is they are now forced to rush decisions at the worse possible time.

So here they are, 17 warning signs that if you are paying attention and like a detective, uncover the right clues, you will save yourself and your parent a mountain of pain and suffering!

Why?

Because you now know what to look for, and if you know what to look for you can plan ahead.

So be on the look out for:
  1. Frequent falls, visible cuts and bruises.
  2. Need the help of walker to get around house.
  3. When normal conversation stops or takes a depressing tone.
  4. Change in appearance and mood.
  5. No longer interested in activities and fun events.
  6. Excessive arguing and fly-off-the-handle type temper.
  7. Unopened meds and unfilled prescriptions.
  8. Lack of personal hygiene and bathing, strange odor.
  9. Noticeable weigh loss, not eating regularly.
  10. Unopened bills and personal mail.
  11. Frequent fender benders. Look for dents and scratches in car.
  12. Lack of housekeeping signs.
  13. Worsening of existing chronic conditions.
  14. Stale and expired food and drinks.
  15. Broken down house appliances and other items.
  16. Cancelling doctor visits.
  17. Excessive forgetfulness and absent mindedness.

You can complement this list with our very popular Elder Care Guide – and learn how to create a personalized Elderly Care custom plan.

This guide will show you how to build a basic support system at home for your elderly parents with limited coverage and without going broke in the process?

You’ll learn things like:

  • How to leverage the four types of Long Term Care payment sources for maximum value and minimum costs.
  • How to use our 3-Step-Process and 5-Point-Checklist and get the services you need started!
  • How to negotiate bottom line rates with caregivers and home care agencies.
  • How to quickly assess your parent’s finances for Long Term Care and other chronic health conditions …and a half a dozen other hacks and caregiving strategies!

So there you go, you now know more than 90% of everyone out there who may be facing an inevitable care giving scenario this week, but they are not armed with the tools you now have.

But let’s not keep this information all to ourselves!

If you found this post of interest and value, kindly click your favorite social button below and share.

Take care :-)

320x320_crop_claudiopicClaudio Alegre is the Chief Content Writer for Angel Home Care Services on the Web and Patient and Family Relations Advocate off the Web. He lives in Miami with his wife and 3 boys.

 

We find ways to help families get the personal care services at home they need and deserve regardless of the insurance landscape or personal situation!

Call us With Your Questions or Concerns and Get Rid of All That Doubt and Uncertainty! 

CALL:   305-220-4544   [Miami Dade Area]

1-877-746-8908   [For Out of Area Families]

Why Music Therapy for Seniors With Alzheimer’s and Dementia Totally Rocks!

music therapy

Did you know that music therapy can alleviate pain, enhance memory and improve communication?

As a caregiver for my senior mom, I know first hand how emotionally painful it is to observe the decline of an Alzheimer’s patient.

During the early stages of the disease, long before she became bed-bound and unresponsive, I experimented with music therapy.

We would sing together as a way of socializing. This also exercised her long-term memory and mental function.

My mom had a background in music and while she could no longer play the piano, she would enjoy listening to songs that reminded her of her youth in Cuba and her 50-year marriage to my father.

She also loved the songs I composed for her on the quarto, a small, 4-stringed guitar.

My mom loved to dance when she was younger and so in spite of her aging body, she could feel rhythm and music “in her bones” even when she was barely capable of carrying a conversation.

I encouraged her to stand up while she still could and perform small, gentle hand and foot movements. Dance became part of our music therapy routine and it exercised her motor-coordination.

Sometimes, she would hum along. No matter what, her face would always LIGHT UP!

MUSIC THERAPY AS A STRATEGY FOR SUNDOWNING RELIEF

My father suffers from dementia and he too benefited from our music therapy. At night, I sang to my parents before I tucked them into bed and we enjoyed the same lullabies they sang to me when I was a child.

Although the bedtime ritual was bittersweet for me, it meant we could bond when short-term memory was fuzzy. My singing would help both my “babies” fall asleep with a sense of security and comfort.

Routine is especially important for the elderly with memory disorders, as they tend to become agitated at night in a state of confusion and restlessness called “sundowning.”

Singing softly at bedtime was not only crucial for my parents’ palliative care but it also soothed me before “me” time. Bedtime music therapy meant that my caregiver work day was over and that I could now take care of my own needs.

Music gave me a respite from the constant worry that resulted from being a parent to my parents. Although I would, of course, have preferred to sing to my parents under happier circumstances, using music as a therapeutic tool brought me a sense of peace and acceptance.

Caught up in the stress of caregiving, I often forgot these simple joys in life.

WHY MUSIC THERAPY IS INCREDIBLY EFFECTIVE

The Alzheimer’s Association offers a more scientific description of what I believe most of us already know intuitively:

This happens because rhythmic and other well-rehearsed responses require little to no cognitive or mental processing. They are influenced by the motor center of the brain that responds directly to auditory rhythmic cues. A person’s ability to engage in music, particularly rhythm playing and singing, remains intact late into the disease process because, again, these activities do not mandate cognitive functioning for success.

In short, music really does soothe the soul and the mind!

For most of us, music is usually a source of joy and connection that’s grounded in our early perception of our surroundings. The first sound we hear is the mother’s heartbeat. Sound and movement are primal to our body’s instinctual relationship to the world.

Those who suffer from Alzheimer’s lose their sense of connectedness; the mental fog of short-term memory loss must be very bewildering.

Sounds that evoke positive, joyful feelings, including laughter, are all means of breaking the painful silence of Alzheimer’s when the patient is no longer capable of responding to other forms of stimuli. Tapping into the music my mother “remembered” was a form of communication for both of us when she could no longer hold a normal conversation.

In my experience as a caregiver for seniors, music therapy supported a sense of well-being once we identified what kind of music would help my parents focus on any task at hand — even the simple task of singing.

One compelling testimonial about the benefits of music therapy comes from Music and Memory, a non-profit organization that brings personalized music into the lives of the elderly or infirm through digital music technology, vastly improving quality of life.

If you care for a loved one with a memory disorder, try going down memory lane with their favorite music. It’ll be good for both of you!

 

maria de los angelesMaria de los Angeles is an award-winning writer based in Miami who became a caregiver to her parents in 2008. Since then, she has been a passionate advocate for eldercare and caregiver issues.

 

If you found this post of interest and value, kindly click your favorite social button below and share.

In the meantime GRAB Your FREE LONG TERM CARE REPORT – An elderly care guide for the times we live in! -And find out how to create a personalized Long Term Care custom plan that works for you!

“I consider Angel Home Care Services pretty much an extension of my family. They have brought order to the chaos in my life!” -E.O, Miami Florida

10 Must Ask Questions Before Hiring a Home Health Aide

hiring a home health aide

Are you in need of a home health aide for your elderly parents or a loved one, and you don’t know how to go about it? How do you make sure this person or company are legit and not someone with a questionable background? How do you supervise or even rate the care you are getting? How much should you pay for care? Will your insurance cover it?

Not knowing the specific answers to these questions can definitely be a source of stress and fear, especially if you need to act quickly.

But no one with these kinds of needs should be afraid to ask or be ignorant about where to find the answers.

At the end of the day you want the same things we all want as far as caring for a loved one  -To ensure that they are in safe and capable hands!

[Read: When a Health Care Crisis Strikes, Where Do You Start?]

One more thing! …If you feel alone and isolated, you are not!

Roughly half of the United States population has at least one chronic condition, according to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). Adults ages 65 and older, 75 percent of whom have chronic conditions, are expected to make up 19 percent of the population by 2030, compared with 12 percent in 2000.

That means you are not the only family member asking those very same questions and experiencing similar fears and concerns about hiring a home health aide or caregiver.

But to help you frame a good strategy if you are ever in the market for a home health aide, here are 10 questions you should ask the agency you are considering working with:

  • What are your recruitment process and your hiring requirements for home health aides?
  • Are your home health aides insured and bonded through the agency?
  • How do you assess their skills?
  • How often do you perform supervision visits?
  • In the event the home health aide is unable to perform how quickly can you substitute the help?
  • If I’m dissatisfied with the home health aide can I request a replacement “without cause”?
  • Are your home health aides up to date with their CEUs (continuing education units)?
  • Do you hire experienced health aides or newly graduated ones?
  • Do you consult with families regarding available community programs that provide personal care and health aide?
  • What other services in addition to home health aide do you provide for families?

Don’t limit yourself to these questions only. If you come up with other questions you feel are important please share them with us. You can do so at our Facebook Page –The Daily Pill, or just simply call us at 305.220.4544

In the meantime grab our FREE Long Term Care Report – An elderly care guide for the times we live in! …and learn how to create a personalized Long Term Care custom plan.

Until next time!

Oh! …and if you found this post of interest and value, please hit your favorite social button below and share :-)

320x320_crop_claudiopicClaudio Alegre is the Chief Content Writer for Angel Home Care Services on the Web and Patient and Family Relations Advocate off the Web. He lives in Miami with his wife and 3 boys.