Archive for March, 2014

Tips For Staying Active and Involved With Dementia

Friday, March 28th, 2014

Dementia can have an impact on your friend or loved one’s ability to perform certain activities, but keeping your friend or loved one mentally engaged is important to their happiness and sense of purpose. The benefits to staying active with dementia are many, and include: keeping the mind active and engaged, encouraging independence, and engagement that stimulates communication.

Below are some unique and creative ways to keep seniors mentally active, via Alzheimers.org.uk:

Finding the right activities:

Before you begin any new activities, talk to your friends or loved ones about what interests them, and remember what their passions were when they were younger.

For example, were they an Engineer when they were working? If so, maybe hands-on activities and building may be the most stimulating activity for them. If their past job may be out of what they’re able to perform now, what hobbies or pastimes did they have? For instance, was your friend or loved one a fan of music? If so, listen to some popular music from their generation and talk to them about it.

Our Nostalgia Program at Alliance Home Health Care is a program designed to stimulate the minds of those with dementia, and it’s built upon the fact that people’s passions still live within them, even with dementia, and tapping into these passions and loves can help conjure up memories of good times and help bring a sense of purpose and happiness to their lives. Additionally, people with dementia can often remember past events better than more current events, so reminiscing about their past passions is a great way to get a conversation started.

But success in getting your friend or loved one actively engaged depends on you taking the time to find the right activities for them and their current abilities.

Light Exercise:

Exercise is great for our minds and our bodies, but oftentimes we neglect exercise for a number of reasons. Most often, we just don’t think there is enough time in the day. But even light exercise, walking for twenty minutes a day, can help keep the mind active.

Tip: Walking with a group of people can help stimulate the mind, not only via getting the blood pumping to the brain, but also through conversation along the way. Organize a time to walk with your friend or loved one and strike up a casual conversation. You’ll find it will be beneficial for all.

Always remember, work within their abilities:

Puzzles, music, exercise etc. are all great ways to stimulate the minds of those with dementia, but remember to be patient and work within what they can do. Overstimulation, failure, and negative reactions to activities can frustrate those with dementia easier than others, so remember to take it slow and watch their reactions to certain activities carefully. If you see a negative reaction, stop and take a rest, do not try to force your friend or loved one to engage.

Remember, dementia-related illnesses have an effect on your friend or loved one’s memory, but that doesn’t mean they have to stop being mentally engaged. In fact, mental activity is essential to sustaining memory and happiness in your friend or loved one. Be calm, work with your friend or loved one, and focus on what seems to make them happy.

If you need more assistance, you can always call one of our Care Advisors at 317-581-1100.

For more ideas and activities, read the full article at Alzheimers.org.uk.

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Is Aging In Place Right For You?

Friday, March 28th, 2014

It’s a fact that nearly 90% of seniors want to stay in their home for as long as possible. After all, the home is a place of comfort, and stability. But living independently, or with the assistance of a Personal Home Care Attendant or Home Health Care Aide, takes proper planning and preparation. Below are some helpful guidelines to consider when asking yourself if aging in place is right for you or your loved one:

Assessing potential problems and solutions:

Friends, family, and even professional care aides can all assist in living at home independently, but it is important to plan and understand what areas you may need assistance in, in the near future, before you choose aging in place. Some good questions to ask are:

-Are you or your loved one in relatively good health and able to ambulate around the house?

-Are you or your loved one able to perform basic activities of daily living? If so, what areas (cooking, cleaning, bathing etc.) would you or your loved one need help in? And, who can assist you or your loved one in these activities if assistance is required?

-Are neighbors willing to help with chores, like yard work and shoveling driveways and walkways?

-Is the house safe for you or your love one? Are walkways clear? Are handrails and other mobility aides installed? Take a tour of the home, and look for potential problems. Remember to play it safe, it’s always best to plan for the worst and be as detailed in your walkthrough as possible.

What support system can be in place?

If during your planning it comes up that you or your loved one may need assistance in one or more of these areas, talk to friends, family, and neighbors about who can help in what areas, and what times they would be available to assist. Plan out a schedule around chores, doctor’s appointments, and medication pickups and look for potential gaps where no one can help. If no one is available during one of these activities, then talk to a Care Advisor, or other specialized support group in your community about the available options for help.

There are a number of different groups, both in professional home health care and in community outreach groups, that may be able to assist you or your loved one in these basic, but necessary activities. Talk to these groups, you may find the help you need is out there and very affordable.

Will the emotional support be there?

In home health care and personal home care duties, socialization is one of the most important aspects of the job. Isolation is a common occurrence when you or your loved one is at home, and can lead to a number of physical and emotional problems. Talk to family, friends, and neighbors and make sure someone can stop by every once in awhile to just talk.

Additionally, if you or your loved one plans on living independently, be sure to stay active, if able, in activities, hobbies, and social groups you have always been involved in. Whether that’s volunteering, church groups, or even a card club, waking up with something to do is a great way to stay happy and healthy. If you’re not a member of any group or club, remember, it’s never too late to start. Look for senior activities in your area, tell your friends or family members about them, and make sure you include these in your aging in place plans.

As always, if you need more assistance, or found that aging in place may be right for you, you can always speak to one of our Care Advisors for free at 317-581-1100. They have the knowledge and experience to help you every step of the way.

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