To Help Others, One Couple Talks About Life With

Early-Onset Alzheimer's-It’s not a fun topic when you find out that you have Alzheimer’s. But it must be discussed as a family and that’s what this couple did. They shared their experience with NPR, so that they may be of help to others who re finding themselves in this same situation.

"We're facing a lot of practical questions about finances and wills and whether Bella will keep working or retire," he says in the first episode of the podcast. "And we're facing personal questions as our relationship is challenged by this. And as we react to the changes it brings." After a pause, he adds, "It's a journey."

See more here.

 

Holidays are great times to get the older folks in your life invigorated and enthusiastic. Here are a few ideas for the next upcoming holiday-
St. Patrick’s Day.

Dress Up
Put on green and take them out on the town! Go to lunch or dinner, a parade or an activity where they can be seen inter green finery.

Have an Irish-themed meal
Choose traditional Irish Foods or just choose green foods! Make sure they are foods of interest to your elders. Decorate the room or table with shamrocks or other St. Patrick’s items. Invite others over and make a party of it!

Play Bingo
Who doesn’t love Bingo? St. Patrick’s Day bingo boards are available online, or just use regular bingo boards and have small prizes available. Shamrocks. little pots of gold candies, a four leaf clover pin are a few prize ideas.

Make a Craft
This can range from making a four leaf clover pressed bookmark to painting a flower pot and planting a shamrock. You can also consider a photo album of photos you have taken and printed out earlier in the day.

If you are caring for someone living with Alzheimer's disease, you know that as the disease progresses your loved one's ability to manage daily tasks will decline. Consider practical tips to help him or her maintain a sense of independence and dignity as he or she becomes dependent on you and other family members or caregivers.

Reduce frustrations
A person with Alzheimer's disease might become agitated when once-simple tasks become difficult. To limit challenges and ease frustration:

Schedule wisely. Establish a routine to make each day less agitating and confusing. People with Alzheimer's disease can still learn and follow routines. Often it is best to schedule tasks, such as bathing or medical appointments, when the person is most alert and refreshed. Allow some flexibility within the routine for spontaneous activities.
Take your time. Expect things to take longer than they used to. Allow the person with Alzheimer's disease to have frequent breaks. Schedule more time for tasks so that you don't need to hurry him or her.
Involve the person. Allow your loved one to do as much as possible with the least amount of assistance. For example, people with Alzheimer's disease might be able to set the table with the help of visual cues or dress independently if you lay out clothes in the order they go on.
Provide choices. Fewer options are better but give the person with Alzheimer's disease choices every day. For example, provide two outfits to choose from, ask if he or she prefers a hot or cold beverage, or ask if he or she would rather go for a walk or see a movie.
Provide simple instructions. People with Alzheimer's disease best understand clear, one-step communication.
Reduce distractions. Turn off the TV and minimize other distractions at mealtime and during conversations to make it easier for the person with Alzheimer's disease to focus.
Be flexible
Over time, a person living with dementia will become more dependent. But there's a lot you can do to maximize the quality of your interactions and reduce frustration. Try to stay flexible and adapt your routine and expectations as needed.

For example, if your loved one starts insisting on wearing the same outfit every day, consider buying a few identical outfits. If bathing is met with resistance, consider doing it less often. Relaxing your expectations can go a long way toward self-care and well-being.
-Mayo Clinic

You can make St. Valentine's Day special for the elder in your care by getting festive for holidays. Below are some suggestions which do not take much time to put together, are sentimentally appropriate, inside professional boundaries, within means of a tight budget, and not so predictable. 

 

The gold standard is the timeless hand written message.  This can take the form of a card (handmade or formally fancy) or letter written on clean or decorated paper.  Think of the ways your elder is a stand out person, how they make you feel good, what you like about working with them, what you admire about how they live their life. Then simply tell them so straight from the heart.

 

Get a box of their favorite flavor of red Jello and make a tasty treat.  Recipes for using Jello abound.  Use the sugar free Jello, if necessary.  If you use an old school mold for forming the jello into something artistic you will kick your presentation up a notch.

 

Balloons.  Helium filled or blown up by you.  Get more than one (one smacks of a kiddie treat), the more the merrier.  Tie them together with ribbon or tie them to a lamps or chairs where they can be seen throughout the day. Lots of older folks have a sweet tooth, so if yours does present them with cookies or a box/bag of their favorite candy.  Again, if necessary get a sugar free substitute.  Let them enjoy them without interference, but within safe limits.  Do not help yourself, unless they invite you to do, otherwise.  The treat is for them.

 

Ask them what their favorite romantic movie is and download it for them. Ask them why it is their favorite.  Use this activity as an opportunity to engage in conversation which takes an interest in their heart and soul.  They might even share with you some charming stories from down memory lane.

 

Invite one of their friends or neighbors over.  This third person might appreciate being included as you might make their day special, too. They can watch the movie, help eat the Jello or candy/cookies.  Maybe they might share a cup or tea or coffee.

 

Ask your elder if they would like to take a walk through old photo albums and tell you about their loves and loved ones from days gone by.  Show you care by actively listening to them and asking questions about the people and events that meant so much to them.  Ask politely about sweet memories from the past like their first kiss, first crush, first love. 

 

Dress them in red.  Use red place-mats and napkins and plates, etc.  Serve red foods.

 

If transportation is not a hassle, go to to the nicest mall in your area and have a treat, people watch and admire the shop displays.  Take along any mobility assistance equipment that might come in handy, just in case.Show them you cared enough about them to learn more about how to care for them even better than you could naturally.

 

Take your loving care to the next level. See how Mountain Home Care Can Help.

"There are no wards, long hallways, or corridors at the facility. Residents live in groups of six or seven to a house, with one or two caretakers. Perhaps the most unique element of the facility—apart from the stealthy “gardener” caretakers—is its approach toward housing. Hogeway features 23 uniquely stylized homes, furnished around the time period when residents’ short-term memories stopped properly functioning. There are homes resembling the 1950s, 1970s, and 2000s, accurate down to the tablecloths, because it helps residents feel as if they’re home. Residents are cared for by 250 full- and part-time geriatric nurses and specialists, who wander the town and hold a myriad of occupations in the village, like cashiers, grocery-store attendees, and post-office clerks. Finances are often one of the trickier life skills for dementia or Alzheimer’s patients to retain, which is why Hogewey takes it out of the equation; everything is included with the family’s payment plan, and there is no currency exchanged within the confines of the village."

Read more here.