What to do if a loved one resists help?
Unfortunately, using logic doesn’t work in most cases. Sometimes family must stress that the help is for them and their peace of mind, giving them the assurance that the loved one is eating, staying clean, getting exercise and interacting with others. In reality, it’s another set of eyes and ears on the situation to help guide the decision maker about the tough decisions. Sometimes it becomes necessary to bargain/negotiate, “you want to stay at home for as long as possible, right?”
“Well, the only way that can happen is for you to agree to have some help.” Don’t say it, if you don’t mean it, and be willing to follow through on whatever transpires.
In order to find just the right fit, a family may need to try different approaches to service, i.e. short/long days/hrs./male/female caregivers. Also, engage the loved one in designing the scope of service, as well as the Plan of Care (what exactly needs to be done). The Nurse Assessor will compare/contrast the Plan of Care and Service Plan to the Loved One’s ADLs (Activities of Daily Living) and abilities. All of these together should help to determine a positive experience and outcome.
How do you know when it’s time to transition from Home Care to full time skilled nursing care?
Some families make this decision based on their ability to manage the needs of their loved one in the following three areas:
Safety – considering wandering, fall risk, leaving items on the stove (fire hazard), leaving water running (creating flooding), inability to consistently use assistive devices (cane, walker, wheel chair) without supervision
Incontinence – family isn’t willing/able to keep the loved one clean/dry due to urine/bowel incontinence and results in rapid skin breakdown/bed sores/wounds
Disease Symptom Management – Family is often unable to keep loved ones’ symptoms controlled outside of a controlled environment with a strict regimen of medication administration and care management, thus the need for placement.
If you’re caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia, Halloween can be exceptionally scary.
The constantly ringing doorbell and children in costumes can be disturbing, confusing and even frightening for someone with any type of dementia including Alzheimer’s. Here are some tips to keep your loved one with safe on Halloween.
Make sure your loved one has company on Halloween
Unfortunately, this is a time that masks are acceptable and a burglary could possibly occur.
Choose fun Halloween decorations—not scary ones
Pumpkins are good. Scary things or items that make noise...not so much.
Eliminate candles and glowing lights
Due to vision changes, avoid shadow casting.
Monitor television viewing closely
There are a lot of disturbing programs on this time of year. The wrong show could leave a lasting impression.
Build your own traditions
Consider doing seasonal crafts, watching a fun (not scary) movie, or looking through old photographs and remembering holidays past. Focus on fun activities and pay close attention to see which Halloween festivities your loved one enjoys.
90% of people who live in nursing homes suffer from apathy, which has a negative effect on their well being. This "magic table" was created to help. See video here.
“In order to empathize with old-old people, we need to understand the complex interweaving of physical deterioration and developmental needs,” writes Naomi Feil in The Validation Breakthrough.
Like Feil, who has more than 30 years experience working with the elderly, I’ve found that “old disoriented people have an intuitive wisdom, a basic humanity that we all share. Behind their disorientation lies a human knowing. I have witnessed this “human knowing” in people with dementia, even when they find it difficult to articulate their thoughts. I call it “intuitive clairvoyance.”
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that old people have the same needs all of us do. But somehow we lose sight of their humanity and their right to dignity. We treat them like children. We talk about them like they are invisible even when they’re right beside us. We tell them what to do. We restrain them physically and chemically. We ignore and isolate them. We fail to provide them the things they need to live full and productive lives to the end. What a shame!
We must use our failures (as Feil herself has) to develop a deeper understanding as well as better tools, techniques, and ways of caring for the elderly and people with dementia. I believe we must change the way we see and support the elderly, in particular people who have dementia. As they become less able to do so themselves, it’s our responsibility to help them get their needs met in the final part of their journey.
Fell suggests “old-old” people and people with dementia have psychological and social needs just like the rest of us. I would go further and say these are rights, not just needs. Everyone has the right to the needs Feil’s describes:
Resolve unfinished issues, in order to die in peace.
Live in peace.
Restore a sense of equilibrium when aspects of self fail (e.g. sight, hearing, mobility, and memory).
Make sense out of unbearable reality: find a place that feels comfortable, where one feels in order or in harmony and where relationships are familiar.
Be recognized and have status identity and self-worth.
Be useful and productive.
Be listened to and respected.
Express feelings and be heard
Be loved and feel a sense of belonging; have human contact.
Be nurtured, feel safe and secure, rather than immobilized and restrained.
Have all five senses stimulated touch, sight, sound, smell, taste, and be allowed to express one’s sexuality.
Reduce pain and discomfort.
BY SUSAN MACAULAY