January 11, 2019
By: Darleen Mahoney
A few simple precautions can help make your home or senior living community safe for you or your senior from dangerous falls.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, falls are the number one cause of injuries among Seniors. A person living with a cognitive impairment such as dementia or Alzheimer’s is two to three times more likely to experience a fall with serious injury than their cognitively intact counterparts. Injuries from falls in seniors are more detrimental as they may result in a more serious injury or even death. These more serious injuries can include hip fractures, cuts, serious head and brain injuries. Even when there is no serious injury, a fall can be very scary for a senior and cause them to avoid activities out of fear of falling.
Due to the high risk of falls associated with this population, creating a safe home environment and living space is extremely critical.
You can make your home safe from falls with a few basic changes. It does not have to be a complete house remodel; a few simple tweaks can make a big impact.
The bathroom can be one of the most dangerous rooms in a home. Falls often occur when getting in and out of the tub or shower. Grab bars are an essential part of any Senior’s bathroom. Grab bars reduce the risk of slipping and falling. Grab bars are inexpensive and simple to install. If you have concerns about the appearance of installing grab bars in your home and want to maintain a certain aesthetic appeal, Grabcessories.com offers beautiful safety grab bars that blend right in to your living space. Their products completely blend into a bathroom design while providing a safe environment. They offer 2-in-1 Fall prevention systems disguising grab bars as bath accessories. These fall prevention accessories are not only available for homes but cater to senior living communities as well.
Other important tips to make the rest of a home or assisted living community safer is:
• Removing any tripping hazards – fix any loose carpet, throw away rugs, remove furniture that may block or make maneuvering around a space more difficult.
• Clutter – A neat home free of clutter can help prevent a fall
• Lighting – Inadequate lighting, especially for seniors who may have poor eyesight or may be unsteady, can be detrimental to a senior living space
• Foot wear – While socks and slippers may be the most comfortable, its important to make sure that they are non-slip. If possible, encourage them to wear something with a rubber sole.
• Non-slip flooring – Add non-slip linings to tubs and showers
Falls among seniors are a serious problem and a bad fall can have a huge impact on an otherwise healthy and independent senior. The good news is that falls can be prevented. Following the simple guidelines and doing a little planning can significantly reduce the threat of a fall, giving you or your loved ones many more years of independent living.
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November 19, 2018
Christmas can be a very overwhelming time for someone living with dementia. A sudden influx of friends and family can cause individuals to feel stressed, agitated and confused. Active Minds outline their top tips for supporting your loved one through the overwhelming Christmas period, whilst ensuring you enjoy a magical festive time together.
This will help the day run as smoothly as possible, ensuring that both you and your loved ones enjoy the festivities without a hitch.
- Create a schedule, ensure celebrations are planned for earlier in the day to avoid tiredness or agitation.
- Speak to friends and family in advance about plans, and make sure everyone works together to ensure elderly members feel included and part of conversations.
- It may be a good idea to familiarise extended family members with any behavioral changes that they may expect to view in the person with dementia.
- A person with dementia can find large groups intimidating so keep invitations to a minimum.
- Familiarise you loved one with the guests in preparation for the event, talk about them and show pictures of everyone who will be coming.
- Have a quiet room set up where your loved one can go if things become a bit too much, with some activities that can help them relax.
- Plan some simple family activities and games that are inclusive to all generations.
Eating and Drinking
Food and drink plays a big part of Christmas. It’s important to think about eating and dietary requirements for elderly relatives as rather often older party members may have particular needs.
- Those with dementia may struggle to eat for many of reasons, such as a lack of appetite. So it’s best to avoid overloading their plate with Christmas Dinner, as this can be a daunting prospect.
- Keep alcohol to a minimum to avoid arguments or accidents that can agitate a person with dementia.
- Try where possible to serve food that is familiar to your loved one as this will help them feel comfortable and relaxed and may even spark memories and conversation.
- Sometimes people with dementia experience problems with vision. To avoid confusion, place colour-contrasting rugs in front of doors or steps to make sure they are visible (dark coloured rugs may be mistaken for holes).
- If the house is unfamiliar to your loved one, place labels on doors to help them move around easily.
- If possible, limit access to places where injury could occur, such as kitchens or staircases.
- Keep a list of emergency contacts nearby.
- If staying the night, leave lights on in case your loved one gets confused if they get up during the night.
Take time for yourself
Caregivers often struggle trying to balance Christmas plans and looking after their loved ones, meaning it can be an incredibly stressful time of year, so you must make sure you take some time for yourself.
- Pace yourself and set realistic goals so you don’t overstretch.
- Assign another member of the family to also be on hand to ensure that your loved one is ok and comfortable, so the job isn’t entirely your responsibility.
- You may want to have a respite care plan put in place to begin shortly after the festivities have ended. This would ensure to give yourself a well-deserved break.
- Be proud of yourself – Christmas can be a tough time for both a person with dementia and their carer.
If you have an elderly relative or friend that’s not spending Christmas with you, regular phone calls can help elderly people not feel isolated or lonely. Although this can be a very busy time of year, try and make time for a visit, even if it’s only brief, as this will be hugely beneficial for them.
Of course, it wouldn’t be Christmas without the giving and receiving of gifts. Choosing gifts for people with dementia isn’t always easy, so we’ve put together a few ideas which make the perfect present.
- A DVD of a classic film or TV series from their past, the film may help to spark memories.
- There are jigsaw puzzles available which are created especially for someone with dementia, including illustrations which can encourage reminiscence and conversation, perfect as a stimulating gift.
- Make a memory book or photo album full of special times spent together. Not only will you be creating something that you can enjoy with your loved one, this will be a reminiscent gift, that your family member can pick up and look at any time they want.
- Giving your loved one a board game to enjoy with everyone is a great gift. Active Minds have developed special dementia friendly games such as Animal Bingo and a specially adapted version of Snakes and Ladders.
- Colouring books are a relaxing activity to help a person unwind and focus, as well as giving a sense of satisfaction once the colouring is completed.
Activities are one of the most effective ways to keep people with dementia calm and content over the Christmas period, visit Active Minds to take a look at their resources and activities suitable for those with dementia.
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May 31, 2018
By: Darleen Mahoney
As the rate of Alzheimer’s Disease increases and we seem to be on the brink of a cure or treatment. It still seems all too futuristic to those in the here and now fighting for loved ones with the disease.
As the idea that there may be a cure around the corner lingers, the disease is still growing in numbers and being aware of the signs at home in order to get treatment as early detection are keys to potentially living more independently longer, subsiding the symptoms.
Alzheimer’s is a brain disease that causes the slow decline of memory, thinking and reasoning skills. Let’s review basic warning signs. These signs may be experienced differently by each person to varying degrees.
- Memory loss – One might forget recent information like dates or events. Asking the same questions over and over. Using things like post it notes, reminder notes, electronic devices, or even family to remember things they used to remember on their own.
- Problem Solving – One might have problems developing and following a plan or working with numbers. They may start forgetting to pay monthly bills, work electronics like phones, stoves, and remotes, etc. that were everyday routine devices.
- Losing Track of Times and Dates – One might start losing track of dates and time. They may start forgetting how they got somewhere or even where they are.
- Visual Changes – Some Alzheimer’s patients have experiences changes in vision with judging distance, color, and depth perception. These are problematic to those who may still be driving.
- Problems with Speech – One might have trouble following or joining a conversation, they may stop in the middle of a conversation or have no idea how to continue, repeating themselves. They struggle with their words and sometimes are unable to find the right words, calling things by the wrong names at times.
- Misplacing Things – One might start putting things in odd places, losing things, and unable to recall steps to find them. Some may accuse others of stealing those things. This may start occurring more frequently as they may appear to be paranoid.
- Poor Judgment – One may start having poor decision-making and changes in their judgment. They may not be able to deal with money, giving large amounts away or handling it improperly. This makes them more vulnerable to people who may want to take advantage. They may start bathing less and not taking care of their hygiene.
- Withdraws from Family, Social, and Work – One might begin removing themselves from their social activities, hobbies, projects, and even their own family. They start avoiding these situations because of the changes that they are experiencing.
- Mood Changes – The mood and the personality of someone with Alzheimer’s changes as they become confused and become experiencing depression, fear, and anxiety in their daily lives. They are no longer able to find a “comfort zone”.
Clearly, many of these signs can be normal in aging adults. Recognizing multiple and ongoing signs in someone you love should not be ignored, schedule a doctor’s appointment.
There is treatment available with early detection, relief of the symptoms and will help them maintain a level of independence longer.
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May 24, 2018
By: Darleen Mahoney
The decision has been made to keep your aging parent at home a little while longer or they are living with you, but you cannot be there 24/7 and need to take a few safety precautions when you cannot be there.
As 1 in 4 adults over the age of 65 takes a fall, safety is important. This is typically the primary safety concern along with each senior having their own individual health and mental concerns.
Having a plan and exploring what options fit your family, your senior, and the home is always a great start.
If getting a full evaluation of the homes safety is a goal, you may want to contact a certified aging-in-place specialist, occupational or physical therapist, or a geriatric care manager. They will be able to make safety recommendations.
A few quick and easy solutions:
- Raised Toilet Seat
- Shower Chair
- Textured no-slip strips in the bathtub and shower
- Stair climber
- Waterproof seat in the shower
- Controls and switches near bed and/or wheelchair
- Remove throw rugs
- Add monitors and alarms to the home
- Remove locks from doors inside the home
- Change doors to the outside of the home to levers
- Hallway and stairway lighting is efficient
- Adjust thermostat on hot water heater to avoid water getting too hot
Another option in the form of preventative safety when your aging parent or senior is unable to be alone or alone for long periods of time, consider a home healthcare service. They can provide a range of services including: transportation, cooking, light housekeeping, dispensing medication, and other services. Home Healthcare services vary on their offerings, visit www.SeniorLivingGuide.com‘s Home Health tab in your area to find out what specific services that fit your family’s needs.
You have followed all these steps to be proactive with safety, but accidents and emergencies still can happen. What then?
Remember the commercial with the catchphrase, “I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up!”? Since this commercial became a pop-culture phenomenon in its 80’s debut, personal response and medical monitoring devices have been the answer to in-home senior safety and security especially as technology has progressed over the years.
Medical Alarm Monitoring such as, Bay Alarm Medical, may be a turn key and inexpensive solution providing you peace of mind. If your senior has an accident, gets frightened, or has a need for any type of medical attention, a touch of a button alerts the company, authorities, and specific contacts easily.
Whatever your home situation is with your aging parent; keeping safety and security top of mind is key. There are many solutions to consider, but there is a magnitude of resources available both online and offline. Make sure that you do your research and utilize what is available.
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