Alzheimer's Patients and The Family That Love Them

A beautiful song by a 15 year old boy singing about his relationship with his precious Nan who battles Alzheimer's and his love for her. This goes out to anyone who's life has been impacted by this terrible disease. We understand, and we're here. Well done Harry!

Not Alone by Harry Gardner

8 Touching Handmade Gift Ideas for Grandparents

By Michelle Perez

Yes, you can buy a present for a loving grandparent from a store, but they can be very impersonal. Why not make one with your kids? Kids will love the craft time and grandparents will love having something homemade.

"When a grandchild makes a handmade gift, the present is unique and the grandchild is giving of his time," says Sue Johnson, a grandmother of six from Lancaster, Virginia, grandparenting expert and author of Grandloving: Making Memories with Your Grandchildren. "It's also meaningful because we know they have been thinking about us when they made the gift, and it contains something of himself."

Like Johnson, Kimberly Jo Ellingsworth, a grandmother of five in Monterey, California, understands the significance of a handmade gift. "I always remember the look on my oldest grandson's face when he would bring something he made home and give it to us," she says. "He was so excited, and then even more excited because we used it rather than putting it on a shelf somewhere."

With the help of some very creative grandparents, we came up with eight fun ideas for things your little one can make (sometimes with your help) for this special person in their life.

  1. Create a Collage
  2. Grab your family photos and laminate them to place mats to send to grandma and grandpa. You'll always be there with them bringing joy to each meal.
  3. Make a CD
  4. Record the kids telling their grandparents about their favorite times with Nana and Papa "as a reminder of the importance of being together," Johnson says.
  5. Share Some Sunshine
  6. Have the kids draw grandma's favorite flower, then cut it out and have them paste their photo on it. Draw a big sun with your child's photo in it, and caption it "You are my sunshine!" Teach your kiddos the words to the song and put it on a CD to accompany the gift.
  7. Assemble a Coupon Booklet
  8. Have the kids come up with 10 things they can do for their grandparents -- everything from raking the yard to baking their favorite cookies -- and make each idea a coupon to put in a book.
  9. Personalize Magnets
  10. Get some magnetic tape and put pieces on the back of family photos to create instant fridge magnets.
  11. Film a Homemade Video
  12. Grab the video camera and record your kids being goofy. Or, as Johnson suggests, ask the kids to relay "our family history from the eyes of your grandchild."
  13. Puzzle It Out
  14. Paste a photo of your child on cardboard, cut it into pieces and send with instructions saying, "Put this together and see who loves you!"
  15. Make a List
  16. Write a list of "I love you because ..." statements to send to the grandparents to let them know how special they are.
  17. Plan an Activity or Outing
  18. Yes, physical gifts are nice, but grandparents often treasure the gift of memories with their grandkids even more. Your child and their grandparent can organize something fun for them to do together. For example, create a family trivia game with facts about each person, set up a scavenger hunt or get messy with an afternoon of finger painting. You can take photos of the special day and put them in an album from grandparents to look over.

Handmade gifts can be a tradition that grandkids and grandparents alike can look forward to. Get the little ones thinking of a new gift idea weeks, or even months in advance. This will make for a rewarding present the grandparents won't forget.

Michelle Perez is a freelance writer covering all things Denver. Her work can be found here.

Source: https://www.care.com/a/8-touching-handmade-gift-ideas-for-grandparents-1212092341

Activities for Dementia Patients

Connecting with others is at the core of being human - and it's something that doesn't change when a person has dementia. We're often asked what are good activities for dementia patients. It's important to know that there are many ways you can continue to form connections and strengthen bonds with your loved one during this time.

12 WAYS TO MAKE A CONNECTION

People with dementia often return to long-term memories of childhood. Their minds seem to only recall their younger years, and this is often where connections can be made. The next time you visit with your loved one, try one or more of the following activities to create a connection with them:

  1. Create a Memory Bag
  2. Fill the bag with items reminiscent of their late teens/early twenties. Scented products work well for this, as scents are strongly tied to memory. Try including soap, perfumes and aftershave, or holiday scents like gingerbread, pine and peppermint.
  3. Look Through Photo Albums
  4. Photo albums with pictures from their childhood or young adulthood are best for this. Old periodicals are another good option, particularly those that include many photos such as Life or Time magazines.
  5. Read Out Loud
  6. If your loved one has a favorite book, read it out loud to them and let them hold the book and feel the pages. Encourage them to enjoy the distinctive "old book smell." Reading aloud works especially well with poetry, as the cadence of the words are familiar and calming.
  7. Listen to a Playlist of Favorite Music
  8. Download songs or set up radio to stream that features music from their teenage years. Many internet radio stations include everything from classic rock to big band sounds, their favorite music should be easy to find.
  9. Sing Old Songs
  10. If they grew up going to church, sing old hymns with them. If it's around the holidays, sing holiday carols or other special songs. Class sing-a-longs and music classes were much more common in schools prior to the electronic age. You might be surprised at what songs your loved ones know and remember from elementary school.
  11. Watch Old Movies and TV Shows
  12. Did your parents grow up watching westerns like Gunsmoke or family dramas such as My Three Sons? Perhaps they were more interested in musicals like "The King and I" or "Singing in the Rain." You can find many favorite movies and shows from the 40s, 50s and 60s on Netflix or other streaming services.
  13. Go on a Nature Walk
  14. Use nature to integrate sensory experiences into conversation. Listen to birdsong, touch the wet grass, smell the roses and feel the sunshine on your shoulders. Ask what their favorite outdoor activities were during their youth and try to safely recreate similar scenarios if possible.
  15. Look Through Old Cookbooks
  16. In the past, women spent a great deal of their teenage years learning to cook and young adult years cooking for their families. Discuss origins and variations on old family recipes, or better yet, cook with those old family recipes and share the results with your loved ones.
  17. Enjoy Favorite Treats
  18. Look for candy or other indulgences that were commonplace when your loved one was young. Many companies specialize in nostalgic candy where you can buy old favorites like horehound candy and soft peppermint sticks. Even simple things, like an orange, can be a treat to someone who remembers when you only had them during holidays.
  19. Visit and Connect with Animals
  20. People who grew up on farms may enjoy an outing to a petting zoo or family farm where they can touch and talk to horses and other farm animals. Ask questions about animals, old pets, or what it was like to grow up on a farm. This is a great activity to involve grandchildren in, since many kids today are not familiar with farms.
  21. Reminisce Over Childhood Toys
  22. Nothing elicits childhood memories like familiar old toys. Erector sets, kewpie dolls, sock monkeys and marbles were some of the most popular toys during the 40s and 50s. There are many websites dedicated to antique toys. If you have any old toys available, bring them when you visit, ask questions about how they were played with, or, in the case of construction toys, build something together.
  23. Bring Back Old Skills
  24. Did your loved one quilt, crochet or knit? Put a homemade quilt or skein of yarn in their hands and let them feel the weight of the quilt and the scratchiness of the yarn. You may be surprised to find that your loved one can still crochet or knit a little bit, even though they have serious memory or cognitive deficits. Often, the muscles remember what the brain has forgotten.

Your loved one may be different than the person you have always known, but they still long for connection and companionship. You can encourage that connection by using these activities to enrich both of your lives.

Source: http://www.aplaceformom.com/senior-care-resources/articles/activities-with-alzheimers-patients

Eight Reasons To Choose Homecare

by Vicki Salemi

As tough as it may be to enlist the help of a "stranger" when it comes to caring for your parents, sometimes it's for the best. For one thing, it will take the strain off of you, but your parent will also benefit from professional care in the comforts of home. Whether it's being attentive to special medical needs of assisting with personal care or homemaking, having a home health care professional will provide a variety of benefits to both the patient and the family. 

1 - Home care promotes healing.

"I know that our clients enjoy a much better quality of life which many families have said helped to extend the lives of their lived ones.," says Peter Ross, CEO and co-founder of Senior Helpers. "We focused on healing the mind, not just the body." Maxine Hochhauser, CEO of Visiting Nurse Regional Health Care System adds that in many circumstances the person rehabilitates better in the home. "They are in a familiar environment and are more comfortable. This is particularly true with individuals suffering from dementias." 

2 - Home care is safe.

"Many risks such as infection are eliminated or minimized when care is given at home," says Ross. Quality home care by professional caregivers can help prevent issues that may become very serious within the home. One example includes preventing falls in the home since seniors may be too weak or dizzy from medication since they fall when they're cleaning or bathing. 

3 - Home care allows for maximum amount of freedom for the individual.

Patients at home may be engaged with their typical daily activities as their health permits plus it allows patients to receive care in the least restrictive environment. "This is the most conducive to patient-centered care which allows individuals the most control over the care they'll receive and the manner in which they receive it," notes Hochhauser. "Plus, it allows individuals to remain in the community." 

4 - Home care gives them some control.

As baby boomers age the home care option gives them more control over the type of care they'll get to choose. Hochhauser explains, "They want more choices and want to be a more active participant in their own care. Home care allows them the most say in their care as they are in the least passive situation." 

5 - Home care is personalized.

According to Milca Pabon, RN, a home health care nurse with Adventist Home Health, "the best reason to choose home care is because the care that will be received in the home will be individualized to each patient according to their specific needs." Essentially home care is tailored to the needs of each patient as they receive one-on-one attention. 

6 - It eases burdens on the family.

Pabon explains, "With the length of stay in the hospital decreasing patients are going home earlier and many of them do not choose to go to a rehabilitation center to recover," explains Pabon. Rather, they want to go home to their own environment with their loved ones and have someone provide them with care they'll need to reach their maximum level of function. She continues, "Families are willing to have their loved ones with them, but may feel inadequate or unable to provide their loved ones with the help that they might need." 

7 - Home care is comfortable.

"Every study done has shown that people would prefer to stay in their home," says Constance Row, executive director of the American Academy of Home Care Physicians. There is familiarity and comfort of being in one's own environment surrounded by their loved ones. She notes, "It's a type of quality care that people would want for their senior relatives."

Source: http://www.seniorsforliving.com/content/article/eight-reasons-to-choose-home-care/18/

Detecting Early Stages and Signs of Dementia

Recognizing early signs of dementia is often difficult. Early diagnosis is important however, for the earlier dementia is diagnosed by a physician the more treatable it may be. The difficulty with diagnosing dementia is many of the early stage signs of dementia and Alzheimer’s are similar to normal aging. These signs can also be stress related or brought on by depression. To be familiar with the differences between normal memory loss associated with aging, and memory loss caused by dementia is important. While dementia is not a disease in itself, it describes a group of symptoms often associated with a disease or condition, such as Alzheimer’s disease.

A preliminary assessment can determine orientation to person, place, and time. Standard questions asked are: “What is your name?” “Where are you?” and “What time is it?” Although common in health care practice, these questions are not sufficient to determine dementia. Close family members, who know the loved one well, are often better equipped to determine if the persons’ orientation is “normal” for them. Sometimes family may be in denial, believing what is not normal to be normal aging. For these reasons we recommend family accompanying their loved ones to the physician. Below is a list to help you to recognize the early stage signs of dementia. Patience and a caring spirit are always best for you and your loved one.

If your loved one has any of these signs it is best to talk to your physician.

  • Memory loss is the most common sign of dementia. Occasional memory loss may be a normal part of aging, but memory loss that is frequent and disrupts normal living is not. For example; if someone cannot remember the names of those closest to them, or where common things are located.
  • Difficulty with familiar everyday tasks can be a sign of the early stages of dementia. This can include having trouble with personal care, cooking, cleaning, or using the telephone.
  • Language difficulties may develop as an early warning sign of dementia. Showing difficulty in finding the right words, participating less in conversations, and having difficulty saying what is meant can all be language and communication issues related to dementia.
  • Disorientation with familiar surroundings, such as in their own neighborhood or home, is often caused by a dementia related condition.
  • Abstract thinking and solving problems may become difficult or impossible with dementia. They may have trouble following a recipe or keeping track of monthly bills.
  • Poor decision making and lacking sound judgment even when the correct choice should be obvious is a sign. For example, choices such as lack of warm clothing in the snow.
  • Misplacing things by putting them in inappropriate places is a common sign. Such as putting the telephone in the refrigerator.
  • Changes in mood, behavior, or personality, is a common, and challenging sign of dementia. They may become depressed, anxious, frightened, irritable, or even aggressive. 

Coffee and Conversation with Abundant Blessings Homecare

Here is a video we put together to help anyone who is trying to detect the early stages and signs of Dementia.