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“Keys to a Successful Dementia Care Program”

It is estimated that 60-80% of all dementia cases are Alzheimer’s related. But the term dementia is not a specific disease. It refers to a wide range of symptoms associated with a decline in memory and/or cognitive skills.

Therefore, dementia care is quite unique and specialized. It requires appropriately trained staff, a carefully planned program and a commitment to providing dementia care.

A dementia care program begins with a comprehensive assessment and an individualized care plan. This is based on the client’s capabilities, overall health, behavior and personal preferences. All members of the care team (client, family and staff) should be involved in the evaluation of the assessment and the development of the care plan.

The Alzheimer’s Association recommends using ‘Activity Programming’ as part of day-to-day care. This systematic approach permits the client to retain their preferred lifestyle and a relatively normal level of functioning while still providing a safe and rewarding environment. It maximizes independence by focusing on strengths and abilities. Daily routines are established and followed to provide a sense of security and success through consistency. Activities that promote common, productive tasks like folding laundry or sweeping encourage a feeling of autonomy and productivity. Activities that require focus or new learning should be carefully evaluated and avoided if they are beyond the client’s ability.

Overall, a quality dementia care program incorporates a team approach, uses specially trained caregivers and is focused on promoting the client’s strengths. Texas Angels Home Care has a dedicated Alzheimer’s / Dementia Care Program. Call (817) 727-4525.

“When is it Time to Get Help

As your parents age, they may need help. But it can be difficulty to know what help they need and who can give it to them. This can be challenging due to your parents feeling it is a loss of independence or even they may be in denial that they need help at all. Fortunately, there are signs to assist you in identifying if they need help.

Are your parents taking care of themselves? Pay special attention to their appearance. Do they look neat and clean? Are their clothes soiled or messy? Failure to maintain basic hygiene could indicate mobility issues, a physical impairment, dementia or depression. The same is true for the home environment. An unkempt home could also indicate the presence of the above conditions.

The next thing to access is the presence of memory loss. While some memory loss in seniors may be a normal part of aging, you should be suspicious of frequent episodes of memory loss. Do you parents have problems remembering words or common names? Do they forget something is on the stove or in the oven? Progressive memory loss could indicate Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia and should be evaluated by a physician.

Are your parents safe at home? Are they steady on their feet? It is important to check the home for safety concerns like, overloaded electrical outlets or tripping hazards. Also, check to make sure your parents are taking their medications and following medical advice.

Another area of concern is their ability to drive safely. While the feeling of independence is associated with driving themselves, it is important that they are safe. Take a ride with them and access first hand their driving ability.

Other areas to observe are their diet and overall mood. Poor dietary choices and malnutrition could be signs of underlying conditions that should be addressed by their physician. Depression and mood changes are other areas of concern that could indicate an underlying disease process.

We understand that it can be difficult to confront your parents about needing help. We also realize that many children of aging parents have families and/or careers and cannot devote a great deal of time to taking care of their parents. Don’t feel guilty, we know you can’t do it all. Your parents may need more specialized care and time than you are able to provide. Texas Angels Home Care can help by providing advice on accessing your parents and provide qualified aides and helpers to allow your parents the independence of living in their own home and families the peace of mind their parents are being well cared for.

“Facts on Falls and the Elderly”

The CDC reports that one in three adults over 65 suffers a fall each year. Of these incidents, many go unreported to health care professionals. Adults over the age of 75 who fall are four to five times more likely to be admitted to a long term care facility. Falls are the leading cause of injury death in this group. Even if no apparent injury occurs, these adults begin to develop a fear of falling and activity levels rapidly decline. When activity levels drop, muscle strength decreases, balance is affected and fall risks are greatly increased. A decrease in activity level has also been reported to lead to depression.

The CDC further reports that most fractures in older adults are caused by falls. These include fractures of the spine, pelvis, hip, ankle, shoulder, elbow, forearm and wrists. A study done in 2000 reported that head injuries, or know by the medical community as traumatic brain injury (TBI), accounted for 46% of all fatal falls.

But fall risk can be minimized, with regular exercise, medication review, eye examinations with updated corrective lenses, reducing tripping hazards in the home and in some cases supervision with a home care aide. Some basic home safety measures can include adding handrails to both sides of steps, installing grab bars in bathrooms around toilets and in showers, installation of a raised toilet, improving lighting in the home, remove or secure throw rugs, non-skid surfaces in showers or baths and rearranging high items in kitchens to place them within easy reach, just to name a few. A full home inspection can identify and provide solutions to many home safety hazards. Texas Angels Home Care can help by providing advice on home safety, tripping hazards and provide a free assessment with a safety inspection.