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Posts Tagged “Caring for Dementia Patients”

Navigating the Dementia Doctor Visit

dementia care Phoenix

Make doctor visits easier for those with dementia.

Medical appointments, treatments and procedures can be stressful for all of us, but for those with dementia, the associated confusion and cognitive problems can make for an extremely challenging undertaking – both for the senior himself and the family caregiver accompanying him. Lots of questions and concerns may arise, and may continue to rise repeatedly as the senior tries to make sense of why and where you’re taking him.

At Nightingale Homecare, we provide the skilled and compassionate dementia care Phoenix area families trust, and want to help reduce stress and ensure that seniors get the most from their doctor visits. The following tips may help.

Before the Appointment

A little advanced thought and preparation can go a long way towards creating a smoother and easier experience at the doctor’s office. It’s a good idea to write down your questions in advance, rather than trying to remember everything when you arrive. Include in your notes a list of all current medications the senior is taking, both prescriptions and over-the-counter meds, as well as any changes or concerning symptoms you’ve noticed in your loved one. Note as many details as possible, such as dates, times, and frequency of these changes, and include your observations on such intangibles as the person’s quality of life and overall contentedness and wellbeing.

During the Appointment

It’s important to be mindful of the need to maintain respect for the senior at all times, refraining from talking about the person as if he’s not there or talking over him or for him if he’s trying to convey something to the doctor himself. The doctor should confirm with the senior that he’s ok with having you present during the visit. Ensure you fully understand the doctor’s answers to your questions and concerns, and don’t be afraid to ask for clarification when unsure about a response you receive. Be sure to take notes during the visit, and ask for a printout summarizing your visit as well.

After the Appointment

Update your records with any prescription, diet or activity changes recommended by the physician, and implement accordingly, continuing to take notes on your loved one’s condition until the next scheduled appointment. Additionally, and perhaps most importantly, keep in mind that in order to provide the very best possible care for your senior loved one, you need to take good care of yourself as well. Providing care for a senior loved one with dementia can quickly become overwhelming, and it’s easy to let self-care take a backseat; but serious health risks can arise in caregivers who neglect their own care.

The best solution for both the senior and yourself is partnering with a trusted, experienced dementia care professional, such as those at Nightingale Homecare, who can provide routine respite care services, allowing family caregivers to take much-needed breaks from care while knowing their loved one is in skilled and compassionate hands. As a top provider of the dementia care Phoenix families trust, we can also provide a higher level of assistance, all the way up to and including full-time, live-in care – which is particularly helpful in effectively managing some of the more challenging aspects of dementia care, like sundowning, aggression, wandering, and more.

Contact us at (602) 504-1555 to learn more about our specialized Connections Dementia program or any of our other in-home care solutions for seniors.

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Dementia and Driving

A dementia diagnosis brings with it many emotional concerns and a person’s continued ability to drive is often high on the list. Since individual dementia onset varies, it can be very difficult to determine exactly when an individual is no longer able to safely operate a motor vehicle. Whether your loved one is currently utilizing homecare, living alone or with family, the following information can help you recognize and cope with diminishing driving abilities caused by dementia.

The Decision

While a diagnosis of dementia does not necessarily mean that a person has lost the ability to drive, it is imperative to test driving skills immediately after a dementia diagnosis. From the point of diagnosis on, be sure to regularly evaluate day-to-day behavioral signs that could indicate unsafe driving practices. Key warning signs that driving has or will become too difficult a task include:

  • Loss of coordination
  • Difficulty judging distances
  • Disorientation, especially in familiar areas
  • Driving at unsafe speeds
  • Failing to observe traffic signals

Monitor the individual closely during normal driving to ensure that they consistently follow the rules of the road and don’t become overly nervous or irritated.  If any concerns exist, discuss them with the individual and with healthcare providers at either their facility or a top rated homecare provider.

The Transition

While some with dementia find driving stressful and are relieved to be urged to stop, it’s more likely they’ll feel hurt and sad. Listen, empathize, and encourage them to discuss their emotions: feeling validated and involved will make their adjustment easier. Start by limiting how often and where they drive (i.e. on familiar roads) and provide phone numbers for taxis and public transportation so they don’t feel isolated; encouraging friends and family to visit often can also reduce the frequency of driving. While considering having regular items like groceries and prescriptions delivered can’t be ruled out, it is seldom recommended having everything brought to the individual during this transition as it could lead to unnecessary confusion. Nightingale Homecare provides caregivers specially trained for caring for dementia patients, who are able to arrange or provide transportation to and from appointments, errands, and activities to reduce the isolation and helplessness felt by your loved one.

As home care Phoenix, AZ experts, we at Nightingale Home Care understand the sensitive and complex nature of dementia. Our specialized dementia program called “Connections”, offers innovative and respectful expert care to individuals and their families; our staff of top rated home care providers is fully committed to the ongoing physical and mental functioning of clients with dementia. Learn more about our gentle, proven, and thoughtful approach to senior home care Phoenix, AZ services by calling (602) 504-1555 or contact us online.