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Moving Forward After an Alzheimer’s Disease Diagnosis

Alzheimer's Disease“The diagnosis is: Alzheimer’s disease.” What difficult words those are to hear! Suddenly, the world as we know it seems to come to a standstill, while at the same time, our minds begin to swirl with the many questions and concerns that are raised. What kinds of changes should we expect? How will I continue to provide care for my loved one? What happens next?

The Alzheimer’s disease specialists at Nightingale Homecare want you to know you’re not alone, by any means. As many as 137 million adults in America either have Alzheimer’s themselves or a family member who’s been diagnosed; and more than 15 million of them are being cared for by a loved one.

It goes without saying that putting together a good caregiver support system is a crucial first step. Other top priorities include the following:

  • Meet with the person’s physician to go over medication and treatment options.
  • Find an elder care attorney who can make sure all financial and legal affairs are in order – including designation of a power of attorney as well as a point of contact for Social Security.
  • If the senior is a veteran and has not already done so, apply for VA Aid & Attendance and Housebound benefits.
  • Set yourself or another trusted person up as co-signer/co-owner on bank accounts.

Most importantly, sit down with your loved one post-diagnosis, along with any other family members, close friends, and perhaps clergy. Talk honestly and openly about your loved one’s current care needs and those projected for the future, taking into consideration any of his or her wishes and addressing any concerns.

Keep in mind that those with Alzheimer’s disease, in the later stages especially, require close supervision in order to remain safe, and without specialized Alzheimer’s disease training, it can be extremely challenging for families to provide the level of care needed to optimize quality of life and wellbeing, as well as to prevent danger or harm to the senior.

At Nightingale Homecare of Phoenix, we partner with families to provide professional Alzheimer’s disease care at home through our Connections Dementia Care Program. Our caregivers are certified as Alzheimer’s Whisperers®, with extensive training in compassionate, patient, creative care, combined with physical, occupational and speech therapy as needed – resulting in the highest possible level of functioning and quality of life for the person with Alzheimer’s, and peace of mind for his or her loved ones.

If your loved one has been given an Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis, call us at 602-504-1555. We have resources to share, and can schedule a free in-home consultation to talk with you further about how we can help. Your loved one is in good hands with Nightingale Homecare!

Can Brain Exercise Prevent Dementia?

Love playing chess or taking on the newspaper crossword puzzle each week? You may be doing more than just upping your enjoyment factor; you may actually be keeping your brain healthy! According to recent studies, researchers believe activities that promote mental engagement such as games and puzzles, are linked with a decreased risk of a decline in cognitive skills and memory loss.

Can these so called “brain exercises” really ward off dementia?

While more research needs to be done, evidence has consistently shown a solid link between brain training and a lowered risk of rapid mental decline. One study published in 2010, found that sustaining mental activity throughout one’s life worked as a preventive measure to delay the onset of dementia.

How do “brain exercises” help?

Animal studies have shown that mental stimulation can support new nerve cell growth and can work to construct a reserve of brain cells and connections. Some experts also believe this kind of stimulus may decrease certain markers of Alzheimer’s disease such as plaque build-up and tangles.

While both high levels of education and mental stimulation can help delay the onset of dementia and provide a better quality of life, researchers stop short of saying that education or brain exercise are fail-safes against the development of dementia.

The staff of Nightingale Homecare, a provider of home care in Scottsdale, and the surrounding Phoenix Metropolitan area, is uniquely qualified to provide dementia care. Our private medical care staff draws on the specialized approach taught by Dr. Verna Benner-Carson through her “Alzheimer’s Whisperer ®” program.  At Nightingale, this specialized program is called “Connections“. Our in home care providers enter the client’s world and manage the challenging behaviors associated with dementia in a way that is gentle, creative and highly effective. In-home medical and non-medical care providers can teach these skills to families, thus enabling the person with dementia to continue to receive care in the comfort of their own homes in Scottsdale and throughout the Phoenix area.

Contact Nightingale Homecare, a top rated homecare provider serving Scottsdale, Phoenix, Sun City, Glendale, and Paradise Valley today. Call (602) 504-1555 or contact us online to learn more about private medical and non-medical care.

Posted in Blog on February 24th, 2014 · Comments Off on Can Brain Exercise Prevent Dementia?

Tips for the Stressed Out Caregiver

Caring for an elderly loved one can be a challenging task for anyone- both professional caregivers of senior homecare and devoted family members alike may face a variety of emotional and physical stresses that can ultimately lead to burnout.

Physical Requirements – Those looking after a senior requiring private medical care are often charged with many grueling physical tasks for the patient, such as:

  • Lifting or transferring the elder in and out of bed, wheelchair, bathtub, or car
  • Adjusting positions in bed
  • Bathing
  • Feeding
  • Cooking

Running errands and getting the elder to appointments

When combined with other daily activities in the caregiver’s regular life, these physical tasks can become terribly exhausting.

Emotional Demands – The toll of a patient who can’t remember your name, follow directions, or communicate clearly cannot be underestimated. Dementia, behavioral problems, physical aggression, and a tendency to wander away can further exacerbate these frustrations, and can result in anger and resentment on the part of the caregiver

Financial Stressors – Caregiving is an often thankless job, and for most family members it is done without any financial compensation. The time and effort involved in caregiving can also take time away from regular jobs, further depleting finances. Finally, insurance companies don’t always cover the essentials, putting many senior homecare providers in stressful financial situations.

Burn-out Warning Signs –

  • Sadness and mood swings
  • Excessive crying
  • Lack of energy
  • Feeling like you have no time for yourself
  • Changes in sleeping or eating patterns
  • Isolating yourself
  • Loss of interest in once-enjoyed activities
  • Resentment or anger towards the person you are caring for

What To Do – Remember that you’re not alone, and that caregiver burn-out is quite common. Talk to a doctor about stress management tactics, and don’t be afraid to ask for a break from time to time. Family members should also consider enlisting the services of professional and trusted Phoenix homecare companies to help ease their burden. Nightingale Homecare is a top rated homecare provider in Scottsdale that would be happy to assist you in many aspects of senior caregiving. We understand how important it is for caregivers to look after themselves, and provide a wide array of compassionate senior homecare services to lighten your load. Call Nightingale Homecare at (602) 504-1555 or contact us to learn more about how we can help.

Posted in Blog on November 15th, 2013 · Comments Off on Tips for the Stressed Out Caregiver