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Caring for An Alzheimer’s Patient: The Ideal Approach

According to recent reports from the Alzheimer’s Association, more than five million americans are living with Alzheimer’s and the number can cross the 50 million mark by 2050. In fact, someone in the US develops the disorder every 66 seconds, which is a grave concern. Since the disorder causes a cognitive decline, leading a normal life becomes difficult for patients, which also impacts their families. Though medical research to find a cure for the disorder is still underway, it doesn’t mean Alzheimer’s patients should suffer the consequences of undeserved forgetfulness. As a person who is directly responsible for caring for an Alzheimer’s patient, the road can be challenging. To lend you some help, the blog post discusses the right approach and best treatment options for Alzheimer’s patient. Take a look.

Create a Safe and Congenial Environment

Caring for an Alzheimer’s patient can be quite challenging as they go through several behavioral changes. A patient can be calm and composed one moment and get frustrated in a split second. Either ways, they deserve proper care to make sure that the disorder doesn’t take a toll on their routine life. For that to happen, you need to minimize memory demanding tasks in their routine as that’s pretty much the only way to make life easier for them. To help an Alzheimer’s patient avoid stressing their brain, you can try a few things such as:

  • Keeping keys, wallets, mobile phones and other belongings in a designated place everyday to make sure the patient doesn’t struggle finding them.
  • Prepare a to-do list and keep it near the pillow or bed for the patient to check first thing in the morning
  • Never let them go outside the home alone or stay isolated
  • Install handrails on stairways and bathrooms
  • Reduce the number of mirrors as patients may find the images intimidating
  • Keep old photographs around to help the patient stay on track

Take Care of Nutritional Needs

Alzheimer’s is a disease that impacts the patient’s cognitive or thinking ability; therefore, they may either lose interest in eating or forget to eat at all. On top of that, they may also forget to drink enough water due to skewed brain signals, often leading to constipation and dehydration. Alzheimer’s shouldn’t become the reason for nutritional deficiency and therefore, you need to make sure that their nutritional requirements are met and there is no further decline in their cognitive abilities. To do that, offer them:

  • Healthy shakes and smoothies that are also delicious
  • A low-fat diet that includes plenty of green veggies and fruits
  • Brain boosting foods such as walnut, blueberries, dandelion greens, and olive oil

Reduce Frustrations

Bouts of frustration and mood swings are quite common after a person is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. The reason is that tasks that used to be a breeze are no longer doable due to a dramatic decrease in the ability to remember facts and events. Activities such as taking daily walks and having light exercises can help in improving patient’s mood, regulating blood pressure, and is also effective in preventing worsening cognitive decline. In addition, try to spend as much quality time with them as possible to make sure they don’t feel isolated. Suggest soulful music and keep them socially active as a reassurance that life can still be enjoyable even with Alzheimer’s disease.

The Bottom Line

People suffering from Alzheimer’s disease experience several emotions, such as confusion, anger, frustration, uncertainty, grief, and depression. The only way to manage the situation is through exercising compassion as patients start considering life to be a burden, preventing them from enjoying it to the fullest. Alzheimer’s patients often require round-the-clock support to assist them with activities, which is rather difficult, given other commitments in your life. If you are searching for compassionate caregivers to assist your loved ones grappling with Alzheimer’s, Home Care Assistance in Dallas can help. To get answers to your questions about our Alzheimer’s Care Services, fill out our contact form. You can also call us at (214) 253-8784.

5 Expert Tips to Prep Your Home for a Parkinson’s Patient

Parkinson’s disease, a motor system disorder, usually affects people over the age of 60. The condition develops as a result of the loss of dopamine-producing cells in the brain. Parkinson’s is characterized by trembling limbs and face, along with slowness of movement, impaired balance, and postural instability. Several other symptoms develop in advanced stages of the condition, such as difficulty swallowing, urinary problems, sleep disruptions, and constipation. Among the best treatment options for Parkinson’s, physicians prescribe medications and also insist on good quality home care from patient families. In this blog post, we list five tips to prep your home for a Parkinson’s patient. Take a look.

1. Get Rid of Possible Obstacles

First, you must get rid of all furniture and electronic devices with cords that might act as obstacles for the patient. All decor items such as side tables, stools, statues, and indoor plants must be placed in a manner that they don’t obstruct walking paths in the house . In addition, you must make sure that all essential furniture is secured, doesn’t swivel, and has comfortable armrests. Your home has to have ample lighting throughout the day, along with blinds to minimize glare.

2. Get a Bed with Adequate Height

Patients with Parkinson’s experience difficulty getting in and out of bed and make their way through stairs. Make sure that you install a bed that has a fairly low height, so that both the patient’s feet touch the ground when they are seated. Ideally, the height of the bed should be 22 inches, but you should also consider the height of the patient. In addition, position the bed along the wall, with rails attached to the sides of the bed, to help ease access to the bed. It is also advisable to locate the bedroom for Parkinson’s patients on the ground floor, so that they don’t have to cope with stairs.

3. Store Essentials in Easily Accessible Places

Parkinson’s affects patient motor abilities. Therefore, you must, set up storage spaces for essential elements such as medications and clothes, in places that are easily accessible for the patient. Make sure that you have open shelves or cabinets with handles, instead of knobs. Avoid cabinets and door fasteners that can make it more difficult for patients to access their contents. It is advisable to use plastic bowls instead of bone china or glass in the kitchen. In addition, use a single handle faucet for the sink so that the patient can easily operate it.

4. Install a Bedside Phone

You cannot rely on cellphones these days. They get discharged often, signals are not always available, and they can malfunction. You cannot have a lapse in the patient care because of a faulty cellphone. Make sure that you have a bedside phone in every room of your house that is easily accessible and has large buttons. You can also opt for a safety cord system or a personal touch pendant that send alerts to caregivers, in case of an emergency.

5. Tune Up the Bathroom

Bathrooms can often be a tricky utility for Parkinson’s patients. A bathroom with a wet floor, throw rugs, or bad lighting can increase the risk of the patient slipping and falling. Having ample lighting in the bathroom is therefore, essential. In addition, you must install various safety measures in the bathroom. The safety measures may include grab bars installed near the shower, bathtubs, and toilet, elevated toilet seats with arm rests, sturdy bench with back support in the shower, and a stable chair to aid doing tasks such as shaving and brushing their teeth.

Wrapping Up

Providing good home care for Parkinson’s patients is the best treatment. Patients often require round the clock care and support to assist them with their daily activities. This requirement is often difficult to cope with, given other life commitments. It is therefore, necessary to hire services of professional and compassionate caregivers to assist your loved ones suffering from Parkinson’s. Home Care Assistance of Dallas provides round-the-clock, professional, and affordable home care. To get more information about our Parkinson’s Care Services, fill out our contact form. You can also call us at (214) 253-8784.

5 Fall Prevention Measures to Make your House Elderly-Friendly

A report by The Center for Disease Control shows that one out of every three elderly people experience a fall at least once a year. The chances of a fall increase as an individual grows older, due to various reasons, such as chronic diseases, neural, muscular and skeletal degeneration and sensory impairment. If you have a senior in the family, you need to be aware of the potential dangers in your house that could increase the risk of a fall. To help you in making your house a safer place for elders, the elderly care team at Home Care Assistance Dallas provides five essential fall prevention measures. Take a look.

1. Clean the Clutter

The easiest way to prevent fall is by making the home clutter-free. Remove magazines, newspapers and stacks of books from hallways and staircases to keep the area neat and tidy. If there are kids in the house, make sure that their toys and other belongings are not scattered in the house, as this could lead to a fatal accident.

2. Install Handrails and Grab Bars

Handrails and grab bars ensure safety of elderly, when they are going up or down stairs, stepping in and out of bathtub or using toilet. Make sure that you get these safety devices installed in bathrooms, stairways, hallways and practically at every place where they are required.

3. Keep the Home Brightly Lit

Inappropriate lighting makes it difficult for elderly to move around in the dark and dimly-lit areas in the house. Install bright light bulbs at dark spaces, hallways and stairways to make it easier for seniors to avoid tripping on objects that are not visible at night or when the lights are off. Installation of nightlights in bathrooms, bedrooms and areas of the house that elderly access at night is another lighting upgrade that you may consider to prevent accidental slips or falls.

4. Make the Floor Non-slippery

Be it the floor in kitchen, porch, living area, bedroom or bathroom, make sure that it is non-slippery. Wet floor, especially in bathrooms, is a common cause of fall accidents, and you could place non-slip mats on the floor to avoid any mishap. When budget is not a constraint, install anti-slip floor tiles in the entire house.

5. Pay Attention to Stairways

An accidental slip on the stairway could mean a fatal injury. Make sure that every stair should be approximately 10-12 inches in depth, to avoid tripping. If a carpet is on the staircase, it must be firmly attached. The stairs with a hard surface needs to be anti-slip. You may also use grip tape on stair treads to avoid fall or slip.

Last Few Words

Home and environmental risks account for about half of the incidents of falls. Preventing such unforeseen events is essential to ensure the safety of your loved ones, especially when they are coping with issues such as a lack of physical strength, neurological problems or any other physical limitation. As a caregiver, in addition to incorporating the tips we have discussed in this post. you may also get in touch with caregivers at Home Care Assistance for expert advice. We have Balanced Care Method and Cognitive Therapeutics Method to provide exceptional home care services. To learn more about our services or for any questions related to elderly care assistance, speak with one of our Care Managers at 214-363-3400.

Is Alcohol Use Associated with More Cognitive Issues?

Despite becoming an established product in our society, drinking alcohol beyond moderation can lead to a number of health issues. In fact, a new study presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Vancouver has concluded that as a person grows older, even moderate drinking can lead to greater risk of cognitive impairment and related health issues.

The research study was designed by a team from the University of California, San Francisco, as well as at The Veterans Health Research Institute, San Francisco. Researcher Tina Hoang and her colleagues collected data from 1,300 women at the age of sixty-five or older. Over 20 years, the group recorded alcohol-related behavior for each participant.

While previous research had suggested that moderate consumption could actually help prevent the onset of mental decline later in life, Hoang argues that her research says differently. The study’s results showed that even medium-level drinkers did not show a drop in their risk of developing cognitive issues or dysfunction during the experiment. In addition, moderate drinkers had a sixty percent higher likelihood of developing neurological impairments in the future.

Overall, Hoang and her team concluded that the people who drank heavily during their youth, moderately in later life, or began drinking later in life were at the greatest risk of cognitive issues. As a result, the researchers recommend that older women use caution when consuming alcohol because not only is it not beneficial to health, it has even been shown to be harmful.

While alcohol has been proven to be safe in certain amounts, it has also been linked to a number of health problems. It is vital that women of all ages learn how to avoid dangerous behavioral lifestyles like heavy drinking and instead find outlets in their community that can inspire more productive goals.

The empowered Dallas woman is a healthy woman

Join a dynamic group of successful women in our community at “The Empowered Woman” event this July. Enjoy lunch, fabulous raffle prizes and an inspirational program. Guest speaker Debbie Scanlon of BKD, LLP will spread the needed knowledge women in the Dallas area can benefit from. Enjoy lunch, fabulous raffle prizes and an inspiration program. Call (817) 488-7148 or visit ColleyvilleChamber.org for more information.

Event details:

  • Thursday, July 14 at 10:30 a.m.
  • 77 Piazza Ln, Colleyville, TX 76034

Celebrate Your Family History and Good Health!

During all sorts of get-togethers, family members tell countless stories with important lessons sprinkled throughout. In fact, the act of storytelling has been passed down from person to person for centuries. Overall, telling these tales of personal history allows modern generations of people to learn about their ancestors, if even for the first time. In order to prevent history from repeating itself, listening to the stories of our elders can establish a healthy foundation for our future.

Family interviewing tips

  1. Set clear expectations: The best way to approach your loved one about sharing their story is to tell them how you value their experience. Explain that you would love to capture these memories for your children (and their children) to learn from. Explain to them that by sharing their past, they would be providing a wonderful gift to the rest of the family and future generations.
  2. Prepare questions to ask: Like any great journalist or interviewer, draft up a list of specific questions you want answered. Start with all the relevant questions that pop into your head and narrow them down from there. Most importantly, use the questions as a general guideline to keep your interview on track. This will result in a great and free-flowing discussion about your loved one’s past and your family’s rich history.
  3. Create a stress-free environment: The more calm and familiar your loved one feels while speaking, the more likely they are to open up to you and give you a open interview. In order to maximize comfort, conduct your interviews in a peaceful, distraction-free environment. A quiet, well-lit room is best for recording.

Celebrate your history with Moon Day in Dallas

Taking your family to local museum events is another way to spark interest in your personal history. The Frontiers of Flight Museum will host the biggest annual space exposition in Texas to celebrate Moon Day 2016 on July 16 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The event will celebrate the 47th anniversary of the launch of Apollo 11, the NASA mission that led to the first human footsteps on the Moon.

Join a LIVE TALK to the International Space Station at 10:30 am. Moon Day features numerous educational presentations by subject area experts in our “Moon Academy” for young students and our “Lunar University” for college level and above. DISD Educators can receive Continuing Education Credits for attendance at Lunar University classes.

Event details:

  • Saturday, July 16, 2016 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • 6911 Lemmon Avenue, Dallas, Texas 75209

How to Successfully Recover from Your Next Hospital Visit

One of the leading causes of hospital readmissions is the lack of adequate support and recovery following a hospital discharge. To help make a patient’s transition home smooth and successful, Home Care Assistance is committed to educating seniors about post-hospitalization care and helping them recover successfully through our Hospital to Home Care program, a comprehensive set of resources for families managing the sometimes difficult transition home after hospitalization.

The first 72 hours home are critical for post-hospitalization patients. Patients are fatigued and family members are often confused and helpless. In addition to a comprehensive discharge plan, a caregiver can help manage the transition home and help you on the path towards a successful recovery.

The 6 steps to a successful recovery

Remember that recovery is a gradual process and can take anywhere from a few weeks to months. Below are 6 steps to a successful recovery:

  1. Dependence: When you first arrive home, your primary goal should be to rest and recover. A caregiver can support your recovery by handling household tasks such as meal preparation, running errands and relieving unnecessary stress so that you can focus on recommended therapy activities, diet and relaxation.
  2. Mild independence: As you start to gain strength, identify tasks that you can now manage independently, such as eating or walking down the stairs, and slowly wean yourself off of care in those areas.
  3. Supervised independence: As you continue gaining strength, your caregiver’s primary role will be supervision rather than direct physical assistance. Try to perform activities of daily living (ADLs) – such as bathing, eating, walking – independently.
  4. Supported independence: Once comfortable with ADLs, try incorporating chores or errands into your routine, such as a trip to the grocery store accompanied by your caregiver or preparing a meal together.
  5. Semi-supported independence: Try taking a hold of day-to-day tasks and resume your pre-hospitalization routine. Although your caregiver is there to help, try not to take advantage of that assistance unless you really need it.
  6. Full independence: When you feel that you can safely return to your regular activities without your caregiver’s support, you may consider reducing care. Remember that full independence is a long-term goal and should not be prioritized over safety.

Recover via a health restoration seminar with Dallas Pastor Mychael John

Come and learn how to address common and major health problems through holistic methods from a biblical perspective. We will discuss how to recover from cancer, diabetes, highblood pressure and other common ailments using vitamins, minerals amino acids and herbs. Pastor Mychael has been teaching how to use vitamins and herbs for health restoration for nearly thirty years.

Event details:

  • Saturday, July 9, 2016 at 5:00 p.m.
  • 326 South Kirby Street Garland, Texas 75042

Learn How to Put Mental Health Where Your Mouth Is

Obesity has long been associated with many health conditions including heart disease and diabetes. However, new evidence suggests a correlation with mental health as well.

A study that began in France in the early 1990’s surveyed 6,401 adults between the ages of 31 and 63. Participants provided their body mass indices as well as their quantifiable risk for such health conditions as blood pressure, high blood sugar, high fat content and high cholesterol. Fifty-three percent of the subjects were considered to be “normal” according to the BMI scale, while thirty-eight percent were considered “overweight” and an additional nine percent “obese.” Thirty-one percent of the entire group had two or more of the above-mentioned health conditions. For the next fifteen years, the research group subjected participants to three total rounds of cognitive testing to assess overall brain performance.

The recently tabulated results showed that cognitive decline progressed most quickly in subjects who were both obese and displayed one of the aforementioned metabolic abnormalities. However, the few participants who were obese, but lacked any of the conditions showed no greater risk of mental decline.

These results suggest that the risk factors normally associated with obesity, such as those tested in this study, may be an early indicator of future mental impairment. The relationship between obesity and yet another serious health complication demonstrates the consequences of being overweight.

Mental Health America of Greater Dallas hosts event to boost your brain

Someone you know could be experiencing a mental illness or crisis. Mental Health First Aid teaches a 5-step action plan to offer initial help to people with the signs and symptoms of a mental illness or in a crisis, and connect them with the appropriate professional, peer, social or self-help care. Anyone can take the 8-hour Mental Health First Aid course — first responders, students, teachers, leaders of faith communities, human resources professionals, and caring citizens.  Sometimes, the best first aid is you.Take the course, save a life, strengthen your community. Attendees must attend this two-day course to be eligible for the certification.

Event details:

  • Friday, July 8 at 2:00 p.m. and Saturday, July 9 at 10:00 a.m.
  • 624 North Good Latimer Expressway, Dallas, Texas 75204

The Best Way for Seniors to Grow New Brain Cells

In her lab at King’s College London, neuroscientist Sandrine Thuret studies how new brain cells are created in the adult nervous system through a process called neurogenesis. This phenomenon is unique to the hippocampal region of the brain, an area that is involved in memory and mood. Through her research, Thuret hopes to discover how we create new nerve cells throughout our lives, how food, activity and other factors affect this growth, and how diseases such as Alzheimer’s impact our brain’s ability to continue growing new cells.

The primary function of the hippocampus is to consolidate short-term memories into long-term memories, but it also plays an important role in spatial navigation, learning, mood and emotion. It is estimated that 700 new neurons develop in the hippocampus daily; by the time we are 50 years old, all of the neurons in our hippocampus will be completely new, replacing the ones we developed as children.

The creation of these new nerve cells is important for learning new memories, as well as the capacity and quality of memories. Neurogenesis has also been found to lower levels of depression. Antidepressants decrease symptoms of depression while increasing neurogenesis, proving a clear link between the two. This is likely a result of the hippocampus being closely tied to mood and emotions.

So the question to ask is: Can we control how many nerve cells our brain creates? We know from our Balanced Care Method™ that one-third of our healthy longevity is based on genetics and two-thirds on lifestyle factors within our control. Fortunately, the same concept can be applied to neurogenesis. Learning and physical activity increase neurogenesis, while stress and sleep deprivation decrease it.

Create new memories and brain cells at Safari Nights in Dallas

One way to take control your life and grow your brain is to create new experiences at Safari Nights at The Dallas Zoo. The whole family will enjoy some of the zoo’s wildest stars, live music and tons of entertainment. Pre-concert activities include special keeper chats, the Wonders of the Wild show, a School of Rock concert and an Animal Adventures presentation. Live bands include the Grammy-winning Rebirth Brass Band from New Orleans and the ultimate 10-piece party band, Limelight.

Event details:

  • July 2 to July 30, 7:00 p.m. (CST)
  • 650 S. R.L Thornton Fwy, Dallas, TX 75203
  • Cost: Ages 12-64, $15, ages 3-11 and seniors, $12, children 2 and under FREE
  • Parking: $8 per vehicle

Uncovering the Brain Benefits of “Music & Exercise”

Although the media continuously publicizes new research around Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, there is still a large amount of uncertainty around the disease, how it progresses and ways in which individuals can delay its symptoms. Scientists have long preached that staying active, having hobbies, and creating strong social ties promote brain benefits and may help stave off cognitive decline. While there is currently no known cure or proven way to prevent Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia, recent research suggests that music & exercise may help delay symptoms of dementia and help the brain resist damage over time.

A study conducted by Brenda Hanna-Pladdy, assistant professor of neurology, radiology and imaging science at Emory, revealed that those who played instruments before the age of nine had better verbal and working memory functions than individuals who started playing music later and individuals who had never picked up an instrument.

Furthermore, in an earlier study, Hanna-Pladdy also found that musicians who had been playing music for a minimum of ten years—even if they stopped playing altogether after this time frame—performed better at memory processing and flexibility activities than those who had never played an instrument.

Though there are currently no studies suggesting that teaching older adults to play an instrument would have the same effect as those individuals who started playing at a young age, the implications are significant given that researchers already know that music has a positive effect on people with dementia.

Listen and learn at “Music & Exercise for a Healthy Brain and Body”

Various brain benefits can be acquired through a good diet, sunlight exposure and other healthy lifestyle practices like attending events for your health. Recent advancements in neurological research have proven the effectiveness of music therapy in improving our physical & mental health. Please join us for a class led by board-certified music therapist Carolyn Dobson. The class will consist of hands-on, cognitive function, speech and vocal skills. Class is free and open to the public but space is limited. For more information or to RSVP, please call (214) 559-5402 or email [email protected]

Event details:

  • July 1, 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
  • Belmont Village Turtle Creek, 3535 North Hall Street, Dallas, TX75219 United States

The Shocking Effect of Diabetes on Brain Health

Worldwide, 387 million people are living with diabetes with numbers expected to increase to 592 million in the next twenty years. If left unmanaged, diabetes can have serious effects on the heart, kidneys, nerves and teeth and puts the individual at an increased risk of stroke and dementia. Now, a new study has found further evidence of diabetes’ impact on brain health by reducing blood flow to the brain and causing cognitive decline in older adults.

Vera Novak, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and her colleagues studied sixty-five participants, aged 57 to 75 years old, for two years – about half of the participants had type 2 diabetes. MRI scans and blood tests monitored inflammation and blood flow in the brain and tests evaluated cognitive functioning of the participants over the two-year span.

The research group found that participants with diabetes had greater declines in gray matter volume and rates of blood flow to the brain. The diabetic group also performed worse than the non-diabetic group on cognitive tests assessing their daily living functions and executive function, or higher-level thinking that includes reasoning, problem solving, judgment and cognitive flexibility.

The researchers also found that diabetic participants who were on medication and took control of their blood sugars saw the same effect as those who did not, raising concern for the effectiveness for current treatments. Novak and colleagues are now looking into medications that work to improve blood vessel activity in diabetics and prevent future cognitive decline.

Boost brain health with “Mindshare” in Dallas

For the senior community of Dallas, Texas, finding local resources to boost brain health can have lasting effects. One upcoming opportunity is the “Mindshare: Brain Smart University” event on June 25. Visit the Friendship West Baptist Church, get memory tips and research updates from healthcare experts like Dr. Mary Quiceno, Core Leader of Alzheimer’s Disease Center at UT Southwestern. Seating is limited. Call 1-800-272-3900 to register or sign up online at alz.org/greaterdallas.

Event details:

  • June 25, 2016 from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
  • 2020 West Wheatland Road, Dallas, Texas , Dallas, TX 75232