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Safety First

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Our Progressive Pathway of Care is Based on

SAFETY FIRST

  

SSafety, Structure, Socialization and Support

AAttention to our friend’s needs

FFriends help friends with anything and everything

EEducation about the disease process, medications, and care

TTraining elevates quality of care, enhances quality of life

YYou are valuable

FFamily

I Interaction

RRoutine

SStimulation

TTeamwork

What Specific Caregiving Matters Do I Need to Know?

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What Specific Caregiving Matters Do I Need to Know?

As I was writing this chapter of my book, I realized that I could go on and on. There are so many things that we need to worry about with our loved ones. I am mentioning some of the most important matters to preserve the Quality of Life of your family member.

The Soul 

As we know, all our experiences in life have made us who we are. Imagine, if you no longer had your memories or the ability to care for yourself, what would be important for you to know that would make your soul feel good? Now, write three things down that would be important to your loved one if they could not express themselves. There are no wrong answers. My mom wanted me to make sure she had cute, expressive and comfortable socks on her feet. I have to say I always agreed.

Things to Look For

Some things to look for as a caregiver are losing weight, not feeling well due to a urinary tract infection (UTI), medications, behavior disturbances, driving ability and fall risks.

Safety First

The foundation of my philosophy of care is always Safety First. It is a necessity that you as the caregiver make decisions and care for your loved one who can no longer care for themselves. Once you know that someone has memory deficit, whether a physician has tested and told you, or you know from experience with your loved one, they really should not be left to care for themselves. Simply going out the front door to the edge of the driveway to pick up the newspaper can lead to a crisis. Instead of turning to go back into the house, one turns to the left instead and starts walking down the street. Now they are lost.

We must watch out for, and over, them. Your loved one may be frustrated and sad that you are hovering, so you learn to do it gracefully and quietly. All this is done while protecting their dignity and self-esteem.

This caregiving experience does have a lot of puzzle pieces to put together and keep glued.

Highlights from the book Simply Caring: Putting the Alzheimer’s Puzzle Together by Almost Home CEO Jamie Glavich. View more at SimplyCaringBook.com.

Healthy Habits, Healthy Brain

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Do you love your brain? June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness month, so I thought I would share some love with you, especially how to love your brain!

My wish is that talking about 10 Ways to Love Your Brain will ignite an awareness that we need to begin caring for our brains. If we begin this now, we can create a healthy lifestyle that will lead us to a happy life. The Alzheimer’s Association has come up with 10 Ways to Love your Brain. We know with research that a healthy heart helps create a healthy brain.

The first three loving ways to treat your brain are: following your heart, being aware and fueling up right. The ways to follow your heart include keeping your blood pressure in check and your weight below the obesity level; therefore, reducing the risk of having a heart attack, stroke, or diabetes which negatively impacts your cognitive health. Secondly, a risk for Alzheimer’s and dementia is brain injury. Protect your brain by wearing a helmet when playing sports, riding a bike or operating a motorcycle and wear your seatbelt. Thirdly, nutrition and eating a balanced diet is so important to staying healthy. Keep hydrated by drinking 8 glasses of water daily and eating a balanced diet of more fruits and vegetables than meat.

The next three healthy habits for loving your brain are: catching some zzz’s, taking care of your mental health and buddying up. It is important to get sleep because lack of sleep can cause memory and thinking problems. Take care of your mental health to protect yourself against depression, anxiety, and stress. Taking care of your mental health is also be done by finding an outlet by supporting your community and sharing activities with friends and family.

The final four ideas for brain love are: stumping yourself, breaking a sweat, hitting the books and butting out. Challenge your brain by playing games that require strategy, difficult enough to stump yourself. Read more books, take a class, or go to a seminar. Formal education reduces cognitive decline, so try to learn or do a new thing daily. Keeping your body healthy is part of loving your brain, so break a sweat and exercise regularly to elevate your heart rate to increase blood flow. And lastly, do not smoke. Smoking increases heart disease, vascular problems, risk for stroke, lung disease and cognitive decline.

It is never too late to change some habits and create healthier ones!

What are my Options in Care?

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I understand that being a caregiver is not an easy task.  There are so many daily tasks to help your loved one with each moment of each day.  It can be so overwhelming. I also understand that it can be hard to know when or how to ask for help. What path should your family take?

Educate yourself and your family members by researching and reviewing all the options.  Call the Alzheimer’s Association and ask for assistance. You and your family can make an educated and informed decision.

CARE OPTIONS

Some care options include family and friends, home companion services, home health agencies, adult day care program, assisted living facilities (ALF), nursing home (SNF) and hospice care. Knowing what is needed is different for every caregiver and family member. That’s where all the research comes in handy. Maybe the caregiver just needs a day to her or himself. In that instance, daycare would be appropriate. All of the options have pros and cons for your family.

PRE-PLANNING IS SO IMPORTANT

Pre-planning and knowing where your family stands financially is also one of the best ways to prepare for care. You need to find what will work best for your loved one, yourself and your family members.  I have described each option in detail in my book, Simply Caring: Putting the Alzheimer’s Puzzle Together. There is no magic to knowing when it is time to get help in a daycare setting, ALF or nursing home. I tell families, the time is when your health as a caregiver is being challenged and when you are unable to be available at all times.

TAKE CARE OF THE CAREGIVER

Those with an Alzheimer’s diagnosis should not be left alone.  In this way, the daily tasks become constant as in every minute of every day.  The caregiver needs to stay healthy for your loved one. There will come a time when you cannot do it all by yourself anymore. Choose your path wisely.

Highlights from the book Simply Caring: Putting the Alzheimer’s Puzzle Together by Almost Home Founder and CEO Jamie Glavich. View more at SimplyCaringBook.com.

Put Some Pep in Your Step!

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Put Some Pep In Your Step!

 

Exercise can improve blood flow, brain memory, improve your sleep, decrease your risk of cardiovascular disease and improve mental health. It is recommended that adults get 150 minutes of moderate intensity activities each week.  Moderate intensity exercise would include things like a brisk walk, swimming, dancing or biking. Start with what you can and gradually work your way up to 150 minutes per week.

 

Brain Power

Exercise can improve brain health. By pumping your heart, you also pump more oxygen to your brain increasing the blood flow. Exercise also creates new connections in the brain by stimulating brain cells and blood vessels.

 

One small step and one giant leap?

An easy way to get your heart pumping is to go for a walk. A lot of people these days have fitness trackers or pedometers that can count the steps you take throughout the day.

 

Don’t focus on the numbers. Maybe 10,000 steps is not realistic for you. Don’t focus on this number of steps. It is better to get up and be active regardless of the step count than to be discouraged that you didn’t hit your step count. Your goal is YOUR goal. Not anyone else’s goal. Focus on you and your goal and get up and move!

 

Ways to get those extra steps without doing exercises!

There are many ways to add physical activity into your daily routine without having to actually do exercise at all. Check out some examples below.

 

  • Balance skills to help prevent falls while watching your favorite tv show. Stand on one foot or try to walk backwards.
  • Take your dog for a walk.
  • If you have grandchildren, take them to the park.
  • Window shop at the mall.
  • Take the stairs when able.
  • Park your car a little farther when going to the grocery store.
  • Do chores around the house like vacuuming, mopping, sweeping, and yard work.
  • Turn on some music and dance around.
  • Try yoga.

 

Regardless of the activity, it is important to get up and move around not only for mental health but for your brain health and your heart.

 

Co-written by Katie Wolf, graduate dietetic intern, and Heather Borders, Registered Dietitian with Kailo Nutrition.

What do I do when the Doctor says it’s Alzheimer’s?

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What Do I Do When the Doctor Says it’s Alzheimer’s?

 

I refer to Alzheimer’s as being like a light switch that goes on and off in the brain. From the moment you know the diagnosis – that is the time to start planning.  You never know when the switch will flip.  The time to take control is immediate because you don’t want to make decisions in crisis mode. It is much easier to plan when you have the opportunity to gather information rather than having a few options during a time of crisis.

Planning is  Key

Talk to your loved one and all the family members that want to be involved with planning. It is never too early to start planning. Some areas to think about include financial planning, health care planning, legal planning, directives, and safety in the house. Refer to the Checklist to Organize Family, Legal and Care Matters which I have created to help you start the conversation and gather the documents you will need. It is important to note that there are specialized Elder Law attorneys, insurance and financial planners that can give you expert and current information and will help in your planning to make sure you have things in proper order.

Be a Successful Caregiver

Alzheimer’s is a tricky disease. It can give you the sense that all is okay and then the light switch flips and you are switching to crisis mode. There will be many light switch moments as you work through the Alzheimer’s diagnosis. There are many people available to help you through each of the various situations.  In my book, Simply Caring: Putting the Alzheimer’s Puzzle Together, I have gathered many resources for you to use.  Reach out to the local chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. Reach out to me.  Caregiving is stressful and you don’t have to go it alone.  I want you to have the tools, training, education and information to be a successful caregiver. I am here to help you, your loved one, and your family.

 

Highlights from Author and Almost Home CEO Jamie Glavich, Simply Caring: Putting the Alzheimer’s Puzzle Together. View more at SimplyCaringBook.com.

Ask the Dietitian: Popsicles, Smoothies and More!

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My Mom does not like to drink water.  I know it’s important for her to stay hydrated. Can you give me any tips?

Great question! It is so important for all of us to stay hydrated. Dehydration is associated with falls, heatstroke, urinary tract infections, and decreased immune function. Typical recommendations state that we should get 8 cups of water per day. One thing to remember is that the food we eat can contribute to hydration. So making sure our loved ones consume fruits and vegetables would be one way to sneak in some water.

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