How Do I Communicate and Visit with My Loved One?

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Communication is an important aspect of any relationship, it is more than sending and receiving messages. To help with communication, be supportive, show you are interested, offer comfort and reassurance, give them time to get out their words and avoid criticizing or correcting. Each one of us is unique. What works for you one day may not work for you the next day. Be flexible. I share many tips with you in Chapter 9 of Simply Caring.

Music over Language

Our brain is wired differently to process music over language. Music is associated with many events in our lives. Music can set a mood and help with communication. During a challenging moment, start signing and the mood often changes.

Pain Indicators May Affect Communication

Always be on the lookout for differences in behavior and communication. Someone with Alzheimer’s may not be able to verbally communicate pain, either emotional or physical. This chapter of Simply Caring spells out many clues to look for when communication is breaking down such as changes in appetite and sleep or moaning and/or crying.

101 Things To Do With A Person Who Has Alzheimer’s Disease

This is my favorite list to share with a family. Visiting someone with memory loss takes effort and can be a challenge. The person with Alzheimer’s has about a 15-minute attention span. This is sometimes hard to get used to. This list shows that there are so many everyday ways to visit with a loved one. Be prepared and know how you want to spend your time. One day you could do a puzzle, the next visit could be looking at family photographs and the final visit of the week could be watching a few favorite TV shows together. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Just try to make yourself and your loved one comfortable when you are together.

 

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

 

 

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Walk to End Alzheimer's Jacksonville, Florida

Why I Walk to End Alzheimer’s

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Jamie's mom in pink dressWhy I Walk to End Alzheimer’s

I walk for my mother, Madaline, who passed in 2002 with an Alzheimer’s related dementia. In 1989, I got involved with the Walk to honor her memory. Mom was my best friend and I became her caregiver. Whenever I needed coaching or encouragement, Mom was always there with the right words. Mom did not get to enjoy my wedding, the birth of my daughter – her namesake – or enjoy the pleasures of being a grandmom. In raising awareness and through research, I hope that one day no one will have to endure the disappointment and emotional pain that consumes families with this disease.

Team Almost Home

Team Almost Home, with Jamie Glavich as Team Captain, was created to participate in the Jacksonville Walk to End Alzheimer’s. The 2019 Walk will be held on Saturday, November 16, 2019 starting in Hemming Plaza, downtown Jacksonville, Florida. Check-in time is 8:00 am with the Walk start at approximately 9:00 am.

Walk Committee 

Trish and I are on the 2019 Walk to End Alzheimer’s planning committee which has been meeting since the beginning of the year. We are hosting two areas this year.  I will be the host of the Champions Tent. This is a special area for the largest fundraisers to enjoy a catered breakfast before the start of the Walk. Trish will be the host of the Promise Garden Tent. This is the place to pick up a Promise Flower. Through color, these Promise Flowers represent the diverse motivation of the Walkers:  Blue – I have Alzheimer’s/Dementia; Yellow – I am supporting or caring for someone with Alzheimer’s/Dementia; Purple – I have lost someone to Alzheimer’s/Dementia; Orange – I support the cause and the Alzheimer’s Association’s vision of a world without Alzheimer’s; White – the first survivor.

Please consider supporting our Team by Joining the Walk or Sponsoring Our Team!

 

The Day is Almost Over – What to do Next?

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The Day is Almost Over – What To Do Next?

 

It’s nighttime. A light dinner has been served, a little relaxation and it’s time for the getting ready for bed routine.

Have a Routine

I strongly suggest a nightly routine. This is good for everyone. The repetition is helpful for you and your loved one. Some nights will be harder than others, this is to be expected. Patience is often called for especially at night. I have included many tips and highlights in my book, Simply Caring, under Chapter 8.

Write in Your Journal

My final thought for the day is to journal. I know, you think there’s no time, but I strongly suggest you make time. The journal can be your way of getting out your thoughts and feelings about the day. It is also a way to record changes that are happening with your loved one. You can write about challenges and how you successfully dealt with them. It might be helpful if the same instances arise to go back through your notes and see what worked. Not everything will work a second time, but it’s good to read about how you handled things and what the outcomes were. As the caregiver, you must be creative, patient and analytical while dealing with a variety of behaviors and issues.

 

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

 

 

 

How Do I Get Through the Day and What is Sundowning?

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Making lists for the day

Plan, plan, plan. I guess you can tell I am all about planning for the day ahead. How else will you remember all that needs to be done? Do you have any appointments? Need to get groceries and supplies? Make lists because you just cannot remember everything that you need to do for yourself and your loved one.

It makes your day more manageable to have a plan. I do not mean to say it will be easier, just, hopefully, less stressful if you have a plan.

 Sundowning begins

I highly recommend doing all your outside activities before lunch. It seems the afternoon is for taking naps. Anytime after 3:00 pm is when Sundowning may occur. Sundowning has been explained to me as a state of confusion, anxiety, aggression or ignoring directions. Many folks who experience sundowning will pace or try to wander.

Sundowning isn’t a disease, but a group of symptoms that occur at a specific time of the day that may affect people with dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease. The exact cause of this behavior is unknown. I describe many reasons and tips for dealing with sundowning in Chapter 7 of my book, Simply Caring.

Plan to stay busy

Even with planning, the day will be long. Those with Alzheimer’s have a difficult time entertaining themselves. The attention span for any task is about 15 minutes. A thought to keep you on cue: the busier you keep your loved one, the less busy they will keep you. You must have activities at the ready such as coloring books, word search, puzzles, movies or favorite shows.

Repetition is one of the more challenging behaviors that the caregiver will need to handle. Words may be repeated. Constantly walking in circles. Repetitive behavior which mimics an obsessive-compulsive disorder. Hoarding and rummaging. It can be common for someone with Alzheimer’s to pick up everything. They will try to be helpful by putting things away. Mostly this does not help.

Always practice Safety First

My last thought is to please not leave someone diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or dementia home alone. Remember Safety First. You must be their protector.

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

Benefits of a Plant-Centered Diet

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Benefits of a Plant-Centered Diet

According to the American Diabetes Association, there are 29 million Americans who live with Diabetes, 90-95% of which have type 2 diabetes, and 86 million more are currently at risk of developing diabetes.

While individuals may be genetically predisposed to developing Type 2 diabetes, a dietary lifestyle that is high in fat (especially saturated fat) could be the trigger for diabetes to rear its ugly head.

Why Does Type 2 Diabetes Occur?

Type 2 diabetes occurs when sugar has a hard time getting into the body’s cells. Blood sugar rises, and the typical recommendation is to limit consumption of carbohydrates (which, ultimately break down into sugar, aka glucose). However, the latest nutrition research reveals another piece of the puzzle that must be included into the conversation.

When we eat high-fat diet (when fat calories are >20% of total calories and come from meat, dairy, oils, or processed foods) little, teeny, tiny, fat globules may build up inside our cells. This is different than the type of fat we try to exercise (or wish or pray) away. Ever wonder why there are individuals who are diagnosed with diabetes who are as thin as a toothpick? This is why. A high-fat diet can result in high-fat cells. And high-fat cells is the reason behind insulin resistance. Decreasing fat consumption can clear out the fat inside our body cells and improve insulin sensitivity dramatically.

How does a high-fat diet affect our cells?

When there is a build up of fat inside our cells, it acts like gum jamming up a lock. Insulin, the key, cannot open the door which will ultimately let glucose into the cell so we can go about our daily lives. Subsequently, glucose builds up in our blood stream. Over time, chronically high blood glucose levels will cause inflammation and can affect the vessels of the brain, eye, kidneys, and limbs. For a person diagnosed with pre-diabetes or diabetes, finding ways to add more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans can totally change the trajectory of your life.

The Benefits of a Plant-Centered Diet on Type 2 Diabetes

By reducing fat intake, increasing dietary fiber, and increasing vegetable protein, you can help battle insulin resistance. This could mean blood sugar control and reduction or even elimination of medications.

 

This blog post was written by Karen Chaska, University of North Florida graduate student and dietetic intern and Heather Borders, Registered Dietitian with Kailo Nutrition.

References:

  1. Kuhlmann J, Neumann-Haefelin C, Belz U, et al. Intramyocellular lipid and insulin resistance. 2003 Jan; 52(1): 138-144.
  2. Barnard ND, Katcher HI, Jenkins DJA, et al. Vegetarian and vegan diets in type 2 diabetes management. Nutrition Reviews. 2009; 67(5): 255-263.
  3. Lee YM, Kim SA, Kim JG, et al. Effect of a brown rice based vegan diet and conventional diabetic diet on glycemic control of patients with type 2 diabetes: a 12 week randomized clinical trial. PLoS ONE. 2016; 11(6): 1-14.
  4. Rinaldi S, Campbell EE, Fournier J, et al. A comprehensive review of the literature supporting recommendations from the Canadian Diabetes Association for the use of a plant-based diet for management of type 2 diabetes. Can J Diabetes. 2016; 40: 471-477.

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Top 5 Benefits of Attending a Grocery Store Tour

Digging around Farmers Markets

How Do I Start the Day?

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How Do I Start the Day?

 

Everyone has a morning routine. When you are caring for two, routines need to be altered a bit to make sure your needs as the caregiver are met as well as the needs of your loved one. As a caregiver, you will learn the importance of getting ready first.

Starting the Day

The best way to start the day is to know what you and your loved one are going to wear. Having clothes ready in advance, the pre-planning, will help alleviate the back and forth of trying to pick out something that your loved one wants to wear. If you have been following my stories, I am all about pre-planning! Why wait for the crisis or “battle” to occur when it can be prevented and help to reduce the stress of the morning.

You will learn as the disease progresses that dressing your loved one will change, possibly from day-to-day. Just go with the flow. How they dressed in the past and how they performed their own personal grooming is now a changing process.

Food Preparation

Once everyone is dressed, it’s time for breakfast. This is also a great place to utilize pre-planning. Have the food ready before your loved one sits down. If it is not ready, they might lose interest in sitting down to an empty table and will get up and walk away.

Stay Hydrated

It is so important to start the day with hydration and nourishment. Your loved one has probably not had anything to eat since the dinner meal the night before. Blood sugars are low and blood pressure is probably low as well. The highest risk for falls is in the morning because of this drop in pressure and sugar.

I have listed lots of ideas for food preparation and hydration. Please take the time to read this chapter of Simply Caring. These hints will help you get through the start of your day. Once the breakfast dishes are cleaned up, its time to focus on afternoon activities.

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

Just a DASH of salt, please!

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Just a DASH of salt, please!

High blood pressure, called “hypertension” is very common with complications including heart failure, decreased kidney function, vision loss, and stroke. Uncontrolled high blood pressure can lead to cognitive impairment, vascular dementia, transient ischemic attacks by blocking blood flow to the brain. There are dietary steps that you can take to reduce your risk of hypertension. These steps are called, Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension also known as the DASH diet. These steps and approaches are a lifestyle more than they are a diet. Take a look at some easy steps below to reduce your risk of hypertension.

Watch your sodium intake

When shopping at the grocery store look for items that say:

  • No salt added
  • Reduced sodium
  • Low sodium

Common items that tend to be higher in sodium include condiments, deli meats and hot dogs, high processed foods like chips, bread, canned soups and vegetables. Look at the back of the package to see how much sodium is in the product per serving. One way to know if a product has high sodium is to compare the amount of sodium to the number of calories. Ideally, we’d like to keep sodium equal to or less than the number of calories for any particular product. It may not be a big deal if the sodium is a little higher than calories, but when products have a lot of sodium, they tend to have 4, 5, or more than 6 times the amount of sodium as calories.

Don’t forget to consider the entire meal or the entire day. If you eat a sandwich with high-sodium bread and deli meat, make sure to eat it along with a salad using homemade no-oil dressing.

Modifiable lifestyle choices

The first thing that you can change is smoking habits. If you smoke, try to reduce the amount you smoke per day. If you don’t smoke, do not start smoking! Another thing that you can do is to make sure you get plenty of exercise. Try aerobic exercises 4 times per week for roughly 30-60 minutes. This could be something like a brisk walk, swim, or bike. You can also try to limit alcohol to one drink per day for women and two drinks for men. An example of one alcoholic beverage would include a 24 oz beer, 10 oz of wine, or 3 oz of liquor.

Vitamins

Listed below are some vitamins and minerals that play an important role in controlling blood pressure as well as some examples as to where you can find these vitamins and minerals and how much you should try to eat daily.

Potassium: 470 mg/day

  • Food: Bananas, spinach, potatoes

Magnesium: 500 mg/day

  • Food: Green leafy vegetables, nuts and seeds

Calcium: 1240 mg/day

  • Food: Kale, yogurt, low-fat or fat free milk

Fiber: 25-30 mg/day

  • Food: Oatmeal, whole-wheat bread, dates, and strawberries

Tips for cooking and eating out

  1. Eat home-cooked meals as much as possible. Eighty percent of sodium consumed by Americans comes from foods they don’t prepare themselves. Know what you are eating.
  2. When you are out at a restaurant, ask for the sauce or dressing on the side
  3. Call the restaurant ahead of time to see if they can accommodate your wishes.
  4. Rinse all of your canned vegetables under water to reduce the sodium even more.
  5. When cooking, you can use herbs and no salt added seasoning to flavor your food. Herbs that add a bold flavor include garlic, citrus (lemons and limes), vinegar, and basal, and ginger.
  6. Always taste your food before you salt it! If using herbs with bold flavors, you may not need salt.

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

 

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!