Alzheimer's Care

Monday, 7 November 2011

Medication Management – Keeping it Simple

Taking medication the way it was prescribed seems like such a simple task.  Then why is it such a problem for the elderly?  Consider the fact the most elderly take multiple medications, often more than once a day, prescribed by various doctors, for a number of medical conditions.  Add supplements into the mix and you can start to imagine the number of pills an elderly adult must juggle.  There are several ways that can make medication management safe and easy.  
  1. Make sure your doctor and your pharmacy know your drug allergies.
  2. Set up your the medications in a weekly pill box.  This serve as a reminder for each day’s medication
  3. Discuss your medication with your physician. Take all of your medication (even the supplements and over-the-counter drugs) to your physician at each visit. This allows them to review all the medications and make adjustments as needed.  
  4. Have all your prescriptions filled at the same pharmacy. This will allow the pharmacist to check for drug interactions and appropriate dosing.
  5. Medications have more than one name – the brand names and the generic name.  This means the same medication may have several different names and types of packaging.  If the pharmacist gives you a pill that looks different than the one you are used to, ask for an explanation.
  6. Always take your medication as prescribed by your doctor.  Make sure you know what to do if you miss a dose.
  7. Talk to your doctor about the possible side effects of your medication so you know what to look for.
  8. Always check with your pharmacist before taking over the counter or herbal medications.
  9. Keep an updated list of your medications, dosage and frequency in your wallet.  That way if you go to the urgent care or the emergency room, you will be able to provide them with a current medication list.  Write your drug allergies on this list in red ink.

If you are setting up pills for a person with dementia:
  1. Keep the extra medication locked up or off-site.
  2. Set up medications in a weekly pill box, but keep it out of site and take out one dose at a time.
  3. Watch the person take their medication.  It is common for people with dementia to spit their medication out or hide it.
If you have a loved one with memory loss, it may be beneficial to consult a Geriatric Care Manager to assist in developing a plan for medication management.  The Care Manager can help you determine the best plan for medication management, including devices that dose the medication throughout the day.  With a little planning, medication management can become an easy routine and your chances of a problem will significantly decrease.

How to Introduce a Caregiver

As our parents age, we are often faced with the reality that they are no longer able to safely care for themselves.  This may be due to a physical imparity or a cognitive deficit.  Unfortunately, many times our parents do not recognize their own deficits and believe they can care for themselves without assistance.
So what do you do when Mom or Dad needs help and they are resistant to the idea?  What if they flat out refuse any help?  These situations can be difficult for everyone involved.  One option is to introduce a Geriatric Care Manager into the mix.  The Care Manager can look at the situation objectively, without the emotion and history of a family member and make recommendations that are in the best interest of the client.  They can also make recommendations for a specific strategy of introducing caregiving services, if that is determined to be necessary.

Once the decision has been made to introduce caregivers into the home, it should be done gradually.  Four hours a day, 3-4 days a week is often a good place to start.  Once your parents adjust to this situation, the number of hours and the number of days per week can be increased gradually until you have the caregiver in place as much as you need.  Be patient.  It can be hard for your parents to adjust to a new person their home, especially if they don’t believe they need any assistance in the first place.

Enjoying the Holidays with Memory Loss

A person with memory loss needs structure, routine and a calm environment.  These things are sometimes absent during the holidays.  If you have a loved one with memory loss, there are ways to make the holidays enjoyable for everyone.  Experts at the University of California, San Diego, offer the following tips:

  • If an older family member tires easily or is vulnerable to over-stimulation, limit the activities or length of time that person is included in the festivities.
  • Consider planning a nap time or providing a "quiet room" where an older person can take a break from the noise and confusion.
  • If there's a get-together at the home of someone with memory impairment or behavioral problems, don't rearrange the furniture. This could cause confusion and anxiety.
  • If the family function is somewhere else, remove slippery throw rugs and other items that could be hazards or barriers to people who have difficulty walking.
  • Avoid comments that might embarrass someone with short-term memory problems.
  • Involve everyone in holiday meal preparation, assigning tasks to include the youngest and oldest family members.
  • Make sure that older people adhere to their regular schedule of medications during the holiday hustle and bustle.
  • Reach out to older relatives and friends who are alone. Loneliness in older people is associated with major depression and with suicidal thoughts and impulses.

If you have a loved one with memory loss, it may be beneficial to consult a Geriatric Care Manager to assist in developing a plan for the holidays.  This preventative plan can help keep the holidays from becoming more stressful for everyone, especially the person with memory loss.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Help With Disabled Loved Ones...

Arizona Care Manager | Developmentally Disabled

Caring for a loved one with a disability can be a traumatic experience for many families. You will always have many questions about what their disability means and the impact it will have on your family. Caring for those with disabilities is a huge responsibility and it can affect every single person in the family in a different way. 

Consulting with an experienced Care Manger in Arizona is an absolute necessity in order to get a care plan in place that works for everyone. Your Care Manager can help assist you in finding the right care solutions in Arizona for the following needs and more...

-Learning disabilities
-Autism and Autistic Spectrum Disorders
-Memory loss, Dementia & Alzheimers
-Communication needs
-Sensory needs
-Mental health and behavioural support
-Mobility needs
-Technology dependence

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Dementia and Alzheimer’s Care in Arizona…

So… your loved one is suffering from symptoms of Alzheimer’s and Dementia… what can you do? It is so hard to watch them struggle and you know you need help… but where can you go and who can you trust?

Anyone who has ever been faced with this situation is in the same boat. We usually start asking friends and neighbors if they have any connections or advice at the same time we are frantically searching on the internet trying to find a suitable solution. There are so many options and choice of care givers, homes, nurses, attorneys… it can be overwhelming to say the least.

Without a doubt, the best way to help your loved one is to find help with the decisions BEFORE you start looking for help with the actual care. After having been through this myself, I would definitely start with a care manager before I ever considered hiring a care giver, nurse or move my mother into an Alzheimer’s Care facility in Arizona.

A qualified care manager will assess your situation and lay all of your options out for you. In our case, we paid less than $1,000 for our care manager’s initial research and needs assessment. If we had gone to her first, we would have saved thousands of wasted dollars. So when you decide it’s time for help… search for a care manager long before a care giver and hopefully, you’ll avoid some of the mistakes we made.


Wednesday, 12 January 2011

How can you tell if your loved one needs managed care...?

It can be difficult for Arizona families to determine when they need to seek help in caring for their aging or elderly parents. Geriatric care in Arizona is in great demand due to our high concentration of retirement communities. So… How do you know when it is time to seek professional care management assistance for your loved ones? There are many warning signs that your parents may need more care. Children of aging parents should trust their instincts with regards to their parents well-being. Listed below are a few signs that may indicate that it is time to search for care management and possible assisted living arrangements in Arizona.

Driving Skills

Has your parent recently had an accident? Is there unexplained damage to their vehicle or a recent driving citation? Dangerous driving can harm themselves or others because of decreased vision, motor skills or awareness of surroundings.

Personal Care

Has your love one stopped brushing their hair or started wearing the same dirty shirt? A decrease in personal grooming and hygiene care may be a result of arthritis, pain or more serious physical, emotional or mental problems.

Medication Management
Has your loved one accidently overdosed or neglected to take medication? This may be due to a lack of memory or diminished awareness of days. Don't ignore your concern with these issues.

Financial Management
Is the mail not being picked up regularly? Are the bills being paid on time? When funds are limited, this issue can be disturbing to family members. Have they made any irrational purchases or donations?

Lifestyle Quality
Are they still able to prepare their own meals? Have they lost contact with their friends? Are pets being fed or cared for properly? Sudden change in their everyday routine could be a sign of loss of energy or depression.

Memory Loss
Does your loved one tend to repeat themselves more and more often? Is their short-term memory noticeably diminishing? This may be an indicator of Dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Sudden changes in health, family dynamics, financial stability or housing quality may be signs of the need for care management services. In Arizona, there are many care management groups that can provide you with care options and assisted living alternatives for you aging or disabled loved ones. If you keep an eye out for these signs, you can avoid a potential accident and other health risks. Your main goal is to insure your loved ones experience a better quality of life for as long as they can.