Alzheimer's Care

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Reducing Loneliness in Elders around the Holidays

It's very human to feel that holidays should be happy times, with generations of traditions coming to the forefront. After all, we say we celebrate holidays. Doesn't that mean happiness? The reality, however, is that many people can feel isolated and lonely during this sometimes forced "season of good will."

Elders can have an especially hard time with the holiday season. While aging and maturity can bring the wisdom of years for many people, there are inevitable losses that come to even the most healthy individuals. Many of these losses are emotional and social in nature. Spouses become ill or die. Other aging relatives and friends become seriously ill, or die. Neighborhoods change, often leaving even those well enough to remain in their own homes feeling friendless and isolated. The holidays can bring this isolation and a feeling of loneliness to a head.

You, the adult child of a parent who may seem depressed during the holidays, can do much to help. Yes, you are busy and stressed yourself. However, by simplifying the holiday season all around and concentrating on what really matters – people – you can offer your parent help through what can be, for some, a time of discouragement.

Read the 12 tips to enhancing your elder's holiday here at

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Elderly Care Event Calendar

Check out our Event Calendar for October - November

Scottsdale / Phoenix October SPOTLIGHT Event
Thursday, Oct. 10, 9am

The Citadel's "2013 Oktoberfest" Invitation
Thursday, Oct. 10, 3:30pm

Northwest Valley October SPOTLIGHT Event
Wednesday, Oct. 16, 11:30am

Sterling House of Peoria "Blood Drive" Invitation
Thursday, Oct. 17, 9:00am

70's Disco Halloween Bash ~ YMCA Benefit Fundraiser
Thursday, Oct. 17, 6:30pm

AZCOMMUNITYCARES.COM "Hotshots Family Fundraiser Event" Invitation
Sunday, Oct. 20, 1:00pm

Clare Bridge of Tempe "Continental Breakfast Dash N' Dine" Invitation
Tuesday, Oct. 22, 8:00am

Valley Hospital"The Three Dialectical Dilemmas Boarderline Personality Disorder"
Friday, Oct. 25, 8:30am

The Reniassance at Sun Lakes "R.A.I.N. Meeting"
Friday, Oct. 25, 8:30am

Valley Hospital "DSM V: Abridged" Continuing Education Seminar
Saturday, Oct. 26, 8:00am

Beyond Golden Era "Continuing Educ. on Alzheimer's & Dementia" Seminar
Wednesday, Oct. 30, 8:30am

West Valley Community Fair Invitation
Saturday, Nov. 2, 9:00am

OCTOBER SPECIAL! Through Oct 11th Only "2 Day International Dementia Conference"
Tuesday, Nov. 5, 8:30am

AzGS 25th Annual 2013 Fall Symposium ~ Early Bird Deadline September 23rd
Friday, Nov. 8, 8:00am

Building a Long Term Care Strategy & Ways To Control Blood Pressure Educ Seminar
Monday, Nov. 11, 5:30pm

For more information on all or any of these event please visit our calendar here

Friday, 27 September 2013

People with Medicare and the Health Insurance Marketplace: Frequently Asked Questions

You have probably heard that a key part of the new healthcare law, the Health Insurance Marketplace, will begin on October 1. Many seniors are concerned about whether this component of the new health law ("Obamacare") will affect their Medicare benefits, and about what they should do. Here is a brief overview:

Q: How will the Health Insurance Marketplace that starts in 2014 affect my Medicare coverage? 

The Health Insurance Marketplace is designed to help people who don't have any health insurance. You have health insurance through Medicare. The Marketplace won't have any effect on your Medicare coverage.

Your Medicare benefits aren't changing. No matter how you get Medicare, whether through Original Medicare or a Medicare Advantage Plan, you'll still have the same benefits and security you have now, and you won't have to make any changes.

The Marketplace provides new health insurance options for many Americans. If you have family and friends who don't have health insurance, tell them to visit to learn more about their options.

Q: Do I need to do anything with Marketplace plans during Medicare Open Enrollment (October 15 - December 7, 2013)? 

Medicare's Open Enrollment isn't part of the new Health Insurance Marketplace. It's against the law for someone who knows that you have Medicare to sell you a Marketplace plan.

Medicare Open Enrollment (October 15 - December 7, 2013) is the time when all people with Medicare are encouraged to review their current health and prescription drug coverage, including any changes in costs, coverage and benefits that will take effect next year. If you want to change your coverage for next year, this is the time to do it. If you're satisfied that your current coverage will continue to meet your needs for next year, you don't need to do anything. For more information on Medicare Open Enrollment, visit or call 1-800-MEDICARE.

Note: The Health Insurance Marketplace Open Enrollment period (October 1, 2013 to March 31, 2014) overlaps with the Medicare Open Enrollment period (October 15 - December 7, 2013). Therefore, people with Medicare who are looking to make Medicare coverage changes should make sure that they are reviewing Medicare plans and not Marketplace options.

Q: What should I do if I'm contacted about signing up for a health plan? 

  • The Medicare open enrollment period is a time when there's a higher risk for fraudulent activities. 
  • It's against the law for someone who knows that you have Medicare to sell you a Marketplace plan. 
  • DO NOT share your Medicare number or other personal information with anyone who knocks on your door or contacts you uninvited to sell you a health plan. 

Senior Medicare Patrol programs are teaching people with Medicare how to detect and report fraud, and protect themselves from fraudulent activity and identity theft. To learn more about health care fraud and ways to protect against it, visit or the Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) program in your area (locate your SMP at

Source: United States Department of Health and Human Services.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Assisting Arizona Elderly Parents with Bathing...

Bathing is often the most difficult personal care activity that Arizona Elderly caregivers face. Because it is such an intimate experience, people with dementia may perceive it as unpleasant or threatening. In turn, they may act in disruptive ways.

Behaviors during Bathing

People with dementia may resist, scream or hit during bathing. Such behavior often occurs because the person doesn’t remember what bathing is for or doesn’t have the patience to endure such unpleasant parts of the task like lack of modesty, being cold or other discomforts. Loss of independence and privacy can be very difficult for the person with dementia. The disease also may increase sensitivity to water temperature or pressure.
Do not take disruptive behaviors personally. Remain flexible, patient and calm, and try the tips on this page.

Assessing the situation before you begin

When bathing a person with dementia, allow the person to do as much as possible, but be ready to assist when needed. Assess his or her ability to:
  • Find the bathroom.
  • See clearly.
  • Keep balance without fear of falling.
  • Reach and stretch arms.
  • Remember steps in the bathing process, follow cues or examples.
  • Know how to use different products (soap, shampoo, washcloth).
  • Sense water temperature.

Preparing the bathroom in advance

  • Gather bathing supplies such as towels, washcloths, shampoo and soap before you tell the person that it’s time to bathe.
  • Make sure the room is warm.
  • Use large beach towels or bath blankets that completely wrap around the person for privacy and warmth.
  • Have a washcloth ready to cover the person’s eyes to prevent stinging from water or shampoo.
  • Make sure that soap and shampoo are easy to reach. Try using hotel-sized plastic containers of shampoo.
  • Pad the shower seat and other cold or uncomfortable surfaces with towels.
  • Fill the tub (only use 2 to 3 inches of water) and then assess the person’s reaction to getting into the water. It may be better to fill the tub
    after the person is seated.
  • Try using a hand-held shower head and make sure the spray isn’t too intense.
  • Monitor the water temperature. The person may not sense when the water is dangerously hot or may resist bathing if the water is too cool.

Helping the person feel in control

  • Give the person choices. For example, ask: "Would you like to take a bath or a shower?" "Do you prefer to bathe now or in 15 minutes?"
  • Be sure the person has a role. Have the person hold a washcloth or shampoo bottle.
  • Be aware that the person may perceive bathing to be threatening. If the person resists bathing or acts out, distract him or her and try again later.
  • Praise the person for his or her efforts and cooperation.
  • Always protect the person’s dignity, privacy and comfort. Try to help the person feel less vulnerable by covering the person with a bath blanket while undressing.
  • Cover or remove the mirrors if a reflection in the bathroom mirror leads the person to believe there’s a stranger in the room.
  • Have a familiar person of the same sex help, if possible.
  • Be flexible. If necessary, allow the person to get into the tub or shower with clothes on. He or she may want to undress once clothes are wet.
  • Have activities ready in case the person becomes agitated. For example, play soothing music or sing together.

Adapting the bathing process

  • Set a regular time of day for bathing. If the person usually bathes in the morning, it may confuse him or her to bathe at night.
  • Be gentle. The person’s skin may be very sensitive. Avoid scrubbing.
  • Simply the bathing process by sewing pockets into washcloths to hold soap or using soap that washes both hair and body.
  • Use simple phrases to coach the person through each step of the bathing process, such as: “Put your feet in the tub.” “Sit down.” “Here is the soap.” “Wash your arm.”
  • Use other cues to remind the person what to do such as the “watch me” technique. Put your hand over the person’s hand, gently guiding the washing actions.
  • Use a tub bench or bath chair that can adjust to different heights. The person can sit while showering if it is easier.
  • Washing the person’s hair may be the most difficult task. Use a washcloth to soap and rinse hair in the sink to reduce the amount of water on the person’s face. Dry shampoo may work well as an alternative.
  • Be sure the person’s genital areas are washed, especially if incontinence is a problem.
  • Be sure the person is washed between folds of skin and under the breasts. You may want to install a hand-held shower to wash hard-to-reach areas.
  • Don’t worry about the frequency of bathing. “Sponge baths” with a washcloth can be effective between showers or baths.

After-bath care

  • Check for rashes and sores, especially if the person is incontinent or unable to move around.
  • Seat the person while drying and putting on fresh clothes.
  • Be gentle on the skin. Pat skin dry instead of rubbing.
  • Use cotton swabs to dry between the toes.
  • Apply lotion to keep skin soft.
  • Use cornstarch or talcum powder under the breasts and in the creases and folds of skin. If the person won’t use deodorant, use baking soda.

Bathing alternatives

  • Wash one part of the body each day of the week.
  • Consider shampooing hair at another time or on a different day.
  • Sponge bath the person with a washcloth between showers or baths.
  • Use a non-rinse soap product (available at pharmacies and drug stores) with warm/wet towels.  Research states that regular, thorough use of a non-rinse soap product is equally effective in getting a person clean.

Bathroom safety

  • Never leave the person alone in the bathroom.
  • Lower the thermostat on your hot-water heater to prevent scalding injuries, and always check the water temperature, even if the person draws his or her own bath.
  • Place non-skid mats on floors.
  • Install grab bars on the wall and tub's edge.
  • Use a tub bench or bath chair that can adjust to different heights.
  • Make sure there are no puddles on the bathroom floor; think about installing carpet.
For more information or questions please visit our website at or call us at 480-804-7200.

Elderly Care Events - August & September

The Renaissance at Sun Lakes "R.A.I.N. Meeting"
Fri Aug 23 8:30 AM

Exclusive Coffee Tasting & Jazz Mixer with Small Business Presentation
Sun Aug 25 5:30 PM

3rd Annual AZNHA Symposium Invitation
Wed Aug 28 9:00 AM

Discovery Point Retirement Community "Monthly RAIN Social" Invitation
Wed Aug 28 4:00 PM

Belmont Village Scottsdale "Brad Zinn Happy Hour for Professionals" Invitation
Wed Aug 28 4:30 PM

MorningStar at Arcadia "Open House & Happy Hour"
Thu Aug 29 3:00 PM

St. Luke's Behavioral Health "Building a Bridge ~ Returning Veterans Needs"
Wed Sep 04 8:00 AM

Central Phoenix RAIN Networking Event
Tue Sep 10 9:00 AM

East Valley September SPOTLIGHT Event
Tue Sep 10 9:00 AM

Arbor Rose Adult Day Club "Free Dinner & Informational Seminar" Invitation
Tue Sep 10 5:00 PM

Beyond Golden Era, LLC "Continuing Education on Alzheimer's & Dementia" Seminar
Thu Sep 12 9:00 AM

Scottsdale / Phoenix September SPOTLIGHT Event
Thu Sep 12 9:00 AM

Northwest Valley September SPOTLIGHT Event
Wed Sep 18 9:00 AM

The Village at Ocotillo "Early Happy Hour" Invitation
Thu Sep 26 3:30 PM

The Renaissance at Sun Lakes "R.A.I.N. Meeting"
Fri Sep 27 8:30 AM

Click here to view our entire arizona care manager events calendar and more details about each event. Check back periodically for updates.

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Balancing Independence and Safety in the Cognitively Impaired Senior

The older population is one of the largest growing segments of our population.  In 2000, there were 39.6 million persons 65 years or older (Administration on Aging, 2009).  Alzheimer’s disease is the leading cause of cognitive impairment.  Over 5.3 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease and this number is increasing in epidemic proportions.  Alzheimer’s disease affects 13% of those age 65 and over (Alzheimer’s Association, 2010).

As a person ages, their physical and cognitive abilities may become compromised.  Independence is an important part of an older person’s identity and older adults will fight to keep their independence as long as possible.  In the person with Alzheimer’s disease or other cognitively impairing processes, it is a delicate balance to maintain the individual’s independence while maintaining a safe living environment.

Independence is the ability to direct one’s own affairs without interference and freedom from dependence on others.  Milestones in a person’s life which contribute to independence include the following:

  1. Obtaining a driver’s license
  2. Holding a job
  3. Having your own place to live
  4. Having access to money without oversight
  5. Having a checkbook or credit card for purchases

A person with cognitive impairment may be unable to safely perform the tasks which were previously associated with independence.  In addition, the impaired person may not have the insight into their deficits and, therefore, may not be aware of their declining abilities.  This situation puts the cognitively impaired person at risk.  In these situations, the most common types of risk are harm to self, harm to others, financial exploitation, and self-neglect.

There are many cues that a person is having difficulty safely maintaining their independence.  According to the Alzheimer’s Association (2001), the ten warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease include:

  1. Memory loss
  2. Difficulty performing familiar tasks
  3. Problems with language
  4. Disorientation to time and place
  5. Poor or decreased judgment
  6. Problems with abstract thinking
  7. Misplacing things
  8. Changes in mood or behavior
  9. Changes in personality
  10. Loss of initiative

A person with early dementia may be able to function in some areas of their life and carry on social conversation but be unable to complete more complex functions.  Additional warning signs that a senior may need assistance include:

  1. Forgetfulness
  2. Sudden change in functioning
  3. Failure to pay bills
  4. Inability to obtain help in case of emergency
  5. Leaving appliances on or unattended
  6. Frequent falls
  7. Poor personal hygiene
  8. Lack of attention to appearance
  9. Dressing inappropriately for the weather
  10. Getting lost in familiar surroundings
  11. Poor eating habits
  12. Recent weight loss
  13. Anxiety or depression
  14. Sudden deterioration in physical condition
  15. Non-compliance with doctor’s recommendations
  16. Non-compliance with medications
  17. Accumulation of mail, laundry or trash
  18. Lost cash, jewelry or assets without recollection
  19. Multiple traffic violations or accidents
  20. Dents in the car or broken tail lights

If one or more of the above warning signs or symptoms is noticed, it is important to determine the cause of the problem, not just treat the symptom.  It can be difficult for family or friends to address these issues with an older adult because it acknowledges a loss of ability and potentially a loss of independence.  There is also an emotional tie between family or friends and the older adult that can make it more difficult to address these issues.  When these concerns are addressed with the older adult, often it is met by resistance or denial.  Frequently family members are faced with the responsibility of obtaining assistance for the older adult, but are unaware of the resources or options to provide the support needed.  Due to the increasing size of the aging population, there are ever-increasing resources to assist families and older adults to remain at their highest functional level and assist them to remain as independent as possible.  The problem is that many people are not aware of the various resources and support systems available.

Although resources vary by state, most states have both an Area Agency on Aging and a local chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association.  The Area Agency on Aging is a government-subsidized not-for-profit that provides resources and programs to assist senior adults.  The Alzheimer’s Association is the largest national voluntary health organization committed to finding a cure for Alzheimer’s and helping those affected by the disease.  They are an excellent resource for family and friends of a person diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or related disorders.  The Alzheimer’s Association provides educational classes and literature, support groups, and information/referral services.  The Safe Return program provided through the Alzheimer’s Association is the only national system to assist in identifying, locating, and returning individuals with Alzheimer’s disease or related disorders who wander and become lost (Alzheimer’s Association, 1999).

A growing resource is a local Certified Care Manager.  A Certified Care Manager is an individual who has advanced degrees in nursing, social work, or gerontology and has passed a national certification exam.  Certified Care Managers are trained to assess, plan, coordinate, monitor, and provide services for the elderly and their families.  They have extensive knowledge about the costs, quality, and availability of services in their community.  The Certified Care Manager works with the client and the family to provide services that are tailored to the needs of the client and family.  They objectively view the decisions to be made, always keeping the best interests and needs of the client first.  The services provided by the Certified Care Manager can include the following:

  1. Extensive evaluation and on-going monitoring of physical, emotional, psychological, spiritual, financial, legal, and environmental needs
  2. Individual and family counseling and crisis intervention
  3. Implementation and on-going revision of the older adult’s Plan of Care
  4. Coordinate medical care and offer referrals to appropriate specialists
  5. Identify the most viable options, resources, and support services to optimize care and provide for the health, safety, well-being, and autonomy of the client

A list of Certified Care Managers can be found provided by the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers (  Engaging a Certified Care Manager to assist with the care of an older adult will connect you with all the services an older adult may need.

Technology has provided numerous devices to assist the senior to remain independent for as long as possible.  For example, emergency response systems provide a “call button” which the older adult wears either on their wrist or as a necklace.  One push of a button summons assistance in an emergency.  Some of the systems also provide medication reminder calls or a daily check-in program to ensure an older person living alone is all right.  If the person does not respond to the daily call, help is sent to investigate.  Another system to assist an older person remain independent is the automated pillbox.  There are numerous versions of this device, but the ideas are relatively the same.  The box is filled on a weekly basis and the administration times are programmed into the box.  When it is time for a medication to be taken, the box alarms and the door to that particular dose unlocks.  Once the pills are removed the door relocks.  This device assists in medication reminders and helps prevent accidental overdoses.  In addition, there are systems which monitor movement within the home, looking for unusual movement patterns and there are systems which monitor vital signs, weight and blood sugar on a daily basis.  The continued advances in technology will allow many seniors to remain in their home much longer than was previously possible.

Non-medical companions are another way to enable the senior to remain safely in their home.  A non-medical companion typically can assist a client with light housekeeping, errands, and daily grooming/hygiene.  The companion can provide cueing, redirection, and some hands-on assistance.  Frequently the addition of a companion, even for a few hours a week, allows the older adult to remain semi-independent in their home for longer than if the older adult had remained alone.

As a person’s cognitive abilities decline, it is important to balance the safety and well being of the client with their need for independence.  Today there are many resources and support services available to assist the older adult to remain at the highest functional level possible for as long as possible.  Proactive planning by family and the older adult can help prevent emergencies and accidents and allow the older adult to remain safe and independent as possible for as long as possible.

Friday, 19 July 2013

Arizona seniors need to stay active...

Reduce the effects of aging - An active lifestyle is more important than ever for Arizona's aging seniors. Regular exercise can help manage symptoms of illness or pain, boost energy and maintain overall health and preserving their independence.  Not only is exercise good for an aging body, it’s also good for the mind, mood, and memory and can even reverse some of the symptoms of aging. Whether your elderly parents are generally healthy or are managing an illness, there are plenty of ways to promote more activity, improve confidence, and boost your fitness level.

If starting or maintaining a regular exercise routine seems more challenging as your parents get older, it might be a good idea to consult a local Care Manager In Arizona. Professional Care Managers are aware of local activity groups geared towards the elderly. Even if they feel discouraged by illness, ongoing health problems, or concerns about injuries or falls there is an exercise program that will help. They may had never exercised before, not know where to begin, or perhaps they think they're too old or frail, but there is something for everyone when it comes to fitness. Your aging parents can benefit from exercise, no matter their age or their current physical condition. Reaping the rewards of exercise doesn’t require strenuous workouts or trips to the gym. It’s about adding more movement and activity to their life, even in small ways. Whether you are generally healthy or are managing an illness—even if you’re housebound—there are many easy ways to get your body moving and improve your health.

Some elders view deteriorating health as a good reason to slow down and take it easy. But this is actually a better reason to get moving! Exercise can energize mood, relieve stress, help manage symptoms of illness and/or pain, and improve overall sense of well-being. In fact, exercise is the key to staying strong, energetic, and healthy as we age. And it can even be fun, too.

For more information or help with getting your elderly parents active again consult a Elder Care Coach, who can suggest a Care Plan for your parents and their needs.

Thursday, 11 July 2013

How Can a Geriatric Care Manager Bring Value to My Family?

Finally… your loved one is safely living in a care setting you carefully selected.  You are comfortable that all of your loved one’s needs are being met, which is quite a relief for the entire family.  Unfortunately your work is not over!  Staff and management changes at a facility, along with changes in your loved one’s needs, can often turn things upside down with little or no warning.

What will you do?  Will you be able to take time off work to accompany your loved one to his/her doctor’s appointment?  What if an emergency arises while you’re on vacation?

A Geriatric Care Manager (GCM) can assist you in many ways, working toward the common goal of providing for the overall care needs of your loved one.  A GCM is a professional who specializes in assisting older adults and their families with care arrangements.  GCMs have advanced degrees in nursing, social work and/or gerontology.

GCMs have extensive knowledge about the costs, quality, and availability of services in their community.  The GCM works with the client (older or incapacitated adult) and the family to provide services that are tailored to the needs of the client and family.  The GCM objectively views the decisions she or he must make, always keeping the best interests and needs of the client first.  The services provided by the GCM can include the following:

  • Coordinate medical care and offer referrals to appropriate specialists
  • Review current medication
  • Coordinate and monitor facility and living support services
  • Ongoing or as-needed monitoring of the client
  • Act as emergency contact, coordinate needs and monitor client while family out of town or unavailable
  • Develop a Plan of Care that identifies problems, eligibility for assistance, and need for services
  • Crisis prevention and intervention
  • Act as a liaison to families, ensuring that all is well and alerting families to problems which may arise
  • Act as an advocate for the client
  • Short-term or on-going assistance for long-distance caregivers
  • Twenty-four hour on-call availability for emergency situations
  • Process medical and insurance benefits
  • Assist with financial management, bill/claim payment, and portfolio account reconciliation
  • Review legal issues and offer referrals to attorneys whose practice is focused in Elder Law as needed to avoid future problems and preserve assets
  • Continuity of care to reduce miscommunications, time, stress, and costs to clients

Because your needs are specific to your situation, we invite you to contact Desert care Management at no charge to determine if Geriatric Care Management is the solution for you.

Additional information can be found at:

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Elderly Care Events

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Q&A @ B&A

Thursday, June 20, 2013
North Valley Coalition On Aging

Thursday, June 20, 2013
Tucson "SPOTLIGHT" Event

Friday, June 21, 2013
Continental Dash N' Dine Invitation by Clare Bridge of Tempe

Sunday, June 23, 2013
Lunch & Learn Series

Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Prescott "SPOTLIGHT" Event

Wednesday, June 26, 2013
A Meeting of the Minds Webinar

Thursday, June 27, 2013
Starting The Conversation About Senior Care With Your Parents" By Brookdale

Thursday, June 27, 2013
Grab a Plate & Educate

Friday, June 28, 2013
The Renaissance at Sun Lakes "R.A.I.N. Meeting"

Saturday, June 29, 2013
Beyond Golden Era, LLC "Continuing Education on Alzheimer's & Dementia"

Tuesday, July 9, 2013
9 am East Valley July SPOTLIGHT Event

Thursday, July 11, 2013
9 am Scottsdale / Phoenix July SPOTLIGHT Event

Wednesday, July 17, 2013
9 am Northwest Valley July SPOTLIGHT Event

Click here to view our entire arizona care manager events calendar and more details about each event. Check back periodically for updates.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Caring for the Elderly in Arizona

 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.

Arizona Geriatric Care Manager | Elder Care Coaching Mesa, AZ | Tempe, AZ Elderly Mediation

Friday, 31 May 2013

Living Wills: Don’t Make Your Loved Ones Guess What You Would Have Wanted

elderly care tempe mesa arizona
I was in college when my grandfather passed away.  He was sick off and on for many years.  In our family, no one wanted to talk about end of life issues or dying.  It wasn’t a comfortable conversation.  Unfortunately, when my grandfather became very sick and went into the hospital for the last time, he did not have a Living Will to address his end of life wishes.  My grandfather ended up on a ventilator and eventually the doctors asked my grandmother what my grandfather would have wanted.  Did he want aggressive treatment and to most likely be on a ventilator the rest of his life or would he want to be allowed to die in peace?  My grandmother had no idea because it was not a topic my grandfather ever talked about.

I remember the stress this decision placed on my grandmother.  She was afraid of making the wrong choice; she was concerned her children would not support her choice; she was afraid to choose.  The doctors wanted an answer, so my grandmother went home from the hospital and vowed to come back in the morning with an answer.  Fortunately for my grandmother, she never had to tell anyone what she decided.  My grandfather passed away in the wee hours of the morning before my grandmother returned.  I think it was a blessing that she did not have to choose.

Years later, my grandmother said it was the hardest choice she ever had to make.  To this day, I still don’t know what she decided.  What I do know is that after my grandfather’s funeral, my grandmother met with their attorney and had a Living Will drafted.  She told her children that she did not want them to have to go through the same thing that she did when my grandfather was ill.

-Heather Frenette, RN,MSN, CMC
Professional Care Manager in Arizona

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Is it Normal Aging or Dementia?

Caring for Elder with Dementia | Living with Dementia | Dementia Care
Arizona, Tempe, Sun City, Gold Canyon, Scottsdale, AZ

Mom can’t remember where her keys are.  Dad got lost driving to the grocery store.  Children often hear these comments about their parents or grandparents and wonder, is it normal aging or dementia?  As we age, it is common to have what many refer to as “Senior Moments”.  These moments can include occasional word-finding difficulties or forgetfulness.  The biggest difference is that dementia causes impairment in social functioning and independent living.  Normal aging does not.  Independent living describes the ability to shop alone, manage finances, perform basic household duties and perform personal care tasks.  Another difference is that with normal aging, the person is usually more concerned about alleged forgetfulness than are close family members.  With dementia, the opposite is true.

Some of the common symptoms to watch for with dementia include:
  • Getting lost in familiar places
  • Forgetfulness or recent events
  • Changes in hygiene
  • Changes in language ability
  • Repetitive questioning
  • Socially inappropriate behaviors
  • Changes in dietary habits
  • Decreased organization skills
  • Personality changes
If you suspect that a loved one is having changes that are related to dementia, it is important to have an evaluation by a medical professional.  Early intervention can slow the decline of the disease.  It may also be beneficial to consult a Geriatric Care Manager to assist in developing a plan of care to address the current needs and plan for the future.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Providing for Alzheimer's Patients in Arizona

Alzheimer's Care Plan | Elderly Care Givers | In-home Elder Care
Arizona, Phoenix, Tempe, Mesa, Scottsdale, Gilbert, AZ

Senior Care Expert, Heather Frenette discusses how to provide those suffering from Alzheimer's the best quality of life possible.

Stimulate activity and Independence...

The goal of a quality Alzheimer's care plan is simple:

  • Every Alzheimer's or Dementia afflicted individual deserves the opportunity to age with dignity and enjoy quality of life for as long as possible.
  • Educate family members and friends on the impact of Alzheimer's and Dementia to surrounding loved ones and their environment.
  • Encourage and assist family members in coping with the sometimes severe challenges of the disease.
  •  Choose qualified Care Givers specializing in Alzheimer's and Dementia specific care. They understand how to manage behaviors and are well versed in the latest care techniques.
  •  Consult a professional Care Manger in order to utilize all available resource effectively.

To schedule an in-home care needs assessment and learn how to help your loved one enjoy the best quality of life possible, call us today!

Desert Care Management provides professional care planning and resources to help families deal with the stress of Alzheimer's disease.  Visit our website at: or… Call us today - (480) 804-7200

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Seven Ways to Plan for the Cost of Caring for a loved one with Dementia

Elderly Care | Professional Care Manager | Caring for Parents with Dementia 
Arizona, Chandler, Tempe, Mesa, Gilbert, AZ

The cost of caring for loved ones with dementia will double in less than 30 years due to the increasing number of people developing the disease. According to a RAND Corporation study, the average individual cost to pay for care, including lost wages for a family member, is about $41,000 per year. With some living with Alzheimer’s for 20 years before death, that’s over $800,000 worth of care, privately purchased and given by a family member.

These individuals will overwhelm the medical systems and the government programs. Once diagnosed, it is smart to plan proactively before the dementia really gets bad. The study points out that the baby boom generation is not prepared for this massive growth in needed services and families are not prepared for the real cost of caring for a family member with a dementia.

Professional Care Managers, with a care plan, can help the family budget and plan for the cost and burden of care. Families that learn to share the care, give care with training, attend support groups, and have a care manager as a 'elder coach', are able to care longer for their loved ones and without placing them in a long-term care facility.

Here are seven ways a Professional Care Manager can help families early in the disease process plan for cost as well as burden:

  1. Review available resources. Look at total resources available for care and plan how and when to spend those resources. In some areas, it is best to save some resources to pay for the early months in skilled care before Medicaid starts. 

  2. Determine who will provide the care. Look at family and friends who have committed to assist with the care and plan a system of sharing the care that doesn’t burnout or burden the primary caregiver. 

  3. Utilize community resources. Help the family use community resources such as respite programs and “free systems of companion care” before having to spend dollars on home care. 

  4. Educate families. Teach families on how to communicate in order to reduce stress, adverse behaviors and preserve dignity of the individuals with dementia. 
Modify Homes. Teach families how to retrofit their homes for safety and recommend technology to guard against wandering. 

  6. Systemize the medical needs. Set up systems of medication and medical care attention that secure the best level of care. 
Enable legal and entitlement advice. See that families have legal advice that will allow them to apply for government benefits. Educate the family on all the entitlements and benefits available – they can differ from community to community.
The bottom line is that a Professional Care Manager can often reduce the necessary expenditures and stress by preventing or delaying events such as hospitalizations from occurring. To learn more about a Care Manager and available care plans visit our site at

Thursday, 11 April 2013

The best source for Health Care Events in the Phoenix Metro Area

Professional Health Care Events | Health Care Industry Networking
Arizona, Gilbert, Chandler, Tempe, Mesa, AZ

At Desert Care Management, we understand that collaboration and communication with our peers in the health care industry is vital to our continued growth and success.  We strive to meet the needs of the geriatric and mental health population with information about proactive care planning, elder care coaching and care evaluations with the DCM Professional Events Calendar. Our Calendar is all inclusive and is constantly updated with listings of local networking, educational, and fundraising events in the health care field.

Visit our calendar to attend an event or to learn more about a topic.

As always, we thank you for your support and attention!

Friday, 5 April 2013

Caring for aging adults can be challenging…

Care Managers can help with you aging loved ones
AZ, Mesa, Tempe, Chandler, Gilbert, Phoenix, Arizona

It might be time for a professional care manager if you are feeling overwhelmed with caring for an aging or disabled loved one. Meeting with a professional Care Manager will help you define and achieve care goals for your loved one. Your Care Manager will conduct an in-depth assessment to determine the unique needs of the care recipient and create a care plan that works best for your situation.

Care Managers maintain relationships with the local resources you need to effectively care for aging parents or loved ones. They work one-on-one with family members to implement your care plan and make sure you are taking advantage of all available resources including any available state and federal programs. Hiring a care manager reduces stress and ensures you make the most of your care services budget. A care manager's goal is to help families provide the best quality of life possible for families facing adult care challenges. Care Managers usually specialize in geriatric care as well as care for those with disabilities.

Care Managers are often referred by:

- Elder law attorneys
- Bank trust or fiduciary officers
- Probate Judges seeking objective assessment
- Physicians and other health care providers
- Financial planners and accountants
- Long-term care insurance providers
- Community-based organizations

Find a professional care manager in Mesa, Gilbert, Tempe, Scottsdale Arizona.