Archive for the ‘Alzheimer’s & Dementia’ Category

Education About Alzheimer’s Care Can Lead to Better Quality of Life

by: John Aker | August 22nd, 2017

Alzheimer's CareThe number of people with Alzheimer’s disease is growing in epidemic proportions, yet despite over 100 years of research, its definitive cause is not yet known and a cure remains elusive. Researchers are currently studying, among other things. factors such as diet, genes, and cardiovascular health to determine risk factors and overall disease development. However, researchers believe that for most people, there probably is not one single cause of Alzheimer’s disease, but rather a combination of genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors. What is certain is that family caregiver education about the disease and its effects, as well as learning certain Alzheimer’s caregiving techniques, while preserving a family caregiver’s own wellbeing, can greatly improve the quality of life for persons with Alzheimer’s.

Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease can be stressful, but there are many tips to help in the journey. As Alzheimer’s disease progresses, oftentimes the person with Alzheimer’s cannot express how he or she feels with words and instead communicates feelings through behavior. Successfully dealing with problem behaviors in persons with Alzheimer’s disease begins by first identifying the cause or “trigger” of the behavior. Questions to think about include: What happened just before the behavior started? Where did the behavior happen? What happened right after the behavior? It is important to react calmly and reassuringly. Then to help avoid that behavior trigger or potential stressor in the future, the environment or caregiving atmosphere can be modified accordingly. Below are some common behavior triggers for those with Alzheimer’s and tips to sensitively manage those behaviors.

Trouble communicating. A person with Alzheimer’s may become agitated if he or she cannot figure out what you are saying or can’t find the right words to tell you what he or she wants. The agitated actions call out the emotions that the person is feeling inside. Respond to the emotion that is being communicated rather than the behavior. When giving instructions, break down what you are asking into one simple step at a time.

Unfamiliar Environment. A move to a different care environment, a change of caregivers, or being in an unrecognizable location can cause troubling behaviors. Persons may act nervous and upset—picking at clothes, wringing hands, crying, and making accusations or using repetitive speech. Repetition is thought to convey how the person is seeking security and familiarity. Do not try to reason or correct; rather, listen to what is troubling the person and try to understand his or her reality. A calm listener can have a calming effect on the behavior.

Over-stimulating Environment. Too many people, too much noise, garish colors in the environment, shadowy rooms or excessive clutter can also lead to agitation, hallucinations or aggressive behavior. Stay calm and at an arm’s length if safety is a concern. Provide reassurance and encourage the person to go with you to another place where it is well lit, quiet and calming. Always try to remain visible to the person with Alzheimer’s, and be careful not to approach from a path that isn’t in full view so as to avoid any surprises.

Physical Discomfort. Physical discomfort may come about due to illness, medication side effects or other factors, but the person with Alzheimer’s may not be able to communicate about the discomfort and may try to get the message across through behavior. So, check for pain, hunger, thirst, constipation, full bladder or tiredness. Also check to see if clothes are too tight or too loose. If medication side effects are the suspected cause of discomfort, contact the physician. Urinary tract infections are a particularly problematic issue, so check for that possibility if the change is acute and sudden.

While there is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, there are medications that can help to control some symptoms such as depression, aggression or hallucinations. It’s always important to discuss the pros and cons of medication with a doctor before making a decision regarding treatment—and be sure to consider the possible side effects of over-the-counter drugs to avoid reactions with other medicines.

Caring for the Caregiver

Frustration with tasks, tiredness, boredom and engaging with a stressed-out or agitated caregiver are also known triggers. Suggesting rest, activity and reassurance to care recipients, and respite care for caregivers, are positive ways to respond to needs.

It’s ok to accept help.

Caring for a parent or loved one with Alzheimer’s can seem an overwhelming task, and asking for care assistance leaves many feeling guilty. The mental strain alone that Alzheimer’s care demands makes it one of the most difficult conditions for which to provide care. Caregiver burnout can be inevitable without assistance.

Allowing a caregiver permission to accept help will alleviate stress and make for a more loving and supporting caregiver. To learn more about caring for someone with Alzheimer’s, contact Aker Kasten Home Health Care. We provide home health care throughout Palm Beach County.

How to Adapt Alzheimer’s Care Strategies as it Progresses

by: John Aker | August 18th, 2016

Alzheimer’s Care StrategiesCaring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease can feel like trying to solve a continuously evolving puzzle. As soon as you figure out the solution to one segment, you discover that the picture has changed, and you need to rethink your strategy.

Working with the puzzle of Alzheimer’s care requires ongoing education and a team approach, including professionals specially trained in the many facets of Alzheimer’s disease support. Aker Kasten Home Health Care in Boca Raton, FL offers the following tips, courtesy of the Alzheimer’s Association, to assist families in adapting care strategies throughout the stages of Alzheimer’s:

  • Early Stages: Family members can best assist a loved one with Alzheimer’s through planning together, providing a patient, calm listening ear and memory prompts when needed. Strategies include:
    • Be a care advocate for your loved one, providing emotional support and encouragement.
    • Help plan for the future.
    • Provide memory prompts, establish a daily routine, and help your loved one stay healthy and engaged in what he or she loves doing.
  • Middle Stages: Care strategies will be focused on flexibility, patience and daily structure with time for self-care for the caregiver. Strategies include:
    • Maintain daily routines and structure.
    • Enhance quality of life by doing simple activities together, such as gardening or walking.
    • Encourage as much independence as possible, but be ready to assist when needed.
  • Late Stages: Compassionate caregiving is focused on preserving the dignity and quality of life for your loved one while maintaining a safe, clean and healthy environment. Strategies include:
    • Stay connected and express caring through touch, sound, sight, taste and smell.
    • Assist with eating and toileting, and with relieving body pressure if your loved one is bedridden.
    • Be aware of non-verbal cues such as paleness, swelling, agitation or wincing facial expressions that can indicate pain.

The most important way to care for and support your loved one through the stages of Alzheimer’s is by taking care of yourself. Acknowledge that you can’t do it alone, and allow others the opportunity to help, making sure to take time away regularly to rest and recharge. Partnering with a professional home care agency experienced in dementia and Alzheimer’s care such as Aker Kasten Home Health Care, allows for a smoother journey through the process, benefiting both the care recipient and his or her family caregivers.  Contact Boca Raton’s best home health care agency, Aker Kasten Home Health Care at 561.955.6010.

How Will You Celebrate Spring’s Arrival in Florida?

by: John Aker | March 12th, 2015

March may come in like a lion or a lamb.

Florida home care

via www.123friendster.com

But regardless of the weather when it arrives, March contains many special days you may want to celebrate. Some of the notable days this month include:

  • Purim (March 5)
  • Daylight Saving Time Beginning (March 8)
  • International Women’s Day (March 8)
  • World Kidney Day (March 12)
  • The Ides of March (March 15)–any Shakespeare fans remember the warning, Beware the Ides of March?
  • St. Patrick’s Day (March 17)
  • First Day of Spring (March 20)
  • Palm Sunday (March 29)
  • National Doctors’ Day (March 30)

This month has also been claimed for:

National Nutrition Month

American Red Cross Month

Brain Injury Awareness Month

Women’s History Month

Many of these observations are important and some are also quite fun. The weather across the county is in the process of warming and SPRING is just around the corner. Spring is a powerful season–it seems to compel us to consider what is coming!  New leaves on the trees and buds on the flower buses remind us that we, too–despite our numeric age–can start anew and be refreshed.

Admittedly, it may be a bit difficult to be impressed visually by the arrival of spring when you live in Florida. But take a moment to reflect on that new life that spring offers and make an effort to renew yourself. We are never too old to try and we are wise enough now to know what we want for ourselves and what we want to share with those around us. Celebrate spring this year–do something to refresh your mind and body.

The reason various organizations claim a ‘national month’ is to raise awareness of their cause and many of them attempt to deliver a torrent of educational materials which will urge us to take action, whether it be to improve or adopt new healthier habits or become involved by donating our time, talents, or treasury to further their work to help others. If you are already healthy and want to renew your spirit this spring, check out the website of one of these organizations above and educate and refresh your mind. You may learn something new and you may determine to partner with one of these organizations. Learning and giving back are two great ways to celebrate spring!

Another way to celebrate Spring is to choose just one little healthy habit to re-commit to doing every day. Your in-home caregiver can assist you in setting a goal and recording your efforts. Think of a reward you’ll grant yourself when you meet your goal (a scoop of frozen yogurt?) and keep a diary of your progress allowing your caregiver to cheer you on to victory.

Maybe you want to become more agile, like the tree branches swaying in the breeze, displaying their shiny new green leaves.  Or simply enjoy the scenery and sunshine–try to get outside each day for 15 minutes to soak up some natural Vitamin D from the sun. You could also enjoy taking time to phone an old friend or a grandchild once a week–that will be a spring gift for both of you.

Even enjoying healthier meals and snacks can have a big impact from little effort. Ask your home health aide to help you plan menus and shop for healthy foods and treats. Nutritious snacks like fruits or whole grain toast can be an easy, enjoyable addition to your daily routine. Try to drink more water during the day than you think you need–that can aide digestion and prevent dehydration.

Strive to sit less and walk a bit more. Many doctors are fond of the saying, Motion is lotion for the joints. You don’t have to walk for miles, just a bit extra will help:

  • ask your caregiver to park three spaces further from the entrance to the grocery store;
  • or accompany you on a walk to your mailbox;
  • or do some range of motion exercises at home.

Mark each bit of exercise on the calendar. And enjoy the satisfaction of your achievement!

How will you welcome spring this year? How will you be refreshed and renewed? Let us know if you’ve been inspired. We would love to know how we can encourage you this spring and throughout the rest of the year–tell us now!

If you’d like to celebrate spring by researching Florida home care options for yourself or a loved one, contact us today!

Take An Aspirin and Call Me In The Morning…Right!

by: John Aker | June 3rd, 2014

We all know the old joke:  Take an aspirin and call me in the morningIMG_3152_jpgbut did you know that doctors prescribe medication to help treat or cure what ails you so when you don’t fill or take your medication as directed, you could be putting yourself at serious risk!

It can be hard to remember to take medications. Some of us have difficulty just getting the medication–actually getting to the pharmacy can be burdensome.

When you don’t take medication as it is prescribed, it’s called non-adherence or non-compliance. And you are not alone–it turns out many people are also non-compliant. But it doesn’t have to be this way!  Aker Kasten Home Health Care Agency can accompany you to your doctor, take notes about the physician’s comments, directives, and prescriptions. Then we can take you to pick up your medication and even remind you to take your medication at the appropriate time!

According to a recent study, approximately 30 % of new prescriptions are never even filled. It also showed that a majority of patients prescribed medications for chronic diseases either take less than prescribed or stop taking the medication altogether after about six months. The Centers for Disease Control link such non-adherence to startling increases in hospitalizations and sometimes death. (see http://www.marinij.com/News/ci_25632494/Dr-Bill-Elliott:-Costs-and-benefits) There are also health risks when you don’t take your medication properly or fail to alert your physician to an adverse reaction.

Don’t become a statistic. Let us help you. We’ll ensure that at each physician visit your medication list is reviewed, your questions are answered and if they are necessary, we can help you comply with a healthy regimen and ensure your medication is taken properly and note any adverse reactions.

Call us now at 561-955-6010 to learn how we can help you remain healthy at home.

 

The content of this page is meant to educate, but it should not be used as a substitute for personal medical advice. The reader should consult his or her physician or clinician for specific information concerning specific medical conditions. While all reasonable efforts have been made to ensure that all information presented is accurate, as research and development in the medical field is ongoing, it is possible that new findings may supersede some data presented.

 

What Grain Is Doing To Your Brain

by: John Aker | January 27th, 2014

Brain

We hear a lot about low-carb diets these days, but more than just helping people trim fat, cutting carbs could be beneficial to your brain. According to Dr. David Perlmutter, M.D., contrary to popular belief, the human body does not need carbohydrates.

And not only does the body not need carbs, Perlmutter claims in his book, Grain Brain, that carbs are “the brain’s silent killers.” Perlmutter also notes, “The brain thrives on a fat-rich, low-carbohydrate diet, which unfortunately is relatively uncommon in human populations today.” Returning to the eating habits of early man—roughly 75 percent fat and 5 percent carbs—could stave off many modern cognitive issues, Perlmutter postulates, including Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Read more about how grain may be putting our brains at a higher risk for cognitive impairments like Alzheimer’s disease in this article from Shape.

Or watch this video from the Dr. Oz show with Dr. David Perlmutter, M.D.

This is certainly controversial since many experts tout the benefits of whole grain in our diets.  One thing is sure: moderation in our diets is likely a wise goal.

Pearls of Wisdom

by: John Aker | January 7th, 2014

As we move into 2014, many of us reflect on the years past and make resolutions for the New Year.  While this reflection and planning is worthwhile, some of us tend to expect too much of ourselves–and others.  And sometimes we complicate our daily lives by not focusing on what truly matters.

Take a deep breath and click on the link below.  We think you will enjoy this brief video of seniors sharing wise words which might help you keep things in perspective:

Pearls of Wisdom

Happy 2014!

All of us at Aker Kasten Home Health Care wish you a year filled with good health and great happiness.

If there is any way we can help you remain independent in your own home and enjoy improved quality of life–call us at 561-955-6010!  We are here for you!

 

Is Your Home Helping Your Health?

by: John Aker | August 28th, 2013

Cleanliness Affects Health

Chronic conditions or recovery from a medical procedure can be very taxing on our bodies and minds.  While our bodies work to heal, the condition of our home can either hinder or help. 

It has been proven that a cluttered, dirty environment can be depressing and actually decreases motivation.  To heal, we often have to move, exercise, stimulate our minds and bodies.  That is difficult to do with stacks of papers and magazines sapping our energy levels.  And it is important to remember that you may already have a compromised immune system.

But a home must also be clean to stimulate healing.  Infection is a leading cause of re-hospitalization.  When recovering from a medical procedure or hospitalization, our immune system is working hard to repair and restore our bodies.  If we come home to an unclean or unsanitary home, we are risking re-admission or infection.

Consider these tips for a cleaner home :Domestic Cleaning Services

  • germs that cause infections can live on surfaces for months, and they can be spread either when the patient touches that surface or when a caregiver touches the surface then the patient.
  • hand washing is one of the best ways to prevent infections; but are germs lingering on the faucet handle? 
  • using microfiber mops and cloths, which can hold six times their weight in water and have a positive charge that attracts dirt, cut down on cross contamination when compared to cotton-loop mops, which need to be “re-dunked” into increasingly dirty mop water.
  • a cleaning service can deep clean your already neat home to ensure a sanitary atmosphere.

Aker Kasten Home Health Care feels strongly that a home should have a thorough cleaning prior to a client being discharged from hospital to increase their ability to recuperate fully and quickly.  So, in addition to the light housekeeping services our aides provide and the infection-control practices they follow, we have added a full service Housekeepers Plus option. 

Housekeepers Plus offers one time and recurring cleaning services and leaves your home fresh as a rose!   We ensure your home is a suitable healing environment in which your home health specialist can assist you in your recovery.

Even if your home is already tidy, our housekeepers can provide a deep clean so you can begin the fall season fresh.  Current Aker Kasten Home Health Care clients will receive a discount on their third service. 

Call now and ask Omar to provide you with a free in-home estimate.  Tell us how we can help you remain healthy and independent in your own home:  561-955-6010 or click here to request more information.

National Nutrition Month

by: John Aker | March 8th, 2013

Most of us can recall being admonished by our mother to eat your vegatables!

Well, as usual, mom was right.  Even in our information age with scientific and medial breakthroughs, nothing seems to be able to take the place of proper nutrition.

As part of our eNewsletter this month (if you are not receiving your copy, sign up on our home page after you finish reading this article!), we provided a link to allow you to test your health eating IQ by taking a simple quiz which appeared in the Ladies Home Journal.   You might be surprised to learn something new about nutrition that you didn’t know before.  This quiz is quick (only 9 questions) and the right answers pop up after you enter your guess–and they provide additional information to truly educate you.

For instance, did you know that snacking doesn’t always inhibit weight loss?  It all depends on what you snack on!  Snacks that combine food groups (such as a slice of whole-grain toast with 1 tablespoon of peanut butter) help keep hunger at bay and prevent overeating at mealtime. 

If you have special chronic medical conditions or food allergies, it can be a bit difficult to eat nutritionally balanced meals.  If you find it difficult or just don’t know how to prepare meals that are nutritionally sound, call one of our nurses today to set up a brief visit.  We also make several cookbooks available in our Community Resource Library to address concerns such as heart health, diabetes, and more.  Ask your in home caregiver to help you shop and prepare more nutritionally sound meals and snacks and remember part of good nutrition is to remain hydrated so enjoy several glasses of water each day too!

Call us with any concerns or questions you may have but in the meantime, eat your vegatables!

Aker Kasten Helps Raise Funds for Memory & Wellness Center

by: John Aker | December 5th, 2012

We were delighted to be Bronze Sponsors and send a team of caregivers to participate in a fundraiser for a local Memory & Wellness Center to help them reach out to those in our community living with memory disorders! Here’s a picture of our team, giving of their time on a Sunday to walk for this great cause:

Aker Kasten Memory Walk 2012 Team - memory disorders

Read more here: https://fauf.fau.edu/news/?p=6698

8 Foods That Will Boost Immunity

by: John Aker | October 31st, 2011

By Lucy Danziger and the staff at SELF

One sure sign that winter is on its way: Drugstores are already advertising for flu shots, and in fact, some started weeks ago! If you haven’t gotten your vaccine yet, there’s still plenty of time, but do schedule one: It reduces your risk for infection by as much as 90 percent, says Anne Moscona, M.D., professor of microbiology and immunology at the Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City. And while you’re at it, try working some of these delicious immune-boosting foods into your daily diet to fight cold-weather bugs naturally and from the inside out. Cold and flu? Not you!

Brussels Sprouts

These fall and winter vegetables contain vitamin A, which helps keep your immune system healthy. Plus, they offer a phy-tonutrient that can help clear away carcinogenic substances in the body, says Keri Gans, R.D., spokeswoman in New York City for the ADA.

Mushrooms

Enjoying white-button mushrooms may strengthen your body’s defenses against the common cold and even cancer. A report in The Journal of Nutrition shows that mushrooms enhanced the activity of immune system cells. Slice them into your next stir-fry, or order extra ’shrooms on your next pizza delivery call!

Goat Cheese

Besides going great on crackers, goat cheese is a good source of copper, which keeps your immune system humming. Swap out mayo and smear goat cheese on a wrap or mix with chopped nuts and dried fruit for a filling toast topper.

Broccoli and Kale

A compound in this fall and winter produce may enhance your immune system, an animal study in The Journal of Nutri-tional Biochemistry shows. Chewing the veggies triggers the release of chemicals, possibly helping your body regulate infection-fighting white blood cells. Cooking reduces the dose, so it’s best to eat them raw.

Cherries

These bite-size fruits are rich in anthocyanins, which can jump-start your immune system and mop up free radicals. Even if they are out of season you can buy cherries dried, frozen or canned year-round.

Yogurt

Healthy people who had a drink with the probiotic Lactobacillus reuteri (also found in Stonyfield Farms yogurt) daily for 12 weeks called in sick for respiratory or stomach problems 60 percent fewer times than those who didn’t consume it, notes the journal Environmental Health. Spoon up some plain yogurt, or blend it with frozen berries, sliced banana, peanut butter, a drizzle of honey and ice for a sweet and savory smoothie.

Tomatoes

Relax with tomatoes’ vitamin C, which blunts the effects of stress by reducing free radicals and bolstering your immune system. “It is also your body’s first line of defense against stressors like colds and exertion,” explains Paul Lachance, Ph.D., professor emeritus of nutrition and food science at Rutgers University.

So, if you need help adding some of these healthy choices to your diet, call Aker Kasten Home Health Care Agency today and ask for one of our Caregivers to assist you with grocery shopping and health meal preparation!

561-955-6010 or 561-737-4990

 

 

The content of this page is meant to educate, but it should not be used as a substitute for personal medical advice. The reader should consult his or her physician or clinician for specific information concerning specific medical conditions. While all reasonable efforts have been made to ensure that all information presented is accurate, as research and development in the medical field is ongoing, it is possible that new findings may supersede some data presented.