Posts Tagged ‘Alzheimer’s Disease’

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


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!

Avoid Re-Admittance After A Procedure or Hospitalization

by: John Aker | December 11th, 2012

According to research recently conducted at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, patients who received assistance with medication compliance in their home following a procedure or hospitalization reduced their risk of re-admittance to 11% as compared to 34% of those who received no supportive in-home care.

This is just another study affirming the value of home health care and its vital role within a continuum of care which seeks to provide support medical providers such as physicians and hospitals. The goal is to keep you healthy and happy–AT HOME!

Home health care helps you follow doctor’s recommendations, take your medication properly, enjoy nutritionally balanced meals, reduce your risk of falls, and meet reasonable exercise goals–all while assisting with activities of daily living and encouraging your social engagement.

The leading causes of admittance or re-admittance to hospitals and other facilities are medication mismanagement, falls, and failure to make or attend follow up appointments with physicians. Having The Aker Kasten Home Health Care Family on your side will help minimize or eliminate these risks.

And our whole agency is dedicated to you as a whole person. When we introduce your in home caregiver–you actually have a team of professionals working for you behind the scenes.

Your care team will include:

  1. Primary Caregiver
  2. Respite/Back-up Coordinator
  3. Care Manager
  4. Nurse Supervisor
  5. Chaplain (upon request)

And this team is available to you at no additional cost! Each member of your care team has specific skills and sensitivities to ensure unparalleled service and care of your physical, social, and emotional well-being.

Call now for details on how we can help you remain healthy and happy in your own home!


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

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