Do You Know the 10 Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease?

You probably have a family member or friend that has been affected by Alzheimer’s. Over 5 million Americans are living with the disease today. It is now the 6th leading cause of death in the US with 1 in 3 seniors dying from Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia.1

Hopefully these shocking statistics have gotten your attention.

We have all forgotten things here and there and make jokes about our memory failing us as we get old. However, experiencing the memory loss from Alzheimer’s can be completely devastating to family and friends of loved ones that are affected. Awareness of the disease is key to help with early diagnosis and treatments to help ease the progression of the disease.

Alzheimer’s is a brain disease that causes a slow decline in memory, thinking and reasoning skills. The Alzheimer’s association has made note of 10 warning signs and symptoms.1

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1.  Memory loss that disrupts daily life

2.  Challenges in solving problems

3.  Difficulty completing familiar tasks

4.  Confusion with time or place

5.  Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships

6.  New problems with words in speaking or writing

7.  Misplacing things

8.  Decreased or poor judgment

9.  Withdrawal from work or social activities

10.  Changes in mood and personality

Take a moment to read these early signs in more detail by visiting www.alz.org®

If you notice any of these warning signs it is advised that you or your loved one see a doctor soon to discuss the possibility of having Alzheimer’s.

Enriched Life Home Care Services is committed to promoting awareness of Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia. We also provide respite care for friends and family that are caregivers for their loved ones.

1 Source: http://www.alz.org/alzheimers_disease_facts_and_figures.asp

Enriched Life Home Care Services, LLC  |  www.ELHCS.com

Helping Aging Parents with Money Matters

It’s all too common these days that people in their 50s and early 60s notice their elderly parents having trouble with memory loss and with handling finances. In fact, one in eight Americans 65 and over and 43 percent of individuals 85 and over have Alzheimer’s disease.

Financial advisors and accountants say elderly parents and adult children alike are too slow to seek or provide help in the early stages of decline. Denial is part of it. Hoping to stay independent, parents may minimize their difficulties. Adult children hesitate to step in and help out and oftentimes ignore warning signs.

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Reporting in Smart Money, Kathleen Michon, an attorney and editor at Nolo, a provider of legal information and products, says the damage can be dire: closed accounts, damaged credit, money lost to scam artists, even foreclosure.

A mailbox stuffed with donation requests, checkbook mistakes, unpaid bills, and desks and drawers that were once neatly organized now scattered with paperwork, are all signs that help is needed.

Don’t try to suddenly step in and take over. To ease into their financial affairs, begin by offering help with such matters as filling out insurance claims, helping to adjust property tax bills or checking credit card statements.

Enriched Life Home Care Services is passionate about educating families and bringing awareness to issues facing aging loved ones. We are here to help answer questions that may arise as you are caring for your loved ones.

www.ELHCS.com  |  Enriched Life Home Care Services

A Mother’s Selfless Love: Michele’s Story

Enriched Life Home Care Services is grateful for the personal story Michele DeSocio has written about placing her mother with dementia in a care facility. We hope that her story will be a help to others that are dealing with the difficult decision of placing their loved one in a facility versus keeping them at home.

My Mom, Jean DelCampo, was 58 when I got a call asking for help. I picked Mom up and moved her in my home along with my husband and three children. At the time Mom was misdiagnosed with Bi-Polar disorder. 

Several years later my husband and I went away for a weekend, leaving Mom in the capable hands of my sister. The change in environment caused Mom to shake uncontrollably and my sister brought her to the ER. 

After 19 horrid days in a psych ward Mom was finally properly diagnosed with dementia. Mom was still capable of making her own decisions and after rehab Mom insisted on placement. 

Placement was not something my sister or I would ever have considered. We begged her to reconsider, but Mom was firm. She wanted to spare her children, she did not want to be a “burden”. We had no choice but to honor her wishes and mom was placed in a facility. Mom was sicker than we understood. I consider this to be a most unselfish act of love. 

MicheleDesoscio-mom-sister2Much to my surprise, mom was very happy and she settled in rather quickly. Since she was not as sick as many of the other men and women living there, she found purpose and satisfaction in assisting her fellow residents. Always the nurturing person I so adore, mom was so helpful that many people thought she worked there.

Our worst nightmare, placement, was not what we thought it would be. Mom was well cared for by professionals and we visited often, went on many outings and mom spent many weekends in our homes. It was a win/win. 

We did face the many challenges that come with the disease, POA, medical proxy, DNR, battles with medications, and on and on. We road the roller coaster of dementia together. 

It’s now 15 years later, mom is 73 and in the later stages of the disease. 

For those of you struggling with the decision of placement please know it can be the right thing for all concerned. 

Your family member can receive the professional care they need, under your supervision, and live a productive and happy life after being placed in a nursing home. You’ll have more control than you think. You are the advocate. You are still their daughter, son, spouse or friend. Live in the moment and enjoy what you have, not what you are losing.

Mother knows best, always a Mom

For the past 2 years I have been an advocate and Administrator for Memory People, an online support and awareness group on Facebook, founded by patient Rick Phelps in 2010 at age 57.

If you or a loved one is affected by Alzheimer’s or any dementia related diseases please join Memory People.  We don’t have a cure but we have each other. Memory People, bringing awareness, one person at a time…

https://www.facebook.com/groups/180666768616259/

Many families are currently dealing with loved ones suffering from dementia. Enriched Life Home Care Services is here to assist or answer questions you may have about caring for your loved one.

Enriched Life Home Care Services  |  www.ELHCS.com

Activities for Loves Ones with Dementia/Alzheimer’s Disease

When someone you are caring for is bored or wants to help in some way, here are a few things that could keep those with mild to moderate dementia or Alzheimer’s disease occupied.

Raking and sweeping. If it’s not too cold, outdoor lovers will appreciate being helpful in the yard. Experts at caring.com say it’s also good exercise. An alternate activity, picking up sticks or yard debris, can be satisfying if the patient is physically capable.

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Feeding the birds. It’s an active activity when preparing food, and it’s a passive activity when watching birds out the window. Make strings of birdfeed by threading cereal or pretzels on a length of yarn. Tie the end so the cereal doesn’t fall off.

Make birdseed pinecones. Put peanut butter on a pinecone with a butter knife, then roll the cone in a bowl of birdseed. Tie a string around it for hanging.

Folding laundry. It allows your loved one to feel productive and the repetition can be soothing. Towels are the easiest to fold. Consider buying bundles of washcloths or dish towels.

Keeping tabs on the weather. You’ll need an easy-to-read outdoor thermometer, indoor barometer, weather vane, and a rain gauge. Many people have great interest in the weather. Encourage a loved one to check gauges and reporting what they see to you. You could keep a record book to discuss weather changes later.

Talk about the weather and ask your loved one if they ever experienced a storm, flood, or blizzard.

Coupon cutting. Give them scissors, envelopes and an organizer folder to place the coupons in. It’s a good activity and makes them feel they are contributing. Encourage them to clip coupons for their favorite products.

Inspirational reading. Individuals who have difficulty reading or communicating may enjoy being read to and may be comforted by religious text. Try making a daily reading time so it becomes part of your routine. Talk about what you read and ask questions like whether they would have liked to live in Biblical times.

If you are looking for more activities ideas, Enriched Life Home Care Services can assist. We are very interested in enriching the lives of seniors, especially those that have been affected by Dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Enriched Life Home Care Services  |  www.ELHCS.com

Alzheimer’s Apron of Memories

If you are caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia you understand that it is sometimes difficult to find activities for them to do to help occupy their time. This can be especially true if your loved one has difficulty staying in one place for very long.

Creating an Alzheimer’s Apron is a fun activity for both you and your loved one. First, involve them in choosing the color apron they like the best. After you have helped them pick out the color, the fun really begins.

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When you are working on the apron together, there are several things that you can incorporate onto the apron:

  • A clear pocket for a picture of a family, pet, or something that they loved. This is a great way for them to be able to look at a comforting picture while wearing their apron.
  • A large zipper with a large pull-hole. This will be fun for them to be pulling and zipping up and down.
  • Sew some large bright things onto their new apron. This can be fun for them to look at and feel.
  • Attach a large pocket made of a material that they will enjoy feeling and touching. This will also allow them to store objects and things that they like and enjoy.
  • Customize their aprons based on your loved ones’ interests.

The Alzheimer’s apron is a great way to help your loved ones stay stimulated and help families and caregivers with assistance. We hope you decide to create an Alzheimer’s Apron with your loved one…it could really brighten their day!

Enriched Life Home Care Services  |  www.ELHCS.com

 

Sing with Me – Alzheimer’s Music Therapy

Did you know that whether you love to sing in the shower or listen to music while driving, you are helping stimulate your brain and the body-mind connection? This stimulation is powerful and also helps to reactivate speech centers of the brain, trigger memory, and improve your coordination.

More studies show that music can be a great help to those individuals who have neurological conditions – such as Alzheimer’s disease and Dementia. The music stimulates their area of the brain helping it to change and respond to the music. So if your loved one has Alzheimer’s Disease the area of their brain that is affected is the area for the direct recall of memories.

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Musical memories are not only associated with the music, but also their experiences associated with the music. When they listen to music it can help to indirectly stimulate partial memories that they otherwise would not be able to recall. This can be very comforting for loved ones with Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia.

When you are caring for your loved one, be sure to make some time for music! This is a great way to not only brighten their day, but also bring them some fun healthy stimulation. There are many great ways to incorporate music into their day. You can even incorporate the music into their normal daily routines. If your loved one gets frustrated with dressing or bathing, try playing some music to help soothe them. It might help make these activities more fun for them.

Enriched Life Home Care Services | www.ELHCS.com

Creating a Garden of Memories with Mom

If you’re like most of us here in Michigan you’re getting ready to rid that winter coat. Many of us are trading in our winter gloves for a pair of gardening gloves. With Mother’s Day just a week away, there are probably a lot of memorable moments you’ve spent with mom in her garden learning how to plant and care for the flowers and vegetables. But if mom is dealing with Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia you may think that all you can do now is enjoy the great memories that you have shared together in the garden. This year for Mother’s Day, you can still spend time with mom back in the garden – by creating a Memory Garden.

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With a Memory Garden you are providing a place for your mom to get exercise and plenty of stimuli. Especially if the Alzheimer’s causes agitation, frustration, and tension this will help by giving her an outlet that can provide a comforting peace. When looking at the types of plants and flowers try to select bright vibrant colors, larger shrubs for boundaries, and herbs for sweet aromas. Also, making sure that the plants you select are nonpoisonous and nontoxic. Just going to your local nursery to look at all of the different colors and plants would be a great adventure!

The vibrant colors of the flowers provide great visual stimuli, and when they are walking through their garden and brush pass herbs like mint or lavender they will smell their sweet aromas. The new garden will also attract visitors, and seeing a family of rabbits or any new wildlife visitors will surely be a happy welcome.

As the new garden is being finished, make sure that there is plenty of room for some shade and lawn chairs. This is a great way to make sure that mom won’t get too much sun, and still be able to enjoy her garden. This area for rest will also allow you to keep close to mom while still allowing her independence in her garden.

Enriched Life Home Care Services | www.ELHCS.com