The Benefits of Senior Exercise

We all know the importance and the benefits of routine exercise and healthy eating habits, but for some of our aging loved ones, that part of their daily routine tends to slip. The benefits of a healthier heart, stronger bones, improved flexibility, sharper mind and overall feeling definitely outweigh not exercising, but it is still easy to develop poor habits as we age. Here in Minnesota our winters can get long and this can lead to being lackadaisical with our exercise routine, but with some health reminders and a little encouragement we can get our senior loved ones sweatin’ to the oldies once again.

John Medina, an affiliate professor of bioengineering at the University of Washington School of Medicine and author of Brain Rules says that aerobic exercise “keeps cognitive abilities sharp and slashes your lifetime risk of Alzheimer’s in half”. That is an incredible statistic and something we all could benefit from, no matter what the age. Alzheimer’s is not just a disease that affects older people. Early-onset Alzheimer’s can affect people who are younger than 65 years of age and close to 5% of the more than 5 million Americans who have Alzheimer’s disease have younger-onset.

Scientists strongly believe that regular exercise boosts blood flow to the brain, which in turn releases brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a protein some scientists have dubbed as Miracle-Gro for the brain. BDNF stimulates the formation of new neurons in an area of the brain called the hippocampus, which involves memory, learning, and the ability to plan and make decisions.

SeniorExercise

 

Seniors benefit greatly from routine exercise. This topic seems to be one thing that all health professionals unequivocally agree on – hands down, exercise is the single best thing you can do for the body and brain. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) report that seniors have even more to gain in becoming active than younger people since the older a person is the higher the risk of health problems physical activity can reduce or even prevent. Some of the benefits of senior exercise include:

  • Immune System: a strong healthy body can fight off infections and diseases more quickly
  • Healthy Brain: studies have shown that exercise can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias
  • Heart Health: exercise lowers the risk of heart disease and high blood pressure
  • Sleep Better: you’ll fall asleep quicker and sleep better throughout the night
  • Bone Density: exercise helps prevent bone loss, which reduces the risk of osteoporosis and accidental falls
  • Digestion: exercise aids in waste elimination and the functioning of your gastro-intestinal tract

According to AARP (American Association of Retired Persons), 40 percent of people between the ages of 45 and 64 are considered sedentary. For those over 64 years of age, that number jumps to 60 percent. These are troubling numbers, but can easily be reversed. Begin by making a new year’s resolution to have a weekly exercise date with a senior loved one. Set a day and time each week to go for a walk in the neighborhood, walk laps in a local shopping mall or walk around a favorite Minneapolis or St. Paul lake – there are over 10,000 to choose from! Even register together for an exercise class through the community. Many communities have various classes that are geared toward seniors, such as aerobic, yoga, meditation, dance and others. It’s never too late to start exercising your brain and body!

At HealthStar Home Health, we serve individuals and health care professionals in a number of cities in Minnesota, including the Duluth area, as well as New Mexico. Our home health professionals provide unparalleled public healthcare services through stewardship, honor-driven values, and a genuine desire to serve our communities. Our clients benefit from the range of healthcare services that we provide, from Alzheimer’s and dementia care, to behavioral nursinghome health care nursing, respite care and more. Call HealthStar Home Health today at 651-633-7300 for more information or to schedule a no-charge consultation. Or visit our website www.healthstarhomehealth.net to complete the online contact form.

Senior Safety in the Home and During the Winter Months

Minnesota winters can be long, especially for our senior loved ones or those who live with symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease or other form of dementia. Whether living independently in their own home or in a local senior living community, it’s important to make sure our loved ones are safe. HealthStar Home Health is dedicated to make strong communities and families by enabling individuals of all ages to live more independent and fulfilling lives. Ensuring the home is a safe place is just one step toward that.

Although an individual may be living with Alzheimer’s disease or other form of dementia, it does not mean that person is not able to live on their own. In fact, many people experiencing symptoms of Alzheimer’s still live in the comfort of their own home. However, as the symptoms progress it is necessary to check in more often and make some safety changes and updates to their home. Giving the home a complete safety inspection, including equipment such as the furnace and water heater, is a good place to begin. Look for possible risks such as:

  • Door locks – check all locks to make sure they are in working order and install locks on doors to prevent access to certain rooms or near a stairway. Make it difficult for the person to find these locks by installing them at the top of the door.
  • Safety devices –routinely inspect all fire extinguishers, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are in good working condition and have new batteries installed. Keep an easy to read list of emergency phone numbers, such as police, fire, hospital, and family members, visible at all times.
  • Lighting – make sure the home is well lit, especially walkways often used, to reduce the chance of falling or becoming disoriented.
  • Sidewalks and stairways – ensure the stairway area is clear of loose rugs, has a sturdy hand rail and the sidewalks are shoveled routinely and free of ice.

There are other things to keep a watch for that we may not always think of:

  • Proper prescription management with seniors is becoming more and more challenging. Juggling the daily dosing schedule is confusing and difficult for many, which eventually leads to adverse drug mishaps including hospitalizations and unintentional overdoses. HealthStar Home Health recognizes this growing issue and provides assistance with medication through our Home Health Care services.
  • Performing a quick check-up on the senior loved one’s mobility equipment will ensure proper working order, encourage correct use of equipment, as well as prevent falls or tripping when in use. Make sure the brakes on the walker are in tip-top shape and if not, the fix is quick and easy. Will an ice cane tip help maneuver the icy Minnesota sidewalks this winter? If so, this is a simple attachment that is quick to install.
  • Making sure your senior loved one is eating healthy, exercising and has a sound mind is very important. There are typical age-related changes we all experience as we age, but the changes experienced by a person with Alzheimer’s is much more extreme, advanced and happen more often than a typical “forgetful moment”. Early detection is key, so if you or a loved one are noticing changes and symptoms, don’t ignore them! Depression, anxiety and even sundowning are all common symptoms to be aware of and watch for, especially at this time of year. There may be treatment available for all these symptoms as well as clinical studies, so make an appointment with your primary physician right away to discuss the health options of your senior loved ones.

HealthStar Home Health understands how overwhelming and difficult it can be to care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia and offers a comprehensive and effective Alzheimer’s and dementia home care program in our Alzheimer’s Whisperer program. This care program is a unique and effective approach to support those affected by Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias and their family. For additional information on the amazing home caregiving services we offer or the service areas you can find us, visit our website at www.healthstarhomehealth.net.

It’s That Time of Year Again!

Now that you’ve decided what new foods on a stick you want to try, be sure to plan out the rest of your time at the 2016 Great Minnesota Get-Together! HealthStar Home Health is returning to the Minnesota State Fair again this year on a mission to raise awareness for Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias by providing FREE memory screenings to anyone who stops at our booth. We will be located in the Health Fair 11 building at the intersection of Dan Patch and Cooper streets. Our booth will be open from 9:00 am – 9:00 pm with FREE memory screenings taking place until 6:00 pm each day of the fair, which runs August 25th – September 5th, 2016.

Alzheimer’s is not just a disease affecting older people. Early-onset Alzheimer’s can affect people who are younger than 65 years of age and close to 5% of the more than 5 million Americans who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease have younger-onset. HealthStar Home Health and the Alzheimer’s Association understand that early detection is key and encourage those who may be experiencing confusion or difficulty in these areas to stop by for a FREE, confidential memory screening:

  • Memory loss that disrupts daily life
  • Confusion with time or place
  • Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, work or at leisure
  • Challenges in solving problems or planning
  • Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps
  • Withdrawal from social activities
  • Changes in mood or personality

Although many of these symptoms may sound familiar, that does not mean a person is experiencing early-onset Alzheimer’s. There is typical age-related changes and functions we all experience as we age, but proper early detection and treatment is important so stop by our booth for a face-to-face memory screening. The FREE, confidential memory screening will only take a few minutes and consists of a series of questions and tasks that will access memory. Knowing that as many as 70% of families are opting to care for their aging loved ones at home, HealthStar offers a program called Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care which offers support both in and out of the home to the caregivers and families dealing with the stress and challenging behaviors associated with this disease. HealthStar Home Health feels strongly that memory loss screenings are the first step toward the detection and treatment of early-onset Alzheimer’s.

HealthStar will also be hosting a “Ask the Expert” session at the MN State Fair on August, 29th from 10:00 am – 11:00 am. Dr. Sonia Mosch, PhD., Clinical Neuropsychologist for the MN Wild (NHL Concussion Program), will be the guest expert. Dr. Mosch performs neuropsychological assessments for individuals concerned about the onset of Alzheimer’s and other dementias. If you have questions concerning the brain, now is your opportunity to “Ask the Expert”. Dr. Mosch will also be discussing:

  • The purpose for assessments, general methods, and uses in diagnoses of dementia versus normal aging
  • What to expect if you are referred for a neuropsychological assessment due to dementia concerns or symptoms
  • Recommendations that may arise from a neuropsychological assessment
  • Answer questions fairgoers may have regarding Alzheimer’s and dementia

Plan to join HealthStar and our guest expert Dr. Sonia Mosch in the East Crossroads Auditorium in the Health Fair 11 building on August 29th at 10:00 am for a very informative “Ask the Expert” session!

HealthStar Home Health proudly serves our Minneapolis and St. Paul Minnesota metro communities by not only offering FREE memory screenings at the Minnesota State Fair, but we are also sponsoring the 4th Annual Alzheimer’s Blondes vs Brunettes Twin Cities fundraiser. This fundraiser is a volunteer-driven event that brings young professionals together to support the Alzheimer’s Association and will be held on September 10th, 2016 at Sea Foam Stadium, Concordia University. The event is organized around a flag football game in which the two participating teams are divided based on the age-old rivalry between blondes and brunettes. Funds raised this year at the Blondes vs Brunettes Twin Cities will benefit the mission of the Alzheimer’s Association, Minnesota-North Dakota chapter. Blondes vs Brunettes Twin Cities is a strategic initiative of the Chapter’s Young Champions. To learn more about this fun event, including how you can volunteer or participate, visit their website:  http://bvbtwincities.org/index.html

If you or a loved one are concerned about symptoms of early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, plan to stop for a visit at our booth in the Health Fair 11 building at the intersection of Dan Patch and Cooper at the MN State Fair and participate in a FREE, confidential memory screening.  Our booth will be open from 9:00 am – 9:00 pm with HealthStar Home Health professionals conducting memory screenings until 7:00 pm each day of the fair.

See you at the fair!

The Role of Therapy in Dementia Care

Undergoing some form of dementia is hard, but it is also hard to understand what needs should be met. A caregiver must understand the complexities of the illness and what to expect. Not many have this ability, which is why therapy is such a valuable tool for dealing with dementia. Dementia care already takes place in the home, in long term acute centers, and in skilled nursing facilities. Patients who undergo therapy have the advantage of working with a professional who understands the effects it can have on a person’s wellness.

Types of Dementia Care

In many cases, a patient undergoes therapy across a wide spectrum of treatments. Because dementia is so varied, the therapy is also varied, but it usually spans across 3 separate forms of therapy.

Occupational Therapy

This is a form of therapy that addresses the patient’s ability to deal with everyday tasks. The patient must be able to perform basic daily tasks in order to have some form of independence. Occupational therapists teach the patient new ways to bathe themselves, to dress, to manage their medication, and perform very light housekeeping duties. It’s often these small actions that helps a patient feel like they’ve regained some form of control in their life; a vital part to their recovery.

Physical Therapy

Although not often the case, some physical therapy could be required for a patient to undergo. This form of therapy helps to regain motor skills that were lost. Victims of a stroke might need to regain the ability to use their limbs as well as dealing with dementia from the attack. A physical therapist also provides exercises and routines to build strength and balance.

Speech therapy

Patients with dementia often lose their ability to properly communicate. A therapist who specializes in the disease has the ability work with patients of dementia to build up new compensation techniques to communicate with the world around them. They rebuild their words and vocabulary so they can communicate feelings, needs, and thoughts.

Positive Aspects of Dementia Therapy

Dementia, in its many faces, can be hard on the sufferer and the caregiver. It can be difficult to deal with someone who once had full understanding to being entirely reliant on someone else. This burdens both the patient and the caregiver. Therapy addresses a wellness of the patient that goes beyond motor skills and communication techniques. Therapy looks at the patient as a whole from the physical, emotional, spiritual, social, and intellectual conditions.

Those in dementia care have the benefit of working with someone who is specialized and skilled in this form of treatment. They have the knowledge and experience to effectively treat all the symptoms better than a family member ever could. It’s only through therapy that full recovery or treatment can be had.

Memory Care – Early Detection is Key!

Alzheimer’s is not just a disease that affects older people. Early-onset Alzheimer’s can affect people who are younger than 65 years of age and close to 5% of the more than 5 million Americans who have Alzheimer’s disease have younger-onset. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, many Americans with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease are in their 40s and 50s. These alarming statistics and others related to Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias are what drive HealthStar Home Health to spread the word about the importance of early detection.

The brain is a powerful and complex organ with just three main parts that make up the brain itself. Alzheimer’s disease is present when the activity of neurotransmitters and electrical charges in our brain’s function is disrupted. A person with Alzheimer’s will experience nerve cell death and tissue loss in the brain and over time the brain will shrink dramatically, which in turn affects nearly all brain function.

In the very early stages of Alzheimer’s, before testing can even detect the symptoms, a person may notice slight issues in the learning and memory as well as the thinking and planning functioning of the brain. Early symptoms may include confusion or difficulty in these areas:

  • Time and place
  • Completing routine tasks at work or home
  • Finding the right words to use or joining a conversation
  • Misplacing items
  • Judgement or decision-making
  • Mood and personality changes
  • Avoiding work or social activities

Many of these symptoms may sound familiar, but that doesn’t mean a person experiencing some of these has early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. There is typical age-related changes and functions we all experience as we age. The changes experienced by a person with Alzheimer’s are much more extreme, advanced and happen more often than a typical ‘forgetful moment’.

Early detection is key, so if you or a loved one are noticing changes and symptoms don’t ignore them! There may be treatment available as well as clinical studies, so make an appointment with your primary physician right away to discuss health options.

HealthStar Home Health is proud to serve our Minneapolis/St. Paul Minnesota metro communities by offering FREE memory screenings. HealthStar is returning to the 2016 Minnesota State Fair beginning in August with a mission to raise awareness for Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias by, once again, providing FREE memory screenings to anyone who stops by our booth. HealthStar Home Health understands the importance of proper early detection and treatment of dementia or Alzheimer’s and is offering face-to-face memory screenings which will only take a few minutes to complete and consist of a series of questions and tasks that will access memory. Knowing that as many as 70% of families are opting to care for their aging loved ones at home, HealthStar offers a program called Alzheimer’s & Dementia Care which offers support both in and out of the home to the caregivers and families dealing with the stress and challenging behaviors associated with this disease. HealthStar feels strongly that memory loss screenings are the first step toward the detection and treatment of early-onset Alzheimer’s.

Another way HealthStar provides support and care for those living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias is to be an official sponsor of a film about Alzheimer’s titled His Neighbor Phil. This film tells the story of Harvey, a man whose wife Mary has early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. This touching film not only shows the effects of this disease on Mary, but also their entire family and the community they live in. Although the film deals with the honest realities, it mainly focuses its attention on the tireless work of the caregivers and how their lives are also affected by the disease. Take a moment to watch a trailer about the moving film His Neighbor Phil.

https://player.vimeo.com/video/110466802

If you or a loved one are concerned about symptoms of early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, remember you are not alone. Early detection is important so plan to visit HealthStar Home Health at our booth in the HealthFair 11 building at the corner of Dan Patch & Cooper at the 2016 Minnesota State Fair to participate in a FREE, confidential memory screening. HealthStar Home Health will be conducting memory screenings August 25 – September 5 from 9:00 am – 6:00 pm each day. See you at the fair!

Coping With An Alzheimer’s Diagnosis

It can be hard to deal with someone who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. It’s a debilitating disease that robs the victims of their normal brain abilities. They lose words, pictures, memories, and people from their slowly deteriorating mind. In the early stages of Alzheimer’s, the patient feels helpless and frustrated from the knowledge that they are undergoing this change. Later on, however, it’s the care-giver who deals with the brunt of the frustration of caring for someone with extreme helplessness. As a caregiver, there are better ways to understand and care for a relative with Alzheimer’s, no matter what the stage of the illness. Here are a few of the recommended techniques as frequently talked about by those who’ve undergone the process before.

Using Humor to Soften the Impact

A famous phrase in the world of improve comedy is to use “Yes, and?” This is the principle that many caregivers are using with their relatives. Alzheimer’s patients can be disoriented and confused. They can see or say some bizarre things, and it can be frustrating for both the caregiver and the patient if there is no communication. By playing along and agreeing with the patient, the caregiver can inject humor into the situation and both parties can have some fun despite the circumstances of the disease.

Dealing with the Disease, Not the Person

Alzheimer’s disease patients often have behavioral changes that can affect their relationships and daily routines. Caregivers must understand that these are not the result of the patient, but rather the disease that causes these changes. It causes a loss of words, increased rummaging, outbursts of anger, aggressive hitting, or wandering away from home. It’s important to remember that this is the result of a loss of brain cells, not a willful change in the person.

Maintaining Simple Routines for Patients with Alzheimer’s Disease

As the brain begins to shrink and deteriorate, simple routines and patterns aid with the new transition. The caregiver can begin to offer fewer choices and begin to make more decisions on behalf of the patient. They can ask yes or no questions rather than asking opinions. Maintaining a daily routine helps patients feel some semblance of stability in their life. Restlessness is a big symptom of Alzheimer’s, so it helps to have a constant routine.

Understanding the Limits

As the disease progresses, there are limits to what the caregiver can do and the patient as well. It could be soon time to consider places for advanced care. Knowing these limits ahead of time and preparing for them helps the caregiver with their own loss of loved ones. By understanding their limitations in providing a nurturing home, they can avoid any fallout between family members or friends.

Although it’s never easy, it’s reassuring to know that even though someone is going through Alzheimer’s disease, there are people all across the world who have dealt with it before. Understanding their successes is the first step to getting through this difficult time with kindness and understanding.

For more information on how HealthStar Home Health can help you and your loved one cope with Alzheimer’s disease, please call 612-871-3700.

Delaying the Progression of Alzheimer’s

In spite of the development of so many new types of drugs and products that drive change and innovation in the healthcare industry, researchers are yet to find an effective method to reverse the cognitive alterations and memory loss linked to Alzheimer’s disease.

4 Key Factors That Help Patients Slow down the Progress of Alzheimer’s

Even in this context, the good news is that there are several ways in which one could delay the progress of this health concern in the short term by following a series of basic steps. Here are the most important aspects that the best providers of home healthcare services focus on when it comes to improving the quality of life of patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.

Sustained Mental Activity
A recent study published by the Rush Memory and Aging Project reveals that there is a solid connection between a sustained cognitive activity during one’s lifetime, and a delayed cognitive decline. In other words, those who go the extra mile to stimulate their brain on a regular basis will be more able to delay the evolution of Alzheimer’s, especially during the earliest stages of this type of dementia.

To encourage a constituent mental stimulation, home healthcare providers encourage patients to make the most of pleasurable activities designed to engage one’s mind, such as reading, playing cards or chess, writing or learning a new language.

Daily Lifestyle Changes
A healthcare provider can offer the tools that a person diagnosed with Alzheimer’s required to maintain his or her independence for a longer while, in his or her own environment, preventing stress, frustration and further decline. For instance, by ensuring electronic bill paying, taking care of basic household chores, and minimizing or taking over any task that the patient could worry about, a reputable provider of homecare will help delay the evolution of Alzheimer’s without making any dramatic changes that could throw the elderly out of their comfort zone and cause more confusion and chaos.

A Beneficial Routine
While minor changes can contribute to an improved level of comfort and security, those who are affected by Alzheimer’s will inevitably cling to old habits that keep them connected to their memories. Professionals offering in-home care for Alzheimer’s patients keep this fact in mind and act accordingly, by establishing and maintaining a beneficial routine involving a regular rhythm with outings, sleep, bathing and meals, without disrupting the patient’s balance.

Medication and Diet
Researchers indicate that there is a solid link between a healthy diet based on certain key elements, and a successful attempt to delay the progress of Alzheimer’s disease. For example, seniors suffering from dementia should consume a great variety of fresh, nutritious foods that are rich in antioxidants.

A diet rich in vitamin E can delay mental impairment by protecting brain cells against irreparable damages. Those who benefit from the best in-home healthcare services tailored to their needs and current health condition can experience the advantages of a personalized diet rich in vitamins B, E and C extracted from fresh vegetables and fruits.

Medication is another key factor that could slow down the progress of Alzheimer’s. Patients diagnosed with this disease may have to take cholinesterase inhibitors to prevent changes that may affect muscle control and mental capabilities.

Patients and their families should talk to a doctor and get a prescription before following a treatment plan. In some cases, medical supervision ensured by a provider of in-home healthcare services may be required, especially when the people affected by Alzheimer’s disease in Minnesota are unable to take their meds on their own, following their doctor’s recommendations. Such services can help Alzheimer’s patients live a more comfortable, safe and secure life and preserve their independence in their own environment.

At HealthStar Home Health, our home health professionals provide unparalleled public health care services through stewardship, honor-driven values, and a genuine desire to serve. Our Minnesota clients benefit from the range of healthcare services we provide, from Alzheimer’s and dementia care, to behavioral nursing, home health care nursing, respite care and more. HealthStar Home Health has a team of nurses dedicated to Alzheimer’s and Dementia care.

At HealthStar Home Health, we help make strong communities and families in the Twin Cities metro area by enabling individuals of all ages to live more independent and fulfilling lives. Contact us today at 651-633-7300 for more information or to schedule a consultation at no charge.

Understanding Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s contributes up to 80% of dementia cases nationwide, and is a terrifying diagnosis. When faced with the possibility of total memory loss and death, it’s understandable to be worried about this degenerative illness. After receiving an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, recognizing the first signs and symptoms, as well as understanding all available treatment options, can help the care process moving forward quicker and easier.

Alzheimer’s disease is not a normal part of aging, and is not just a part of getting old. Some memory loss can be contributed to the eventual aging-process, but Alzheimer’s is a much bigger problem. Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease, meaning that individuals who are affected will have worsening symptoms with no chance of recovery. Because there is currently no cure, the best option available is to slow the symptoms and continue to improve quality of life for those affected. Most families look to qualified, compassionate, and trained caregivers to assist in the day-to-day tasks of an Alzheimer’s patient. Having an understanding and efficient home aid, or transferring a patient in to an assisted living facility can greatly increase their quality of life by allowing them autonomy over their daily living with increased assistance. Getting the help needed for Alzheimer’s disease in Minnesota is easy—and finding the right assistance can be a life-saver.

10 Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s

  1. Forgetting important dates, asking for information again and again, or not remembering family members’ names.
  2. Sudden inability to solve problems, like balancing a checkbook, or cooking a family recipe. They may also take much longer to complete tasks that were previously easy.
  3. Cannot complete or remember how to do daily tasks that they frequently did previously, like working the television remote, or the rules of a game.
  4. Can no longer understand times and dates, as well as seasons. They may forget a planned outing altogether, or not comprehend when it is happening. They may also suddenly realize they can’t remember how or when they arrived somewhere.
  5. Difficulty reading or understanding visual information. This includes lack of depth perception, or loss of contrast in vision.
  6. Loss of words or their meaning. An affected individual may call things by the wrong name, or make up a word. They often lose their place in conversations, and repeat themselves several times.
  7. Often, they will misplace things and be unable to remember where they put them, or even when they had the item last. This may lead to accusations of stealing and frustration.
  8. Poor judgment is another warning sign—if the person makes poor choices when handling money, and struggles to remember to bathe regularly.
  9. Suddenly become withdrawn from work or social activities, or no longer enjoy hobbies, projects, or sports that they once loved.
  10. Changes in mood and personality are warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease. If the patient appears depressed, anxious, or more easily frustrated than usual, it may be time to talk to a doctor who specializes in Alzheimer’s disease in Duluth.

If you have a loved one showing any of the early warning signs of Alzheimer’s, know that HealthStar can help! We offer free in-home consultations to help find the right care for your loved one. For more information, please call 612-871-3700.

Creating a Dementia Care Plan

When faced with elderly relatives and dementia, the idea of taking care of them in-house can be overwhelming. Normal daily life and familiar routines don’t have to change completely, though; it’s important that they maintain as much autonomy over their daily lives as possible. It’s also imperative to think of the future, and discuss a time when either outside help will be required or the patient will need to be transferred to an assisted living facility.

Dealing with dementia is terrifying, and that’s why it’s important to create a schedule that everyone agrees to and can follow easily. When things get overwhelming or fear sets in, help with dementia care in Duluth is just a phone call away. Qualified, licensed professionals can reduce rifts that arise between families when this cognitive degeneration is in the mix, Getting much-needed help can reduce stress and tensions. Home care is a highly viable option that can be used right away or after a period of family time, when everyone has had a chance to adjust to both the diagnosis and the changes it brings.

Creating a Dementia Care Plan

The first step to creating a schedule is to create structured and appropriate divisions in the day and include activities that are pleasant, easy to accomplish, and low stress. Keep in mind that this isn’t a permanent plan and that constant adjustments will make home life and daily tasks enjoyable for everyone involved. Before creating a plan, be mindful of the person’s interests, likes and dislikes, and abilities. Creating a daily plan full of activities that the patient doesn’t enjoy will create a stressful, disjointed environment. Also keep in mind how they previously structured their day, however loosely their schedule was kept. If they always read the paper before breakfast, include that as part of the new schedule and try to keep other transitions easy and smooth.

Whether they’re a night owl or an early bird, everyone has a time of day that they’re more productive and happiest. Try to tackle bigger projects, like chores and social or intellectual activities during this time. Be sure to schedule large stretches of time for more complicated or difficult tasks like personal care, eating, or physical activities. Not scheduling enough time can make a patient nervous or feel embarrassed if they can’t complete the task before the next scheduled activity. When questions, or for those moments of insecurity, there are always professionals that are available to offer guidance and help create the best dementia care plan in Duluth.

Create a consistent schedule that is easy to follow. Often, individuals suffering from dementia have a hard time falling asleep or waking up, and having consistent times and activities daily will help them understand their new world. When writing a plan, keep in mind that it can include time for spontaneous, easy tasks for added fun, but that structure and routine allows a patient suffering from dementia to feel in control.

Exercise and Alzheimer’s

A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s does not automatically mean that one immediately needs 24/7 care and can no longer do anything for themselves. In fact, with a bit of assistance from a qualified professional, healthy spouse or adult child, an individual with Alzheimer’s can still live at home and even handle day to day tasks.

It is important for someone who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease to exercise on a regular basis. Exercise helps a person maintain a normal day and night routine, reducing or even eliminating problems with insomnia. It can also reduce some of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s, enabling one to live a happy, productive life for longer than would have otherwise been possible. In fact, recent studies have found that exercise is more effective than various Alzheimer’s medications currently on the market.

Do’s and Don’ts
Most doctors recommend that a person with Alzheimer’s start with a ten minute exercise routine and then gradually increase duration as physical health and mental capabilities allow. Repetitive exercises such as riding an indoor bike, using an elliptical or Stairmaster and swimming can be ideal as one does not need to remember what to do next. Other suitable forms of exercise include Tai Chi, Yoga and walking. It may be necessary in some instances to secure the exercise area as many Alzheimer’s patients have trouble maintaining a sense of balance.

Always remember to warm up before exercising and cool down afterwards. Having water on hand is also a very good idea, as this reduces the risk of dehydration, especially when engaging in exercise outdoors. If an injury occurs or a person begins to feel pain or discomfort while exercising, it is important to stop the workout routine and visit a doctor as soon as possible.

Exercise is known to be good for the body. It boosts the immune system, helps a person sleep well at night, increases energy levels and helps reduce stress. Even so, exercise is particularly important for a person with Alzheimer’s as it can enable such an individual to maintain good mental and physical health. As long as one is working out in a safe environment and is engaging in safe forms of exercise on a regular basis, the benefits will soon be apparent both to the individual with Alzheimer’s and his or her family and friends.