East Bay CNA from Hillendale Home Care is licensed by the State of California to provide Certified Nursing training courses for Contra Costa and Alameda Counties.

Search Results for: dementia

Low Vision and Dementia Care Tips: Engaging Activities

Find low vision and dementia care tips to enrich the lives of seniors.

Finding activities that are fun and engaging for a senior loved one with Alzheimer’s tends to be a challenge. Add in vision impairment, and it could seem overwhelming. However, it is extremely important to ensure each day holds possibilities for joy, purpose, and meaning – minimizing the level of agitation, frustration, and other difficult behaviors and emotions in Alzheimer’s. These low vision and dementia care tips can help. [Read more…]

When Dementia Confusion Leads to an Alternate Reality

caring grandson and his grandfather outside

Dementia confusion can cause seniors to believe they’re living in an alternate reality.

Dementia confusion, a prevalent occurrence in Alzheimer’s, can lead to recent memories being forgotten or altered, while those from the more remote past often continue to be unimpaired. This may cause a past period of time to make more sense to an older person with dementia than the present. A person’s alternative reality may be his/her way of making sense of the present through past experiences.

Seniors with Alzheimer’s disease frequently have problems expressing themselves, and sometimes their alternate reality has more to do with a need or a particular feeling they are attempting to express than it has to do with the words they are saying.

For example:

  • “When is my wife going to be coming home?” This question might be more about the need for affection or acceptance or a home-cooked meal than about wanting to see his wife, who passed away many years ago. An effective reaction to discover more might be, “Why do you want to see her?”
  • “I need to bring all these casseroles to the neighbors before the end of the day.” Despite the fact that these casseroles do not exist, the words may represent a need for meaning and purpose in the senior’s life, or the desire to be engaged in an activity. An appropriate response to learn more could be, “Why did you make casseroles for the neighbors?”

Maintaining a log of these types of events may help you identify a pattern in the person’s dementia confusion. The more you listen in and pay close attention, the easier it will be to recognize the thinking behind the alternate reality and the ideal way to act in response.

Is It Appropriate to Play Along?

Providing the situation isn’t going to be dangerous or unacceptable in some way, it is perfectly fine to play along with the senior’s alternate reality. Doing so is not going to make the dementia worse. Keep in mind, the senior’s reality is genuine to him/her, and playing along can make the older adult feel more comfortable.

If the scenario is inappropriate or may possibly cause harm to the senior, try to react to the perceived need while redirecting him/her to something safer or more appropriate.

Keep in mind the following 3 steps:

  1. Reassure the senior.
  2. React to his/her need.
  3. Redirect if required.

Hillendale Home Care, leaders in home care services in Walnut Creek and surrounding areas, helps seniors and their family members navigate through life with dementia. Contact us to learn more about our professional in-home care services, or to join our care team through our CNA and HHA school.

How Dementia Impacts Vision

Learn how dementia impacts vision and how to help older adults feel safe.

The intricate steps needed to enable us to see are mind-boggling. In the blink of an eye, our brains have the ability to take transmitted details on the environment all around us, translate that information based on input from other senses, experiences, and thoughts, and then build an understanding of that information to make us aware of what we are seeing.

It’s not surprising to learn that dementia impacts vision, and that individuals with dementia can encounter visual deficits and misperceptions, particularly in the aspects of:

  • Depth and/or color perception
  • Contrast
  • Motion recognition
  • Peripheral vision

Moreover, people who have Alzheimer’s disease can frequently experience a distorted sense of reality in the form of illusions. As an example, someone with Alzheimer’s disease could see a shadow on the floor, and confuse it for something innocent, such as the family pet, or a hazard, such as an intruder. Some other types of visual misperceptions in dementia can consist of:

  • Misjudging reflections in glass or mirrors for another person. This could lead to distress in believing someone else is present, or believing that a restroom mirror reflection means the washroom is currently occupied by another person.
  • Believing that images on television are real and taking place in the room.
  • Difficulty with sitting in a chair or on the toilet, being afraid of a fall.
  • Stress in overstimulating environments that causes confusion.
  • Reaching for objects that are not there, or missing the mark in trying to grab an item.
  • Troubles with self-feeding and drinking.

Below are some approaches to help clients:

  • Keep sufficient lighting through the entire home, and remove any particular items that cause stress or visual confusion when possible.
  • Incorporate contrasting colors anytime you can; for example, serve dark-colored soup in a light-colored bowl, or a fried egg on a brown plate.
  • Close blinds or curtains both at night and whenever the sun causes a glare.
  • Take advantage of adaptive tools such as remote controls and telephones with large buttons to help facilitate opportunities for independence.

At Hillendale Home Care, the top-rated providers of home health care in Walnut Creek and the surrounding areas, we are committed to offering thorough and specialized training to ensure seniors are safe and thriving in the comfort of home. If you or someone you know is interested in a fulfilling career opportunity where you can truly make a difference, contact us today at 925-933-8181 to learn more about our CNA and HHA training programs.

Tips for Caring for Someone with Dementia to Prevent Senior Illnesses Like COVID-19

These tips can help prevent senior illnesses like COVID-19.

Providing caregiving assistance for a senior with Alzheimer’s can be challenging under the best of circumstances; mix in a worldwide pandemic, one that calls for social distancing, masks and gloves, and meticulous sterilization of both ourselves and our environment, and the challenge might appear impossible.

The following guidelines can help reduce anxiety and frustration for those diagnosed with dementia, while keeping them safe from contagious senior illnesses like COVID-19.

  • Make self-care a top priority. Now more than ever, it is imperative that you evaluate your own level of stress, and take steps to ensure you’re healthy – both emotionally and physically. You can only offer the best caregiving help for a senior if your own needs are met. This might mean limiting time spent monitoring the news as well as on social media, maintaining connections with friends and family, and taking time for comforting, enjoyable activities.
  • Take care of personal hygiene. Proper handwashing techniques are critical for all of us, but could be tricky for individuals with Alzheimer’s to keep up. Depending on the person’s stage of the disease, it might help to wash your hands together, demonstrating for the senior; or, place signs beside the sink in the bathroom and kitchen with a reminder to wash for 20 seconds. And keep in mind that repetition, a typical behavior in Alzheimer’s, could work to your advantage in this instance.
  • Consider your words very carefully. When speaking with a senior with dementia about changes related to COVID-19, it is critical to keep it very simple, utilizing a calm and reassuring tone. Beth Kallmyer, Vice President of Care and Support at the Alzheimer’s Association, suggests statements such as, “We have to stay inside because that’s most safe for us, but we’ll do it together. I’ll be with you and we’ll be okay.”
  • Make certain family caregivers have a backup plan. Let family caregivers know that in the event that they are diagnosed with COVID-19, or another medical problem that could prevent them from safely providing help for a loved one with dementia,  Hillendale Home Care is the perfect choice, with expertise in specialized Alzheimer’s care.

For more information on preventing senior illnesses like COVID-19 while ensuring your own health as a professional caregiver, contact the experts in eldercare in Walnut Creek, CA and the surrounding area at Hillendale Home Care. We also invite you to learn more about home care through our CNA and HHA school.

Tips for Managing Dementia and Incontinence

senior woman drinking orange juice in a seat at home

Learn effective ways to manage dementia and incontinence in older adults.

Dementia care calls for both compassion and creativity to deal with an assortment of challenging behaviors and effects, and that is particularly true with regards to incontinence, something that is exceedingly common in Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. These tried-and-true approaches are generally helpful in lessening the effect of incontinence and protecting against an escalation of emotions in someone you adore with Alzheimer’s disease.

  1. Pick your words very carefully. Instead of talking about incontinence products as “diapers,” for example, call them “briefs” or “pull-up underwear.” However, take the cue from your senior loved one; if she or he decides to utilize the word “diapers” and appears at ease with that, then follow along.
  2. Clear away regular underwear from the senior’s dresser. To avoid frustration or opposition to wearing incontinence products, make certain those are the only choice in his or her closet.
  3. Experiment with various products. With different brands, sizes, and absorbency levels on the market, it may take some experimenting to come across one that’s most comfortable and effective.
  4. Use backup products overnight. To help prevent the older adult from waking throughout the night from incontinence-related issues, try inserting booster pads within the absorbent underwear, and use products marked for heaviest coverage. Waterproof mattress protectors and disposable bed pads can also be extremely helpful.
  5. Ensure easy access into the bathroom. Complete a walk-through of the areas the older adult spends time in to estimate how easy it is for her or him to make it to the bathroom. Most notably, take away any clutter, cords, or throw rugs in the senior’s walking path to prevent falls.
  6. If an accident does occur… Maintain a relaxed demeanor in order not to offend (or further upset) the older adult, and say something like, “It looks like something might have spilled on your pants; let’s get you some clean clothes,” or “It appears as if your pants are wet; that happens occasionally.”
  7. Address reluctance to keep products on. For older adults who frequently make an effort to remove incontinence products, first see if you can identify why. The senior may be trying to change, due to a feeling of wetness. If uncomfortableness is an issue, try different types of products to find one that is more comfortable. In all instances, monitor the senior’s skin for signs and symptoms of rash or irritation, and contact his / her medical doctor if noted.

For more tips for managing dementia and incontinence, and to discover more about Hillendale Home Care’s dependable, professional home care services, reach out to us at 925-933-8181 and speak to one of our compassionate team members today. We can provide Danville area caregivers as well as caregivers to several other California communities. See our service area.

Learn About Dementia Treatment Options

Prescription Medicine

Dementia caregivers need to be aware of these two dementia treatment options.

Recent statistics on Alzheimer’s disease are troubling; it has now become the 6th leading cause of death, surpassing both breast cancer and prostate cancer combined. And while deaths from a number of other chronic conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, are declining, deaths from Alzheimer’s disease have risen by more than 100%. The effects the condition has on caregivers providing dementia care is shocking as well, with over 16 million Americans providing over 18 billion hours of care for a loved one with the disease.

While we have yet to find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease, there are two types of dementia treatment options that can help alleviate some of the more challenging symptoms. The person you’re caring for may be taking:

  1. A cholinesterase inhibitor: By preventing the breakdown of acetylcholine, a chemical that is essential for memory, attention, learning, and muscle activity, this type of treatment can offer some help in the mild to moderate stages of Alzheimer’s for some patients. Dr. Zaldy Tan, medical director of the UCLA Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care Program, advises, however, to bear in mind that the benefits will likely to be moderate at best. “The best case scenario is that the patient’s memory and cognitive function may improve slightly to what it was six months to a year ago – it’s not going to turn back time,” he makes clear. Included in this class of medications are galantamine (Razadyne), donepezil (Aricept) and rivastigmine (Exelon).
  2. Memantine: In the later stages of Alzheimer’s, the doctor may prescribe memantine (Namenda), which takes a different approach from a cholinesterase inhibitor, reducing the chance of overstimulation of glutamate NMDA receptors, which in turn can assist with rebuilding limited memory functionality. Physicians will frequently add this medication to a patient’s care plan along with a cholinesterase inhibitor as the disease progresses.

It takes time to determine the effectiveness of these dementia treatment options, as they require four to six weeks before benefits will be realized. And, it’s necessary to weigh the benefits against any unfavorable side effects, which can include confusion and constipation in memantine, and nausea, vomiting and a reduced heart rate with a cholinesterase inhibitor.

Visit Hillendale Home Care’s website for more information on specialized dementia care, and to learn more about joining Hillendale Home Care’s team of dementia care professionals through our CNA and HHA school or call 925-933-8181.

Dementia Wandering Prevention Tips

Man behind locked door

Try these tips to aid in dementia wandering prevention.

Out of all the outcomes of Alzheimer’s disease, probably one of the most concerning is the individual’s tendency for wandering, together with the potential dangers which could arise in the event that the senior becomes disoriented or lost. Wandering may occur when the older adult is: [Read more…]

Is a Senior Refuting a Dementia Diagnosis? It Might Be Anosognosia.

Senior man sitting on sofa

A senior may be unaware of his or her dementia diagnosis.

“How could you possibly say that I have a dementia diagnosis? There’s nothing at all wrong with me!”

If a senior in your care with a dementia diagnosis is unaccepting of the reality of the disease, you may be prone to think that he or she is simply in denial. However, there is sometimes a legitimate reason for this denial: anosognosia, or a person’s unawareness that he or she is impaired by dementia. [Read more…]

Dementia Care Walnut Creek Experts Offer Tips to Improve Communication With Alzheimer’s Patients

charming young woman and senior woman in a wheelchair sit together in a park and have fun

Caregivers can improve communication and dementia care techniques with these tips.

Alzheimer’s disease is well known for having a profound influence on language capabilities. In addition to the disease impacting speech, it also impacts an individual’s ability to correctly use words, as well as the comprehension of words. As the disease continues into later stages, using language as a way of socializing will become less effective, and caregivers may elect to utilize differing strategies for communicating to connect with their clients. [Read more…]

Is It Dementia or Depression? Here’s How to Find Out.

dementiaA dementia such as Alzheimer’s disease, can manifest with symptoms that are very close to some of those experienced in depression, such as cognitive decline – making it difficult to know how to best provide care. At Hillendale Home Care, we understand the challenges caregivers face when trying to determine the right course of action. The first step to take when cognitive issues are noticed is to discern, with the help of the senior’s family and physician, whether depression or dementia is at play, and then to begin the appropriate treatment.

Regardless of whether the cognitive decline is a result of dementia or depression, proper diagnosis and treatment are crucial. If the cause for the decline is depression, treating the depression effectively will result in restored memory, concentration and energy levels. Proper treatment for dementia can also improve quality of life, and in some forms of dementia, symptoms can even be reversed or at least slowed.

A good tool to is a memory screening. Memory screenings make sense for those who:

  • Are noticing the warning signs of dementia;
  • Have had family and friends notice changes in his or her behavior;
  • Believes he or she may be at risk due to a family history of Alzheimer’s disease or other type of dementia; or
  • May not have an immediate concern presently, but wants to establish a baseline score for future comparison.

Additionally, anyone answering “yes” to any of the questions below may benefit from a memory screening as well:

  • Do I seem to be more forgetful lately?
  • Am I having trouble concentrating?
  • Am I experiencing difficulty with performing familiar tasks?
  • Do I sometimes struggle to recall words or names in conversation?
  • Have I ever forgotten where I am?
  • Have friends or family members told me that I am repeating myself?
  • Am I losing or misplacing items more frequently?
  • Have I gotten lost while walking or driving in a familiar area?
  • Are my family or friends noticing changes in my mood, personality, behavior or interest in engaging in activities?

Note that a memory screening cannot diagnose a certain illness and is not intended to replace consultation with a qualified physician or other healthcare professional. For more resources on caregiving for someone with Alzheimer’s, or to receive more information about our employment opportunities for caregivers, visit www.hillendale.net or give us a call at 925-933-8181.