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Signs that Your Loved May Need At-Home Care

When an aging loved one recovers from surgery or an injury, you expect that they will need help at home during the recovery process.  But for those aging relatives who may not be recovering from surgery or an injury, it’s important to be aware of the signs that they need help.

  1. If a loved one has recently lost their driver’s license or you are questioning their ability to drive safely, it’s time to consider some type of assistance. He or she will still want and need to leave the house to do errands, make appointments, and fulfill social engagements.  Losing the ability to drive feels like losing freedom.  Caregivers can provide a safe transportation alternative.
  2. If medical concerns such as Parkinson’s or arthritis are creating mobility issues, it may be hard for your loved one to maintain stability or strength while moving from place to place. If this is a concern, it’s time to make home modifications so that your loved one is safe at home.  It may also be the time to consider in-home care to reduce the risk of a fall.
  3. Discussing at-home healthcare options with elderly parent

  4. If you have noticed memory loss with your loved one, especially short-term memory loss, it’s time to consult with his or her physician about the symptoms. In addition, it’s time to review how your loved one is remembering to take medications and use proper hygiene.
  5. Medication mix-ups can be dangerous. If your loved one is not able to manage their own medications, either due to memory or mobility issues, it’s time to make a change.  Daily visits from a loved one, friend, or a home healthcare assistant can be a critical step to ensuring your loved one taking the correct doses of medication.
  6. How many times has your loved one been in the ER in the last 3 months? If that number is greater than one, it’s time to evaluate why — and what changes may need to be made.  The next question to ask is whether your loved one would be better off with in-home assistance.   In many cases, at-home health care assistance can reduce the need for frequent ER visits and can help your loved one live more comfortably.

Whether your loved one is struggling with insomnia, chronic illness, limited mobility, or memory issues, a friendly, helping hand can often make a difference.  A professional caregiver can manage medications, assist with mobility issues, help with personal care, provide safe transportation to appointments or to refill prescriptions, and help reduce the risk of falls.  If you have questions about an aging family member,  contact us at  561-736-1422, toll-free: 855-730-9895, or visit www.expicare.com.

Expicare Nursing Agency, Inc.

Owned and managed by highly qualified Registered Nurses, Expicare is a recognized leader of home health care in South Florida. For over three decades, Expicare has provided unparalleled home health care to thousands of patients throughout Palm Beach County. From post-surgery assistance to compassionate care for patients and families struggling with Alzheimer’s, Expicare provides highly skilled nurses and nursing assistants to care for your parents or loved ones. For more information, contact 561-736-1422, toll-free: 855-730-9895, or visit www.expicare.com.

Summer Safety Tips for Seniors

After experiencing cooler weather in the winter, many seniors are excited to spend time outdoors in the warm summer months. For families, summer is often the time for vacation and relaxation. So if you are traveling or enjoying the warmth and soaking up the sun locally, keep in mind that your aging loved one may need extra care at this time. The heat can be significantly more dangerous for aging seniors than for others. Make sure that your loved one follows the important tips below and has someone looking after him or her, so they can safely enjoy the summer.

Hydrate.

Since seniors have a higher risk than other age groups of becoming dehydrated, make sure your loved one drinks plenty of non-alcoholic and caffeine free fluids throughout the day. They might not be aware that they are thirsty, so frequent encouragement is important. In addition, drinks that replace salt and potassium are especially helpful for seniors to consume in the hot weather. Be sure that your loved always carries drinks and snacks when she goes out.

Elderly Couple Outside In The Summer

Stay Cool.

Seniors are more susceptible to the problems associated with heat including heat stroke and heat exhaustion. In addition, seniors who suffer from other chronic conditions may have exacerbated symptoms when in higher heat conditions. In order to keep cool, encourage your loved one to spend more time indoors. He or she may enjoy visiting shopping malls, libraries, museums, or going to a movie theatre. If your loved one doesn’t have air conditioning and the indoor temperature has become too warm, make sure to make alternative arrangements for accommodations. Extreme heat can be life threatening for the elderly.

Keep an Emergency List.

Help your loved one prepare an easy-to-read list of emergency phone numbers and keep it in an easy place to find. If he or she becomes ill and doesn’t have anyone nearby to help, he or she can contact someone on the list.

Know When to Get Help.

If your loved has been exposed to unusually warm conditions and is experiencing any of the following symptoms, take them into a cool, air conditioned location and get medical help right away.

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Headache, muscle cramps
  • Heavy breathing or rapid pulse
  • Lack of sweating when they should
  • Temperature over 104
  • Fainting
  • Dry, flushed skin
  • Abnormal confusion or agitation
  • Lethargy or exhaustion

You can help prevent your loved one from having the maladies associated with excessive heat by creating a plan to check on him or her when there is a heat wave in the area where they live. Remember that your loved one may not realize he or she is becoming dehydrated. In these times, it’s important for someone to check in or stay with your loved one.

If you are concerned about your loved one’s wellbeing and are not able to physically be there or check on him or her, you may want to consider a home health care provider. A professional caregiver can ensure that you or your loved one is hydrated and is living in cool, comfortable conditions. A caregiver can also check vitals, monitor health, and assist errands such as refilling prescriptions.

If you have questions about an aging family member, contact us at 561-736-1422, toll-free: 855-730-9895, or visit www.expicare.com.

Expicare Nursing Agency, Inc.

Owned and managed by highly qualified Registered Nurses, Expicare is a recognized leader of home health care in South Florida. For over three decades, Expicare has provided unparalleled home health care to thousands of patients throughout Palm Beach County. From post-surgery assistance to compassionate care for patients and families struggling with Alzheimer’s, Expicare provides highly skilled nurses and nursing assistants to care for your parents or loved ones. For more information, contact 561-736-1422, toll-free: 855-730-9895, or visit www.expicare.com.

How to Avoid a Medication Mix-up

Med Mix-up Statistics

Over 1.3 million Americans are injured from medication mix-ups or errors each year in the United States. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that approximately 4 Emergency Room (ER) visits out of every 1,000 adults are due to adverse drug reactions. Another study showed that 30% of elderly patient ER visits were due to medication mix-ups or errors.

According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, nearly 60% of all Americans take at least one prescription drug. A study conducted by the National Institutes of Health indicates that over 90% of seniors age 65 and over take at least one prescription while 40% take at least five prescription medications. This study also showed that 55% of seniors were not following the medication instructions properly.

When we consider this information combined with the fact that many seniors also take non-prescription, over-the-counter (OTC) medications, we can begin to understand the severity of medication mix-ups and errors. Many seniors take more than 10 drugs — including both prescription and OTC medicines.

Common Medication Errors

Common medication errors occur when medications have similar names. For example, Celebrex is used to treat arthritis while Celexa is used to treat depression. Another common problem is taking too much of a medicine. Some medications interact with another medication, and this problem can be especially dangerous with seniors who are on numerous prescription and/or OTC medications.

Some foods, such as grapefruit, can interact with medications due to the way medicines are metabolized. So it’s important to understand any foods or drinks or medicines that can interact with the medicine you are taking.

Some medications are meant for nasal inhalation, while others are meant to be taken sub-lingual and others swallowed. When these medications are not taken in the proper way, the efficacy can change potentially causing undesirable outcomes.

Over 40% of seniors 65 and over take 5 or more medications daily

Medication mix-up Solutions

Here are some important tips to help you or your loved one manage his or her medications:

  • Make a complete list of all medication names, descriptions, drug indications, and prescribed dosages. Leave a copy at home and another on hand for any medical visits.
  • Follow the instructions on the medication — never take more than prescribed.
  • Consider using a pill-minder to ensure you take the right quantities of each medicine as prescribed.
  • Ensure that you understand the generic names that are equivalent to the brand medications.
  • Be sure that medicine labels are clearly marked and stored separately to prevent name mix-ups.
  • Prevent medication interactions by ensuring that your pharmacist and physicians know each medication you are taking — including any OTC medicines as well as vitamins and supplements.
  • If you have any questions about the medications, don’t assume nor guess; consult with your pharmacist or physician.

If you or your loved one is having difficulties with medication management, you may want to consider a home health care provider. A professional caregiver can ensure that you or your loved one takes the proper medicine in the right dosage at the correct time. A care giver can also check vitals, monitor health, and assist errands such as refilling prescriptions.

If you have questions about medication management for you or your aging family member, contact us at 561-736-1422, toll-free: 855-730-9895, or visit www.expicare.com.

Expicare Nursing Agency, Inc.

Owned and managed by highly qualified Registered Nurses, Expicare is a recognized leader of home health care in South Florida. For over three decades, Expicare has provided unparalleled home health care to thousands of patients throughout Palm Beach County. From post-surgery assistance to compassionate care for patients and families struggling with Alzheimer’s, Expicare provides highly skilled nurses and nursing assistants to care for your parents or loved ones. For more information, contact 561-736-1422, toll-free: 855-730-9895, or visit www.expicare.com.

Understanding and Preventing Dehydration in Seniors

What is dehydration?

Senior Citizen Drinking A Glass Of Water

Dehydration is a condition caused by significant water loss from the body, causing blood sodium levels to rise. Dehydration in young people is often caused by diarrhea, vomiting, or profuse sweating. When an individual has excessive water loss, they typically require the replenishment of water and electrolytes (to help maintain body functions.)

Dehydration in the elderly occurs more often than in young people for several reasons: 1) As people age, their sense of thirst decreases. While younger people may have dry mouth and know they should drink water, the aging population may either not notice the sensation or assume that the sensation is due to medicines they are currently taking. 2) Seniors who have difficulty getting around may choose to drink less to avoid having to go to the bathroom. 3) Dehydration in the elderly can also be related to incontinence or to medications with diuretic side effects.

How can you tell if someone is becoming dehydrated?

Although it’s not always apparent when an individual is becoming dehydrated, there are some important signs to watch for, especially in the elderly.

  • Dry, flaky skin
  • Dry mouth or nose
  • Sunken eyes, no tears
  • Minimal need to urinate
  • Low blood pressure
  • Difficulty with movement
  • Confusion, headaches, or dizziness
  • Rapid heart rate

What should you do if someone appears dehydrated?

If you notice these symptoms, encourage the individual to drink water or other fluids supplemented with electrolytes. If he or she is not able to keep down fluids or has diarrhea or black or bloody stools, it’s time to call 911.

How do you prevent dehydration in the elderly?

      1. Encourage them to drink small amounts throughout the day. Aim for at least 40 ounces of fluids per day. Water is best but juices, herbal teas, milk, mineral water, or almond milk are fine as well. Try fitting the 5 glasses (8 ounces each) in at these intervals:

      • Wake up
      • Breakfast
      • Lunch
      • Snack
      • Dinner
      2. Limit fluids after dinner to avoid potential incontinence issues.
      3. Avoid caffeinated beverages because of the diuretic effect.
      4. Encourage the consumption of soups, fruits, and vegetables that have high water content.
      5. Avoid alcoholic beverages

If you have questions about dehydration in the elderly or caring for your aging family member, contact us at 561-736-1422, toll-free: 855-730-9895, or visit www.expicare.com.

Expicare Nursing Agency, Inc.

Owned and managed by highly qualified Registered Nurses, Expicare is a recognized leader of home health care in South Florida. For over three decades, Expicare has provided unparalleled home health care to thousands of patients throughout Palm Beach County. From post-surgery assistance to compassionate care for patients and families struggling with Alzheimer’s, Expicare provides highly skilled nurses and nursing assistants to care for your parents or loved ones. For more information, contact 561-736-1422, toll-free: 855-730-9895, or visit www.expicare.com.

Home Safety Modifications for Seniors with Disabilities

Studies show that the large majority of seniors prefer to live at home as they age. Aging seniors feel comfort and safety in their own home. And even when seniors have disabilities, they can live independently in their own homes.

The solution is home safety modifications designed to help individuals with disabilities be able to safely move through the house and perform daily living tasks, including but not limited to accessing all doors, switches, plugs, shelves, supplies and equipment. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission provides a basic home safety checklist for seniors here.

Evaluating Needs
Family members and friends may be able to help evaluate the needs of an aging loved one with disabilities by reviewing the checklist, but an expert can bring knowledge and experience to the process. A professional occupational therapist or certified aging-in-place specialist (CAPS) can guide the family through a needs assessment, helping everyone understand the current needs of your loved one, but anticipating how these needs will change over the coming months and years. Without this important resource, you may invest in many safety modifications, only to find out that they must be changed 4 months later.

Major Areas of Concern
Walking through the home and identifying major areas of concern will be a key piece of the work conducted with your expert resource. Typically, the main areas of concern in homes are 1) entryways into the home and into each room, 2) limited reach areas, 3) stairs and steps, and 4) bathroom facilities.

Safety Modification Examples
While recommended modifications will be unique for each situation, below are several examples of common safety modifications for seniors with disabilities…

  • Installing oversized light switches and levers and faucet knobs to allow for easier control.
  • Installing grab bars or rails to improve mobility, especially in hallways and bathrooms.
  • Changing shelving to pull-out or roll-out shelves, allowing easier access to storage, especially in clothing closets and food pantries.
  • Incorporating transfer benches to help seniors get in and out of showers and bathtubs.
  • Widening doorways to make enough room for walkers or wheelchairs.
  • Adding stair lifts or lift chairs to assist individuals with staircases.

Keep in mind that these are only a few examples, and there are many other safety modifications that may help aging seniors.

Paying for Safety Modifications

Some home modifications are relatively inexpensive while others are very costly. There are options to help pay for necessary home safety modifications. If specific modifications are prescribed by a physician, they may be covered by Medicare or Medicaid. Local area agencies for the aging may be able to help, found at www.eldercare.gov. The national nonprofit, Rebuilding Together, found at www.rebuildingtogether.org, is another great resource. The Department of Veterans’ Affairs offers different grants and programs that may cover specific home modifications for aging seniors who served in the military. Seniors may also find support in the form of block grants through local community development projects. In addition, some contractors provide reduced fees to seniors.

If your loved one wants to remain independent but is starting to have difficulties reaching objects in the home, what are you waiting for? Evaluate what your loved one needs so that he or she can spend many more happy, comfortable and safe years in his or her home.

Expicare Nursing Agency, Inc.

Owned and managed by highly qualified Registered Nurses, Expicare is a recognized leader of home health care in South Florida. For over three decades, Expicare has provided unparalleled home health care to thousands of patients throughout Palm Beach County. From post-surgery assistance to compassionate care for patients and families struggling with Alzheimer’s, Expicare provides highly skilled nurses and nursing assistants to care for your parents or loved ones. For more information, contact 561-736-1422, toll-free: 855-730-9895, or visit www.expicare.com.

Healthier Eating for Seniors

Learning to eat healthy is important for all of us. The nutrients we consume on a daily basis support our physical and emotional health. Eating the right mix of foods and liquids provides energy and helps us maintain a healthy weight. Failing to eat a variety of foods may lead to vitamin or mineral deficiencies, potentially causing or exacerbating pre-existing health concerns.

Today, most people have a fairly good idea about what foods are healthy or not. We know that we should eat lots of fruits and vegetables and minimize the amount of fried foods and sugary drinks that we consume. We also are aware that we should stay hydrated — by drinking plenty of water.

So what should your dinner plate look like? The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), offers useful information about healthy plates for all different ages. For adults over 50, they recommend the following way to visually assess proper portion sizes.

baseball = 1 cup of salad
deck of cards = 3 ounces of meat/poultry
4 dice = 1.5 ounces of cheese
fist = 1 cup of flaked cereal or a baked potato
DVD = 1 pancake/tortilla
½ baseball = ½ cup of fruit, rice, pasta, or ice cream
tip of first finger = 1 teaspoon of butter/margarine
ping pong ball = 2 tablespoons of peanut butter

The USDA also recommends this diagram (to the right) that shows ideal proportion of portions.

Aging adults need to pay special attention to the amount of salt they consume, eating enough fruits and vegetables, consuming enough calcium and foods containing B12, and drinking enough water.

Healthy Eating Tips
To avoid using too much salt, add flavor to foods with fresh or dried herbs. Keep ready-to-eat cut up fruit or vegetables in the refrigerator. Try to include many different colors of fruits and vegetables in your diet. Stay away from cookies, cakes, soda, and alcohol that provide empty calories and almost no nutrients. Drink plenty of water and limit juice, soda and caffeinated beverages.

If some foods bother you, pay attention. As we age, sometimes we tolerate foods differently. Keep a record of your food and drink intake and evaluate which foods may be the culprits.

Make sure you get enough fiber to prevent digestive or intestinal problems. Fiber comes from fruits, vegetables, whole grains, as well as beans, seeds, and nuts.

If you’re ready to take charge of your health, start out slowly and make small changes. Allow your body time to adjust.

Nutrition Labels
Your best bet is to consume minimal processed foods. However, for those processed foods you eat, take time to review the nutrition labels and understand how much sodium, sugar, and fat are in your food and drinks.

Avoid overeating
The average inactive woman can consume around 1600 calories; the average man can use around 2000 calories. For more active individuals, the amount of calorie consumption increases. For more information on calories, consult your physician or visit one of the many health and nutrition sites run by US governmental organizations like this one.

March is National Health and Nutrition Month and we want you to begin thinking healthy! For more information from the USDA’s Choose My Plate website, click here. The Eat Right website is another great resource found here.

Expicare Nursing Agency, Inc.

Owned and managed by highly qualified Registered Nurses, Expicare is a recognized leader of home health care in South Florida. For over three decades, Expicare has provided unparalleled home health care to thousands of patients throughout Palm Beach County. From post-surgery assistance to compassionate care for patients and families struggling with Alzheimer’s, Expicare provides highly skilled nurses and nursing assistants to care for your parents or loved ones. For more information, contact 561-736-1422, toll-free: 855-730-9895, or visit www.expicare.com.

Caring for Your Loved One After a Heart Attack

February is Heart Health Month. In the United States, heart disease is the #1 killer of men and women. In fact, cardiovascular diseases, led by coronary artery disease, are responsible for more deaths than all types of cancer combined.

Heart disease can occur at any age, but as people get older, their risk of serious cardiovascular disease events increases. If you or a loved one has suffered a heart attack recently, read on. Below are some important suggestions about how to manage the recovery process.

  1. Following a heart attack, your loved one may feel vulnerable and fearful. His or her emotions are likely to be stronger and more dramatic after facing this serious health event. This is the time to listen and be patient. Really listen. Stay positive but acknowledge your loved one’s fears and concerns. Avoid bringing up any guilt related to your loved one “allowing” this to happen. Nobody wants to have a heart attack and nobody wants to hear blame for provoking cardiovascular disease or a heart attack.
  2. Seek clarification from medical staff. Arrive with questions and take notes on the responses. You need to take on the role of health care advocate for your loved one. Notice behavior changes, ask questions, and make sure you clearly understand the medications and therapy prescribed. In addition, take this time to figure out what changes need to be made going forward. Will you need to help your loved one change his or her eating habits, daily activities, cigarette habits, and/or overall lifestyle?
  3. Activities for seniors with Alzheimer's Disease

  4. Evaluate level of care required. Working with the medical staff and rehabilitation specialists, determine what level of care is needed for your loved one in the short-term and long-term. He or she may simply need to manage medications and change his or her lifestyle or he or she may need dependable help.
  5. After the medical appointment, support your loved one in making changes to habits, activities, food or drink, and lifestyle. Work with the medical staff to prevent any further complications. Be aware that roles may change temporarily…or even permanently. Work with these changes and support your loved one. If your loved one is not eager to make the necessary changes, avoid shaming. Do your best to support him or her and consult medical professionals or therapists for help.
  6. Focus on the future. Allow your loved one the necessary time to come to terms with his or her health and the changes that he or she will need to make going forward. And then, start living again. Plan a small activity out of the house. Enjoy a movie together. Spend time with friends. Take a class. Plan a vacation. Allow you and your loved one to start living again.
  7. Join a support group to help you cope with the new challenges that you are facing while helping your loved one recover. Consider accepting some hands-on help or simply go to meetings to talk and socialize with others who are in similar situations.
  8. As a caregiver, you need to take proper care of yourself. So, in addition to the medical and therapy appointments you arrange for your loved one, you must schedule some personal time every day to take a walk, read a book, or just relax and watch a movie. Give yourself permission to do things either alone or with friends. When you’re taking care of a loved one, it’s critical to give yourself downtime so you don’t become stressed or overwhelmed

Do you have questions about caring for a loved one who recently suffered a heart attack? Expicare may be able to help. Contact us at 561-736-1422, toll-free: 855-730-9895, or visit www.expicare.com.

Expicare Nursing Agency, Inc.

Owned and managed by highly qualified Registered Nurses, Expicare is a recognized leader of home health care in South Florida. For over three decades, Expicare has provided unparalleled home health care to thousands of patients throughout Palm Beach County. From post-surgery assistance to compassionate care for patients and families struggling with Alzheimer’s, Expicare provides highly skilled nurses and nursing assistants to care for your parents or loved ones. For more information, contact 561-736-1422, toll-free: 855-730-9895, or visit www.expicare.com.

Activities for Seniors with Alzheimer’s in South Florida

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, more than 5 million people in the U.S. have Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s is a form of dementia characterized by memory loss and loss of intellectual abilities. The disease worsens with time. It can be very difficult to observe a loved one living with this disease. But finding activities that loved ones enjoy can bring pleasure to them and their families.
Engaging a loved one in hobbies or interests that gave them pleasure in the past can be a great way to bring up memories, develop self-expression, and encourage social bonds with others. Keep in mind that Alzheimer’s does affect behavior and senses, so it’s important to reintroduce these activities gradually to avoid overwhelming the individual.

Activities for seniors with Alzheimer's Disease

In addition to seeking out hobbies from the past, there are numerous activities that may bring pleasure to loved ones suffering from Alzheimer’s. While the severity of the disease may affect which activities are they enjoy, keep in mind that meaningful activities will be especially beneficial because they allow the individual to make a difference, no matter how small.

Here are some ideas:

  • Listen to a playlist of favorite songs. Sing along and talk about music.
  • Take a walk outside and enjoy nature. Encourage the use of all senses to witness the beauty of nature. Try visiting the serene Morikami Japanese Gardens in Boca Raton or Flamingo Gardens in Broward County.
  • Engage in household tasks that provide a sense of accomplishment.
  • Plant a small garden inside or outside and water the plants. Point out plant growth and changes.
  • Select a simple craft and make something. Pick up some inexpensive crafts from one of the Michael’s Craft Store or A.C. Moore locations throughout South Florida.
  • Follow simple recipes to cook or bake something special that the individual will enjoy.
  • Involve the individual in social interactions, especially with family members.
  • Peruse old photo albums or watch family movies, encouraging conversation.
  • Go for a walk, play catch with a ball, or participate in tai chi. Exercise is important for everyone, including Alzheimer’s patients. Exercise helps individuals with Alzheimer’s improve appetite, mood and sleep.
  • Enjoy time with animals. Dogs and cats can provide comfort at a level that most Alzheimer’s patients instinctively understand. Visit a pet store, bring your pet, or inquire about therapy animals.

While there is no cure available for Alzheimer’s yet, ongoing medical research is uncovering important information that will lead to treatment in the future. In the interim, family members can speak with medical staff about specific symptom treatments and family members and caregivers can engage in meaningful activities to encourage social interaction, a sense of accomplishment, and overall wellbeing. For more information on helping loved ones with Alzheimer’s, contact Expicare at 561-736-1422.

Expicare Nursing Agency, Inc.

Owned and managed by highly qualified Registered Nurses, Expicare is a recognized leader of home health care in South Florida. For over three decades, Expicare has provided unparalleled home health care to thousands of patients throughout Palm Beach County. From post-surgery assistance to compassionate care for patients and families struggling with Alzheimer’s, Expicare provides highly skilled nurses and nursing assistants to care for your parents or loved ones. For more information, contact 561-736-1422, toll-free: 855-730-9895, or visit www.expicare.com.

Great Gift Ideas for Your Aging Loved Ones

As we approach the holidays, we think about the special gifts we can give our loved ones to demonstrate our affection. In the case of our elderly loved ones, perhaps the most precious gift you can provide is time — making time to spend together. Sharing a meal, taking a walk, or just having a gentle conversation can be wonderful for your loved one.

senior-gift-ideas

In addition to spending quality time together, we have a few other suggestions for thoughtful gifts to bring more pleasure into your loved one’s life.

  • Create picture albums with old and new photos to remind your loved one of many happy life experiences.
  • Give your loved one DVDs of favorite TV shows or movies from the 40s or 50s to bring back memories.
  • Craft homemade gifts. Or better yet, bring the supplies and make a simple craft with your loved one.
  • Make a compilation of favorite songs from the 40s or 50s on CD or an easy-to-operate iPod shuffle device for joy of music.
  • Purchase a simple lap desk with a book holder and side pockets for glasses, snacks, tissues, etc.
  • Surprise your loved one with a terrarium that provides beauty and requires minimal care.
  • Organize special visits from a therapy dog. These loving animals give so much attention and affection.
  • Wrap up a couple of large-print crossword puzzle or game books to entertain and delight.
  • Give gift certificates to a salon or spa on the premises or nearby for pampering.
  • Present your loved one with a Nintendo WII or similar system to allow him or her to participate virtually in sports that he or she may no longer be able to play (ie: bowling, golf, dance.)
  • Expicare Nursing Agency, Inc.

    Owned and managed by highly qualified Registered Nurses, Expicare is a recognized leader of home health care in South Florida. For over three decades, Expicare has provided unparalleled home health care to thousands of patients throughout Palm Beach County. From post-surgery assistance to compassionate care for patients and families struggling with Alzheimer’s, Expicare provides highly skilled nurses and nursing assistants to care for your parents or loved ones. For more information, contact 561-736-1422, toll-free: 855-730-9895, or visit www.expicare.com.

Tips for Increasing Joy and Reducing Holiday Stress with Alzheimer’s and Dementia Patients

While many of us anxiously await the holiday season, our family members in the early stages of Alzheimer’s or Dementia may not enjoy the holidays as they once did. Alzheimer’s patients may feel sorrow and disappointment as they enter this season and ponder old times. In addition, they may feel stress to keep up with the rest of the family and participate in holiday traditions.

If you are contemplating how you can make the holidays more joyful and peaceful for your loved one living with Alzheimer’s or Dementia, take a look at these tips.

Tips for Increasing Joy and Reducing Holiday Stress with Alzheimer’s and Dementia Patients

Holiday Stress and Alzheimers

Adjust your expectations

  • Communicate. Conduct a conference call or family meeting to determine the best way to handle the holidays for your loved one with Alzheimer’s as well as the rest of the family.
  • Prepare. Take time to talk with family members or friends from out of town to update them on the status of your loved one. Help them understand what to expect and what they can do during the upcoming holiday get togethers.

Simplify the holiday

  • Lower the volume. Loud conversations and music can negatively affect Alzheimer’s and Dementia patients. Keep the environment calm and perhaps turn up the volume after a designated time that your loved one will be ready to go to bed.
  • Skip the sparkle. Bright displays, blinking holiday lights, and candles with flames are potential safety hazards and can cause confusion for Alzheimer’s patients. Instead, use simple decorations to celebrate the holiday.
  • Fresh fruit? Be mindful of artificial fruit or vegetable displays that may be mistaken for the real thing.
    Engage your loved one
  • Get cooking. Make holiday preparation fun for you and your loved one. Depending on his or her abilities, encourage him or her to help wrap gifts, write cards, or prepare a dish to bring to the event. The loved one can help measure ingredients, string garlands of popcorn, or help make a wreath.
  • Sing a song. Discover special holiday songs that your loved one remembers — and sing! Read a special poem or talk about a memory.

Manage consumption

  • Keep an eye on food intake. Make sure you loved avoids alcoholic beverages and doesn’t eat too many sugar-laden foods. Too much of these can cause behavioral problems.

Keep the routine

  • Stick to it. Although sticking to a routine during the holidays can be tough, your loved one will be better off if he or she does. Lack of sleep and lack of routine can create disruption and confusion.
  • Plan for rest. Make sure to schedule rest time between family activities.

If your loved one is in the later stages of Alzheimer’s and lives in a care facility, consider participating in the holiday activities there. There may be a sing-along, a potluck or special holiday meal, or other activities that you and your loved one can partake in. Are you or other family members seeking much needed respite from care giving for Alzheimer’s or Dementia patients? If so, we can help.

Expicare Nursing Agency, Inc.
Owned and managed by highly qualified Registered Nurses, Expicare is a recognized leader of home health care in South Florida. For over three decades, Expicare has provided unparalleled home health care to thousands of patients throughout Palm Beach County. From post-surgery assistance to compassionate care for patients and families struggling with Alzheimer’s, Expicare provides highly skilled nurses and nursing assistants to care for your parents or loved ones. For more information, contact 561-736-1422, toll-free: 855-730-9895, or visit www.expicare.com.

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