Just for you...answers to help with caregiving of those with dementia.


You've Got Questions, We Have Answers
Okay, maybe not all of the answers, but we do have some answers to assist with family caregiving of those with Alzheimer's and related dementias. This month's newsletters features:
  • Tips for having the conversation about memory loss 
  • Recognizing when is the right time to place
  • Plus, some fun food facts to keep you entertained
ActivCare is here to assist you with  caring for those with
Alzheimer's and related dementias. Have a question? Call us.

Read on.
May Happenings at the Community

With 31 days in May and holidays such as Cinco de Mayo, Mother's Day and Memorial Day, the community will be hopping this month. Click below to see the full calendar of events..


The next Caregiver Support Group Meeting is scheduled for May 15  at  4 pm  at the community. All are welcome.
Having the Conversation about Memory Loss

Memory loss and diseases such as Alzheimer's or related dementia are scary. Facing the prospective diagnosis can be unsettling, but avoidance and denial can also be harmful.
 
If you have concerns about a loved one who may be displaying signs of cognitive impairment, there are more benefits to addressing the subject rather than avoiding it.
 
How do you start the conversation? What do you say? What do you not say?
 
In our search for answers, we have come across many different articles offering different techniques and advice. Not everyone is the same and not every tactic will yield a positive outcome for each situation. One element that is consistent is that this difficult conversation needs to be approached with calm, compassion, and patience. There will likely be many conversations. There may be anger, denial, frustration, and maybe hurt feelings. It is a process, but a necessary one.
 
Lapses in memory or judgement can be masked from family that visits rarely. If you see your elderly loved one regularly and notice unusual behavior, your concerns should be investigated. Others who visit less often may not have your same experience and may not recognize the same subtle changes you have noticed.
5 Helpful Hints to Plan Your Talk

From our research, we have assembled five tips for planning your talk.
 

Frame your approach - Understand how your loved one processes information. Do they like to be presented with details and facts? Do they prefer gentle guidance? Consider which approach will yield the best outcome and prepare. When memory loss affects a parent, no matter what age the child, there is a different dynamic than if the conversation is generated by someone less removed. This dynamic may affect your approach. See ideas below about who can help.

 

Identify the ideal location - Hearing a concern about a health issue needs to happen in a calm, comfortable environment. This talk is more appropriate in the loved one's home and not when something else is happening, like a holiday celebration.

 

Timing is key - Following the talk, families will likely want to confirm the cause of and the extent of memory lapses. Perhaps there is an underlying medical condition or medication that is causing forgetfulness or balance issues. If the talk could happen just before a scheduled doctor's visit, then specific issues can be addressed with a medical professional.

 

How to begin: Share with Compassion - Memory loss is not an easy conversation. In a supportive and loving way, share your reason for concern AND enforce your commitment to support. Shape your conversation as a way that you can problem solve together. Give specific examples without being judgmental. Instead of stating, "You haven't been paying your bills" perhaps phrase like this, "you seem to be finding it difficult to pay your bills." Express yourself compassionately. Talk openly and honestly. Convince your loved one that you want to partner with them in their care, not tell them what to do.

 

Feedback: Let the dialog begin - It is hard to say what gives you concern, but realize that it is also hard to hear. Be a good listener. You may get defensive pushback. Listen without interruption. Do not be dismissive. Try to understand from where the comments are coming. If your loved one has recognized memory loss in themselves, they have likely established a method of masking their symptoms so that they continue to live in denial. Fear of being discovered or fear of the reality of their situation can cause someone to lash out.

 
If tensions rise, take a break. Step back to ensure that the conversation remains respectful and calm.
 
This will not be the last conversation. However, if you can create a relationship that is safe and not judgmental, you will gain trust. End the conversation on a positive note and confirm agreed upon next steps.
 
Involve other family members to lend support to the conversation and the care. If denial shuts your loved one down, look for support from their physician. The health and safety of your loved one is paramount. Need more help? Ask your healthcare provider if they have a social worker that can assist.
 
Address fear that naturally rises by lending support. Reinforce the need to identify the underlying causes of the memory loss. Recommend that you accompany them at their next doctor's visit. Seek a second opinion if there is doubt or incomplete findings.
 
The "conversation" is more of a process. It will take time. Expect bumps along the way. With love and empathy, you can build a supportive partnership together.
When Is the Right Time to Place?

Every caregiver approaches their caregiver journey with optimism and  a can-do attitude. However along the way, everyday demands can make care-giving challenging. Even though they start with the best intentions, sometimes caregivers need to investigate other options for providing care.

Deciding to place a loved one in a memory care community is an individual decision, but what factors go into the decision making process?

Based on ActivCare's nearly 30 years of caring for those with memory loss and partnering with their loving families, we have prepared an article for those considering residential memory care.  It's a brief and honest evaluation of what to consider when looking for long term care of loved ones--a great resource for families.

Did You Know...

Here are some interesting food facts.
 
  • The oldest evidence for soup is from 6,000 B.C. and calls for hippopotamus and sparrow meat.
  • An average ear of corn has an even number of rows, usually 16.
  • Chocolate was once used as currency.
  • Coconut water can be used as blood plasma.
  • McDonald's sells 75 hamburgers every second of every day.
  • California state fruit is the avocado.
  • California state vegetable is the artichoke.
  • Apples float in water, because 25% of their volume is made of air.
  • One of the most hydrating foods to eat is the cucumber, which is 96% water.
  • Ranch dressing contains titanium dioxide, which is used to make it appear whiter. The same ingredient is used in sunscreen and paint for the same effect.
  • No matter what color Fruit Loop you eat, they all taste the same.
  • The most popular carrots used to be purple.
ActivCare at Brittany House  |  5401 E. Centralia Street  |   Long Beach, CA 90808
(562) 246-9690  |   ActivCareLiving.com