Our Mission

To care for you or a loved one who wishes to remain independent in their own home,

giving the highest possible level of care and dignity while assisting with a variety of everyday tasks.

When to Take Away the Keys

When to Take Away the Keys

As we age, health conditions can affect our ability to drive safely.  It can be an issue with vision or hearing, or an inability to react to sudden traffic changes, like with Parkinson’s Disease or dementia.  Some people give up driving on their own while others have to be convinced to.  Here are some things to look for or red flags that may tell you it’s time for your loved one to stop driving:
1.) Frequently seeing new dents and scratches on their vehicle
2.) Inability to maintain a safe speed.  Going too slow or too fast is a danger to themselves and others
3.) Forgetting where they had been or suddenly not knowing where they are; lapses in memory
4.) Weakness in the extremities, or difficulty loosening grip
5.) Often losing keys or forgetting where they parked
6.) General traffic violations
As you begin the process of taking their keys or license, try to have a plan for how to get them where they need or want to go.  A fear many seniors have is that losing their ability to drive means staying home all of the time and not seeing their friends as often as they used to.  Know what social events and appointments they have and see if family members, friends, or caregivers can be available to transport them. 
 By:  Elizabeth Wooton

How to Approach A Person With ALZ

 

When dealing with Alzheimer’s and dementia, especially advanced cases with combative tendencies, it’s important to take extra precaution in your approach, positioning, and communication when caring for your loved one. 

 

First, your approach to your loved one should be announced a few feet away when they cannot see you coming.  Their peripheral vision is diminishing and when you suddenly appear in their face with no warning, they can easily be frightened and may startle, become very upset, or even hit you.  Let them know you are there and approach them from the front.  If that’s not possible, tell them you are there and gently touch their shoulder or arm before slowly coming into view.

 

Next, when providing care or speaking to them, stand on their dominant side.  Standing in front of them will likely be perceived as a threat because you are blocking them.  The fight-or-flight response will kick in and they may become physically combative to either get away from you or to defend themselves.  Instead, stand at their side.  Seeing that there is a way out if they need to get away can prevent this natural response that tells them there is danger.

 

Finally, words aren’t always the best way to communicate with someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia.  We are taught to clearly state what we are doing or about to do, but when our words can’t be understood by our loved ones or cause confusion, we need to be prepared to communicate with body language and gestures.  For example, if I tell a client with advanced Alzheimer’s that it’s time to brush their teeth, they may stand there and nod to me like they understand but won’t move the toothbrush to their mouth.  But, by showing them with gestures or assisting them with moving their hand to their mouth, they may understand the task. 

 

 

Elizabeth Wooten

Where Is Their Memory

 

We attended a Dementia seminar recently and one of the main topics the presenter touched on was how the short-term memory usually gets worse and long-term memory takes over.  What do we do with this?  Embrace it…and be creative.

 

Find out where their memory has them.  It could be 30, 40, or 50 years ago when they were working full-time or raising a family.  Then, try to find objects, music, or television shows that correlate with where they are.  Old pictures are great and are encouraged in home care and facilities.  A former accountant may respond well to an old-fashioned ledger and a homemaker may enjoy old recipes.  Music usually has a very effective response. 

 

Use your imagination.  There is a great deal of trial-and-error with dementia care and no two people are the same.  Also, what is effective one day may not be effective the next.  Using this technique can help your loved one find a connection with their surroundings and where they are in their mind and ease anxiety and confusion.

 

 

 

By:  Elizabeth Wooten, CAN

 

       Stress Free Home Care

 

Advanced Dementia Care: Being Wrong, Even When You're Right


Mom tells you she needs a spoon, so you hand her a spoon and she says, “I asked for a spoon”. Let’s assume you already know at this point that she meant she needed a fork.  Your first reaction to this is probably a hint of frustration combined with the urge to correct her.


Don’t.  Because, in this moment, the fork isa spoon.  You are wrong and she is right.  The irritation you feel when she says it’s a spoon is probably similar to the way she feels when you call it a fork.


The two main reasons that she called it by the wrong name are:


  1. She is confused and honestly thinks it’s called a spoon

  2. She knows in her mind that it’s called a fork but cannot articulate what she means to say


When someone with dementia does something like this, sometimes it’s best to just let it go and be wrong.  Arguing with them or correcting them can often make matters worse.  It can hurt their self-esteem, cause them to feel like they are less intelligent than they once were, and even break their trust in their caregiver. One way to handle the above situation would be to say “I’m sorry, Mom, I wasn’t thinking”, and hand her a fork. 

Sometimes, as caregivers, we just have to be wrong and accept our loved one’s for who they are now and the reality that they currently live in.  Their confidence in themselves and in you is far more important than being right.

 

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