Archive for the ‘Alzheimer’s Care’ Category

How to Handle Memory Loss for Better Dementia Care | San Jose, CA

July 12th, 2017

Alzheimer’s disease can alter someone’s mind so that recollections regarding current happenings are forgotten or mixed up while those from the more remote past often stay intact. The memory loss of more current events can also cause earlier times to make more sense to an individual with Alzheimer’s disease. A person’s alternate reality can be his/her strategy of making sense of the present through past memories.

Older adults with dementia or Alzheimer’s may have problems expressing themselves, and in some cases their alternate reality has more to do with a need or a specific feeling they are attempting to express than it has to do with the things they are saying.

For instance:

  • “When is my wife going to be home?” This question could possibly be more about a need for affection or acceptance or a home cooked meal than it could be about wanting to see his wife, who died a number of years ago. The right answer to learn more might be, “Why do you want to see her?”
  • “I need to deliver all these casseroles to the neighbors before the end of the day.” Though these casseroles don’t exist, the words may indicate a need for intention in daily life or desiring to be engaged in an activity. An appropriate answer to discover more could be, “Why did you make casseroles for your friends?”

Maintaining a record of these kinds of happenings could help you see trends in needs. The more you listen and pay close attention, the easier it will be to understand the reasoning behind the alternate reality and how to best react.

Should You Play Along?

Provided that the scenario is not going to be dangerous or inappropriate, it is fine to play along with the older person’s alternate reality. Doing so will not make the dementia worse. Remember, your loved one’s reality is true to the person and going along with it can make your loved one feel better.

If the scenario is inappropriate or may cause danger to the senior, try to react to the perceived need while redirecting the individual to something less harmful or more appropriate.

Keep in mind these 3 steps:

  1. Reassure the individual.
  2. Respond to his/her need.
  3. Redirect if required.

Also, call on the expert in-home care services of Visiting Angels for dementia care in San Jose, California. Our caregivers are experts in caring for people with Alzheimer’s disease and can provide respite care services for family caregivers who need some time to refresh and recharge. Contact us online or call us at 408-610-9996.


Using Medicaid for Elderly Home Care Equipment and Other Payment Options

June 22nd, 2017

Does your loved one need more stability in the bathtub or shower? Does he or she require a walker or rollator to get around? Then it’s very likely that you’ll eventually be in the market for home care products. It’s also likely that you’re curious about how to cover the cost using Medicaid for elderly home care equipment and the other payment options that are available to you.

Just like in-home care services, there are several different possibilities when it comes to paying for home care supplies and equipment. The following are several of the solutions available to assist you or a loved one to purchase home medical equipment:

Medi-Cal

If prescribed by a licensed medical practitioner and it meets a patient’s medical equipment needs, durable medical equipment can be covered if the following is also met:

a. serve a medical purpose;

b. withstand repeated use;

c. be useful to you because of illness, injury, functional impairment or congenital anomaly;

d. not be useful to someone in the absence of illness, injury, functional impairment or congenital anomaly; and

e. be appropriate for use either in or out of your home.

Medicare

If a person has Medicare Part A and qualifies for the Home Health Benefit, then Medicare will cover 80% of the permitted cost for medically essential durable medical equipment. If someone is covered by Medicare Part B, the person does not be required to qualify for the Home Health Benefit, and Medicare will cover 80 percent of the allowable amount for medically necessary durable medical equipment.

Veteran’s Administration (VA)

The VA is especially helpful in providing durable medical equipment for those who qualify. Veterans or spouses of veterans may be qualified for benefits. Find out more at www.va.gov/opa/publications/benefits_book/benefits_chap01.asp.

Other Methods to Cover the Cost of Home Care Equipment

If a person does not meet the requirements for Medicare or Medi-Cal, or receives benefits from the Veteran’s Administration, there are several other options to help pay for home care equipment. Here are a few tips for utilizing long-term care or health insurance and private funding to afford the equipment needed:

Long-Term Care Insurance/Health Insurance

If the devices or products needed are medically necessary, they may be in part covered by some private insurance policies. Coverage is either dependent on the individual’s coverage, or, if the individual seeking coverage is a dependent, then the family policy should be reviewed for coverage of dependents.

Keep in mind, though, that although having your insurance provider cover the cost for some of the cost may seem like the best deal, it is possible to find the products you need at an “out of network” supplier with a lower price.

Private Finances

If you need home care equipment that is not covered by private insurance, look into equipment rental solutions or formerly owned items such as wheelchairs, scooters and handicap vans. Used equipment advertisements can be found in disability publications as well as on websites such as www.Craigslist.org, www.ebay.com, and www.unitedaccess.com.

If you need further support either in finding or buying home care equipment for your loved one, contact Visiting Angels today. We can provide a free in-home assessment, make equipment suggestions, arrange for order and delivery, and answer any other home care related questions you may have. Contact our home care agency’s Alameda office by calling 510-284-0000 or view our entire service area.

Music Therapy for Alzheimer’s: Using Your Smartphone to Help a Senior Thrive

May 11th, 2017

Music Therapy for Alzheimer’sToday, music is more available than ever before. For those who carry smartphones or tablets along with them everywhere they go, hundreds of thousands – if not tens of millions of songs – are simply a couple of touches or finger swipes away. If you are a caregiver for an elderly person, your smartphone could become one of the most useful tools in your possession for helping a senior thrive by awakening his or her emotional wellbeing with music. This extensively shared video from the Alive Inside documentary demonstrates just how tremendously effective music therapy for Alzheimer’s patients and older adults with restricted capabilities can be.

With extensive musical libraries obtainable from resources like iTunes, Pandora, Rhapsody, Spotify, and numerous others, we can now discover music, in some cases for free, in an array of genres in mere seconds. Caregivers can ask clients or family members what types of music the seniors enjoyed during their lifetime. The type of music a senior might have taken pleasure in might be specific to a period of time, such as Big Band music, or it may be unique to his or her religious affiliations, such as gospel or hymns, for instance. The form of music enjoyed throughout someone’s life can also vary depending on the individual’s ethnicity – such as those who enjoy salsa or reggae. An older adult might also have enjoyed timeless favorites like jazz, classical, blues, country, folk, and the list goes on. Whatever the musical inclination, availability to music could have powerful advantages.

Have you ever heard a song on the radio and felt transported back to a previous time in your life? Research has shown that music is intensely related to personal recollections. The human brain is actually programmed to connect music with long-term memory. This is true even for persons with moderate to severe dementia. Music & Memory is a non-profit organization that brings personalized music into the lives of the elderly through digital music technology, dramatically bettering quality of life. The team at Music & Memory train caretakers for the elderly and family members in how to create and work with personal playlists with digital devices in order to help those who have dementia and other difficulties to reconnect with the world through music-triggered memories.

Studies have also revealed that enjoying music that is recognizable and well-loved can help in reducing anxiety levels and enhance focus on the current moment, which then helps older adults with dementia connect to others around them. At Visiting Angels home care, Sunnyvale, CA, our objective is always to improve the quality of life for seniors with the in-home care services and support they need and the kind, caring, and qualified senior care staff they want. And, we go the extra mile when it comes to the little things that can brighten the days of those we serve. Contact us today to learn more.

Alzheimer’s Personal Care Battles? Our Home Care Agency in California Offers Help.

September 16th, 2016

home care agency in California

Helping another person with personal care needs, such as bathing, dressing and assistance with using the bathroom, can be uncomfortable for all involved. It’s difficult to put modesty aside and allow someone to assist you when you’re at your most vulnerable. And there are times when seniors, most notably those with Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia, become terribly anxious while receiving this needed help, to the point that a battle can erupt.

The exact cause for these outbursts varies from person to person, but some of the potential reasons can include:

  • Loss of control. Independence and autonomy can feel as though they’re slipping away in a variety of areas for older adults, and maintaining control over the most basic functions becomes even more important.
    • What can help: Let the senior maintain as much control as possible, and come up with compromises instead of pushing the senior too far. If she insists on wearing an unmatching outfit, for instance, allow her that freedom.
  • Adherence to tradition. When today’s seniors were children, standards of hygiene were far different than now, oftentimes with weekly rather than daily baths. A senior whose memory is unclear may revert back to those days and balk at the idea of a daily bath or shower.
    • What can help: Using positive, motivating language can sometimes encourage the senior to see things from a different perspective. For example, use bath time as a springboard to a fun activity, such as a lunch date for which she certainly will want to look and feel her best.
  • Fear of the experience. As we age, once simple tasks such as bathing and dressing can become fraught with fears, and often rightfully so, as the fear of falling in the tub or while getting onto or off of the toilet are risks to consider. Some seniors with dementia also become fearful of the sound of running water, or may become distressed by the feel of water that’s too warm or too cool.
    • What can help: In-home safety modifications, such as grab bars beside the tub and toilet and elevated toilet seats, will reduce the risk of falling. Using a soft, soothing voice and explaining each step of the process in advance can also help.

The tips below can also help minimize fear and anxiety:

  • Always allow the senior as much independence as possible to enhance self-esteem.
  • A little planning can go a long way in optimizing comfort, such as keeping the room warm, using comfortable lighting, and maintaining as much privacy as possible.
  • Lay clothing out for the older adult in the order that each piece should be put on, gently giving guidance for each step if needed.

At Visiting Angels, we understand the difficulties that can surround personal care tasks, and we’re here to help with trained, experienced caregivers whose ultimate goal is to make sure that each senior feels at ease, safe and respected. Contact us at 408-735-0977 or 510-284-0000 for more tips or to partner with our home care agency in California for trusted senior care services to give both your senior loved one and yourself peace of mind.

Alzheimer’s Disease and Driving: Tips From Your Trusted California Senior Care Services Company

September 9th, 2016

California senior care servicesBeing able to go wherever we want, whenever we want is a cherished freedom many of us have experienced since we first received our driver’s license. Driving is more than a routine part of adult life; it’s a powerful symbol of competence and independence. It’s also something we find hard to part with when the time comes.

The focused concentration and quick reaction time needed for safe driving tend to decline as one ages, and for a person with Alzheimer’s disease, this process accelerates dramatically, which means it can be difficult for family members to know when it’s time for a loved one to hang up the keys.

The Warning Signs

Because Alzheimer’s disease reduces a person’s ability to reason and make good judgments, your loved one may balk at the request to stop driving, so it’s often up to family members to figure out when their loved ones’ driving abilities have become unsafe. Consider taking a drive with your loved one and watch for the following warning signs of unsafe driving:

  • Forgetting how to locate familiar places
  • Braking harder than normal for stoplights and stop signs
  • Difficulty seeing things on the road
  • Problems with changing lanes or making turns
  • Running through stop signs
  • Difficulty maintaining the car in the center of the lane
  • Making slow or poor decisions
  • Trouble turning his or her head before changing lanes
  • Hitting the curb while driving
  • Trouble adjusting to the oncoming glare of headlights
  • Driving at an inappropriate speed  (either too fast or too slow)
  • Increased frustration, anger, or anxiety when driving
  • Failure to use turn signals or mirrors
  • Becoming angry and confused while driving
  • Confusing the brake and gas pedal
  • Increased confrontation with other drivers
  • Failing to observe traffic signals or running through stop signs
  • Becoming confused in simple driving situations or lost in familiar areas
  • A series of close calls, collisions, or driving  violations, even if they are minor

Most specialists feel it’s important to help the person with dementia stop driving as soon as possible. Think of it this way: do you feel safe riding in a car or having your family members, including children, riding in a car driven by the person with dementia? Consider also whether you would feel safe if your children were playing on the sidewalk on a street where the person with dementia was driving. If the answer is no, then you know it’s time for him or her to retire from driving.

If your loved one refuses to stop driving, a good suggestion is to check with the state Department of Motor Vehicles to learn the process for evaluating the person’s ability to continue driving safely. A number of MVA offices provide thorough driver safety evaluations to confirm whether the person can continue to drive safely. You can also request a note from your loved one’s physician that states that he or she should stop driving, or simply take control of the keys if needed.

Remember that the ability to drive gives your loved one a sense of independence, and losing that ability isn’t easy. Arranging for alternative transportation via the services of Visiting Angels can help ease the transition.

At Visiting Angels, we can help your loved one stay active and engaged with transportation to visit friends and family, to medical or hair appointments or outings to go shopping, to the park, to church, or wherever desired. Accompanied by a trusted Visiting Angels caregiver, private or public transportation can be used. If it’s time for your senior loved one to give up the keys, contact us at 408-735-0977 or 510-284-0000. We’re always available to plan and arrange for your loved one’s accompanied transportation needs, and to assist with any other California senior care services you need.