Find many current and discussion based topics related to memory-loss & dementia and how others are tackling it every day!
WEIGHTED BLANKETS FOR ANXIETY, AUTISM & THE ELDERLYIs a weighted blanket really a non-drug option to reduce anxiety? Alzheimer’s and dementia often cause older adults to feel agitated, anxious, or have disturbed sleep. A weighted blanket or lap pad is a simple, non-drug option that can be used day or night. They reduce anxiety, calm nerves, provide comfort, and promote deep sleep. Weighted blankets in dementia care may sound silly, but they’ve been scientifically proven to relieve anxiety for those with Autism, Restless Leg Syndrome and Anxiety Disorders. The heaviness of the blanket provides something called deep pressure therapy. When the body feels the gentle pressure, it produces serotonin. That improves mood and promotes calm.
Since older adults often have serious medical conditions, we recommend asking a doctor or occupational therapist if a weighted blanket is safe to use. People with respiratory, circulatory, or temperature regulation problems may not be able to use a weighted blanket or lap pad. It may also not be safe if your older adult is in recovery from surgery. If you have any other hesitations, we recommend a lighter 5 or 10lb weighted blanket. READ MORE ABOUT WEIGHTED BLANKETS HERE
MindCare offers a wide range of weighted blanket weights in a large selection of fabric patterns. Shop for the best weight and fabric by clicking HERE
CAREGIVER TIP: COMMUNICATION & DEMENTIA
1. Choose simple words and short sentences and use a gentle, calm tone of voice.
2. Avoid talking to the person with dementia like a baby or talking about the person as if he or she weren’t there.
3. Minimize distractions and noise—such as the television or radio—to help the person focus on what you are saying.
4. Make eye contact and call the person by name, making sure you have his or her attention before speaking.
5. Allow enough time for a response. Be careful not to interrupt.
6. If the person with dementia is struggling to find a word or communicate a thought, gently try to provide the word he or she is looking for.
For more advice on how to care for those with dementia, Alzheimer's, stroke sufferers or for those who need special care, Teepa Snow is a great resource. Find our selection of Teepa Snow DVDs HERE
DRIVING WITH DEMENTIA
Senior Driving.AAA.Com: Seniors are safe drivers compared to other age groups, since they often reduce risk of injury by wearing safety belts, observing speed limits, and not drinking and driving. However, they are more likely to be injured or killed in traffic crashes due to age-related vulnerabilities, such as more fragile bones. Medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes and other illnesses also make it more difficult for older drivers to recover from any injuries. With the exception of teen drivers, seniors have the highest crash death rate per mile driven, even though they drive fewer miles than younger people. READ MORE
ABC News: Richard Nix, executive director of Agingcare.com, says many senior drivers don't realize their eyesight, hearing and reflexes aren't as sharp as they used to be. They may be taking medication that impairs judgment, memory or coordination or suffer from arthritis or Alzheimer's. Consequently they may not realize it when they blow past a stop sign, forget to signal a right turn or confuse the gas pedal with the brake. READ MORE
Caregiver.Org: When an individual is diagnosed with dementia, one of the first concerns that families and caregivers face is whether or not that person should drive. A diagnosis of dementia may not mean that a person can no longer drive safely. In the early stages of dementia, some—though not all—individuals may still possess skills necessary for safe driving. Most dementia, however, is progressive, meaning that symptoms such as memory loss, visual-spatial disorientation, and decreased cognitive function will worsen over time. This also means that a person’s driving skills will decrease and, eventually, he or she will have to give up driving. Many people associate driving with self-reliance and freedom; the loss of driving privileges is likely to be upsetting. Some individuals, recognizing the risks, will limit or stop driving on their own. Others may be unable to assess their own driving skills and may insist on driving even when it is no longer safe. Families and caregivers may have to intervene when an individual’s symptoms pose too great a traffic risk. READ MORE
AARP: A comprehensive driving evaluation by a trained professional can determine whether you have the skills and abilities to drive safely. If you have been diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease but are in the early stages, you may not need to stop driving immediately. A comprehensive driving evaluation can determine whether you can continue to drive safely for the time being. It can also help you make plans for other ways to travel in the future. READ MORE
FInd our safety products HERE for your vehicle!
DEMENTIA & WANDERING
Wandering is quite common among people with dementia and can be very worrying for those concerned for their safety and well-being. The person’s failing memory and declining ability to communicate may make it impossible for them to remember or explain the reason they wandered.
Here are some reasons for wandering:
-Changed environment-A person with dementia may feel uncertain and disoriented in a new environment such as a new house or day care centre. Wandering may stop once they become used to the change. The person may also want to escape from a noisy or busy environment.
-Loss of memory-Wandering may be due to a loss of short-term memory. A person may set off to go to the shop or a friend’s house, and then forget where they were going or why. Or they forget that their partner has told them that they were going out for a while and set off in search of them.
-Excess energy-Wandering can be a way of using up excess energy, which may indicate that the person needs more regular exercise.
-Searching for the past-As people become more confused, they may wander off in search of someone, or something, relating to their past. This may be a partner who has died, a lost friend or a house they lived in as a child.
-Expressing boredom-As dementia progresses people find it harder and harder to concentrate for any length of time. Wandering may be their way of keeping occupied.
-Confusing night with day-People with dementia may suffer from insomnia, or wake in the early hours and become disoriented. They may think it is daytime and decide to go for a walk. Poor eyesight or hearing loss may mean shadows or night sounds become confusing and distressing.
-Continuing a habit-People who have been used to walking long distances may simply wish to continue doing so.
-Agitation-Changes that have occurred in the brain may cause a feeling of restlessness and anxiety. Agitation can cause some people to pace up and down or to wander off with no apparent purpose. They may fail to recognize their own home and insist on leaving.
-Discomfort or pain-Walking may ease discomfort, so it is important to find out if there is any physical problem or medical condition and try to deal with it. Tight clothing, excessive heat or needing to find a toilet can all cause problems.
-A job to perform-Sometimes people leave the house because they believe they have a job to do, or are confused about the time of day, or the season. This may be related to a former role such as going to work in the morning or being home for the children in the afternoon.
-Dreams-An inability to differentiate dreams from reality may cause the person to respond to something that they dreamed, thinking that this has happened in real life.
The precautions you take will depend on the personality of the person with dementia, as well as how well they are able to cope, their reasons for wandering and whether they live in a potentially dangerous or in a safe and secure environment.
Take a look at our PRODUCTS FOR WANDERING that can help with this most severe behavior.
CAFFEINE & DEMENTIA
Caffeine Connected To Dementia Prevention, Study Suggests
A new study suggests a significant relationship between caffeine and dementia prevention, though it stops short of establishing cause and effect. READ MORE
DEMENTIA & EXERCISE
Physical activity has always been important to keep up throughout our lives... but certain exercises may benefit the mind!
Working out is good for you in more ways than we can count, but a new study may have uncovered a new perk for people with memory problems.
Researchers from the Wake Forest School of Medicine found that aerobic exercise appears to boost thinking skills and brain volume in adults diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment, a condition that sits in between normal age-related memory decline and more serious dementia. Stretching routines also increased brain volume over a six-month period, but had no noticeable impact on brain function. A new study suggests a significant relationship between caffeine and dementia prevention, though it stops short of establishing cause and effect. READ MORE
BATHING TIPS FOR DEMENTIA CAREGIVERS
Bathing those with dementia, Alzheimer's or seniors with limited mobility can be a battle... Here are some quick tips!
1. Plan the bath or shower for the time of day when the person is most calm and agreeable. Be consistent. Try to develop a routine.
2. Respect the fact that bathing is scary and uncomfortable for some people with Alzheimer’s. Be gentle and respectful. Be patient and calm.
3. Tell the person what you are going to do, step by step, and allow him or her to do as much as possible.
4. Prepare in advance. Make sure you have everything you need ready and in the bathroom before beginning. Draw the bath ahead of time.
5. Be sensitive to the temperature. Warm up the room beforehand if necessary and keep extra towels and a robe
nearby. Test the water temperature before beginning the bath or shower.
6. Minimize safety risks by using a handheld showerhead, shower bench, grab bars, and nonskid bath mats. Never leave the person alone in the bath or shower.
7. Try a sponge bath. Bathing may not be necessary every day. A sponge bath can be effective between showers or baths.Working out is good for you in more ways than we can count, but a new study may have uncovered a new perk for people with memory problems.
MindCare offers helpful products and instructional materials about bathroom safety for those with dementia, Alzheimer's and seniors with other memory-related or physical limitations. Find more bathroom safety products and books HERE!