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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

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8 Alzheimer's Symptoms to Watch for if You Suspect Dementia

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Applying the word "Alzheimer's" to someone close to you can be uncomfortable, even if the signs, or symptoms, have been adding up for some time. It's much easier to gloss over strange behavior: "Oh, Mom's just getting older. Or to rationalize: "Well, we all forget things sometimes."
Only a qualified physician can conclude with high certainty that a person has Alzheimer's disease, but the following eight symptoms are strongly associated with the disease. If you detect these signs in someone, it would be wise to seek a medical evaluation.

Alzheimer's Symptom: Memory Lapses

  1. Does the person ask repetitive questions or retell stories within minutes of the first mention?
  2. Does she forget the names of recent acquaintances or younger family members, such as grandchildren?
  3. Are memory lapses growing progressively worse (such as affecting information that was previously very well known)?
  4. Are they happening more frequently (several times a day or within short periods of time)?
  5. Is this forgetfulness unusual for the person (such as sudden memory lapses in someone who prided herself on never needing grocery lists or an address book)?
Everyone forgets some things sometimes. But the person may have Alzheimer's disease if you notice these kinds of lapses.
Having problems with memory is the first and foremost symptom noticed. It's a typical Alzheimer's symptom to forget things learned recently (such as the answer to a question, an intention to do something, or a new acquaintance) but to still be able to remember things from the remote past (such as events or people from childhood, sometimes with explicit detail). In time, even long-term memories will be affected. But by then other Alzheimer's symptoms will have appeared.

Alzheimer's Symptom: Confusion over words

  1. Does the person have difficulty finding the "right" word when she's speaking?
  2. Does she forget or substitute words for everyday things (such as "the cooking thingamajig" for pot or "hair fixer" for comb)?
  3. Of course it's normal for anyone to occasionally "blank" on a word, especially words not often used. But it's considered a red flag for Alzheimer's if this happens with growing frequency and if the needed words are simple or commonplace ones.
This can be a very frustrating experience for the speaker. She may stall during a conversation, fixating on finding a particular word. She may replace the right word with another word. This substitute could be similar enough that you could guess at her meaning ("hair dryer" instead of "hairdresser"), especially early on in the disease process. Or it could be completely different ("bank" instead of "hairdresser") or nonsensical ("hairydoo").

Alzheimer's Symptom: Marked changes in mood or personality

  1. Is the person who's usually assertive more subdued (or vice versa)? Has the person who's reserved become less inhibited (or vice versa)?
  2. Does she withdraw, even from family and friends, perhaps in response to problems with memory or communication?
  3. Has she developed mood swings, anxiety, or frustration, especially in connection with embarrassing memory lapses or noticeable communication problems?
  4. Has she developed uncharacteristic fears of new or unknown environments or situations, or developed a distrust of others, whether strangers or familiar people?
  5. Do you see signs of depression (including changes in sleep, appetite, mood)?
Mood shifts are a difficult sign to link decisively to Alzheimer's disease because age and any medical condition may spark changes in someone's mood, personality, or behavior. In combination with other Alzheimer's symptoms, however, changes such as those described above may contribute to a suspicion of the disease.
A person with Alzheimer's may also become restless and/or aggressive, but usually in later stages of the disease.

Alzheimer's Symptom: Trouble with abstract thinking

  1. How well does the person handle relatively simple mathematical tasks, such as balancing a checkbook?
  2. Is she having trouble paying bills or keeping finances in order, tasks she previously had no problem completing?
  3. Does she have trouble following along with a discussion, understanding an explanation, or following instructions?
Abstract thinking becomes increasingly challenging for someone with Alzheimer's, especially if the topic is complex or if the reasoning is sequential or related to cause and effect.

Alzheimer's Symptom: Difficulty completing familiar activities

  1. Has the person begun to have trouble preparing meals?
  2. Is she less engaged in a hobby that once absorbed her (bridge, painting, crossword puzzles)?
  3. Does she stop in the middle of a project, such as baking or making a repair, and fail to complete it?
  4. Has she stopped using a particular talent or skill that once gave her pleasure (sewing, singing, playing the piano)?
  5. Activities with various different steps, however routine and familiar, can become difficult to complete for a person with Alzheimer's. Your parent might become distracted or lose track of where she is in the process, feeling confused. Or she might just lose interest altogether and leave a project unfinished.
Alzheimer's or some other form of dementia is especially suspect when the difficult or abandoned activity is something the person formerly delighted in and excelled at, or used to engage in frequently.

Alzheimer's Symptom: Disorientation

  1. Has the person begun to be disoriented in new or unfamiliar environments (such as a hospital or airport), asking where she is, how she got there, or how to get back to a place she recognizes?
  2. Has she become disoriented in an environment she knows well?
  3. Does she wander off and get lost in public (or get lost when driving or after parking)?
  4. Does she lose track of the time, day, month, or year? For example, after being reminded about a future doctor's appointment over the phone, she may start getting ready for the appointment right away. Or she may have trouble keeping appointments and remembering other events or commitments.
These examples of disorientation are all typical Alzheimer's symptoms, more so in later stages of the disease but sometimes early on as well.

Alzheimer's Symptom: Misplacing items

  1. Does the person "lose" items often?
  2. Do they turn up in unusual places (such as finding a wallet in the freezer)?
Losing track of glasses, keys, and papers happens to most adults sometimes, whether due to age or just a busy lifestyle. However, it may be a symptom of Alzheimer's if this behavior escalates and if items are sometimes stored in inappropriate or unusual places, and your parent doesn't remember having put them there.

Alzheimer's Symptom: Poor or impaired judgment

  1. Has the person recently made questionable decisions about money management?
  2. Has she made odd choices regarding self-care (such as dressing inappropriately for the weather or neglecting to bathe)?
  3. Is it hard for her to plan ahead (such as figuring out what groceries are needed or where to spend a holiday)?
Difficulty with decision-making can be related to other possible symptoms of Alzheimer's, such as lapses in memory, personality changes, and trouble with abstract thinking. Inappropriate choices are an especially worrisome sign, as your parent may make unsound decisions about her safety, health, or finances.
Many of these Alzheimer's symptoms go unnoticed for a long time. That's because they're often subtle or well concealed by the person (or a spouse), who may be understandably freaked out by the changes she's noticing in her own behavior. Some patterns of behavior take time to make themselves obvious.
If you suspect Alzheimer's, keep track of what you're noticing. Ask others who know her what they think. Encourage her to see a doctor.
Source: caregiver.com

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CBS 42 clip on Be a Santa to a Senior

Friday, November 16, 2012

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MetLife Releases Survey ~ Our Costs are Below National Average

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The MetLife Mature Market Institute (MMI) released its most-recent Survey of Nursing Home, Assisted Living, Adult Day Services and Home-Care Costs.  Here are some highlights for 2012: “Since last year, nursing-home rates increased by 3.8 percent to $248 daily for a private room and 3.7 percent to $222 daily for a semi-private room.  Assisted-living base rates rose by 2.1 percent to $3,550 monthly, while rates for adult day services remained unchanged at $70 per day.  Home-health-aide rates were unchanged at $21 per hour, but homemaker/companion service rates increased by 5.3 percent to $20 per hour.”
Click here for report synopsis.

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Americans Rank Alzheimer’s as Most Feared Disease

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Americans Rank Alzheimer’s as Most Feared Disease,
According to New Marist Poll for Home Instead Senior Care
Free Alzheimer’s Training Available for Families in Birmingham and surrounding areas including Jefferson and Shelby Counties to Support Family Caregivers

Home Instead Senior Care®, the world’s leading provider of home care services for seniors, today announced new survey results revealing that Americans fear developing Alzheimer’s disease more than any other major life-threatening disease, including cancer, stroke, heart disease and diabetes.

The Marist Institute for Public Opinion survey of more than 1,200 Americans was designed to gain perspective on the most pressing concerns associated with Alzheimer’s, including diagnosis and the difficulties of caring for a loved one with the disease.
“The survey confirmed what I frequently hear from family caregivers – people feel unprepared to care for a loved one diagnosed with Alzheimer’s,” said Dan Pahos, owner of the Home Instead Senior Care office in Birmingham and surrounding areas including Jefferson and Shelby Counties. “The need for support and education for these families is critical.”
Additional survey highlights include:
·       Nearly two-thirds of Americans (63 percent of respondents) have had a personal experience with someone with Alzheimer’s and/or a serious memory loss problem.
·       61 percent of Americans feel unprepared to care for a loved one diagnosed with the disease.
·       If diagnosed with the disease, Americans most fear the inability to care for oneself, and burdening others (68 percent of respondents); followed by losing memory of life and loved ones (32 percent of respondents). 
·       A plurality of Americans – 44 percent – cite the illness as their most feared disease compared to 33 percent who cite cancer.
·       More than other generations, a majority of Americans over 65 years of age (the silent/greatest generation) – 56 percent – fear an Alzheimer’s diagnosis. 
·       When asked if it would be harder to receive an Alzheimer’s diagnosis or care for someone with the disease, Americans are equally split down the middle, 50/50.
Home Instead Senior Care Offers a Solution for Alzheimer’s Caregivers
In response to the realities and concerns associated with Alzheimer’s and in support of Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, the local Home Instead Senior Care office is offering free, in-person Alzheimer’s CARE: Changing Aging Through Research and EducationSM training sessions to area family caregivers.  For a schedule of training programs, please visit www.helpforalzheimersfamilies.com

“The Home Instead Alzheimer’s CARE program will provide free counsel, support and instruction to area family caregivers,” added Pahos. “We hope that by offering these workshops, more caregivers will be equipped with the proper knowledge and tools to face the everyday challenges of the disease.”
The Alzheimer’s CARE program is a first-of-its-kind Alzheimer’s training addressing the current and future health needs by offering family members a fresh approach to Alzheimer’s care. The approach encourages mental engagement to help relatives remain safely at home and in familiar surroundings as long as possible, and family members learn to immerse themselves in the mindsets of their loved ones to help manage various behavioral symptoms.  Courses are available in person and online.

“The estimated 15 million Americans caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s are desperate for support and concerned about the care they are providing,” said Dr. Amy D’Aprix, aging care expert and a developer of the Home Instead Senior Care Alzheimer’s CARE training. “This training will help them cope with daily challenges and prepare them to manage difficult behaviors.”

For more information about the Alzheimer’s CARE program or Home Instead Senior Care, call 205-822-1915.


The Home Instead Senior Care/Marist Alzheimer’s Poll surveyed 1,247 U.S. adults ages 18 and older. Live interviewers conducted the survey with landline households and cell phone users from Sept. 26-Oct. 2, 2012.  MOE is +/- 2.8 percentage points.  Note, the survey sample size was lower for questions pertaining to direct experience with Alzheimer’s disease personally and/or through a family member or friend.  *Reduced survey sample size of 280 U.S. adults ages 18 and older who know someone with Alzheimer’s Disease and are involved with their care with MOE of +/-5.9 percentage points. 

Founded in 1994 in Omaha by Lori and Paul Hogan, the Home Instead Senior Care® network is the world's leading provider of non-medical in-home care services for seniors, with more than 950 independently owned and operated franchises providing in excess of 45 million hours of care throughout the United States, Canada, Japan, Portugal, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, the United Kingdom, Taiwan, Switzerland, Germany, South Korea, Finland, Austria, Italy, Puerto Rico and the Netherlands. Local Home Instead Senior Care franchise offices employ more than 65,000 CAREGiversSM worldwide who provide basic support services – assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs), personal care, medication reminders, meal preparation, light housekeeping, errands, incidental transportation and shopping – which enable seniors to live safely and comfortably in their own homes for as long as possible.  In addition, CAREGivers are trained in the network’s groundbreaking Alzheimer’s Disease or Other Dementias CARE: Changing Aging Through Research and EducationSM Program to work with seniors who suffer from these conditions. This world class curriculum also is available free to family caregivers online or through local Home Instead Senior Care offices. At Home Instead Senior Care, it’s relationship before task, while continuing to provide superior quality service that enhances the lives of seniors everywhere. 

5 Ways to Be a Healthy Alzheimer's Caregiver

Monday, November 12, 2012

Caregiving is a labor of love, and love is about selflessness and sacrifice. Spouses give up so much for each other, parents constantly put their children’s needs before their own, and when those children become grown adults with aging parents, they want to return the love and care they received.
If you find yourself consistently making sacrifices to care for your loved one with Alzheimer’s disease, your heart is certainly in the right place. But such devotion can also take its toll on your health and well-being.
According to the Family Caregiver Alliance, caregivers of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease are more likely to report higher levels of burden and stress than other caregivers due to the cognitive and physical limitations experienced by the care recipients. And, a word of caution: a study from the National Alliance for Caregiving found that as care recipients’ dementias get worse, the health of their caregivers tended to diminish significantly as well.
Consciously taking steps to care for yourself is important both for your sake and your loved one’s. Feeling physically, emotionally and mentally refreshed will help you be the best caregiver you can be.
  1. Say Yes to Help
    It might require swallowing some guilt or pride, but if you feel overwhelmed, stressed to the max and exhausted, it’s time to ask for help. Talk to your other family members and come up with a solution together. Maybe the others can pitch in more regularly to give you a respite. Or maybe you’ll decide to hire outside help. Non-medical in-home senior care agencies like Home Instead Senior Care specialize in finding just the right caregiver to match your loved one’s needs, interests and personality. They can provide care for just a few hours per week or as much as 24/7 care. You’ll find peace of mind when you can take a break from caregiving and attend to your own needs knowing your loved one is with a well-trained, trusted caregiver.
  2. Stay Informed
    Knowledge is power when it comes to caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s. Arming yourself with information will reduce worry and stress while boosting your confidence and ability to take control of your situation.
  3. Find Support
    This could mean joining a caregiver support group in your community, taking part in an online community for Alzheimer’s caregivers, or just finding a good friend willing to listen and lend a shoulder to cry on. You need a safe space to vent your frustrations (without taking it out on your family) and a source of encouragement. Caregiving for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias is one of the hardest jobs out there, so it may help to hear other caregivers’ stories and take the journey together.
  4. Take Care of Yourself

    Much easier said than done, of course, but taking time to take care of your own needs is absolutely essential.
    • Avoid skipping or putting off your own doctor appointments
    • Take time to yourself everyday to do something you want to do
    • Listen to your body and give it what it needs—rest, exercise, a chance to cry, a nice massage, healthier food, a doctor’s check-up, etc.
    While you will inevitably still make some personal sacrifices, limit them to the ones you feel are most important. Keep your stress levels in check by taking the Caregiver StressMeter assessment and learn what you need to do to maintain your own health and spirits.
  5. Focus On the Positive
    Make a point each day to note the things that went well, focus on what your loved one can do rather than dwelling on the difficulties, and don’t hesitate to break out your sense of humor! Never underestimate the power of a good, hearty laugh to ease tension and melt away stress. Negativity, on the other hand, will just drag you down, so strive to maintain good moods and attitudes to remain at the top of your game.
Even if it seems like caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s demands all your time and energy, know that you’re entitled to take personal time for yourself. It’s not only allowed, it’s necessary. Start right now—choose one thing you can do to feel better today and you’ll be on your way toward a more rewarding caregiving experience.

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Alzheimer's Care Costs to Skyrocket...

Alzheimer's Care Costs to Skyrocket with Aging Boomer Population

Future care needs of seniors with Alzheimer's to be key driver in growth of home care industry

Published: Friday, Nov. 9, 2012 - 8:22 am
/PRNewswire/ -- Experts predict the costs associated with caring for people with Alzheimer's disease will reach $1.1 trillion by 2050, largely due to the aging boomer population. Ten million are anticipated to develop the disease.This represents a 500 percent increase in combined Alzheimer's care costs to Medicare and Medicaid in the next 38 years,* and forecasts an unsustainable burden on the U.S. health care system.
Home Instead Senior Care®, the leading global provider of home care for seniors, estimates that 29 percent of seniors currently receiving paid, in-home, nonmedical care have Alzheimer's Disease or another dementia – reinforcing the trend that the need for these services for families will grow in the near future. 
"Unfortunately, with the aging boomer population, Alzheimer's disease will strike more and more people, challenging our current health care system to meet their care needs," said Jeff Huber, president and chief operating officer of Home Instead, Inc. "As a result we anticipate home care becoming an increasingly important part of the health care continuum for seniors."
Home Instead Senior Care already is experiencing high demand for its home care services. In just 18 years, the network has grown from one office in Omaha, Neb., to more than 950 franchise offices worldwide. Home Instead franchise ownership presents solid business opportunity for entrepreneurs to make a positive difference, while doing work they love.
"My personal experience caring for my mother with Alzheimer's changed my life, inspiring me to dedicate my time to serving others dealing with this devastating disease and other age-related issues," said Lucy Novelly, a Home Instead Senior Care franchise owner in Pittsburgh, Pa. "Through my Home Instead Senior Care franchise, I have been able to involve myself in meaningful work that helps seniors and families in my community."
To meet current and future Alzheimer's care needs, Home Instead Senior Care has invested significantly in making specialized care available for its Alzheimer's clients. Specifically, the organization has conducted considerable research into the unique care needs for people with the disease. Based on its findings, Home Instead Senior Care has created a groundbreaking training program for its CAREGivers(SM), who – beyond instruction on daily living needs – are trained in techniques to mentally engage with clients to create a sense of security and manage difficult behaviors caused by the disease.
"Individuals with Alzheimer's often lose their most recent memories first, which can cause them to feel anxious and disoriented in unfamiliar environments," said aging specialist, Dr. Jane Potter. "Home Instead's training program, however, helps caregivers learn how to best preserve Alzheimer's clients' skills and dignity, while improving their overall quality of life. This training is establishing a high standard for the future of Alzheimer's care." 
In addition to its specialized training program for its CAREGivers(SM), Home Instead Senior Care offers free online and in-person Alzheimer's CARE training programs for family members caring for loved ones with the disease. To find out more about Home Instead franchise opportunities, visithttp://franchises.homeinstead.com/.
ABOUT HOME INSTEAD SENIOR CARE® Founded in 1994 in Omaha, Neb., by Lori andPaul Hogan, the Home Instead Senior Care® network is the world's largest provider of nonmedical, in-home care services for seniors, with more than 950 independently owned and operated franchises, providing in excess of 45 million hours of care throughout the United States, Canada, Japan, Portugal, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, the United Kingdom, Taiwan, Switzerland, Germany, South Korea, Finland, Austria, Italy, Puerto Rico and the Netherlands. Local Home Instead Senior Care® franchise offices employ more than 65,000 CAREGivers(SM) worldwide who provide basic support services – assistance with activities of daily living, personal care, medication reminders, meal preparation, light housekeeping, errands, incidental transportation and shopping – which enable seniors to live safely and comfortably in their own homes for as long as possible. In addition, CAREGivers(SM) are trained in the network's groundbreaking Alzheimer's Disease or Other Dementias CARE: Changing Aging Through Research and Education(SM) Program to work with seniors who suffer from these conditions. This world-class curriculum also is available free to family caregivers online or through local Home Instead Senior Care® offices. At Home Instead Senior Care®, it is relationship before task, while continuing to provide superior quality service that enhances the lives of seniors everywhere.
*Source: 2012 Alzheimer's Disease Facts and Figures Report published by the Alzheimer's Association: http://www.alz.org/alzheimers_disease_facts_and_figures.asp

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