Atlanta's In-Home Care Experts for 25 Years

For Seniors and Others Needing Supportive Care

770-442-8664

Atlanta Caregiver & Home Care Articles

Alzheimer's - Ways To Prevent Wandering

Posted by Debby Franklin on Jan 9, 2015 4:05:02 PM

Image-_Senior_Couple_resized

We have been assisting a client named Bill for the past couple of years who has Alzheimer's. Bill's wife Sarah is his primary caregiver, we send care each day so that Sarah can have time to spend on activities that require her to be away from the home.  

Bill enjoys spending time in his backyard gardening and being in his work shop. Sarah never worried because he always stayed close by and she knew that he would not wander out of the yard.  Bill's diagnosis was mild dementia that could later develop into Alzheimer's so for Sarah wandering had never been a concern.  

One day after a longer than normal phone call Sarah went to check on Bill.  After looking in the yard and the work shop, Bill was no where to be found.  Bill had heard a noise at the front of the house and thinking it was Sarah he set out to see if she needed something.  Not seeing his wife he began walking down the street to look for her.  Bill started walking through the neighborhood that he use to walk through daily, but suddenly he realized that he did not recognize the area or any of the surroundings.  Bill continued to walk thinking that eventually he would recognize a house a street... something. 

In a panic Sarah called her children and the neighbors and the search began.  Bill's loved ones and community looked for over two hours without success in finding Bill.  Finally Sarah called 911 to seek help in searching for her husband.  Several hours later Bill was found at a bus stop on a busy street, cold, hungry and frightened.  

Many people suffering from dementia are not as lucky as Bill.  Six out of ten people with Alzheimer's will wander and get lost.  According to the research, if a wanderer is not found within 24 hours, there is a 50% chance that the wanderer has suffered a serious injury, or has died.

 Here are steps to take to improve the safety of your loved one:

Home Safety

  • Install locks on doors and windows that can't easily be open.  Put them at a higher level so that they are more difficult to reach.  Motion detectors can alert you when an outer door is opened.  Installing child-safety devices and baby monitors are helpful for safety.
  • Utilize signage inside the home.  A big red "STOP" on the door can be effective.  Painting the door the same color as the well can disguise the door to appear as a wall.  Also consider putting signs on other doors like the bathroom and bedroom so that they can see which door leads to where.  
  • Yards should be fenced in with the locks on the outside of the gate.
  • Provide repetitive activities for your loved one to do to decrease the need to wander: sweeping, puzzles, folding clothes, photos to sort through, rocking in a chair, things that can engage them in former interests.

Safety Plan

  • Provide your loved one with ID jewelry or a medical bracelet with their name, health condition along with your name and phone number.  An electronic tracking device is worth the investment.
  • Inform the neighbor's of your loved ones condition, introduce them so they recognize a face and ask them to call you if they see your loved one unattended outside of the home. Explain the condition so that they are inclined to become involved.
  • Keep a list of your loved one's current medical information, along with physical features and a close-up photo to give to the police if assistance is needed for identification.
  • Keep a list of places where your loved one may wander.  Any place that use to be of importance or significance.  
  • Have a list of people to call when help is needed.
  • Wandering can be triggered by simple basic needs.  Leave a glass of water or crackers by the bed, looking to satisfy these needs can cause your loved one to wander.

What to do if your loved one is missing

  • Experts say to search the immediate area for no more than 15 minutes and then call 911 to report a vulnerable adult who is missing.  
  • Check areas that may be dangerous near the home:  bodies of water, dense foliage, tunnels, bus stops, heavily traveled roads, and open stairwells.
  • Search within a one-mile radius of where your loved one was before they went missing.
  • Look near a road.  Most people who wander start out on roads and stay close by.
  • Look at places that are familiar to your loved one.
  • Search the direction of your loved ones dominant hand.  People normally travel in their dominant direction.  

The Alzheimer's Association website has many resources to help keep persons with dementia and Alzheimer's safe.  Visit their website at:   http://www.alz.org

You may also find these articles helpful:  /blog/bid/89430/Dementia-Proofing-Your-Home         /blog-0/bid/90238/Senior-Care-Living-In-the-Comfort-Of-Home-With-Dementia

If your are finding it difficult to juggle it all - work, family, errands and other demands that often leave you over taxed.  Where do you turn when a loved ones needs are more than you can manage on your own?  What do you do when some of the care alternatives seem like a complication rather than a solution?  We understand, in fact, we have been there.

Consult Atlanta's most trusted sources for quality Home Care, Easy Living Services.  We offer flexible care plans designed to provide safety, comfort, companionship and personal care along with attention to your loved ones needs.

Call us at 770-442-8664 to discuss the assistance that you need.

 Atlanta Caregivers

 

 

 

 

Topics: Alzheimers

Understanding & Caring for Someone with Alzheimer's

Posted by Debby Franklin on Jun 24, 2014 4:18:00 PM

Alzheimer's, Alzheimers, Caregiver InformationYour loved one or close friend has received a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. Understanding the disease is important so that you will best know how to care and support someone who has it.

What is Alzheimer’s? 

Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia.  It affects behavior, problem solving, and memory.  Most often it will progress to where it affects daily activities and all behavioral functions.  With Alzheimer’s each day can and will bring different challenges.

Alzheimer’s causes large numbers of nerve cells in the brain to die.  Those who are affected with Alzheimer’s become forgetful, easily confused, and have a hard time concentrating. As the disease progresses they may have trouble taking care of themselves and doing basic things like making meals, bathing, and getting dressed.

Alzheimer’s can progress faster in some people, and not everyone will have the same symptoms. In most cases Alzheimer’s takes years to develop, with it becoming increasingly severe over time.

Alzheimer's disease consists of three main stages: early-stage, moderate, and severe/late-stage. Understanding these stages can help you care for your loved one and make the necessary plan’s to prepare for the challenges ahead.

Early Alzheimer’s 

In the early stage of Alzheimer’s, people often have some memory loss and small changes in personality. They may have trouble remembering recent events or the names of familiar people or objects. They may no longer be able to solve simple problems or balance a checkbook. People with early Alzheimer’s also slowly lose the ability to plan and organize.  They may begin to have difficulty with shopping, driving, keeping appointments and remembering important events.

Moderate Alzheimer’s

With moderate Alzheimer’s, memory loss and confusion will become more obvious. They have more trouble organizing, planning, and following instructions. Your loved one may need help getting dressed and may start having problems with bladder or bowel control.

People with moderate Alzheimer’s may have trouble recognizing family members and friends. They may not know where they are or what day or year it is. They also may begin to wander, so they should not be left alone. Personality changes can become more serious. For example, people may make threats, accuse others of stealing, become very agitated.

Severe/Late-stage Alzheimer’s

In the severe stage of Alzheimer's, people usually need help with all of their daily living tasks. They may not be able to walk or sit up without help. They may not be able to talk and often cannot recognize family members. They may have trouble swallowing and refuse to eat.

Additional Things to Know

At this time, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s, but there are treatments that can prevent some symptoms from getting worse for a limited time.  Alzheimer’s is most common in older adults bit it can and does affect those in their 30’s and up!  Known mostly for memory loss and confusion Alzheimer’s may be the nation’s third most deadly killer. 

Others often sense that something is wrong before they are told, Alzheimer’s disease is hard to keep secret.

You can help family and friends understand how to interact with the person who has Alzheimer’s.

  • Realize what the person can still do and how much he or she can still understand.
  • Give suggestions about how to start talking with the person. For example, "Hi Mary, I'm Susan. We used to work together."
  • Avoid correcting the person with Alzheimer’s if he or she makes a mistake or forgets something.
  • Plan fun activities with the person, such as going to family reunions or visiting old friends. Songs, photos and stories from the past often are most enjoyable for someone with Alzheimer's since these are memories that may not be forgotten. 

Caring for a loved one with Alheimer's Disease is undoubtedly challenging on so many levels; physically, mentally and emotionally.  Without proper rest and downtime, a caregiver can become "burned out" with negative implications for self and care recipient.  Consider arranging for frequent respite periods to recharge.  

At Easy Living Services, we specialize in providing secure, reliable care for Alzheimer's patients and their families.  Experienced, expertly trained professional caregivers are ready to care for your loved one for a few hours up to long term, full time care. 

Call people who understand your unique needs.  

Call Easy Living Services.

770-442-8664

In-Home Care for Alzheimer's

Topics: Caregiver Information, Alzheimers, Alzheimer's

Home Care: 8 Things You Should Know Before You Hire a Caregiver

Posted by David Bacon on Apr 29, 2014 2:53:00 PM

home care, caregiver, senior care, Easy Living Services

 

 

 

Each week, Easy Living Services interacts with clients that are struggling to make decisions not only for themselves, but also for a loved one.  Each family has questions and we took our most common queries and posted them below.  We hope you find them useful!

What are the three most important qualities to look for in a caregiver?
  • Compassion, Passionate about helping others & Skilled -  Caregivers that are Certified Nursing Assistants who have a minimum of 5 years experience.  Demand a rigorous screening process that includes an extensive background check, in-depth interview and personal and professional reference checks. Only with an agency that provides this are you ensured of working with a highly skilled caregiver who is passionate about caring for those who need assistance.  For your peace of mind, our referred caregivers meet all of these criteria and are fully insured.
What kind of services should I expect from my caregiver?
  • All non-medical assistance that will keep your loved one safe and comfortable at home, at the hospital or in a nursing or re-hab facility. Companion / Homemaker / Personal Care - Caregivers can provide light housekeeping, errands, meals, socialization and companionship.  Personal Care can include bathing, dressing, grooming, safety, sanitation and meal preparation.
What if my caregiver can't make it due to illness?
  • Ensure that your provider has a large staff of qualified, professional and reliable caregivers -  In the event of  caregiver illness or emergency absence this ensures that a replacement is available. Easy Living Services maintains a backup program and has a large network of professionals available to assist with your needs.
Why should I use an agency instead of hiring a private caregiver out of the newspaper or internet?
  • You will want to ensure that caregivers are screened, trained, have an excellent work ethic and are insured for your safety - Caregivers that have been professionally trained specifically in working with persons who are disabled, recovering from an illness or injury as well as senior care must be adequately screened to ensure that they are qualified to care for your loved one.  Working with an agency is like having an insurance plan ensuring that you have a qualified caregiver available when you want and need "life made easier".
What is live-in care and how is the cost determined?
  • Clients requiring around the clock care can opt for a caregiver to live with their loved one.  The caregiver must be able to sleep 7-8 hours at night and have a separate room for sleeping.  Live-in services are available for both Companion and Personal Care. Instead of paying an hourly rate Live-In rates are normally a flat fee per day making the cost a more affordable option.   Easy Living Services rates are highly competitive - starting at $175/Day.
Can I have flexible hourly care?
  • Yes. Some clients require only part-time care. Easy Living Services offers hourly care services starting at only $16.95/Hour.  (Some minimums may apply.)        
What about emergency care after business hours?
  • Your caregiver provider should be available 24 hours, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.  When their office is closed, there needs to be an on-call knowledgeable person availble to assist with any emergency needs. Easy Living has an on-call knowledgeable person available to assist with emergency after hour needs 24/7/365.
Why would I want to use a locally owned company rather than a franchise agency?
  • Ask yourself if a bigger company is necessarily a better company. Home Care agencies are one of the largest growing industries in today's market.  "Big business" has seized this opportunity.  Franchised, "locally owned" agencies are on every corner.  A franchise owner typically goes to franchise school for a couple of weeks and then becomes apart of a large corporate run entity.   At Easy Living you control your Home Care service and selection guided by our expertise and insight.  At Easy Living caring is more than just a business, it is our philosophy in action every day! 

 

Easy Living works with only the best Atlanta caregivers. Many of our clients have used our service for 10+ years and the feedback is consistent in superior levels of satisfaction. We are your Home Care staffing expert - we've been assisting Atlanta families for over 20 years!

For more information on professional In-Home service for your loved one, please contact Easy Living services today at (770) 442-8664.

 

Topics: elder care, Home Care, senior care, caregiver, homecare, dementia, cancer, Alzheimers

Alzheimer's - Tips to Eat and Drink Safely

Posted by Debby Franklin on May 29, 2013 12:07:00 PM

Alzheimer's, Alheimers, dementia, caring for a loved one, senior care, Home CareIndividuals with late stage Alzheimer's may have difficulty swallowing food and liquids which can cause aspiration into the airway and lungs and eventually become pneumonia.  Use these helpful tips with a loved one challenged with Alzheimer's to avoid eating and drinking mishaps.

  • Limit noise and any distractions when eating.
  • Keep items on the table to a minimum which can cause confusion.
  • Choose foods that are soft and can be chewed or swallowed easily. 
  • You may need to mash or puree food items.  Baby food is not appropriate for adults with difficulty swallowing it is too thin. 
  • Serve only one food at a time.  Too many items on the plate can be overwhelming.
  • Demonstrate eating by lifting the spoon to your mouth.  Provide verbal prompting for eating, chewing and swallowing. Keep in mind that it may take longer to finish eating, allow for plenty of time.
  • Thicken liquids to lower the risk of choking due to swallowing problems.  Add cornstarch or unflavored gelatin to water, juice, milk, broth and soup.  Commercial food thickeners can be purchased at the drug store.
  • Check with your doctor to see if a multi vitamin or high protein drink is needed.
  • Staying hydrated may be a problem.  Encourage fluids by offering small amounts throughout the day.  Along with water hydration can come from fruit, soup, milkshakes and smoothies.
  • Always test the temperature of foods and beverages before serving them to someone with Alzheimer's.
  • Use serving items that are easy for your loved one to use.  You may need to use a bowl instead of a plate and a spoon instead of a fork, or even hands if it is easier.
  • Avoid foods that are difficult to chew like large cuts of meat, carrots and whole apples.  Keep foods bite-size and easy to pick up and eat.
  • Have your loved one sit up straight with their head slightly forward to help avoid choking.
  • You may need to check your loved ones mouth to make sure their food has been swallowed.
  • If pocketing food in the mouth is a problem, to induce swallowing give a small amount of unsweetened lemon juice.  The natural reaction to lemons is to pucker and suck.
  • Be prepared for an emergency and learn the Heimlich maneuver! Go to U-Tube to watch a demonstration or do an on-line search for more information.

If you are finding it difficult to juggle it all - work, family, errands and other demands that often leave you over taxed.  Where do you turn when a loved ones needs are more than you can manage on your own?  What do you do when some of the care alternatives seem like a complication rather than a solution?  We understand, in fact, we have been there.

Consult Atlanta's most trusted source for quality Home Care, Easy Living Services.  Offering flexible care plans designed to guarantee safety, comfort, companionship and personal care and attention to your loved one at home.

Finally, a real solution.  At last, peace of mind.  Call us at 770-442-8664.  

For more information on Alzheimer's and Dementia visit our resource library at the link below:

http://easylivingservices.com/atlanta-home-care-resources--easy-living-services/
 

-Atlanta Alzheimer's Care Guide

Topics: dementia, caring for a loved one, Hydration, Alzheimers, Alzheimer's

What's it really like to care for an Alzheimer's patient?

Posted by Jill Troman on Mar 29, 2013 4:03:00 PM

Alzheimer CareWe wanted to share an article that was passed along to us by a former client.  It's written by blogger, Blake Butler and offers a  great glimpse into the daily challenges that caregivers face when caring for a loved one with Alzheimer's Disease.  It is truly an act of love when a family member makes the personal sacrifices necessary to care for a Alzheimer's patient, full time.  

 "My dad was diagnosed with Alzheimer's about three years ago. After an extended stay at the hospital and stints in two different rest homes, my mom brought him home to care for him herself. She did this despite warnings that it would be too much for her to handle—even with regular assistance—because the conditions in the homes were too depressing to bear. l wanted to find out what the day-to-day life of someone tasked with keeping another adult alive is like, so I talked to my mom about it."

 How does your average day begin?

Usually I wake up before LD and get dressed, and I try to get the coffee made and the cereal stuff out. But if he wakes up first, I just get him cleaned and dressed and then do the other stuff.

What time does he get up?
He’s gotten so he goes to bed between 8 and 9 PM and sometimes sleeps until noon. One day I was so tired and exhausted that I didn’t hear him and he got up and went into the den at seven in the morning. He ended up somehow falling, and I found him on the floor tangled up in the chair. But usually I wake up before him and get dressed real quick, because if I don’t he watches me do every single thing, and it drives me crazy.

Why does he watch you?
Because he doesn’t have anything else to do. He just stares. And he wants to see what food I’m making.

I know he usually wets the bed at night, even through the disposable underwear. Do you change the sheets after you wake him up?
I take the sheets and the pajamas and the shirt and socks and just wrap them up in that plastic liner that keeps the mattress pad dry. Sometimes if he wakes up before I do he’ll have already taken his underpants off. I get him to the bathroom and have him sit on the toilet so I can get his wet clothes off and wipe him off with Handi Wipes.

You have him sit on the toilet to get dressed and undressed?
Yeah, because he might go. And if he’s not bad, I can use those Handi Wipes and wipe him off and put powder on his back and in his underwear so that it will be dry. But, like, today he was soaked and had taken his own stuff off and didn’t want to get in the shower. He doesn’t like me to bother his pants, and when I mess with them, that’s when he grabs my wrists. I figured out that I can reach behind him and underneath and pull the pants down that way. He’s still grabbing, but once I get them down, he’ll sit on the toilet. It’s tricky. Once he’s got a hold of my wrist I’ll threaten him. I say, “You’re going to have this hand in your face if you don’t let go of my hand.” [laughs] He knows I’m not going to do it, but… I get really angry because I’m helping him. I try to explain to him, “I’m trying to help you, and you are hurting me.” And he’s strong. Sometimes my wrists are red afterward.

He doesn’t realize you’re helping him?
He wants to do things himself. He always has.

Then when you finish with the clothes…
Once I get him in the shower, I pour shampoo on his head. Baby shampoo, so he won’t tear up. I used to give him soap and he’d use it, but now he doesn’t, so I put on these gloves and put the soap on my hands and just reach in the shower. Of course I get soaking wet—my jeans and everything, but I soap him up and down and wash his head. He doesn’t like that at all.

So after he’s dressed and fed, he mostly just walks around the house all day?
All day. Moving stuff. I have to make sure all the doors are locked. Like, today, for instance, when I came in he had the peanut butter out and two steak knives in it. I don’t know why the refrigerator wasn’t locked. I have rubber bands holding down the kitchen faucet because he used to turn the water on and leave it running. He tore the doorknob off the computer room. Basically, he’ll fidget with anything that’s loose until it is destroyed.

But once he’s set up and ready to go in the morning, you can sort of do your own thing, right?
I have to keep checking on him to make sure he’s not tearing stuff up or hurting himself. But I make sure I do something every day, dyeing fabric or sewing or something, because if I didn’t I’d go crazy. That’s the main thing they teach you in the caregiver’s class. It’s like the oxygen mask in the airplane: you don’t put it on your kid first, you put it on yourself first so you can get it on your kid. If you don’t take care of yourself, you’re not going to do him any good, either.

Have you noticed any effects on your sanity?
I get on crying jags sometimes. I get to where I can’t think what I’m doing because he’s driving me crazy. That’s when I hit the sewing machine to get it off my mind. Abraham Lincoln said, “I’ve learned that a man is just as happy as he makes his mind up to be.” So that’s what I decided: I’m going to make up my mind to be happy.

You were having big problems with him tearing up the plant in the kitchen, but you were determined to leave it there. Why?
I don’t want him to think he can just tear up everything. I want him to learn not to. For some reason I think he can do more than he can. I believe it’s in there.

You used to spend hours trying to explain to him who you are, or who I am, and then eventually you began to accept that he wasn’t ever going to understand, right?
I know he doesn’t know who I am. He knows I’m a safe person. And sometimes he’ll call me Barbara. But he doesn’t know. It used to bother me, but it doesn’t now. He can’t help it, and it’s not going to change. And when he does… The funniest thing [laughs] was when he told me… I’d said, “Quit pacing, you’re driving me crazy.” And he looked at me and said, “Well that’s probably your problem.” That cracked me up. He said a rational sentence, and he put some thought in before he said it. So I know there’s something in there somewhe

Sometimes I wonder if he’s actually having a moment when he says something witty, or if it’s just an accident?
If he wasn’t thinking it through then, he sure did look like he was. But mostly he ends up talking gibberish. He’s gotten to where now if I say “Are you hungry?” he doesn’t know what I mean. So I’ll say, “Do you want something to eat?” Then he knows what I mean. So there are certain words that he knows.

Being immersed in this every day has got to be pretty physically demanding, right?
A lot of it is routine now. But the main thing is, if he’s in the room, you can’t concentrate on what you’re doing, and if he’s out of the room you think, What’s he doing? You worry about what he’s getting into. He’s broken and torn up so much stuff… and he thinks he’s working. When Tommy [his brother] calls and asks, “What have you been doing?” LD says, “I’m working. I’m so tired, I’m worn out.”

Why were you determined to bring him home instead of leaving him in the rest home?
The rest home did him more harm than good. When I went in to see him there the first time, they had him in a hospital robe, which he had never been in before, and sitting in a wheelchair. He was drooling, drugged out. He wasn’t like that at all when he went in. When we moved to the next place, they forced him in the ward for the most severe patients because they said there wasn’t enough room in primary. He couldn’t even get to his room because they had it blocked off with patients lying on cots.

Is it true that they basically tried to turn him into a zombie on purpose so he couldn’t go back home and no one else would want to admit him?
They claim to go from the early stages to the late stages. “We cover everything.” And they do. For $7,000 a month. He was being institutionalized. When I decided I wanted to move him somewhere else they told me, “You can’t handle him.” They were wrong.

Right. As soon as we got him out of there he was immediately much more himself, or at least not drugged out and pushed up against a wall. Even as demanding as it is on you now, I feel like it has to be less emotionally destructive overall. At least he’s free and not surrounded by death.
I freaked out every time I went to visit him. The only real car wreck I’ve ever had was after leaving the nursing home because I thought it was going to be a nice one. I thought I was going to throw up before I left there. People have told me I’m hurting myself by bringing him home and waiting on him, but I’m doing what I want to do. I sleep better now than I ever did when he was gone. He goes to bed early, and I can stay up late every night. I play my games and sew and listen to music and relax and have a glass of wine, and I sleep like a top. And he sleeps really well. As much as he might drive me crazy, when I think about him in the nursing homes… I can’t tolerate that. He probably wouldn’t know much difference, and yet I feel that he would.

Do you think you’ll be able to continue to handle him as he gets worse?
You don’t die from Alzheimer’s; you die from complications. And, physically, your dad is healthy. He’s probably going to be around a while. And that’s good. But he always said he never wanted to be this way. He always said, “If I end up a certain way, do something for me.” That was back when Dr. Kevorkian was still around. And I would want the same thing, too. But he could never do that to me, and I can’t to him. I’m thinking I’m keeping him here as long as I can.       Source:  Blake Butler, Blog Post

Caring for a loved one with Alheimer's Disease is undoubtedly challenging on so many levels; physically, mentally and emotionally.  Without proper rest and downtime, a caregiver can become "burned out" with negative implications for self and care recipent.  Consider arranging for frequent respite periods to recharge.  

At Easy Living Services, we specialize in providing secure, reliable care for Alzheimer's patients and their families.  Experienced, expertly trained professional caregivers are ready to care for your loved one for a few hours up to long term, full time care. 

Call people who understand your unique needs.  

Call Easy Living Services.

770-442-8664

 

Topics: Caregiver Information, Home Care, homecare, caregivers, taking care of a parent, caring for a loved one, Atlanta Home Care, Alzheimers, Alzheimers therapies