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Keep Calm and Communicate with Dementia

Submitted by Maria Jose Chaves on 13:50

keep calm with Dementia

Imagine yourself feeling “conscious” and suddenly realizing that you do not know where you are and how you got there. Anyone might feel confused and agitated, something common in people living with dementia and as caregivers it is important to know how to communicate with dementia for the patient’s comfort and sense of ease. These conversation and relaxation techniques are necessary to maintain a calm behavior on the patient and avoid confrontations.

It is hard to deal with an agitated person who could be pacing back and forth feeling upset but they do not know exactly why. Certain causes could be having visitors in the house, traveling, moving to a new residence or care home, thinks not making sense in the world, changes in daily routine, etc. Many could be the triggers for anxiety and agitation in people living with dementia, however all can be prevented with the correct attitude towards the situation and the right way to communicate with dementia.

Just like that image the British government used back in 1939 “Keep calm and Carry on” as they prepared for World War II and that is now used for many different connotations and joke purposes, you as a caregiver must first keep calm yourself, empathize and do not take things personal, most of the time it is the disease speaking.

#DMSHealth Tweetchat Recap: When to Say No to Caregiving

Submitted by Maria Jose Chaves on 13:48

Yesterday’s #DMSHealth chat was very dynamic and full of prolific answers. The chat’s topic was certainly open for discussion, analysis and advice for fellow caregivers who find themselves in the very difficult situation of having to deny taking care of all the responsibilities that come with the job.

As always we had expert guest who shared their thoughts on the matter and provided us with fine quotes that can easily reach the heart and mind of a struggling caregiver.

Dennis Fortier @BrainToday wrote, “Saying “no” is not the SOLUTION to burnout, it is the RESULT of burnout.”

Romina Oliverio @RominaOliverio wrote, “Be realistic about your situation and abilities. Know that saying no to caregiving doesn't imply you care less.”

LivHome @LivHomeCorp wrote, “Caregiving should be a passion. Once it feels more of a chore rather than a joy it might be time to move on.”

“No thanks” Saying No to Caregiving

Submitted by Maria Jose Chaves on 12:49

Sounds shocking doesn’t it? But sometimes for the sake of both care-receiver and caregiver, it is best to simply say no to caregiving. For a series of reasons detailed below, being the main caregiver is not the best option in a situation when a loved one needs full time care and that is okay, there should not be any sense of guilt.

Caring for a close loved one, in many cases a family member, is something that usually comes natural but being a caregiver is not an easy task and unfortunately the need to resign from it usually comes at a moment when the caregiver has reached a point of feeling beaten and consumed.

Having the ability to say no to caregiving, is probably saving the caregiver and recipient from a difficult situation of burnout and is also strengthening the relationship with openness and honesty. Of course there are caregivers that are stern and too proud to admit that they are not doing a good job, or simply do not see it. In which case is the family’s turn to sit with them and discuss things in a calm matter to find a solution.

“No” is often associated with negative connotations but the word can have very different meanings. Saying no to caregiving is not to be seen as a negative thing. Researching and explaining the real meaning of this “no” is key to build an emotional base for the caregiver to discern the needs of the person they are caring for and his or her own necessities.

“The End of Alzheimer’s Starts with Me” Campaign for the Alzheimer’s Advocate

Submitted by Maria Jose Chaves on 13:48

The entire phrase is nothing more than reality… the truth. The only way to defeat Alzheimer’s and other related dementias is by being a dedicated and leader Alzheimer’s advocate. For years many patients, experts and family members have been spreading the word on early diagnosis and reuniting contributions for research studies and those in need of medical assistance and cannot afford it. This strong statement catches the eye as it involves everyone, from scientists and doctors to patients and family, and even people not related to this disease but happen to encounter this campaign along the way to work on in the news, and just by sharing what you saw you are inadvertently becoming an Alzheimer’s advocate. Our voice joined with others is what causes real actions that inspire reactions from those with power to create change.

Starts with Me

How can the cure for a disease start with me? Pretty simple. By just being aware, sharing the news, contributing your money and time to raise awareness or provide funding for research is a boost to getting closer on preventive treatments and even better the end of all related dementias. Being an Alzheimer’s advocate might feel like you are a small grain of sand in the immensity of adversities, but if we all give and take part of all awareness impulses, we will soon become a landslide that overpasses and destroys this terrible disease.

Can a caregiver sue an Alzheimer’s patient?

Submitted by Pablo Retana on 16:18

caregiver patient

A paid caregiver hired through an agency cannot sue an Alzheimer’s disease patient for injuries sustained while caring for that patient, as long as the home health aide has been warned of any risks – which he or she would voluntarily assume – and the injuries are inflicted as a result of symptoms of the condition. This is the ruling that the California Supreme Court reached last month in a 5 to 2 vote. “Those hired to manage a hazardous condition may not sue their clients for injuries caused by the very risks they were retained to confront,” Justice Carole A. Corrigan wrote. “If a patient injures a caregiver by engaging in the combative behavior symptomatic of Alzheimer’s disease, the ‘particular risk of harm that caused the injury’ was among the very risks the caregiver was hired to prevent.”

The decision came as the resolution of a lawsuit filed by healthcare worker Carolyn Gregory against Bernard and Lorraine Cott of West Los Angeles. In 2005, Bernard hired Gregory through an agency to care for his 85 year old wife at home, as well as tend to the house. Flash-forward to 2008 when Lorraine bumped Gregory from behind while the latter was doing the dishes; during the clash, Gregory’s wrist was cut by a knife she’d been washing. Her lawyer said that she lost feeling in a thumb and two fingers and developed constant pain in her wrist and hand. In addition to getting workers’ compensation, the home health worker sued the couple for negligence and premises liability, and for battery. Since the Cotts both passed away last year, the case was defended by their homeowner insure.

Shopping as a Caregiver

Submitted by Alberto Chaves on 15:33

When caregiving, time (and supplies) are of the essence. It is all about balance, being able to have enough time to handle your duties as a caregiver and being able to deal with the external aspects of job. Many caregivers are able to lean on family members and friends to help them solve certain situations. For example, going for a quick errand to the grocery store or getting some more supplies or medicines for the person they are caring for. But, if they are by themselves this could become an issue. A caregiver’s duties are almost a round the clock affair. Demanding that they be on notice as much as they can, so shopping as a Caregiver can be tricky.

Caregivers who excel at their duties are those who are able to divide their time and be able to multitask. But as superhuman as they might be, they can’t be in two places at the same time. The trick to being able to handle their duties and still be able to get what they need is to see the short route. A seasoned caregiver will be able to identify right form the bat, the supplies that will be necessary for them to fulfill their duties on a day-to-day basis.  The first thing that they do is to make a list of the items that constantly are needed to be at hand at all times. For caring for patient who is bedridden, disposable diapers, latex gloves and wound care supplies might be necessary almost daily. Therefore they know that it is crucial that they have enough of these supplies at home at all times.

A Positive attitude and Caregiving

Submitted by Alberto Chaves on 14:05

positive attitude

Pretty much every single caregiver I know share one thing in common, they are a joy to be around them. They have this energy about them that really is contagious. Is like the glow with positive energy. I recently had a conversation with a close relative who dedicated almost a whole decade to caring for a relative on a daily basis. As we spoke about small things, just the regular insignificant things you are able to speak during family gatherings, it dawned on me that this person took some year plus of a decade of her life to care for another human being. Dedicating her life entirely to make sure this family member was looked after, cleaned, fed and so on. As I was talking to this member of my family, I realized that she always had this positive vibe about her. She is a joker, always quick to come up with a witty remark or a joke, she is chatter also, and she will talk to you for hours and hours and not get bored. Above all, she is a very caring and happy person. I have rarely seen her upset or angry about something. I just wish I had her temper.

I asked her about her times caring for our family member, she smiled and said: “it was a beautiful time.” Her response floored me, because she meant it, you could see it in her eyes. But then she added one thing, that eventually lead me to write this article: “the key to facing difficult obstacles is to keep a positive attitude in life, no matter what you do or where you are”.

Flu and other Viruses? Draw the Line for Family Visits

Submitted by Mariela Miranda on 16:28

When you are a caregiver there are many things you must juggle at the same time. Not only are you trying to balance your life, but you are also putting all your good will and love on your loved one's life. Trust me, I know!  Caregiving has been a part of me for several years now and I have learned to love it and cope with the "not so nice" parts of it.  When I became a mom, that instantly turned me into a caregiver.  Then came my grandparents once we became their neighbors. I began helping my mom in the daily caregiving tasks whether big or small and slowly I started falling in love with the blessing of being a caregiver of elderly loved ones such as Grandpa and Grandma.

The one particular scenario in caregiving that was somewhat the same with my children and my grandparents was protecting them (and myself) from the Flu.  Sometimes people just don't think, are out of logic or simply don't care about being sick and visiting someone who is vulnerable and weak. Logic tells me STOP!  Why on earth would you do something like that?  When my children were born I made a lot of people mad or resentful for simply saying:  "Would you please go wash your hands before touching the baby?"  It's amazing how some people take it as if I was saying "Ewww, you are contagious, go away!"

Twitter chat Recap: Positive Caregiving - Thinking differently

Submitted by Marie Gomez on 16:29

After last week's serious topic, we changed our angle and focused on the positive aspects of caregiving this Wednesday. There were quite a few new faces, and the discussion was lively and inspiring.

The questions discussed were:

Q1. Why is it important to keep a positive outlook on caregiving as caregivers?

Q2. Do you find it easy to stay positive, or is it a struggle? What’s your natural disposition?

Q3. How do you cheer up during rough times?

b. How do you involve your care to help stay positive?

Time travel through Song

Submitted by Maria Jose Chaves on 10:22

Time travel

You know how there is that song that takes you back to a special moment in time where you hold very fond memories. Music has that amazing power of time travel through song. And it is something we see even on people that are losing most of their cognitive faculties. Musical notes that appeal to the patient’s taste can stimulate, soothe and bring back memories and images that were long gone and bring the patient back to life for those few minutes the music lasts.

In an almost magical way, a certain song can transport you to that specific moment and remind you how you felt and could even bring those images back to your mind.  For people living with Alzheimer’s or any other form of dementia this is no different, it is like the files where we keep our “music memories” are safe in a sort-of airplane black box. Those parts of the brain that seem gone can be reached with music in ways that normal communication does not.


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