- Does the person need his or her glasses or hearing aid?
- Is the hearing aid working properly?
- Is the person's discomfort due to toileting or incontinence problems? Hunger? Thirst?
- Is the person too hot or too cold?
- Has the person been sitting in one position too long?
- Does the person need more stimulation? Less stimulation?
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Thursday, July 8, 2010
Thursday, July 1, 2010
- Understand the difference between normal aging and dementia
- Be able to recognize the symptoms of Alzheimer's Disease and other dementias
- Know the common causes of dementia and what you can do to minimize your risk of getting dementia.
- Understand the process of how a person becomes diagnosed with dementia
- Have a basic understanding of the effects of dementia on the brain, functioning and behavior
Saturday, June 19, 2010
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
There are several unique factors that make hydration more challenging for someone 65 years or older. Older adults tend to lose muscle mass as they age and so they have reduced ability to store (or conserve) water. There is also a decreased thirst perception associated with age so this cannot be relied upon as a good indicator of whether the body needs more water. There is also the possibility of decreased renal concentrating, so you cannot rely on the color of the urine to determine if there is a problem (typically well-hydrated individuals will have lighter urine than those who are dehydrated). Caring for someone with dementia can add an additional challenge because the person may not be able to express their need for liquids or describe symptoms that may indicate dehydration.
Problems associated with dehydration can be very serious. A dehydrated person frequently experiences severe constipation, decreased functional abilities, fluid and electrolyte imbalance, increased number of falls, increased Urinary Tract Infections (which people with dementia are particularly prone to getting) and in very extreme cases, the body can go into shock and lead to death. Particular risk factors for dehydration include presence of a fever, diarrhea, vomiting, use of diuretics and under-nutrition.
There are several ways you can increase fluid intake if you are providing care for a loved one:
- Determine the person's food and liquid preferences and make sure these options are available on a daily basis.
- Provide encouragement and assistance during meal and snack times.
- Offer beverages throughout the day.
- If it helps, use a straw.
- Use smaller glasses and offer beverages more often if the amount is overwhelming in one sitting.
- If the person you are caring for has a tendency to choke or aspirate liquids, talk to the doctor about using a thickener to make swallowing easier.
- Keep a journal of food and beverage intake--if the person is consistently refusing 25% or more of the offerings, they need to be seen by a physician.
Remember too that you as a caregiver can also be at risk for dehydration as you concentrate of the care of your loved one and sometimes forget your own needs. If your loved one attends the Triple-R Program, we include water breaks 6-8 times in the day to ensure proper hydration. For more information about Triple-R go to: http://www.tripler.org/
Thursday, May 20, 2010
So when should you worry?
The Alzheimer's Association has a great web link with the top 10 warning signs that may need to be evaluated for Alzheimer's Disease or a related dementia here: http://http//www.alz.org/alzheimers_disease_10_signs_of_alzheimers.asp
Often, one of the best indicators to know whether you should seek medical advice about your memory lapses is if you can remember that you forgot. Sounds strange, I know. But the average person will leave the room when they realize they can't remember what they were there for, only to *BAM* remember just what they were looking for five minutes later and go get it. That evening, you will tell your spouse about the incident and will share a laugh about how frustrating it is to do that, but that it happens to all of us. You remembered that you forgot and were able to share the story with someone else.
A person with memory problems, however, will not remember going into the room in the first place and if they are reminded they they went into the room to do something, they will deny that is true and they may get upset that you would make such an allegation, because surely they would remember it if that were true. In this case, it is strongly suggested that you make an appointment to see a doctor. There could be various reasons for the memory loss including things such as stress, depression or being deficient in certain nutrients or it could be something more serious and a doctor can help figure out what is going on.
For more information about Triple-R, go to: www.tripler.org