connecting

5 Simple reasons Alzheimer’s are happy

We’ve all heard the saying the simple things make us happy.

This seems to even be more true with the elderly.connecting

They don’t care about how much clout a person has, the money in the back, the reputation, etc.

What they know is:

  • They are loved
  • They are wanted
  • They are protected
  • They are care for
  • They are safe

What little things make your loved one happy?

sign language

7 Ways to Help Alzheimer’s when have Trouble expressing self

Many people with Alzheimer’s and Dementia have a difficult time expressing themselves.

Often they cannot find the work or get the word to roll off of their tongue, although they long to.

Sign Language is one way to help people express themselves
Sign Language is one way to help people express themselves

Some ways in which to combat this are:

  1. Teach sign language for simple words {drink, eat, bathroom, etc.}
  2. Have picture cards for the person to point to {food, bed, family, shower, etc.}
  3. Watch non-verbal cues such as facial expressions, posture, gestures, clenched hands, etc.
  4. Understand a native language {ex. I had a man that was a missionary to Africa. He would divert to that language at times.  Understanding words for that language helped to understand his needs.}
  5. Use music to soothe. Often music helps a person with the disease to find words they are having trouble finding. Also, playing an instrument can provide a way for self-expression.
  6. Ask to draw or paint a picture {if capable—mid to late stages may not have the capability}
  7. Point to what they would like.
  8. Bonus: We’ve discovered that sometimes playing charades also helps in expressing oneself.

 

How do you help your loved one express themselves when they struggle?

routines

Interruptions in daily routine

Interruptions frustrates routines
Interruptions frustrates routines

Many people enjoy their routine, whether they are children, adults or the elderly.

Sometimes interrupting a daily routine can be confusing for the elderly.  This is especially true with dementia and Alzheimer’s patients.

This can lead to increased agitation and confusion.

Make a note of when there is increased agitation and confusion.  Are there interruptions that brought this about?

How do you deal with interruptions to your routine?

elder group

The importance of Fellowship and Outings in the Elderly

Just because we are getting older, does not mean we don't need fellowship with our peers
Just because we are getting older, does not mean we don’t need fellowship with our peers

We all need fellowship with our friends and peers.

I’ve met some families that long to constantly take family members out.  I’ve met other family members that refuse to take their family members out, although it is enjoyable for that person.

There are instances when it is not possible to have outings, such as if the person is bed bound.

However, short outings are encouraged for the elderly.

Doing so gets them out and about and allows them to interrupt with others.

Socialization is important for the elderly.  This is one of the benefits of adult day care, retirement centers or skilled nursing care.

However, even if a person is home bound short outings are still good for them.

These can include:

We all need fellowship
We all need fellowship
  • Going out to eat
  • Riding into town and back
  • A walk through nature {or a ride}
  • Having a friend visit
  • Family gatherings
  • Doctor visits
  • Personal Care Outings {Hair, Nails, etc.}

How do you help your loved one have fellowship and outings?

sleep

The Elderly Need a Lot of Sleep

Working with the elderly, I’ve discovered one thing.  They all need a lot of sleep.

The amount of sleep is different for each person.

There is no set age when this sets in.

The elderly need a lot of sleep
The elderly need a lot of sleep

There are numerous factors that play into these factors, such as

  • effects of medicine
  • diseases they have been diagnosed with {Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, etc}
  • activity level
  • age
  • the more activity wears them out the more rest they usually need {for example if just getting in and out of car or going out to eat is too much, then they may sleep for a while upon return}

Just as young children need a lot of sleep, so do the elderly.

They need the time to rest and rejuvenate their system.

There are times when their agitation or moods may be enhanced due to the lack of rest and sleep needed.

How much does your loved one sleep?

volunteer

Ways to Volunteer at a nursing home

volunteer

 

 

Are you looking for a way to volunteer?

Sadly, senior adults are often over looked when it comes to the volunteer pool.

Working in a skilled nursing facility I can assure you we are in great needs for volunteers.

Some ways you can help are:

Senior adults love to have someone to talk with or assist them in various tasks
Senior adults love to have someone to talk with or assist them in various tasks
  • Performance {music, dance, etc}
  • Present a class on a hobby or interest
  • Help with special events
  • Offer to help with regular activities {Bingo, various games, etc}
  • Read to residents
  • Help residents write a letter
  • Bring a Pet {you will need to provide verification of shots}
  • Beauty Regiment {Polish Nails, Hand Massage, Make up}
  • Provide books and magazines
  • Provide supplies for arts and crafts
  • Plant and maintain a garden
  • Donate supplies to be used as a giveaway {Mystery Auction, Bingo Store, Let’s Make a Deal, etc.}

Contact the activities office and inquire about ways you can help out.

An hour a week or a month is a huge help.

How do you volunteer with seniors?

hands-compassion

Caregiving Monday: 10 Activities for sensory stimulation with dementia

Are you looking for ideas for sensory stimulation with your loved one that has dementia?

Hand massages provides that personal touch and says I care
Hand massages provides that personal touch and says I care

If you’re not sure what I mean, sensory stimulation uses the five senses of sight, touch, hearing, taste and feel to hopefully evoke positive emotions.

I’ve discussed numerous activities with music, but what are some others that can be completed?

  1. Hand massage or shoulder massage—these are always a big hit when we do them in the nursing facility where I work. {touch}
  2. Relaxation satchel—these don’t have to be fancy and if your loved one is higher functioning s/he can assist you in making them. We used clean new or clean socks and filled them about half full with rice.  We then took drops of one essential oil {such as lavender}, added to the rice and mixed to spread the scent.  We then tied the sock off.  The sock could be used to provoke various memories or to calm an agitated loved one {especially if you use lavender}.    {smell}
  3. You can use a keyboard {or look them up online} to play various sounds and help your loved one recognize what they are. Some examples are a doorbell, train whistle, piano, car horn, etc.   {listening}
  4. Ice cream—this is a treat most people love and can evoke positive memories. Use the treat to reminisce.  {taste}
  5. Pictures—looking through pictures, reminiscing and discussing who each person in the picture is helps with memory recall {seeing}

    ice cream prompts positive memories
    ice cream prompts positive memories
  6. Bubbles—many of my residents love the bubbles. They enjoy both watching them and trying to grab them and make them pop.  This can be a lot of fun.  {seeing, touch}
  7. Flower arranging—the resident can look at the various flowers, sort them by color or type and smell the flowers. {seeing, touch, smell}
  8. Herbal tea party—fix a cup of hot tea and honey, milk, or sugar as desired.  Discuss the flavors found in the tea.    {taste}
  9. Shell discovery—hide shells in a small box or pail and have your loved one pick out different ones and discuss their differences. Even if it’s just how small or large they are this can be a fun activity.   {touch}
  10. Check out a DVD from the library of a place your loved one may have visited or lived in. Videos of scenery or animals are a great idea to discuss what s/he is seeing.  You could also look at pictures of these places s/he has and listen to a CD of music or sounds from that place.  {seeing, listening}

What are some sensory stimulation activities you have used?