Dementia Care for Family Caregivers

  • By proadAccountId-382942
  • 01 Mar, 2017

Understanding Alzheimer's Disease and the Caregiving Demands

Caring for an aging parent is a complex task, but when dementia is part of the picture, it becomes even more difficult. Cognitive and behavioral changes may occur unpredictably, and parents may resist care. If you are the caregiver for a loved one who suffers from dementia, the most important thing is to first understand the disease.
Although Alzheimer’s disease is just one type of dementia, it is the one with the most pronounced stages. Becoming familiar with these stages will help you identify the behaviors your loved one is exhibiting, learn how to address them, and update his or her primary care physician. The National Institutes on Aging defines the three stages of Alzheimer’s disease as:
Mild:The disease begins with memory loss and small changes in personality. The person may forget recent events, the names of familiar people or things and may no longer be able to balance a checkbook. Those with Alzheimer’s slowly lose the ability to plan and organize and may have trouble making a grocery list or finding items in the store.
Moderate:In this stage memory loss and confusion become more obvious. People have more trouble following instructions and may need help getting dressed. They have trouble recognizing friends and family members. They may not know where they are or what day or year it is. They may lack judgment, begin to wander and become restless. In the moderate stages people may make threats, accuse others of stealing, curse, kick, hit, bite, scream or grab things.
Severe (late stage):This is the last stage of Alzheimer’s before death. People often need help with all their daily needs, 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.
Caring for someone with dementia is much more intense than caring for an older adult with other health issues. You can care for the physical needs of your loved one by closely coordinating care with his or her physician. Just as important is the ability to remain a caregiver for the long term. That requires a clear understanding of the role and strategies designed to protect the well-being of you and your family.
1. Caregiving demands will increase over time.As the disease progresses so will the needs of your loved one. By the advanced stages, caregiving will become a full-time job. Knowing this will help you to plan your work/life schedule in a realistic manner and seek help with caregiving responsibilities.
2. Dementia caregiving requires special skills.Caring for someone with dementia may not come naturally. It isn’t intuitive. In fact, sometimes the logical thing to do is the wrong thing. For example, insisting that they eat may be the wrong thing if they have developed swallowing or chewing difficulties. Learn about the disease and its treatment. Consult with your loved one’s physician and ask advice for caregiving.
3: Talk with your family and children about caregiving.Be honest. Children are very intuitive. They will know that their grandparent, aunt or uncle are changing and that their behavior is odd. Explain the disease and that loving the senior loved one is most important. Engage them and empower them to be part of the caregiving process. Younger children may read to the senior or help with chores. The family will be less stressed when the situation is discussed openly.
4. Have regular family meetings.Sit down on a regular basis to talk about how caregiving is impacting the family as a whole. Talk about the impact of the senior’s condition on the family and address stress points and difficulties. Meet with a therapist or case manager if that will help to solve grievances.
5. Pay attention to family needs.Caring for someone with dementia can quickly be the focus of attention for the household. Young children and spouses may feel excluded and left behind. Take time to schedule activities for just the family by asking a family member or professional caregiver to stay with your loved one. Encourage the caregiver to bring special activities so it also is a fun evening at home for your loved one.
Do you care for a parent with dementia? Have you found strategies that work for you and your family? If so, we would like to hear from you. Senior care is a special community. By sharing information, we can help one another to provide meaningful care.

By lemaster 08 Jun, 2017

(San Francisco, CA—June 1, 2017) Today Home Care Assistance , the leading provider of in-home care for seniors, released a study they commissioned through Research Now  illuminating the emotional impact of dementia caregiving in the United States. With one in four adults serving as a caregiver  for an aging loved one and with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia surging among our rapidly aging population, the unrelenting stress and emotional toll of witnessing the “long goodbye” stands to pose a health care challenge of its own.

With roughly 5.5 million Americans living with dementia, the illness actually costs more to care for ($259 billion) than cancer ($77 billion) and heart disease ($102 billion) combined . Behind these numbers lies a hidden, but very real, emotional cost to family caregivers who help those with Alzheimer’s and other dementias manage daily living.

Based on an analysis of 670 family caregivers in the U.S. surveyed between May 8 and 11 of this year, the following results were concluded:

Dementia caregivers experience higher rates of physical, emotional and mental burnout.   Often referred to as “caregiver burnout”, the survey found that dementia caregivers were seven times more likely to experience daily physical, emotional and mental exhaustion from caregiving than non-dementia caregivers. The survey also found that dementia caregivers were three times more likely to feel extreme stress from their caregiving responsibilities than other types of caregivers.

Dementia caregivers feel the most stress from watching their loved one decline, while other caregivers are most stressed from juggling work and care responsibilities. In contrast to other types of care that may have a focus on recovery and rehabilitation, caring for someone with dementia can oftentimes be more challenging since the person is facing a long, inevitable decline. Based on the survey results, 38 percent of those caring for a loved one with dementia feel the most stress from watching their loved one decline, while 33 percent of those caring for a loved one without dementia feel the most stress from having to juggle their job and caregiving responsibilities.

When looking at gender breakdowns of stress, the survey showed that male dementia caregivers were 21 percent more likely to feel stressed from having to juggle their job and caregiving responsibilities than female dementia caregivers.

When it comes to managing child and senior care, female dementia caregivers experience higher rates of caregiver guilt.Numerous studies have shown the disproportionate impact Alzheimer’s and other dementias have on women. Not only do women make up two-thirds of Americans diagnosed with Alzheimer’s , but they also make up two-thirds of the dementia caregiver demographic. Furthermore, researchers at Stanford recently discovered that  women are at higher risk “for lowering or exiting their career trajectory owing to caregiver demands.”  

According to Home Care Assistance’s survey, female dementia caregivers were twice as likely to feel extreme guilt for not tending to their own family and children’s needs than male dementia caregivers. More so, there were some significant discrepancies seen between females that were caring for a loved one with dementia and females that were caring for a loved one with another disease. Female dementia caregivers were 61 percent more likely to feel extreme guilt for not tending to their own family and children’s needs than non-dementia female caregivers.

“We’re facing an impending health crisis not only for the tens of millions living with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, but also for the loved ones that care for them,” said Lily Sarafan, CEO of Home Care Assistance. “Reliable data on the spectrum of family caregiver experiences, as well as solutions for caregivers to effectively manage their own health and wellness, are essential components of the broader care ecosystem. Our hope is that breathtaking scientific advances and lifespan gains are accompanied by thoughtful leadership and policies to address the realities of caregiving.”

In acknowledgement of the heightened stresses of dementia caregiving, Home Care Assistance will be awarding respite care grants to 60 family caregivers. The program was launched in conjunction with its partnership with Maria Shriver’s Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement and Move for Minds, and is open to caregivers across the country. To learn more or apply for a respite care grant, visit: .

To view the complete findings around the emotional cost of dementia caregiving, download the full report here: .


This survey was conducted online within the United States by Research Now on behalf of Home Care Assistance from May 8th-11th, 2017 among 670 family caregivers aged 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighted variables, contact Grace Zavolock at .

About Home Care Assistance

Home Care Assistance is the leading provider of in-home care for seniors serving the United States, Canada and Australia. Its uniquely integrated, science-based approach to aging directly supports individual lifestyles and quality longevity, enabling seniors to live happier, healthier lives at home. Named an Inc. 5000 company eight years in a row and one of the 50 fastest growing women-owned companies worldwide in 2017, Home Care Assistance has been recognized as a 2017 Endorsed National Provider by the home care industry’s leading research firm, Home Care Pulse. Home Care Assistance CEO Lily Sarafan was also named Health Care Executives’ 2016 Woman of the Year. For more information about Home Care Assistance, visit .

Home Care Assistance Cleveland is located in Solon, Ohio at 33790 Bainbridge Road. Call us at 440.332.0170.

By lemaster 08 Jun, 2017

We offer compassionate home care services. Call us today.

By lemaster 08 Jun, 2017
If you are a long-distance caregiver you know the pressures of trying to make sure your loved one is doing ok in their daily environment. Managing care, coordinating schedules and checking in on his or her daily status can be complicated and frustrating.   Long-distance caregiving support   can come in the form of organization, team members, technology, and knowledge, but the important role of communication in long distance caregiving should not be overlooked.
Communication is the grease that keeps the long-distance caregiving wheels turning. It ensures that you have all the important information you need about your loved one and gives you the ability to anticipate when extra care and support might be needed.
Communication with clinicians.   To gain the most information you will need to be the health care proxy for your loved one. That will allow physicians and other clinicians including physician’s assistants, nurse practitioners, physical therapists, etc. to discuss your loved one’s condition with you in detail. Call your loved one’s primary care physician and speak to the office manager. Describe your situation and tell them that you are the health care proxy. You will also need to send them a copy of the proxy. Then ask about the protocol for acquiring information; who you should speak to in the office, best time of day to call, and the appropriate phone number. They may give you a back office number for faster access to staff.
Communication with support services.   If your loved one uses community services like transportation, Meals on Wheels, the senior center or Council on Aging; call and introduce yourself. Always speak to the highest manager you can find. Tell him or her that you are a long-distance caregiver. Give the manager the name of your loved one and ask if you can call with questions or concerns. Ask questions about their services. Knowing people in key positions will always benefit you should you need assistance with your loved one.
After the phone call send a thank you note with your contact information. It will make a positive impression on the manager and he or she will be more likely to remember who you are should you call them in the future.
Communication with the Council on Aging or the County Elder Care Services.   The more resources you have at your fingertips the better off you will be as a long-distance caregiver. These resources exist to help people in your situation. Call and ask to speak to the elder care advocate who handles the location where your parent lives. Introduce yourself and describe your situation. Ask what services are available for your parents. Ask what he or she can do if you need help or have an urgent need regarding your loved one’s well-being. Councils on Aging and Elder Services offices have a robust list of support services, including legal and advocacy support. All you need to do is ask questions to find the information.
Communicate with friends and family.   Regardless of the relationship, you may have with individual family members it is important to communicate with them. If you are your loved one’s primary caregiver it is important that you communicate the details of your loved one’s care with others. You can do this through a monthly e-mail that lists care, appointments and health status throughout the month. You can do it via a document that is shared online. The important thing with   long-distance caregiving is keeping your family members up-to-date   on your loved one’s health and care. It will reduce the number of questions you receive and in case of poor relationships, the transparency may alleviate problems and conflict.
By lemaster 08 Jun, 2017

We provide compassionate care to keep your elderly loved one comfortable. Call us for more information.

By lemaster 08 Jun, 2017

Great News!! The Alzheimer’s Association and the Alzheimer’s Impact Movement (AIM) are celebrating the announcement that Congress will pass a $400 million increase for Alzheimer’s research funding at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the FY2017 budget. Read the full article:

By lemaster 08 Jun, 2017
As a caregiver of a senior, your days can be long and filled with responsibilities. You may feel run down, lethargic and like you are burning the candle at both ends. Taking care of yourself may fall at the end of the list. These are some of the symptoms of caregiver stress and burnout and you should pay close attention to them.

It is essential to take time for yourself not only to remain mentally and physically sharp, but to create a healthier, more sustainable relationship between you and your client.  

There are ways to address these feelings and regain your energy with simple, common sense strategies. Here are some suggestions:

See a Doctor
Be sure to visit your physician regularly (at least annually), and listen to what your body is telling you. Any exhaustion, stress, sleeplessness, or changes in appetite or behavior should be taken seriously.  

Get Moving
Exercise not only boosts endorphins and energy, but metabolism as well; making one feel all around healthier and more alert. If exercise is something you’d like to do alone, we would encourage you to take even just 10 minutes (30 mins a day recommended) to yourself to take a walk, use an exercise machine, or do a work-out video. Choose an activity you enjoy doing; if you choose something you don’t like, you’ll never feel like doing it.

There also are many ways you can be active with a client. Here are a few ideas:
  • Take a walk together outside to enjoy the fresh air
  • Go to the mall and take a stroll indoors
  • Do seated exercises at home
  • Dance together to favorite music
  • Garden or do other routine activities that you both enjoy  

Eat Well
Here at Home Care Assistance, we follow the lifestyle and healthy diet shown to be a positive factor in the longevity of the Okinawan seniors; the longest living seniors in the world. This is called the Balanced Care Method. Please see our   Balanced Care Method Workbook   to learn about the method. We would also encourage you to use recipes that encompass this method of healthy eating, and these could be found in the workbook or   Super Smoothie Booklet .
To learn more about caregiver burnout, take our   assessment   to gauge whether you’re beginning to feel burnout. If you have many “All the Time” answers on this assessment, you may want to consider incorporating these next steps (above) to regain your energy.

We care about each of our caregivers’ wellbeing, so encourage you take these self-help options into consideration to avoid burnout. Our goal is for each of our caregivers to be happy and healthy, leading to the best quality of care for our clients as well. If you have any questions or concerns about caregiver burnout and how it may be affecting you, please also feel free to talk to your local office.
By lemaster 08 Jun, 2017

Our compassionate caregivers are willing to provide your elderly loved one with the quality care they deserve. Call for more details.

By lemaster 08 Jun, 2017
A study called “Rates of Cortical Atrophy in Adults 80 Years and Older with Superior vs. Average Episodic Memory” was published in JAMA on April 4, 2017, and senior author, Emily Rogalski, associate professor at Northwestern University’s Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer’s Disease Center in Evanston, Illinois, presented the findings of her team’s study at the 2017 Cognitive Aging Summit in Bethesda, Maryland on April 6, 2017.
The study showed that SuperAgers, a term that refers to people older than 80 year who have an episodic memory that is at least as good as that of average middle-aged adults, lose brain volume more slowly than their peers who are aging normally, and this slower rate of decreasing brain volume seems to protect them from dementia.
Earlier research into the brains of SuperAgers showed that they have a thicker brain cortex than most people their age, but it wasn’t clear whether that was because they had a larger brain to begin with or whether they experienced slower rates of decline in brain mass. Rogalski and her team at Northwestern University were able to show evidence that SuperAgers lost less brain volume than normally aging adults.
Most people experience some cognitive decline as they age. But for some reason, SuperAgers don’t fit into that mold. The study showed that SuperAgers lost only 1.06 percent of their brain volume per year, while normally aging adults lost 2.24 percent annually. Their study lasted 18 months, over which time they followed 24 SuperAgers and 12 cognitively average elderly adults. Most of the SuperAgers were white women with a mean age of 83.3 at the beginning of the study. The mean age of the cognitively average group was 83.4. All 36 participants were tested at the beginning of the study and 18 months later.
Rogalski said that their findings suggest “SuperAgers are resistant to the normal rate of decline” that they see in average elderly people, and they believe it may be helpful in the search for an effective treatment or cure for Alzheimer’s to seek out the biological factors or bodily processes that are protecting people from brain loss and resulting dementia. Knowing what protects some people could provide clues in how to help protect others.
At Home Care Assistance, we work to help older adults maintain and strengthen their cognitive ability. Please call us at 440.332.0170. We provide services in northeast Ohio, including Solon, Chagrin Falls, Beachwood, Shaker Heights, Twinsburg, Bedford, Cleveland, Cleveland Heights, South Euclid, Lyndhurst, Independence, Northfield, Aurora, Pepper Pike, Gates Mills and surrounding communities.
By lemaster 08 Jun, 2017

If your loved one had a stroke, we can provide the care he or she needs for peace of mind. Call us to learn about our stroke care services.

By lemaster 08 Jun, 2017

I'm participating in the Alzheimer's Association Walk to End Alzheimer's® because I'm committed to raising awareness and funds for Alzheimer's care, support, and research. It is scheduled for October 7, 2017 at the Great Lakes Science Center. More information is coming in the future. I'm leading the way to Alzheimer's first survivor — but I need your help!

Will you help me reach my fundraising goal of $500.00 by making a donation today? Visit my personal fundraising page to make a secure, tax-deductible donation or download and print the paper form on my page to mail in with a check. All donations benefit the Alzheimer's Association — and every dollar makes a difference in this fight.

Together, we can end Alzheimer's disease!

Thank you for your support.
— Scott

My page:

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