Thanks for checking out our page. Our goal is to share some quick tips and ideas for creative caregiving. We’ll be updating frequently so stop back soon!
Color is so important to our lives: it affects our mood, behavior, and outlook on life. It can calm or incite, depress or excite. I'm sure you agree that color magnifies your world, but have you ever considered how it affects your loved ones? Especially those who have Alzheimer's or a related dementia?
Extensive studies have been conducted with some astounding results. Did you know that you can actually use different colors to achieve different outcomes?
Consider the following:
This information is taken from The Dementia Concept by Joshua J. Freitas. I had the pleasure of meeting Joshua and have taken two workshops with him. What a dynamic guy! If you want to explore color further, Google the psychology of color, color and dementia, color and elderly, or the psychology of color in marketing and branding to get started. It's a fascinating topic!
On another note, adult coloring books are all the rage these days for mindful relaxation. I highly recommend it from personal experience. I very much enjoyed coloring as a child, and I get the same enjoyment today. There are loads of adult coloring books at hospital gift shops, Walmart, and Barnes & Noble, and there are even some fun coloring apps. (Colorfy is my personal favorite!) If you are looking for a quiet, relaxing activity for you and your loved one, a box of Crayons or markers and a coloring book may be just the ticket!
One of the most important elements of our lives is how we engage with people. What benefit or enrichment do we bring to the people around us? Our loved ones, friends, colleagues ... how do we interact to create the most beneficial use of our time and theirs? Does it matter?
Yes, I believe it matters a great deal. Whether we are with someone 24 hours a day or just a few minutes, a loved one or a stranger, the choice we make in how we engage with another person is impactful for us and for them.
So what is the best way to interact? It's quite simple, if you ask me. Find out what is meaningful for the other person and find a way to create joy for them around it, regardless of whether it is meaningful for you. The gift of attention is priceless, and when that attention focuses on something cherished by another and makes them feel special, it is a rare gift indeed.
As Dale Carnegie, author of How To Win Friends and Influence People, said, "You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you."
April Fool's Day is so interesting. There are some fun, and not so fun, pranks making their way around the Internet. I ran across this article from the Washington Post that will help you know what is true this year ... or not! Click Here
What is always fun, no matter the day, is engaging your loved ones with laughter: jokes, funny stories, games, silliness in all its forms makes for fabulous "internal exercise." Personally, I love belly laugh exercising!
Did you know that we have several joke books and fun games our clients' families can check out to help them share laughter and fun with their loves ones? We sure do! You can also use the Internet to find fun, uplifting stories and other activities:
Reader's Digest Jokes and Funny Stories
Great Clean Jokes
Activities at Home PDF
As always, you should adjust your approach to help ensure your loved one's participation and to help make sure any activity is fulfilling and enjoyable for them. The Alzheimer's Association is a fantastic resource to help you plan both the activity and your approach; the information is applicable not only for those with dementia but in other situations as well.
Here’s hoping you find your funny bone!
Did you know that the Londonderry Rail Trail has completed another paved section and that it runs right behind our Home Helpers of Londonderry office? The paved completed section is 1.75 miles long one way from North Elementary School to Liberty Drive, and 3.5 miles round trip. The trail follows the old railroad corridor; it is an out and back, straight stretch, rather than a loop. You can park at North Elementary School (when school's not in session) at 19 Sanborn Rd or at the Exit 5 Park & Ride (Long term and overflow parking areas) at 4 Symmes Drive. The paved section can easily accommodate walkers, strollers, or wheelchairs, so it would be a great place to get your loved one out in the fresh air and get some mild exercise. For those who want a longer walk, Phase 3 or the "Peat Bog section" as its known, continues east towards Derry.
For more information on the Londonderry Rail Trail visit Londonderry Trailways.
CLICK HERE for a handy document with some great safety tips for walking the trail brought to you by the Londonderry Police Department and the Town of Londonderry Senior Resource Committee.
I have a confession to make, although it is no secret to those who know me: I loathe and despise Daylight Savings Time. Personally, I wish they would just leave the clocks alone, but since they didn’t ask me I just have learn to live with it. That said, I live a very discombobulated life until my body adjusts to the new time routine which is very annoying since I’m usually very organized and able to stay on task with ease.
So when I’m feeling disorganized and my to-do list needs attention I fall back on my tried and true practice of “one thing, right now.”
The first thing I do is to write down all the tasks that I need to accomplish, breaking down larger chores into smaller action items that can be taken care of in 10 minutes or so. For instance, instead of listing “clean the house” I break it down into a number of tasks: dust the living room, clean the bathroom, vacuum downstairs, etc.
Next I tackle one thing, right now, and when I’m finished with the task I cross it off my list.
This technique works with any type of list, any type of chore. The trick is to keep your tasks small enough to accomplish within that 10-minute time frame which make them easy to fit in to hectic schedules and provide a tremendous sense of accomplishment with each line-through.
Trust me, by tackling one thing, right now, before you know it, your to-do list will be to-done!
"Imagine your brain as a house filled with lights. Now imagine someone turning off the lights one by one. That's what Alzheimer's Disease does. It turns off the lights so that the flow of ideas, emotions, and memories from one room to the next slows and eventually ceases. And sadly, - as anyone who has ever watched a parent, a sibling, a spouse succomb to the speading darkness knows - there is no way to stop the lights from turning off, no way to switch them back on once they've grown dim. At least not yet."
~ Excerpt from "The Science of Alzheimer's", J. Madeleine Nash, "Time", July 17, 2000
Wednesday I attended a workshop on providing hospice care to those with end stage Alzheimer's or related dementias. The workshop was given by Compassionate Care Hospice at The Arbors of Bedford. While the workshop covered some basics like the different types of dementia (remember, all Alzheimer's is dementia but not all dementia is Alzheimer's), one particular part of the workshop stood out and I thought I'd share it with you: pain assessment in those with Alzheimer's or dementia.
As many of you know from experience, those with dementia, brain injury, stroke, aphasia, or any number of other medical conditions may have significant difficulty with language and communication. Some may be completely non-verbal while others may have trouble finding words and not be able to effectively communicate their basic needs. This is when knowing your loved one and your ability to read their body language becomes a critical key to providing outstanding care.
One Sunday not too long ago a caregiver called me because she was having a hard time with her client. He was fighting her at every turn, showing extreme agitation and generally being quite difficult. Now this client has a history of being a bit difficult and he isn't always able to communicate effectively, but this day his behavior was way out of normal range so the caregiver was understandably concerned. Come to find out, he had pneumonia. He was hospitalized that day and is now in rehab.
So, what are some non-specific signs and symptoms suggesting the presence of pain in those who cannot tell you outright?
Again, it's important that we pay attention to the details of our loved one’s behavior and note any changes. If they always fidget, fidgeting may not be a sign that suggests pain, but if there is increased fidgeting and one or more of the other signs or symptoms, they may be trying to convey that they are hurting.
If you have any questions or need assistance with your loved one, please feel free to give me a shout.
Home Helpers of Londonderry
I have recently started to embrace yoga and can see its benefits for seniors, those with disabilities, and caregivers. Yoga can increase flexibility, improve balance, and relieve stress. It has the added benefit of not needing a lot of room or equipment.
Regardless of your current fitness level, there are many yoga routines that can improve your health and overall wellness. Because I don't have a lot of time and can't go to a formal class, I've turned to YouTube for a personal trainer. Search on Yoga for Seniors, Chair Yoga, or Yoga for Beginners to get started!