Finding the Strength to Say Goodbye
Death is never easy to talk about, especially when a loved one is in hospice care. Those who do find the strength to say goodbye often discover that their loved ones appreciate having a frank discussion. If you’re having trouble starting the conversation, consider talking to a counselor, spiritual leader, or hospice care provider in Memphis.
Knowing When the Time is Right
Generally, doctors hesitate to define an anticipated life expectancy for patients with terminal illnesses. It simply isn’t possible to accurately predict whether a patient has six months or six weeks to live. But hospice caregivers, who work with the dying every day, are attuned to the signs that the end of life is near. As your loved one approaches death, you’re likely to notice at least some of the following changes:
- Refusal to eat and drink
- Decrease in urine output
- Decrease in body temperature
- Significant increase in sleeping
- Agitation and restlessness
- Confusion and hallucinations
- Sounds of chest congestion
- Slow or shallow breathing
- Periods of no breathing
It’s your decision whether to wait to say goodbye until your loved one is close to death. Bear in mind that, depending on your loved one’s health condition, he or she may not be able to have a clear conversation with you toward the end of life. If you are emotionally able to do so, you may prefer to say goodbye when your loved one first enters end of life care.
Starting the Conversation
When it comes to end of life conversations, there really isn’t a great way to break the ice. Sit with your loved one, hold his or her hand, and tell your loved one that you’re there for him or her. Ask what you can do to help your loved one be more comfortable. Let your loved one know that you understand he or she is dying, and then ask if it’s a good time to talk about it. Try to avoid using euphemisms unless you think your loved one would prefer it. It’s possible that your loved one has been waiting for you to start the discussion and would rather speak frankly about it.
Avoiding Future Regrets
When planning to have the conversation, think of what you might regret not saying to your loved one after he or she is gone. He or she might live for weeks or even months after you’ve said goodbye, but there’s always the possibility that you won’t get another chance to say what you need to say.
Sudden Weight Loss in Aging Parents
One of the many benefits of arranging for senior care services in Memphis is that you’ll be kept in the loop about changes in your aging parents’ health . The assisted living provider can prepare nutritious meals for your parents, but he or she can also let you know if your parents seem to have a sudden decline in weight. Sudden weight loss may indicate a serious medical problem. Ask the assisted living provider to take your parents to their doctor for an evaluation.
Some of the possible causes of sudden, unintentional weight loss in seniors include thyroid disorders, liver disease, depression, and cancer. Sometimes, weight loss occurs as a result of adjustments in medication. It can also be associated with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia. Sudden weight loss can cause muscle wasting and suppressed immune function, which can lead to severe health complications for elderly patients. To reduce this risk, your parents’ doctor may suggest that the caregiver begin preparing high-calorie meals and snacks.
Designing an In-Home Care Plan for a Parent with Alzheimer’s
Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia place a considerable burden on families. Elder care at home is usually preferred, but families often lack the time to provide 24/7 care and monitoring. Home health aides in Memphis can bridge the gap between an aging parent’s needs and a family caregiver’s capabilities. If your parent has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, it’s time to have a conversation with an assisted living provider.
Every elderly parent with Alzheimer’s has unique needs, usually depending on the stage of Alzheimer’s they are dealing with. Before designing your parent’s in-home care plan, it’s a good idea to meet with the family doctor to discuss your parent’s specific needs . The doctor may recommend that your parent stop driving if he or she hasn’t stopped already. Other recommendations may include the following:
- Starting new medications
- Making home modifications for fall prevention
- Adding safety devices (e.g., automatic stove turn-offs)
- Wearing a medical alert button
- Receiving assistance with meal preparation and feeding
- Enjoying safe physical exercise
- Engaging in daily cognitive stimulation
Speak with Family Members
Once you have a list of all of your parent’s needs, it’s time to have a talk with other family members about arranging in-home care for your parent. Although an in-home caregiver can provide nearly all of the services your parent may require, most families will still want to be involved with the care plan in some way. Coordinate with other family members who want to provide occasional care. Your sister might take mom or dad for a weekly walk in the park, for instance, while your brother might volunteer to make a couple of meals each week.
Ease the Transition
Significant change isn’t easy for many people, particularly aging parents with Alzheimer’s disease. If your parent is a little unsure about the prospect of having a home health aide, it’s best to make the transition gradually if possible. Your parent may want you to be present during the first few visits. As your parent becomes increasingly comfortable with the idea of receiving professional care, the home health aide can take on more tasks without your presence.
Get the Facts About Vascular Dementia
There are many different forms of dementia that may require a person to consider elder care assistance. Home health companies near Memphis often work with individuals who have vascular dementia , which is second to Alzheimer’s disease in terms of prevalence. When you watch this video, you will learn that vascular dementia is the result of interference with the blood supply to the brain. When the brain cells are deprived of the life-giving blood they need, they begin to die off. This irreversible damage gives rise to vascular dementia.
A person receiving assisted living care because of vascular dementia may display problems such as confusion, mobility impairment, agitation, or the loss of urinary control. The impairments depend on the area of the brain that sustained damage. There are ways of reducing the risk of vascular dementia, which you’ll learn about from this featured video.
Communicating with a Loved One with Dementia
When a loved one has dementia, learning a new way to communicate with him or her can be difficult. Fortunately, with a little effort, you can still maintain a special connection with your loved one, even as his or her memory fails. Often, your in-home elder care provider can offer advice based on his or her experience working with people with dementia in Memphis . These tips will also help.
Set the Tone
You can have more productive communication with a loved one with dementia if you choose the right time and place. Make sure there are no distractions, such as TV or radio, when you begin a conversation. Sit close to your loved one and position yourself so that you are facing him or her directly. The lighting should be adequate so that your face can clearly be seen. Keep your body language relaxed, even if you feel nervous and frustrated. It is more useful to begin conversations when your loved one’s needs have been adequately satisfied, so ask his or her elder care provider when your loved one has last eaten and when he or she usually sleeps.
Keep it Simple
Dementia can make following multi-layered conversations difficult, so keep things simple to avoid frustration. Stick to one topic. It can even be helpful to choose a topic in advance and plan some of the things you would like to say. Your sentences should be short, and you should choose simple words. Don’t talk to your loved one as though he or she is a child. Address him or her in a normal tone of voice and be respectful. Dementia can be isolating, and your loved one may feel like he or she is no longer valued.
Be a Good Listener
Your loved one with dementia will still have many ideas he or she wants to express, so be sure to be a good listener. If you aren’t sure you have understood, repeat the point back to verify it. Pay close attention to your loved one’s body language. As dementia affects your loved one’s ability to speak, his or her body language will be a central part of how he or she communicates. Always let your loved one express his or her feelings without dismissing them.
Recognizing the Signs of Progression in Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s disease is one of the most common issues affecting seniors who require elderly care in Memphis. If your loved one has recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, it is essential to work with caregivers who specialize in dementia and memory care. Only an experienced team will be qualified to provide compassionate and effective support to individuals who suffer from dementia. Continue reading to learn more about Alzheimer’s disease progression and the symptoms that you might notice in each stage.
As an elderly care provider who cares for Alzheimer’s patients will tell you, the early stages of Alzheimer’s can vary. Alzheimer’s disease usually begins with changes in a patient’s behavior that are so minor that they may go unnoticed. The most common early symptom of Alzheimer’s is loss of memory of recent events. Alzheimer’s patients may initially struggle to recall something that happened the day or week before and may also have a hard time learning new information. Confusion is another common change during the early stage.
An Alzheimer’s caregiver cautions family members to watch for more marked changes during the middle stage of Alzheimer’s. At this point, a patient will likely need help with their normal daily activities. An in-home caregiver may be employed to provide support with cooking, cleaning, dressing, and bathing. Alzheimer’s patients generally become more forgetful as time goes on and may struggle to remember words or names. During this moderate stage, an Alzheimer’s patient may also get frustrated or angry as they sense their loss of control.
During the late stages of Alzheimer’s, a patient will likely need senior assisted living services or professional in-home care. An Alzheimer’s patient may have a difficult time eating, swallowing, or controlling his or her bladder. Eventually, he or she may lose speech entirely, although a few words may still be uttered. Caretakers and the presence of family members are essential, as an Alzheimer’s patient still very much recognizes signs of love and affection even as memory suffers.
Identifying the Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease
It’s important to identify the early warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease so that your loved one can receive dementia home care near Memphis as soon as possible. While there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, early intervention can potentially slow the progression of symptoms. If your loved one is unable to care for himself due to his Alzheimer’s symptoms, you should hire a home health aide or in-home caregiver for assistance.
Watch this video for valuable information about identifying the early signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. You’ll get step by step instructions about recognizing the most common Alzheimer’s symptoms so that you can get your loved one dementia care.
What is Dementia?
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with dementia, getting proper elder care near Memphis can help everyone in your family feel more at ease. If you are still unsure what dementia is, or what the early signs of dementia are, watch this video to learn more.
Dementia is a term that is used to describe a large group of symptoms that are caused by diseases that affect the brain, such as Alzheimer’s disease. It is caused by a loss of nerve cells in the brain and it is a progressive condition. When a nerve cell in your body dies, it cannot be replaced. As these cells die, the brain begins to atrophy. There are many symptoms of dementia, including memory loss and loss of physical coordination. These symptoms vary depending on where in the brain cell loss occurs. Unfortunately, there is no cure for dementia. However, choosing an assisted living provider in Memphis, such as Caring Companions, can help make the diagnosed patient more comfortable.
The term dementia describes a group of symptoms that together reflect a general mental decline that interferes with everyday living. Most people with dementia need home health care in Memphis to help with things like personal hygiene, cooking, and medication reminders. The level of care required depends on the type and severity of the dementia.
The most common form of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive condition, and patients require an increasing degree of home health care as the disease worsens. Another type of dementia is vascular dementia, which is brought on by stroke. Other types of dementia can be caused by different medical conditions, such as thyroid disease, and may be reversible when the underlying condition is treated. If your loved one displays signs of dementia, such as memory loss or communication difficulties, take action right away. Although not every type of dementia is curable, with the right at-home care and the right treatment, the symptoms may be slowed or managed.