UNIQUE STRATEGIES, PLANNING & CHALLENGES WITH LONG TERM CARE NEEDS
Our Interview on our Podcast Show this week, is with Karen Tyrell, a Dementia Consultant and Educator, with Personalized Dementia Solutions Inc., in Vancouver, BC. Karen has been busier than ever, she said with consulting with families on the pain, frustration and sadness around what to do with your parent, how to know what to do when you have no training in around the mental and emotional changes that affect Caregivers and Loved ones.
Hopefully I can motivate and inspire you this week to look at you or your family’s long term care needs. It’s a time to review your parents, family or loved ones around you that may need to prepare and plan for what they want their Long Term Care needs to look at.
Of course, there are many reasons why families look at Long Term Care facilities or services because of the crazy changes, either physical or mental capacity of your loved one. It’s a difficult topic because when we are close to the parent or loved one, we have a tendency to overlook the signs that we really need to be paying attention to. Not only that but we need to find support either using support groups, Facebook Support Groups, Alzheimer’s Association, Dementia Society, courses, One on one Counselling, or finding a Dementia Consultant. You don’t need to go it alone.
What are the 7 A’s of dementia?
“The Seven A’s are an easy way for caregivers to remember which areas of the brain can be affected by dementia. Each of these A’s represents damage to a particular part of the brain:
- Anosognosia – the individual no longer realizes there is something wrong.
- Amnesia – the individual suffers memory loss beginning with short-term and eventually long-term memories.
- Aphasia – the individual experiences loss of language skills, including the ability to speak, understand, read or write.
- Agnosia – the individual is unable to recognize things through the senses: sight, sound, taste, touch and smell.
- Apraxia – the individual has difficulty with movement and activities involving coordination, like tying shoelaces, doing up zippers, and driving.
- Altered perceptions – the individual suffers loss of depth perception, for example.
- Apathy – the individual is unable to, or lacks interest in beginning activities, or staying involved in a conversation or task.
As a caregiver, keep in mind that a person with dementia may not experience all of the A’s. Dementia can affect several different areas of the brain, but not always at the same time.
More early warning signs of dementia
It’s important for caregivers to know that dementia is not a normal part of aging.
Do you know the early signs of dementia and symptoms to watch for in the person you care for?
- Memory loss that affects day-to-day function
- Problems with language (e.g. forgetting simple words)
- Disorientation of time and place (e.g. becoming lost on their own street)
- Poor or decreased judgment
- Problems with abstract thinking, like recognizing what numbers mean
- Misplacing items around the house in unlikely places, such as the iron in the freezer
- Changes in mood or behaviour (e.g. mood swings)
- Changes in personality, like becoming confused or suspicious
- Loss of initiative (e.g. requiring cues or prompts)
Common factors & causes of dementia
Many people ask, “What causes dementia?”
This answer is complicated, but some factors that can increase a person’s risk of dementia are:
- African-American/Canadian descent
- Female gender
- Family history (early onset, age 50-60, genetic-based)
- Low level of education
- Elevated cholesterol in mid-life
With all of the online resources available, including resources on Elizz like our article on Alzheimer’s and Dementia home care tips, the temptation to self-diagnose the person you’re taking care of may be hard to resist.
Remember, these dementia signs and resources are just tools to point you in the right direction. A proper dementia diagnosis should always be left to a licensed health care professional.” https://elizz.com/caregiver-resources/dementia-symptoms-infographic/
“Worldwide, around 50 million people have dementia, with nearly 60% living in low- and middle-income countries. Every year, there are nearly 10 million new cases. The estimated proportion of the general population aged 60 and over with dementia at a given time is between 5-8%. Sep 21, 2020″
The importance of planning enables you and your family to have less stress, frustration and financial struggles. Otherwise in the thick of things, so to speak your choices will be limited in both the current situation and the future path that changes very quickly from what you thought would work and what is actually occurring. Karen mentioned, that we should never say, “I’ll never put you in a home”, because we can never keep that promise. But, rather promise, that “I promise that I will do everything I can to keep you safe and happy.”
What is your best advice Karen for planning with your parents, or loved ones?
- Your Legal documents completed
- Start with getting your Will completed and appoint your Power of Attorney
- Don’t forget your Personal Care Needs using a Representation Agreement, or a Healthcare agreement , or incapacity agreement, or Enhanced Healthcare Agreement. There are many different names for it, so look up in your area for your Personal care needs.
- Beware of any signs of Dementia starting such as:
- Difficulty dressing
- Unable to keep up with hygiene
- Difficult behaviour changes
- Poor memory
- Personality changes
- Poor thinking
- Poor judgement
- Communication challenges
Check for any of these changes and refer to a Physician who can help you with these changes and the solutions available for them. Sometimes they may experience the following which shows these similar signs as dementia but with some treatments it can repair itself.
- Low Vitamin b12
- Thyroid condition out of balance
- Urinary Tract infection
- Choosing a care facility or home through some research. It would be best to choose 3 various types so that when the time comes, you will be able to have one of their wish. This will enable you to reduce the stress for caregivers because they would want to ensure you have what you wish for.
- There will be 3 choices of Long Term Care Facilities in your area. There is normally a government run operation which either reduces or eliminates the cost for you but there are limitations, either based on your personal income, or assets. So you will need to investigate the costs. Sometimes space available is difficult in government owned facilities near you. Also the availability of rooms will be difficult to find usually.
- Private care facilities are easier to investigate because you can actually visit them, see what services and activities they offer and what the availability is for rooms and suites. This type of facility is usually similar to a resort, because of the all the amenities it offers. The cost will be usually more expensive than government owned facilities.
- The 3rd choice available would be living with your family, in either their home or yours, or if you have a suite. You may be able to curve the costs of care if your parent or loved ones is able to have part-time care or just help with meal preparation until the 24/7 care changes to full-time, 24/7 supervised care which will increase your costs tremendously.
- Last but not least would be the final completion of preparation would be to complete Your Backup Plan App. Somewhere you can complete the items, things to do for them. So when they are incapable of knowing their own finances, their documents, their property or assets, that Your Backup Plan will be able to help the caregiver with important information and wishes that they would want. Otherwise, by finding out a little bit about them, their bank accounts, their documents, their medical information etc. will only be good if others can help too. By only one person, the caregiver knowing this information or even where to access it, creates a very big problem. The statistics on a full-time caregiver getting sick or passing away before the patient is very high. So, by one caregiver only knowing where this information is kept, would create a problem. So, by having the information stored in an APP, that is kept secure and accessible when you want it shared with your guest user, enables you to share this information only when necessary with someone that you appoint. This enable you to have a team, like a medical team for your benefit and care.
TIPS AND TRICKS
Karen shared with us the biggest tip and trick of all dealing with dementia patients.
“Therapeutic Reasoning involves using reasoning which is logical to the person with dementia (but not necessarily logical in reality), which creates a reassuring, calm feeling. As a result, it is beneficial to both the person with dementia and to the caregiver.” https://dementiasolutions.ca/therapeutic-reasoning/
You will find this type of reasoning or angle is very beneficial to create a peaceful calm feeling. Instead of arguing with the patient, or creating frustration around their abilities it is much calmer environment with this type of reasoning.
Caregivers need to go into the reality of the person they’re caring for, and do or say anything that will help the person to feel reassured. Therapeutic Reasoning comes from a place of caring; we are aiming to help, not hurt. When normal reasoning becomes difficult, the goal now becomes less about who is right or wrong. Instead the goal is to ensure everyone is
happy and at peace.
Examples of Implementing Therapeutic Reasoning:
- Agree with them to keep the peace
- Apologize to them to keep the peace
- Say something nice to flatter them
- Show them you care about their concern
- Tell them you will look into it
- Tell or provide visuals to reassure their concerns are solved
Enjoy the tools that Karen has given you to plan and prepare for any type of care needed for your partner, your parents, your loved ones, or even yourself. You know different diverse incapability’s will require some sort of care either part-time or full-time. So it is cost saving as well as ensuring the wishes can then be full-filled the way that was it was meant to be.
Because Family Matters….
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