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5 Great Medication Safety Tips for Seniors with Alzheimer’s

Female caregiver serving afternoon tea to patient

It’s World Alzheimer’s Month, and our home care agency team is using this time as an opportunity to share some useful tips on medication management and safety for seniors with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers. These patients are often on multiple medications for this and other health issues, so it’s important to take the proper precautions to avoid medication-related issues.

  1. Get to Know the Medications. Write up some basic notes on each medication – what it is for, the dosage, and possible side effects – and spend some time studying them. This makes it so much easier to quickly spot the side effects or any possible complications.
  2. Talk to the Doctor about Drug Interactions. Your doctor should know of each medication and supplement that your loved one is on (always take your list of medications and supplements to appointments to make sure your list is complete). However, it is possible for some medications to interact badly with others, especially if they are for different health conditions. Talk to the doctor about possible drug interactions and how you can help avoid them. This may mean changing what medications are taken at what time of the day, taking certain medications with food, or perhaps even changing out medications for alternative drugs.
  3. Use a Pill Box and Medication Management App. As a caregiver, there’s a lot on your plate. So, organizing medications in advance according to the doctor’s instructions and using technology to remind you when medications need to be taken can be a great help. Pill organizer boxes can be filled for each day or week, and apps like Dosecast, MedHelper, and MyMeds can be downloaded onto your smartphone and set up according to your loved one’s schedule.
  4. Develop a Routine. Individuals with Alzheimer’s rely greatly on established, reliable routines, so try to fit medication into your existing routine by making it a daily ritual. This can mean making medications part of the breakfast routine or taking them with a favorite warm drink right before bed. If your loved one has trouble swallowing, pills can be ground up into a smoothie – but ask your doctor first. Also, try to avoid making the routine part of a potentially busy time of day.
  5. Lock Medication Away. All medications that are not required for the day should be safely locked in a medication cabinet – even over-the-counter drugs. It’s very easy for those with Alzheimer’s to accidentally overdose. Another good idea is to keep emergency numbers taped to your cabinet door, including your local Poison Control Center, emergency room, and your loved one’s doctor.

Compassionate Full and Part-Time Care for Alzheimer’s Patients from Our At-Home Health Care Agency 

At United Methodist Communities, we strive to offer the very best home health aide services in New Jersey through our HomeWorks program. This program assists older adults in the comfort of their own homes and provides them, their families, and their caregivers personalized, compassionate care that prioritizes health, happiness, and independence.

For more information on our at-home health care agency or at-home care for older adults, please contact us today or visit our website at https://homeworks.umcommunities.org/elderly-home-health-care-nj/

Original content posted on https://homeworks.umcommunities.org/blog/5-great-medication-safety-tips-for-seniors-with-alzheimers/

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What to Do When Your Senior Parent Refuses Help They Need

Dementia and Occupational Therapy - Home caregiver and senior adult man

There comes a time in everyone’s life when they may need a little extra help and care to live life to the fullest – but not everyone sees a helping hand as a positive thing. Many seniors struggle to accept that they need assistance, and this stubbornness can be a big concern for loved ones. Here are some tips from our home health aide services team in New Jersey on what to do when your senior loved one isn’t interested in talking about assistance.

You Can’t Force Someone to Accept Help 

The first thing to realize is that you can’t make your parent accept help – or even accept your advice. Unless they are suffering from a mental or physical health condition that legally allows you to make healthcare decisions on their behalf (Power of Attorney or a legal guardianship), they are legally entitled to make their own decisions.

Don’t Make Ultimatums 

An aggressive approach, even if it’s rational and logical, is going to look like an attack, putting your parent on the defensive. Most older adults who refuse to consider assistance or at home care are rejecting the idea out of fear – fear of getting older, fear of being removed from friends and family, and so forth. Instead, speak to your parent as someone who respects their input and their point of view, and explain your concerns.

Try Meet Them Halfway 

Try to understand where they are coming from and consider their concerns too. If they don’t want to move out of their home or away from their social circle, consider home health aide services rather than assisted living. If they are worried about having to invite someone into their house that they don’t know, then talk with your local service providers about making introductions with different caregivers so your parent can get to know them.

Don’t put any pressure on – your parent needs to come around to the idea of assistance by themselves. Often, they have just as many misconceptions about these services as younger people do, so it is often just a matter of showing how useful and rewarding a little senior care can really be.

Home Health Aide Services New Jersey – Compassionate At Home Care for the Elderly 

At United Methodist Communities in New Jersey, we strive to offer the very best quality senior care options, from assisted living to in-home care through our HomeWorks program. This program is about assisting the elderly in the comfort of their own homes and providing them, their families and caregivers with personalized, compassionate care that prioritizes health, happiness and independence. We can assist you with respite care, overnight care, hourly or live-in care, as well as provide experienced care for Alzheimer’s and dementia patients.

Original Content posted on https://homeworks.umcommunities.org/blog/what-to-do-when-your-senior-parent-refuses-help-they-need/

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It’s Hot Out There! Get to Know These Signs of Dehydration

Nurse Visiting Senior Male Patient At Home

With summer in full swing, it’s important to be aware of the effects of hot weather on senior health. Here is some advice from our homecare services team on recognizing the signs of dehydration in seniors and treating it properly.

Why Do Seniors Get Dehydrated? 

While anyone can get dehydrated by not drinking enough water, playing lots of sports or being outdoors in hot weather, seniors are especially vulnerable to this problem. As you get older, your fluid reserves shrink and your body’s ability to hold on to water in its system is reduced. Your body also becomes less aware of certain senses, so you don’t always realize that you are thirsty. In addition, seniors who suffer from mobility issues, chronic illnesses and cognitive issues, often find themselves limited in their ability to get water or are even dehydrated by the medications they take.

8 Signs of Dehydration in Seniors 

If a senior is dehydrated, you may notice the following symptoms:

  1. Confusion
  2. Rapid heart rate
  3. Difficulty walking
  4. Dizziness and headaches
  5. Dry mouth
  6. Low blood pressure
  7. Low urine output
  8. Constipation

If any of these symptoms occur, encourage the person to drink water in small amounts, move them into a cool, shady area and stay with them. If you have a hydration drink with electrolytes (for example, a sports drink), have them sip that. If you notice no improvement in symptoms or are concerned because they have other serious health issues, contact a doctor.

Preventing Dehydration in Seniors 

The best approach is to prevent dehydration in the first place. Here’s how:

  • Encourage hydration throughout the day, especially with meals and in the hottest parts of the day.
  • Always ensure that they have a full water bottle with them.
  • Encourage older adults to eat foods with high liquid content, for example, breakfast smoothies, soup, yogurt, fruits, and vegetables.
  • Avoid coffee and alcohol as these can have a diuretic (dehydrating) effect.
  • Not all hydration has to be in the form of water. Suggest their favorite herbal teas or iced teas, fruit and vegetable juices, and milk.
  • Stay indoors during the hottest part of the day in a cool room. A fan or air conditioning can help a lot.
  • Avoid strenuous activities like walks unless the weather is cool and always take cotton cover-ups, hats, sunscreen, and water with you.
  • Check up on senior loved ones and neighbors during heatwaves and assist with care packages or chores around the home.

At Homecare for the Elderly – Independence and Assistance with All the Comforts of Home 

Whether you need residential in-home respite care or need someone qualified and experienced to assist your loved one on a more permanent basis, our home health aide services team in New Jersey are here to help through our HomeWorks program. Our staff is certified in New Jersey and have senior care training, so please feel free to ask for formal certification and references.

For more information on our senior homecare services in NJ, please contact us today or visit our website at https://homeworks.umcommunities.org/Home-Care-Services-For-Seniors

Original content posted on https://homeworks.umcommunities.org/blog/its-hot-out-there-get-to-know-these-signs-of-dehydration/

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Virtual Reality – Exploring a New Therapy for Dementia

A teenage girl, mother and grandmother with VR goggles at home.

When most people think of VR or virtual reality, they think of entertainment — but the truth is that this technology offers so much more. VR has useful applications helping people with dementia conditions. Our home health aide services team offers some supportive insight.

Using Memory to Engage and Connect with Dementia Patients 

One of the biggest challenges for caregivers, family and loved ones of dementia patients is finding ways to connect with their loved one and spend meaningful time together. Happily, VR technology helps make this easier and more rewarding.

Dementia conditions affect memory, causing short-term memory loss while mostly leaving long-term memories intact. Using virtual reality, patients are able to relive their past memories by “visiting” realistic periods of time, places, and locations that hold special meaning to them.

These kinds of memory exercises are key in therapeutically treating these conditions, helping to stimulate brain activity, reduce anxiety and confusion, stabilize mood and improve the quality of life for dementia patients. For families, it’s a wonderful way to engage with their loved ones and share positive, happy memories in a calm, safe environment. In this way, VR therapies form a method to help prolong essential human connections.

VR Technology as a Way to Understand Dementia Better 

Another interesting application of this technology is in helping caregivers, medical professionals, and families better understand the life of someone with dementia. Winners of The Caregiving for Dementia Innovation Challenge showcased their software offering, “Embodying a Person With Alzheimer’s in Virtual Reality,” as a way for caregivers to better understand the disease and the needs of their clients.

Through VR, caregivers can experience how neuro-cognitive conditions affect other parts of the body, not just their memory functions. It shows how the disease progresses in a way that helps all involved in care better understand and anticipate their client’s needs. In this way, VR builds empathy and understanding, as well as promotes caregivers’ thinking outside the box.

Full-Time, Part-Time and Respite Care from Home Health Aide Services in NJ 

As a caregiver, getting the assistance of a qualified and experienced home health aide can be the best way of getting the support and guidance you need to care for your loved one with dementia.

As part of United Methodist Communities, a non-profit organization in New Jersey, we offer home care for the elderly with trained, experienced nursing and health aide staff to help your loved one. Our respite care and seniors home care services cover everything from companionship and help around the home to 24-hour live-in care, depending on exactly what you and your loved one requires. Our services are scalable and by-the-hour, allowing you to develop a custom care plan.

For more information on respite care and our home health aide services in New Jersey, please contact us today or visit our website at https://homeworks.umcommunities.org/Home-Heath-Aid-services

Original content posted on https://homeworks.umcommunities.org/blog/virtual-reality-exploring-a-new-therapy-for-dementia/


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5 Tips for Making Festive Family Gatherings Comfortable for Elderly Loved Ones

Smiling young woman shaping dough

Hosting a family gathering is one of the best parts of the festive season and it’s a wonderful opportunity to get everyone together, young and old. When you’re hosting a family event and you’re inviting an elderly loved one, there are a few things you can do to make them feel extra welcome and comfortable.

Here are some tips from our senior home care services team:

  1. Check your home for tripping hazards. Falls are the number one risk to senior health, so it’s important to take a look around your home and minimize any fall risks before their visit. This includes making sure that area rugs are taped down and have non-slip backing (or are removed).
    Allow for uncluttered floor space with wide pathways for traffic. Rearrange furniture to make movement easy (especially for walkers and walking sticks). This doesn’t have to apply to your whole home, just the entertainment area and bathroom.
  2. Make them part of the preparation. Simple tasks will keep your loved one engaged and part of the activities, so set aside some tasks that they may enjoy — it’s also nice to feel useful and wanted! Folding napkins, rolling dough, arranging flowers or placing centerpieces are all fun and safe.
  3. Include some favorites. Does your loved one have a favorite festive activity, love a certain Christmas album or holiday food? Including it in your family event is a great way to show them that you care and have considered them on this special day.
  4. Keep noise reasonable. While noise is a part of any family event, it can be difficult for seniors with hearing problems or dementia to fully enjoy the festivities. You can be merry, but remember to keep music volume down low and sit your loved one away from speakers and close to people they like to talk to.
  5. Take time over arrangements. When planning your event, talk to your loved one about who will be there and what you have planned, so that they can prepare themselves. Help them to select a comfortable holiday-appropriate outfit.
    Ensure that someone arrives early to pick them up from their home, and make sure there is safe transport back home or an established plan to stay overnight. Older adults take a little more time to process plans, so the more time to prepare, the better!

Senior Homecare Services – Companionship, Quality of Life and Independent Life Through Home Health Aide Services in New Jersey 

At United Methodist Communities in New Jersey, we understand the challenges of providing expert medical care and companionship to seniors while encouraging a full and independent life, which is why we’ve developed HomeWorks.

Through this program, trained and highly experienced staff can assist seniors and their families through comprehensive at homecare for the elderly. Each care plan is customized around the client’s exact needs, filling in with necessary assistance while allowing your loved one to remain in the comfort of their home.

For more information on our senior homecare services and home health aide services in New Jersey, please contact us today or visit our website at https://homeworks.umcommunities.org/senior-care-new-jersey/

Original content posted on https://homeworks.umcommunities.org/blog/5-tips-for-making-festive-family-gatherings-comfortable-for-elderly-loved-ones/


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3 Tips for Managing Confusion in Alzheimer’s Care

Dementia and Occupational Therapy - Home caregiver and senior adult man

September is World Alzheimer’s Month, a great opportunity to share news and insights into the treatment and care of Alzheimer’s patients, as well as spreading information and awareness of this serious condition. In this blog, the team at our home health care agency shares some helpful tips for managing confusion — a common challenge experienced by caregivers.

People with Alzheimer’s disease are likely to experience frequent bouts of confusion as the disease progresses. This can’t be prevented, as it is a direct result of the condition, but there is a lot caregivers can do to help people cope with the fear, agitation and anxiety that accompanies bouts of confusion.

Tips for Reducing Frequency of Confusion 

Caregivers can help reduce confusion by:

  1. Creating a calm environment. Busy, loud and unfamiliar environments are a significant source of stress and over-stimulation, which can lead to confusion. Try to minimize time spent in these environments and ensure that everyday environments are peaceful, quiet and filled with familiar objects and sources of comfort. Blankets and clothing items can also be a source of comfort and security.
  2. Staying on top of personal care. Ensuring that an Alzheimer’s patient is receiving medication correctly, is eating enough, staying hydrated and getting sufficient sleep is also very important to prevent episodes of confusion as well as maintaining their physical health. Making these daily tasks part of a stable routine ensures that caregivers are able to note any changes in physical needs or health and take action to manage these needs as soon as possible.
  3. Having a progressive care plan in place. Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease and old age is likely to bring other health conditions as well, which makes it important to have a long-term care plan in place and to implement it earlier rather than later. If you are choosing professional caregiving assistance in the home, opt to implement this even on a shorter level (for example, as part-time or respite care) before it becomes urgent – this will give the patient time to adjust and become comfortable with the new caregiver while they are able to manage the change, rather than suddenly and dramatically adjusting their routine.

Respite Care, Part-Time and Live-in Care for Alzheimer’s Patients from Our Home Health Care Agency 

At United Methodist Communities, we strive to offer the very best home health aide services in New Jersey through our HomeWorks program. This program assists older adults in the comfort of their own homes and provides them, their families and caregivers with personalized, compassionate care that prioritizes health, happiness and independence.

For more information on our at home health care agency or our at home care for the elderly services, please contact us today or visit our website at https://homeworks.umcommunities.org/elderly-home-health-care-nj/

Original content posted on https://homeworks.umcommunities.org/blog/3-tips-for-managing-confusion-in-alzheimers-care/

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4 Top Tech Innovations for Senior In-Home Living

Mature man with his nurse looking at the laptop

Technology is constantly transforming the way we live our lives, and seniors are no exception! There’s some wonderful technological innovations that can help seniors keep their independence while getting a helping hand, as well as help caregivers stay on top of their needs. Here are some examples that are changing senior lives for the better, from our at home health care agency in New Jersey:

  1. Family members of elderly loved ones often express concern about whether their loved ones are coping at home, especially as they become frailer or face medical challenges. These sources of stress for loved ones can mean you end up calling multiple times a day… and still worrying if your mom or dad has taken their medication.
    Lively is a system that uses unobtrusive sensors that you can place in a refrigerator, medication box, front door, key chains and other important spots, that then track activity via a private account on a website. You can check in however many times you want to see that their activity is normal – and the company can even alert you if something out-of-the-ordinary happens.
  2. Anyone who’s ever cared for a senior knows that the medications pile up quickly, and how easy it is for a senior to forget to take a pill, take too many, or take them at the wrong time. MedMinder is a digital pill dispenser that you or a caregiver can load up, that then dispenses medication according to a schedule that you can set. It can remind your loved one when pills are ready to be taken, and if he or she fails to take them, you or an emergency contact will be alerted.
  3. Amazon Alexa. While not specifically for seniors, the features it offers can be a big help around the house. Voice activated and easy to use, your loved one can ask Alexa for the news, to play any type of music, tell you the weather, or even order groceries to your front door. Alexa can also help find a lost smartphone, or even make a phone call from your smartphone, if for example you have fallen or need help.
  4. Fitness trackers. Wearable fitness trackers are great for seniors who want to keep an eye on their physical activity and stay healthy. There are many different types of devices, and many are easy to wear and operate. Most have basic features like tracking your steps per day, and others have more advanced features like GPS tracking, heart rate tracking and custom features for different activities.

Compassionate, Qualified Caregivers from Our At Home Health Care Agency 

Whether you need a permanent in-home senior care specialist or need someone qualified and experienced to assist your loved one with respite care, we are here to help through our HomeWorks program. Our staff are fully certified in New Jersey and have extensive training and experience in at home care for elderly, including assisting individuals with Alzheimer’s and dementia, so please feel free to ask for formal certification and references.

For more information on our home health services in New Jersey, please contact us today or visit our website at https://homeworks.umcommunities.org/elderly-home-health-care-nj/

Original content posted on https://homeworks.umcommunities.org/blog/4-top-tech-innovations-senior-home-living/


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