Music Therapy and End-of-Life Care

Music Therapy is becoming increasingly popular for end-of-life care. Twenty years ago, music therapy was just starting to gain popularity. Today, it is growing throughout the nation at a rapid rate. Let’s take a look at why music therapy has become so popular so quickly!

treating elderly woman with music therapy

What is Music Therapy?

The American Association of Music Therapy, (AMTA), defines Music Therapy as “the use of music to help clients reach their goals in a therapeutic setting. Music can treat the emotional, social, and spiritual needs of patients.”

  • A music therapist uses music in the following ways:
  • Writing new songs with their client.
  • Singing songs from the client’s childhood.
  • Helping patients dance along to music.
  • Listening to music with patients.

What are the Specialties of Music Therapy?

This type of therapy can be useful to anyone. Children with disabilities learn new skills with the help of music therapy. Additionally, music therapy has helped treat PTSD as well as mental health issues such as depression.

One of these fastest-growing specialties is end-of-life music therapy. One therapist, Ms. Kelly, was featured in The New York Times. The article highlights how her treatments have helped her clients and their families. One family member said Ms. Kelly “brought life and energy back to his suffering mother in the last days of her life.”

What are the Benefits of Music Therapy?

Music therapy can’t extend our loved ones’ lives. However, the AMTA has done numerous studies that take an in-depth look at its advantages. It has been proven to promote peace, hope, and spirituality. Listening to and creating music has also been shown to decrease pain.

The AMTA wants to make music therapy as prevalent in end-of-life cares as chaplains and social workers. Their goal is to increase the quality of life for their clients in their last days with their families. Having an outlet for their emotions and spirituality can bring peace to our loved ones in their last remaining days with us.

Treatment Options From David York

For more information about David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers, contact us at (877) 216-7676. A free phone consultation can help you decide what services might be best. We aim to provide you and your loved one with the assistance they need. If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, Google+, or LinkedIn

Enjoy a Safe Summer While Aging in Place

As the summer months quickly approach, vacations and outdoor activities are on everyone’s mind. Seniors who are aging in place while living far from family and friends know that the summer months are perfect for traveling. Take a look at these tips to ensure you and your elderly loved one are ready for a safe and enjoyable summer.

A mature woman in her 70's gets out of the car of a friend helping her with an airport drop off, the woman handing her her luggage at the departure car area. She has a cheerful smile on her face, holding walking cane for support. Aging in place travel day

Plan Summer Activities and Vacation in Advance

Start planning for summer activities and destination trips as early as possible. If you plan to engage in outdoor activities consider whether you will require assistance.  Keep a detailed schedule and make changes as necessary. Make copies of the schedule and keep one visibly posted for friends, family, and caregivers.

Discuss Your Summer Plans With Your Doctor

Discuss your plans to travel or engage in summer activities with a healthcare professional. Receiving a clean bill of health gives you peace of mind about participating in activities and traveling long distances. If you take prescribed medications, be sure to ask about refills and notable side effects. If traveling with a pre-existing condition, ask your doctor to write up your medical history and treatment instructions just in case.

Arrange for Special Accommodations Before Traveling

Make special accommodations for you or a senior loved one well in advance of your travel dates. Pre-boarding flights, special dietary needs, electric scooters, and cost-free wheelchairs are a few accommodations that are obtainable ahead of time. Note, summer is a popular time for traveling, so last minute accommodations might be refused by a hotel, airline, train, or car rental the day of travel or while en route.

Hire a Home Health Aide/Traveling Companion

Some seniors love to travel but have trouble doing so alone. Hiring a home health aide or travel companion is a great option. These hired professionals also help with numerous of daily living activities. Caregivers can also help schedule trips, make travel arrangements, carry luggage, and run errands.

Research Local Hospitals and Doctors

Create a list of the hospitals and medical centers that are closest to your vacation spot. Although summer vacations and activities are exciting, they can also cause stress and overexertion. Remember, it is best not to plan too many activities for one day. Space activities out and give yourself a chance to relax.

Stay Hydrated and Avoid Dehydration

Dehydration leads to all types of medical problems. Whether traveling by car, plane, train or engaging in summer activities, it is imperative to take in enough fluids. Always keep a couple of bottles of water on hand and sip constantly throughout the day. Don’t forget to calculate bathroom breaks when traveling by vehicle.

Contact David York Agency for Professional Caregiving

For more information about David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers, please contact us at 718.376.7755. If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on TwitterGoogle+, or LinkedIn.

Summer Outings With Your Senior Loved One

Now that the warm weather is reliably here, your senior patient will be eager to get outside. Consult your calendar, have a discussion and plan appropriate senior summer outings that cater to your senior’s interests and mobility level. Parks are a popular choice, but there are many other venues that can provide a relaxing afternoon and even reduce caregiver stress!

Summer Outings with senior

Boating

If you are near a river or a lake, boat tours are an easy way to enjoy the scenery. Some include dinner and music. Large cities with a river often offer architectural cruises so you can enjoy the landscape and the skyline from the comfort of a boat instead of walking all over the city. If your senior enjoys fishing, now is the time to seek out prime fishing spots, either from a boat or from the shore. Many areas allow seniors to fish without a license.

Local Summer Festivals

Summer is festival season in many towns. Check your town’s website and to see if any festivals are of interest to your senior. Also, verify the physical demands of navigating a festival. How far is it from the parking lot? Are there ample benches and restrooms? Do they offer a trolley or golf cart service so you can get around the attractions? Festivals often include musical performances, so if the music is a genre your senior enjoys, find out the show times! Arrive at the venue early to ensure a good seat.

Outdoor Museums

A temperate day is ideal for enjoying an outdoor museum. Pioneer museums are popular with all ages, and many have volunteers who perform indoor and outdoor tasks such as soapmaking and butter churning. Most outdoor museums are ADA (Americans with Disabilities) compliant, so trails are manageable for people who have mobility problems. Most museum areas are wheelchair accessible, and stairs have slip-proof treads and handrails.

Enjoy a Picnic

Everyone loves a picnic, but find a spot with beautiful scenery. Ask your senior which picnic foods he or she prefers and try to incorporate those into your meal.

To ensure your senior’s comfort on any outing, bring an extra sweater for well air conditioned venues and an umbrella if the clouds begin to roll in. Take bottled water and snack food. Offer restroom breaks and time to sit and enjoy the surroundings.

Need Care? Contact David York Agency

For more information about David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers, please contact us at 718.376.7755. If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on TwitterGoogle+, or LinkedIn.

Happy Fathers Day!

Happy Fathers Day

Some thoughts on Fathers Day

Happy Fathers Day!

Dad has traditionally been the rock of the family. Unfortunately, the sad reality of aging often means others must now assume that role. This can feel especially poignant on Fathers Day. You may feel the stress of caregiving combined with the sadness associated with this loss. Longing for the dad you used to know often leads to a feeling of sadness and bewilderment.

David York Agency can prevent you from feeling overwhelmed. We are totally acquainted with all the stages of aging and its associated care. We ease the way by providing compassionate, quality home health aides to the aging client as well as seasoned advice to family members. Our aim is to enable you to enjoy your elderly father as much as you can for as long as you can!

Call David York Agency for Help

Follow our blog for more advice on how you can care for an elderly loved one. For more information about David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers, please contact us at 718.376.7755. If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on TwitterGoogle+, or LinkedIn.

Ageism: Lack of Smoking Intervention

When it comes to seniors, the medical community does less for prevention, intervention and aggressive treatment. Smoking is a sadly overlooked area of senior health. Aside from being directly correlated to other diseases, smoking has been linked to dementia and its progression. If we are serious about caring for our elderly, there must be a greater effort expended toward the elderly quitting smoking.

Smoking in the elderly

Smoking

According to the Center for Social Gerontology, 94% of the 430,000 annual smoking-related deaths in the US are people ages 50 and over. Beyond that, 70% are 65 and up.

Although smoking can be prevented, senior checkups do not fully address this issue. Doctors and patients tend to think the old habit cannot be broken. Also rampant is the mistaken belief that years of damage cannot be undone. Smoking is a bad habit, but ignoring it is not the answer to a healthier life.

Furthermore, these beliefs are untrue! The Journal of the National Cancer Institute reported that smokers aged 45 and up are more likely to quit smoking than younger smokers. In addition, circulation and lung capacity improved by one-third within three months of quitting, and the risk of heart attack lowers within the first 24 hours. Other problems caused by smoking, such as fatigue, coughing, congestion and more, also begin to subside in the first nine months.

 

Moving Forward

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends that clinicians ask all adults about their tobacco use. Tobacco cessation counseling is covered under Medicare Part B for up to  eight visits with a qualified doctor in a 12-month period. We hope this information will help you and your loved ones pursue better health. Ageism in medicine is an unfortunate reality, but the right information can provide a path toward improvement. Seniors deserve to live life to its fullest, and prevention and intervention could help. The cessation of smoking could turn your life around!

 

When you or a family member needs help, our highly qualified caregivers can offer assistance. For more information about David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers, contact us at 718.376.7755. A free phone consultation can help you decide what services might be best. We aim to provide you and your loved one with the assistance they need. If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, Google+, or LinkedIn.

 

Coping with Elderly Depression

Depression affects people of all ages and does not care whether you are 18 or 80. However, many do not realize how many seniors struggle with depression. Unfortunately, signs of elderly depression are frequently attributed to other conditions. As a result, elderly depression goes undiagnosed.

If you believe a senior you know is suffering from depression, you can help. Here’s how:

Start a Conversation

First, get your loved one to open up. Avoid words like “depressed,” “anxious,” or “mental health” if possible. These trigger words might cause them to become upset and shut you out. Begin by starting a conversation. Ask about their day, whether anything has been on their mind, or if anything is making them sad. Hopefully, you will gather information that highlights a potential problem. From here, you can breach the subject of getting help.

Getting Professional Help

Most seniors do not seek treatment for their depression. It is your job to convince your loved one to find professional help. However, do not immediately suggest therapy, as many elderly individuals may feel shame or guilt about their depression.

It may be easiest for them to consult a friend who has been through a similar experience. Many elderly individuals may also feel more comfortable talking about their depression to their primary care physician rather than a mental health professional.

Call David York Agency for Help

Follow our blog for more advice on how you can help an elderly loved one cope with depression, as well as information about the signs that can indicate elderly depression. Keep this in mind; elderly depression is often a result of loneliness and isolation, so call us to arrange unparalleled care and companionship.

For more information about David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers, please contact us at 718.376.7755. If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on TwitterGoogle+, or LinkedIn.

Simple Tips for Healthy Dementia Care

Healthy Dementia Care Strategies

Dementia is a difficult condition to live with, but it also affects caregivers. Caring for patients with dementia leaves many caregivers overwhelmed and exhausted. Hard to understand and often invisible to the eye, dementia makes it hard to determine whether care is effective. But, if you practice healthy dementia care, you can reduce or overcome the intrinsic challenges and provide necessary care to the patient.

Senior woman with her home caregiver. Healthy Dementia Care concept

Use Smart Communication

Communicating with dementia patients requires simple, straightforward methods. Use easy-to-understand words and suggestions, and don’t overload your loved one with a string of questions or commands. Give them time to process your words so they don’t become overwhelmed or agitated. Simple yes or no questions or one-step directions are far more helpful than complex queries or multiple-step demands.

 

Play Music

Music has a profound effect on many people with dementia, particularly if that music is familiar. Music can soothe agitation, improve mood, and reduce stress. Even people with advanced Alzheimer’s have responded to music therapy when nothing else has worked, indicating that musical memories outlast other kinds of memories.

 

Practice Self-Care

Although people with dementia are not deliberately trying to test your patience, they often end up doing so. Caring for a person with dementia requires patience, compassion, and energy. Therefore, those who care for people with dementia must take the time and effort to preserve their own health.

It’s easy to let regular exercise and proper nutrition slide, but maintaining these habits is vital. The healthier the caregiver, the healthier the patient. People with dementia need a reliable, healthy person to depend on, so don’t forget to take care of yourself.

 

Understand Aggression

Dementia can often drive sufferers to respond aggressively. Unfortunately, this aggression is often directed at those who are trying to help. In these moments, it’s important not to take the person’s anger personally. Remember, though you can’t see it, the patient is in pain. Aggression is often a result of physical discomfort, confusion, poor communication, time of day, and environmental factors.

Never respond in kind and do not ignore the aggressive behavior. Instead, try to determine the cause of the aggression. Is the person in physical discomfort? Does the aggression always happen at a certain time of day or within a certain environment? If so, is there a way to relieve pain and discomfort, alter the environment, or plan ahead by scheduling naps or eating patterns to reduce sundowning?

 

Get Help from Professional Caregivers

Caring for a person with dementia is challenging, but it does not need to be overwhelming. Keeping a few of the above tips in mind can help you face the task with confidence and help you provide the support, and the quality care your loved one needs. If you find you still have questions or would prefer to work with a professional caregiver, David York Agency is here to help.

For more information about David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers, contact us at 718.376.7755. A free phone consultation can help you decide what services might be best. We aim to provide you and your loved one with the assistance they need. If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, Google+, or LinkedIn.

Memory Club Based Socialization for Dementia Patients

Memory Based Socialization

Dealing with the dementia patient can be both heartbreaking and challenging. The February 2014 issue of JAMDA (Journal of American Medical Directors Association) highlights a very interesting approach toward supporting someone with dementia.  The article entitled “Baseball Reminiscence League: A Model for Supporting Persons with Dementia”  brings into focus groups formed around sports such as baseball and soccer.  By encouraging those with various levels of dementia to join a memory club based on a shared interest, dementia patients can talk about their earlier memories which are often much clearer to them than recent ones.  In these groups, participants share their intense interest and relate their opinions and experiences, thereby giving them the opportunity to express their feelings in a venue they rarely have in their lives anymore, a social group. Consequently, a by-product of this is a reduction in their awful feelings of isolation.

Reminiscence Therapy

This reminiscence therapy is a wonderful way to enrich the lives of seniors with dementia.  Though the data is skimpy at this point, outcomes seem to be quite positive.  Respondents reported feeling more “alert and confident and less angry, anxious, and sad” (P.88) and their family caregivers confirmed this.  This type of storytelling has many benefits for patient and caregiver alike.  The patient gets to focus on what he or she actually does know versus their memory deficiency. Furthermore, the caregivers of dementia patients who have gone through this process have reported that it helped them have “a more positive view of the residents with a greater recognition of the patients’ previous life experiences”.  This translated into more job satisfaction which surely can directly impact on the quality of caregiving.

Memory Clubs Forming

This model has been tried in different countries with various groups forming recently.  In Scotland, they formed a Football (soccer to us) Reminiscence Program and in St. Louis a Cardinals Reminiscence League was formed in 2013 by the St. Louis Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association.  Groups meet twice monthly and can even include field trips, guest speakers and movie viewings on theme.  Family members have ample opportunities to volunteer. Luckily, they can facilitate with minimal training.

Memory clubs have great potential for national replication across hundreds if not thousands of locales nationally. Also, they can be adapted to many different hobbies for themes.  As well, web resources are available. Fortunately, this is a very low budget scheme for enriching the lives of our older generation.  Of course, anything that could help improve the life of senior and their caregivers that is implementable in both day care and institutional setting is certainly well worth the effort.

David York Agency Caregivers

David York Agency caregivers are well-versed in all forms of dementia care. For more information about David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers, contact us at 718.376.7755. A free phone consultation can help you decide what services might be best. We aim to provide you and your loved one with the assistance they need. If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, Google+, or LinkedIn.

Preventing, Treating, and Living With Dementia

As people age, certain health concerns become more prevalent. People start to become afflicted with heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. Another concern is preventing, treating, and living with dementia.

Young woman kissing her old grandmother in the park. Living with dementia concept

Dementia is a scary topic, and we’re sure you have questions. Here’s a quick guide to everything you need to know.

Is It Possible To Prevent Dementia?

There are several types of dementia, so there is no one way to prevent it. Additionally, researchers are still learning how it develops and how to treat it.

Common risk factors have been identified. As such, avoiding these risk factors and leading a healthy lifestyle is a great way to lower your chances of developing dementia.

Common factors include age, genetics, level of education, and lifestyle. While you can’t avoid aging and have no control over your genetics, you do have control over your lifestyle.

Tips That Could Prevent Dementia

A healthy, regulated diet and regular exercise are once again the recommended preventative treatment. Try eating foods that are rich in nutrients and low in sugar, salt, and unhealthy fats. Your diet should consist primarily of vegetables and lean meats.

Regular exercise doesn’t just keep you at a healthy weight, increase energy and flexibility; it also protects your brain. Whether you elect to take a walk around the park, participate in a senior water aerobics class, or join a Silver Sneakers program, exercise of any kind keeps your mind and body active.

Avoid Isolation, Smoking, and Drinking

These are perhaps the most common coinciding factors in dementia patients. Older adults who isolate themselves and don’t engage in stimulating social activities are at a higher risk. Additionally, cigarette smoking and alcohol consumption are risk factors that have other consequences such as heart disease, cancer, and liver disease. It’s never too late to quit smoking, and cutting back or cutting out alcohol is better for brain health and heart health.

Treating Dementia

While there is no cure for most types of dementia, the condition’s progress can be slowed, and various treatments can improve quality of life for those diagnosed.

Again, lifestyle is crucial. A healthy diet, lots of exercise, and stimulating activities are vital. There are also a variety of therapies and strategies that can help retain memory as well as stave off depression and anxiety.

Many of the treatments for dementia (especially in the early stages) do not involve medication. However, there are medications available for mid and late stage dementia.

Living With Dementia

It’s important to have a good support system. Quality caregivers are vital to patients living with dementia. Routines, strategies, and communication are important for their health, safety, and well-being.

For more information about David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers, please contact us at 718.376.7755. If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on TwitterGoogle+, or LinkedIn.