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.

Caring for Dementia Patients and Preventing Decline

Dementia is more than a disease. Rather, dementia is compiled of a series of symptoms that signal a decline in mental and cognitive health. Caring for dementia patients takes compassion, patience, and, above all, understanding. Let’s delve into the roots of dementia as well as how to care for dementia patients and help them prevent further decline.

Dementia and Occupational Therapy - Home caregiver and senior adult woman

About Dementia

The main result of dementia is brain cell death which is caused by several symptoms and diseases. Dementia results in a state of general mental difficulty. Patients who suffer from dementia commonly find it difficult to accomplish daily activities without help, making them candidates for assisted living.

Dementia is incurable. Alzheimer’s is one of the most common and devastating forms of dementia. However, some prescription drugs can help alleviate and improve symptoms, temporarily. There are also some non-drug approaches that have been used to treat Alzheimer’s. These “therapies” can be useful in controlling the patient’s behavioral and physical symptoms.

 

Caring for Dementia Patients

If you find yourself taking care of a person with dementia, there are several things to keep in mind:

  • Remember to set a positive mood
  • Make sure to get the patient’s attention to avoid startling them
  • Ask questions that are clear and easy to answer
  • Learn how to distract from or change subjects in order to keep the patient from emotionally troubling topics

If your loved one is suffering from dementia, the best thing you can offer is your company and positive energy. When caring for dementia patients, communication through body language and tone of voice is of high value. For example, adopting a calm, pleasant tone while speaking simply and clearly can help them remain at ease.

 

Preventing Dementia & Decline

Some of the best ways to avoid dementia include:

  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Keeping your body and mind active
  • No smoking
  • Checking up with your doctor to make sure everything is functioning properly
  • Maintaining a healthy weight

 

David York Agency’s Professionals Can 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.

5 Easy Places to Visit with Your Caregiver

If there’s one thing seniors cherish, it’s driving. Today’s seniors lived through the age of cheap gasoline and enjoyed road trips. Driving holds a strong positive association with our senior population and losing the ability to drive is correlated with senior depression. Giving up your keys doesn’t mean you have to stay at home. Mobility is still possible by traveling with your caregiver.

If you’re sick of doing crossword puzzles at home, talk to your caregiver about going out instead. Traveling with your caregiver goes well beyond errands and doctor’s appointments. Traveling with your caregiver is a great way to get out and about while still receiving the care you need. If you love the freedom of driving on your own schedule, an in-home caregiver can help!

In many cases, caregivers related to the patient can drive their elderly relative around for a change of scenery and to get some fresh air. If that is not an easy option, there are many transportation services such as access-a-ride which is subsidized and private services like Uber and Lyft which are easy, affordable options.

Let’s take a look at some places you and your caregiver can visit. Elderly and family at a church service

Visiting Your Relatives

When you stop driving, it becomes more difficult to see your relatives without relying on them to visit you. However, talk to your caregiver. If you enjoy visiting nearby friends and relations, your caregiver can accompany you. Once you have planned a time that works for everyone, you and your caregiver can make all the arrangements. You can even ask them to help you bake a little gift to bring along.

Meeting Friends in the Senior Center

Senior centers have been an integral part of any senior communities for many decades. These large halls provide plenty of room for events, catered lunches, and card games. Whether you’re there for a special occasion, meeting a group of friends, or want to spend some time with people your own age, there’s plenty for you and your caregiver to do at a senior center.

Attend Church or Community Activities

Many seniors are deeply involved in their communities and churches. The loss of mobility does not need to affect this involvement! Your caregiver can help you reclaim these activities and volunteer opportunities. Plan with your caregiver to ensure that the events you want to attend are within your daily schedule.

Join a Club or Class

One of the best ways to keep your mind active is to continue learning. Pick up a hobby that keeps your mind, and hands occupied. Hobby classes and craft classes are readily available at senior centers and throughout the community. Build birdhouses, knit a sweater, or learn the art of scrapbooking! There’s a wide range of crafts in which to participate, and your caregiver can easily shuttle you to and from classes.

Enjoy a Drive

Finally, there is a simple joy in “taking a drive.” Now that you’re the passenger, you have the freedom to look out any window you please. Ask your caregiver if she’s amenable to a relaxing country drive and engage in some leisurely recreational driving. Enjoy a quiet opportunity to listen to the radio, talk, or enjoy the view.

Professional Caregiving From David York Agency

Just because you don’t drive anymore doesn’t mean you have to stop going out. Just because you shouldn’t be behind the wheel doesn’t mean you have to give up on the freedom of travel. Escorting you is one of the core services of senior caregiving, and your caregiver should be glad to help you stay active and engaged in your community with a few car trips.

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. Our aim is 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.

 

Tips for Traveling with Dementia

traveling with dementia

Traveling, like other changes in routine, can be highly stressful for a senior with dementia. However, if your parent is in the early stages of dementia, an enjoyable getaway might still be possible. Here’s what you need to know about traveling with dementia.

 

Planning for Your Trip

  • Be sure to bring copies of important documents with you. Both you and your elderly loved one should have a copy of their identification. Similarly, you both should carry copies of doctor’s contact information, medication list, insurance information, and food and drug allergies.

 

  • Prepare your hosts. If you’ll be staying with family or friends, let them know of any changes that have occurred since the last time they saw your senior. Tell them how they can help you during your stay and how they can put their guest at ease. If you’ll be staying at a hotel, speak to the staff about any needs you might have. Inform them privately about your senior’s condition and ask them to let you know if they see him or her walking around without you.

 

  • Consider bringing someone else with you. Your elderly loved one will likely require a fair amount of attention and care. Bringing another person can help ease the stress and let you concentrate on other details of the trip.

 

  • Be patient, adaptable, and realistic. Things won’t go perfectly. Remembering that will help you to be less frustrated when problems do arise.

 

  • Have fun! While traveling with a loved one with dementia comes with its complications, it doesn’t mean you and your family can’t enjoy the trip and relish the quality time together.

 

If you come to the conclusion that your loved one is simply unable to travel, have you thought about getting a healthcare professional to care for them while you’re away? Please contact us today for information about our home healthcare services.

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 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.

Vitamin D is Important for Senior Health

Vitamin D is Still an Important Factor Regarding Senior Health

When you are involved in elderly caregiving in NY and Long Island, it’s important to remember that Vitamin D is important for senior health. The recommended amount of vitamin D for senior citizens over the age of 71 is 800 IU a day, but a simple blood test can determine if you are taking in the correct amount for your age group.

Vitamin D is a natural vitamin that the body produces in response to sunlight. Vitamin D allows the body to absorb calcium, which is important for healthy, strong bones. Unfortunately, too many elderly men and women are not getting enough vitamin D, which can lead to high blood pressure, brittle bones and autoimmune disorders.

Not Just Sun- Getting Vitamin D for Senior Health Inside

Lots of people believe they get enough Vitamin D from natural sunshine. However, elderly men and women are often deficient due to an inability to get outside. Whether because of weather limitations or limited mobility, seniors don’t necessarily have the same outdoor access as their younger counterparts.

Spending an hour or so a day in the sun is the first step, but when that isn’t an option it’s extremely easy to get the amount that you need by eating the right types of foods. Many are already fortified with this vitamin, such as milk, certain dairy products and cereals. Tuna, cheese, egg yolks, tofu and pork are just a few more vitamin D enriched foods. Supplements are also a great source of vitamin D.

Lower Health Risks to Seniors

Seniors who regularly take vitamin D will lower their risk for osteoporosis, diabetes and cardiovascular problems. Vitamin D is important for senior health, fortifying bones and offering protection in the event of an elderly fall. Your caregiver can remind you to take your vitamin D, ensuring you stay on track. For more information concerning elderly caregiving in Long Island, NY, please contact us today.

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 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.

Ride-Sharing For Seniors: Motivator For Technology Adoption

One of the sad facts of aging is that people lose the ability to safely operate a motor vehicle. This is largely due to deteriorating vision along with other health-related issues. Telling an aging loved one that he or she can no longer drive can be painful for all concerned (see our previous post Don’t Take Away My Car Keys, Yet!). Though it is a matter of safety it is also a matter of freedom. But ride-sharing for seniors offers freedom and safety at the touch of a button.

An elderly woman is smiling as she enters through the front passenger door of a car. Uber ride-sharing for seniors concept

Ride-Sharing For Seniors

The loss of mobility has been an unavoidable part of aging since the dawn of the automobile. Until recently, many elderly people depended on rides from friends, relatives 0r other community organizations (see our previous post No More Car for Dad or Mom, Now What?). However, technology is changing this old expectation. Ride-sharing services are now available in many communities, offering a cheap, easy, and reliable option for local travel. Offered by companies such as Uber and Lyft, ride-sharing is a convenient way for seniors to get around.

Ride-sharing for seniors ensures that your loved ones are not completely homebound or dependent upon others for rides. This option can also help lessen the blow of having to take away your loved one’s car keys. Thanks to ride-sharing services, the elderly no longer have to endure the loss of mobility that comes with age.

 

Teaching the Technology

Teaching your loved ones to use ride-sharing apps may be a necessary step to ensure their independence. Luckily, these applications they are simple enough for anyone to pick up with a few lessons. Also, they have the added benefit of concretely introducing technology to seniors and act as motivators for their adoption. Both libraries and senior centers offer technology classes to seniors, providing an excellent resource in this area. Additionally, home healthcare workers can help guide seniors through the ins and outs of the technology. With a little time and patience, you can get your elderly parent on the road in safety.

 

David York Can Help

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 Mothers Day!

Through All the Ages & All the Stages, Mother is Always There!

Happy Mothers Day

Happy Mothers Day!

With Mother’s Day approaching and May being Older Americans Month, I was thinking once again about caregivers at the beginning and at the end of life, for those young and old. Caring for aging loved ones was never an easy prospect. However, in the past, families lived in multi-generational households and together they shared the burden of their sick and elderly. Today, families are scattered and the roles and responsibilities have changed. Of course, there is the basic care of clothing, feeding, bathing, and making sure they are in a safe environment. Additionally, there is juggling the errands such as grocery shopping, pharmacy trips, and laundry – all must-haves as well.Mothers Day Poem

David York Agency can ease the burden with 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. We are here to help!