Managing Long-Distance Caregiving

Taking care of ill or elderly relatives is a complicated and stressful situation. That stress is compounded in the case of long-distance caregiving. As more and more adult children care for their elderly parents, this issue is becoming more common.

Health visitor with smartphone and a senior man during home visit. A female nurse or a doctor making a phone call. long-distance caregiving concept

According to a survey conducted by the MetLife Mature Market Institute and the National Alliance for Caregiving, long-distance caregivers experience negative impacts on their time, finances, and work schedules. Despite this, over half of these caregivers see their loved ones at least a few times a month, and over 75% help with basic services such as shopping, cooking, and transportation, spending 22 hours on these aspects of caregiving alone.

If you are managing long-distance care, here are a few things to keep in mind.

 

Recognize the Added Strain

Caregiving can cause major stress. Compounding this stress with the addition of travel, finances, and schedule increases the load for the long-distance caregiver. It is important to ensure that caregivers, as well as the patient, have the support they need.

In order to receive this support, the long-distance caregiver must acknowledge their added stress. Once the problem is recognized, steps can be taken to help relieve the pressure. Consider support groups, in person or online. These meetings can be an important source of comfort. Regular, healthy meals and exercise can also help reduce stress levels.

Remember: you can only care for others if you care for yourself first.

 

Gather Information

When medical emergencies arise, it’s important to have all the information you’ll need. Make copies of insurance documents and medical information, including medications and doctors’ orders and phone numbers. Keep these documents handy, so you don’t have to find them during stressful moments.

One important document to have is a durable medical power of attorney. This is particularly important if there are multiple siblings or you are taking care of an in-law. It is extremely important to clarify your right to make medical decisions if the patient is unable to do so.

DYA has handy publications for organizing you essential documents on our website.

 

Keep Communication Open

When possible, it’s a good idea to attend doctor’s appointments with the patient. They may not remember everything the doctor says or feel comfortable talking about the visit. If you can be there to hear the doctor’s orders and keep notes, it can help you see that the patient is getting what they need.

According to the Mayo Clinic, it’s important to keep lines of communication open. Some of the things they recommend are:

  • Speak with your loved one’s healthcare providers. A release signed by your loved one will allow their doctors to talk to you about their treatment. See if you can set up conference calls or log into their online medical records to stay fully informed.
  • Get support from friends. People who live nearby can check in on your loved one. Having a few people look in periodically can give you insight on how they are doing.
  • Consider hiring help. Someone to help with tasks such as meals and bathing can ease the burden on both of you.
  • Prepare for emergencies. Save time and money in case there is a crisis. Look into the Family and Medical Leave Act, which can provide you with unpaid time off with no threat to your job.

 

Maintain Your Relationship

Finally, remember to spend time visiting. It is easy to become overwhelmed by the tasks of caregiving and forget the relationship. Try to set time aside for sitting and talking, or doing an activity you enjoy together, such as taking a walk. The reason you are doing this monumental task is that you care so much about this person. Remembering that can ease the strain on both of you.

 

There are many difficult choices to make when taking care of a loved one. Living far away complicates those decisions. If David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers can help you in this process, please contact us online or by phone at 718.376.7755. A free phone consultation can help you decide how to provide your loved ones 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.

Exercise Can Delay Dementia

What is Dementia?

Dementia is a type of cognitive decline characterized by memory loss, communication difficulties, and impaired thinking. Dementia is a growing concern for aging populations. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 47 million people have dementia worldwide. WHO also estimates 75 million people will be affected by dementia by 2030. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, an estimated 60 to 80 percent of patients suffering from dementia also have Alzheimer’s disease.

Dementia is not a normal part of the aging process, and signals damage to the brain. Doctors have long advocated a healthy lifestyle to reduce the risk of dementia. A new study finds that exercise may also play a vital role in helping to delay dementia.

Group Of Seniors Enjoying Dancing Club Together

 

Study Results

Results of this ground-breaking study were published in the September 2017 issue of Scientific Reports. The study found that mice who ran on a wheel for one week had more new neurons in their brains than those of mice who did not run. Neurons are brain cells that transmit information to other parts of the body and provide direction.

Since dementia patients have damaged neurons, the creation of healthy neurons through exercise is a fantastic find. Researchers surmise that exercise can help change brain cells in humans, protecting them from the onset of dementia as well as ensuring a higher quality of life.

 

Exercising to Delay Dementia

Though the study focused on running, there are many other ways for seniors to stay active and keep their brains healthy. Here are four types of exercise to help seniors stay mentally and physically active:

  • Aerobic exercise, or cardio, gets the heart pumping. Some examples of easy aerobic exercises for seniors include jogging, brisk walking, or dancing. Chair-based aerobic programs are also available.
  • Flexibility exercises help seniors maintain good posture and normal a range of movement. Examples of flexibility exercises include stretching and yoga.
  • Strength exercises benefit seniors’ muscles and bones. Examples of strength exercises for seniors include lifting light weights or using resistance bands.
  • Balance exercises can help seniors stay steady on their feet and prevent falls. Tai chi as well as yoga are a popular balance exercises among seniors.

When starting any exercise routine, it’s important for seniors to start out slowly and listen to their bodies. Seniors with medical conditions should also consult a doctor before beginning any type of exercise regimen. Be sure to find trainers that are specially trained to work with the elderly.

Have your trainer lay out a safe exercise plan and have it approved by your healthcare practitioners. David York Agency has a handy workbook that can help.

Exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle and it can help seniors maintain a healthy body and a healthy mind.

 

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 your loved one with the care and assistance they need. If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on TwitterGoogle+, or LinkedIn.

Determine What Type of In-Home Healthcare is Right for You

Determine What Type of In-Home Healthcare is Right for YouIf you are responsible for caring for an elderly loved one, you probably could use some help to lighten the load. But without experience in the medical industry, it’s hard to know what level of caregiver you need? In-home healthcare needs can be easily met with a little bit of research and the help of an experienced homecare professional.

Here is an easy-to-understand summary in-home healthcare roles that will help you determine your needs.

  1. A Personal Care Aide (PCA)

    provides general support but does not address any medical needs. They often assist with daily chores, bathing, preparing meals, cleaning, or just being a companion to someone who needs a friendly face to come visit on a regular basis.

  2. A Home Health Aide (HHA)

    is the next level up, and can do all of the above, and more. They take care of extra tasks like checking vital signs, or changing medical dressings. Home Health Aides have training and certification.

  3. A Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)

    has a higher level of education and provides basic medical and nursing care. They check blood pressure as well as insert catheters. An LPN also ensures the comfort of patients by assisting them to bathe or dress. They discuss health care issues, and report the status of patients to registered nurses and doctors.

  4. A Registered Nurse (RN)

    is the highest level of medical professionals typically available for home care.  They usually oversee the treatment plan and administration of medication. An RN can keep an eye on medical test results and handle most of the higher-level medical needs of a patient.

While the terms can be confusing, an experienced agency can work with you to determine your needs. With a consultation, an expert in patient services can ask questions and get to know your situation so the right recommendation is made for both the patient and the family members in need of support. Questions such as procedures, fees, and insurance payments are also covered during this initial discussion.

If you have a loved one in the New York City area who is in need of in-home nursing care, contact us. We can help determine the best course of action and provide any of the above support staff to help your loved one age in place.

 

Benefits of Aging in Place by: Max Gottlieb

aging in place
Aging In Place

As seniors age, they and their families are faced with the difficult question of how to provide the best care. The necessary level of care depends on the situation, but aging in place is becoming more feasible due to a combination of factors. There are constant medical advancements, people are living healthier lifestyles, and people are retiring later, leaving them financially able to make the choice. Sometimes all it takes to age in place is finding a caregiver or agency you can trust.  

Familiarity

The most obvious benefit of aging in place is familiarity with one’s surroundings. Familiarity may not seem like a big deal, but aging in a familiar place can alleviate depression and disorientation that sometimes occurs in aging facilities. Also, if you have the means for you or a loved one to age in place, you can avoid the dreaded argument that frequently occurs when parents are too stubborn to leave their home. It removes the tension that occurs when older people think moving them is a sign of pushing them away. 

Keeping a Routine

Studies show that people remain healthy, both physically and emotionally, by keeping with a routine. A routine can be anything from housekeeping to yard work, or seeing neighbors and cooking. These are all forms of physical and mental exercise that patients do not receive in institutional settings. Doing small things to keep active can help reduce what is known as aging atrophy, eventually leading to a complete dependence on others. This is not to say that it’s harmful to depend on others for certain activities of daily living. Oftentimes, a loved one or a professional caregiver can help someone maintain a healthy routine.  

Safety and Health

By aging in place, seniors can control their environments. They are not forced to acclimate to an environment controlled by others. The house can be as clean as they like and they are able to decide which visitors they want to see. At facilities, residents are forced to see health care professionals, other residents, and the families of other residents. Also, a major fear, when living in close quarters with other people, is the spreading of sickness or disease and this is alleviated by remaining independent.

What Kinds of Resource are Available?

As mentioned, sometimes people need caregivers in order to age in place. Caregivers are able to offer a variety of services, including homemaking, personal care, meal preparation, and medication management just to name a few. If bathing or maintaining personal hygiene becomes troublesome, a part-time caregiver can help. Or perhaps housework, laundry, or grocery shopping have become problem areas. Some grocery and drugstores offer delivery services, but if not, a caregiver can help with these things as well. Depending upon the type of services needed, there are different types of caregivers available with different job titles.

If a caregiver is needed, it is best to talk to an agency or a care manager. A care manager is someone who is trained to plan, organize, monitor, and deliver services to an elderly person. They can be immensely useful. Aging can be a time of navigating new terrain, but aging in place can hopefully eliminate some pressure.

 

Max Gottlieb is the content manager for ALTCS and Senior Planning. Both organizations work in tandem to provide free assistance to the elderly and their families when it comes to finding care options, benefits, or senior housing.

 

Overcoming the Challenges of Adjusting to a Home Health Aide

Adjusting to a Home Health Aide

It has been said that if you have your health, you have everything. When that is no longer the case, and one is unable to care for oneself, we may need to seek outside assistance. Many elderly adults find themselves in a position that requires choosing to leave their home to become a resident in a long-term care facility, or choosing to stay at home and have in-home care.

Choosing to remain in their home comes with many advantages. In their own home, things are familiar and comfortable. They feel like they are still independent, a part of the family, not torn away from the things and people they love.

But, bringing in a home health aide means that they must open their home to a total stranger. This is someone who will become involved in the most private and intimate aspects of personal care. Seniors have to give up freedoms that we take for granted; things like bathing and toileting are no longer completely private.

However, when the right person walks through the door, someone with a warm smile and compassionate manner, it seems that everything will be alright. An experienced home health aide can take a new and sometimes awkward situation and make everyone comfortable and at ease, making the family feel confident that their loved one is receiving the type of care they would provide if they were able.

These professionals make adjusting to a home health aide no different from inviting a new friend into your home. The use of the home health aide is an invaluable tool during this time of recuperation or in end-of-life care. The right home health aide will provide either type of care with wisdom and compassion, all the while protecting the dignity of the client, even in the most intimate aspects of a client’s care.

At David York Agency, we pride ourselves on providing exceptional and highly personal home health care to the elderly and infirmed. We know how difficult the transition from an independent to dependent life can be, and we work hard to help our patients adjust as quickly and painlessly as possible.

For more information on 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.

Finding A Compassionate Caregiver: 3 Reasons Why You Don’t Need To Wait

compassionate caregivers

Many people think that they need to wait until they’re no longer able to take care of an aging loved one before they consider hiring an in-home health care provider. Fortunately, that’s not the case! There are many reasons not to postpone finding a compassionate caregiver for your loved one.

  1. Improve Relationships by Preventing Burnout

According to the Family Caregiver Alliance, primary caregivers spend upwards of 20 hours per week focusing on caregiving tasks. Over time, this can lead to burnout which can make it much more difficult to maintain positive relationships. An in-home caregiver can give primary caregivers and loved ones the chance to attend to their own personal health and wellbeing and recuperate from the stress of their caregiving responsibilities.

  1. Adapt to Changing Ability Levels

Professional caregivers are another set of eyes to help families see changes that need to be made to the home environment or care routine. Through their special training, they may also be able to implement techniques that make daily tasks safer or easier to accomplish making it much easier to maintain a loved one’s well-being in the long-run.

  1. Take Time to Find a Good Match

It’s hard to think clearly about finding a caregiver who “fits” with your family in an emergency situation or when you’re exhausted, burned out and desperate for help. Instead of waiting until your responsibilities become too much of a burden, it’s helpful to begin the process of finding an in-home caregiver early. This will give you the chance to bring the caregiver into your life gradually and on your own terms.

At David York Agency, we are committed to providing the best in-home care services. We like to consider our clients family, and it shows in the personalized, compassionate care our professionals provide. Although choosing a home health care provider can feel like a big decision, you’ll ultimately be glad that you made the choice.

For more information about David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate home caregivers, contact us at 718.376.7755. A free 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.

5 Signs You Might be Suffering from Caregiver Stress

For many caregivers, it is in their very nature to care selflessly for another, putting their own needs, feelings, and problems aside to ensure the safety and healing of their loved one or friend. But, too often, caregivers reach damaging and unhealthy levels of stress before they come to the point of reaching out for help and support. It is so important that caregivers are mindful of the signs that point to caregiver stress and that they seek the help of a friend, support groups, or a physician, before their struggles become severe.caregivers

We’ve compiled a few of the key signs that point to caregiver stress and offer ways to seek the support and assistance you need.

  1. Anger

It is important to recognize if you are feeling anger toward your ill loved one or others who don’t seem to understand what you’re going through.  Resentment toward those whom you are caring for, can lead to damaged relationships, self-neglect, and further stress. You might consider enlisting the help of a home health aide who can release you from some of the burden of caregiving. You may also want to find a support group in your area for individuals experiencing similar situations.

  1. Denial

This is a tricky one. While it’s important to remain optimistic, positive, and hopeful, it is damaging to live in denial of the severity or progression of your loved one’s illness. It’s important to keep a realistic view of the situation at hand, in order to prepare for the next steps and provide appropriate care for yourself and your loved one. Denial might make the short term easier to deal with, but may be detrimental in the long run preventing you from seeking appropriate care and do proper planning.  

  1. Isolation

Do you find yourself making excuses to not attend social gatherings, meet a friend for coffee, or even leave the house for a walk? These are signs of caregiver stress and can lead to depression. Keeping active socially and physically reduces stress and provides an outlet for the rollercoaster of feelings that come with caregiving. Keep in contact with friends, neighbors and relatives. Join a walking group or regularly attend a group class at the gym. Social interaction and physical activity are essential to keeping a healthy mind and body.

  1. Depression

Feelings of hopelessness, sadness, fear and worry should not be taken lightly. Depression is a medical condition and affects a person both physically and mentally. Seek medical attention if feelings of hopelessness, sadness, or loss of interest in activities previously enjoyed persist for longer than two weeks. Seek immediate medical attention if thoughts of hurting oneself or others are present. Medication may be needed to lift the fog.  However, care must be taken to avoid what has become all too common – prescription drug abuse. Talk therapy with a social worker or psychologist can help you work through the unique challenges one feels as a caregiver.

  1. Exhaustion

Fatigue is your body and mind’s way of letting you know that you are not taking care of yourself. Are you living on caffeine, falling further and further behind on routine tasks, forgetting appointments or never feeling fully rested? Take note. Maintaining a healthy diet and quality sleep patterns are paramount for your body and mind to stay sharp, functioning, and healthy. Again, it is important to reflect from time to time on internal cues telling you the load is too heavy. If there seems to be no time for self-care, performing daily tasks, or maintaining social relationships, consider seeking outside help to share the responsibilities of caregiving. It is important for the care of your loved one that you are capable of making sound decisions and can perform care tasks accurately and effectively.

To find support groups, visit the websites of national organizations to find a group that meets near you. There are many organizations serving the elderly and catering to the various diseases common to them.  Also, talk to your doctor about your symptoms and seek specialized care as directed.

To learn about the possibilities of acquiring outside assistance through a home health aide or nurse, please contact us. We can help you understand your options for in-home care and assistance. Most importantly, don’t take these signs lightly. Your health – physically and mentally – is important to your ability to provide the best care possible for your loved one.

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

Lewy Body Dementia: Know the Facts

Lewy Body Dementia

Imagine an illness that causes your loved one to lose control of their movements and balance, devastates their cognitive functions, and eventually, causes them to vividly hallucinate. Their memory becomes foggy, and everyday activities, such as eating, dressing, and even using the toilet, become an hourly challenge. Nighttime brings no relief, as your mother, father, or spouse cries out and gestures wildly in their sleep in the wee hours of the morning.

These are the hallmarks of a disease known as Lewy Body Dementia (LBD). According to a recently published article on Lewy Body Dementia, this disease affects “somewhere around 1.3 million Americans” and is “the second most common form of dementia (after Alzheimer’s disease).”

What to Know About Lewy Body Dementia

The article lists facts about this serious, but often overlooked, disease that affects millions. Here’s what you need to know:

Lewy Body Dementia is:

  • Difficult to diagnose. A true diagnosis can only be made post-mortem, through a brain biopsy.
  • A form of dementia, LBD is related to Parkinson’s Disease Dementia and Alzheimer’s Dementia. Symptoms include: memory and cognitive impairment, sleep disturbances, balance and gait changes, tremors, confusion and physical symptoms, such as blood pressure fluctuations, constipation and fainting spells.
  • Highly unpredictable. Symptoms affect every person differently and don’t follow stages or patterns in their progression, as some other dementias do.
  • Has no known cure. Though some medications can help manage certain symptoms, there are no medications shown to halt or stop the progression of LBD. Certain medications can even cause adverse reactions in people with LBD, so timely diagnosis and skilled medication administration are very important in the management of this disease.

Lewy Body Dementia is not:

  • It is not a normal part of the aging process.
  • Though it is often difficult to differentiate a diagnosis, it is not the same as Parkinson’s disease. If a person develops dementia within a year of their Parkinson’s diagnosis, they are generally thought to have LBD. Symptoms LBD shares with Parkinson’s include: shuffling gait, balance issues, and tremors.
  • It is not the same as Alzheimer’s Dementia (AD). Those with AD usually experience a worsening of cognitive and behavioral symptoms in the evenings, known as “sundowning.” LBD is much less predictable; dementia symptoms may worsen or lessen at any time, for any reason.

Lewy Body Dementia and Home Care

Lewy Body Dementia is a unique illness with unique challenges. It is a round-the-clock illness that puts serious strain on caregivers, especially as the disease progresses. It presents several challenges related to its variety of symptoms. Astute caregivers can help ease the situation for both the patient and family.  

  • High Fall Risks: As with other dementias, people with LBD have a high risk for falls, due to altered gait and balance, poor memory, and musculoskeletal decline. Home health aides can assist with activities, such as bathing, dressing, and other tasks around the home. A nurse or a social worker can perform an environmental assessment of your home to help reduce the risk of falls.
  • Medication Complications: A nurse can assist with medication management and administration, including monitoring medications that could potentially be dangerous for the LBD patient.
  • Caregiver Support: As LBD progresses, your loved one will likely suffer from delusions, hallucinations, memory problems, cognitive impairments and sleep issues. An extra set of hands during the day and an extra set of eyes at night can provide much-needed rest and peace of mind to a devoted and weary caregiver.

At the David York Agency, we understand how difficult and life-changing an LBD diagnosis can be. You do not have to be alone in your efforts to give your loved one the best care possible. Our experienced healthcare professionals are highly-trained and capable of providing the extra support and attention that a Lewy Body Dementia patient requires.

For more information about David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers, contact us at 718.376.7755. A free 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.

5 Risk Factors for Stroke

A stroke can be a horribly devastating occurrence that affects not just the victim involved, but their entire family. A stroke occurs when the flow of blood to part of the brain is blocked, resulting in a lack of oxygen to brain cells. Without oxygen, the brain cells will start to die.

risk factors for strokeSymptoms of a stroke include weakness that comes on suddenly, inability to move arms or legs, numbness of the face, difficulty speaking, and difficulty seeing. A stroke can cause brain damage or death and, therefore, is a serious medical condition. Emergency treatment is required.

However, just as important as knowing the symptoms of a stroke is knowing the risk factors that can cause a stroke. Numerous risk factors for stroke have been identified by the medical community. The more risk factors a person has the more likely they are to have a stroke. Some of these risk factors cannot be controlled, but others can be minimized. Risk factors that are not able to be treated include:

  • Age – Strokes are most common among those 55 and older.
  • Heredity – Risk of stroke is higher if a family member has had a stroke.
  • Gender – Women are more likely to die from strokes than men.

The factors that patients can influence through changes in diet, habit, and/or medication include the following.

1. Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is known to be the leading cause of stroke. Blood pressure is considered high if it is 140/90 mmHg or above. Many effective blood pressure medications are available to help patients reduce their blood pressure and, therefore, reduce the risk of stroke. In addition, reducing sodium intake is known to decrease blood pressure.

2. Smoking

Over the years, studies have shown a link between cigarette smoking and an increased risk of stroke. Blood vessels are damaged by smoking. Quitting smoking is one effective way to reduce the risk of stroke.

3. Obesity and Diabetes

People who are overweight and those with diabetes are more likely to have a stroke. Losing weight can help with both diabetes and stroke risk. Reducing calorie intake and eating a diet with five or more servings of fruits and vegetables will aid in achieving these goals.

4. Cholesterol

A diet high in saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol all contribute to high blood cholesterol levels. Again, changing diet will be effective in reducing the likelihood of a stroke.

5. Inactivity

The medical community recommends people get at least 30 minutes of activity most days of the week. Small changes, such as taking a walk, can make a big difference and reduce the risk of stroke.

Life After a Stroke

Although a full recovery after a stroke is possible, in many cases, full recovery takes a considerable amount of time. Some people end up with lifelong disabilities, and many stroke patients require home care. Here are some of the issues that stroke patients face on their road to recovery.

  • Difficulty communicating due to language, speech and memory issues
  • Paralysis or muscle weakness on one side of the body, resulting in a higher risk of falling
  • Trouble with daily activities such as dressing, eating, and personal hygiene
  • Bladder and bowel issues
  • Emotional struggles, such as changes in behavior

At the David York Agency, we understand how difficult and life-changing a stroke can be. The road to recovery is often a long and strenuous one, and it is necessary to have all the support and help you can get along the way. Our experienced healthcare professionals are highly-trained and capable of giving your loved one the care and attention they need following a stroke.

For more information on David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers, contact us at 718.376.7755. A free 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. For additional information about stroke risks or about arranging care for a loved one who has suffered a stroke, contact us today.

 

Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) and Your Loved One

As we age, it is common, and even normal, for us to lose some of our mental agility. However, it is important to know the difference between normal aging and more serious signs of cognitive deterioration. Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) is a problem that faces many aging adults, yet is often overlooked as just another part of getting old. This is largely due to the fact that MCI’s effects are less noticeable than Alzheimer’s or dementia. However, MCI can still have an impact on the quality of life of your loved one and puts them at a higher risk of developing a more serious cognitive disorder down the road. Maybe your loved one has been diagnosed, but you’re unsure about what you can do to help them. You may be wondering exactly what MCI is, what it’s treatments are, and what steps you can take to ensure the continued health and safety of your aging loved one.

What is MCI?

MCiMild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) is defined by the Alzheimer’s Association as a condition which “causes a slight but noticeable and measurable decline in cognitive abilities, including memory and thinking skills.” This condition causes cognitive changes. However, these changes are not serious enough to interfere with daily life, and therefore, these changes do not meet the diagnostic requirements for dementia. It is important to note that a person with MCI is at an increased risk for developing some form of dementia. However, according to the Alzheimer’s Association, some with MCI do not get worse and could even improve their condition.

There are two types of MCI.

  • Amnestic MCI is classified as primarily affecting memory. A person with this type of MCI would begin to forget things like appointments, recent events, and phone numbers or addresses.
  • Nonamnestic MCI is classified as primarily affecting thinking skills including the ability to make sound decisions, completing multi-step tasks, and visual perception.

Mild Cognitive Impairment is a clinical diagnosis determined after a full medical evaluation has been completed, although there are no standard tests or procedures for this diagnosis. The diagnosis would be based on the doctor’s professional judgement about the person’s symptoms and medical history.

It is not yet clear what the causes of MCI are, although it is believed to be caused by changes in the brain — similar to the early stages of dementia.

How can MCI be treated?

There are currently no medications approved by the FDA to treat MCI. However, if you or a loved one has been diagnosed with MCI or is exhibiting some or all of the symptoms, there are some positive steps that can be taken to improve the condition and the quality of life of the individual.

  • Perform regular exercise to improve circulation and promote nourishment of the brain.
  • Manage cardiovascular risk factors such as diet and lifestyle choices (alcohol intake, sleep schedule, stress levels, etc.).
  • Participate in mentally and socially stimulating activities such as board games, puzzles, reading, and conversing with friends and family

What can I do?

Helping a loved one with MCI can be as simple as visiting with them and playing a game of cards, taking them out for a walk around the neighborhood, or driving them to a social outing with friends. You should also encourage your loved one to eat a heart-healthy diet that is low in fats and rich in fruits, vegetables, and omega-3 fatty acids (found in fish).

If you believe that your loved one would benefit from these activities, but you or other family members aren’t able to assist them (due to work schedules or geographical constraints), you may want to consider employing a compassionate caregiver to assist them part or full-time. A home healthcare professional can provide help completing day-to-day chores around the house, assist with personal hygiene, transport your loved one to appointments or social engagements, or simply keep them company throughout the day.

At the David York Agency, we offer highly-personalized home health care services to assist you and your family with the care of an aging loved one. Our experienced healthcare professionals are highly-trained and capable of giving your loved one the care and attention they need to lead a happy and healthy life. Many of the families we serve come to see our providers as family members, as they quickly become integrated into the everyday lives of the household.

For more information on David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers, contact us at 718.376.7755. A free consultation can help you decide what services might be best to help you and your loved ones. If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, Google+ or LinkedIn. For any additional questions about home health care options for your loved one, please contact us.