In home care, a question I often get is how to care for someone with Alzheimer’s who asks the same questions over and over again. To better understand and manage what’s going on, it helps to first know a bit on Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia that affects memory, thinking, and behavior. It’s a progressive disease, where brain cells deteriorate and eventually a person can’t make sense of the world. When short term memory is affected, it can lead to repetitive behaviors, like stating or asking about the same things over and over. In essence, your loved one can’t recall having already asked a question because of their memory loss. A person with Alzheimer’s may be unsure of what’s around them, where they are, the passage of time, or recognizing anyone. All together it’s very unsettling, and a source of discomfort for them. Understanding how they feel, or describing their own feelings and needs, can also be lost in a person with Alzheimer’s disease.
Technology is ever-advancing these days with information on new devices everywhere. For early adopters this is seen as helpful and even normal. However, for some seniors, adapting to new devices can be challenging due to physical limitations. Vision loss is one of the more common problems experienced, as is Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) that typically affects older adults.
Throughout our youth, most of us will experience muscle growth up until the age of 30. Thereafter, we begin to lose some muscle mass, strength and performance. This steady decline is called sarcopenia and is the “use it or lose” part of the natural aging process. It often goes unnoticed in our earlier years, as we have more muscle than needed to perform everyday tasks like standing or getting out of bed.
We have a gem with us. In 2017, we introduced her as Ruby, our furry four-legged caregiver and therapy dog. Since then, we’ve received much interest about her and pet therapy, aka, Animal Assisted Therapy.
As home healthcare providers, we’re often asked if a senior can live alone at home. While each situation is different, seniors who are alone can have additional risks that affect their health and well-being.
In 2016, the Administration on Aging reported 29 percent, or 13.3 million older adults age 65 and over, lived alone at home. Many seniors living alone experienced loneliness, social isolation and declining health, requiring more care from other persons. Despite these outcomes, nearly 90 percent of older adults still preferred to maintain their independence for as long as possible.