Caring For Someone With Dementia

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, dementia is a general term for any decline in mental ability that is severe enough to interfere with day-to-day-life. Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, but the term can include issues as simple as memory loss, too. The World Health Organization reports that 47.5 million people around the world are currently living with dementia, and that number is expected to more than triple by the year 2050. No matter how severe the case of dementia, living with it can pose a challenge. If you have a loved one with dementia, it’s important that you are prepared. We’ve put together a little guidance on how caring for someone with dementia will help your loved ones feel cared for.

Be Understanding

It can be difficult, but being understanding toward a loved one with dementia is vital. Chances are that your mom or dad will not be able to do all the things he or she once did. Perhaps you will have to remind him or her of simple things like birthdays or even your name. Be patient and understanding. Your loved one does not want to be a burden to you, so do your best to make sure she does not feel as if she is. If you find yourself getting tense, or you have trouble seeing things from your mom or dad’s perspective, take a break and let someone else take over for a while so your emotions don’t get out of control.

Learn to Communicate

Communicating with someone who has dementia is not always easy. You may not be able to sit down and chat with mom or dad in the same way as you did before she or he started showing dementia symptoms. While you will learn best through experience, we’ve put together a few tips that can make communication a bit easier.

  • Set a Positive Mood – Your feelings and body language are very important in improving communication. Do everything you can to make the overall mood a positive one. A positive, encouraging atmosphere will help your mom or dad feel more positive about the interactions that occur.
  • Remove Distractions – It can be extra difficult for your mom or dad to communicate if distractions are all around. Turn off the television or radio and make communication the primary goal.
  • Keep It Simple – Reduce your reliance on jokes, sarcasm, slang and even pronouns. Make your statements simple and straight to the point. The same is true when asking questions — simple “yes” or “no” questions are best.
  • Distract and Redirect (When Necessary) – If the conversation begins to take a negative turn, don’t be afraid to turn the conversation into something new. It may be time to change the subject.
  • Reminisce – While your loved one may not always have perfect recall, chances are that reminiscing about the “good ole days” will be appreciated.

Take Care of Yourself Too

Whether you are the primary caregiver, or you are pitching in to help out a little here and there, it is important that you do not get burned out or overwhelmed. Make time to take care of yourself, too. Get a massage, check out the latest movie, or treat yourself to a gourmet latte. The key is to relax and let your mind recover so that you can be at your best to help your loved one when you get back to work.

Remember that when you are working with a loved one with dementia, you are not alone. Help is out there for you and your family; you simply have to ask for it. In many cases, a loved one with dementia may need additional assistance or even full-time care, such as a memory care community or a senior care home. CareChoice LLC offers free one-on-one help in finding the right senior care option for your loved one — including memory care. Check out our website for additional information, or call us at (404) 402-1499 to learn more. We are always here to help you and your family.

Assisted Living Facilities: How Far is Too Far?

Deciding when your mom or dad is ready for assisted living is not an easy decision. In many cases, it often comes after a fall or other tragic incident and made in a short time period.

It is so important that the choice to look at assisted living facilities is a family decision. The next big choice is determining what location is ideal.

While exceptions do exist, two choices that many people have to decide between are choosing a community near their parents’ home or choosing one close to their own homes. We have put together the pros and cons of both options—to give you some guidance in this matter.

A Facility Near Your Parents’ Home

The biggest benefit to this option is that the transition may be less stressful for your mom or dad. After all, he or she may be able to go to the same church, shop at the same stores, and visit the same doctor as before transitioning to assisted living. Familiarity is especially beneficial for Alzheimer’s and Dementia care residents.

Being close by, the move itself may be more affordable. Your mom or dad will likely get plenty of visitors, too! The Harvard School of Public Health Study stated that seniors who have an active social life may be less likely to experience memory loss.

However, choosing an assisted living facility near mom or dad’s home can be less convenient for family who may live further away. Staying connected is often key to a successful transition.

A Facility Near Your Own Home

On the other hand, choosing a facility near your house, can be a good option in some cases. Your parents will love being nearby and it will be easier to include Mom or Dad.

One possible downside to moving your parents near you is that it can make the transition even more complex. If your parents live far from you, chances are that your mom or dad may not know many people in the area. The feeling of “starting over” completely makes the idea of moving to an assisted living facility even more stressful.

If you have brothers or sisters,  deciding on a community can be even more complex. While every sibling may not be available to take an active role, it is important to remain on the same page. Use these 4 tips to work together as a family.

›Get together: Don’t try to make this decision via email or phone. Get the family together and discuss it in person.

›Think About Logistics: While you may be tempted to want the parent nearby, it doesn’t always make sense. Think about keeping mom or dad in a familiar space or at least near the child who will be best able to serve the needs of the parents.

›Consider Cost:Assisted living costs can vary from one place to another. This can be a determining factor.

›Remember Mom or Dad: At the end of the day, the idea is to make mom or dad happy. Don’t let you and your siblings’ desires get in the way of keeping your parents happy.

Your family will certainly want to come together to make the choice of assisted living for your parents.While deciding on location is often the first biggest choice to choose, the next big step is determining which community can accommodate the appropriate care needed.

A senior care advisor is someone who knows about assisted living in Atlanta and can provide unbiased advice. If you reach out to us at CareChoice, we can help guide you to the appropriate community for your loved one’s care in the area you wish! If you would like to chat with one of our experts, call us at (404) 402-1499, or visit us online at, ourcarechoice.com

Five Quick Ways to Combat Caregiver Burnout  

Serving as a caregiver for your mom, dad, grandparents or other loved one can be both highly rewarding and immensely challenging. In many ways, it can be like a full-time job—without benefits! However, there is no better feeling than knowing you can pitch in and care for someone who gave their all to help you too. While it can be easy to get stressed from the caregiving process, if you take a few precautions, this will be much less likely. We’ve put together a brief guide of five ideas that may help you avoid “caregiver burnout.”

Take Time for Yourself

While taking care of mom or dad is crucial, you are important too. You need to find some time for yourself, away from the stress of caring for others. Don’t allow the care routines to keep you from doing the things you love. If you have a hobby, make sure you pursue it. If you prefer to relax with a massage or a cup of hot tea, make time for that. Visit with friends and other loved ones too. Taking time for yourself allows you to be the best caregiver you can be.

Don’t Do It All Alone

While some days it may feel like you take the burden of the work, in reality, you shouldn’t have to do it all alone. If you are the only child or your siblings don’t live close by, it can feel like you do take on all of the responsibility. However, think a bit outside the box and you might find that there are others that can help. Are there any teenagers in the family that could help with yard work, cooking, and cleaning? Could your spouse stop by for medicine time on his or her way to work? What about neighbors or friends who offer to run errands or take your mom or dad to the store? These little efforts can add up to help reduce your workload in a tremendous way.

Hire Outside Help

You may think that hiring outside services for housekeeping, yard work or even nursing is an expense you simply can’t afford. While there will be a cost involved, this is a cost that is sometimes well worth paying. While it may be a cliché, it is a cliché for a reason: time is money. Hiring someone to take on some of the more strenuous tasks will free up your days to work on other things. If this free time allows you to pursue other important matters, the cost could be worthwhile.

Utilize Free Services

In addition to paid services, have you looked into the possibility of free services? Depending on your mom or dad’s income levels and medical needs, there may be programs available that will help. These programs can include meal services, nursing or perhaps rides to and from the doctor. Each person and community may have different programs and qualifications. Check with the insurance company and your mom or dad’s doctor to find out if there are any recommendations. Additionally, look online for any community-based programs.

Consider Assisted Living in Atlanta

While you may not want to think about the possibility, there may come a time that the best option for your parent, as well as you, is to consider assisted living in Atlanta. If you have not toured one of these facilities lately, you may be amazed at how impressive they can be. Many of these communities include private apartments, full-service dining rooms, and exciting activities, as well as assistance with the day-to-day care that your mom or dad may need. Plus, unlike a nursing home or other facility, an assisted living community allows seniors to maintain a sense of independence.

Remember, if you wind up overdoing it and “burning out,” you will not be able to help your mom, dad or anyone else. That is why it is so important to take things step by step and not allow yourself to get to the burnout stage. You are NOT alone. If you have questions about senior care or would like some advice about other options, reach out to us at CareChoice. We are a trusted team of senior care advisors who can help you and your family—no matter what type of senior care arrangements you need. You can reach us by phone at (404) 402-1499 or check out our website at www.ourcarechoice.com. We look forward to helping you and your family.

Heat Safety: Protecting Not Only the Kids

If the red, white and blue weren’t clue enough, the grocery sales, fireworks and talks of the Peachtree Road Race serve as our reminder the 4th of July is near. Remember to take care of yourself while celebrating outside in the heat.  Seniors especially are more vulnerable to the dangerous effects of heat. Understanding heat safety for children, adults, and senior adults is crucial to making the most out of your Fourth of July weekend! 

Below are 3 tips to keeping safe while celebrating Independence Day outdoors.

1. Drink plenty – just not the booze.

Drink a variety of fluids, and plenty of them. Opt out of caffeine and alcohol, which can cause dehydration. Dehydration can increase risk of stroke, heart attack, or kidney failure. Dehydration is also one of the leading causes for hospital admission among seniors. Replace lost sodium and potassium from sweating with drinks such as Gatorade or Pedialyte. Even if you’re not thirsty, take a drink!

2. Appropriate clothing, and timing, is a must.

While outdoors, dress for the heat. Hats, sunscreen, and sunshades are as vital as lightweight shorts and t-shirts. Plan your day to be indoors at peak hours, 11-3. If your plans require being outdoors all day, seek out shade and take frequent breaks from strenuous activities. Try soaking a small towel or cloth in cool water and placing around your neck or on top of your head to help cool off.

3. Eat right. 

While the summer heat is baking us all, limit the heat of the kitchen to the grill outside. Skip slaving over your stove for your side dishes. Complete your barbecue with fresh salads, juicy melons, pasta salads, and other easy to make cold dishes.

Confusion, dizziness, fainting, fatigue, headache, muscle cramps, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea are all signs of heat exhaustion. If recognized, take necessary steps to cool down the victim of heat exhaustion and seek medical attention. Plan ahead and follow the recommended steps to avoid heat exhaustion to make the most out of your Fourth of July holiday! 

5 Tips To Discussing Care Options With Your Loved Ones

Adult son enjoys showing his parents how to use the new Tablet PSenior housing and care is a challenging subject to talk about with your aging parents. Both the senior and adult children understandably have many reasons to avoid having “this discussion.”

Despite 60 being the new 40, it’s never too soon to start these conversations with your parent or loved ones. Being proactive and speaking together allows everyone to understand their wishes and prevents you from making decisions for them.

Highlighted below are 5 tips to together talk about aging with ease.

1. Start now

It’s difficult to discuss financial, legal, or care matters, and discussing them with your parents likely falls last on your never ending to-do list. These are serious matters and should not be delayed till a time of crisis. Start now, in a time of health so you are prepared for the future. Delaying this “task” only adds to the stress of selecting senior housing and care.

2. Have conversations, more than once

The topic of aging is not a discussion; you should keep ongoing conversations with your parents or older family members. Facing the facts of aging is hard for both the senior and the family member and you certainly wouldn’t want to face them all at once.

3. Ask indirect questions

Losing independence can cause emotions of fear, anger, and guilt for aging adults. Seek opportunities to subtly approach the topic in a casual manner to get your parent or loved one to share their specifics. Ask for advice or share a recent experience rather than asking direct questions. Perhaps you establish your living will and share with them your decisions. Doing so allows for conversation without feeling threatening to their independence or burdensome to their family.

4. Talk beyond the money

Many feel that money is a private subject, and your parents likely agree. Thankfully, the financial talk goes beyond money. It’s not important to know your parent’s exact financials, but it is important to know how to gain access in case decisions need to be made for them. In addition to money, talk with your parents about important documents such as insurance policies, living wills, durable power of attorney, wills or trusts, social security cards, and birth certificates. If your loved one is a veteran, you’ll want to include discharge papers for all service. Work together to gather these documents and determine the best location to store, perhaps a safety deposit box.

5. Know the options

Senior housing and care are likely unchartered waters for you and your parents are scorned by the days of nursing homes and “old folk’s homes.”  Talk with a Family Advocate at CareChoice to gain insight into today’s senior living world and receive guidance on options for your specific needs. Understanding community options and available resources, such as VA Aid and Attendance benefits for veteran seniors, allows you to speak objectively with your parents. You can highlight favorite events happening at communities and encourage joining! If determined that a community is the best fit, CareChoice’s Family Advocates provide complimentary guidance and accompany you and your family along community tours. 

Call CareChoice (404) 402-1499 to start this discussion with a Family Advocate today!

Life After the Move: Transitioning to a Life with Assisted Living Services

Senior Couple Celebrating With White Wine

The stress is over – selecting the best senior care provider is the hard work. Whether an independent, assisted or memory care community is the appropriate choice, each have an improving affect on the quality of life.

Once a decision is made, you can rest comfortably knowing that your family member is receiving the support they need. Senior communities allow the aging population to keep their freedom, improve their health, and build their social network in a safe environment.

Living in a community removes the duties of homeownership, allowing residents the freedom to spend their time how they enjoy. Tasks as small as cleaning the bathroom or emptying the garbage can become equally as troublesome as yard work, repairs and other large home improvements for aging seniors. With housekeeping and laundry services included, senior living provides families with the confidence that their loved one keeps a clean and safe home.

Living alone is an easy cause of health decline, many seniors alone commonly suffer from poor mental health and malnutrition. Community living provides the novelty of never having to be alone. Communities offer a wide variety of activities, including exercise classes. No need to be a yoga pro, these classes are typically aerobics, strength or flexibility training designed for all levels of capability. Many even take advantage of technology, like Nintendo Wii, to make fitness fun! To fuel the energy to keep up with active lifestyle community living provides, proper nutrition is vital! Senior living communities provide meals and snacks daily, with a wide variety of healthy choices.

Upon move-in, residents instantly gain access to a large social network. No longer will your loved one be left alone at home waiting for their next visitor. In addition to exercise, communities offer a wide array of games, crafts, outings and other activities to enjoy with their peers. Residents can pick and choose which to attend at their leisure. Communities often host family events too; perhaps you may lose in the next Wii Bowling contest!

CareChoice is dedicated to keeping seniors active. For each senior we help with find the right community, CareChoice makes a lifestyle donation to fund activities within that community. For more information, visit ourcarechoice.com, call (404) 402-1499 or e-mail help@ourcarechoice.com at anytime.