What’s the Difference Between Palliative Care and Hospice?

Palliative Care Hospice Care

When it comes to long-term care for elderly loved ones, there are numerous different terms you’ll hear used time and time again: nursing home, retirement home, assisted living, in-home care, palliative care, and hospice care.

At their core, you know they all represent care provided to aging people. But, unless you have a handy dictionary next to you at all times, nobody can blame you if you aren’t familiar with any distinct differences between the terms.

So, today, we’re looking specifically at palliative care and hospice to explore the similarities and differences between these two terms. Let’s get started! Continue reading

4 Differences Between Dementia and Delirium

Delirium

Dementia and delirium. They’re two words that are commonly used interchangeably to describe any sort of altered or confused mental state. However, while this may be common, it’s not necessarily correct.

In fact, dementia and delirium are two very different phenomenons with distinctly different characteristics. So, today, we’re exploring the discrepancies between them that you should be aware of. As the old saying goes, knowledge is power. Continue reading

4 Tips For Dealing With Dementia

Dementia

One of my mom’s favorite things to say is, “Getting older isn’t for sissies.” And, it’s true. Reaching the senior years comes with its fair share of challenges. Graying hair, aches and pains—and perhaps most difficult of all—in some cases, dementia.

Physical changes that come with aging are anticipated. But, when mental sharpness begins to deteriorate, that can be tough on both the senior and their family members.

While it’s something that few people want to discuss, it’s an important topic nonetheless. So, let’s go over what exactly dementia is, and how you can best care for someone who’s coping with it.

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What Is The Sandwich Generation?

Sandwich Generation

Millennials. Baby Boomers. Those are common generational labels you’re used to hearing about. But, the sandwich generation? Well, that’s probably not quite as familiar. And, no, it doesn’t refer to a generation that lived off of just sandwiches (although, honestly, that doesn’t sound half bad).

If you’ve heard the term before and have only been able to respond with a confused, “Huh?”, have no fear! We’ve got everything you need to know about the sandwich generation right here. Continue reading

6 Important Caregiver Duties

Caregiver Duties

When it comes to the well-being and health of elderly clients, being a caregiver is an undeniably important job. Although the term “caregiver” likely immediate inspires visions of duties and responsibilities that are more healthcare related, there’s much more involved with being a caregiver for elderly patients.

Here are six duties that virtually any caregiver will have to have mastered—whether they’re a professional or a loving family member. As you’ll quickly see, the role extends far past just distributing medications. Continue reading

What To Say To Someone Who Is Dying

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None of us believe that we will live forever. We accept death as a fact that we cannot change, and we know that there will come a time when our loved ones will also have to face death. Confronting this loss is a challenge for those who will be left behind, but we sometimes forget that this ordeal is most difficult for person who is leaving. In these trying times, the support of our loved ones can be a great comfort to ease our passing.

But talking with someone who is about to die is not an easy task. Some physicians and specialized caregivers have had training to assist their patients, but most of do not have any idea what to say to someone who is dying.

Encourage Them Not To Be Alone

Our loved ones will always want to be there for us, especially during our final days. But many people who are dying refuse company, and wish to be alone. If you know someone who is like this, encourage them to accept the love and support that is available to them. Facing death will never be easy, but no one should have to face it alone.

“I Love You.”

Saying I love you to someone who is dying can mean everything. Kind words such as “I love you”, “Thank you”, and “Forgive me” are each a weight lifted from a heavy heart. It is a great gift for a person who is dying to know that they are leaving a legacy of love, gratitude, and forgiveness.

Remind Them of Fond Memories

Everyone has a special place in their mind, where they have saved up the most precious and powerful of memories. These memories are stories that paint a picture of who we are what is important to us. Encourage them to share these memories with you, and remind them of a few you might share. Talk to them about funny stories, embarrassing moments, and great accomplishments. Help them to remember that they have lived a full and wonderful life.

Tell the Truth & Be Kind

When a person is facing death, they will often begin asking the questions that they never had the courage to ask in life. Sometimes this puts us in a difficult situation, because the answer we have to offer may not seem like a very helpful one. We owe our loved ones the truth, but we also don’t want to hurt them. You should answer these questions truthfully, but with kindness. Avoid unimportant details that no longer matter or cannot be changed now in their final moments. Do not lie or offer platitudes, these are never what a dying person seeks. These questions can often come from a place of fear, or a desire to receive forgiveness. These emotions are a normal part of death, and you should allow them the time and space they need to understand and accept them. Let them know that you are there with them, and you are happy to talk with them about anything they are experiencing. For a person who is dying, the presence and kind words of a loved one are a gift and source of strength on their journey to acceptance.

Sundowner’s Syndrome – Everything You Need To Know

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“I have a stalker, a beautiful one; the sunset. Every day she’s there, watching me, whether I watch her or not.” –Jarod Kintz

While most people would consider a sunset a moment to enjoy, people who have Sundowner’s Syndrome see the sunset as a curse. For them, every day holds another anxious night where they can’t seem to get or stay asleep. Sundowner’s Syndrome can be difficult to understand and cope with, but there are a few techniques that can help ease the burden of someone living with this condition.

What is it?

Sundowner’s Syndrome is something that affects about 20% of people who have Alzheimer’s disease or dementia and can sometimes affect people who have had surgery with anesthetics. Scientists have done studies that seem to suggest changes to the brain’s circadian pacemaker might be the cause of Sundowner’s Syndrome. In layman’s terms, there is a group of nerves within our brain that helps our body follow a 24 hour-clock. When there is a change in this group of nerve such as the chemical imbalances that can cause Alzheimer’s, people can experience Sundowner’s Syndrome.

What does it look like?

There are a few reactions that you can expect when someone is suffering from Sundowner’s Syndrome. The most notable issue that occurs is that it can prevent people from sleeping when it becomes night time. Instead of sleeping, they may walk or pace around with some people having more severe reactions such as yelling or fighting with people who come in contact with them. People who have Sundowners Syndrome often become confused or anxious during sundown which can also cause the before mentioned actions.

How can you work with it?

While there is no cure for Sundowner’s Syndrome just yet, there are a few things that caregivers can do to help minimize the effects a loved one will experience.

Keep the same routine so as not to introduce something new. Patients with dementia or Alzheimer’s can have a difficult time adjusting to something that they find unfamiliar and this can make Sundowner’s Syndrome worse. If a method has worked, stick with it or if necessary only make small changes to have as little effect as possible.

Have a night light or lamp on during nighttime hours. Dark places or shadows can frighten or confuse sufferers of Sundowner’s Syndrome. Keeping a light on can limit this reaction. Also letting them sleep in a comfortable place of their choosing can help them sleep better and longer throughout the nighttime.

Practice a healthy diet. Things like caffeine or alcohol can keep people up through the night making symptoms worse. Limit caffeinated drinks like coffee or soda to morning or lunchtime hours and have a healthy dinner at night. If they need to have a snack after dinner, keep it light and void of sugar or caffeine.

You will not be able to rid your loved one of Sundowner’s Syndrome, but you can make their ability to cope with it better. Understanding what the condition does is the first step to understanding what your loved one is going through. With a little patience and guidance, Sundowner’s sufferers can rest easy each night and feel refreshed the next day.

Super Foods: A Guide for Seniors

Senior super food start
As we grow older, it becomes increasingly important to make healthy food choices. Energy levels, weight control and proper digestion are just a few things that depend on us eating right. Feeling super starts with eating super.

Counting Calories
It’s important to eat foods that properly nourish your body without adding unwanted calories. Fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans and other foods will add “punch” instead of pounds! With a superfood-rich diet, the only fat you really need to worry about is the good kind: Omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in avocados, kale and salmon.
Benefits for Your Whole Body
Eating the right foods has a positive impact not just on your waistline but on your heart, digestive system, bones, immune system and more. Did you know that pumpkin seeds, for instance, are good for your heart? That pomegranates fight LDL or bad cholesterol? And that the high fiber found in steelcut oats and flaxseed has a positive effect on blood sugar levels in diabetics?

Helpful Hints
Flaxseed should be ground to get the most benefits from this super food. Olive oil offers the greatest health benefits in its first year; after that, it loses its potency. Juiced and cooked spinach has more nutrients than raw spinach–and all you need is one cup to keep your immune system strong. Continue reading

What does it all mean? A Guide to Senior Living

senior couple reading the paper outside with a flower

Some of the hardest decisions that we have to make in life involve the long term care of the people who we love the most. Medical science, education, and a greater emphasis on living a healthy lifestyle has caused a steady increase in life expectancy. While this means we are living longer and enjoying a greater quality of life, it also increases the chance that professional senior care becomes a necessity. Call it an addition to the modern circle of life.

Senior centers exist to provide the care that is needed to assure that people can continue to enjoy the greatest possible quality of life, despite whatever disabilities or medical needs they may have. The problem, however, is in deciding what type of center will best serve their needs. That is why we have put together this guide, to assist you in making those difficult choices Continue reading