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How to Deal with Dementia in a Parent

Dementia

Alzheimer's DIAGNOSIS?

If you are just noticing episodes of forgetfulness or confusion in an aging parent, you may fear that your loved one is developing Alzheimer’s.  Don’t allow your fear to stop you from acting.  Make an appointment with your family doctor or a memory care specialist. In some cases, confusion and memory loss can be treated and even reversed.  A medical professional will want to rule out other conditions that are treatable, such as depression, vitamin deficiencies, diabetes complications, Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI), and an array of other conditions.  Early diagnosis can reverse damage in some diseases and help slow the progression of others, including Alzheimer’s.   If your loved one has recently been diagnosis with Alzheimer’s, use this time to allow them to participate in their long-term planning.  Rest assured, Alzheimer’s patients, with aid and proper planning, can continue to live in their own homes for many years with the help of caregivers, outside care providers, and assistive products and devices.

BEHAVIORS

and associated risks

Some Alzheimer’s behaviors and changes can be managed by medication and regular check-ups. Others can be helped with physical exercise, proper nutrition, good general health, and socialization. It is important that you enlist help from other family members and outside providers. 

  • Adult daycare services will assist with meals, social activities, and daily living activities such as bathing, grooming, and dressing.
  • Home health services are available to monitor vital functions and provide physical, occupational, and speech therapy.
  • Seek out software that can help the family share responsibilities such as Carezone that allows family members to share tasks and information, or Balance, an app designed specifically for family members caring for someone with Alzheimer’s.
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Recommended Products for Alzheimer's Patients

*Disclosure: We only recommend products based on our expertise in caring for aging adults. This site may contain affiliate links that (at no additional cost to you) we may earn an affiliate commission from. Read our full privacy policy here.

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Risk

OF INJURY IN THE HOME

Alzheimer’s symptoms can make it difficult for someone to manage daily tasks such as cooking, eating, and bathing, dressing, turning on and off lights, or even answering the phone. Memory problems may cause them to leave the water running in the sink, leave the gas-stove burner on, or forget how to turn the lights on. The risks of injury or inability to deal with an emergency make it essential to remove dangerous items and make modifications to the person’s home environment to keep them safe.

SAFETY

PRODUCTS CAN MAKE BEDROOM AREAS EASIER TO NAVIGATE

  • Can your loved one get in and out of bed safely? If not, consider purchasing an electric bed or mattress. A Trapeze Bar can be installed if your loved one has difficulty getting out of bed. A Bed Rail can keep your loved one from falling from bed.
  • Is the light accessible from the bed? Install Night Lights.
  • Can the phone be easily reached? Place a cellular phone in a pocket attached to the bed rail.
  • Can clothing in the closet and dresser be reached? A grab tool may be helpful
  • Is there a clear path to the bathroom? A bedside commode or urinal may help with getting to the toilet, especially at night, which is a problem.
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SAFETY FIRST

SAFETY PRODUCTS CAN MAKE BEDROOM AREAS EASIER TO NAVIGATE

  • Can your loved one get in and out of bed safely? If not, consider purchasing an electric bed or mattress. A Trapeze Bar can be installed if your loved one has difficulty getting out of bed. A Bed Rail can keep your loved one from falling from bed.
  • Is the light accessible from the bed? Install Night Lights.
  • Can the phone be easily reached? Place a cellular phone in a pocket attached to the bed rail.
  • Can clothing in the closet and dresser be reached? A grab tool may be helpful
  • Is there a clear path to the bathroom? A bedside commode or urinal may help with getting to the toilet, especially at night, which is a problem.
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LIVING ROOM

AREAS ARE MORE COMFORTABLE WITH EASE OF USE PRODUCTS

  • Are the walking pathways uncluttered?
  • Can your loved one get up and down from the sofa or chair safely? If not, consider investing in chairs with firm backs, armrests, and firm seats. Adding raised seat cushions existing pieces of furniture adds height to them, making it easier to move.
  • Can windows and doors be opened quickly and locked securely? Add Window Locks.
  • Can the television be easily managed? Consider purchasing a large flat-screen TV with a large button remote.
  • Can the light switches be manipulated easily? If not, try to consider voice-activated lamps.
  • Are electrical cords and telephone cords secured and out of the way to prevent tripping? Do not run cords under furniture or rugs where they can become frayed or damaged. Secure them with Wire Covers.
  • Is there adequate lighting throughout the house or apartment? Consider voice-activated lamps with LED bulbs or a Hue system.
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BATHROOM

AREAS ARE WHERE MANY SLIP AND FALL ACCIDENTS OCCUR

  • Is the doorway accessible?
  • Can your loved one safely get in and out of the shower or bathtub? If not, install grab bars on the inside and outside of the bathtub or shower. If the person is heavy or can offer little help, bath lift equipment may be needed.
  • Will a transfer bench or tub chair be required? If so, use only ones with nonskid tips.
  • Are there nonskid bath mats, or nonskid strips in place?
  • Can your loved one safely transfer to the toilet? If not, install a safety frame, raised toilet seat, or safety rails.
  • Can the outlets be reached? Test GFCI outlets monthly by pushing the test button and making sure that the appliance turns off and that it resets.
  • Can the light switches be turned on and off? Consider installing a voice-activated light system.
  • Can the faucet be easily used? If not, consider a long handle faucet extension to the sink
  • Are there Night Lights readily placed around the home?
  • If there is a small bathroom rug, get rid of it. Replace it with a large rug that covers most of the floor and apply an adhesive back to it.
  • To reduce the risk of cuts, use an electric razor for shaving, especially if the person is taking blood-thinning medicines.

Kitchen

AREAS CAN POSE MANY HAZARDS

  • Is the doorway accessible?
  • Are the appliances in working order? Label faucets with “HOT,” “COLD,” as well as other items such as the Oven, Iron, or toaster to avoid burns.
  • Can the taps of the sink be manipulated? If not, consider a long handle faucet extension to the sink.
  • Can the refrigerator and freezer be opened and closed?
  • Can the high and low cabinets be safely opened and closed? Label cabinets and drawers with the contents to make it easier to find things. Install childproof latches on cabinet doors.
  • Make it easier to keep track of time with a Comprehensive Wall Clock.
  • Install a Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detector
  • Is there an adequate workspace?
  • Can utensils, pots and pans, and food be safely reached? Adaptive UtensilsScoop Plate, and redware sets make it easier to cook and eat.
  • Can the stove controls and door be carefully managed? Install Safety knobs and an automatic shut off switch on the stove.
  • Can the outlets be reached? Consider Plug covers for electrical outlets.
  • Can food be safely transported to the eating area? Plastic dishes and cups eliminate the risk of breaking and cuts.
  • Are sharp objects such as scissors and knives securely stored?
  • Are flammables kept away from the stove area? Keep towels, curtains, and other flammable items away from the range/stove.
  •  Remove items that could pose a danger to someone with Alzheimer’s such as sharp objects, medicines, chemicals, cleaning products, power appliances, glass items, and small throw rugs, and store them out of reach.
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Loved Ones WITH ALZHEIMER’S CAN REMAIN INDEPENDENT

Alzheimer’s can be a challenging disease to cope with, but we offer many products and solutions to assist you and your parent to keep them safe so they can maintain their independence at home as long as possible. 

Older Adults Have Unique Dementia Needs

Changing bodies and chemistry, changes in family and friendships, and changes in living situations all influence Dementia and need to be addressed. Sometimes, solving fundamental problems for older adults in your life can lower their stress, improve connections, and improve their outlook and mood.

Left untreated, Dementia can affect an individuals’ physical health and quality of life. Ask your loved one if he or she feels sad or anxious. Listen carefully and offer emotional support. Consult with a professional, such as those at WellQor, who are explicitly trained in the needs of older adults.

Home Away From Home: Granny Flats

If you thought having your aging parent move into your house was the only alternative to expensive assisted livng facilities when they are no longer able to live independently, you may be the perfect candidate for an ADU, or Accessory Dwelling Unit.  ADUs are also sometimes referred to as granny flats or mother-in-law cottages.  These are small standalone units added to the backyard of an existing single family home, or apartments converted from extra space in the house such as a garage or basement. 

Learn More »

Product Spotlight: Electronic Caregiver

Marybeth Van Horn, 67, a resident of Denver, Colorado and a nurse of 45 years, has both experienced and heard real-life stories of how health technology can save lives. Five years ago, she slipped on black ice in a parking lot, snapping her femur while mid-air. When she hit the pavement, her wrist broke and her lumbar and cervical vertebra shifted, leaving her on the ground in pain. The incident would leave her hospitalized for a month, and bedridden for three more months. At that time, she did not have Electronic Caregiver’s Premier system or she could have immediately called for emergency help.

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5 Easy Memory Reminders

Memory loss is a common side effect of aging, especially for those approaching the early stages of Dementia. This can be scary and stressful for our elders and their families, but it doesn’t have to mean the end of an independent lifestyle. Actually, by changing habits and introducing what our clinicians call “compensatory skills,” we can help elders avoid the common pitfalls of memory loss and continue to lead happy and healthy lives. I wanted to share a few of these skills, so all of you who are supporting your elders at home can help them thrive.

Learn More »

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