Views Senior Living Blog
Thursday, April 18, 2019
By The Views Senior Living
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Dementia Behavior: Hoarding

There are many different behaviors that come along with dementia.  Hoarding is one of them.  Hoarding is defined by the America Psychiatry Association as "excessively saving items that others may view as worthless".  For people living with dementia, someone may hoard items to "keep them safe" as they feel people are "stealing from them".  They may also hoard items because they do not realize that they already have that item and think they need one.  Once someone with dementia hoards items, they tend to put items in places and cannot recall where they placed the item.  There are specific steps to follow when trying to remove items from a hoarding situation. 

  • Trade.  Always trade an item for an item.  Example, if you see that someone living with dementia is hoarding cookies, trade the cookies for applesauce or a non-food item that may hold their attention.
  • Remove trash immediately so the individual doesn't feel motivated to take items out of the trash and hoard them again.
  • Try to get the person that is hoarding items involved in activities or away out of there home while you de-clutter the living space. 
  • Do not de-clutter all at once.  Do a little at a time. This reduces stress for the hoarder.
  • Identify recurrent hiding places so you can search those specific areas each time.  However, someone with dementia may have multiple hiding places and tend to move items from hiding place to hiding place.

Hoarding & losing items can be difficult for family members to deal with, but it's always good to keep in mind that it's the disease that is making them have these behaviors.  Even though they may do these specific things, try to stay empathetic, patient, & calm.  If needing extra assistance on this topic, call Danielle Helgerson, Certified Dementia Practitioner, at 319-540-4787. 

 
Monday, April 01, 2019
By The Views Senior Living
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Safety First!

There are many different assistive devices that can help you stay safe in your home and help you thrive in a senior living environment.  Many of these items can be found at a pharmacy or home care company. 

1)  Buttoning Aid Hook- Using buttons with arthritic hands can be extremely frustrating.  By using a buttoning aid hook, it allows you button clothing easier.

2) Bed Handle- This device attaches to your bed and helps you get in and out a bed easily and safe. 

3) Emergency Pendant- Senior living communities, like The Views, offer emergency pendants.  Tenants can press the pendant when needed and nursing staff will assist.  For seniors still living in there home, there are other medical alert device companies that can assist when emergencies arise such as life alert.  Google medical alert device companies in your area.

4) Recordable Alarm Clock- This is extremely useful for people living with dementia or those who have a brain injury.  You can record different appointments or reminders with the users or families voice.

5) Handybar standing aide- This device attaches to your car door so aging adults can get in and out of the car easier.  The device is small enough that you could fit it inside of your purse or in a glove compartment. 

This is just a small list of items that can help you in your home.  There are many different home care devices out there that can help you stay safe and remain independent in your environment. 

 
Monday, March 25, 2019
By The Views Senior Living
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Understanding Colors and Patterns

Did you know that the color red plays an important role in increased appetite for someone living with dementia?  Boston University biopyschologists found that people living with Alzheimer's disease consumed 25 percent more food while using red plates than white and had an 84% increase in fluids using red drinkware. As the disease progresses, people living with dementia tend to lose an unhealthy amount of weight due to lack of recognition of food, diminished sense of vision, smell, and taste, or chewing/swallowing difficulties. 

Many other colors also have a big impact for someone living with dementia. 

Blue: This color is said to create peace and calm.  This color might be used in someone's bedroom or living room area.

Green: Green represents growth.  This color also helps people feel calm.

Red: This is a very stimulating color.  It also increases adrenaline.

Orange: Like red this is a stimulating color as well.  Orange is related to intuition which provides emotional strength and helps improve feelings of disappointments, despair, and grief.

Yellow: Like red and orange, yellow is also a stimulating color that is said to increase brain wave activity.  Therefore, it would most likely be found in activity areas.

 

Patterns also play a huge role for someone living with dementia.  Patterned carpet or tiling may be perceived as a hole in the ground.  It is suggested to use block colors of flooring or the same color throughout.  Make sure you are also highlighting certain elements in the environment.  For example, chairs should be a contrasting color from the floor.  This helps the chair stand out to decrease the risk of a fall.

Come to The Views of Cedar Rapids to see how our Meadowview Memory Care incorporates many colors, patterns, and textures and how it allows tenants to remain as independent as possible despite the disease!

 Call Danielle to tour at 319-540-4787.

 
Friday, March 15, 2019
By The Views Senior Living
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Experiencing Caregiver Burnout

Being a caregiver of an aging adult and someone living with dementia can be fulfilling and joyful but also comes with sleepless nights and emotionally exhausting.  When you experience caregiver burnout you are more likely to get sick and have an increase in health conditions.  Good news!  There are ways you can reduce caregiver burnout and decrease health risks.  It's hard to put yourself first before the person you are caregiving for, BUT as once said, "You can't pour from an empty cup.  You have to take care of yourself first." 

  • Rest & recharge your batteries.  In getting that full rest, you will be more patient and less stressed because you will have a clear mind and a better outlook. 
  • Take time off.  Take some time to yourself by asking families, friends, or in home care company to watch your loved one for a bit.  Go shopping, get a massage, exercise, or visit other friends.  Do something YOU enjoy doing!
  • Respite care.  There are many communities, like Meadowview, that offer short-term respite stays.  This gives the caregiver a break, to catch up on sleep, or go out of town for an extended time to visit family or friends. 

There a many signs to look out for if you think you are experiencing caregiver burnout out.  Some of those signs may be:

  • Raising your voice at your loved one.
  • Becoming impatient with cares.
  • Increase irritation or frustration over little things.
  • Your own physical and mental health is declining.
  • Family dysfunction within your own family.

If you think you are experiencing some of these signs, contact Danielle at The Views Senior Living of Cedar Rapids, to find out how you can take advantage of our respite stay option for your loved one.

 
Monday, February 25, 2019
By The Views Senior Living
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Dementia Behavior: Wandering

Wandering can be a common issue for people living with dementia.  Often families are having to make household changes to make things safe and secure for their loved one. Changes may include a door alarm system or extra locks on doors.  It can be a stressful time for families.  There are some early warning signs you may want to pay close attention to.

  • Your loved one may forget how to get to familiar places. This may even include places within their house such as the bedroom or bathroom.
  • A walk outside may take longer than usual.
  • Talks about wanting to go "home" or going to work.
  • Your loved one is up often in the middle of the night and walks around the house not completing any one task.
  • Talks about family or friends who may have already passed away.  Example mom or dad, grandma or grandpa.

These will be important signs to tune into as the disease progresses.  As cold weather hits, some may think that the winter weather will keep a loved one inside.  However, someone living with dementia struggles to have a concept of time which also means difficulty tracking change of seasons even if there is snow on the ground.  Besides looking out for early signs of wandering, there are ways you can help lower risk factors for wandering.

  • Keep a routine of daily activities so your loved can anticipate the next step and stay busy throughout the day. Like Meadowview, even though our activities may change day-to-day, our activity schedule is consistent so that they start programs the same time each morning, have breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks the same time each day, and end the activity schedule each time every night. 
  • Place locks out of sight.  You might try adding an extra lock at the top of the door.
  • Install a door alarm system so it alerts when the door is opened.
  • Move your loved one to a secure community.  MeadowView is a secure community for those living with dementia.  Our community promotes freedom of movement, and consistent cognitive and physical engagement in a safe and secure environment.  Making a transition to community like Meadowview can reduce caregiver stress and offer peace of mind that your  loved one is safe and engaged in a daily routine.

If you have questions regarding dementia and safety, contact MeadowView's very own Certified Dementia Practitioner, Danielle Helgerson at 319-540-4787.