Dining With Dementia

Dementia comes with its obstacles; bathing, walking, household chores and others, but no one would think about eating. As Dementia and Alzheimer’s progress the mobility required during meal time slowly slips away. The ability to hold a fork, pass the potatoes and chew food may also diminish. A person with dementia may refuse to eat food or may spit food out. This may be because they dislike the food, are trying to communicate about the food being too hot, or being unsure what to do with the food. The person with dementia may become angry or agitated or exhibit challenging behaviour during mealtimes. This can happen for a variety of reasons; such as frustration at any difficulties they are having, feeling rushed, or even the environment they are in. They may not want to accept assistance with eating. Try not to rush the person with dementia, and help them maintain as much independence as possible. If a person is agitated or distressed, do not put pressure on them to eat or drink. Wait until the person is calm and less anxious. Not only will the fine motor skills diminish, but the ability to sense temperature diminishes along with swallowing (called dysphagia).  If your loved one is having difficulty with swallowing, a referral to a speech and language therapist can help. Some problems can include holding food in the mouth, continuous chewing, and leaving harder-to-chew foods (eg hard vegetables) on the plate. Be aware, issues such as weight loss, malnutrition and dehydration can also be consequences of swallowing difficulties. To learn more,...

Caring For A Loved One With Developmental Disabilities

Acting as a primary caregiver is a big deal, especially when the person you are caring for has a developmental disability or mental retardation. Here are a few helpful tips we have compiled to ease the load of caregiving. Who should make medical decisions for someone who has MR/DD? When your child is a minor, you will make all of the medical decisions. If your child is unable to make his or her own medical decisions as an adult, a person who is legally responsible for making these decisions for him or her must be named. This person should be named in a legal document called a health care “durable power of attorney.” The document allows that person to make health care decisions for the patient. This person is called a health care attorney-in-fact. The attorney-in-fact should talk to the doctor about treatment decisions or end-of-life care for the patient. The doctor should write these decisions in the patient’s medical chart. How can I tell if caregiving is putting too much stress on me? Caregiving can be very stressful. Common signs of caregiver stress include the following: Feeling sad or moody Crying more often than you used to Having a low energy level Feeling like you don’t have any time to yourself Having trouble sleeping or not wanting to get out of bed in the morning Having trouble eating or eating too much Losing interest in your hobbies or the things you used to do with friends or family Feeling angry at the person you are caring for Read more here.   Growing up with developmental disabilities: 9 tips...
Caregiver Burnout: Are You Aware of Your Needs?

Caregiver Burnout: Are You Aware of Your Needs?

Caregiver burnout can be a serious problem when looking after someone who is permanently or even temporarily unable to care for themselves. Being aware of your personal situation and how you react to stressful situations is key to identifying your burnout zone and keeping situations from escalating. The other day, one of our staff members was fortunate enough to catch the beginning of a domestic dispute before things turned serious. A patient and their child were in the middle of a yelling match when the staff member came into the house and broke up the disagreement. After hearing of this event, we decided it would be beneficial to provide a few helpful tips to prevent similar situations. Observe the social & recreational needs of family caregivers Stay social. Make it a priority to visit regularly with family and friends. Isolation will eventually turn into depression or resentment. Do things you enjoy. Laughter and joy can help keep you going when you face trials, stress, and pain. We suggest incorporating mutual interests between the patient and caregiver to do things you both enjoy. Maintain balance in your life. Don’t give up activities that are important to you, such as your work or your hobbies. Give yourself a break. Take regular breaks, and give yourself an extended break at least once a week. If possible, establish shifts with other family members who can take turns watching your loved one. Keep in mind Emotional needs of family caregivers Take time to relax daily and learn how to regulate yourself when you start to feel overwhelmed. Keep a journal. Writing down your thoughts and feelings is a good way to...

The Difficult Discussions

We fight throughout our entire lives…we fight with our siblings, we fight for a job, we fight with our children and we fight with our parents. Fortunately for most of us, our fights are trivial. That is until our health, or the health of a loved one is involved. Getting our family members to “do what they think we should” is never an easy conversation. Especially if any of those words come up in the conversation… 1. Pick the right time and place for the conversation. Select a non-emotional location as the first step to having a successful conversation about such a sensitive subject. Try and avoid stressful times such as the holidays and consider having the discussion in a neutral environment. 2. Ask questions to direct the discussion. Using this method, children can ask parents what they would do if they fell at home or if they could no longer perform household upkeep and daily tasks. 3. Know your options in advance. Rather than entering into this conversation blind, do your homework beforehand. Know exactly what services are available in your area and be ready with specific recommendations for your parent. Some parents might equate asking for help with losing their independence, and hearing the specifics of what you have in mind can be reassuring. 4. Point out the benefits. Feel free to use examples such as having meals and groceries delivered  frees up time for other things. This also gives their children or friends a chance to visit, rather than working for them. 5. Call in a higher authority. Nearly every family has an authority figure — someone everyone takes seriously...

PerDiem Staff Member of the Month: Larry Ocheske

  We are proud to announce our first staff member of the month! Larry Ocheske! Larry is a long-time member of the Per Diem family and we are honored to thank him for all of the hard work he has given to us over the years. Below is a picture of  Larry with his thank-you gift and award. He has also written a small letter of his experience. Thank you Larry! You are amazing!...

Are You Ready for the At-Home Care Industry Boom? We Are!

I couldn’t help but share this little gem I found. A brief video clip from Good Morning America about the changes in healthcare and its At-Home care policies.Although it is not the complete special,  the panel of guests provide the viewer with a great deal of helpful information in the 3 minute clip.  In the accompanying article, the author writes. “By 2020, the ranks of home health and personal care aides will have swelled by more than 1.3 million—a 70 percent increase from 2010, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That compares with a growth rate of 14 percent for the U.S. job market at large.” This is wonderful news! Not only will it ensure a surge in clientele, but the community is beginning to understand the importance, and variety in their senior care options.   Another quote I found to be particularly interesting is the one I have included below: “Getting care at home, Tourian tells ABC News, can be less costly than getting it in a nursing home or other non-home venue. The average Synergy client pays $18,000 a year for 20 hours a week of care. The average annual cost per patient for a year’s stay in a nursing home, he says, is $70,000.” What better way to avoid that awkward “We think you should move into a nursing home” discussion than with an alternate solution. Read the whole article here: Boom Predicted in At-Home Care...