Category Archives: Guest Bloggers

Loneliness and Depression in Caregiving


Today we welcome guest blogger Samantha Stein to The Purple Jacket.

Stop Saying I Should Get Over It: Loneliness and Depression in Caregiving

Inevitably, our bodies will fail us. It may happen naturally through aging, or it may be because of an illness that overtook our bodies. However before the time comes, have you stopped to consider who is going to provide the caregiving that you need? And what are we going to put them through when they become our caregivers?

Who Are Today’s Caregivers?

For so long, the image of a family caregiver in the United States, and perhaps across the globe, is a 49-year old woman, juggling employment and her family’s needs. She is often perceived as caring for her 60-year old mother who does not live with her. For the older generations, this remains true as the demographic average of a family caregiver.

For the younger generations, however, the average caregiver is shifting to something different. In a joint study done by the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP, they discovered that the millennials (age 18 to 34) have a unique take on caregiving.

Unlike their predecessors, millennial caregivers are typically 27 years old and equally likely to be male or female. The study further shares how these individuals are most often caring for their mother or grandmother. They also noted how millennials are more likely to report emotional or mental health conditions that their loved ones may be experiencing.

It is no secret that family caregivers often sacrifice their own emotional and physical needs for the well-being of their care recipients. As explained Family Caregivers: The Everyday Superheroes, caregivers go through so many life changes and expose themselves to so many different types of stress to provide the care that their loved ones need. But no matter how strong a person is perceived to be, constant feelings of stress, anxiety, exhaustion, isolation, loneliness, and all other negative emotions associated with caregiving will eventually take its toll.

 Because of a plethora of factors, family caregivers are very much susceptible to depression, loneliness, and isolation. And no should take any of these lightly.

Loneliness and Isolation

Depending on the extent of care required by their recipients, some caregivers provide care on a 24-hour basis. With this in mind, many caregivers undergo drastic changes in their lives. Their lives are dominated by the responsibility of providing care for their ill loved ones. This leaves little to no room for the much-needed me time. They are often boxed into the situation.

Often, loneliness and isolation are brought about by the withdrawal of past habits and lifestyle. Imagine watching your friends go about their lives, enjoying activities you used to do together, while you are left alone to fulfill your caregiving duties. It creates a wall between caregivers and their social circles. It may put them in a situation that lacks social interaction and stimulation from other people other than their care recipients.

Depression in Caregiving

Depression may also come into the picture. A conservative estimate states that 20% of family caregivers — twice the rate of the general population — suffer from depression. 60% of California’s Caregiver Resources Centers’ clients showed signs and symptoms. However, not many people recognize these signs or are too ashamed to admit it.

Despite all the awareness campaigns involving depression, many caregivers still see it as a sign of weakness and are too embarrassed to voice it out. Somehow, they feel guilty for being ill and taking the care and attention away from their loved ones. To make matters worse, a handful of individuals say “get over it” or “it’s all in your head” as if it is not a condition that needs to be addressed.

Depression is a complex condition, and you cannot simply “snap out of it.”

Signs to Watch Out For and What to Do about Them

Family, friends, and even the caregivers themselves must be able to pinpoint the signs and symptoms and then address them quickly.

Depression is different for each person who experiences it. The signs vary, and what many might perceive as nothing may be symptoms in actuality. To help matters, however, here are a few symptoms that might be able to pinpoint cases of depression:

  • Changes in eating habits (overeating or loss of appetite)
  • Changes in sleeping behavior
  • Feeling numb
  • Trouble focusing
  • Lack of motivation to do anything
  • Frequent mood swings

So what can we do it to address the issue or ease the risk?

  • Respite Care – These services help caregivers have time to themselves while still ensuring that their loved ones receive the necessary care that they need. It provides the relief that many caregivers do not get often.
  • Let Your Friends and Family Help You – If respite care is too costly, then share the responsibility among family members.
  • Find Support – Online communities are great venues to find people going through the same challenges and issues. Individuals in these groups help each other in facing their problems because they know exactly what it is like to go through these situations. It provides a sense of comradeship that is beneficial to the caregiver’s health.
  • Get Treatment – Depression is an illness, and it needs to be seen as such. Similar to diabetes or high blood pressure, depression needs to be brought to the attention of a professional. Bear in mind that this should not be something to be ashamed of.

Thank You Samantha for a very informative blog post on a difficult topic! chris@thepurplejacket.com

Samantha Stein is an online content manager for ALTCP.org. Her works focus on key information on long term care insurance, finance, elder care, and retirement. In line with the organization’s goal, Samantha creates content that helps raise awareness on the importance of having a comprehensive long term care plan not just for the good of the individual but for the safety of the entire family.

 

 

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How Single Mothers Should Ideally Spend Their Daily Life


We welcome guest blogger Andrea Bell back to The Purple Jacket

According to U.S. Census Bureau, out of about 12 million single parent families in 2015, more than 80% were headed by single mothers. Today, 1 in 4 children under the age of 18 — a total of about 17.4 million — are being raised without a father.

For whatever reason, whether they chose to not get married, their husband left or died, the bottom line is – single mothers have their work cut out for them. Single mothers are usually labelled ‘super moms’ for going the extra mile every time for their children. The label is justified, since a single mother spends every waking moment trying to make her child’s life fulfilling and memorable.

A single mother puts her children above everything else.

The day-to-day responsibilities of a single mother are no different than that of married women; coping with sleeplessness, finding child care, paying bills and more. All with the added burden of no one else to rely on.

Still, single mothers agree, that even when overcome with their duties, there’s usually a way to work the issues out.

Here are some tips on how to overcome the struggles of being a single mother.

  1. Build a support system

As a single working parent, you might need a helping hand every now and then, while taking care of your child. It is very important to form a healthy social network of caring individuals around you. Go on day trips with your close friends and family and help your children get acquainted with them. This helps the children form a trustworthy bond with them. Make them believe that they can rely on their relatives for constant support regarding big decisions.

It is important to develop adult relationships as a single mother since it will prevent you from depending too much on your children for emotional support.

  1. Maintain a civil relationship with your Ex

Whether you are separated or divorced, work on maintaining a mature relationship with your ex-partner. On-going conflicts between the two of you can have a negative impact on your children, making them feel frustrated, stressed out and bitter. Make sure your children never become a part of your battles.

Avoid making your children decide on who is the best parent between you and your ex. If the ex is critical of you to your kids, avoid indulging in an argument and instead respond by saying that you’re doing the best you can and children are comfortable with how you are handling things around the house.

Children want to have a healthy relationship with both parents and the freedom to feel, however they want to, about them. They will appreciate your efforts to remain civil about the relationship, giving them a chance to experience strong parenthood.

  1. Spend quality time with your kids

By every means, try to spend quality time with your children, even if it is just 20 minutes a day. It is important to know about the people that influence their lives; teachers, friends, coaches. Go on a holiday and family trips if you think it’ll be an honest opportunity to get to know your kids more. Forming a strong bond with your children, while they are young, is crucial. Talk to them about their daily activities, their interests and most importantly their problems.

Make your children feel more ‘involved’ in household activities. Have a fun-Sunday kitchen routine where you can ask your children to help you cook. Give them small jobs like getting stuff from the pantry or chopping vegetables with a plastic knife. Help them communicate effectively with an adult.

  1. Keep an eye on what you eat

As an active, single mother, you need to have a healthy diet in order to keep your immune system strong. It’s hard to find fitting food when you are balancing two things at once; home and work, but it is essential to have a well-balanced diet.

You might end up eating too much on some stressful days. Try to cut back on junk and binge on healthy snacks instead. Fruits, nuts and vegetables are excellent choices to boost your immunity.

From my personal experience, herbal teas often act as de-stressors while also working on your immune system activity. Detox your body and you will feel lighter and charged up to take on your daily routine.

  1. Sweat it out and get some sleep

As an individual doing a two-person job, getting some sound sleep and having me-time can help you unwind from the challenges of your daily routine. It is normal to feel frustrated and bitter. These feelings linger within your mind because of the stressful lifestyle you must follow as a single working mother.

Your children solely depend on you for protection. You cannot afford to go beyond your limits where you start feeling emotionally and physically drained.

Recharge your batteries, even if you have to temporarily switch your child care provider or simply get a family member to help you out. Spend that time doing activities you like such as meditation, Yoga, exercise or just good old-fashioned sleep. It is important to take a breather every now and then, to remain healthy.

In order to maintain your strength and resilience, you must incorporate these strategies in your daily life. Don’t rule out emotions altogether and do the best that you can. Your kids will love you no matter what. You will soon realize that your single parent family can truly survive all odds.

Author Bio:

Andrea Bell is freelance writer by day and sports fan by night.  Andrea writes about tech education and health related issues (but not at the same time). Live simply, give generously, watch football and a technology lover. Find Andrea  on twitter @IM_AndreaBell.

 

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How Can You Help Seniors Prevent Identity Theft?


We welcome back guest blogger, Maria Alice to The Purple Jacket! 

Unfortunately seniors are a popular target for identity thieves. Criminals see senior citizens as more easily influenced and assume that they have assets to plunder. As a caregiver, you can educate your seniors with tips to help prevent them from being victimized and help them out whenever possible as well. The following are some of the most valuable ways your elder loved ones can avoid identity theft.

Protect Personal Documents

Many people are in the habit of carrying around personal documents, like social security cards and insurance cards, in a purse or wallet, believing it would be safer when its on your person. However, this is not the case. It’s better to keep this personal information in a secure place at home, such as in a locked safe, just in case your senior forgets or loses their bag somewhere or it gets stolen. Additionally, make sure that all documents containing personal information or account numbers are shredded when not needed anymore as identity thieves can easily search your trash.

Avoid Phone and Door-to-Door Scams

Never give out personal information over the phone. This includes insurance numbers, social security numbers, credit card numbers and any other financial information. Instead, they should request that the information be sent in the mail or done in person. Unscrupulous door-to-door salespeople may see seniors as easy marks when it comes to selling them things they don’t need at over-inflated prices. Some examples are unnecessary insurance and home services. One popular scam involves giving a “free” inspection of the heating/cooling system and then finding “urgent repairs” that are needed.

Practice Safe Online Behavior

Make sure your loved one monitors their credit report. Many seniors don’t realize that they can monitor their credit reports online and even put a freeze on inquiries. You may be able to use a good antivirus program that is updated regularly. This will help prevent viruses on your computer that capture personal and financial information.  It is vitally important to create strong passwords and change them from time to time. Different accounts should have different passwords as having the same password for everything would help a hacker gain access to all your accounts and personal information.

Be Mindful of Home Security

Always keep doors and windows locked whether you are at home or away. Unlocked doors are an invitation to thieves. Seniors might not even know that anything is missing until they see unknown charges on their credit card bill. Make sure that your home security system is maintained, including cameras, automatic locks, and arming your house while you are away. Different houses have different necessities, so it’s important to research different websites to find one that caters to your needs.

Caregiver Responsibility

Sharing these tips will help seniors in your care avoid the heartache and hassle of being victimized. Identity theft is on the rise; our most vulnerable citizens need to be aware of the threat. Protecting personal documents, avoiding phone and email scams while being proactive about home security can weave a safety net around us. As a caregiver, your help can be instrumental in preventing senior identity theft.

Maria Alice is a freelance writer currently living in Chicago. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Illinois at Chicago with a minor in Communication. She blogs about environmentally friendly tips, technological advancements, and healthy active lifestyles.

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4 Ways Your Patients Will Love You More


We welcome back guest blogger, Andrea Bell to The Purple Jacket

4 Ways Your Patients will Love You More

It is not only a nurse’s responsibility to wear a smile and treat patients with a positive attitude, but doctors also play a significant role in keeping their patients contented with their services. It hardly takes 16 seconds for a physician to understand patient’s condition, but in those 16 seconds a nice, first impression is also needed to make patients love you along with your skills.

Many hospitals are filled with doctors these days who only attend patients to diagnose their illness and vanish right away without exchanging a healthy conversation with them. This condescending attitude of doctors only pulls patients out of their comfort zone, which is why a happy, interactive doctor is the first step towards a happy, healthy patient. Following are some of the basic things that you as a medic can adopt to make your patients love you.

  • Be a Doctor, Not a Businessman

Of course, it is your profession, and you earn from it, but it does not mean you start treating your patients only as a source of income or business work rather than human beings who need help. Even if you are dealing your work as a mere job, take it that your patients are like your business clients whom you have to make happy no matter what. The only thing that builds a business better than any other is through healthy relationship, which is why a doctor has to stop being indifferent and start caring for their patients.

Walk in the room with a big smile on your face and be impressive. Rather than engaging them with your astonishing knowledge and appearance, try making them comfortable by asking questions about their life; learn about their name, hobbies, family, and daily routine. Most importantly, try to remember their face by name, so the next time you meet them, it would be easier for you to greet them by their name.

  • Build a Strong Relationship

A doctor-patient relationship does not breach outside the hospital. Since a patient recognises you outside your professional hours in a market or a bar, a doctor should also be able to identify patients by their name with a warm and welcoming attitude. Like your favourite clothing brand store keeps you updated about the deals you like or informs you about any post of your favourite sports that might interest you, a doctor should also keep a check on their patients’ hobbies. It will only consume a little fraction of your time – you can as well ask your assistance to run through your patients’ information and learn about their hobbies. Providing patients with thank you cards for recommending other patients, calling them to ask about their health after few days, and welcoming them with a cup of coffee are few things that can build a heartening bridge of relation between you and your patients.

  • Keep them Informed

Treating a patient is your foremost duty, and keeping them informed about their changing health also comes under this job. If they are coming to you, it reflects their trust in you as a doctor and your helpful office. This is why keeping your patients update on their progress including the bills they are paying is important. For this task, you do not need to hire an accountant rather it can be easily done by just implementing Medisoft medical billing software to your system, to take care of all your patient account history so that you can inform them where they spent their money and for what purpose. Medisoft technical support also helps fostering a strong bond between doctor and patient. So the next time a patient comes to you, he will not cut short or ask twice before investing money in your services.

  • A Tip For Free

There are doctors around the world who charge extra when a patient asks for suggestions other than their current sickness. This behaviour only holds back patients from opening up and sharing their thoughts with the doctor. To eliminate this habit, a consultant needs to listen to his patients carefully and give them suggestions regarding their health even if it does not relate to their present condition. Being kind towards your patients will create a soft spot in their hearts, which will not only keep them coming back to you but will also diminish the fence of shyness between you two.

Make sure to let your patients know that you understand them wholeheartedly. Give them advice regarding a healthy diet or other healthy activities that can keep them in shape. Mail them any interesting article or piece of information you come across regarding their health to boost their trust on you. Treat your patients, staff, and everyone with care and you’ll be their favorite person in no time.

Author Bio:

Andrea Bell is freelance writer by day and sports fan by night.  Andrea writes about tech education and health related issues (but not at the same time). Live simply, give generously, watch football and a technology lover. Find Andrea  on twitter @IM_AndreaBell.

CCC_CHRISAsk me how you can become a Certified Caregiving Consultant!

 

Chris MacLellan is the host of Healing Ties Radio and the author of “What’s The Deal with Caregiving?”  

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Seniors Finding Energy in Self-Driving Cars


We welcome back guest blogger, Maria Alice

Autonomous, or “self-driving,” cars have been making the news rounds for a few years. These computer-controlled vehicles are capable of following a preset course when the driver is impaired or would otherwise be unable to manage the pedals and steering wheel, meaning fewer accidents. These vehicles run on electricity instead of fossil fuels, providing a host of ecological and cost-friendly benefits. These two benefits alone are merely the tip of the iceberg of benefits that self-driving cars can provide.

An automated car means that seniors and others with mobility problems or handicaps can truly share the road with the rest of the driving populace. Elders unable to drive by themselves would simply need to tell the computer where they wanted to the car to take them and then relax. Furthermore, a self-driving car does not require additional, sometimes-costly, mechanical alterations that a conventional handicap-accessible car would require to drive around unsupervised.

The main draw of a self-driving car is that all of the content between point A and point B is handled by someone else. The passenger just needs to know those two points.

When looking into the big names behind this booming industry, Audi, Baidu, BMW, Ford, Google, Mercedes and Tesla, all make appearances. Google offers two different models of self-driving car: one is a “pod” lacking either a steering wheel or pedal and the other is a modified Lexus outfitted with sensors and an on-board computer.

While you may think that this technology is being championed by the elderly, the blind and visually-handicapped will also greatly benefit from the proliferation of self-driving cars. Independence is a big merit for these people and it can do a lot for their self-esteem to know that they don’t need to ask around for a ride or hunt for just enough fare to pay a public bus or taxi. A self-driving car is the perfect means of granting that sort of independence.

The benefits of driverless cars extend beyond just people – the environment gains a huge boon as well. According to Energy Companies Alberta, full integration of electric driverless cars would reduce fossil fuel consumption by nearly 3 billion gallons between relying on electricity, running the vehicle at a sustained speed, and streamlining traffic on busy highways. While electrical self-driving cars would not eliminate fossil fuel usage entirely, the technology could eventually be reworked to handle other industries that involve automotive devices, like the shipping industry.

While all of this information may sound wonderful, the reality is mired in legal quicksand. One speed bump on the road to automotive modernization and the disabled comes from the legal requirements for operating a vehicle. Most states and federal districts have laws on the books which dictate that a driver must be in full control of the vehicle at all times. This means that while driverless cars can be put into the marketplace, a designated driver must still remain within the vehicle as long as it is on the road.

Do we think self-driving cars are a worthy endeavor? Does the idea of giving your parents the freedoms they used to enjoy appeal to you, especially when several major automotive and technology industries are looking into them? Would you rest better not having to include time spent driving them around into your schedule? Do you care about renewable energy and the future of the planet’s health? The short answer to these questions is “yes.” All research points to driverless cars becoming common enough that the gas-guzzling auto will be a relic of the past and will greatly loosen our reliance upon technology that requires fossil fuels to operate.

Maria Alice  is a freelance writer currently living in Chicago. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Illinois at Chicago with a minor in Communication. She blogs about environmentally friendly tips, technological advancements, and healthy active lifestyles.

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Dementia Patients at Home: Care Taker’s Guide


The Purple Jacket welcomes back guest blogger Andrea Bell 

Dementia Patients at Home: Care Taker’s Guide

According to the behaviorist perspective, the environment plays a key role in how people behave. The impact comes from the people as well the type of house or even inanimate objects that are placed there. Dementia is not a disease in which a patient can admit himself into a hospital and receive proper treatment. He has to live with it for the rest of his/her life. Since they cannot control the progression of the disease, what they can control is to choose the way they want to spend their remaining years. Home décor can have a significant impact on dementia patients who are receiving care at home. It is important to understand that their life has or is beginning to change drastically, so a change in surroundings to help them adapt better is necessary. Here are some absolutely easy home décor ideas especially for people with Dementia:

  1. Bedding and comfort

Every patient (Dementia or not) needs comfort. Bedding, chairs and sofas should all be soft and cozy enough for the patient to stay in. Discomfort can stress the patient very easily which can increase the adverse effects of the disease. Comfort is also provided through emotional support of the care taker, it is necessary to educate yourself about Dementia patients before taking care of them. Their mattresses should have a plastic covering as well as be fire retardant.

Here are some pages to get you started: How to properly deal with Dementia; Dementia nursing and caring tips.

  1. When Nature calls

Most patients with mild cognitive impairment or even normal physical weaknesses tend to wet their beds. It is absolutely essential to stay absolutely calm as it is already a pretty shameful moment for them. To avoid this, adult diapers and catheters are necessary. Other than this, easy to use bathroom fixtures and fittings are something that can provide the patients and their care takers both, some ease. Also, there are several kinds of bath chairs with all proper washing functions available which can be placed in the bathroom. Get them here.

  1. Reminders and forgetfulness

Dementia is probably the second name for forgetfulness. It can make the patient feel useless, as they at some point are not able to remember important pieces of information, or even the insignificant things like names of different foods or what day it is today. So to help them remember the house should be ‘reminder friendly’ in ways that the patient is instantly reminded of basic things. Sticky Notes always come in handy, even for everyday life. Post them everywhere, especially near the bedside or work areas with whatever information that you choose to remind them.

Large reminder boards can be placed on the wall, or the fridge, which can keep track of things like what time do they have to take their medicine, or how many times or pills do they have to take etc. If it is someone’s special day, like a birthday or a wedding anniversary, it can be easily posted on the reminder board in bold letters, which can allow the patient to be reminded of it every time they look at it or walk by it. You can easily by them from this store.

Bold analogue wall clocks can also be a good way for the patients to keep track of time. Large clocks with bold calendars are also available especially for dementia patients. Get them here.

  1. Way finding and wandering

A smart way to stop the patient from wandering is to plant or paste arrows inside the house, or in the backyard to allow the patient to recognize where he has to go. As soon as he begins to wander, the arrows will prompt him with the path that needs to be followed.

  1. Color selection for the eyes

With Dementia in old age, many patients may develop blindness or cataract eventually leading lives with blurry vision. Usage of bright and bold colors in things that need to be highlighted such as their pill boxes or their food containers can help them locate and even remember it easily. On the other hand, for areas such as those meant for sleeping and relaxing, the colors should be light and pastel in order to provide a soothing effect for the patient. These bold and soothing colors can be integrated into walls, curtains, bed sheets as well as the carpets on the floor.

  1. Organization to reduce confusion

Old age can cause a lot of confusion for the patient, especially if it is accompanied by Dementia. To reduce daily life confusion as much as possible, you can color coordinate their wardrobes, or pre pick out their clothes that they have to wear daily. Arrange their personal belongings or toiletries in a way that they are clear and visible right in front.

Andrea Bell is  freelance writer by day and sports fan by night.  Andrea writes about tech education and health related issues (but not at the same time). Live simply, give generously, watch football and a technology lover. Find Andrea  on twitter @IM_AndreaBell.

(All content and links submitted in this post are written and submitted by Andrea Bell.)

 

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Home Safety Tips for Seniors


We welcome back one of our favorite guest bloggers, Maria Alice, to The Purple Jacket!

We all value our independence and autonomy, both of which are threatened as a person gets older. It’s always better for an elderly person to continue to live in their own home, in familiar surroundings, where they are comfortable. For the majority of the elderly, this arrangement is possible with the right support. In today’s world, safety and home monitoring are easier than ever before.

Home Security

One of the best ways to keep your elderly loved one safe is to have a home security system installed. You can find more information and great resources about different kinds of systems here. The benefit is two-fold: this gives your elderly family member a way to signal if there is a medical emergency, and it also provides protection from outside threats. It’s not pleasant to consider that elderly people living alone might be targets of crime, but unfortunately criminals prey on those least able to defend themselves.

Safety in the Bathroom

The bathroom can be a hazard for older people, whose vision and balance will most likely not be as good as it once was. Slipping in the tub and falling is a common source of injury in the elderly and can have tragic results, especially for those who live alone. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one out of every five falls among the elderly leads to broken bones or a head injury. Steps can be taken to minimize risk, such as installing a step-in shower or adding a slip-proof surface to the bottom of the tub. Handrails can also be a major help to senior citizens and should be installed next to the toilet and in the shower.

Lighting and Clutter

Memory and mental function are often impaired in older people, especially those in the early stages of dementia. Sufficient lighting can make a big difference in preventing accidents, as can keeping the home clear of obstacles. The old saying, “a place for everything and everything in its place” was never more appropriate than when describing the kind of environment an elderly person needs. As memory fades, it’s more important than ever for everyday necessities to be within reach and in a familiar place.

Home Hazards

Anything that poses a threat to the safety of your loved one should be put away or safety-proofed. Sharp knives may need to be removed from the kitchen. Hazardous corners should be covered with plastic bumpers. Make sure that there is a clear path to follow from one room to another throughout the house, since the risk of falling increases with age.

Carbon Monoxide and Fire Alarms

Besides a security system, carbon monoxide and fire alarms are two other ways that modern technology can help keep your elderly parent or loved one safe. Because memory in seniors can decrease, there is always the possibility they may turn on an appliance and then forget about it. It is also difficult to determine that there is carbon monoxide in your home without an alarm so it is important to have one installed and checked regularly.

Road Map to Independence

Taking these steps will increase the likelihood of an elderly individual living a safe and happy life in their own home. A security system will provide health and safety monitoring, and modifications to the bathroom can have a great impact on an elderly person’s mobility and independence.

Securing the environment from hazards by providing plenty of lighting and eliminating clutter are first steps toward creating a safe home. And of course, every home should have carbon monoxide and fire alarms to protect the people inside. With these steps, you can provide your elderly loved one with the independence and satisfaction that comes from continuing to live in their own home.

Maria Alice is a freelance writer currently living in Chicago. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Illinois at Chicago with a minor in Communication. She blogs about environmentally friendly tips, technological advancements, and healthy active lifestyles.

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Caring without a cure: Dementia


Greetings everyone!  Today we welcome guest blogger Andrea Bell to The Purple Jacket.

Caring without a cure: Dementia

When you realize that you or someone you love has been diagnosed with dementia, a progressive disease that has no cure whatsoever, what do you do? After a decent amount of panic and existential crisis, you begin to understand that the right kind of care is necessary in order to cope and survive in this situation.

The most significant thing to be noted is the fact that dementia has a huge impact on the emotional as well as the physical characteristics of the patient. Caring for both becomes absolutely crucial considering the amount of depression and withdrawal that the person suffers through. There is a lot of mental pressure involved.

Emotions and Feelings

It is completely alright to go through a range of new feelings post-diagnosis because your body and mind need time in order to adjust to the news. It might start with a feeling of helplessness, which is absolutely alright as long as there is a gradual shift towards normalcy. Acceptance is key.  The faster you learn to accept the truth, the better the situation becomes. Thus, the first step of self-care or caring for others suffering from dementia is acceptance.

This highlights the significance of positivity in these situations. In progressive or regressive diseases, keeping a positive attitude is half the battle. Under no circumstances must you or your patient leave hope of ever living a normal life again. Even though it may seem impossible considering the current that goes down your spine when your physician mouths the words “there is no cure…” and typing ‘dementia cure’ in your Google tab does not turn out be as fruitful as expected, you must understand that a positive approach can be an alternative maintenance formula nonetheless. However, individual differences outline the fact that every person will go through a different set of emotions, depending on their personality and thought process.

Relationships and Socializing

Dementia patients are in constant need of support and reassurance – after all, they’ve just learned that their mental capabilities are declining. If you are suffering from dementia it is highly advised that you try to spend as much time as possible with your family and friends, because the unconditional support that comes from loved ones has an automatic healing effect which will help you release mind and body stress. All of this is significant not only in order to make the patient ‘feel better’ but also to try and reverse the adverse psychological impact.

Family ties, relationships or your care givers can help you or the patient to stay grounded with reality and a sense of self. So you must follow your daily routine as closely as possible. Social media is another fun and easy way for staying connected and it stimulates the functioning of the brain which makes it work hard.

Finding your people

Since you’ve transitioned into this new life, it would be a good idea to reach out and connect with people who share the same condition as you. This way you will find people from different cultures who have experienced or are experiencing the same irritations and problems such as you. Their experience could be useful to you in many ways and at the same time provide you comfort in the fact that you aren’t alone in the abyss of suffering. Get a chance to communicate with people suffering from dementia on numerous blogs on the internet, just like this one here.

Be your own Anchor

Being independent is important for everyone not only patients because by doing things your way will prevent your condition from getting worse rapidly. It is natural for people around you to try and do everything for you. Let them take care of you from time to time, and do not hold back from telling them that you would like to do your own work and discussing your other independent choices.

Daily tasks will become much more challenging if you forget minute things like a certain date or a password. This can also impact your decisiveness. However, if you decide to remain independent and as mentioned above ‘take charge’ of your life, these challenges could become less complicated, some steps are mentioned below:

  • Sticky Notes – stick them all around the house
  • Keep a Diary – writing about your day or a special event can help
  • Hang a large digital clock in every room.
  • Hang a whiteboard for reminders

Get more gifts and health care products targeted for dementia patients at Unforgettable.org.

Eating well with Dementia

Unfortunately, dementia can cause a change in your dietary habits as you may begin to feel how some of the food tastes.

The two keys to a healthy diet are:

  1. Consume only what your body needs.
  2. Choose a variety to get all supplements.

Read more about proper diet and nutrition in a guide by Eatwell here.

The Doctor is on your side

Regular trips to the physician can be very beneficial for Dementia diagnosis, test, and screening if you are open enough to discuss your problems. This will allow the doctor to keep a check on your progress, and change your medicines or diet accordingly.

Doctors can offer you:

  • Medical treatment and advice
  • Specialist help and referrals and
  • General advice on fitness and preventing further illness.

If you are accompanying a dementia patient to the physician’s clinic, it can be considered a good idea to note down the points that you or your patient wants to discuss, so that you do not forget by the time you get there. Also, making a note of what the doctor has to say during the consultation can be useful, so that you or the patient can refer back to time and again.

Author Bio:  Andrea Bell 

I am a Freelance writer by day and sports fan by night. I write about tech education and health related issues (but not at the same time). Live simply, give generously, watch football and a technology lover. Find me on twitter @IM_AndreaBell.

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