Video Book Trailer: Help! What Do I Do Now?

12.09.11 / Help! What Do I Do Now? Caring for a Loved One with Alzheimer's / Author: / Comments: (0)
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Keeping your loved one hydrated

29.08.11 / Alzheimer's / Author: / Comments: (2)
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During hot weather it is important  for everyone to drink plenty of fluids to keep hydrated.  Keeping  your loved one living with Alzheimer’s  from becoming dehydrated can be difficult especially as the disease progresses and his ability to communicate verbally diminishes. He may not be able to verbalize his thirst or in later stages may not even recognize the need to drink. It is up to you as his caregiver to ensure that he is hydrated. Be sure to offer him drinks throughout the day. If he has increased anxiety, wanders, or becomes frustrated, this could be a sign of being thirsty (as well as many other things). Try offering him  a drink at this time. It may be easier to get him to drink if you offer a snack at the same time. Often people living with Alzheimer’s will drink and eat something that tastes sweet when they won’t  consume most things. If he is resistant to drinking water, try offering a sweet drink such as juice or maybe sweet tea. The important thing is that he drinks liquid regularly. Remember to stay hydrated yourself, too.

Winner in the Global eBook Awards!

21.08.11 / Help! What Do I Do Now? Caring for a Loved One with Alzheimer's / Author: / Comments: (2)
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Help! What Do I Do Now? Caring for Your Loved One with Alzheimer’s won the Parenting/Family – Nonfiction category in the Global eBook Awards.

While this award was for the electronic version of the book, the print version is identical in content. I’m pleased that the judges found the information in the book to be valuable and presented in a way that is easy for caregivers to read, understand, and actually put into practice. I hope the award will bring the book to the attention of more caregivers who can benefit from the encouragement and advice. My goal is to help caregivers and ultimately make life easier for both caregivers and Alzheimer’s patients.

Help! What Do I Do Now? is a finalist in the Global eBook Awards

19.08.11 / Help! What Do I Do Now? Caring for a Loved One with Alzheimer's / Author: / Comments: (0)
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I’m excited that Help! What Do I Do Now? Caring for Your Loved One with Alzheimer’s is a finalist in the Parenting/Family – Non-Fiction category of the Global eBook Awards.

My hope is that this honor will make more caregivers aware of this guide and ultimately help more caregivers and more Alzheimer’s patients.

Help! What Do I Do Now? Nominated for Global eBook Award

01.07.11 / Help! What Do I Do Now? Caring for a Loved One with Alzheimer's / Author: / Comments: (0)
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Help! What Do I Do Now? Caring for Your Loved One with Alzheimer’s has been nominated for a Global eBook Award.

The book is currently in the top 50 in the Kindle > Parenting & Families > Aging Parents > Eldercare category at Amazon.com.

I hope many caregivers gain help and encouragement from the practical tips I share.

Protecting Your Loved One

07.02.11 / Alzheimer's / Author: / Comments: (0)
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Pit Road LlanbradachProtecting your loved one is one of your most important duties as a caregiver. This is especially important when weather conditions are dangerous, as is so common this time of year.

The best protection is to keep your loved one safe inside. If he or she has a tendency to wander, here are some precautions you can take to keep them from getting out:

  • Have a lock on all your exterior doors—out of sight and out of reach of your loved one.
  • Use a lock that requires a key to unlock and hide the key where your loved one can’t find it.
  • Put childproof knob covers on the doorknobs to keep the person from being able to open the door.
  • Put black floor covering or a black rug in front of little-used exterior doors or doors that lead to rooms with exterior doors. Individuals with Alzheimer’s mistake a large black area for a hole and will avoid stepping into it. Don’t try this on the door that you want your loved one to use when going in or out with you.

Be prepared in case your best efforts fail and your loved one does get out of the house:

  • Make sure he has identification with the correct address and phone number. This can be in a wallet or sewn intohis clothes.
  • Include information that states the patient has Alzheimer’s or simply say she gets confused so that if someone finds her, they will recognize that she needs help.
  • Take a photo every six months so you have a current picture to show authorities and searchers if the person does get lost.
  • Inform the neighbors of your loved one’s condition so they will know to contact you if they see him wandering.

If your loved one does get out without your knowing it:

  • Look in places that are familiar to her.
  • Take the latest photo of your loved one and show neighbors and nearby businesses to see if anyone has seen him.
  • Notify authorities if you don’t find your loved one quickly, and be sure to let them know her condition.
  • Be sure that a family member or friend stays at your home to be there in case someone calls with information or brings your loved one home.

Creative Commons License photo credit: Watt_Dabney

Guest Post at aboutalz.com

18.01.11 / Alzheimer's / Author: / Comments: (0)

I’ve written a guest post at aboutalz.com. Click on over to read Making Invisible Alzheimer’s Patients Visible.

Great Article on Caring for Alzheimer’s Patients

03.01.11 / Alzheimer's / Author: / Comments: (0)
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The New York Times has an excellent article about the latest trend in Alzheimer’s care in nursing homes. The article describes Beatitudes nursing home in Phoenix, which allows Alzheimer’s to eat, sleep, and just about everything else when and how the patients want. The article explains there are sound reasons for doing so:

Research suggests that creating positive emotional experiences for Alzheimer’s patients diminishes distress and behavior problems.

I’m happy to see the research linked in the above quote and especially glad to see nursing homes providing as much comfort and pleasure as possible for Alzheimer’s patients. Obviously, a family caregiver cannot give exactly the same kind of care this nursing home gives. After all, you’re just one person (or only a few people)—you’re on duty round the clock and aren’t part of a team who goes home at the end of an eight-hour shift, turning all responsibility over the next team.  However, with the help of my guide, Help! What Do I Do Now? Caring for Your Loved One with Alzheimer’s, you can come much closer to providing this ideal care.

Article about Help! What Do I Do Now? on kens5.com

30.12.10 / Help! What Do I Do Now? Caring for a Loved One with Alzheimer's / Author: / Comments: (0)
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James Munoz, reporter for KENS5 TV in San Antonio, has written a great article about the book Help! What Do I Do Now? Caring for a Loved One with Alzheimer’s.

The article can be found on the KENS5 website.

You can order the book from Amazon.com or in bulk from the publisher.

Celebrating the Holidays with an Alzheimer’s Patient

21.12.10 / Alzheimer's / Author: / Comments: (0)
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Holidays are supposed to be happy times, but celebrating holidays with a loved one suffering from Alzheimer’s disease (AD) can often be a challenge. Events that should be fun can be overwhelming to someone with dementia, and the patient’s behaviors can turn a pleasant get-together into an uncomfortable situation.

The most important key to success in to have a backup plan. You want to involve your AD-affected loved one in the festivities as much as possible. However, being around new people, visiting unfamiliar places, and being surrounded by many distracting activities can overwhelm someone with Alzheimer’s disease. In that case, you need to be prepared to deal with the situation.

Below are tips to make it more likely that your loved one will enjoy the holidays, along with some suggestions for backup plans.

Before the Event:

  • Be selective in the activities in which you involve the patient. She may not be able to handle baking cookies on Wednesday, going to a party at Aunt Sue’s on Thursday, attending Midnight Mass on Friday, and having a big Christmas dinner to Jerry’s on Saturday. Depending on the individual person and the stage of AD they are in, decide how many and which of the events she will enjoy most.
  • Although he may not remember, it may be helpful to tell him in advance where he is going and why. “Christmas Eve is tomorrow, and we’re going to Mary’s to open gifts.” Depending on the stage of the disease and the individual, a large calendar with important dates circled and a note about what is happening may be useful.
  • Focus on the event and don’t waste time or energy on less important items. Don’t argue with her if she wants to wear a sweat suit to a dress-up party. Her clothing is less important than her comfort and enjoyment.
  • Prepare other people to deal with the patient. If you are going somewhere else, make sure the host knows about your loved one’s condition. Tell friends and relatives you seldom see what to expect. Explain to children that Grandma or Uncle Johnny gets confused easily and may not remember them. Ask others for their patience in answering the person’s repeated questions and ask them to find you or another designated person if your loved one needs help. You may want to give others a copy of my book, Help! What Do I Do Now? Caring for Your Loved One with Alzheimer’s, so they will understand and learn some tips for responding to someone with AD.
  • Try to ensure the patient gets plenty of rest the night before the event, or if he wanders at night, encourage him to take a nap during the day of the get-together.

During the Event:

  • Stay close to the patient or designate close family members to do so, both to give your loved one a sense of familiarity and comfort and to watch for signs that the patient is becoming overwhelmed and frustrated.
  • If there will be a lot of people there your loved one knows but seldom sees, you may encourage guests to wear nametags to make it easier for a person in the earlier stages of AD to identify people.
  • Allow her to participate as much or as little as she wants. If the family is gathered around the piano singing carols, let her sing as loud as she likes—even if she’s terribly off-key. On the other hand, if she prefers to sit quietly in a corner, don’t push her to join a conversation or a card game.
  • Keep choices simple. Don’t ask, “What do you want to eat?” Instead, ask if he wants turkey and potatoes. Or serve his plate for him, choosing foods you know he likes.
  • Give her gentle cues when she seems to be confused and redirect her behavior when needed. If she starts to wander off, gently take her arm and say, “Let’s go over here and look at the pretty Christmas tree.”

If the patient gets upset or over-stimulated, put your backup plan into effect:

  • If you can distract him, encourage him to talk about the past. “Did you have a Christmas tree when you were a boy?” “What was your favorite Christmas gift when you were growing up?”
  • Sit her in a quiet corner where she can be away from the bustle of the event. Perhaps she can listen to soft music.
  • If you can’t distract him in the midst of the activity, take your loved one into a quiet room where he can calm down alone.
  • Weather permitting, go for a short walk in the backyard or garden.
  • Leave the party and take her home. As much as you want her there through all of the celebration, it may not be possible. Far better to leave early and miss some of the event than to force your over-stimulated, upset loved one to endure more of an unpleasant and scary experience, not to mention the discomfort of everyone else enjoying the holiday celebration.

The holidays should be enjoyable—a time to visit with family and friends, to experience favorite traditions, and to enjoy special activities. They should not be a time of stress, frustration, and discord—for you or your loved one.

Creative Commons License photo credit: jaroslavd