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Our Blog

An ongoing series of informational entries

What to Do When Someone Under Your Care Becomes Aggressive

March 30, 2022

It can be very challenging when someone becomes combative. Although it is not uncommon in mid-stages of dementia. These behavioral changes affect over 90% of person’s living with dementia at some point in their journey.


In addition to anger and aggression the person you’re supporting may also experience other unusual habits such as hoarding, wandering, and compulsive behavior. Any of these can trigger a combative episode in someone living with dementia.


If you notice these changes in their normal behavior, seeking consultation with us may help you address matters before the become escalated.


Identify the Immediate Trigger of the Aggression


Aggressive behavior is not random. There’s usually an umet need triggering the behavior change. For example, a change in the person's environment may trigger them to react.


Such aggression is usually caused by feelings of fear, pain, frustration, anger, or discomfort. We recommend checking for any factors that may have triggered any one of these emotions.


For example, approaching a person from behind may be startling. Therefore, aggression can be a form of self-defense from an impending attack.


Validate the Person's Feelings


Understanding that aggression is a trigger response and it is often caused by progression of the condition may allow care partners to take a non-defensive approach to dealing with these circumstances.


Consider everyone’s feelings. In order to validate your loved one’s feelings meet them where they are. Whether you agree or not show concern of their feelings. Once you show them that you understand what they are feeling, it may help in calming them down and encourage trust.


Calm the Environment


Maintaining a calm environment may help you eliminate some triggers for aggressive behaviors. Such an environment may give the person under your care a chance to settle and calm their mind. Music is a helpful tool to consider in calming an otherwise stressful environment.


Give the Person Space


Giving someone space can also go a long way. Make sure the environment is safe for the person needing the space. This can be helpful for all parties involved.


Visit the Doctor


It may not always be an easy task for someone living with dementia to express their needs. While the dementia alone can cause a mental block, emotions may play a role. Two examples of that include: feeling embarrassed or not wanting to be a bother.


Someone may be experiencing pain may not want to tell you or may not know how to express it. Discomfort alone can cause agitation. Cognitive impairment can escalate that. If you're having difficulty identifying the source of agitation or behavior changes, scheduling an appointment with a healthcare provider to further explore the change. After physiologic causes have been ruled out contact one of our consultants for help.


Learn More About Identifying Aggression Triggers


It is okay if you cannot fully comprehend what is triggering aggressive behavior, under your care. Our PAC™ Certified Independent Consultants are here to help. Talk to us and let us help you understand how you can identify triggers and how to address these triggers as they present.

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How to Deal With Burnout as a Care Partner

March 30, 2022

There is no denying that caring for a loved one is rewarding. However, at the same time, the task comes with many stressors. It is not unusual to be excessively focused on the person under your care while neglecting your health.


Sometimes, you may not even notice that you’re emotionally and physically invested in supporting the person. Emotional and physical exhaustion leads to burnout over time.


Providing dementia care also comes with additional pressures, such as the deteriorating condition of the person under your care, financial strain, and social withdrawal. Repeated exposure to such stress may affect your mental and physical health.


But all is not gloomy! There are ways to avoid being affected and burned out, and we’re here to help you understand each below.


Employ Deep Relaxation Techniques


Your body has a natural way to fight stress through a counter-stress system known as the relaxation response. The parasympathetic nervous system is responsible for activating this system.


However, you can purposefully activate the relaxation response through certain deep relaxation practices. These include activities that involve your mind and body. An example includes yoga, meditation, and Tai chi.


These activities contribute to your physical health, and they have a mental benefit by deepening the connection and awareness between your body and mind. By so doing, they help both your body and mind to relax and minimize stress.


The next time your friend invites you for yoga, grab your mat and follow them. It is good for your health.


Maintain a Balanced Diet and Sleep Enough


How often have you prepared a meal for the person under your care and forgotten about yourself? How often have you eaten fast food because you were too tired to cook? We believe the story is the same among many care partners.


However, it doesn’t have to be. Foods with high processed fats and sugars increase inflammation in your body, which causes stress. Meal planning may help avoid that.


Healthy sleeping patterns may also be helpful.


Maintain a Social Life


Quite often, care partners neglect their social life, sometimes even losing connections with close friends and other family members. Maintaining social connections can provide emotional and mental relief.


You can also expand your social connections through care partner support groups. Here you will interact with other care partners and hold meaningful discussions on making your journey more manageable.


Listen to What Your Body is Telling You

Is your body giving you any warning sings? Are you feeling fatigued? That means you need a break. Develop a plan for respite care.


How Can We Help?

It is normal to experience burnout while being a care partner. Learning about the signs early on may prepare you to face these challenges when they present. Find relief at Foster Senior Services! We will educate you on more ways to avoid burnout and dealing with other challenges you may face.

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Compassion Fatigue in Dementia Care

March 2, 2022

Are you currently experiencing compassion fatigue? Compassion fatigue is one of the health risk factors for care partners. Here is what you should know about it:

What is Compassion Fatigue?


Compassion fatigue is also referred to as vicarious traumatization or secondary traumatization. It entails the emotional, physical, and psychological impact of helping others through experiences of trauma or stress. It is the emotional residue of exposure to working with people suffering from the effects of stress or traumatic events. 


Compassion Fatigue Vs. Burnout


It is not unusual for compassion fatigue to be mistaken for burnout. However, there is a difference between the two conditions. Their order of occurrence is what differentiates them.


Compassion fatigue manifests before burnout, it can be observed when a care partner cannot detach themselves from the loved one's condition long enough to recover from the stress you develop when attending to their needs. It is like you become trapped and feel guilty for that person's suffering to the extent you are overwhelmed.


Experiencing these overwhelming negative feelings and not effectively managing the emotions leads to burnout. It is a state where physical signs such as weight loss and sleep disturbances begin to manifest. Among the top signs of burnout are physical and emotional exhaustion, feeling like you aren't getting the job done, indifference and negativity.


Below are the signs that you are suffering from compassion fatigue:


Emotional Symptoms


Compassion fatigue can affect your emotional well-being. The emotional signs of this condition include anxiety, helplessness, feeling detached from your physical surroundings, limited stress tolerance, and reduced empathy.


Cognitive Symptoms


The following are signs that this fatigue is affecting your cognitive function.


  • Changes in your belief systems or the meaning of life
  • Overwhelmed with the suffering your loved one may be experiencing
  • Depression

Physical Symptoms


Compassion fatigue can manifest physically. Common signs include changes in appetite, mood swings, physical exhaustion, fatigue, headaches, and digestive issues.


How to Prevent Compassion Fatigue


First, you must practice self-awareness in order to recognize changes as they occur. That requires self-monitoring to notice changes in your behavior, whether at work or outside of work. Also, the following practices can help you prevent compassion fatigue:


  • Set aside time for self-care
  • Take regular vacations
  • Reduce stressful workloads
  • Meditation
  • Seek therapy
  • Regular exercise
  • Monitor sleep patterns
  • Explore hobbies and interests outside of work
  • Maintain a your social life outside of work

How We Can Help


Are you experiencing the symptoms of compassion fatigue? If you are experiencing any such symptoms, immediately schedule a consultation meeting with our PAC-certified consultants. We will gladly help you recognize and come up with ways to mangage compassion fatigue.   

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Benefits of Reminiscence Therapy in Dementia Care

March 2, 2022

When you hold a reunion with friends, classmates, or even family members you will inevitably start remembering and sharing memories from your past. It is an excellent way to connect and enjoy thinking back on good memories.


The concept of reminiscence therapy is based on a similar understanding. It is a psychosocial intervention that entails discussing past experiences and events, using tangible prompts to evoke memories or stimulate conversation.


It relies on all human senses such as sight, touch, smell, taste, and sound. Sharing life experiences, stories, and memories from the past helps people with dementia recall things. Below are the benefits of reminiscence therapy in dementia care:


It Makes Your Loved One Feel Valued and Heard


One of the challenges of dementia is that it makes a person lose their short-term memory. Such memory loss may make a person feel discouraged and neglected at times. However, reminiscence therapy may help change this feeling.


Remembering things from the past may help a person with dementia feel confident and competent by using their skills. Reminiscence therapy helps people living with dementia feel peaceful and less stressed by remembering happy times from their past.


Such memories may help people living with dementia improve their sense of self-worth by feeling they are a vital part of the community or family.


It Helps in Strengthening Relationships


Some may find it hard to have meaningful discussions or relationships with someone living with dementia. However, using reminiscence therapy may help with that by providing an opportunity to recall past shared memories together.


So, if your loved one forgets who you are, you may still be able to bond with them by helping them recall past experiences you have shared.


Improving Quality of Life


Several studies have proven that improved quality of life is a primary outcome of reminiscence therapy. Remembering good memories may help minimize stress levels for a person living with dementia. It may provide an opportunity to resolve past issues and deal with any current negative emotions.


Moreover, reliving past experiences can be entertaining and bring joy. These events may help a person with dementia feel engaged and elevate their mood.


Improving Communication Skills


Sometimes, communication may be a huge challenge for someone living with dementia. Interactions may also be challenging for a person living with dementia because it takes them longer to process their thoughts.


Using reminiscence therapy techniques encourages loved ones to process their thoughts. This may motivate interaction and allow them to feel like they’re a part of the conversation.


Contact Us to Learn More

How do you use reminiscence therapy to achieve the discussed benefits? Contact us to learn more about the various techniques you can use to achieve these benefits with your loved one. 

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Benefits of Counseling in Dementia Care

January 27, 2022

Giving your all in helping someone with a life-ending condition is the reality of a care partner. Unfortunately this job cannot be done effectively by someone lacking the capacity to give their love and commitment. However, that does not mean that a care partner is immune from emotional and mental challenges.

At times, the pressure of the job may get the best of you. Being a care partner may mean that you will have to deal with loss and grief to the point of feeling hopelessness, in certain situations.

There may be times that you will find yourself needing professional help to cope with these challenges. Counseling is one of the vital ways to care for yourself. Find out how counseling can help you below.

Barriers to Counseling In Dementia Care

Counseling is a form of talking therapy that aims at helping a person better understand their problems and exploring ways to manage them. A professional counselor will not necessarily provide you with “answers” to your problems. However, they will guide you in coping with the complex challenges you will face.

Sadly, there is still a negative stigma associated with mental health amongst many. This stems from the misconception that a person seeking counseling or therapy must have a mental condition. These negative attitudes make it difficult for some care partners to seek the help they need. This way of thinking is damaging to our society. Here are some reasons why you should not shy away from seeking the needed help.

Sometimes it’s All the Help You Need

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where all you want is someone you can talk to about what you are going through? When experiencing burnout and stress in your job, seeing a professional therapist could be all the help you need.

A recent study showed that about 41% of former care partners of a spouse with dementia experienced mild to severe depression up to three years after the spouse had died. Other studies also show that care partners are at a higher risk of developing depression than the general population.

As part of your self-care regimen we encourage you to seek the help you need before it gets to that point.

It Motivates You to Appreciate Your Own Efforts

As mentioned, the role of a therapist is to help you cope with the challenges you are facing. Counseling helps you process your thoughts and behaviors.

In dementia care, how you approach and interact with the person under your care will influence how they feel and behave towards you.

One challenge you may face is the guilt that you are not doing enough to provide quality care to the person living with dementia. A professional therapist may help you appreciate what you’re doing right, and improve on things that may not be going so well.

It Helps In Managing Emotions

A critical virtue care partners learn is patience. Sometimes a person living with dementia can test your patience to its limit. When faced with stress or frustrations, they may become agitated and direct their anger towards you.

Try avoiding confrontations as this may make matters worse. Over time, built up frustrations may become explosive if these are not dealt with along the way. Seeking counseling may provide you with alternative healthy ways to channel your anger and frustration.

Helps You Understand the Situation Better

We all have different ways of interpreting situations that we face. Most people just want their feelings validated. Misinterpretation can lead to poor decision making in certain situations. Getting professional help may give some insight on using alternative techniques in addressing our own feelings. They may also advise you on adjusting your own attitudes and behaviors in order to give a more caring response to others.

Talk to Our Consultants Today

Do these challenges feel similar to those you are facing? Reach out to our PAC Certified Consultant. Although we are not trained therapists or counselors, we can help you come up with solutions to coping with dementia and the challenges you, your coworkers or other family members may face.

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Why Self-Care is Crucial for Care Partners

January 27, 2022

Did you know that only 4 in 10 care partners would rate their health as “excellent?” That is according to surveys conducted by the AARP and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The CDC report indicates that about 53.4% of caregivers aged 65 years and older have two or more chronic diseases compared to 34.8% of caregivers aged 45 to 64 years. While it may sound scary, it is not far from reality. Providing care for persons living with dementia is physically and emotionally demanding. These demands can lead to burnout.


Your health as the care partner is equally important in this journey. Therefore, taking responsibility for your health care needs is essential. Find out the ways to do that below.


Avoid Burnout

Love is a crucial ingredient in providing care. Even when the person(s) under your care is not a relative it is not unusual to develop an emotional attachment. However, the inability to care for yourself while caring for others may place you and your loved one(s) at risk.

Burnout inhibits your ability to provide the best quality of care. Signs of burnout include, but are not limited to, the following:

• Headaches and nausea

• Agitation or irritability

• Lack of enough sleep

• Constant fatigue

• Substance abuse

• Depression


These as well as other noticeable changes in your behavior should not be ignored. Although, some signs may occur gradually over time. If you find yourself suffering without an outlet, try setting realistic boundaries between your personal life and duties of a care partner. Setting boundaries will benefit you and the person(s) under your care.

Identify Your Barriers to Self-Care

What is standing in your way of incorporating self-care activities into your own routine? Here is a checklist to help you identify these barriers:

• Do you think it is selfish to put your needs first?

• Is it that you cannot create time for yourself?

• Has fear overcome you?

• Do you feel like you will be a bother to others by asking for help?

• Are you overcompensating for something based on your history with the person under your care?

If you answered yes to any of these you may want to step back and evaluate the circumstances to meet some of your needs also.

Develop a Sense of Self-Compassion


It is not uncommon for care partners to feel guilty about taking time out to care for oneself. Being kind to yourself is the foundation of self-care. Even if no one else does, remember to give yourself grace.

Be appreciative to yourself for the love you give, the challenges that you have to cope with every day, and the complexity of the care you provide.

Get Quality Sleep and a Healthy Diet

Sleep and nutrition are crucial in minimizing the risk of burnout. Try your best to limit foods with high amounts of fats and processed sugars for better health. These are known to increase inflammation, especially when your body is already experiencing stress. If you are unsure whether your current dietary choices are right for you or not, seek professional help with a nutritionist or dietitian to develop a plan that is both healthy and manageable for you to follow.

Seek help

Asking for help is one step towards self-care. You cannot do it all alone. None of us can. Having a support system is necessary for success. Your network can come to your aid, especially when overcome by the pressures of your duties. When help is available, be kind enough to accept the assistance. Your loved one will also appreciate it.

Get in Touch for More Care Tips

You are not alone. At Foster Senior Services, we provide seminars on dementia care that will give you the necessary tools needed to make good choices, as the condition progresses. Reach out to us if your community is in need of training. In addition we have a PAC Certified Consultant that you can talk to for guidance, one on one or in a group setting.

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How to Improve Physical Environment for Dementia Care

January 07, 2022

The physical environment can work to your advantage or prove to be a challenge when taking care of someone with dementia. The influence of physical and social environments can be crucial to care outcomes.


The physical environment affects how your loved one feels, reacts, and finds meaning.


You have to create a dementia-friendly environment. That is an enabling environment that provides a sense of affection, dignity, and place. The environment should ease emotional and physical stress for your loved one and the caregiver. Follow the tips below to improve the physical environment for your loved one(s).


Establish a Secure Perimeter


Among other risky behaviors, a person living with dementia may engage in wandering. It can occur when your loved one becomes excessively agitated or confused. Establishing a perimeter with unrestricted access to an outdoor area would help ensure the safety of your loved one.


When establishing this perimeter, it should have unobtrusive and disguised safety measures to help discourage your loved ones from leaving the safety zone but not make them feel like they are exiled. Studies have shown that such measures include placing a beige cloth over the doorknob or leaving the door open to an outside safe place may discourage wandering.


Assistive Technology


Technology has played a crucial role in providing care for people living with dementia. Currently, there are several assistive devices you can use to improve the independence and safety of your loved one(s) all the while creating a friendly environment. Some of these innovations include:


• Fall detectors

• Location monitoring services

• Shut-off devices

• Automated lights

• Medical reminders


Bedroom


An important aspect we should consider about the bedroom is that it should provide privacy while also stimulating a feeling of safety and comfort. These are crucial for a goodnight's sleep for your loved one.


In addition, the décor should be personalized in order to promote a homelike environment. That helps make it more recognizable for someone living with dementia. As stated above it should not restrict movement and have personal items within reach and sight.


Toilets and Bathroom


Safety and ease of use is paramount in designing bathrooms for people living with dementia. It should also promote dignity and independence. As long as they are physically capable your loved one may not rely on your assistance when toileting and showering.


Lighting


Good lighting is crucial to achieving a dementia-friendly environment for your loved one. Their dwelling should be designed to maximize the natural daylight. It gives them a sense of their current environment.


Bottomline


Creating a dementia-friendly environment is essential for improving the quality of life for your loved one. So far, we have discussed some of the measures you can put in place to achieve such an environment. Do you want to learn more tips about care for a person with dementia? Visit our website here or contact us for a consultation.

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Memory Care Tips for Person with Dementia

January 07, 2022

Dementia is often classified as a progressive disease. As it progresses, the symptoms often become severe. As the symptoms worsen, it becomes harder for a person living with dementia to live independently.


Activities of daily living (ADLs) such as dressing or toileting becomes difficult for your loved one to perform. When they get to such a level, it will require more attention and effort to provide full-time care.


Besides caring for them physically, as memory loss progresses, memory care may also be indicated. Below are some recommendations to offering high-quality memory care to a person living with dementia:


Layout and Physical Environment


How safe is the facility for someone whose condition has progressed? Is the physical environment dementia-friendly? The following are physical attributes to look out for in terms of the layout of the facility where your loved one is staying. Some things the individual will need include:


• Labeling doors and rooms

• Spacious room

• Circular hallways to avoid dead ends

• Enclosed outdoor area with walking paths

• Security measures

Relationship-Rich Care

When going through such a hard time, your loved one will need compassion. Providing person-centered care is very important. Develop a good and caring relationship with your loved one to support them through the hard times they are experiencing.

Quality of Services

Your loved ones deserve to experience full-time quality care. It would be best to provide them with personalized assistance for their needs. Ensure, even when you’re not around, that their needs are still being met by good quality providers.

Food and Activities

Persons living with dementia will often struggle with diet. Therefore, their healthcare provider may make several adjustments to their diet plan to suit their needs. When this happens, flexibility is key.

On another note, engaging in physical activities may also help with mental and emotional health. A high level of engagement helps minimize stress levels and regulates sleep patterns. Keep in mind, physical activities don't always have to mean aerobic exercises but other activities like art, gardening, yoga, recreation facilities, dancing and field excursions can also be rewarding.

Conclusion

As dementia progresses, your loved one will require full-time care to help them cope. With the increased responsibility, you may find the need to boost memory care. Follow the above tips. If you have questions, feel free to consult with us. We can help you navigate.

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How to Avoid Confrontation when Caring for a Person Living with Dementia

November 15, 2021

It is estimated that about 90% of persons living with dementia may behave in a challenging manner to those providing them with care. Some individuals may display aggressive behavior. If it is any consolation to you as a care partner, such behavior is normal and can be expected.

At one point, a person with dementia may enter a combative stage of dementia as a result of the damage that occurs in the brain. As a care partner, recognizing and minimizing their triggers can be helpful. Below may avoid confrontations that trigger aggressive behavior.

Avoid Asking Unnecessary Questions

The first thing you should understand as a care partner is the condition that the person under your care suffers from. Keep in mind a person living with dementia suffers from memory loss. Therefore, you can be sure there will be confrontation if you continue reminding them of this.

Another common pitfall care partners make is also asking questions in a manner that reminds them of their constant memory loss. For example, did you remember to take your pills? Did you remember to shower? There are many ways such questions can be misunderstood by a person with dementia. At the very least, it can be construed as reminding the person of their weakness. You may find out what you need without asking such questions.

Adopt a Calm and Positive Body Language When Communicating

The damage the illness causes to your loved one’s brain changes how they hear, process, and respond to your conversations. It may help if you try to display calmness even when they may not be.

Learn to adapt your way of communication to match the ability of the person under your care. Therefore, as you would imagine, your non-verbal communication cues will be put to the test. A body language that displays calmness and a facial expression that demonstrates positivity will likely encourage cooperation from any person you’re caring for.

Avoid Interrupting them as They Speak

One of the biggest mistakes you would make when communicating with a person living with dementia is interrupting them as they speak. Patience is vital when communicating with them. You may think you are doing a good thing by completing their sentences. However, that only agitates them.

It would help if you remember that their memory is compromised. Therefore, interrupting their conversations only serves to side-track them. A better approach would be to give them enough time to complete their thought process.

Validate their Feelings

Most of us will need comforting. Whether through a hug, a simple pat on the back, or kind words of affirmation, it is an assurance that someone cares about your feelings. Reassurance comforts the individual and it could even extinguish confrontations before they even begin. Accepting one another’s feelings also helps in quashing possibilities of confrontation.

The best way to deal with such a situation is to show compassion. Reassure them it is okay to have such feelings and that you are available to help if needed.

Are You Handling the Confrontation Right?

Sometimes, it may become difficult for a care partner to understand how to react to the changing behavior of someone with dementia. Each progression of the condition presents new challenges. Frustration may start growing in you as a care partner. To help you cope with such challenges, we offer care partners and family members training on dealing with such situations.   

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2 Tips for Supporting a Loved One Living with Dementia

November 15, 2021

The news of a loved one being diagnosed with dementia tends to affect everyone involved in their care. It can take everyone through an unimaginable emotional roller-coaster, making it equally distressing for the entire family. How will care partners cope with their new reality? The best thing to do is show compassion. Here are a few steps to take to show support.

Give the Person Enough Time to Process the News

We sometimes talk about “life-defining moments”. Receiving the news of being diagnosed with dementia can be one of those moments. It is a diagnosis that changes your life completely. With that being said, such news is likely to trigger various emotions for the person receiving the news. Among these emotions include sadness, denial, anger, frustration, and fear. When a person experiences such emotions, the best you can do for them is to offer emotional support.

A listening ear can go a long way. Try your best to be empathetic and provide assistance when needed and welcomed.

Learn About Dementia

It is difficult to understand the journey of dementia if you know little or nothing about the condition. There are so many dos and don’ts involved when caring for someone living with dementia. Certain things may not come naturally but there is information available to learn how to manage. Healthcare providers, support groups, and other organizations such as PAC (Positive Approach to Care) Consultants and NCCDP (National Council for Certified Dementia Care Practitioners) may offer seminars and consultation services for a smoother transition.

Learning how to be a reliable care partner can make all the difference in terms of the quality of support that you offer to your loved one, which improves the quality of life for both of you. The research will also equip you with important information on how to communicate with your loved one effectively. In addition, you’ll learn how to provide a safe and supportive environment for them.

Get The Help You Need from Professionals

One of the best ways to provide reliable help for your loved one living with dementia is by becoming conversant with the condition. Try to be equipped with information on what to do in the various changing situations. At Foster Senior Services, we are here to assist you with this information. Sign up for our informative seminars and join other care partners and members whose loved ones have dementia. Also, you can speak to our PAC certified consultants for advice on the challenge you may be facing.

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How to Help a Loved One with Memory Loss

October 12, 2021

Memory loss can be caused by several factors including medications, depression, and various diseases. A loved one with memory loss may find it difficult to remember things like recent events or conversations. Besides, they may also experience challenges in finding the right words during conversations.

As such, caring for a loved one with memory loss can seem to be an uphill task. As their care partner, helping them keep their independence, confidence, and dignity for as long as possible is key.


Tips to Care for and Help the Individual

These tips may be helpful:

Exercise patience - Remember that the person isn’t being difficult. Rather, their brain may not have stored information, meaning that they can’t bring memories back. Sometimes you may be able to help them remember. However, don’t get frustrated if you’re unsuccessful.

Establish a routine - This can help your loved one feel more secure. It may also help them to recall what usually happens at a particular time during the day.

Use simple language and keep your answers to their questions simple. It could help if you repeat them as needed.

Consider having a memory box or book with brief information or pictures of people known to your loved one. This could include a short description of how they know each other.

Sometimes instructing (or guiding), instead of asking, can also be helpful. For example, don’t ask “what would you like for breakfast?” Instead, say “we’re going to have breakfast now.” This encourages them to eat instead of creating a dilemma of having failed to respond.

On another note giving 2 choices (more than 2 can cause additional confusion) may allow them to feel empowered and independent. For example, “would you like tea or coffee?”

How to Communicate with your loved one

Helping a loved one with memory loss also means learning how to communicate with them. Here are some tips that can help you communicate better with them:

Be Attentive

Always show them that you’re listening and attempting to understand what they mean. Get on their level and look at them in their face when speaking to them.

Mind Your Words and Tone

Avoid shouting and always use pauses to give them time to process information. Use a relaxed tone of voice when talking to them.

Capture Their Attention

You should do this before you start talking. You may for example start by identifying yourself and calling them by name.

Show Respect

Avoid talking down to them or speaking with others as if they are absent or don’t understand you.

The Bottom Line

You can’t do it all when it comes to helping someone with memory loss. So, it’s okay to accept help before you get desperate. You can ask your relatives or family for help whenever in need. You can also contact us for more guidance on caring for a loved one with memory loss.

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Safety Tips for Giving Medication to a Person with Dementia

October 12, 2021

Currently, over 55 million people across the globe live with dementia. Although there is currently no treatment available to cure dementia, there are a few medications thought to slow down the progression.

If someone close to you takes anti-dementia medication, you must understand its purpose and proper usage on their behalf. While medication safety is important for everyone, it is especially true if you are caring for someone with dementia. Depending on the stage of dementia, a person may or may not be reliable to take their medication on their own without some prompting.

Safety Measures You Should Take as a Caregiver

In some cases, your loved one may want to stay in charge of their pills. In this case, you as their caregiver can do the following to ensure the safety of their medication:

Establish a routine - This could help them in remembering to take their medicine, during early dementia stages. Besides, with a routine, you are also unlikely to forget about giving them the medication as well.

Use an organizer box for pills - This may help your loved one take the medicines as prescribed. If they are required to take the medication more than once daily, you can look for a box that has sections labeled p.m. and a.m.

When you can’t be there, remind them to take their medication. You could call or set an alarm clock for them.

Advanced Safety Measures

As dementia progresses, you may notice that your loved one becomes more forgetful and may need you to take charge of their medications. These steps can help you achieve this with ease:

● Pay attention to labels - This way, you will know all the medicines they are supposed to take and how they should take them.

● Be informed of the benefits, risks, and potential side effects of each medication.

● Ensure that your loved one only takes the medication that they need and in the right dosage.

● Refill their prescriptions as required but give yourself time before expiration date ends.

● Always explain to them what the medication is for, and how to take it.

● Resist frustration and anger if they refuse their medication. Instead, explore reasons as this can indicate an unmet need. Try again later.

● Store the medication in a safe place, for example, a locked drawer.

Consult When You Need Personalized Help

You need not struggle alone in caring for a loved one with dementia. You can seek our consultation services any time and gain a better perspective on how to care for them better.

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Advice for Caregivers on What to Do If One Refuses to Bath

September 07, 2021

 A common reality when dealing with persons living with dementia is that they may resist daily tasks such as bathing, at times. Some may develop clever ways of refusing to do so. For example, they may tell you that they’ve already taken a shower.

Sometimes, in order to avoid confrontation, they will assure you that they’ll take a bath later. However, it may become challenging when they consistently refuse to bathe.

This is a very common challenge faced by caregivers. Hence, anticipating potential challenges and developing a plan of approaching these challenges may be beneficial.

Establish a Daily Routine

It may be helpful to establish a regular daily bathing routine. Sticking to the routine will reduce stress and anxiety related to this and other activities.

Use Positive Reinforcement

Always remember that you are dealing with an adult. Therefore, when a person living with dementia refuses to shower, being argumentative will only heighten stress.

Instead, focus on positive reinforcement and give them choices. Doing so gives them control over their decisions. For example, “Mom, would you like to use the bar soap or the shower gel? Or John, do you want light water pressure or hard water pressure. Try to stick to 2 choices because more than that may cause confusion and frustration. Also focusing on a reward that comes after the bathing may be a motivator. Perhaps mentioning their favorite evening snack or activity that will come after the shower may encourage them. “Our evening cup of hot cocoa is going to be so delicious after we finish our shower.”

If they still refuse to bathe, know when to quit and drop the bathing subject by redirecting with a preferred activity. “Let’s work on that awesome jigsaw puzzle you started.” About 15 to 20 minutes later, start the topic again and let it appear like a new idea. “After we finish bathing, do you want to relax and watch Law And Order?”

Make the Bathroom Warm and Comfortable

A senior may resist bath time when they associate it with cold and shivering. As a caregiver, create a pleasant and comfortable environment for the person under your care. For example, some minutes before they enter the bathroom, turn on the heater to warm the bathroom.

During bath time, you can play soft and soothing music. It will help create a good atmosphere. The music may distract as well as ease their mind. For their privacy, consider closing the bathroom door, even if it’s just the two of you there.

Avoid Surprises and Guesswork

Bathing takes several steps. As a caregiver, simplify the steps and make them as few as possible. At every step, encourage them to do it independently or let them know what is coming next. It may be frightening or feel like an attack if you’re covering their face with a washcloth, even if you are just washing it, with no warning.

This may help improve their self-confidence. Additionally, they may not be afraid or anxious when they know what to expect.

Conclusion

When dealing with someone who is living with dementia, bathing can become a loved or hated activity, depending on how it is approached. Maintaining a routine will be key in determining. Follow these tips to make it easy for both of you.

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How Caregivers Can Help with Age-Related Hearing Loss

September 07, 2021

Among the challenges associated with growing older includes decreased or hearing loss. According to the National Institutes of Health Research, almost 50% of adults aged 75 years and above have some difficulty hearing. Seniors living with dementia and hearing loss may have difficulties communicating effectively. This can cause frustration, depression, and isolation for both seniors and caregivers.

It may become frustrating for caregivers to have a conversation with someone who just lost their hearing abilities. It takes time to establish a new communication pattern. At this age, training such a senior to use sign language may be quite challenging but you can help your loved one to use hearing aids to help them deal with hearing loss.

Hearing Aids

If you realize that your loved one is suffering from hearing loss, you may consider having them evaluated by an audiologist which can determine the best hearing aid. Hearing aids are made of a microphone, amplifier, and speaker. These features enable the tool to minimize background noise and amplify necessary sounds.

As a caregiver, you need to perform basic cleaning and maintenance on hearing aids. Doing this will help the hearing aids to perform at their optimal level.

Finding the Best Type of Hearing Aid for Your Loved One

There are both digital and analog types of hearing aids. The most used forms of hearing aids include:

· Completely in the canal (CIC)

· In the canal (ITC)

· In the ear (ITE)

· Behind the ear (BTE)

· Receiver in canal (RIC)

· Receiver in the ear (RITE)

· Open fit.

Each comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. For example, smaller hearing aids are more discrete, but they lack advanced functionality such as volume control.

On the other hand, advanced technology has led to the development of wireless connectivity hearing aids controlled by remote. These have made it easy to hear even in difficult situations. Make sure you consult with their healthcare provider about the hearing aid that will work best for your loved one.

Helping Seniors Learn to Use Hearing Aids

Wearing hearing aids doesn't just solve hearing loss automatically. Acclimating to amplified sound takes time and needs practice. Therefore, regular adjustments to hearing aids are required, especially in different environments.

If adjustments are not made, the senior may complain of too many noises or loud noises. Therefore, as a caregiver, you have to learn more about how the specific hearing aid works. This will allow you to assist your loved one to use it effectively.

Conclusion

Hearing loss is sometimes associated with growing older. Many older adults may get frustrated when they face hearing loss. As a caregiver guiding and supporting the individual during this process will be very helpful. 

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5 Essential Techniques for How to Communicate with Someone with Dementia

July 27, 2021

Dementia may have a saddening impact on a loved one. Depending on the disease progression, their communication may deteriorate.


Noticeable symptoms include difficulty finding the right words, long pauses between conversations, word repetition, losing track of conversations, or minimized speaking. However, that does not mean you should give up communicating with them. The following communication techniques can help you overcome the challenge.


Identify Yourself by Your Names

While you may feel compelled to use relationship names such as mom, daughter, or niece, it is not advisable. Their memory may not be able to process exactly who they are. Therefore, avoid giving them the stress of having to strain their mind establishing who you are.

Always identify yourself by your name. In the later stages, you may be forced to refer to the dementia patient by their name too.


Maintain Natural Conversations and Incorporate Non-Verbal Cues

When it comes to having conversations with a dementia patient, communication etiquette is essential. For instance, you must try to maintain eye contact, especially when they are speaking to you. That way, they will feel that you are interested in what they are saying.

On the other hand, the use of non-verbal cues helps make the conversation smoother. Gestures and other body cues can help them quickly understand what you are saying to them, rather than relying on just your words.


Patience is Key

A person with dementia may take longer to process information. Therefore, they may take long pauses before responding to you. Also, you may find that they may sometimes struggle with certain words.


During such instances, avoid the temptation to either finish their sentences or interrupt their responses. In addition, avoid asking them too many questions.


Avoid Shifting between Topics

It is advisable to use a simple conversational approach and avoid quizzing them in conversations. In addition, inform the person when you are shifting your discussion to another topic. That way, they will not be overwhelmed by the conversation.


Never be Aggressive in Your Conversation

Sometimes, a person with dementia may become aggressive in their response to the environment. However, that does not mean you need to counter the aggressiveness. Instead, give them time to cool off before resuming the conversation.

Also, avoid talking down to them. It makes them feel just as insulted and disrespected as it would to any other person.


Conclusion

A dementia patient may have a problem remembering things or communicating effectively. However, their emotions are still alive. That’s why you need to understand the best way to communicate with them to trigger the best emotions. For more help on how to effectively care for someone with dementia, feel free to consult with us on these topics or any others.

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3 Tips for When Someone with Dementia says "I want to Go Home"

July 27, 2021

Have you ever heard the phrase "I want to go home" from your loved one or dementia client? This may come as a shocker to someone who has never dealt with this situation. It is a situation that needs to be handled with care.


Therefore, let's look at how you are supposed to deal with such a situation when it arises.


What the Phrase "I Want to Go Home" Means


Sometimes, people with dementia tend to react differently when faced with challenges. It is common for them to ask to go home if they are in a facility and facing something that is making them uncomfortable. When this happens, you should know that the individual is expressing discomfort.


What they want is to have that feeling of comfort, safety, and familiarity represented by an actual home. So here is how to best react when a person says this to you:


Reassure and Comfort Them in Validation of their Needs

When an adult demands to go home, it shows that they feel tense, anxious or scared of their current situation. It also means that they feel insecure and you cannot afford to aggravate their anxiety.

Therefore, utilize a calm and positive approach in the situation. Validate their feelings by showing them that you understand. Show them your support to enable the patient to relax and feel safe around you.


Avoid Reasoning or Disagreement

At this stage, reasoning or disagreement with the patient will not resolve the matter. Therefore arguing logic with them only makes the situation worse. It may make them even more agitated or frustrated.

It may give the patient more reasons to want to go home more. Also, they will presume that you don't care for their feelings.


Employ the Validate, Redirect and Distract Technique

The validate, redirect, and distract technique has proven to be an effective technique for dementia care over the years. If you haven't learned the skill yet, you should familiarize yourself with it through practice.


Validate means agreeing with what the patient is saying. Make sure that they understand you care for their needs. For example, "we will go home as soon as I am done cleaning."


Once you agree with them, you have to come up with a way to redirect their attention. Try as much to get their mind off the idea of going home. Replace the thought with another exciting activity the patient loves to do.


The last steps of this technique may involve trial and error until you come up with something that completely distracts their mind. Therefore, try as much to remain calm as you explore your creativity.


Get More Tips for Dealing with the "I want to Go Home" Situation

In most cases, when a patient says they want to go home, they are usually expressing their anxiety or discomfort. Therefore, even when you employ the techniques for dealing with the current situation, you may want to go back and address the real problem. You can always consult with us for counsel on addressing such a challenge and other dementia-associated problems.

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Emotional Fluctuation may Indicate an Unexpressed Need in People Living with Dementia

June 24, 2021

Dementia is associated with the deterioration of the brain. This affects memory, judgement and even physical function, which can lead to changes in behavior.

These behavioral changes may target their care partners, but most often indicate an unexpressed need. If care partners are unable to identify the need it can cause an emotional roller coaster.


Denial

Denial is very common before and even after a diagnosis of dementia. Sometimes ignoring a new reality is the easiest way to cope with it.


Care partners may be responsible for addressing the needs associated with the emotion as well as providing comfort in order to prevent a potential emotional breakdown. While providing support as everyone adjusts to the new reality, seeking help from a professional may help move on from a stage of denial. 


Anger

People have different ways of handling unexpected news. Anger is often displayed when coping with illness. It is natural to feel frustrated after being diagnosed with such a life-changing condition. Knowing this may help you properly manage your own emotions, in case anger is directed towards you.



Stress and Anxiety

Anxiety, perhaps mixed with depression, is triggered by stress and very common in persons living with dementia. These too are normal grief reactions. The time period in which these symptoms last vary person to person. As a care partner, recognizing when stress levels are increasing and developing ways to diffuse a potential panic attack will be beneficial to all involved.


Conclusion

Many emotions and behavioral changes can be observed in people living with dementia. Of the multitude of responsibilities, it is important for care partners to acknowledge varying emotions and have a plan on how to deal with such situations. Let us help you get prepared to provide the best care for your loved ones.

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Early Stage of Dementia: How To Provide The Most Appropriate Support

June 24, 2021

Supporting a loved one who has been diagnosed with memory loss can be a challenging task. In the early stages of dementia these changes can be very subtle. Most are still able to function independently, meaning they can still take part in activities without requiring much assistance. Family and friends may notice these changes before our loved one admits (or notice themselves) that there is a problem, therefore offered help is not always welcomed.

Knowing how to offer support without being forceful can help decrease tension.


Prioritize Their Safety

As discussed, people with early-stages of dementia may still be able to perform their activities of daily living independently. As a caregiver discerning the difference between safe and unsafe behaviors is very important.

Determining the risks and benefits of tasks may be a new skill to hone as well, although professional help may be needed for added support.


Minimize Stress

Early-stages of dementia can last for several years. Studies show that high stress levels can be damaging to people with cognitive impairment, hence, causing faster development of pathology and loss in cognitive function. Therefore forcing our own limitations and need to help with tasks may increase stress levels. Help minimize stress by participating only when it’s welcomed.


Have Regular Talks

Open communication is helpful in building a trusting relationship, one that will encourage a level of comfort so that they feel safe asking for help when they feel it is truly needed. Also, you will be able to discuss challenges faced as well as coming up with workable solutions together.


Provide Positive Reinforcement

Persons living with dementia need a supportive community of care partners. Give them the confidence that you support their abilities. When challenges occur identify the cause and find solutions that address their current needs.


Conclusion

It can be challenging being a care partner for persons living with dementia. However, these tips may help in finding workable solutions for challenges as they arise. If you’re still experiencing difficulty contact us for need further consultation.

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Why a Routine is Important for Alzheimer’s Patients

May 24, 2021

Caring for patients with Alzheimer’s is often challenging. It gets even tougher when you don’t have a plan. That’s why most people start and give up along the way. However, if you take your time to understand what these patients need, you will have an easy time.

You will never go wrong with a routine when caring for the elderly with the illness. Routines make their lives and yours easy. Here are two reasons why working with a routine is the best idea.

A Routine means Less Stress for the Patients

When we are young, we are often thrilled by adventure. It makes us happy and gives us a reason to enjoy life. However, it’s different for the elderly, especially those suffering from Alzheimer’s.

These individuals do well in familiar situations. That’s mainly because their ability to plan and execute things is limited. New things that come up abruptly may lead to stress for these patients when they imagine all they have to do to get it done. However, with a routine, they remain calm and prepared for the day’s activities. That is mainly because they don’t expect surprises.

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Nutrition Tips for Middle and Late Stages of Alzheimer’s

May 24, 2021

The Alzheimer’s Association argues that caregivers of Alzheimer’s patients should be very careful when it comes to nutrition. The organization states that patients in the middle and last stages often forget to eat. These patients also face difficulties choosing what to eat. Thinking about it stresses them out. That’s why they choose to stay hungry.

But that’s not the way to care for these patients. The organization has outlined various tips that caregivers should follow to ensure their patients feed on a healthy diet. Here are a few tips that you may adopt.

Avoid Foods that are High in Saturated Fats and Sodium

Elderly patients are at high risk of blood pressure and heart disease. That’s why it is necessary to limit the consumption of foods that expose them to these threats. Foods with saturated fats are the number one culprit when it comes to heart disease. While sodium is one of the catalysts of high blood pressure.

Therefore, limit or avoid these foods when feeding your patient. You can use alternatives such as herbs for seasoning food to add taste to it.

Offer Your Patient Each Food at a Time

As always, it is never a great idea to present Alzheimer’s patients with too many options. It may lead to stress. When it comes to food, they may avoid it altogether for being unable to choose. Therefore, present your patient with one food at a time. The same applies to fruits. Give your patients different fruits at different times. That way, they will have little to think about and focus on eating.

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An ongoing series of informational entries

Benefits of Respite Care for Caregivers of People Living With Dementia 

April 1, 2021

Being a caregiver, although honorable, can come with challenges. Full-time caregivers can become burned out because of lack of rest. They often sacrifice their own enjoyment of life to help care for their loved ones. Wanting and needing a break is not synonymous with lack of compassion. Here is a reality check! Everyone needs to practice self-care.


At such times, respite care can be the needed solution. Not only does it benefit you, the caregiver, it is beneficial for your loved one. So, you can enjoy your break knowing that your loved one’s needs are being met.

Benefits of Respite Care to Caregivers

Taking care of a loved one living with dementia should not take away your own personal life’s pleasures. One can not pour from an empty cup, therefore you should find balance in order to also be fulfilled. Respite care gives you the opportunity for personal revitalization.

It enables you to:

  • Visit and spend time with your friends and family.
  • Study.
  • Exercise.
  • Go on vacation.
  • Relax and re-energize.

In short, respite care affords time for yourself.

Benefits of Respite Care for Older Adults

No man is an island. That is true for especially someone who is aging. They have to watch their children and grandkids leave for work and school and say goodbye. Although they are happy that you have a great job, and your kids go to school, they still need someone to talk to.


So, if they are always ringing you to go spend some time with them almost every day, they may be feeling lonely. Now, if you can’t keep up with daily visits, then you need to subscribe your loved one to a foster home. There, they will have people to talk to every hour.

They Want to be Around People with Similar Experiences

Respite care can be very enjoyable for seniors. Some Respite Care Homes or facilities have several beds available, allowing seniors to connect with their peers. This can provide much-needed social engagement. Even homes with just one bed are often providing care as a family effort. This too can be beneficial because it fosters healthy intergenerational relationships as well.


Respite care can be rewarding for all involved.

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2 Ways to Engage Elderly People with Dementia​

April 19, 2021

With Dementia comes memory loss and reduced activity. However, if you can keep a person with dementia engaged, you can help them get control of their life. Keeping them engaged, for example, minimizes sleep problems.


Engagement also enables them to exercise, which is great for their well-being. So, here are two ways you can engage an elderly person with the disease.

Involve them in Planned Daily Activities

Plan simple activities to engage your elderly parents. Something as simple as assigning them the duty of watering plants. Folding laundry every day is also enough. Assign the person the activity so that they know it is expected of them.


It may aid their memory and mobility since they have to move to perform these functions. Sometimes, you may engage them with unplanned activities that are exciting. So, don’t be stuck with the planned activities. If you find something interesting, go for it.

Take them for a Walk

Just because they cannot move swiftly does not mean that the elderly don’t want to get out and see the world. So, if you can take them for a walk, it would make them happy. Help them focus on the environment and the weather while at it. It will calm their minds and help them sleep well at night.


There are many other ways to engage older people with dementia. Whatever you choose, remember that the aim is to engage them. Don’t focus too much on the method or achievements.

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3 Factors to Consider when Finding Respite Care for Your Loved One

May 5, 2021

Finding Respite Care for senior

Finding Respite Care

3 Factors to Consider when Finding Respite Care for Your Loved One

Providing care for an older adult can be quite a task. Therefore, it is understandable if sometimes you would want to take a break from this assignment. Thankfully, there are now caregivers who provide respite care to enable caregivers to take a break. However, before you entrust your loved one with someone else, here are things that are worth considering.

Licensing

In states where Medicaid pays for professional in-home care, the caregiver agency they work with should be certified. Certification helps add professionalism in this area. Moreover, such caregivers are professionally trained on how to provide quality care services. Therefore, a licensed caregiver would be an ideal choice to provide care for your loved one.

Testimonials

The internet has made things easier for everyone. Today you can rely on electronic word of mouth in making decisions on a product or service. The same is applicable for respite care.


Social media would be an excellent place to find reviews for respite caregivers around your area. Respite care services also post reviews from their customers on their websites. Therefore, you can use these stories to make better decisions on what caregivers are right for your loved one. 

Reliability and Clarity​

An essential aspect of caregiving is communication. That is something you expect from people offering respite care services. You want to be sure that you can trust them.


Therefore, you will want to work with people that are clear on the services they provide and their terms. Also, you will have to seek clarification on how they operate to be sure that your loved one’s needs will be well met.

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You can speak to us if you are seeking respite care for a loved one with dementia.

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3 Tips for Good Sleep for Elderly with Dementia​

May 15, 2021

Good Sleep for Elderly with Dementia

Elderly with Dementia

3 Tips for Good Sleep for Elderly with Dementia

Among the common challenges for persons who are living with Dementia is sleeping habits. A person may lack sleep at night but find themselves sleepy during the day. Sometimes, they may fail to sleep enough. So, how can you help them achieve a normal sleeping habit?

Set a Schedule​

Helping the mind and body regulate circadian rhythm can help people with Dementia minimize their sleeping challenges. Establishing a schedule may be helpful. Take into consideration meal times and the time medications may be given, making sure these and other activities don’t coincide with the sleep schedule.

Encourage Physical Activity during the Day​

One common reason people lack sleep at night is because of napping during the day. Long naps can be minimized by remaining active during wake hours. For those with limited mobility, exercises from a chair can be helpful. When weather permits, outside activities are great alternatives. Natural daylight is an excellent catalyst in the regulation of the circadian rhythm.

Treat Pain and Manage Medication​

Pain or drug reactions can also cause difficulty sleeping. A number of things can cause pain to include, but not limited to: uncomfortable sleeping positions, degenerative changes like arthritis, or possibly even undiagnosed medical conditions such as tumors. On the other hand, sleeplessness can be a direct side effect of many medications. Therefore, it is advisable to consult a healthcare provider before attempting to manage pain on your own.

Conclusion​

Lack of sleep during the night may be a persistent challenge for persons living with Dementia. However, using these tips may be the first step in.

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