8 Memory Loss Communication Tips

Did you know that spoken words only account for 7% of communication? The remaining 93% is conveyed through body language, vocal tone and pitch. Communication style becomes especially important when someone in your life is living with memory loss.

When communicating with someone suffering from memory loss:

  1. Stand at eye level in front of them so they benefit from seeing your body language and facial expressions.
  2. Slow down your speech because their brains process information more slowly.
  3. Don’t interrupt: take time to listen to the person’s response. If they are especially stuck on a word, kindly supply the word and see how they react. If they don’t appear to want the help, let them manage on their own.
  4. Ask one question at a time and ask questions that require simple yes or no answers. For instance, “Do you want scrambled or fried eggs this morning?” instead of “How would you like your eggs this morning?”
  5. Where possible, supplement your communication with visual cues. Smile often, not only because it conveys warmth and caring, but also because smiling can make you feel better too.
  6. Touch is a powerful communicator. When used positively, touch can convey caring and warm feelings. It only takes a moment to offer a pat on the shoulder or a gentle hand squeeze.
  7. Phone calls are especially challenging for someone who has memory loss because the only communication cues they receive are words (7%) and vocal tone and pitch (38%). Limit phone conversations to a minute or so and say something positive like, “I was thinking of you and just wanted to call and say hello.” Consider using Skype or another one of the visual software methods on a computer, tablet or iPad to communicate.
  8. Spend time together in companionable silence. It can be exhausting for someone living with memory loss to continually process communication. Sit across from the person or at 90 degrees so they can easily see you.

Be aware of how you are communicating and whether it is having desirable results such as smiles, nodding, and looking contented, happy, or relaxed. If not, review your style to see if you should adjust an aspect of your technique.

*Adapted from an article by Karen Love with Advancing Person-Centered Living

Heavy drinking, slow walking may signal future dementia

Researchers make strides in identifying who is at risk.

By Mark Huffman

Two new research studies have shed new light on who will be afflicted with dementia, like Alzheimer’s disease, and why. They join the growing body of research that is giving doctors better insight to the aging-related disease that robs seniors of their memory. It’s of growing concern since the large Baby Boom generation is now entering old age and is at risk.

The first study, by researchers at the University of Exeter Medical School, links dementia with heavy alcohol consumption during middle age. It found that middle-aged adults with a history of problem drinking are more than twice as likely to suffer from severe memory impairment in later life.

“We already know there is an association between dementia risk and levels of current alcohol consumption – that understanding is based on asking older people how much they drink and then observing whether they develop problems,” said lead author Iain Lang. “But this is only one part of the puzzle and we know little about the consequences of alcohol consumption earlier in life.”

To find answers Lang and his team investigated the relatively unknown association between having a drinking problem at any point in life and experiencing problems with memory later in life.

“This is a public health issue that needs to be addressed,” Lang said. “More research is required to investigate the potential harms associated with alcohol consumption throughout life.”

Older people drinking more

The finding is particularly troubling in light of recent evidence that more middle-aged and elderly people are abusing alcohol. The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence says alcohol and prescription drug problems among adults 60 and older is one of the fastest growing health problems facing the country.

It says thousands of older people who need treatment for alcohol dependence aren’t receiving it.

Meanwhile, an international study of 27,000 patients has established an unusual test to determine whether a patient is likely to develop dementia. The test measured how fast the subjects walked and answered a short series of questions. The slower the gait and the more wrong answers, the higher the risk of developing dementia.

Scientists at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, who conducted the study, said people who failed the test were twice as likely as others to develop dementia within 12 years.

Low-tech test

What makes the test important, the researchers say, is that it does not rely on sophisticated or expensive equipment, making it accessible to physicians in remote regions of the world. Testing relies on measuring gait speed and asking a few simple questions about a patient’s cognitive abilities, both of which take just seconds.

“In many clinical and community settings, people don’t have access to the sophisticated tests – biomarker assays, cognitive tests or neuroimaging studies – used to diagnose people at risk for developing dementia,” said senior author Joe Verghese. “Our assessment method could enable many more people to learn if they’re at risk for dementia, since it avoids the need for complex testing and doesn’t require that the test be administered by a neurologist.

Early diagnosis, of course, is critical because it allows time to identify and possibly treat the underlying causes of the disease, which may delay or even prevent the onset of dementia in some cases.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that up to 5.3 million Americans—about 1 in 9 people age 65 and over – have Alzheimer’s disease, the most common type of dementia. That number is expected to more than double by 2050 due to population aging.

We at HomeFree Home Modification are not experts on “dementia”, but we are experts on helping you to remain at home through home modification. Call us at 770-939-0747, or email us at info@homefreemods.com , and we will come out to your home and provide a NO COST home evaluation to determine what steps can be taken to create a safer environment and more independence for you.

*Mark Huffman has been a consumer news reporter for Consumer Affairs. This article was taken from the issue dated 08/01/2014

Baby Boomers are Choosing to Stay in Their Home as They Retire and Age

Ten Major Reasons to Plan Ahead

Retirement for baby boomers is very different from other generations. Boomers are working later in life, starting second careers and even going back to school. The aging boomer is also doing more volunteering in their communities than ever before. Living well, living comfortably, and wanting to remain in their home and community are goals for many baby boomers.

Here are the ten major reasons that planning for aging home health care can allow you to be successful and in charge of your life for as long as possible:

Freedom
We boomers grew up coming and going as we please. We can be found exercising, surfing the web, and volunteering. Aging boomers are a generation of active individuals that will continue to be active seniors. Remaining at home as we age, will allow us to enjoy the freedom we have become accustomed. It also allows us to maintain our daily routine as our health permits, receive the care we want and in the manner in which we want it.

Safety
As boomers age, our expectations change of what we want and how we want it. Aging Boomers do not want to compromise health and safety. The demands of the baby boomer generation are being heard. A new industry of home modifications has evolved and will change as we age in place. The home environment not only needs to be modified to meet the changing boomers physical needs, but it must be appealing to the eye.

Being able to return home after an illness or sickness from the hospital will decrease risks from hospital acquired infections.

The number one independence robber for aging boomers is falls. A home assessment to address simple home modifications could be made to prevent falls in the future.

Healing
Boomers are better educated health care consumers than past generations. We are more inclined to take a holistic approach to aging. There is no better place to be than in our own home, in our own community and surrounded by friends and family. Being in familiar surroundings promotes wellness of the body, mind and spirit and can extend life. As we age, change increases confusion . Aging in place allows for consistency.

Control
Boomers expect options and choices and want to be an active participant in our own care. Planning ahead to age in place allows the boomers to be able to explore the options, make the choices best suited to our needs. Aging boomers want and expect an individualized plan of care. Aging in place promotes independence and the ability of the boomer to have control over our needs and care.

Personalized service
Aging in place allows one to one interaction with caregivers and providers. As we age and our needs change, aging boomers who age in place will have the ability to receive an individualized approach to specific needs.

Comfort
Boomers are all about being comfortable. Studies show the baby boomer generation wants to stay in their own home and never leave. Aging boomers want quality of life. Aging in place in your own home, surrounded by familiar things and the support of loved ones is the quality of life boomers want and expect.

Healthier, safer and happier life
As we live longer and remain active, boomers are enjoying and demanding a better quality of life. Demands of the baby boomer generation have led to the development of an entire industry to assist us to successfully age in place. Universal Design is changing how homes are built. Technology is making advancements to allow the aging boomer to stay at home. Home is where the heart is. Aging in place allows you to lead a healthier, happier life in a safe environment.

Community
Boomers are aging and active. We are involved in our communities. As boomers age we volunteer, act as mentors and are positive role models for future generations. Communities have a lot to gain having boomers age in place. Active aging boomers support the community by buying locally and contributing to community causes through financial support.

Advanced technology
Advanced technologies are developing new products to enhance the quality of life at home as we age in place. We can now utilize a Wii for exercise and entertainment. Hospitals are using the Wii for rehabilitation purposes. This can increase strength and endurance and flexibility. This activity can also promote balance to decrease chances of falls. Robot vacuums can replace our sweepers and allow the house to be swept without physical strain. This is just the tip of the iceberg of the products and services available to ensure safety and quality of life as baby boomers age in place.

Independence
Studies show that aging boomers fear moving into a nursing home and losing independence more than they fear death. Aging boomers are now dealing with their parents and aging. We are concerned about the emotional and physical well being of our loved ones and are now realizing the impact going into a nursing home has on the entire family.

Successfully aging in place can be accomplished with advanced planning It is time to start thinking about your future needs now.

We at HomeFree Home Modification are not experts on “retirement”, but we are on helping you to remain at home through home modification. Call us at 770-939-0747, or email us at info@homefreemods.com , and we will come out to your home and provide a NO COST home evaluation to determine what steps can be taken to create a safer environment and more independence for you.

The Beauty of “Aging in Place”

Whether it be your bathroom, kitchen, or entry and emergency exit areas, HomeFree Home Modification can create an environment of safety & greater independence for you. In most cases, just subtle changes can make your home more “user friendly”, and offer you a higher quality of life, while aging in place.

At this point, most of us know that the bathroom is the most dangerous room in our home, at least for being susceptible for a fall. There are a lot of things going on in the bathroom; movement, soap, water, steam, all just waiting to create the “perfect” fall. Sometimes, just putting grab bars in can create the stability we need to get us into & out of the tub/shower with confidence, and lessen our chances of a fall. But ideally, taking out the tub, or the threshold of the shower, can create a “barrier free” environment where no “step overs” are needed, and no encumbrances to create a fall. As we age, having the ability to remain at home is a # one priority for most of us. Surveys taken across the country indicate that approximately 85 – 90% of us would like to “age in place” by remaining at home. There is more opportunity to do that now than ever before by having your home “tailor” made to suit your needs through home modification.

Call us at 770-939-0747, or email us at info@homefreemods.com , and we will come out to your home and provide a NO COST home evaluation to determine what steps can be taken to create a safer environment and more independence for you.

How To Improve Posture As You Age

As you age, your spine changes. It can lose thickness and elasticity, which affects your posture and overall health. Strengthen your spine, improve your posture and age gracefully [1] with the following tips.

Why Is Posture so Important?

Poor posture affects your body in several ways: It causes you to slouch and allows your back muscles and bones to shift, increasing pain and stiffness. It also affects your overall alertness, breathing, digestion, blood circulation and organ function.

You may also experience headaches, neck and joint pain, and leg and feet issues because of poor posture — all important reasons to improve your posture as you age.

Sit Straight

Do you slouch as you work online, watch TV or play with your grandchildren? You may not realize that you’re slouching, but your back will feel it. Slouching increases the pressure on your spinal cord by as much as 15 percent.

Make a conscious effort to stop slouching and sit straight. To do that, you’ll need an ergonomic chair. It can be a traditional, kneeling, saddle or recliner chair and will include:

Height adjustment: A pneumatic adjustment lever allows you to raise or lower the chair. If you’re using a traditional chair, your feet will be flat on the floor, your thighs horizontal to the desk, and your arms resting at desk height.

Backrest: With an adjustable height and angle, the backrest should be 12 to 19 inches wide and support the natural curve of your spine.

Seat width and depth: The right chair will include a seat that’s wide enough for your body. Its depth will give you 2 to 4 inches of room between the back of your knees and your chair as you sit with your back against the chair’s backrest.

Adjustable lumbar support: Raise or lower the lumbar support as needed so that you’re comfortable as you sit in the chair.

Armrests: Adjustable armrests allow your arms and shoulders to relax comfortably. If you sit at a desk, implement these suggestions to help keep your spine straight:

Look straight ahead

Put your feet on the floor so that your knees are level with your hips. Adjust the height of your chair or use a footrest, stool, box or pile of books if necessary.
Bring your elbows in close to your side to prevent the temptation to lean.

If you’re looking at a computer screen or reading, place the monitor or book at eye level.

Every 20 to 30 minutes, stand and extend your arms away from your body. This action opens your body, and when you sit down again, you’ll automatically sit straighter.

Exercise Regularly

A strong body and good posture go together. You can achieve both results when you do several exercises regularly that support your spine and improve your back health and posture:

Strengthen your core. The muscles around your abdomen and pelvic area. When your core is strong, those muscles keep you in alignment. As a bonus, a strong core can reduce urinary incontinence and improve your athletic ability. Pilates, yoga, walking and various gym machines and exercises strengthen these essential areas.

Support your spine. The muscles around your spine weaken as you age, so use resistance bands or gym equipment to exercise your back, neck, pelvic and side muscles.
Stretch often. Whether you stand against the wall and make slow snow angels, perform lunges or do twisting lumbar stretches, stretching exercises improve your spine health.

Do resistance training. It can halt or reverse bone loss and osteoporosis [2].

Perform weight-bearing exercises. Walking, running, stair climbing and weight lifting build bone density. Walk daily or hit the gym as you strengthen your spine and posture.

Take up Pilates, yoga or Tai Chi. These disciplines improve your core, flexibility and strength. They’re also easily adaptable to your needs no matter how flexible or strong you are.

Practice balancing. Start by standing with your feet together until you’re able to remain steady. Then practice standing with a staggered stance. Finally, stand on one leg with support from a chair or wall and then without support. As you successfully balance, you also improve your posture.

Improve Your Diet

Believe it or not, what you eat can affect your posture. The right diet strengthens the bones and muscles that support your spine.

Ideally, a healthy spine diet includes an abundance of green, leafy vegetables and a variety of fruits. Eat enough protein and calcium, too. A multivitamin is also essential as you ensure you have enough vitamin D, calcium and other essential nutrients in your daily diet.
Be sure you stay hydrated, too. Water supports the elasticity of your spine’s soft tissue, decreases painful disc bulges or ruptures, and helps your spine maintain its correct shape.

Check Your Medication

The medicines you take address your health issues, but they can affect your posture. Talk to your doctor about your posture and ask if any of your medications or dosages are negatively impacting your posture or spine strength.

Next, ask for a bone mineral density scan. It detects osteoporosis. With the results, you and your doctor can decide if you need hormone-based medications like calcitonin, Evista (raloxifene) or parathyroid hormone or bisphosphonates such as Boniva, Fosamax or Reclast. These medications can stop or reverse bone density loss, strengthen your back and improve your posture.

Your body and spine change as you age. You can fight back and strengthen your spine, though, in several ways. Start implementing these tips today, and you’ll improve your posture and reduce your health risks.

photo: Designed by Freepik [3]

Article printed from Aging in Place: http://ageinplace.com

URL to article: http://ageinplace.com/elderly-health/improve-posture-age/

URLs in this post:

[1] age gracefully: http://ageinplace.com/elderly-health/healthy-aging-nutrients/

[2] osteoporosis: http://www.webmd.com/osteoporosis/guide/osteoporosis-exercise

[3] Designed by Freepik: http://www.freepik.com/free-photo/human-spine_936311.ht

We are not experts on improving your posture, but we are on home modification. If we can answer any questions for you please call us at 770-939-0747. Also, we will be happy to come to your home at no cost to provide a “safe home” analysis for you. You can email us at info@homefreemods.com.

 

Making Dangerous Bathrooms Safe

Four Tips for Designing an Accessible Bathroom

More than 230,000 people are sent to the ER each year because of an injury sustained while bathing, showering, or using the bathroom facilities. This month, we’re sharing 5 bathroom features that can help reduce the dangers in the bathroom.

  1. Install grab bars. Installing grab bars in easy-to-reach places provides support and balance for entering and exiting the shower or tub. Also consider adding grab bars near the toilets for additional support and safety.
  2. Add shower seats. A shower seat can provide stability and a place to rest for those who have difficulty standing for long periods of time. Builders or homeowners should select a shower with a folding seat installed or purchase a bench seat to add to an existing shower.
  3. Add an adjustable (and hand-held) shower head. This allows the person to direct the water where it’s most needed without having to contort their body into awkward positions.
  4. Fix slippery surfaces. Having a non-slip mat (or decals) on the floor of the shower or tub — as well as a non-slip rug on the floor — provides additional stability and can reduce slipping. A non-slip rug in front of the toilet and by the sink area can also help prevent slipping.
  5. Install taller toilets. Over time, residents may experience increased difficulty lowering themselves onto a low toilet seat and returning to a standing position. A raised toilet (typically 3 to 4 inches) can reduce the amount of squatting and the distance that has to be covered to sit on the toilet.

Universal design doesn’t have to mean that a bathroom takes on an institutional feel. Bestbath offers many unique products — including our Designer Series line of bathing solutions — that will make any bathroom look amazing. For more design ideas, follow our Design Ideas blog and like us on Facebook.

(This article was taken from the November Best Bath Newsletter at www.bestbath.com)

Senior Accessible Housing Act – HR 5254

There is currently a bill before Congress called HR 5254, that if approved, will allow those individuals having home modification done to their home, in order to “age in place”, to be eligible for up to a $30K tax credit. For information, and to track this bill’s progress, you can visit congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/5254/text. Shown below are just some basic information that the bill will entail.

hr-5254

 

 

Can the Definition of “Insanity” and a Fall Be Related?

lady-falling-in-bedroom

At some point, we have all heard the definition of “insanity” as “doing the same things day after day, and expecting a different result”. Many of us practice insanity routinely without even knowing it. Now, let me relate this definition to a fall. When we fall the first time, most of us explain it away by thinking this was just a “freak” accident, or an isolated event and it won’t happen again. So we don’t make any changes in our life style or our environment, and keep doing the same thing day after day. Not only is this thinking WRONG, it is DANGEROUS! Statistics show that 1/3 of seniors over a calendar year, will fall, requiring a hospital stay. Your first fall may not cause any significant injury, but the second or third could be catastrophic! And experience tells us that history repeats itself and once you have fallen once, you are going to fall again!

Now I’m not suggesting that you need some type of home modification after your first fall, but please don’t practice “insanity” by not at least checking into it. It could be just some simple solutions needed to help prevent you from falling again. When you fall, listen to your body…, it is telling you something!

HomeFree Home Modification has been providing home modification solutions across the greater Atlanta area for the past 10 years. If you have concerns, or need answers regarding any questions you may have about home modification, you can reach Dennis Lippy or Rick Thaxton by emailing them at info@homefreemods.com or visiting the website at www.homefreemods.com, or calling the office at 770-939-0747. We will respond to your call with 24 hours.