• Senior Care Topics

  • "Not only have you built an organization based on intelligence and experience, your staff members have always been dedicated, professional and compassionate. If it weren't for Senior Alternatives I would have had to move my mother and father a long time ago."
    — Long distance adult child

    Medications for Alzheimer’s Disease

    Monday, November 5th, 2012

    If your elderly loved one is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, it is important to understand and research possible avenues for treatment.  There are currently several prescription drugs approved by the FDA to treat people who are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Although these medications can be beneficial, it is important to know what they can and cannot accomplish.

    The most common misconception with Alzheimer’s medication is that it has the ability to cure the disease. Unfortunately, this is not the case. There are two classes of prescription medications on the market currently; one aims to help the behavior of the patient, increasing their openness to care and thus a better quality of life. The other may offer the ability to slow down or “mask” the effects of the disease in early or mild cases, but it is not a cure.

    Wandering and Dementia

    Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

    The Alzheimer’s Association reports that 60% of people suffering from dementia will display symptoms of wandering. Wandering can be dangerous and will often require a variety of interventions or supervision to keep them safe. In this blog we explore the most common forms of wandering, possible remedies for wandering, and how to correctly respond.

    Wandering Aimlessly in the Home Environment

    When a person wanders aimlessly throughout his or her own home, it is often a sign of agitation or restlessness. For these individuals, providing regular exercise may help to reduce the restlessness.  Engaging them in pleasurable activities at which the person can feel successful and accomplished can also be helpful.

    Symptoms of a Heart Attack

    Monday, October 15th, 2012

    Despite what we often see in film, television, and other media, heart attacks do not always come with sudden, crushing chest pain. In fact, approximately 1/3 of people who have suffered from a heart attack reported no chest pain at all.

    The warning signs for a heart attack are not the same for everyone. Many heart attacks can start slowly with mild or no pain. In this blog, we will explore how the symptoms differ for men and women, and what to do if you experience these symptoms.

    Symptoms of a heart attack for men:

    When is Withholding the Truth Therapeutic?

    Monday, October 8th, 2012

    Mom, who has Alzheimer’s disease, asks you when you will be taking her back to her home in Portland.  The problem is, Mom now lives with you and her home in Portland was sold years ago.  How do you respond?  While most of us have been taught to “never tell a lie,” especially to our parents, this advice may be counterproductive when caring for someone who suffers from moderate dementia.

    Symptoms of a Stroke

    Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012

    Strokes are the fourth cause of a death in America, and a leading cause of adult disability.  A stroke occurs when a blood clot blocks an artery or a blood vessel breaks, disrupting blood flow to an area of the brain. Stokes can vary greatly in severity depending on the area of the brain affected.

    Symptoms of a Stroke:

    1. Sudden numbness, weakness, loss of movement ability in your face, arms, or legs. These symptoms will usually happen on only one side of your body.
    2. Vision changes and sudden trouble speaking or understanding conversation.
    3. Problems walking, keeping balance, and depth perception.

    Dental Care and the Elderly

    Thursday, September 20th, 2012

    As we age, the importance of maintaining excellent oral care increases. Not only do our elderly loved ones become more susceptible to gum disease and tooth loss, but keeping regular appointments with their dentist and practicing effective oral care at home becomes more difficult.

    Barriers to consistent oral care include:

    1. Transportation. If your elderly loved one is no longer safe to drive, transportation becomes a barrier for oral health. Not only for transportation to and from the dentist appointments themselves, but also for purchasing the proper hygiene tools for home care.

    Is Alzheimer’s Genetic?

    Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

    Because we often work with families who are managing their loved one’s Alzheimer’s disease, we are frequently asked if the disease is genetic. We also often hear people in the community saying, “Thank goodness no one in our family had Alzheimer’s.”

    While we have come a long way in understanding what Alzheimer’s disease (AD) looks like in the brain, we still don’t have a clear understanding of what causes the disease.  We do know that there is a genetic component to the disease, but we simply do not know how genetics determine Alzheimer’s disease.

    Five Tips for Preventing Falls

    Friday, April 27th, 2012

    As we age, the risk of falling greatly increases. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that one out of three adults age 65 and older fall each year. Falls are the leading cause of injury or death for this age group.  It is imperative to take steps to prevent the risk factors that lead to falls. Here’s what can be done:

    Consult with Your Doctor

    1. Review current prescriptions and over the counter medications for side effects and interactions that may cause dizziness or drowsiness.
    2. Be sure to inform the doctor of any previous falls.

    Understanding CPR

    Tuesday, April 10th, 2012

    We encourage all of our clients to have discussions with their family and physicians about how they want to be cared for, and what treatments they are willing to accept, as their health changes.

    One of the biggest questions our clients and loved ones face is whether they would want to receive CPR if their heart stops beating.  This can be a daunting decision.  Many people may feel that if they don’t accept CPR, they are “giving up” or letting others down. People often make the decision about whether to have CPR based on general ideas of what CPR is and what it can accomplish.  The realities of CPR are often not understood by the general public.

    Medications and the Elderly: A Complex Relationship

    Monday, March 26th, 2012

    As we age, the number of medications we take is likely to increase.   According to the Center for Disease Control, five out of six persons 65 and older are taking at least one medication and almost half of the elderly population takes three or more. This is because the aging process makes us more susceptible to medical conditions which are often treated with medications.

    As Care Managers, we frequently meet older adults who are not taking their medications as prescribed. It is estimated that 30% of hospital admissions of older adults are attributed to medication mismanagement.

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