4 Ways to Help Seniors Stay Safe This Summer

Summer is close at hand, and with it comes the insatiable desire to spend copious amounts of time outdoors engaging in fun physical activities. While this is normal for the season, it can sometimes lead to unexpectedly dangerous health-related situations, especially for senior citizens and their caregivers. Seniors in particular require special attention in hot and humid weather conditions, so it’s especially important to adhere to summer safety tips to help keep them out of harm’s way.

Summer Safety Tips for Seniors

Older people tend to be more vulnerable when it comes to heavy heat waves, smog, and strong humidity. Thankfully there are a few effective elderly-care tips for summer that caregivers, family members, and friends can put into practice to help keep their older loved ones safe and happy this summer. Of course, it’s also up to the elderly person to actively take care of themselves.

Stay Hydrated

Adequate hydration is one of the cornerstones of maintaining exceptional health and enjoying a long and happy life. Dehydration is challenging for a lot of elderly people because their ability to detect thirst and process water deteriorates as they age, making them much more susceptible to heat stroke. Over time, the body’s ability to cool down by producing sweat through the pores is also hindered, and this can cause hyperthermia. A good tip is to refrain from drinking diuretic beverages, which cause you to urinate more frequently—such as coffee or tea—and stick to water or sweat-replenishing drinks.

Regulate Your Body Temperature

As people age, it becomes increasingly difficult for their bodies to regulate and maintain a comfortable temperature. You can facilitate this by wearing hats with large brims to keep you cool, carrying around ice packs to bring down your temperature if you get overheated, and wearing light, breathable clothing.

Wear Layered Clothing

During the transition period between spring and summer, the weather fluctuates at an unbelievable rate and these unpredictable weather patterns can cause a lot of people to catch colds. Wearing light and layered clothing can help seniors avoid falling victim to different weather extremes during this time of year. You can wear a light, cotton t-shirt with a thin cardigan on top, allowing you to adjust your clothes as needed throughout the day.

Avoid Excessive Sun Exposure

Sometimes, it’s not enough to wear a lot of sunscreen for protection from UV rays (although that’s a great place to start) because prolonged exposure to strong sun rays can lead to mild or severe sun burns, dehydration, and heat stroke. On days when the sun is particularly cumbersome, it’s best to stay indoors in dark, air-conditioned places. You should try to do outdoor activities and exercises in the early morning or evening when the temperature is a bit cooler and the sun isn’t at its peak.

The professional caregivers at Home Care Assistance – Kitchener, Waterloo, and Guelph are all well-prepared and trained to take care of seniors who want to stay active in the summertime by spending time outdoors. Our staff is very knowledgeable when it comes to recognizing, preventing, and reacting to potentially dangerous situations for seniors, and we’ll always do everything in our power to safeguard your elderly loved ones and treat them with the utmost respect and dignity. To learn more about our part-time and full-time caregiving services, please call us today at (519) 954-2111.

What’s the Difference between Dementia and Alzheimer’s?

Due to their numerous overlapping symptoms, many people tend to mistakenly believe that dementia and Alzheimer’s are exactly the same thing. In reality, there are a few glaringly noteworthy differences between dementia and Alzheimer’s that distinctly impact diagnoses, treatments, and medications for patients.

Dementia vs. Alzheimer’s

The main difference between dementia and Alzheimer’s disease is that dementia is a syndrome comprised of various complex neurological disturbances, each with its own set of symptoms. Alzheimer’s falls under the category of dementia, but unlike dementia, it’s not a broad-spectrum condition with other disorders under its umbrella; rather, Alzheimer’s has its own set of distinctive symptoms.

Symptoms and Causes of Dementia

As people get older, their cognitive functions can begin to decline for a number of reasons, and this negatively affects their short-term memory as well as their ability to think logically. Sometimes, these symptoms can manifest themselves in physical ways. For instance, a person with dementia might forget to eat for long periods of time because they might think that they had a full meal more recently than they actually did and their brains don’t convey the message that they’re hungry, causing rapid and uncontrollable weight loss.

While a lot of brain functions are still a scientific mystery, there are a few known causes of dementia, or at the very least, conditions that are linked to it in one way or another. As previously mentioned, Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia, but other conditions that can lead to it include: Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, Huntington’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease.

Dementia isn’t a disease or disorder with an exact cure. It’s actually a culmination of symptoms that can be treated in different ways depending on their perceived root causes. Sometimes, a vitamin deficiency could be the culprit and the simple solution is to increase the patient’s intake of certain vitamins that promote healthy brain functions.

Symptoms and Causes of Alzheimer’s Disease

There are several types of dementia including vascular dementia, dementia with lewy bodies, Alzheimer’s disease, or mixed dementia, which is when a patient is plagued with multiple types of dementia simultaneously. Alzheimer’s disease happens to be the most common type of dementia, typically affecting adults over the age of 65.

Alzheimer’s is a degenerative disease that’s caused by plaque collecting on the brain and impeding normal brain functions, such as storing new memories, making rational judgments, decision-making skills, and comprehending new information. Other symptoms include memory loss, loss of appetite, impaired speech and bodily movements, disorientation, drastic mood swings, and hostility. Unfortunately, there’s no cure for Alzheimer’s, but there are ways of managing it such as maintaining healthy eating habits, regular exercise, and keeping up with social activities. The only way to know for sure whether a person had Alzheimer’s is by conducting a brain autopsy after they’ve passed away.

If you know someone who might be suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s, then it’s important that you make sure they get the proper treatment and care immediately. At Home Care Assistance – Kitchener, Waterloo, and Guelph, we take great pride in caring for our patience with the utmost respect, dignity, and compassion. We offer all kinds of care options, ranging from part-time or full-time home care depending on what the needs of our patients entail. Each one of our caregivers is thoroughly screened, and they all possess the necessary credentials to care for your loved one. To learn more about our top-quality services, please call us at (519) 954-2111.

What You Should Know about Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease is an extremely elusive illness, and very few people have a firm understanding of what it entails, what the symptoms are, and to what degree it can adversely affect the people who suffer from it. It’s this lack of knowledge about this disease that warrants the quest to constantly find new and interesting ways to spread awareness of this disease as well as appropriate solutions to combat it and help people living with Parkinson’s cope.

What Is Parkinson’s Disease?

To put it simply, Parkinson’s disease is a neurological disorder that prevents messages from the brain from being transmitted to nerves in the body. This often results in the physiological symptoms of Parkinson’s that many people are familiar with including involuntary and unsteady muscle movements that make it very difficult to complete even the simplest daily tasks.

However, Parkinson’s doesn’t just affect people’s motor skills. It can also deplete people’s cognitive abilities and alter their mental states. Many people who suffer from Parkinson’s disease have trouble sleeping at night, which leads to chronic daytime fatigue, memory loss, and mental illnesses such as severe depression. Even though symptoms of Parkinson’s usually manifest themselves when people are in their mid to late 50s and get progressively worse, it affects all genders equally. Early diagnosis is paramount so that seniors especially can receive the appropriate type of care for their Parkinson’s as soon as possible.

3 Ways to Raise Awareness for Parkinson’s Disease

There are three effective ways in which you can help raise awareness of Parkinson’s disease:

Talk about Parkinson’s Disease

Talking about something is an underrated, but perhaps the most effective way to raise awareness for any cause. Not only are you actively educating others about a certain issue, but you might also learn a few new things that you might not have previously known. Someone might ask a question that didn’t occur to you previously and this could spark a whole new level of interest for you.

Wear a Silver Ribbon and Parkinson’s Branded Apparel

Every cause has a ribbon and colour associated with it that’s designed to spark intellectual conversation and represent the people who are affected by said cause. Silver represents all sorts of neurological disorders, and Parkinson’s disease is just one of many.

Participate in Events that Support People with Parkinson’s

One of the best ways for you to continually show your support for any cause is to either participate in an event or contribute a donation to one. Joining a large community of people who suffer from Parkinson’s disease or any other illness is an excellent way to represent and assist the disenfranchised who need assistance but aren’t sure how to acquire it.

Reliable Home-Care Services for Elderly People Living with Parkinson’s

Home Care Assistance – Kitchener, Waterloo, and Guelph is the leading senior care provider in Ontario. We provide a wide range of quality care services to seniors who have suffered various cognitive and physical injuries or illnesses, including Parkinson’s disease. Our professional caregivers are fully trained, extensively vetted, and are prepared to offer either part-time or complete 24-hour care depending on the needs of our clients. For more information on our services, please call us today at (519) 954-2111.

6 Tips for Communicating with Dementia Patients

Dementia is an emotionally, mentally, and even physically debilitating syndrome that doesn’t just take a toll on the patients themselves but also on the family members and loved ones who care for them as well. As the syndrome progresses and the dementia patient’s cognitive abilities continue on a downward spiral, verbal and nonverbal communication can become increasingly challenging. When this inevitably happens, it’s important to keep in mind that as hard as it is for you as the caregiver to cope with this development, it’s actually a lot harder for the person who’s enduring it firsthand.

Practising a great deal of patience, understanding, and compassion is the cornerstone of maintaining your relationship with your loved one with dementia and maintaining an open and positive line of communication is important to helping maintain their overall health.

Tips for Successfully Communicating with Dementia Patients

There’s no doubt that caring for a dementia patient is hard, but there are several things you can do to ensure effective, meaningful communication on a practical and emotional level.

Treat the Person with Dignity and Respect

Just because a person’s mental capabilities have declined, it doesn’t mean they have ceased to be human. Far too often, so-called caregivers or authority figures think it’s acceptable to treat dementia patients inappropriately or condescendingly and this simply isn’t ethical. Speak to your loved one respectfully and with dignity to show them that they matter.

Don’t Criticize or Frequently Correct Them

It’s common for people who suffer from dementia to misremember facts or events. Sometimes, they might even recall things that didn’t actually happen (i.e. dream events) and that’s perfectly fine. Let them remember things however they want because constantly correcting them will only confuse and agitate them.

Avoid Distractions and Listen Intently

When conversing with your loved one with dementia, try to do it in an environment with limited or no distractions, such as their home, and always listen intently to what they have to say and frequently repeat words or phrases they use. This will help them concentrate on the conversation at hand without losing touch of the subject matter.

Encourage Nonverbal Communication

It’s important to instill the habit of using nonverbal forms of communication, such as pointing to objects, during the early stage of dementia because, as time goes on, it will be a lot harder for the person to communicate using words. Their mental capacity to learn new words or phrases will slowly diminish and, eventually, they won’t be able to physically articulate words anymore. You can encourage nonverbal communication by inconspicuously demonstrating it to them throughout your conversations.

Be Patient and Supportive

Understandably, caring for a dementia patient can be frustrating and even disheartening at times, but it’s essential that you keep your composure and maintain a positive attitude throughout each interaction. They’re still very perceptive of other people’s emotions, and if they sense that you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed out, those feelings will transfer over to them. Let them gather their thoughts during conversations, try to only ask simple questions with “yes” or “no” answers, and don’t inundate them with too many questions all at once.

Avoid Using Pronouns as Much as Possible

We tend to forget that general conversations tend to move pretty quickly, and it can often be extremely difficult for dementia patients to keep up with the flow of things. That’s why you should try to refrain from using pronouns such as “he” or “she” when referring to other people or “it” when referring to objects. Instead, state the person’s name every time you’re referring to them and always use the name or title of the object. Even when you greet them, be sure to repeat your own name so they know who you are.

At Home Care Assistance – Kitchener, Waterloo, and Guelph, it’s our duty and ultimate objective to ensure that every dementia patient in our caregivers’ care—whether it’s live-in care for older parents or part-time home care—receives the same respectful and attentive treatment they deserve. For more information on our services, please call us today at (519) 954-2111.