Winter Safety Checklist
December 16 2013
by Michelle Spadafora
Winter can bring many challenges to families, especially when caring for or supporting an elder or individual with disabilities. There are emotional risks to consumers—like increased isolation from friends and community activities—and there are physical risks, like falls. Here are some things caregivers and care teams should consider this winter.
The Benefits of Connecting Consumers with Home Improvement Resources
December 10 2013
by Fatima Andrade-Hanoian
One consumer I support in Massachusetts has Alzheimer's disease and uses a wheelchair. When I went on home visits with her nurse, I noticed the consumer needed two people to help her out of the house, supporting her down the entrance steps and into a car. I also noticed the bathroom was very small, making it difficult to use a wheelchair. An accident was inevitable, so I spoke to the family about my concerns. They knew the need for a ramp and a larger bathroom would only become more necessary as time progressed, but they could not afford the home improvements. As a member of a care team, it is valuable to observe potential risks in the home, familiarize yourself with the resources available, and connect caregivers and consumers with services that can make their home as safe and accessible as possible.
Coping with Seasonal Affective Disorder During the Holidays
December 09 2013
by Erika Smith
I have so many wonderful holiday memories of my mother. She loved to buy fresh Christmas trees for us to decorate together, although I still remember with a special fondness the artificial white tree with the kaleidoscope lights. My father and siblings knew she took great pleasure in finding just the right gift for each one of us. I will always love my Lite Brite and Ms. Piggy Muppet. My brothers loved their Hot Wheels and Rock Em Sock Em Robots. She passed on the joy of baking with an Easy Bake Oven. We look forward to each holiday season because one of her favorite activities was baking home-made holiday cookies, cakes, pies, fudge and the fluffiest yeast rolls that would melt in your mouth.
But now my holiday planning needs to include how my sister and I will coordinate our schedules to make sure that we continue to meet our mother's fall and winter needs. My mom, like many consumers, experiences Seasonal Effective Disorder (SAD), and we need to help her cope through this season and find new ways to participate in the holidays.
Photographs of My Grandfather
December 06 2013
by Saran Craig
Life is a rolling reel. It has past, present and future. Life ebbs and flows in constant motion. Our memory is a series of photographs, moments frozen in time for us to remember, recall, relive. Some life photographs sneak up on us and resurface even when we don't want them to, and we put those back in the album--which is our memory--rather than holding them and reliving them. Some photographs from our life are beautiful, and we call on them when we want to remember. Our memory organizes our series of still shots of life into a nice, neat album with chronological order.
Life with dementia is a life full of moments, still photographs, no continuity or running reel. Life becomes one still shot at a time, jumbled in a box rather than an organized album. We wake in the morning not knowing what snapshot in time we will be looking at. The photographs can switch quickly from one moment to the next. Some are beautiful, some are scary, some we wish we could bury and never look at again. These are a couple of my photographs from my grandfather's battle with dementia.
Understanding the Behavioral Effects of Alzheimer's Disease
November 11 2013
by Saran Craig
November is National Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month. Alzheimer's Disease is not a "mental illness." It is a physical disease process that causes irreversible deterioration in the brain. All parts of the human brain, with the exception of the hearing center, can be affected throughout the disease process. For people caring for individuals with Alzheimer's Disease, it is important to know what changes will take place so you can understand them better...
Nutritional Tips for Consumers and Caregivers During the Holidays
November 07 2013
by Kathy Swiderski
The holiday season is upon on us, and for many people that means celebrations with friends and family and a lot of delicious foods. Many consumers, and even caregivers, have diet restrictions, which can make the holidays a difficult time to stay on track. Around-the-clock caregivers and their care teams have the ability to collaborate with consumers on a realistic plan around healthy eating. As a nurse for 30 years, I've seen strategies that allow people to still enjoy the holidays while maintaining good nutrition.
Educating Consumers About Their Medications
November 05 2013
by Tiffany Ward
Jeff knows about his medication. He can tell you what it is for and when he should take it. On a home visit, I noticed this consumer was engaged with his medication list and interested in learning. It prompted me and the rest of the care team to find ways to educate him even more about his health and medication management. Every consumer has a right to understand their medications, and there are great benefits from doing so.
Elders and Substance Abuse
October 08 2013
by Diana Holmes and Robbin Volkart
As the population ages, there are increased concerns about substance abuse. People are living longer, and many rely on daily medication to maintain their health. These prescription medications can often be addictive and have significant interactions when mixed with even modest amounts of alcohol. It is important to know the warning signs of substance abuse in consumers; around-the-clock caregivers and supportive care teams often have the opportunity to recognize these signs early in the home...
Consumers Have Spoken
October 08 2013
by Peter Bisbecos
People have been driving the evolution of social services for decades. Community-based services are the leading edge today because of successful decades-long demand by those who received services...
Protecting Your Hearing Health
October 07 2013
by Elizabeth Azevedo-Flowers
In our busy lives, there are many things we try to do be proactive about our health and well-being: we take vitamins, try to eat healthy, and do our best to be active. But I've noticed that we often forget about our hearing health. I never gave it much thought until my dad started showing signs of poor hearing in his 60s. He kept the volume on his TV and favorite country radio station loud. As his hearing loss progressed, he began asking us to repeat things. He believed his hearing loss was the result of his days building boats in the Quincy shipyard. Because of his experience, I decided to look into preventative measures to protect my own hearing as I age...