Freudenthal Home Health Blog

Freudenthal Home Health salutes family caregivers in the St. Joseph, MO area who are giving wonderful care and help to their senior loved ones each and every day. Our goal with this blog is to give information and resources to help and support St. Joseph, MO area family caregivers.

Understanding The Progression Of Dementia

A diagnosis of dementia for your senior loved one comes with heartbreak and grief. As a result, it is helpful to gain an understanding of the progression of dementia. This allows you to take the perspective of focusing on what your loved one can do, rather than thinking solely about what has been lost.

The stages of dementia are relatively predictable, with patients generally progressing at different rates, but through similarly patterned ability levels. Here’s what you can expect at each stage of dementia:

High-Early Stage: At the high-early stage of dementia, your loved one will experience difficulty with what’s called instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs) which includes the ability to drive, cook, manage their medications and take care of their home and finances. This is the stage in which your loved one can be monitored from a distance. Calling or stopping by once a day is recommended to ensure safety and you may also need to commit additional time to managing a number of areas, like paying bills or grocery shopping.

Low-Early Stage: The low-early stage is characterized by the loss of more basic IADLs, such as dressing and showering. Once your loved one has reached this stage, they will need more monitoring and care.

The key to assisting a loved one in low-early stage is tapping into their long-term memory. For instance, your loved one may not know that it’s time to get dressed when they get up in the morning, but if their clothes are set out and they are directed to go get dressed, they can often put together the steps to get themselves dressed safely.

Middle or Moderate Stage: At this stage, your loved one is no longer able to work through a sequenced set of activities, like getting dressed or shaving, without assistance. You may be able to help them retrieve the steps by reminding them of an associated part of the task. For instance, smelling a favorite brand of toothpaste may help your loved one trigger the part of their brain that helps them remember the steps to brushing their teeth.

Late Stage: Once your loved one has reached late stage dementia, they will experience serious impairment with walking, speech and fine motor tasks. However, they are still able to communicate with you through facial expressions and other signals.

Your loved one is no longer able to dress themselves or brush their own teeth, but you can still help them be an active participant in their care. They can pick up their foot to help put pants on or they can point their foot in a way that makes it easy to put on a sock.

End Stage: When your loved one is in end stage dementia, they are generally mute and bedridden, but it is important to continue to treat them with love and care. You can help them engage their senses by sharing sights, sounds and textures that will bring them pleasure, and you can make sure they feel warm and loved.

Freudenthal Home Health is a reliable resource for Family Caregivers that would like more information about the stages of dementia and we can provide care services to assist your senior loved one in their daily tasks. If you would like to know more about dementia and how to help your senior loved one or would like information about our home health services, call us today at 816-676-8050 and talk to Shelbe King who would be more than happy to answer all your questions. 

Sign up for our blog post emails and our Focus On Family Caregivers Newsletter!

* indicates required

Why Are Schedules So Important For Family Caregivers?

Blog Post14 022814.png

Your alarm goes off in the morning. You wake, shower, get dressed and prepare breakfast for your family. Some days, you must also help your spouse run errands, make a stop at the post office and drop something off at the bank as well.

That list seems long, especially when you think it all happens before 8:00 a.m.  Being a Family Caregiver for a senior loved one who requires assistance is an entirely different part of your day, but because you are filling the role as a caregiver, sometimes you have to juggle more than one task at a time.

According to the National Alliance for Caregiving, more than 65 million people provide care for a chronically ill, disabled or aged family member or friend and spend approximately 20 hours a week providing care for their loved one each year.

So how do you do it? How do you balance your home life while still being an excellent Family Caregiver?

You Can't Do It Alone

It is important to remember that you can’t do it all alone. Family Caregivers are often people who try to go above and beyond what their duties call for; it’s just the type of personality they have. But sometimes, the ability to ask for help is hard. That’s why it’s important to readily accept the fact that you can’t manage it all and that asking for assistance from other family members, or hiring an at home agency is always an option.

One tip that many researchers are finding helpful is for caregivers to keep a scheduled routine, both in their role as a caregiver and also in their own family life as well.

Three Tips That Help Keep Schedule On Track

  • First, it is important to set boundaries. Talk with your loved one about your expectations as their Family Caregiver. Whether you require Sundays be spent at home with your immediate family or you are at home each night for dinner, it will be helpful for your loved one to know when you are available and when you would like to have your own time. This gives your loved one a guideline to follow so that they can respect your time at home.
  • Second, set a daily schedule with your loved ones so that they know when to expect a visit from you. For example, it may ease their mind knowing you will arrive each morning at 9:00 a.m.
  • Finally, it is important to keep your loved one informed about their scheduled appointments. Letting your loved one be involved and informed of their care will give them a sense of control, and it will also be helpful for you to have another person to remind you in case you forget to check the calendar.

We can help.

When it comes to assistance and questions about home health care, Freudenthal Home Health has many answers. We have trained professionals to assist Family Caregivers in all of the roles they fill. Contact us today to learn how we can be a part of your journey. 

Sign up for our blog post emails and our Focus On Family Caregivers Newsletter!

* indicates required