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. 

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How Family Caregivers Can Be Prepared For An Emergency Room Visit

Part of spending life at home with your senior loved one is the preparation for the unexpected. You hope to never need a trip to the emergency room with your loved one, but there are times when immediate medical attention is a necessity.

When an emergency room visit becomes necessary, you may find yourself and your senior loved one feeling panicked. Here are a few steps to help you remain calm in an emergency and enjoy life at home, knowing that you are prepared if an emergency occurs:

Have an Emergency Room Kit

When you get to the emergency room, you will immediately be asked about insurance coverage and medical history, including medications and allergies. In order to make sure you have all the information ready, create a kit that includes several items:

  • Medical history summary, including allergies and a list of current medications
  • Emergency contact list
  • Copies of current insurance cards
  • Copies of any legal documents, such as a living will
  • Extra clothing
  • Toiletries for both you and your loved one
  • A family photo or other comfort item

It may also be helpful to keep an “in case of emergency” card in a purse or wallet, with a compressed version of the medical information.

Include ICE Contacts on Your Loved One’s Cell Phone

You can add contacts on your loved one’s cell phone for “in case of emergency” (ICE) that connect to your phone number or another caregiver. This may be particularly helpful if your loved one arrives at the emergency room confused or unable to answer questions.

Practice Driving the Fastest Route to the Hospital

However, just in case you are in a panicked state when you need to go to the hospital, consider adding the directions to your emergency room kit. Sometimes it even makes more sense to call an ambulance if:

  • Your loved one has a condition that appears to be life-threatening
  • You think your loved one’s condition could become worse on a drive to the hospital
  • It appears that moving your loved one could cause injury
  • Your loved one requires the help of a paramedic, immediately
  • Heavy traffic could prevent you getting to the hospital

Check to be sure that your loved one lives in an area covered by 911 service. If not, keep the number to the local emergency medical service with your emergency room kit.

It may be difficult to determine whether your loved one needs the care of an emergency department. Generally, there are a few red flags that mean your loved one needs emergency medical care:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fainting
  • Vision changes
  • Speaking problems
  • Persistent vomiting or diarrhea
  • Severe pain
  • Suicidal thoughts

Preparing for a potential emergency room visit can help you and your loved one enjoy life at home. If you need additional help or information on the best ways to care for your loved one at home, please call the experts at Freudenthal Home Health.

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Family Caregivers + Licensed In-Home Care Providers: A Growing Trend in Senior Healthcare

Being a Family Caregiver means that you are a part of a growing movement that helps seniors stay in the comfort of home with an independent lifestyle while also receiving the care they need. Family Caregivers cannot do it all though, so they are partnering with licensed in-home care providers to provide the care that is needed for their senior loved ones.  This “partnership” style of care is an increasingly popular way for seniors to have a better quality of life. According to the Center of Disease Control, there are currently 34 million family members providing in-home care for their loved ones, a number that has steadily increased over the past ten years and is expected to grow.

Why Are More Family Caregivers “partnering” with licensed In-Home Care Providers ?

There are multiple reasons, ranging from preferences to costs. Here is a list of reasons why this type of a partnership is such a growing trend:

More Options- Family Caregivers partnering with in-home care providers gives you many options for the type of care your senior loved one receives. Because you are in control, working with the right in-home care provider means you can adjust and specialize the care your loved one desires and requires, making their care plan ideal for all parties involved.

Less Hospital Time- When seniors have both Family Caregivers and caregivers from a licensed in-home care provider available, it may be possible for them to be released from the hospital sooner. As a Family Caregiver, you can ensure that your loved one receives continued therapy, incision care or other needs after their hospital stay.

Increased Independence- In nursing facilities, although your senior loved one would receive quality care, independence is often limited. By providing care in the home, your loved one’s health needs are met but they are also free to enjoy their hobbies, visit with friends, make their own schedule and maintain a quality of life they desire.

Emotional Support: Your loved one experiences many emotions. As they age and transition from the life they have maintained during their adulthood to becoming dependent on others, depression or low morale is a common occurrence. As a Family Caregiver, sometimes you need emotional support as well and the staff from an excellent in-home care provider can help provide that emotional support for both you and your senior loved one.

All of these reasons are just a few examples why Family Caregivers should partner with a licensed in-home care provider with a great reputation to care for their senior loved one at home. Freudenthal Home Health is a licensed in-home care provider and we would love to have a conversation about how we could assist you and your senior loved one.  Please contact us today.

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