We believe in sharing what we’ve learned about the home health care industry and all related topics to help and support you. Our variety of blogs feature insights, experience and news about aging, healthy lifestyle and overall well-being. We are continually expanding the blog posting, please expect new publishing’s every two weeks, enjoy the reading. The writer’s opinion doesn’t necessarily reflect Vitae Cares position. However, we encourage, appreciate, and try to stimulate a culture of discussion and even dispute.

Diet for Dementia Patients: Understanding the Challenge

Vitae Care Social Media Team – Saturday, July 15, 2017

A proper diet is vital to the health of a dementia patient, and with the assistance of knowledgeable staff, good nutrition can happen every day!

The problem with eating and diet

Adequate food intake is important for all people, but when it comes to diet for dementia patients, getting the right nutrition can be extremely difficult. The ultimate goal is to maintain the body weight. There are many factors at play when it comes to dementia and diet, including both mental and physical challenges. A dementia patient may be unable to recognize food, does not see the purpose of eating, has difficulty using utensils, or may be overwhelmed by too many food choices and might simply forget when we consume food. They can also have declining senses, such as taste and smell, a general decline with age, leading to a reduced appetite. As someone ages, they may also have weakened handgrip, which makes using forks and spoons more difficult. Swallowing can be difficult as well, and sometimes misplaced dentures can make chewing a meal more challenging. Dehydration is also an issue, as dementia patients usually have a reduced thirst sensation. All of these factors and more make nutrition and diet more difficult. But with the right steps and measures, quality, nutritious meals are far from impossible.

Getting to nutrition: Strategies for dementia patients

So what do professional caregivers to increase the chances of a quality diet for their patients? Using both the food and the eating environment, one can take certain steps to increase food intake and enhance nutrition. The first step is to focus on eating and concentrate on foods that the patient enjoys and can eat. Serving a calorie-rich diet is often required, as they will not eat large portions, but what counts is every bite they eat is valuable. It may be helpful and relevant to add flavor-enhancers such as honey, gravy, butter, or sauces, fats and protein. These often make food tastier and easier to eat. What is also is supportive is to serve fortified foods, such as ice cream, puddings, or oatmeal, and if someone has eating restrictions, pureed meals may be required. To provide adequate fluid is essential and will decrease the risk of dehydration which could cause difficulties in swallowing.

The setting: Create a space for eating

The food itself is essential, but it’s also important to create an environment where undistracted eating is a priority. A good setting to enhance the diet for dementia patients will have as few distractions as possible, with a simple place-setting and no center piece. Noises, such as televisions and radios, should be turned off, and people in the room should avoid loud conversations. There should also be a clear contrast in color between the plate and the food (such as white plates with dark food, and set the table with only the required utensils, usually just a fork or spoon. It’s also believed that terra cotta dishes will stimulate appetite, while blues and greens could be a barrier. Also, always make sure to have enough time for eating the meal. Because there are many steps, strategies, and measures to remember, it’s advisable to work with trained professionals like Vitae Care to enhance the diet and ensure the quality, long-term health and maintain the body weight.

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Therapeutic Lying in Dementia Care a Walk on a Fine Line of Moral Justification

Vitae Care Social Media Team – Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Lying to a dementia patient may seem immoral, but new theories about emotional stability and well-being advocate gentle, respectful lying.

The need for therapeutic lying

Interacting with patients who have dementia can be a significant challenge. We all have a deeply-rooted desire to communicate with our parents and grandparents in a way that is respectful, honest, and caring. But the very nature of dementia can make this difficult, and sometimes heartbreaking. For example, a father whose wife passed away may frequently ask for his late spouse. Whenever his children explain to him that mother died five years ago, he grieves like it just happened. It would seem immoral to lie, but the truth is causing him pain. According to a new theory therapeutic lying in dementia care may, in certain situations, be the gentle, appropriate solution.

Lying to dementia patients: the moral justification

By tradition, the medical field requires complete honesty. Patients need to be forthright with doctors for the best diagnosis, and doctors owe it to patients to disclose all information. So how can trained nurses, neurologists, psychologists, and physicians possibly justify therapeutic lying in dementia care? Because lying can ease sadness, frustration, and depression. When a dementia patient asks about his late spouse, saying something gentle and diversionary, such as “she’s in a safe place,” or even an outright lie, such as “she’s gone to the store,” may ease his anxiety. In many cases, therapeutic lying in dementia care can be kinder to the patient and easier for the caregiver. It diverts attention from the harsh truth while allowing patients to remain peaceful and, one hopes, happy.

Vitae Care: using the latest caregiving strategies

At Vitae Care, we support using the latest trends in memory care and emotional care for dementia patients. Dementia can come in many different forms, including Alzheimer’s vascular dementia, and Parkinson’s, and therapeutic lying may be appropriate for one individual but not another. No matter what the specific dementia issue, we always consider all the available tools, studies, and techniques. If, through study and thought, we may use therapeutic lying to provide the best senior caring services. We recognize the therapeutic lying can be a useful tool for maintaining quality care, and we encourage you to talk with our caregivers about your thoughts and concerns regarding this practice. In the end, our goal is to provide the best care for elderly patients, and we may use therapeutic lying to reach this goal and provide a happier life.

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Senior Caring Services Can Assist Improve the Safety in an Elder’s Home

Vitae Care Social Media Team – Sunday, June 25, 2017

Maintaining a safe home is substantial, it will prevent and reduce the chance of falls and injuries.

Why is safety in the home of a senior citizen so important?

We all need a safe home, but preventing injury for the elderly is crucial. If a young person is tripping or falling, they may get a small bruise. But if a senior is falling, it is more likely to lead to serious injury. Because of weaker muscles, brittle bones, and less balance, a fall might cause a senior to suffer a broken bone. It could change things instantaneously and might cause the older adult lose independence or mobility plus to be unable to return home eventually. Senior caring services can give good advice and guidance. Improving the safety of a home, therefore, is important and will enable elderly adults to stay independent in their homes for as long as possible.

Assess your elderly parent needs inside the home

You should take an honest look at your parents’ house to see what, if any, changes are necessary. The chances are high there are at least a few things you could do to improve home safety. Some changes will be evident, such as cords or rippled carpet on the floor, or no railings at the stairwell or overload of furniture. Others, however, may not be obvious. For example, are there convenient light switches throughout the home? Is the bathroom safe enough? Is the kitchen floor slippery when wet? Another excellent and helpful addition is to have all emergency and family numbers on speed dial. To make a thorough assessment of the home, you may use this free checklist from senior caring services.

Hiring in-home care services can enhance safety

The truth is, you can make all sorts of changes to the home by yourself. But if you ask our professionally-trained experts, you can be sure that all the right home modifications will take place. Therefore, we recommend working with Vita Care, an agency that provides premier home care services. They have the skills, training, and experienced eye to immediately see what needs to be done to improve an elderly individual’s home. Vitae Care can make safe adjustments to the home without disrupting the daily life so that seniors are more accepting of household changes. Please feel free and contact Vitae Care today to learn more about our services, including home care assistance.

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Elderly and Technology – the Use of Smartphones among Americans Age 65+ Has More than Doubled

Vitae Care Social Media Team – Sunday, June 04, 2017

A recent study indicates that many seniors are embracing the use of technologies, whereas others are still holding back. Age and income, plus education, are the main drivers of this trendy topic

The use of smartphones has become popular for those age 65 and over

A recent study shows that the elderly and technology are coming together. What it reveals, is that “smartphone adoption among seniors has nearly quadrupled in the last five years. Four-in-ten seniors own smartphones”. Furthermore, the study noted that “social media use among older Americans steadily increases,” plus “roughly three-quarters of internet users ages 65 and up say they go online daily.” But we do not want to forget to mention that the study also says that “most seniors say they need help using new electronic devices.”

Engaging in activities with digital gadgets can stir curiosity and brain activity. In fact, it can help us stay up-to-date and in touch, be informed and connected with the world and younger generations, and cope with today’s lifestyles and trends.

How exactly do we describe technology–what do we mean by it?

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary describes technology as follows: “The use of science in industry, engineering, etc., to invent useful things or to solve problems.”

The study mentioned above focuses on the adoption of technology by the elderly, in particular addressing the most-used gadgets in the digital world, such as the following:

  • Internet
  • Smartphones, mobile devices
  • Tablets/E-readers
  • Social Media

Wi-Fi is the gateway to the Internet and provides accessibility in many ways—not only at home or in friends’ or family’s houses but in public places like restaurants, museums, shopping malls, and sports venues. Wi-Fi enables access to the Internet almost everywhere and at any time. Knowledge, information, and data travel with you wherever you go, anytime you need them.

How do the elderly interact with new technologies?

Many senior citizens still don’t use new technologies and don’t understand why they should start because they mostly do not know how to or what the actual benefits are. There are numerous obstacles. They might not know anyone who would have the time to explain how to use the technology, their grandchildren may live too far away, they don’t feel comfortable buying the product by themselves, they are worried they would not understand the gadgets, or they just are not ready to take that step to start using online resources.

At the same time, there seems to be an emerging trend involving the elderly and technology. Increasingly, a younger group of senior citizens is moving toward more digital activities. It enriches their lives in many ways. They have fun discovering new options and possibilities with which to interact with each other. It opens up a whole world of new opportunities, which makes them feel good.

However, technology adoption comes with a price tag and depends on the age group and level of education. Not all senior citizens can afford technology adoption: paying for an Internet provider, setting up Wi-Fi, shopping for a smartphone or tablet, and much more. Senior citizens might not have included these costs in their budget planning.

Caring companions are skilled at introducing support

We understand the need for support and instruction regarding the use of smartphones, the Internet, and tablets. Now, rather than forcing them to read endless pages of manuals and instructions, we give the elderly a hands-on introduction. Vitae Care encourages and supports senior citizens who would like to make use of new technologies in many ways:

  • Connecting with grandchildren through text messaging
  • Using Social Media
  • Online shopping
  • Connecting with friends and writing e-mails
  • Playing online games
  • Registering for an event
  • Seeking information or daily news from the Internet
  • Finding a partner on online platforms
  • Using smart apps
  • Charging batteries
  • Connecting with Wi-Fi
  • Using online education and training
  • Paying bills online

By continuously developing solutions for the elderly, Vita Care supports its clients grow and thrive in all their digital endeavors.

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Aging Parents Need Your Care, but Maintaining Respect and Communication Is Essential

Vitae Care Social Media Team – Thursday, June 01, 2017

When you use an approach that promotes respectful communication, giving advice and providing care becomes much easier and more helpful to your loved ones!

Providing care to aging parents: the challenge

We all want the best for our parents and grandparents, so we often give advice or take actions that we feel will help them. Sometimes we don’t just give advice, we downright tell them what they have to do, which can be a problem because most people, seniors or otherwise, don’t want someone else running their lives. Think about it: would you want pushy life lessons or daily oversight from someone whose diapers you once changed? They are still your parents, and they likely still feel like a mother or father; when the care-giving roles are reversed, it can create frustration. Fortunately, there are respectful, caring ways to help seniors who may be unable to help themselves while allowing them to maintain their personal dignity and respect.

Communication is the key to caring for aging parents

Perhaps the most important element of caring for an elderly parent is communication. Whether you’re providing general advice on how they should arrange their homes or trying to convince them to eat a healthier diet, you can’t just tell them to do it; you need to tell them why you think it’s a good idea. Remember: communication is a two-way street, so listen to their feedback and take into consideration how the decision will affect their personal lives.

Try this strategy: discuss how decisions will benefit others

Being helpful is important to many people, including elderly parents. Sometimes, how decisions will help others can be a major factor in an elderly parent’s choices. For example, let’s say that you’re trying to convince your elderly father to quit smoking, but he doesn’t seem compelled by arguments that would affect his personal health. Maybe reasons about the harmful effects of secondhand smoke on his wife or grandchildren will help him drop the habit. If you’re trying to convince your mother to accept in-home care, you can emphasize that this care will cause you and your siblings less worry and stress. That just might be enough to convince her.

Final word of advice: vent frustrations elsewhere

If we can offer one final piece of advice, it would be to vent your frustrations, which are likely to occur, away from your elderly parent. In many cases, your mother, father, or grandparent already feels like a burden. Revealing your frustrations will only make them feel worse. It’s good to get your frustrations off your chest but do so with a sibling, friend, or spouse. When you release your frustrations elsewhere, you’ll be more prepared to give caring, respectful support to your elderly parent.

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Senior Companion Services – Anxiety Grows with Age

Vitae Care Social Media Team – Saturday, May 20, 2017

As senior citizens age, anxiety can increase. Five different considerations to build up their trust.

The role of anxiety in the life of an elderly person

Generally speaking, most people pursue happiness, well-being, peace, and a good work–life balance. For older people who live independently in their homes and enjoy senior companion services, life starts to look a little bit different. One might expect that elderly have freedom and contentment, in addition to enormous amounts of patience and the knowledge of a lifetime. In reality, this is not the case for all senior citizens. Loneliness, illness or the beginning stages of dementia may create considerable anxiety and even depression as they see their life’s changing in unexpected ways. Older people are more anxious than when they were younger; the word “fearless” belongs primarily to youth.

Your parent’s signs of nervousness, worry, or dismay

Elderly people may experience anxiety even when there is no threat of danger. This is the result of various causes, including stress and health problems. Gradual loss of hearing, the onset of dementia, and loneliness can also make the elderly uneasy. Sometimes their worries concern their senior companion services. oriental bamboo pattern backgroundFor example, if the caring companion is running late for in-home services, that person might wonder, Will they come at all? Have they just forgotten me? The elderly person might check every minute to see whether the caregiver’s car has pulled into the driveway, or the person might sit at the window, desperately longing for the caregiver to show up. He or she will not find any comfort until someone walks in the door and says, “Hello, how are you today?”

Another example of a stressor is a broken main door that has not been fixed yet. The elderly person may wonder, when is the handyman coming? Where is my favorite blue sweater? When will my son be visiting me next time? I will have to prepare and go to the hairdresser.

We should not underestimate the power of anxious thoughts, even over trivial things; they can stir up substantial negative and fearful emotions. Most of the time, senior citizens describe physical complaints rather than discussing their feelings of anxiety. Yet this sad state of exasperation and discomfort at some point needs to be treated by a doctor.

Safe and sound with a caring companion

It is an established principle that caring companions must be good listeners; it is their job to find out what is going on in the heads of their clients. This process can be compared with measuring a person’s temperature—but in this case, it is the elder person’s emotional condition that is being measured. Here are five important considerations that will help to build trust and relationships with senior citizens:

  • Show up on time for caregiving, or notify your clients by phone about any delay.
  • Do what you say, and say what you do.
  • Be patient; listen carefully; and give the elderly person room to talk.
  • Know all of your clients’ habits.
  • Leave a note about the next appointment.

Perfectly balanced care will bring freedom and peace to the souls of the elderly through the trust developed between caring companion and client. Vitae Care is an excellent provider of in-home care services and is always striving to give each client the best possible care experience. Our caring companions are experienced and skilled in caregiving. We will do what is best for your loved ones and make them feel sound and safe at home by reassuring them that we care.

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