Categories
Dementia

The Cost of at-Home Dementia Care

According to a study conducted by the Alzheimer’s Association, nearly 90% of seniors choose to age at home; however, suffering from dementia can pose some difficulties for them and their family members.

Suppose you or a family member has been recently diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s, and you’re considering at-home dementia care. In that case, it is essential to factor in all the costs of this type of treatment. The average cost of in-home dementia care can vary widely depending on the condition and requirements of the senior citizen. 

The in-home dementia care costs are expected to rise as the number of Canadians living with Alzheimer’s disease, and other forms of dementia is estimated to reach 1.4 million by 2031. Due to this rise, it is difficult for families caring for their loved ones at home with these diseases, especially if they live in a province that does not offer adequate coverage.

Additional expense should be expected if you decide to hire an in-house health aide with dementia-specific training and certifications. They are professionals with unique skills and prior experience in caring for dementia patients. They provide day-to-day care to people, such as bathing, dressing, and administering medications. 

In-House Dementia Care Costs

The cost of live-in dementia care is lower than institutionalized care. A study conducted by CIHI (Canadian Institute for Health Information) estimated that the average daily price of a home health care worker is $68; this compares to an average of $191 per day for someone living in a residential facility.

Keeping people with dementia out of institutions is increasingly recognized as a key policy objective by governments across the country. For those living with the disease, the ability to remain at home can be a significant factor in their quality of life and that of their family. However, for families caring for a loved one who has been diagnosed with dementia, it is often not financially feasible to arrange for in-home care without support.

The Alzheimer’s Association breaks down the average costs for dementia care into four categories: health-related expenses, informal caregiving, lost income, and miscellaneous fees. Here is what you can expect to spend.

·         Health-Related Expenses

This category includes out-of-pocket healthcare expenses for your loved one with dementia, including insurance deductibles, expenditure for prescription medication, Medicare premiums, and noncovered services like long-term care. These expenses can be as little as $3,000 annually or as much as $12,000 or more, depending on how advanced your loved one’s dementia is and how much ongoing healthcare they need. The Alzheimer’s Association also lists adult day services and full-time adult care at a residential facility among the many health-related costs.

·         Informal Caregiving

Informal care costs add up quickly when factoring in transportation, meal preparation, and respite care. The Alzheimer’s Association estimates that you will spend about $18,000 annually on these expenses for a person with dementia. Depending on the type of dementia your loved one has, they might need assistance with meal preparation and getting dressed or require around-the-clock personal care.

·         Lost Income

It’s essential to consider your financial losses when it comes time to pay for dementia care. If you’ve had to take a leave of absence from work to give round-the-clock care to your loved one with dementia, you’re losing money that you usually would have earned. If your loved one was once able to live independently, it might have taken years off of your working life. The financial toll on caregivers adds up quickly — the Alzheimer’s Association estimates that informal care costs for dementia are more than double the average annual salary in Canada.

·         Miscellaneous Expenses

The cost of dementia care varies widely depending on several factors, including your senior’s location, their activities, and the type of care. Of course, these variables can be influenced by you as well. For example, if you’re paying for respite care, that’s an additional expense to consider. Also, if your loved one is in the later stages of dementia, they might require an adult diaper GPS tracking device and advanced medications.

The Alzheimer’s Association estimates that miscellaneous expenses can add another $3,000 to $4,000 each year. This includes costs like personal care items, medical supplies, safety-related fees, and adult day care services.

In-House Dementia Care Costs

Manage at-Home Dementia Care

Often, family members must take time away from their jobs to provide in-home care for a loved one who has Alzheimer’s or related diseases. This can cause difficulties for both families financially as well as emotionally.

CircleOf, Inc. understands the complexity of managing at-home dementia care and explores an innovative approach to care management for people with dementia living at home. We support family caregivers in providing quality care for their loved ones while maintaining independent mobility and safety in the community. CicrleOf app popular features include:

· Organize care and get extra encouragement and support from a network of friends, family, and professional caregivers.

· Manage caregiving tasks in one place using the task management feature. It allows you to keep track of doctor’s appointments and daily to-do checklists.

· Collaborate with group messaging for better and more simplified communication with friends, family, and professionals.

· Connect instantly with free video calls to share smiles and virtual hugs while you’re away.

· Find out when things change by keeping everyone in the loop for any activities and receiving support in real-time.

· Discover personalized resources to learn new things like caregiving tools and updates.

The CircleOf app is a revolutionary solution to organize and simplify caregiving. It allows you, as the caregiver or person in charge of looking after family members’ needs – from grocery lists to medical records-to share information securely with others to assist when needed without worrying about forgetting anything important themselves!

At CircleOf, Inc., we don’t want you to do it alone! Download the app and create a circle for support and on-demand care communities during challenging times!

Read more: Important Caregiver Skills To Keep Seniors Happy In Their Home

Categories
Caregiving Dementia

3 Tips That Make Dementia Care Less Frustrating

When I tell people that I provide dementia care, the most common response is an exclamation of sympathy and a comment about how patient I must be. I know dementia caregiver stress is legitimate for many reasons and I can understand their reactions. But I’m not a particularly patient person and I rarely feel called upon to be patient with my clients. Why is that?

The secret to a more enjoyable experience in caring for someone who has dementia lies in our expectations. Here’s what my expectations are when I’m with someone who has dementia.

1—Reminders and memory-jogging will not work with dementia

When I was raising my children, I spent a lot of time explaining what they needed to do and then reminding them of what they had forgotten. When they had a test at school, I helped them by quizzing them on spelling words, times tables, and history facts. I expected repetition and reminders to be effective. They were effective, because my children had the ability to retrace their thought processes and recall information.

With my dementia clients, I do not expect memory testing to work. People experiencing dementia are losing memories, but they are also losing the ability to remember. Quizzing them or jogging their memory will not help them remember. It will only make them feel embarrassed, inadequate, and lost. Instead of trying to jog their memory, I happily repeat whatever information they need, whenever they need it. My expectations are aligned with their abilities.

2—A person with dementia will read my feelings and moods expertly

I expect people who are experiencing dementia to be operating without rational thought, yet their intuitive thought systems to be operating normally. This means that they will be experiencing none of the distraction our rational thought systems provide and have all the more time to read my feelings and moods.

Whenever I am with someone experiencing dementia, I assume the role of mood creator. I make sure that I am not radiating sadness, concern, or amazement at their impairments. For both of us, I am looking for something beautiful, funny, or heartwarming to enjoy. There is always something from one of those categories available in the present. If not, we go for a walk or drive to find it. I know managing mood is my responsibility.

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3—Rational thought will not be available to someone with dementia

I think of dementia and rational thought in terms of functions. The top three functions I do not expect my clients to be able to perform are seeing cause and effect, prioritizing ideas or actions, and being able to follow the steps of a task or sequence. Because I don’t expect them to be able to do these things, I don’t become frustrated when they can’t. I understand that they don’t have those skills and use my own when they’re necessary.

So, although it seems obvious to me that icy sidewalks mean dangerous walking, I don’t expect it to be apparent to my clients. And when we need to get ready to go somewhere on time, I focus our attention on the next thing that needs to be done, not on the destination or looming deadline. When a task needs to be done, we do it together as teammates.

When our expectations match our companions’ capabilities, there is less dementia caregiver stress and less stress for the person experiencing dementia or Alzheimer’s. This is the secret to lowering frustration and stress for both partners in the dementia care experience.

Judy Cornish is a former eldercare lawyer and the former owner of Palouse Dementia Care, a dementia care agency that provides in-home dementia care to seniors in northern Idaho. She is the author of Dementia With Dignity and The Dementia Handbook as well as the creator of the DAWN Method of dementia care. Judy believes that with a little training, families can provide excellent dementia care at home with less stress and more companionship. www.thedawnmethod.com 

Categories
Mental Health

7 Practical Yet Simple Steps to Improved Family Communication

“Constant kindness can accomplish much. As the sun makes ice melt, kindness causes misunderstandings, mistrust, and hostility to evaporate.” —Albert Schweitzer

Meet Barbara:

“Rant alert! As if caring for your loved ones through terminal illness or behavior issues isn’t bad enough, what gets me is when your siblings can’t find any compassion or consideration.

“My mum moved into residential care two weeks ago, and she loves it. Why? Because she has company and gets good care. I fully supported her decision.

“But my brothers? Oh no! One stopped talking to me. The other doesn’t understand why I haven’t found a job and moved out of the family home, and he wants me to pay for my mum’s residential care.

“Times like these are when I’m convinced that I’m adopted. I’m so angry! I have constantly put my dreams on hold, and I now finally get a chance to rebuild my business with some great products and services but with no support from my family.”

Communication within Barbara’s family needs mending.

Interestingly, during the same week Barbara posted in her online support group, another caregiver posted these words: “I HATE my siblings. That is all.”

This member received 29 responses, with many sharing her sentiments and saying, “Me too!”

What’s going on? Why is there so much hatred among some family members?

Where a good relationship exists, the caregiver, patient, and family laugh together even when they make mistakes. Conversely, situations sometimes erupt and reveal communication gaps when there is friction. Instead of working together, some siblings only have feelings of bitterness, anger, and resentment toward each other.

What You Can Do About Family Conflict

One family therapist explains an important reason why brothers and sisters are so often in conflict:

“Each family has a certain number of resources, some emotional and some material. When siblings fight, they usually compete for these resources, including everything from paternal love to money and clothes.”

In Barbara’s situation, some of the conflicts and breakdowns in communication seem to be about money. One of her brothers believed that she should pay for their mother’s residential care. Other issues in Barbara’s family involve feelings of resentment—at least from Barbara’s perspective. One brother wants Barbara to move out of the family home and be on her own—also about money.

The only way Barbara and her brothers can get to the core of their disputes is to talk openly. Such a meeting involves interpersonal communication skills, where the siblings can exchange information, feelings, and meaning through verbal and nonverbal communication, ideally in person.

But I believe the most critical communication skill is effective and active listening, which builds trust. Through it, you can make and bring opposing ideas closer together. Conflicts or confrontations often occur due to family stress and other negative emotions, such as worry, anger, grief, guilt, etc. These negative emotions not only affect your health, but family dynamics as well.

Barbara might have been experiencing inner emotional turmoil, which caused her to express herself so vehemently in her online post.

In the field of psychotherapy, there exist four methods of conflict resolution. They include:

1. Competition. This method refers to a power struggle involving who gets the upper hand. The result is, “I win, and you lose.”

2. Accommodation. You concede to resolve issues with this style. The result is, “I lose, and you win.”

3. Compromise. Many believe this is the best way to resolve conflict, resulting in “I lose, and you lose.”

4. Cooperation. Referred to as a “win-win” situation, both parties cooperate for the best outcome in their favor.

Conflict Can Happen in Any Relationship

Regardless of the type of relationship, there are four common causes of severe disagreements or disputes:

1. Lack of shared understanding

2. Poor communication skills

3. Unclear or unfair expectations

4. Power plays and manipulations


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Use These Seven Simple Steps to Improve Your Family Communication

Step 1: Prepare to listen with understanding.

In Barbara’s case, she should ask to meet with her brothers face-to-face, saying calmly, “Let’s talk.”

Step 2: Engage in active listening.

Barbara must engage in active listening by nodding or making statements such as, “I see,” or “I get it,” asking sincere questions, and expressing herself with mildness and respect for better results.

Step 3. State your position tactfully.

In this step, you should avoid blame, shame, or guilt to present your case. Use statements that start with “I.”

Step 4. Give the benefit of the doubt.

Expect the best results. Barbara could assume that her brothers would be sympathetic to her point of view.

Step 5. Be hard on the problem.

Focus on the issue at hand but do not attack the people. Avoid generalizing by using statements such as, “You always do this” or “You never do that.”

Step 6. Resist casting blame.

The only time casting blame is adequate is when you’re blaming yourself, which will denote humility. Make statements such as, “I messed up; I apologize.”

Step 7. Negotiate with confidence.

You are not afraid to confront the issues. Nearly everything is negotiable.

Aim for a win-win solution. It may not be easy, but it is well worth the effort.

In addition to the above seven steps, showing empathy can help, as some refer to this quality as “The Bedrock of Conversation.” How so?

According to Dr. Bernard Guerney of Pennsylvania State University: “Empathy is the capacity to appreciate the other person’s feelings and point of view—whether you agree with him. Empathy is the foundation upon which we build everything else.”

Empathy allows you to put yourself mentally in the other person’s shoes so that you can feel and think as they do. Doing so will result in understanding, appreciation, and respect, even if you disagree with their point of view.

Empathy serves to foster better communication people want and need.

To Summarize:

Communication is the exchange of thoughts and feelings. Miscommunication is a failure to communicate adequately. As with all conflict, family conflict occurs due to a lack of shared understanding, poor communication skills, unclear or unfair expectations, and power plays and manipulations.

Show empathy.

As a caregiver, I implore you to follow the seven practical yet simple steps in this article and watch communication within your family improve. With the stress, overwhelm, and struggles you are undoubtedly experiencing in caring for your loved one, you (all of us) need family!

We must try to get along.

Begin now and make your caregiving days less stressful and more loving, joyful, and peaceful through effective communication with family.

Rosa Chillis is the author of “A Family Caregiver’s Guide: 7 Secrets to Convert Negative Triggers to Positive Emotions.” She was a 24/7 caregiver to her dear husband for three years, including hospice at home. She holds a Master of Education degree and is a Certified Caregiving Consultant. As an experienced caregiving wife, she has walked in your shoes. www.goldenpenllc.com 

Categories
Technology

6 Call Blocking Features that Help You Stay Connected Safely

Scammers are becoming so tricky that almost anyone might fall into their traps. People with cognitive limitations or dementia are especially at risk of losing significant amounts of money to the scammers. This article identifies six call blocking features that can help you and your loved ones stay connected safely.

Everyone I talk to says they frequently receive phone calls from scammers, and most have a friend or family member that has been victimized by these criminals.

Last week, yet another friend of mine reported that scammers had tricked her dad into giving out sensitive information. Again.

She contacted me for some advice about better protecting her dad from the crooks. This article is part of my response to that friend.

Ironically, the scammer claimed to be from a credit card company’s anti-fraud department. They said they were calling to verify whether the purchase of an expensive new iPhone on their credit card in a faraway state was legitimate.

Calls like this can trip up anyone. People who get tricked by scammers should be angry at the criminals, not themselves.

Call Blocking is the Best Defense Against Scammers

So how can we protect ourselves and our at-risk loved ones from these scams? Especially for loved ones dealing with dementia, it is not enough to tell them not to give sensitive information to callers.

Call blocking technologies are available that can substantially reduce the likelihood of losing money to criminals. These technologies also reduce or eliminate the annoying robocalls that plague our phones so that when the phone does ring, it is likely to be someone you actually want to talk to.

Many companies offer call blocking apps for smartphones. The Federal Trade Commission’s most recent guidance for consumers acknowledges the existence and utility of these call blocking and call labeling applications.

PC Magazine published a good article about the robocall and scam caller problem. It covers the iPhone’s built-in options for restricting calls and briefly describes several well-regarded call blocker apps.

I did some preliminary testing of a few of these apps but not an in-depth evaluation and comparison. Eventually, I plan to create a buyer’s guide for call blocking apps. Until then, I have formulated a list of the key features that make an app especially useful for family caregivers and their loved ones, enabling them to stay connected safely.

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Six Call Blocking Features that Help You Stay Connected Safely

Here are the key features I look for in a call blocking app as a family caregiver. Many of these apps have a free version, but you generally need to upgrade to the paid version to enable some of these features.

1. The ability to block phone calls and text messages. Both calls and texts are common attack vectors for scammers. Ideally, the app has an option that uses your contact list to allow only contacts to ring your phone or send texts to the phone. This is especially important if the phone user is at risk due to dementia.

2. The ability to completely block known scammers rather than sending them to voicemail. As noted in the PC Magazine article, some apps go beyond blocking to actively engage scammers in simulated calls. This keeps the scammer on the line as long as possible, thus reducing the number of potential victims the scammer can get to that day.

3. The ability to notify a device other than the loved one’s phone of new voicemail messages. This way, the family caregiver knows there is a new voicemail to review.

4. The ability for a family caregiver to check and delete voicemail messages from a device other than the loved one’s phone, such as by logging into the account via a web browser. This way, the caregiver can listen to, and act on, voicemails as necessary. This is useful for day-to-day communications management and protecting loved ones from scammers.

The opportunity to manage voicemail remotely is important because some scammers are purposefully skipping the phone call and going straight to voicemail. Thus, they can quickly push recorded voicemail messages out, and they don’t have to hire as many people. Apparently, even the crooks are having trouble finding enough workers.

Another reason some scammers are going straight to voicemail is that doing so may allow them to skirt laws restricting certain types of phone calls. They argue that the laws don’t apply to them because they are not ringing anyone’s phone.

5. The ability for a family caregiver to remotely review call logs, both inbound and outbound, from a device other than the loved one’s phone. This capability is helpful for day-to-day communications management and minimizing losses to scammers.

Outbound calls to people not on the contact list or to financial institutions may be a response to a scammer that reached the loved one by some means other than a phone call. Being able to remotely review call logs enables caregivers to know about and act on this information.

6. The ability to manage contacts from a device other than the loved one’s phone. This way, the caregiver can add, delete, or update contacts anytime from anywhere.

I hope you find this article helpful in protecting yourself and your loved ones from scammers and annoying robocalls.

Ken Clipperton is the founder of Caregiver Technology Solutions, which helps family caregivers and their loved ones stay connected safely at home and when transitioning to new living situations. Ken has more than 25 years leadership experience implementing and managing IT and telecommunications systems in higher education, as well as personal experience helping his parents through multiple transitions. The technologies Ken implemented enabled them to avoid isolation and fraud. He wants to help other families experience those same benefits. www.caregivertechnologysolutions.com