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.

Build your own circle of care

Download the app and give it a try. It’s free!

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
Alzheimer's Caregiving Dementia

5 Tips to Encourage Wonder in Those Living with Alzheimer’s and Dementia

Caring for another human being is hard work and extremely complicated. There are so many things you have to consider including daily chores, family responsibilities, healthcare, respite, and self-care. Who has time to play? Or how do you encourage wonder in those living with Alzheimer’s and dementia? First let’s define wonder. Google defines wonder as, “a feeling of surprise mingled with admiration, caused by something beautiful, unexpected, unfamiliar, or inexplicable.” Or as a verb, “desire or be curious to know something.”

Wonder is exactly what I saw in the faces of seniors living with Alzheimer’s and dementia in memory care communities when I first introduced LEGODuplo bricks and pieces to them. The majority of my clients were in the mid- to late stages of the disease. When I hand them a mini figure (LEGO people) or accessory, they aren’t sure what they are seeing at first, then they focus on the cute faces and accessories and they smile. Your job with this activity is to show them how they connect, teach them how to make silly characters, or build things they recognize and see the laughter and joy begin.

Please keep in mind, you simply can’t put LEGO bricks and pieces in front of the elderly and expect them to know what to do with it. You have to create a space for them to feel safe and encourage curiosity, be willing to try something new, be open-minded and vulnerable. It’s easier than it sounds. Let me explain how it works.

  1. Create a Safe Space – you need a large flat surface with plain single color cloth or single color surface. A busy tablecloth will distract from the colors and figures the bricks have to offer. The pieces will literally be lost to them. I had one community set out a LEGO tablecloth with the best of intentions but some of the residents kept trying to pick up the pieces from the tablecloth print. Make it easy for them to see the pieces they have to choose from. Lay out all the pieces for them. Make it easy for them to see everything all at once. Remember kids will dig through a bucket to find a piece, seniors will not.
  2. Encourage curiosity – music is a great way to help your caree (the person you are caring for) feel good and engage with you and this activity. Find the music they grew up listening to. It’s usually the music they listened to in their late teens, early twenties. Play this music while you introduce them to building and watch them smile, sing and possibly dance in their chairs. Music has been shown to work very well with those living with Alzheimer’s and dementia. LEGO’s innate system of play encourages curiosity and the music sets up the mood.
  3. Be willing to try something new – introducing Duplo bricks and pieces to the elderly might seem strange at first. When I began this program in 2017, I wasn’t sure if it would work. It was a huge success! The administrators from various communities would tell me their residents were happier even days after our activity ended. Most asked me to come back on a weekly basis. So I recommend doing this activity at least once a week. We found that the people we worked with found a sense of purpose, meaning and agency from building. It gave them the ability to express themselves. Some build towers, others build with one color or sort the pieces into colors or like pieces, and others would fill baseplates, decorate buildings or scenes with people and animals. Check out #MyFavoriteDuplo on my Instagram (@MoBrickz) or TikTok (@BrickByBrickBonding) to see my favorite pieces when working with seniors living with Alzheimer’s and dementia.
  4. Be open-minded – unconscious bias is a thing and unfortunately some people think that a child’s toy or playing is somehow ageist. I respectfully disagree. I believe playing is how we express ourselves and figure out the world around us. For those living with Alzheimer’s and dementia who struggle to find the right words can use an activity like this to create a sense of wonder again. Those 80 and above might not be familiar with LEGO bricks and pieces and that’s okay. I can help you find the right kit and introduce this activity to your loved one. You too can gain a sense of wonder building with LEGO bricks and pieces if you stay open-minded and see all the possibilities LEGO building has to offer.
  5. Be vulnerable – the beauty of building with LEGO bricks and pieces is that there is no right or wrong when building. Putting two pieces together is a success. I’ve had many carees try to put the pieces together backwards. I used to correct them and it made them anxious and angry. Instead give them the space to keep trying. I have found that most of them don’t give up. Sometimes, they might put a piece down and try another piece or they simply keep trying. I admire that so much! It’s especially satisfying to see someone struggle for a few minutes and then figure it out. I usually exclaim, “Yay! You figured out how the pieces fit together, congratulations! You did a good job!” This always brings a smile to their face. I mean who doesn’t like to be praised when we find a solution to a problem?

Brick By Brick Bonding™ was created to help caregivers and their carees find joy and wonder. This revolutionary activity gives those living with Alzheimer’s and dementia meaning, purpose, and agency. Create a safe space to add joy to you and your caree’s life, add your loved one’s favorite music to encourage curiosity, be willing to try something new to find your sense of wonder, be open-minded and try new things, and be vulnerable because you never know what amazing connections you will make.

Patty Sherin

Patty Sherin is a lover of the brick. Patty shares her love of LEGOⓇ bricks and pieces with kids, adults and seniors to develop their creativity and express themselves. Patty has encouraged seniors living with dementia to build with LEGO bricks and pieces as a way to bring out joy and laughter. Prior to the pandemic Patty worked with Memory Care Communities. Now she shares what she’s learned with family caregivers. As a Certified Caregiver Consultant and creator of Brick By Brick Bonding™ she understands the fatigues and challenges that plague caregivers and has found strategies to help throughout the caregiving journey. Follow us on Instagram – @mobrickz, Twitter – @mo_brickz, TikTok – @BrickByBrickBonding or visit us @ https://mobrickz.com

Categories
Dementia

Things Not to Say to Someone with Dementia

Dementia is a condition that affects the brain, causing changes in memory, thinking, and behavior. It can be difficult for people living with dementia to deal with the comments and questions of well-meaning friends and family members. When caring for a loved one with dementia, it is important to remember that their emotions are just as real as yours. It can be challenging to see your loved one struggle with memory loss and confusion, but it is important to remember that they are still the same person inside.

Dementia can cause mood swings and changes in behavior, which can be difficult for caregivers to handle. It is important to be patient and understanding and remember that the person you are caring for is still there somewhere.

 So, here are some things not to say to someone with dementia.

1. “You’re just being forgetful.”

Dementia is not just being forgetful – it’s a serious condition that affects your ability to think, remember, and communicate. Telling someone that they’re just being forgetful only makes them feel like they’re doing something wrong or that they’re being lazy. It invalidates their experience and makes them feel like they’re losing their mind.

Instead, try to be understanding and patient – after all, dementia is a difficult condition to live with. Try saying something like, “I can see that you’re having a hard time remembering things. Can I help you?” This will show that you are validating their experience and trying to be helpful.

2. “There’s nothing wrong with you.”

One of the most frustrating things about having dementia is the feeling that you’re being constantly misunderstood. Comments like “there’s nothing wrong with you”, or “you don’t look ill” can make you feel as if your condition is being dismissed or downplayed. It’s important to remember that dementia is a real, progressive illness – and should be treated as such.

If you know someone with dementia, try to be understanding and sensitive to their needs. Avoid making assumptions about their condition, and always speak to them with respect. And if you’re not sure what to say, just ask them how they’re feeling. Chances are, they’ll appreciate the gesture more than any words could ever express.

3. “You’re just getting old.”

It’s a common phrase, one that people often say to dismiss someone else’s memory loss or confusion. But if the person you’re saying it to has dementia, it couldn’t be further from the truth.

Dementia is not a normal part of aging. It’s a degenerative disease that affects the brain, and it can happen to anyone at any age. So when you say “you’re just getting old” to someone with dementia, you’re invalidating their experience and minimizing their condition.

Just Getting Old

4. “It’s good that you don’t have to worry about anything anymore.”

Someone with dementia still has thoughts and feelings, and they are still capable of experiencing happiness and sadness.They are not relieved of the worry and stress that comes with life.They may have even more to worry about as their condition progresses. What they need is your support, not your pity, so telling them that they are lucky not to worry about anything anymore is dismissive and insensitive.

5. “It’s all in your head.”

This is probably one of the worst things you could say to someone with dementia. Dementia is a real, degenerative disease that affects the brain. It’s not something that can be simply fixed by thinking positively or snapping out of it.

Dementia is a real physical illness and should not be dismissed as being ‘all in someone’s head’. It implies that they are making up their symptoms or that they are crazy. Neither of which is true.

Its all in your head

6. Don’t Argue

It can be frustrating when someone with dementia doesn’t seem to understand what you’re saying. But arguing with them is the last thing you would want to do. Instead, try to stay calm and patient. Explain things in simple terms and offer choices whenever possible. And most importantly, don’t take anything they say personally. They’re not trying to be difficult, they’re just struggling to communicate.

Dementia can also make it hard for someone to remember things or understand what’s going on around them. If they say something that seems wrong, try to go along with the ride instead of getting into an argument. Being right doesn’t matter when you are talking to someone in this case. For instance, if they told you something you’ve never heard or seen or things that didn’t happen, you can just say you’d forgotten that. Let them express what they wanted to say and refrain from correcting their ideas.

7. “You’re better off not remembering.”

Some people with dementia may choose to forget certain parts of their life due to the distress it causes them. However, this is a personal choice and should not be decided for them by someone else. Telling them that they are better off not remembering is dismissive.

Instead of saying any of these things, try to communicate with the person in a respectful and understanding way. Ask them about their day, what they’re enjoying, or if there’s anything they need help with. Try to see things from their perspective, and be patient as they work to communicate with you.

Supporting Family Caregivers During Challenging Times

There are some things you can do to help make caring for a loved one with dementia easier:

·         Educate yourself about the disease and what to expect.

·         Make sure to take care of yourself, both physically and emotionally.

·         Create a family and friends support system to help you through the tough times.

·         Find ways to connect with your loved ones, even if they can no longer communicate verbally.

Family caregivers often struggle to manage their health and well-being despite this significant contribution while caring for a loved one. As a result, they can face challenges such as social isolation, financial insecurity, and physical and emotional stress.

CircleOf is designed by a team of experts in the field of caregiving. We created the app to offer unpaid family caregivers a variety of resources, including a care calendar that helps them track appointments and tasks, a messaging system that allows them to communicate with one another and with their loved ones receiving care, and a resource library with information on caregiving topics.

Caregiving can be a rewarding experience, but it can also be demanding and stressful. So download the app and surround yourself with a community of care!