"Our company provides high quality, personal assistance so people can maintain the independence that comes from living at home," Higdon said. He shares some of the strategies and tools that help his clients manage daily life:
"It may be routine for the person with dementia to cross off each day as a matter of routine first thing in the morning or before going to bed," Higdon said. "A pen or marker can be attached to a string to avoid getting lost. The calendar needs to be large enough to mark key events such as trash pickup day, family birthdays, doctor appointments, or visitations to expect."
"A large-faced, easy-to-read digital clock with the date and time is ideal to better follow the time of day," Higdon said.
Automatic Bill Payments
This service can put a recurring product or service on automatic bank draft, which draws funds from a checking account each month. "It eliminates the need to remember at least some obligations and potentially avoid past due penalties," Higdon said.
Remembering which medications to take and when is made easier by organizing pills according to those to be taken in the morning or the evening. "Some extra organizing may be necessary if some pills need to be swallowed in particular ways, such as with food or before bed. At 5 Star, medication reminders are part of the service we provide," he said.
These can be useful as long as instructions are kept simple, providing a visual or verbal cue to someone who can become confused about specifics and simply needs a nudge to remember. With dementia, the steps in familiar tasks can become increasingly difficult to recall.
A family caregiver may have an easier time helping if he or she sets a reminder alarm on a smartphone or a clock, prompting some type of action.
"You can reduce the number of things that a person has to remember to get by arranging for a newspaper or prescription refills or basic groceries to be brought to the home," Higdon said.
Keys and Locks
"Consider rekeying locks so that a single key opens them all because it can be difficult fumbling with a keychain," Higdon said. "Family should have copies of that house key and give a spare to a trustworthy neighbor who can help if the senior gets locked out and cannot find their key."
"We take for granted how common portable phone are these days, but they can be easy to lose track of and lose their charge if they forget to connect them to a charger," Higdon said. "That doesn't happen with an old-fashioned phone connected with a cord."
"If someone is in the early stages of dementia, they might find it helpful to have the most frequently used drawers and cabinets labeled with something simple to remember what is where in their kitchen or bedroom," he said.Clean Sweeps of the Home
"Our professionals or family caregivers can help those with Alzheimer's by cleaning the home and tossing old papers that aren't needed anymore. Clutter makes it more difficult to remember where things were left or are stored. You don't want, however, to drastically rearrange things because it will further confuse the person with dementia," Higdon said.
Journals or Notepads
"A simple diary or notepad can be helpful to write down details of conversations or lists of things to remember," Higdon said. "Writing it down helps stick in the memory."
"Taking snapshots of people the person with dementia encounters regularly can help them to clear their confusion by referencing labeled pictures that identify them as their home health aide, doctor, etc.," Higdon said. "A bulletin board can be used if they are at risk of misplacing the photo album. Hang the corkboard and post reminders, frequently used phone numbers and other important information."
"It's important to be patient and compassionate with someone who has difficulty remembering things," Higdon said. Repetitive suggestions can be more effective than explaining things over and over logically.
Higdon said that encouraging someone with dementia to exercise, whether indoors or outside, is thought to slow the progression of Alzheimer's symptoms. "Some other things that are thought to help are reading, doing crossword puzzles, playing board games such as chess, working puzzles, and other activities that stimulate the brain. Encourage them if they bring pleasure."About 5 Star Home Care
Higdon started 5 Star Home Care in 2007 after his own mother took on the responsibility to care for his grandmother. 5 Star carefully screens caregivers before hiring them and connects them with clients across Tennessee. For families who are concerned about the health and safety of their loved one, reach out to 5 Star Home Care at (423) 893-8181.
Realizing how precious our seniors are, 5 Star employs the most qualified caregivers who are hired only after undergoing careful background checks and drug screens. The company's procedures are tailored to work towards constant monitoring, care management and never placing the senior at risk of being left without care.
5 Star Home Care is one of the few home care agencies that are headquartered in Chattanooga. Most are franchises of a large corporations based out of state.
Home care services exist to provide the basic services that facilities do – light housekeeping, meal preparation and social activities – without removing the senior from the familiarity of home. It is a cost efficient alternative to an assisted living facility that preserves the aging loved one's sense of freedom and comfort.
If you are struggling with how to best care for an aging or disabled relative, call or visit www.5starHomeCare.com at 423-893-8181 today.
"Our professionals or family caregivers can help those with Alzheimer's by cleaning the home and tossing old papers that aren't needed anymore. Clutter makes it more difficult to remember where things were left or are stored. You don't want, however, to drastically rearrange things because it will further confuse the person with dementia," Kenny Higdon
For more information:
If you are struggling with how to best care for an aging or disabled relative, call or visit www.5starHomeCare.com at 423-893-8181.