Why Go If My Loved One Can’t Remember My Visit?

By Carol Combs, MSW, Oxford’s Memory Care Coordinator

When a loved one has Alzheimer’s disease, it changes the way friends and family interact with the person. Knowing what to say, or even how to act, can be challenging. The individual may not remember those who come to visit or remember prior visits.

When visiting a loved one with Alzheimer’s you may hear questions such as, “Why don’t you ever visit?” or “Who are you?” Such questions, as well as behavioral changes that accompany the disease, can make visiting difficult and uncomfortable.

However, there are some things you can do to help ease the discomfort and make your visit more pleasant for you and your loved one.

  • Focus on feelings – the content of the conversation doesn’t matter. The feelings and sense of contentment created will make a difference. Emotion lasts longer than memory. The emotion resulting from a positive visit can improve a person’s mood and influence the rest of the day.
  • Accept the person’s reality- don’t correct your loved one, just go along with it. If the person insists the grass is blue, agree. Telling the individual it’s really green can create agitation. Instead, offer reassurance and distraction.
  • Introduce yourself- avoid saying “Don’t you remember me?” because if the person doesn’t, it can be embarrassing. Introduce yourself with “Hi Mom, this is Susan.”  Save her the embarrassment or awkward moment.
  • Be respectful- don’t talk to Alzheimer’s patients like they are children. They have a lifetime of experiences, so show them the respect they deserve.
  • Bring an activity – long-term memory is often still intact. Reminiscing with pictures or photo albums can be comforting and encourage conversation. Play music or sing. Consider Music Therapy. Music can stir positive emotions, and individuals may be able to remember lyrics even though their ability to communicate has declined. Exercise improves brain circulation. Encourage movement of arms and legs, or toss a beach ball. Introduce your loved one to a GeriJoy Companion, a special tablet which provides social interaction, helps decrease loneliness and has shown remarkable success with Alzheimer’s and dementia patients.
  • Touch – hold a hand, stroke hair, hug. Touch is a powerful way to communicate when words fail. People with dementia recognize a caring touch, even in the late stages of the disease.
  • Minimize distractions – it will be more difficult to have a meaningful visit if there is too much noise or activity. Over stimulation can cause agitation. Try to find a quiet place or take a walk outside.

If you know someone with Alzheimer’s and are hesitant to visit, remember that the benefit of your visit may last long after you’ve gone.

For additional support or information, contact Oxford HealthCare. Oxford offers numerous programs that provide the help and relief you need—so you can enjoy time with your loved one and continue to provide care at home. For your peace of mind, advanced technology like Lifeline and GeriJoy helps provide added security when you can’t be with your loved one. To find out more about all Oxford has to help families, contact a Care Coordinator, today.

 

 

 

Before My Family Recognized the Emergency, Lifeline Came to the Rescue

By Pam Gennings

A recent blog post on our website Don’t Slip and Fall: Steps to Staying Safe encouraged readers to learn more about Lifeline Emergency Response if they, or a loved one, were at risk of falling. Recently, my family personally experienced the benefits of Lifeline. I am sharing our story to encourage those who are at risk of falls to consider Lifeline.

My sister-in-law Kathleen is 80 years old and has had Lifeline for a few years. She lives with her daughter Becky, but Becky can’t be available all the time.

Because of some health issues, our family encouraged Kathleen to get Lifeline for a sense of security when she was home alone. Thankfully, even after Becky retired and was able to be home more, Kathleen kept her Lifeline.

A few days ago, Kathleen got up at 4 a.m. She entered the bathroom and fell, cutting her hand and chin. Due to blood thinner medication, she started bleeding heavily. Kathleen called for Becky who was asleep in her downstairs bedroom. Becky could not hear her. Fortunately, Kathleen had her Lifeline button around her neck, and she pressed it.

Lifeline called Becky’s cell phone, but it was turned off. Unable to reach Becky, Lifeline called a neighbor who not only answered, but also had a key to Kathleen’s house.

When the neighbor entered, she found Kathleen on the floor, bleeding and saying her leg hurt. She quickly went downstairs to wake Becky. Unable to get Kathleen off the floor, they called 911.

Paramedics arrived and took Kathleen to the hospital where she received stitches in her hand and found out she had broken her hip.

Without Lifeline Emergency Response, Kathleen could have been on the floor for several hours suffering in pain and bleeding. Our family is so grateful for Lifeline. Becky is also upgrading her mother’s basic Lifeline service to include AutoAlert that detects a fall and automatically calls for help.

What happened to Kathleen could happen in any family. If you, or someone you know, are at risk of falling I encourage you to learn more about Oxford’s Lifeline Emergency Response System.

Don’t Slip and Fall: Steps to Staying Safe.

By: Pam Gennings, Executive Director Special Projects

LifelineThere is snow and ice on the ground and the groundhog saw his shadow. So although we may be dreaming of spring, winter weather is here for now.

Slick streets and sidewalks are reminders to be careful—not just in the winter but at all times—of falling.

Anyone can slip and fall, but those 65 and older are at the greatest risk of moderate to severe injuries from falls.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports:

  • Falls cause over 95%  of hip fractures
  • People 75 and older who fall are four to five times more likely to be admitted to a long-term care facility for a year or longer compared to those ages 65-74

Protect yourself, or someone you love, with simple steps:

  • Spread salt or sand on icy surfaces—ask for help
  • Stay inside during icy, snowy weather unless absolutely necessary
  • Wear snow boots or shoes with good traction
  • Always have someone with you
  • Clear off porch, steps and driveway—ask a friend or neighbor to help
  • Install outdoor lighting

Indoors:

  • Use nightlights in hallways and bathrooms
  • Keep a flashlight by your bed
  • Watch out for clutter, small pieces of furniture, throw rugs, electrical cords, etc.—remove or rearrange items that can cause you to trip
  • Watch out for pets—they are wonderful companions, but also get under foot
  • Arrange furniture with plenty of space to walk around
  • Install handrails on both sides of stairways
  • Put items frequently used within reach
  • Try not to use a step stool—ask for help or use a stool with a handle bar
  • Be cautious of wet floors—especially when friends and family come visit and bring the wintery mix indoors
  • Install grab bars in your bathroom and rubber bath mat in shower or tub

Fear of falling is also dangerous. Unfortunately, many older adults do not report a fall to a family member or doctor if no injury occurred. This often turns into a fear of falling which leads to limited activity. Reducing mobility and loss of physical strength and fitness only increases the risk of falling.

If you are at risk of falling, or concerned about a loved one’s safety, Oxford HealthCare can help. Oxford’s Lifeline Personal Emergency Response System detects a fall and calls for help.

Just click here to learn more about Lifeline and peace-of-mind at the push of a button.

 

 

Lifeline Instantly Connects You to the Help You Need

Every year, Mary can hardly wait for winter to dissolve into spring so she can get out of the house and into her flowerbeds. However, this past spring, her annual ritual could have been quite dangerous if Mary had been without the Lifeline Personal Emergency Response System from Oxford HealthCare.

“I started at one end of my beds, but by the time I got to the other end, there was nothing to use to pull myself up. I wasn’t hurt, but I was stuck,” she said.

Mary lives alone. No one would know she was behind her house in need of help. Fortunately, Mary’s daughter prepared her mother in case of such an emergency with Lifeline. With Lifeline, help is right at your fingertips with just the push of a button. Because Mary knew she wasn’t hurt, but just needed a hand, she was able to pick who would respond when she pushed her Lifeline button. Rather than an automatic call to 911, her next- door neighbor was called and responded immediately.

When the Lifeline button is pushed a trained professional answers the call and immediately assesses the situation. If necessary, medical information is shared with the emergency responder so they may provide the most informed and beneficial care when they arrive. A Lifeline professional will also follow up to be certain help arrived.

“As with Mary’s case, not all emergency responses are the same,” said Shallina Bowers, Executive Director of HealthCare Services with Oxford HealthCare. “As the only locally operated program in the area, our clients get personal service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We also provide professional installations and extensive distance testing so each individual knows the range Lifeline will cover. Assistance and maintenance are provided at no extra charge and we never require a contract.”

More hospitals, doctors, professional caregivers and families across southwest and central Missouri trust Lifeline as the ideal choice for your personal safety, or the safety of a loved one. To schedule an installation and training, or if you just have questions about Lifeline, call an Oxford Care Coordinator at (417) 883-7500 or (800) 749-6555.