A Peruvian Alzheimer’s Adventure

A caregiver and a man living with Alzheimer's

Can getting Alzheimer’s care in a foreign country be a smart alternative?

 

How can getting eldercare for someone with Alzheimer’s be better in Peru? To begin with, the cost of living is so much lower in Peru than in the United States. Instead of $600 a day, Barabra Drakes father lived like a king on $600 a month.

If you’re listening to this episode, you may be facing terrifying options for a loved one. The cost of care in countries like America, Canada & the United Kingdom can be prohibitively expensive. Many families are faced with choices that are unacceptable but they don’t have better options.

It is possible to retire outside the United States. It takes careful research and planning but it may be an option worth considering. Barbar’s blog can help you start your research correctly and maybe you too will have a Peruvian Alzheimer’s Adventure with your loved one.

What type of caregiving adventure have you been on? We’re always looking for guests with interesting stories, helpful advice, anything that might help. Are you a potential guest or know someone who could be? Contact us at fadingmemoriespodcast.com with ideas, suggestions or if you just want to say hi!

Peruvian Alzheimer’s Adventure Blog

La Vida Con Deby: The not-so-secret life of an American woman in Buenos Aires. Tango, late nights, and a whole new identity.

Getting Caregiver Time Off

Alzheimer’s Trippin’ With George – Another Adventure Story

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Caregiving & Employment Struggles

Caregiving & Employment Struggles

When caregivers struggle with dual responsibilities their employment can suffer.

Because of our aging population, more people over the age of 65 are facing caregiving & employment struggles. A significant portion of people at retirement age are at risk of having to care for a parent. Some of these workers may also be caring for a spouse.

Caregiving is largely an unpaid, family responsibility. However, this responsibility is already causing a decrease in employment, productivity, and innovation. Neither of these facts is sustainable.

Currently, 22% of retirees left the workforce early due to competing caregiving and employment struggles. Additionally, 25% of Alzheimer’s caregivers are sandwiched between caring for parents and children.

At first glance, it would be understandable if corporations thought being part of the solution was expensive. Thankfully, the opposite is true. Organizations can gain a competitive advantage by becoming a caring corporation with little financial outlay.

What Can Corporations Do?

Good news amongst such a challenge. The purpose of this episode is to spark conversations on solving this growing crisis. A study by Harvard Business School (Focus on Work) lays out 6 suggestions. Most of the suggestions add to duties already in practice. One of the most important things a corporation can do is listen. Employees need to be open about their caregiving and employment struggles.

The study suggests that employers understand that caregiving employees are committed to their jobs. We still have outdated assumptions that this is not the case. Allowing workplace flexibility is crucial for employees at all levels of caregiving. This can include child-rearing and eldercare.

For hourly employees do away with no-fault absenteeism policies. Understanding their struggles will differentiate dedicated employees from others. Knowing that they are dedicated to their jobs, just pulled in many directions makes a difference.

Provide education and training about having caregivers on the job. Also important, train managers to understand caregiver discrimination. This benefits the organization in many ways, not just the employee.

Offering eldercare support, resources and referral services can help tremendously. Most family caregivers end up in their situation due to an emergency. This situation does not allow for planning or research. The availability of these resources is nearly a no-cost benefit with huge rewards.

Implementing recruitment practices that recognize the unique variety of skills caregivers acquire. Understanding these unique skills will benefit organizations tremendously.

Regardless of the industry, all organizations can easily become caring companies. Coupled with being the morally right thing to do caring companies can also gain a competitive advantage.

 

Giving A Caregiver Help
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Activities for People Living with Alzheimer’s

Activities with 3 women with Alzheimer's.

Activities are important for people living with Alzheimer’s

Activities are important for keeping someone living with Alzheimer’s engaged and productive. However, as their disease progresses activities they once loved become impossible to manage.

Activities offer important benefits like cognitive stimulation, the opportunity to connect with another person, relaxation and more. If you’re caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s you may struggle to find activities that they are capable of doing without adding stress to your day. What options do we have to keep them busy and happy?

Finding the right balance between what is good for them and what is good for you is an endless challenge. It’s a challenge that is fraught with emotional struggles. Is it even worth bothering?

Taking what they once loved and simplifying the task is a great start. Unfortunately, our being aware of what they can actually accomplish. Sometimes we have to take a step back and see if we’re expecting more from them than they are capable of handling.

Tune in to learn more about activities for people living with Alzheimer’s.

Get Judy’s book!

Senior Delight Boxes

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Tea & Brain Health – A Look at My Favorite Drink

Woman drinking tea

Tea has been found to have positive effects on cognitive health.

 

Tea is my go-to drink every day, every part of the day.  Having read that regular tea drinkers may have better cognitive health I knew I had to do my own research and learn more. I was excited to learn that drinking black tea regularly may give us better cognitive function than non-tea drinkers.

In this episode, I discuss the research and many of the lesser-known specifics of brewing and enjoying this brain-healthy drink. I wanted to bring you this lighter topic as part of my brain health episodes. Taking care of ourselves when we’re caregiving is a challenge. It’s nice to find simple ways to do good things for ourselves.

The main research studies were on the effects of reducing cognitive decline. It focused on the structure of the brain and how it’s organized.   Structure and organization work together to produce brain function. In other words, the organization of the brains’ structure works together for proper brain function.

There are two components of tea that seem to help maintain a healthy brain. Caffeine and L-Theanine. We know how caffeine affects us but L-Theanine is an amino acid that has calming effects. This combination is also only found naturally in tea. This combination is one reason that Monks drink tea before settling down for a long meditation session.

Tea’s Wikipedia Page

Interested in more brain-healthy advice?

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Dementia Dogs for Caregiving

Dementia dog in action

There are many positive attributes that a trained dementia dog can bring to a memory residence.

Dementia dogs are an asset I wasn’t aware of previously.  Having had dogs all my life I was surprised to learn that many breeds make great caregivers for those living with dementia.

A dog trained to be a caregiver can perform many tasks and be a substantial help to their human counterparts. A dementia dog can break repetitive behaviors, calm anxieties, give someone a purpose, or return a lost loved one home. These are just a few examples of what a furry caregiver can offer.

Since learning about canine caregivers in early 2019, I talked to the executive director of the residence my Mom lives in. I wanted to get his opinion on the practicality of having a dementia dog working in their community. Honestly, I suspected more hesitation than I got. In hindsight, this shouldn’t have been a surprise since they allowed Mom to have her dog when she moved in.

While speaking to Alberto, he brought up additional tasks a service dog can provide for seniors. At the conclusion of our conversation, we both agreed that learning more about a community level dementia dog might be a good idea.

Stay tuned for a future episode when I learn what I can about dementia dogs.

 

More on Dogs Here

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Medication Adherence & Management

Dosecast App screen shots

Medication adherence is crucial to improving health & DoseCast can make it easier.

 

Medication adherence is a fancy term for taking our medications as they’ve been prescribed. While adherence is an important part of our health care it is one that is often overlooked. It’s too easy to improperly take our medications. Just the other day, my husband was out of town, and I realized I had neglected to give our oldest dog his arthritis medication for two days!

Talk about failure to manage medications properly. When I went to give him his morning pill he waited till I was out of his line of sight then spit out the pill. The simple act of giving my dog his pain medication and his reaction to the process is common. Too common.

When caring for someone with memory loss the possibility of not taking prescription medications properly skyrockets. Failing to take medications as prescribed contributes to increases in disease, mortality and health care costs. Some think that improving medication adherence would have a greater influence on our health than in the discovery of any new therapy!

Struggling to achieve higher rates of adherence may be due to a gap in our knowledge. Lacking a clear understanding of how and why the medications work may be part of the problem.

If you’re looking for a simple way to manage your loved ones meds, keep listening to hear about DoseCast. DoseCast is a prescription management app.

Find DoseCast in your App Store

Pill Map Episode – Another Option

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I Love Someone With Dementia …

I Love Someone W/Dementia...

Loving someone with dementia frequently makes us feel like we’re losing our minds too.

 

When you love someone with dementia it’s not uncommon to feel like you’re losing your mind too. In this episode, I talk to Beth Friesen about practical tips for coping with this problem. Beth is the author of the book “I Love Someone With Dementia, So Why Am I Losing My Mind?”. She’s also a nurse in a family of medical professionals. If their family struggled, we shouldn’t feel bad about our struggles.

Some families have a member who doesn’t fully understand the disease which leads to negative situations. Understanding how to be in “their reality” is a key survival tip for anyone who is caregiving. In fact, it took two years of explaining strange behaviors before it dawned on Beth that her Mother had Alzheimer’s.

Learning practical tips will help caregivers feel less like they’re losing their minds and more in control. One of the first fundamental things to understand is dementia is more than memory loss. I like to describe it as an old computer that fires up but really doesn’t do the computing we need it to do. This old computer runs slowly, doesn’t find files and doesn’t work with modern apps and websites.

Once you’ve heard this episode be sure to check out Beth’s book.

Living With Dementia Part 1

Living With Dementia Part 2

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Managing Difficult Behaviors

Challenging behavior image

Difficult behavior is an unfortunate by-product of Alzheimer’s disease.

Managing difficult behaviors is one of the biggest caregiver challenges we face. People living with memory loss don’t realize they’re being unreasonable. Difficult behavior is an unfortunate by-product of their disease.

Navigating our loved one’s behaviors and our own emotions is crucial to caregiving success. However, no one has a clear path to making that happen. In this episode, I talk to Dr. Natali Edmonds and get specific advice on managing difficult behaviors.

I started with one that I’m currently facing. The caregivers who help Mom with showers have told me that she’s started fighting their help. There are times when it takes an extra person to hold her hands which sounds truly unpleasant for all involved.

Caring for my Mom is a challenge because she’s very independent and refuses help. Helping her, even offering help makes her mad. Allowing her to do things on her own and keeping her safe is extremely difficult.

Thankfully, this conversation gave me tips and ideas on how to help Mom without upsetting her. Mom always wants to be helpful so I need to use that to my advantage. Giving her “helpful” things to do makes Mom feel useful. Not only does this make her happy it also makes her more compliant.

You’ll gain new tips and a new resource in less than an hour. Sit back, relax and enjoy.

 

Care Blazers Website

Care Blazers YouTube Channel

Understand How to Help Someone With Memory Loss

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Caregiving In Harmony, Not Conflict – Eldercare Mediator

Siblings in conflict image

Conflict is part of human nature.

Conflicts are a natural part of human interaction. However, natural conflicts can turn into outright wars when we’re stressed and trying to make tough decisions. When a parent has a medical emergency or is in obvious need of more support, it’s important for everyone to agree on the next steps. Unfortunately, that’s not usually what happens.

Calling in an elder care mediator can be transformative. A mediator is a neutral party who takes into consideration everyone’s needs and feelings. Utilizing a mediator can open our eyes to solutions that we weren’t able to see before.

How exactly can an elder care mediator help navigate conflict? Similar to a therapist, but with specific goals to reach, a mediator will listen carefully to everyone’s opinions and help find satisfactory solutions.

The good news is there are options for those of us who want to improve things on our own. A mediator can coach you through different scenarios and help you see another perspective.

During our conversation, I had a couple of “light bulb” moments. Because of these moments, I opted to work with Katharina. It was my hope that I could fix my side of the many childhood issues that plagued my relationship with my sister.

You’ll have to tune in to a future bonus episode to see how successful our sessions were.

Aging In Harmony Website

How A Family Did Caregiving Right Part 1

How A Family Did Caregiving Right Part 2

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Caregiver Grief – A Practical Discussion

Caregiver grief photo illustration

Caregiver grief is real & it’s not just something you can “power through”.

The loved one you’re caring for is still around yet you feel their loss. Some think this is depression but it’s actually a form of caregiver grief. It’s commonly referred to as anticipatory grief and it’s very common when caring for someone with an incurable disease.

This kind of grief can hurt as much as what you feel when your loved one dies. Sometimes, it’s more. You can’t ignore what you’re feeling and hope it goes away. Allow yourself the time to process what you’re feeling and appreciate the time you have left.

In this episode, two caregivers talk to a grief counselor about their unique struggles and feelings. It’s a discussion about those feelings and how to move forward with them.  Each caregiver’s situation is different and so too are their emotions. It’s useful to bring in someone with training and experience to help us navigate our emotions.

If you enjoy this episode and find it helpful, please leave us a 5-star rating and a review. This is how new people find the show and we’d be eternally grateful!

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Want more? Check out Caregiver confessions!