Dementia (Memory Loss) May Show Early Signs

Memory loss actually may be first noticed by the person with the condition - meaning the person who is losing their memory realizes they are forgetting things and that something has changed even before anyone else does.  But as this is a confusing process, most people find it difficult to identify exactly what is happening.  This is why it usually is not until memory loss has escalated that it truly is identified.  Many seniors have needed senior caregivers for ten or more years as their memory loss has progressed.

The Alzheimer's Association conference in Boston this week presented studies which show that some types of cognitive concerns were more likely to have Alzheimer's pathology in the brain although dementia would only fully develop later.  People with more concerns about memory and organizing ability were more likely to have amyloid, a key Alzheimer's-related protein, in their brains.

As millions of dollars are poured into Alzheimer's research, in order to prepare for caring for what will become 5 million seniors with the disease, it still is not known exactly how the amyloid protein escalates in some individuals and causes the "tangles" that seem to be present when Alzheimer's disease is present.

Dr. Rebecca Amariglio, a neuropsychologist at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, presented the research which shows there are people who have their own sense that their memory and thinking skills are slipping.  This is being called the "subjective cognitive decline".

Mayo Clinic's Alzheimer's center presented a similar preliminary study result.  However, the problem remains that even early testing for amyloid in the brain does not necessarily help as we still do not know exactly who will have this condition escalate into Alzheimer's disease and why.

Perhaps as technology advances, all the research along with the caregiving for seniors with memory loss can collide to help move us closer to identifying a cure for this disease.  The federal government's National Alzheimer's Project is a step in this direction.

 

 

Caregiver Stress Relief Photo of the Week

Caregivers employed with senior care companies know the realities of caregiver stress. Caregiverlist invites all family caregivers and professional caregivers to take a moment for relaxation with our photo of the week and inspirational quote. This week's photo features mountain landscape mountain taken from airplane. Thank you for caring for our seniors and please refer your friends to apply for part-time and full-time job positions on Caregiverlist.com and visit our career center for additional career tools.

Caregiver Stress Relief Photo airplane

"Success is never final but failure can be."

Bill Parcells

Caregiver Stress Relief Photo of the Week

Caregivers employed with senior care companies know the realities of caregiver stress. Caregiverlist invites all family caregivers and professional caregivers to take a moment for relaxation with our photo of the week and inspirational quote. This week's photo features lovely blossoms.  Thank you for caring for our seniors and please refer your friends to apply for part-time and full-time job positions on Caregiverlist.com and visit our career center for additional career tools. 

 

Caregiver Stress Relief Photo Blossoms

"He who never made a mistake, never made a discovery."

Samuel Smiles

Caregiver Stress Relief Photo of the Week

Caregivers employed with senior care companies know the realities of caregiver stress. Caregiverlist invites all family caregivers and professional caregivers to take a moment for relaxation with our photo of the week and inspirational quote. This week take a trip to Naples, Florida to see one of a kind sunset. Thank you for caring for our seniors and please refer your friends to apply for part-time and full-time job positions on Caregiverlist.com and visit our career center for additional career tools.

Caregiverlist Caregiver Stress Relief Photo Sunset

"What great thing would you attempt if you knew you could not fail?"

Robert H. Schuller

Background Checks: How to Perform Your Own Background Check to Protect Your Identity

Senior caregivers working for professional senior care companies must pass a criminal background check in order to be hired.  Individuals seeking to become professional caregivers or a certified nursing aide may enjoy a guarantee of employment as long as they can pass a criminal background check. This means proper identity information is crucial for a senior caregiver’s background check to return accurate information in order to obtain employment. Caregivers need to understand how to protect their identity and understand the information included on a criminal background check.   Senior care companies conducting criminal background checks on employees include:

  • Licensed Senior Home Care Agencies
  • Long-term Care Nursing Homes
  • Assisted Living Communities
  • Hospitals

How do you protect your identity as a professional caregiver?  Especially knowing you will change care companies multiple times throughout your career?  We live in a digital information age making it even more important to protect your personal identity information both offline and online. 5 Background Check Identity Protection Tips:

1) Purchase Your Own Background Check Annually:  once a year buy a background check on yourself to see the information that is on your criminal record and to confirm the names and addresses attached to your Social Security number.  Research to be sure you understand the right type of quality criminal background check to purchase.

2) Maintain and update online passwords: pick passwords that are unique. Be sure you have anti-virus software, anti-spyware software and a firewall on your computer. Use encryption software to safeguard your online transactions.  Never respond to an email requesting a password reset unless you asked for this yourself on the company’s website. Look for the “lock” on your browser’s status bar which you will see when you are using an online bank’s website.  

3) Review your mailbox, even the junk mail:  if you begin receiving mail in another name at your address, call the sender to investigate.  Be mindful if you stop receiving monthly bills or if your name should change in anyway on your usual subscriptions.

4) Monitor credit card statements:  even if a small amount appears that may not have the exact name of a company you are familiar with purchasing from, call to investigate the transaction.  Some credit card number thiefs will first do a small $10 transaction before making additional charges.

5) Limit credit cards used:  try to limit the number of credit cards you make purchases with to also limit the number of companies that have your information and who are running credit reports on you.  When the friendly department store clerk asks if you would like an additional discount on your purchase by opening up a charge card, just say “no”.

Act quickly if you do discover improper names and addresses associated with your name.  The background check companies do have formal dispute investigation systems in place (you will need to fill out a form to start the ball rolling) and the credit reporting bureaus also will work with you to clear up misinformation.  However, it is a time-consuming process.  The best way to insure a proper criminal background check is to make sure you do not engage in criminal behavior (don’t break the law).  Then be mindful of your spending behaviors to protect your identity.  Check your own background once a year in order to be able to immediately correct mistaken identity information. Review the by-state background check laws to see if employers can review your criminal history beyond just 7 years and purchase a quality background check. Then apply for a professional caregiving job or refer-a-friend to a caregiving job as more caregivers are needed to keep up with the care needs for America's growing senior population.

Caregiver Careers: More Primary Care Medical Doctors Needed

Senior caregivers assisting as family caregivers or working as professional caregivers know the challenges of senior care.  The work can be difficult and the while the pay is above minimum wage and there are some moments of down-time.....the real pay is in the fulfillment of the work, not the paycheck.

Caregivers who truly love the industry may now consider entering into senior care as a full-time profession as the opportunities are many.

A study by the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services announced this week that less than 25% of new doctors go into this field, instead preferring a specialty, even though there is currently a shortage of primary care doctors in the U.S.A.

Dr. Candice Chen, an assistant research professor and the lead study author also said that 4.8% of the new primary care physicians open an office in a rural area.

"If residency programs do not ramp up the training of these physicians the shortage in primary care, especially in remote areas, will get worse," Chen said in a statement. "The study's findings raise questions about whether federally funded graduate medical education institutions are meeting the nation's need for more primary care physicians."

As someone who did grow up in a rural area, I can both remember and appreciate the ability to just "walk-in" to the doctor's office to have him check an ailment and to even telephone on a weekend or evening.  Dr. Porter was the local doctor in my hometown of 19,000 people.  He specialized in assisting athletes and eventually the town named the high school stadium after him.

But Doc Porter was there when you needed him.  You could just walk in and talk to his office manager or give him a call and he would meet you there, even on weekends and evenings.  Now that we have instant contact services with all types of technology advances, it seems research universities could figure out a way to make rural medical practices more efficient.  

Maybe 50,000 people do not live in one town to provide enough clients for a doctor but maybe with technology such as email and text messaging and digital care plans a medical doctor could live in a rural area and enjoy the country living while still serving hundreds of clients efficiently.  Rural living can be cheaper and more enjoyable, too.

There is also technology being tested for virtual doctor's visits, an expansion upon Skype where the doctor can see you and you can see him and he can then diagnose your problem and even monitor the progress by checking body functions such as blood pressure.

Chen's concern is that taxpayer dollars are supporting the schools that are training the medical doctors, yet these institutions are not focusing on how to use the federal money to make sure we have enough of the right doctors.

  • Studied Career Paths of 8,977 Physicians
  • Physicians Graduated from 759 Medical Residency Sites
  • Timeline of Study:  2006-2008
  • 3 to 5 Years After Residency Ended:  25.2 percent of the physicians worked as primary care doctors (with some working as hospitalists which means this is actually an over-estimate of the number of primary care doctors)
  • 198 out of 759 institutions produced 0 rural physicians during the study period.


Currently, the United States is producing primary care physicians at rates that are "abysmally low," Chen said.

As medical care continues to evolve, it is important that we remember the human aspect that goes beyond a computer.  People who become medical doctors do so because they care and systems must be created for them to deliver the care in rural areas as well as big cities and to practice as a primary care physician.  

Caregivers for seniors should be aware that the senior care industry has been predicted to be the top industry for jobs in the coming decade which guarantees employment.  More caregivers are needed today and you may apply for a senior caregiving job in your area or refer-a-friend for a caregiving job and be entered for a chance to win weekly and monthly prizes.

More Than 1/3rd of Parkinson's Disease Patients Suffer From Dementia.

Parkinson's disease impacts many seniors in their later years, although some people are diagnosed with the disease when they are younger, such as actor Michael J. Fox.  This week, as 3,000 experts in neurology gathered for the annual European Neurological Society (ENS) meeting in Barcelona, Dr. Heinz Reichmann shared study results involving 1,331 German Parkinson's disease patients.

The Neurology Study Found:

  • 15% of Parkson's pateints suffer collaterally from dementia
  • 11% suffer from both dementia and depression
  • 9% suffer from dementia and psychosis
  • 40% to 50% suffer from depression

Nearly all Parkinson's sufferers are affected by dementia if they live long enough.  Research reveals that cognitive decline and depression often worsen the quality of life more than the movement disorder itself and may inhibit the positive results of other therapies.

Depression is mainly caused by the dismantling of those systems which release the monoamine neurotransmitters and the malfunctioning of the frontal lobe and the cerebral cortex.  

Motor impairments in Parkinson's are often associated with an incorrect concentration of dopamine in the blood plasma.

The neurology doctors are continuing to explore and research effective treatments which include psychosocial support, behavioral therapy, psychotherapy, drug therapy as well as electroconvulsive therapy.

Senior caregivers assisting seniors with Parkinson's disease may consider continued caregiver training to keep up with the age-related illnesses.  

The European Societies for Neurology also announced a merger this week during the Barcelona meeting. Going forward the European Neurological Society and the European Federation of Neurological Societies are merging to be called the European Academy of Neurology.

 

 

 

 

Caregiver Job Interviews: Study Shows 81% of People Lie in Job Interviews

Interviewing job candidates for any position is never easy.  Job candidates perhaps don't mean to lie, but the fact is that most do embellish something about themselves to appear more qualified for the job.  In some cases the lies may be acceptable - saying you have 2 years of experience instead of 1 year but other lies can be dangerous, especially in senior care.

Have you used a gait belt before?  If you say you have when you have not (or if you do not even know what a gait belt is) then you could be putting both yourself and the senior in danger if you are trying to wing-it when using a gait belt for the first time. Same thing with assisting with toileting, bathing and feeding.

Have you had training in dealing with seniors who have memory loss?  Senior caregivers who have not had memory loss senior care training will not know some of the simple strategies to use to keep the day going smoothly and to respond correctly to the senior.

Finding the right caregivers for senior care takes talent and experience.  This is why senior home care agencies are vital as providers of senior care and this is also why senior care is nothing at all like babysitting. Proper training for senior caregiving is required in order for the caregiving to be both safe and effective to assist in healthy aging.

Those of us who hire people regularly already know that people lie a bit in job interviews.  But we have systems in place to flesh out the facts.

Senior caregiving agencies also have systems in place to properly qualify a caregiver's skill level and then provide training which the caregiver is tested on for retention.  Care Managers also introduce and train each caregiver for their new client assignments and provide ongoing management.  What does the caregiver do when Sue won't take her medications?  Call the office and a Care Manager will assist.  Very often a third-party person to help manage the care makes all the difference as the senior just wants and needs confirmation from a couple of people to keep their tasks moving throughout their day.

And just to confirm that the system used by licensed senior home care agencies is vital which includes an interview, a follow-up interview, reference checks, training and then a quiz to confirm the training was absorbed.......Brent Weiss and Robert S. Feldman of the University of Massachusetts are profiled in the Harvard Business Review, explaining their study which found 81% of people lied about themselves in a job interview.  When the job requirement is more technical, deception increased.  Participants in the study told an average of 2.19 lies per 15-minute interview.

Seniors deserve quality caregivers who can show they have been trained and can perform the necessary skills.  As more and more states pass new legislation (California currently has 2 bills pending which would both require mandatory training requirements for senior caregivers), the quality of care will only improve.  Caregivers should all have basic caregiver training which can be obtained online, meeting industry standards.

Caregivers may learn more about developing the right caregiver interview skills in Caregiverlist's Career Center.

Inside the Dementia Epidemic: Indie Award-Winning Author Shares Story About Caring for Mother

Martha Stettinius is the award-winning author of the book “Inside the Dementia Epidemic: A Daughter’s Memoir,” and until recently a “sandwich generation” caregiver for her mother, Judy, who had vascular dementia and probable Alzheimer’s disease. When Judy, 72, could no longer live alone in her remote lakeside cottage—when she stopped cooking and cleaning, lost a lot of weight, and was in danger of falling—Martha encouraged her to move into her home with her husband, Ben, and their two children. For 8 years, until Judy passed away late last year, Martha was her primary caregiver at home, in assisted living, a rehab center, a “memory care” facility, and a nursing home. Martha serves as a volunteer representative for the Caregiver Action Network (a national organization providing caregiver support and advocacy) and as an expert in dementia care for the website eCareDiary.

In this short excerpt from “Inside the Dementia Epidemic: A Daughter’s Memoir,” Martha writes about taking her mother to visit her old cottage, and learning that day to see dementia differently.

In late October, two and a half years since she moved in with us, I bring Mom along with me and Ben and the kids for an afternoon at the lake. I imagine that she will light up at the sight of the cottage, but as she sits outside with me in the front yard in the shade of an umbrella, and watches the waves, her expression is flat, muted, as if the yard is just a place like any other.
At first, I feel deflated, but within moments I realize something: It’s time for me to stop trying to bring my mother pleasure through what’s left of her memory. If she no longer recognizes the deep blue swell of her lake, if these pieces of her life no longer move her, then truly there’s nothing but the present moment—and other people.

I decide to take her out for a rowboat ride. I wonder if feeling the rowboat rock softly on the water will help my mother experience the joy in the lake she used to feel in her canoe, or when she watched the waves from her desk.
Ben helps me support Mom under her arms as she steps in. Mom sits in the middle of the wide seat along the back of the boat, Andrew [our 12-year-old] squeezes into the bow, and from the middle seat I row the three of us a hundred feet out into the lake. I keep my eyes on hers. She grips the edge of the seat, her back ramrod straight, her eyes wide but not scared. We bounce gently on the waves and Mom releases her hands from the seat to stretch her arms and clasp the sides of the boat. She smiles. When I tell her that she can lean against the high back wall of the boat, she scoots her bottom toward the wall and relaxes.

Back on shore, there’s a problem. We find that Ben has gone off to the store; Andrew and I have to pull up the heavy boat and get Grammy out on our own. I call Morgan [our 10-year-old] out of the house for her help. We hold Grammy’s hands and coach her to walk up the length of the boat from the back, which is still in the water, to the bow so we can help her step out onto the beach. She stands on the seat in the bow, too high to step down. I ask Andrew and Morgan to find a stool in the boathouse and they bicker about who should go. Andrew finds my garden stool, which has wheels, and I wedge it between my feet beside the boat and try to persuade Mom to step down on it.

“Don’t make me cry,” she says.

My heart flares for a moment with guilt, but she trusts me and her fear passes quickly. She holds my hands firmly as I ask Andrew to carry over one of the lawn chairs. Mom hesitates, then lifts one leg over the rail of the boat and steps onto the chair, brings her other leg over, pauses, then steps down to the garden stool and then onto the shale, where she tucks her slender shoulders into my arms. Such a production! I can’t believe I asked my mother, who just recovered from a pelvic fracture, to clamber in and out of a boat.

But I’m glad I did. In the boat Mom seemed to absorb it all—my attention as I held her eye and smiled at her, the breeze, the blue-green waves, the gentle push of the oars, the firmness of the boat’s floor under her Keds. When we passed our neighbors on their dock Mom had let go of the side of the boat to wave with a big smile.

Without memory, I think to myself, what’s left? Not destinations like going to the cottage—not the pleasure of their anticipation and repetition—but moments like these, of sense and touch, rhythm and movement, patience and reassurance.

"Inside the Dementia Epidemic: A Daughter's Memoir” is available through all major online book retailers as a paperback and e-book. Martha can be contacted through her website and blog, www.insidedementia.com, and on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+.

 

Caregiver Stress Relief Photo of the Week

Caregivers that care for the elderly know the realities of caregiver stress. Caregiverlist invites all family caregivers, professional caregivers and certified nursing assistants to take a moment for relaxation with our photo of the week and inspirational quote. This week's photo features sunny hills of small Mexican town called Taxco, famous for its silver mines. We would like to thank you for caring for our loved seniors. Remember senior caregivers are needed, please refer-a-friend to apply for part-time and full-time job positions on Caregiverlist.com and visit our Caregiver Career Center for additional career tools. 

 

Caregiverlist Caregiver Stress Relief Photo Mountains

"Anger is a wind which blows out the lamp of the mind."

Robert G. Ingersoll

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