How to Communicate with Someone with Alzheimer's Disease

How do you talk to someone with Alzheimer's Disease?

How do you begin a conversation with someone with dementia?

These are common questions asked by caregivers for those with memory loss. Alzheimer's disease affects a person’s communication skills which leads to difficulty with concentrating, thinking clearly, remembering names and topics of conversation and causing confusion. As the illness gets worse so do these problems. 

Caregivers that are taking care of Alzheimer’s patients may have a client with one or more of these challenges and should become trained in how to communicate effectively when interacting with someone with memory loss (online caregiver training courses include information on activities for seniors with memory loss and communication skills).

How to Communicate with someone with Memory Loss:

  • Always talk to Alzheimer’s patients from the front - approaching them from behind may startle them

  • Use a gentle and relaxed tone

  • Identify yourself each day (hey may not remember you every day so don’t be offended by this)

  • Ask questions with “yes” or “no” answers and avoid lengthy sentences which may overwhelm them

  • Give patients extra time to respond to better understand what you have said

  • Alzheimer's patients tend to copy people’s actions so use positive body language

  • Be patient and supportive and expect that they may not always cooperate with you

  • Use positive encouragement such as “good job” or “you’re doing great”

  • Always call your patient by their name and be respectful

  • Help them feel like the healthy adult that they once were

  • Smile

  • Go with the them where they are each day

Caregivers should remember that communicating with someone with Alzheimer's disease requires understanding, good listening skills, and most importantly, patience. Caregiverlist provides a caregiver training course for Alzheimer’s disease care that caregivers can take to learn more about helping people with the Alzheimer’s.

The Caregiver Stress Relief Photos of the Week also are nice conversation starters and a way to just sit back, relax and enjoy the view. Think of a common activity that you can keep as part of the routine each day, as a way to consistently have a conversation ice-breaker. Photos are one way to have daily conversation starters.

University of Missouri Nursing School Receives $19.8 Million Grant to Continue Elder Care Research

The Missouri Quality Initiative for Nursing Homes will be used as a national model for senior care and be able to continue researching the early detection of illnesses and interventions in coordinated care, including how to better prevent falls.

Every year at least 2.5 million elderly people are treated in emergency rooms for fall injuries, which costs about $34 billion annually, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. These falls may cause broken bones and head injuries which then lead to further complications such as brain trauma. Reducing senior care costs will be necessary as the government prepares for the large increase in the senior population.

Decreasing hospitalizations continues to be a goal for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The grant money for this research project comes from the budget of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services which is housed under the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services.

The project, called the Missouri Quality Initiative for Nursing Homes, will be used as a national model for senior care. Marilyn Rantz, MU's professor emerita of nursing founded the initiative in 2012, along with a team of MU research colleagues. By implementing motion sensors, such as Xbox Kinects, in various areas of the residents' apartments, the researchers were able to decrease falls. The sensors can recognize changes in walking, bending and other body movements that may signal an increased risk for falls. The average cost of a nursing home in Missouri for a single room is $143.80 per day. Decreasing the need for nursing home stays assists Medicare and Medicaid to save millions of dollars a year.

The nursing school will also use the grant to research the early detection of illnesses and interventions in coordinated care, a model in which several health care professionals work together to ensure a patient's good health. Sixteen Missouri nursing homes have implemented the University's coordinated care model which resulted in a 34.5 percent decrease in potentially avoidable hospitalizations. Nursing home care can cost 

There are more than 16,000 nursing homes in the U.S.A. and Medicare does not pay for an ongoing stay in a nursing home but Medicaid, for low-income seniors, does pay for ongoing nursing home care. 

Plan your senior care plan ahead of time to best know the options and costs of care in your area. Transamerica also offers a free senior care financial planning consultation by calling 1-877-957-9851. Caregiverlist provides the only resource with the actual costs of nursing homes nationwide along with a customized nursing home rating.

How do you become a California Certified Caregiver for Senior Care?

California passed a state law that went into effect this year (as of January 1, 2016) which requires all senior caregivers to be consistently trained in basic caregiving skills and to take ongoing training each year.

What is the name of the new California Caregiver Training law?

Home Care Services Consumer Protection Act 

AB 1217 was the Assembly Bill number for this caregiver licensing legislation and is also commonly referred to when the state's caregiver training requirements are discussed. You will hear professionals in the California senior care industry say "we have AB1217 training requirements".

What does the Home Care Services Consumer Protection Act require for caregiver training?

California senior caregivers must show they have been trained on 5 hours of orientation and safety skills and 5 hours of core competency caregiving skills each year, for a total of 10 hours of training in 2016, the first year for the California caregiver training law to be in effect. Each following year the law requires 5 hours of annual training. Think of the home care services law as requiring 5 + 5 hours of training in 2016. 

Where can you find California Caregiver Training meeting the California Training Law Requirements for 10 Hours of Training?

Caregiver Training University's 10-Hour Course fulfills the law's requirement for the initial California caregiver training in 2016. Created by experienced senior home care professionals and trainers, the course was written for senior caregivers to be able to easily understand the necessary skills and includes:

  • Video Tutorials
  • Audio
  • Tip Sheets
  • 36 Questions to Confirm Competency
  • Certificate (Print as Wallet Card or Full Size)
  • Suggested Books and Movies to Build Caregiving Skills
Meets State Requirements for 10-Hour Course

Caregiving for seniors involves emotional and physical care and requires also caring for yourself. Subscribe to the Caregiverlist newsletter to receive tips for caregiver stress relief and become part of professional caregiver community. Join the Professional Association of Caregivers to show your industry knowledge and to maintain your annual training certification. Apply for a caregiving job to be considered by employers in your area as most companies hire from 5 to 6 new caregivers each week.

Refer-a-friend to a senior caregiving job and be entered to win free California Caregiver Training as more caregivers are needed!

Buy Online Caregiver Training

How to Become a Licensed Caregiver in California

California caregivers must now complete caregiver training matching the state's new criteria as outlined in the new Home Care Services Consumer Protection law. The new law requiring California caregiver training went into effect on January 1, 2016.

What are the California caregiver training requirements now? 

Caregivers must be trained on the policies and procedures required for caregiving in the home, understand safety skills for being a home caregiver and then be trained in core competencies.

How do you become a home caregiver in California?

  • Be able to pass a criminal background check
  • Be legal to work in the U.S.A.
  • Verify completion of 5 hours of orientation and safety training prior to being able to work with a client and 5 hours of core competency training to be completed annually (must have 5 years of training each year)
  • Apply for a caregiving job with a senior home care agency, assisted living community or community care service
Where can you find California Caregiver Certification Training?

Caregiverlist Basic California Caregiver Training by Caregiver Training University provides online training meeting the law's requirements.

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Accepting Aging Brings Healthy Aging says New Longevity Book by Cameron Diaz

Aging naturally comes along with living a long life as our human biology stays in motion. Accepting this fact of life seems to be one of the biggest secrets revealed in actress Cameron Diaz's new book, titled The Longevity Book: The Science of Aging, the Biology of Strength, and the Privilege of Time. Just 50 years ago, when Medicare was created, life expectancy was only age 75. Now we are living past age 100, bringing new meaning to how we will live these additional 25 years.

My family will celebrate my grandmother's 100th birthday this month. As the oldest child of five, she has outlived all of her siblings. While she survived the Great Depression by skipping a year in school (then finishing high school at the top of her class) and worked daily doing physical labor by managing a dairy farm (yes, she milked cows twice a day, every day, for 40 years, and also home-cooked all the meals for the family and the farm workers). And now at age 99, all of her friends and family from her generation are passed away and she has the usual challenges associated with old age including loss of vision and hearing.

My family has always thought that in addition to genetics, you must possess some kind of mental ability to be resilient and to accept life's challenges in order to live a long life. That is the only way, it seems, to go through your later years when you are losing your loved ones to death each week and losing many of your physical abilities.  "Take it on the chin" is what my grandmother teaches us, then move on and have a laugh about it. 

It turns out Cameron Diaz shares this advice as the secret to longevity that she discovered while researching her book. Having an accepting attitude about aging and life will deliver a side kick of happiness to get you through your older years.......looking and feeling better than those who are battling the aging process.

Ms. Diaz's 5 Longevity Lessons are:

  1. Good Nutrition
  2. Good Movement (Exercise)
  3. Good Sleep
  4. Stress Relief
  5. Staying Connected to Loving Friends and Family

In addition, planning for how you want to be cared for when caregiving services may be needed for medical issues and aging issues, also brings a peace of mind to the aging process. Few seniors have planned ahead for their caregiving needs. Research the senior care options and costs in your area now and create a plan. Talk to a financial planner (Transamerica provides free consultations on the costs of care and savings options) to enable you and your family to eliminate the stress of knowing what your caregiving plan will be should a medical issue arise in your older years. You may also receive a Caregiving Guide to assist with this part of the aging journey and take an online caregiving training course to learn basic caregiver skills if you are caring for a loved one.

The Longevity Book: The Science of Aging, the Biology of Strength, and the Privilege of Time

Cameron Diaz's new book

My Grandma Martha at Age 100 (Birthday is April 24, 2016)

RVT101 Debuts as First New Alzheimer’s Drug in More than a Decade

RVT 101 debuts as a new drug that to treat Alzheimer's disease and may be approved soon. This drug would create a giant step forward in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease by allowing those taking the medication to push back the effects of the disease which causes the loss of memory and cognitive abilities. Alzheimer’s disease affects a person with memory loss and other abilities that interferes with their daily activities.

RVT 101 will be the first drug in more than 13 years to be successful. If approved, RVT 101 will become only the 5th drug currently available for treating Alzheimer’s disease. RVT 101 clinical trials are allowing patients to push back the effects of the disease. During the trials, scientists saw that RVT 101 helps slow down the effects Alzheimer’s has on a person by at least 6 months. The greatest results were from participants that had taken RVT 101 for more than a year.

Aricept is one of the available drugs for Alzheimer’s disease and scientists are using it along with RVT 101. While RVT 101 rises the levels of neurotransmitters that sends messages between nerve cells, Aricept helps decrease the enzymes that shuts down those neurotransmitter. By pairing up the two drugs, patients receive a second barrier against Alzheimer’s disease and are able to perform better on cognitive and basic functions.

Alzheimer’s disease is advancing faster than the success of medication. The Alzheimer’s Association predicts that by 2050 there will be 16 million Americans affected by Alzheimer’s. Until there is a cure, Caregiverlist can help families find senior care for their loved ones. Caregiverlist provides the daily rates for nursing home’s nationwide. In states such as New Jersey, with high amounts of people with Alzheimer’s, families can find nursing homes such as Oradell Health Care Center with a price of $439. This resources can help families find a place that will give the love and care that their loved one needs to plan for Alzheimer's senior caregiving needs. Family caregivers may also obtain online memory care training to learn how to best care for their loved one or may join the Professional Association of Caregivers.

Author: Christina Gustin

Drug tests for Caregivers Webinar Invitation by ClearStar's Medical Review Office

Caregivers for seniors must meet many requirements, including being able to pass a background check and a drug test which could be given at anytime.

Senior Home Care Agencies and caregiver recruiters may attend this webinar to understand how some try to cheat on drug tests and how quality services eliminate this ability.

Clearstar Academy Webinar: Cheating On Your Drug Test from the User's Point of View

Join this free Webinar as Todd Shoulberg, EVP, Medical Information Services for Clearstar explores the most popular websites devoted to cheating on drug tests and what makes those sites successful. This session will not review cheating from the scientific lab level but from the perspective of the donor searching the web for solutions.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

2:00 PM Eastern Time

11 AM Pacific Time


Caregivers may purchase a background check from Clearstar at anytime to make sure their information is accurate as the digital age has lead to more mistakes in reporting. It is always a good idea to check your background check information at least once a year.

How to Become a Certified Caregiver in California

California caregivers, beginning this year, must now show competence in specific training requirements in order to be employed as a senior caregiver. As more seniors prefer to remain in their own homes, having a consistent training path assists senior care companies to maintain quality standards and assists caregivers to grow their careers. Senior home care companies are also required to follow the training requirements and train all of their caregiver employees.

  • How do you become a certified caregiver in California?
Show an understanding, or "competency" in the skills outlined by the California Home Care Services Consumer Protection Act which become effective in January, 2016, while providing time for senior care companies to train their caregivers in 2016. Online caregiver training is accepted for training in the new California law.

  • What is the California caregiver training requirement?
5 + 5 Hours of training with 5 hours surrounding Orientation training and Safety training required before working with a senior and 5 hours in core competency skills such as how to transfer a senior safely, HIPAA privacy requirements, identifying and reporting elder abuse and how to follow a daily care plan and take notes.

  • How much training must a California caregiver complete before working with a senior client?
Orientation training and safety training must be completed before working with a client.

  • How does a caregiver show they are trained?
By taking an exam and obtaining a passing score to show you have understood the concepts outlined by the state of California as caregiver training. Document this by receiving a certificate to show
  1.  name of the training,
  2. date training was taken
  3. name of training resource
  4. signature of the training supervisor.
  5. your signature
California home care agencies do provide caregiver training for their caregivers now and you may also purchase the California caregiver training on your own on Caregiverlist, powered by Caregiver Training University.

Caregivers can apply for a caregiving job to be considered by senior care companies in their area and receive training by their employers, too.

Senior home care agencies in California may train their caregivers using the Caregiverlist training portal and easily keep all of their trainees organized for state compliance and renewal training.

Understanding Senior Caregiver Training Requirements for Professional Caregivers

Senior caregiving services are continuing to grow as more seniors, especially seniors living in developed countries, are living much longer lives than previous generations. Why are seniors living longer?

  • Better Nutrition
  • Better Healthcare Access
  • Better Emergency Treatment (Heart Attacks, Strokes)
  • Caregivers
All of these impact the ability for a person to live a longer life. And one of the biggest reasons is the availability of someone to provide caregiving services. We aren't living in a little house on the prairie anymore. Because adult children very often do not live within a 1 hour drive of their parent's home, the need for paid caregiving services has skyrocketed in the last decade.
Now that senior caregiving has become a licensed profession in many states, training requirements have been created to protect both the senior and the caregiver.

California's new home care services law requires all California caregivers to be trained in 2 hours of orientation training, 3 hours of safety and infection control training and 5 hours in core competency training. Knowing how to effectively communicate with a senior and manage daily activities makes a huge difference in the success of the caregiving services.

  1. Here is what you need to know about senior caregiver training:
  2. Some states require specific training (See California's caregiver training requirements to be a certified caregiver).
  3. Some states require training but do not mandate the exact type of training (See Basic Caregiver Skill training).
  4. Unlike Certified Nursing Aide (C.N.A.) training, which is required by federal law, caregiver training is regulated by each state.
Companion caregivers often assist seniors with memory loss, who may need a caregiver for several years (former President Ronald Reagan had caregiving services for more than 10 years as his memory loss progressed). Caregivers assisting seniors to recover from a major medical event such as a stroke or hip replacement, need additional training to learn how to safely transfer the senior, dress the senior and maintain a safe environment. In addition, understanding what to do as a caregiver, if an environmental emergency such as an earthquake or blizzard happens, also is part of caregiver training.

Just as with any profession, being properly trained allows quality care to be delivered. Digital caregiver training now assists caregivers to easily become trained and certified to meet their state's requirements.

How to Pay for Senior Care

Senior care costs are not covered by Medicare, the health insurance for America's seniors. Only short-term stays in a nursing home, after a major medical event, are covered. This means everyone must plan ahead for the possibility of caregiving needs as they age. Insurance actuaries estimate all of us will need some senior caregiving services for at least 2 years.

Caregiving for someone with memory loss, called "dementia" can be one of the longest journeys and cost the most. A new conversation around how we want to age has begun, with the book "Being Mortal" igniting many conversations on the topic. Aging is part of living and so is dying. Understanding the benefits Medicare does and does not provide is part of creating a healthy aging plan.

Retirement planning must include planning for how to pay for the costs of senior care. Perhaps a senior will only need caregiving services for a short period of time while recovering from surgery such as hip replacement or a stroke. However, it is healthy to accept that part of aging includes our bodies, and sometimes our minds, will no longer regenerate cells and perform as when we were younger. This is natural. Or as the song says "that's life"!

Learn about the costs of senior care and how to structure a caregiving financial plan with a complimentary telephone consultation provided by Transamerica and download their free caregiving guide. Start talking with your family members about how you would like to both pay for and receive care as the gift of a long life presents itself.

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