Thursday, December 26, 2013

Alzheimer's Care in Chapel Hill and Durham: Anger and Aggression

Those with Alzheimer's here in Chapel Hill and Durham can start to show signs of anger and aggression. Those behaviors can be verbal or physical. Often they occur suddenly, with no apparent reason, or result from a frustrating situation. While aggression can be hard to cope with, understanding that the person with Alzheimer's or dementia is not acting this way on purpose can help.

Here is some information from


Aggression can be caused by many factors including physical discomfort, environmental factors and poor communication. If the person with Alzheimer's is aggressive, consider what might be contributing to the change in behavior.
The main cause of behavioral symptoms associated with dementia is the progressive deterioration of brain cells, but other factors — such as pain — also can cause symptoms or make symptoms worse.

Physical discomfort
  • Is the person able to let you know that he or she is experiencing physical pain? It is not uncommon for persons with Alzheimer's or other dementias to have urinary tract or other infections. Due to their loss of cognitive function, they are unable to articulate or identify the cause of physical discomfort and, therefore, may express it through physical aggression.
  • Is the person tired because of inadequate rest or sleep?
  • Are medications causing side effects? Side effects are especially likely to occur when individuals are taking multiple medications for several health conditions?

Treating Behavioral Symptoms
Anyone experiencing behavioral symptoms should receive a thorough medical checkup, especially when symptoms appear suddenly. Treatment depends on a careful diagnosis, determining possible causes and the types of behavior the person is experiencing.

Sudden change in behavior? UTI could be the cause.
 UTIs, or urinary tract infections, can cause changes in someone with Alzheimer's disease that you might never expect. The impact can be really profound. 
  • Is the person overstimulated by loud noises, an overactive environment or physical clutter? Large crowds or being surrounded by unfamiliar people — even within one's own home — can be over-stimulating for a person with dementia.
  • Does the person feel lost?
  • Most people function better during a certain time of day; typically mornings are best. Consider the time of day when making appointments or scheduling activities. Choose a time when you know the person is most alert and best able to process new information or surroundings.

Poor communication
  • Are your instructions simple and easy to understand?
  • Are you asking too many questions or making too many statements at once?
  • Is the person picking up on your own stress or irritability?

At Comfort Keepers of Durham and Chapel Hill, we understand the stress that caregivers go through. We are here to help you and give you the support you need when dealing with a loved one and Alzheimer's. Call us at 919-338-2044 or visit us at online.

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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Dementia Care for Chapel Hill and Durham: A Way to Help the Entire Family

By Helen Antipov

For many families here in Chapel Hill and Durham, it is a privilege and joy to be able to provide dementia care and other Alzheimer’s care for their senior loved-ones. This gives the family the opportunity to spend time together. However, taking care of seniors with dementia can be draining on the entire family because of the constant care and attention that is required for this specific care.
Comfort Keepers®, the professional and compassionate in-home senior care service provider, is proud to offer dementia care for seniors. Caregivers, the friendly and professional Comfort Keepers, are highly and specifically trained to provide care for seniors with dementia.

For every senior, Comfort Keepers prepares a customized care service package that details exactly what care each senior requires and describes exactly what services Comfort Keepers will provide. Caregivers can provide a variety of services: ranging from weekly visits of 2 hours to 24 hour in-home care live-in service. Comfort Keepers works to make sure every senior is safe and sound as they live independently in their own home.

Caregivers Work to Consciously and Compassionately Improve the Quality of Life that Each Senior Experiences
In order to provide the highest quality dementia care to seniors, caregivers are specially trained to engage seniors in what Comfort Keepers calls Interactive Caregiving®. This is a conscious effort to engage seniors in activities that helps keep their minds and bodies active. It is proven that seniors who feel involved and engaged have a higher quality of life, and this is what Comfort Keepers caregivers strive for. Interactive Caregivers spend time with seniors in the following ways:
Sharing hobbies
Listening to music and sometimes dancing
Walking around the neighborhood
Browsing through family photo albums
Putting puzzles together or working on crafts
Working together on projects around the house
And many more!
Each of these activities is designed to help seniors improve their quality of life.

Dementia Care Technology to Provide Safety
While Comfort Keepers caregivers can provide 24 hour live-in dementia care, if this is not the service package that the family chooses, there could be times when the senior is at home alone. Comfort Keepers offers several technology solutions to give families peace of mind. If a senior with dementia has a likelihood of wandering and becoming lost, they can be equipped with Comfort Keepers GPS-PERS System technology. This allows the family to track the real-time location of their senior loved-one. If the senior ever wanders and becomes lost, he or she can press the button on their PERS System and instantly be connected with a Comfort Keepers professional response operator who can dispatch emergency assistance.

At Comfort Keepers of Durham and Chapel Hill, we understand the stress that you and your family go through in this season.  We are here to help you and give you the support you need when dealing with a loved one and senior and eldercare issues here in Durham and Chapel Hill. Call us at 919-338-2044 or visit us online.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Senior Care and Elder Care in Chapel HIll and Durham: Thriving During the Holidays

When we think about the holidays, so much comes to mind: traditions and good food, kids tearing through wrapping paper, tree lights and favorite movies, good times with good friends, and finding the perfect gift. But that’s not all.

Sometimes the holidays conjure up holiday stress: trying to please everyone, the crowds, the overstimulation, squeezing in senior care or elder care issues and events, even family squabbles. The reality is the holidays typically turn out good, or not, depending on our perspective. There is a lot we can’t change about the holidays, but we can try to make the most of them despite the anxiety they can sometimes cause.

Here are four ways to make the most of your holiday season:

Plan ahead
According to WebMD, the average American spends 42 hours on holiday activities. Take time to make a list of your holiday events and errands. Tie these items to a detailed calendar so you can spread out the shopping and work involved. You can always change the calendar later, but experts recommend you first make a plan.
Next, look at your calendar and list, and find ways to simplify it. Just because you’ve always decorated the house from top to bottom doesn’t mean you have to do it each year. Maybe it’s okay to bring a store-bought treat to a party so you can eliminate some of the baking you do. Go to an event for a shorter period of time so you can still visit, but not get overwhelmed.
Ask for help. As seniors get older, it can become increasingly stressful to fulfill the holiday obligations that once brought so much joy. Review favorite activities and see where you can ask for help. Inquire about delivery services in the area, and ways to shop online. Ask a child or grandchild to help wrap presents. It could become a new, favorite tradition. If cooking a holiday meal has become too much, ask to make it a potluck instead.

Additionally, if someone is going through the first holiday season since losing a loved one, it’s even more important to plan ahead, eliminate unnecessary items and ask for help. 

Find ways to save money
  • First take a look at your finances and set a budget ahead of time. Ric Edelman, author of Financial Security in Troubled Times, says most people mistakenly make a list of people they must buy for before looking at their overall budget. Consumer Reports estimates that 49 million people get gifts they don’t want each year, a statistic that might help place gift giving in a different light.
  • Don’t wait until the last minute to buy. When we’re in a rush, it’s easy to spend too much money. Along with planning your to-do list, plan so that your shopping is done well ahead of time.
  • While you’re holiday shopping, look for a few gifts you can buy for other times of the year, such as birthdays and weddings. If you plan your shopping, it’s likely you can save on your yearly gift budget this way, too.

Find ways to bond with family long-distance
Many grandparents find themselves in a position of not being able to spend as much time with kids and grandkids as they’d like because they are simply too far away to travel. By getting a bit more creative, there are ways to feel closer during the holidays, especially with today’s technology. Here are some ideas:
  • Skype time together. This technology allows people to ‘visit’ via computer. It’s a great way, as a grandparent, to read a bedtime story, share tree decorating and even open presents together.
  • Revive old-fashioned letter writing. Even though technology is second nature to today’s kids, most still love getting mail. Send them a holiday wish each week, and ask for a letter and a photo in return.
  • Ask for homemade gifts. One way to bond with grandchildren is by sharing a memory of a special gift they made themselves.
  • Volunteer to help with an event locally that serves underprivileged kids. It might make missing your own grandkids a bit easier.

Create new traditions
Change can be good and exciting especially if someone is grieving over the loss of a spouse or lifelong friend this holiday season. Some holiday traditions might simply be too hard without the participation of the person who passed. Also, creating new traditions might help you or your loved one accept that life will now be different. Here are some ideas:
  • Go out to eat for a holiday meal.
  • Get involved in a charity.
  • Learn a new holiday hobby, such as making your own wrapping paper with grandkids. You can learn more about creating new and unique holiday traditions at:

Finally, most experts agree the holidays are a time when we eat too much and exercise too little. Keep your current healthy routines as much as possible. You’ll not only feel better, but you’ll help fight illness.

At Comfort Keepers of Durham and Chapel Hill, we understand the stress that you and your family go through in this season.  We are here to help you and give you the support you need when dealing with a loved one and senior and eldercare issues here in Durham and Chapel Hill. Call us at 919-338-2044 or visit us online.

“Holiday Traditions and Connections,” by the editors of
“14 Ways to Save Money During the Holidays,” by Dana Dratch for
“12 Cool Christmas Activities: Get closer to your grandchildren during the holiday season,” by Susan Adcox for
“Reduce Holiday Stress,” by Joanne Barker for WebMD Health News
“Long-Distance Bonding With Grandkids: How to bond with your grandkids who are far away,” by Mark Stackpole for
“10 Strategies for Making the Most of Our Family Holiday with Seniors,” by the editors of Senior Care Corner