Caregivers

A Caregiver’s Checklist for Your Loved One Suffering from Dementia

Taking care of a loved one with dementia can be daunting for even the most skilled individual. Everything from arranging daily care giving tasks, participating in important decision-making, medication management, household management, and more—the reality can be overwhelming. With so much to do in very little time, creating a daily care plan can assist you, the caregiver, and allow you to spend more quality time with your loved one suffering from this horrible disease. The following will provide information to help you be better equipped to handle the day at hand.

Getting involved in structured, enjoyable, activities can lower negative behavioral symptoms for people with dementia and help to improve the mood of both care recipient and caregiver.

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Daily routines are helpful for both — the caregiver — and the person living with Alzheimer's. A planned day enables you to spend less time figuring out what to do, and more time on activities that provide meaning and enjoyment.

The greatest strategy for creating an everyday checklist and care plan for dementia is to look for meaningful activities that everyone can equally enjoy. Remember to fine-tune the daily schedule as required and allow flexibility. For instance, if a planned activity causes the person with dementia to develop anxiety or confusion, don't hesitate to change it up the following day or week.

Creating a daily care plan for dementia? This checklist will provide some great ideas for you and your loved one:

  • Brain stimulating activities (online programs, crossword puzzles, reading, etc.)

  • Eating schedule

  • Cooking

  • Creative activities (including arts, crafts, playing or listening to music)

  • Household chores (house cleaning, dishes, laundry)

  • Healthy meal planning

  • Hobbies (knitting, gardening, sewing, etc.)

  • Personal care for Activities of Daily Living (ADL’s). Example: oral hygiene, bathing, dressing, skin treatments, etc.

  • Medication schedule

  • Physical exercise (walking, stretching, yoga, etc.)

  • Socialization (planned visits with friends and family)

  • Seasonal chores (such as spring cleaning or putting on storm windows)

  • Shopping

  • Unplanned activities (visiting with neighbors, skyping with family members, etc.)

What to Keep in Mind While Planning Daily Activities

There are several things to consider when creating a daily care plan for a person with dementia, inclusive of:

  • Abilities

  • Interests

  • Permit some flex time for spontaneous activities

  • Personal preferences

  • Strengths

  • History of daily activities (how did the care recipient structure their day before being diagnosed with dementia?)

  • The highest functioning time of day (Is your loved more energetic in the morning or later in the day?)

  • Plan regular waking time and bedtime (to encourage an optimal sleep pattern)

Crucial points to Evaluate the Effectiveness of a Reinforced Daily Care Plan:

  • Did the care recipient appear irritable, bored, or restless during any particular time of the day? If so, reschedule with another type of activity, or if it appears appropriate, plan an extra break.

  • What was the outcome of spontaneous activities? Were they enjoyable or stressful, did they seem to promote confusion or anxiety?

  • Was there sufficient time between activities to take a breather?

  • Which activities went well? What was the reason?

  • Which times of routine appeared overwhelming?

  • Which time periods appear to lag, with not sufficient to do?

Use This Sample Daily Care Plan for People With Dementia

Here is how you can create a daily care plan that you can use to spend more meaningful time on productive activities with loved ones having dementia:

Morning

  • Get up and complete a morning hygiene routine (toileting, brushing, washing face).

  • Make breakfast (have the person with dementia help as much as he/she is able and wants to do so). Do breakfast clean-up together.

  • Contribute to an enjoyable art or craft project.

  • Take a break to cherish some quiet time (this is a good time for caregivers to do some reflecting or meditation).

  • Go for a walk or engage in another planned activity.

Afternoon

  • Have lunch and clean up the meal together.

  • Watch a favorite movie or listen to some favorite old music together.

  • Try some physical activity, for example, planting or weeding the garden.

  • Go through family photos and talk about memories that are tagged.

  • Visit a friend, family member, or neighbor.

Evening

  • Have dinner and do clean up together.

  • Offer a massage, start to recuperate for bedtime.

  • Help with nightly hygiene routines, for instance, a shower or bath, oral hygiene, and pajamas.

  • Play a crossword game or puzzle.

  • Read a chosen book passage and/or play some soothing music before turning in for the night.

Keep in mind that as the symptoms of dementia worsen with time, it’s crucial to be flexible in planning a daily care plan. Assess the outcome of the plan with your loved one frequently. The demands of the plan will change as dementia symptoms progress.

The Oxford HealthCare Team Can Alleviate the Burden

Oxford HealthCare provides skilled caregivers that have tremendous experience with the unique needs of an Alzheimer’s or Dimentia patient. Our areas of expertise include skilled home rehabilitation, prevention of re-hospitalization, chronic disease education and management, as well as strengthening, balance, and fall prevention. Give us a call today for any queries.







The Benefits of Minimum 4 Hour Home Visits

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When receiving home health care, the longer the visit, the more that can be accomplished. At Oxford HealthCare, we recommend at minimum, a 4 hour visits to ensure your loved one’s tasks are completed thoroughly, with the highest notion of attention to detail and care. When visits are shorter, our aides must prioritize their tasks, often leaving the cleaning and socialization behind in order to ensure groceries are purchased, medication management is accurate and bathing is completed. We strive to provide the best services in the area and believe longer visits will bring more happiness to the whole family.

With a minimum 4-hour visit, we guarantee each service requested will be completed to the highest standard.  A 4-hour morning or afternoon visit is ideal for those needing minimal support to continue living in the comforts of their own home. During an 8am-12 noon shift, an aide can assist with tasks such as: breakfast, morning hygiene routine, errands, housekeeping, medication reminders, and lunch. During an afternoon 4-hour visit, from 1pm-5pm, an aide can assist with lunch, medication reminder, errands, housekeeping, socialization, dinner, and bed routine. Most importantly, the longer time frame allots for socialization. Our Home Health Aide and your loved one will have the time to converse, play cards, watch television or start a puzzle.  

At Oxford, we pride ourselves on providing the ultimate hospitality in the home of your loved one. We believe socialization is a large responsibility of ours, and we strive to connect our aides with your loved ones as often as possible. Social isolation is a major issue negatively affecting the elderly. Our wish is to ensure that your loved one feels important, comfortable, and loved; this is why we recommend the minimum 4-hour visit. 

7 Steps to Having the 'Tough Talk' With Your Parents

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Planning care for your aging parent is a time consuming, emotionally draining task. While there are many options for elder care, making the best choice is crucial. How much help do they need? Can they still drive? Is it safe for them to continue cooking, cleaning and grooming themselves? These are all questions that Oxford can help you to answer before having ‘the talk.’  In order to sustain a positive conversation leading to the best choice of assistance, starting the conversation early will lead to more beneficial outcomes.

It is pertinent to have in-depth conversations with your loved ones to fully understand their preferences, ensuring a smoother transition. Maintaining open communication and truly listening to their desires allows your loved one to continue to feel their independence. You achieve a positive dialogue with patience, kindness, understanding and problem-solving teamwork. We have outlined a step-by-step approach to analyzing your parents’ behavior and finding the perfect, personalized care routine for their comfort.

1)    Assess their behaviors (grooming, house cleaning, cooking, driving, etc.)

2)    Lightly brush the subject of their independence by referring to someone else you may know who now receives help

3)    Review their reactions to help guide your approach to the talk

4)    Research the available options in their community so that you can steer the conversation with facts, granting them the possibility to make the most educated decision, leading to a higher likelihood of happiness

5)    Have the conversation: start with light, fun topics to open their warmth and receptiveness to the difficult discussion. Always approach the options with a teamwork mindset, problem-solving together for the best solution.

6)    Allow time for your loved one to assess their options and needs

7)    Softly approach the conversation until a decision is made. If necessary, you may need to get the family doctor involved to decide on a solution.

Although the conversation is difficult for everyone involved, it is best to start early and hash out a plan for your loved one’s optimal future. At Oxford HealthCare, our knowledgeable staff can help guide you and your family each step of the way to ensure a comfortable future for your loved one with a personalized care plan. What are you waiting for? Spring forward with Oxford; let’s get the conversation started today.