Living with Dementia in Edmonton?
Dementia is a complex illness that can change the lives of individuals and their families. ‘Dementia’ is a broader term for the many illnesses involving the decline of mental ability, including Alzheimer’s Disease and Vascular Dementia.
A person suffering from dementia commonly requires dementia care because they will lose their ability to think clearly, altering their ability to function safely within their environments.
As it is a degenerative and progressive disease, those suffering from dementia will grow worse with time, commonly losing their memory, communication skills, organizational ability, and will have a changed perception of the world around them.
The gradual and cumulative affects of dementia can be scary and frustrating for the sick, and overwhelming for primary caregivers. Caring for an individual with dementia is a demanding and complex role, as each patient will progress through the disease at a different rate, and with a different reaction. Because of the progressive cognitive difficulty an individual suffering with dementia will experience, and their resulting difficulty interacting with their surrounding environment, many will require and benefit from the assistance of an in-home senior caregiver, specialized in dementia care.
What About the Carers’ Health
Many individuals suffering from dementia require senior in home care, which can be more stressful and difficult than caring for individuals with other diseases. According to Healthcare Interactive, 70% of caregivers are women and are often designated by other family members to become the primary family caregivers. Dementia care by a family member can be very stressful, especially when the family caregiver has other responsibilities, such as their own family, or careers.
Dementia caregivers can become responsible for their loved ones finances, house cleaning and maintenance, grocery shopping and meal preparation, as well as emotional support. The added responsibilities can be overwhelming, and can often lead to caregiver burnout.
As your loved ones progress through dementia you want to be spending quality moments with them, enjoying their company, engaging their minds and spirits, and fostering close family bonds. You want to spend the remaining time you have deepening your connections as a son and daughter instead of taking on the role of parent to your elderly parent.
Harmony Caregiving offers the designated family caregiver help by giving them back the precious time with their loved one, allowing us to handle the laundry, grocery shopping, and doctor appointments. Just as on an airplane, you need to ensure your own oxygen mask is properly fitted before assisting with the oxygen mask of a loved one. Determine what and where your oxygen mask is and ways to keep the oxygen flowing. It may be as simple as doing yoga, going to the gym, taking a walk in the river valley or simply sitting on the deck with glass of water and a book. By using Harmony Dementia Care Services, you can focus on those moments that matter most, such as a family picnics, afternoon walks, deepening emotional bonds, and reliving past memories with photo albums.
About Our Dementia Care Services
Individuals requiring dementia care do very well with regular routines and highly structured environments. Such structured environments keep their minds active and spirits lifted, adding meaning to their lives. Consistent with this we offer a variety of dementia care services for individuals and their families.
- Home Care Assessment where we determine the needs of your loved ones by asking them and those close to them about their current and past medical history, along with what they need, who they are, what they like and like to do.
- Based on our home care assessment, and information provided by you, we will create an Individualize Structured Program Plan (ISPP) to provide a customized, consistent and engaging environment for your loved ones. The ISPP is based on our needs assessment.
- Caregiving and Companionship services matched according to your loved ones personality, interests, skill level and compatibility.
- Art program with activities based on your loved one’s interests and assessed skill level.
- Access to Music Journeying programming.
- Access to our Mobile Book Library, which contains a wide variety of resources for you to peruse at your leisure.
- Dementia Sensory Kits that engage all of the senses.
- We also offer Multi-Sensory Boards. These boards are custom designed to more fully engage your loved ones senses around a familiar theme or topic of interest.
- Leaving a Legacy through a process of interviewing, recording and capturing your loved ones stories and memories to be shared with generations to come.
- Commissioned paintings of your loved one, loved pet or favourite scene. These painting are done by our art facilitator and are available on demand. Painted murals within a client’s room (designed to calm the mind) can also be arranged upon request.
- A Family Caregiver Support Group meets second Wednesday of every month in order to best support people overwhelmed by the schedules of caring for themselves and their loved ones.
- Come relax and unwind at a Tea Service in our sitting room with a cup of tea served in fine old china.
What makes us different from other companies is our philosophy and our approach to home dementia care. Edmonton has a variety of caregiving and senior care services to choose from, with varying degrees of personal attention. At Harmony Caregiving, every person is an individual and is treated as such. To us, people are not just their health card number, they are unique human beings, with unique interests and needs. Our philosophy encompasses a more person-centred approach to healing, taking their mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual aspects of being into consideration. Our dementia care plans are designed to meet the client where they are at in their journey through dementia. Each dementia care plan is customized to meet the unique needs of the client and their families.
We conduct a free in-home assessment and construct an Individual Structured Program Plan (ISPP) for each dementia care client. In addition, regular dementia care plan maintenance is included, whereby regular assessments of a client’s skill levels and functions are measured, tailoring their plans accordingly. Though this plan, your loved one will be provided with a variety of structured practical and enjoyable activities delivered throughout the day on a regular schedule. The daily structure and activities provided by our ISPP will actively engage the mind of your family member and make the home a safer more predictable environment for him or her. For more information regarding our ISPP please contact Harmony Caregiving at 780-328-3917.
We fully believe in inspiring a feeling of independence within our clients. To do this we encourage our clients to try things with us if they cannot do it on their own. We pay close attention to every detail from what they wear each day to what they eat to how they feel, what their interests are or were, and incorporate these into their daily activities. As well, we feel it important to ease our client’s ability to obtain various outside services. Through our many community partnerships, we bring a variety of services into the person’s home, such as hearing assessments, massages, foot care, and hair care.
About Our Dementia Caregivers
Our Caregivers are certified by an Alberta Health Services approved program. Caregiver duties are performed by qualified staff to safely provide the following services:
• Bathing/Showering /Grooming
• Toileting/Personal Hygiene
• Medication Reminders
• Healthy Meal Preparation and assist with Feeding when necessary
• Home Cleaning
• Grocery and Errand Running
• Medical Appointment Accompaniment
• Companionship and Emotional Support
• Respite/Caregiver Relief so the primary family caregiver can give undivided attention to your loved on and/or other matters in their life including self care.
• Palliative Care
A Specialized Dementia Caregiver for your loved one is carefully selected, we have a very involved professionally personal interview and hiring process. A personality reference check is done with previous employers, and criminal record check and vulnerable persons check is completed.The caregivers we hire are asked questions regarding their own personal interests and activities enjoyed. In addition, they are asked questions pertaining to their values and beliefs surrounding life, spirituality, culture and death. Their replies are documented and then matched to that of the client with responses gathered from family members and/or the client themselves during their comprehensive needs assessment/interview. We take our clients’ values; perspectives and beliefs into account during the matching process to ensure all parties are in sync and in tune with one another.
We also believe communication with regard to your loved ones physical health, and emotional state of mind is very important, and that sometimes being far from the situation, or just unable to be there because of the many commitments you have is difficult. Using technology, one on one communication and personal contact, we keep you informed of your loved ones progress. We believe that communication is the key to a harmonious relationship. In keeping with this, our caregivers complete progress notes on their activities with your loved one daily. These notes are also put into our safe and secure online “Family Room” which families can gain access to at anytime, anywhere internet is available. Our Management team is available 24/7 to answer any questions or concerns you may have. Our Director of Client Services will keep in contact with you – via phone, in-person visits, email, text or mail – at your preference.
Dementia vs. Normal Signs of Aging
It is important to recognize the difference between signs of dementia and the normal symptoms of aging. The following are considered normal signs of aging:
• Forgetting a name or appointment, but being able to recall them later
• Making occasional errors balancing a chequebook
• Requiring occasional help using new technologies or some appliances
• Being confused about the day of the week, but being able to recall it later
• Vision changes related to cataracts
• Occasional trouble finding the right word
• Infrequently misplacing small items, such as the remote, glasses, or keys
• Making a bad decision once in a while,
• Occasionally not wanting to go through with previous commitments to social or family obligations
Top Ten Warning Signs Your Loved One May Require Dementia Care
Sadly, as of yet there is no cure for Dementia, and the effects are non-reversible. If you recognize any of the ten warning signs listed below in a loved one, it is important that you get your loved one to a physician as soon as possible. An early diagnosis leads to the best possible treatment, support, and plan for how to manage the future of your loved one.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association of Canada, the following are considered to be the Top 10 Warning Signs of dementia:
1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life. One of the most common signs of Alzheimer’s, especially in the early stages, is forgetting recently learned information. Others include forgetting important dates or events; asking for the same information over and over; relying on memory aides (e.g., reminder notes or electronic devices) or family members for things they used to handle on their own.
2. Challenges in planning or solving problems. Some people may experience changes in their ability to develop and follow a plan or work with numbers. They may have trouble following a familiar recipe or keeping track of monthly bills. They may have difficulty concentrating and take much longer to do things than they did before.
3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work or at leisure. Sometimes, people may have trouble driving to a familiar location, managing a budget at work or remembering the rules of a favourite game.
4. Confusion with time or place. Can lose track of dates, seasons and the passage of time. They may have trouble understanding something if it is not happening immediately. Sometimes they may forget where they are or how they got there.
5. Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships. They may have difficulty reading, judging distance and determining color or contrast. In terms of perception, they may pass a mirror and think someone else is in the room. They may not recognize their own reflection.
6. New problems with words in speaking or writing. May have trouble following or joining a conversation. They may stop in the middle of a conversation and have no idea how to continue or they may repeat themselves. They may struggle with vocabulary, have problems finding the right word or call things by the wrong name (e.g., calling a watch a “hand clock”).
7. Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps. May put things in unusual places. They may lose things and be unable to go back over their steps to find them again. Sometimes, they may accuse others of stealing. This may occur more frequently over time.
8. Decreased or poor judgment. Experiencing change in judgment or decision making. For example, they may use poor judgment when dealing with money, giving large amounts to telemarketers. They may pay less attention to grooming or keeping themselves clean.
9. Withdrawal from work or social activities. A person may start to remove themselves from hobbies, social activities, work projects or sports. They may have trouble keeping up with a favourite sports team or remembering how to complete a favourite hobby. They may also avoid being social because of the changes they have experienced.
10. Changes in mood and personality. The mood and personalities of people with Alzheimer’s can change. They can become confused, suspicious, depressed, fearful or anxious. They may be easily upset at home, at work, with friends or in places where they are out of their comfort zone.
Concerned About Dementia Care?
If your loved one is experiencing the symptoms listed above, contact their doctor for an immediate assessment. Or call us to speak with a dementia home care specialist to learn how Harmony Caregiving can help you with the transition. We can explain how to care for someone with dementia and provide you the information you need to make the best choice for your loved one. With one short phone call we teach you will about the stages of dementia and provide you with simple, yet effective, dementia caregiver tips. Contact us today!