End-Stage Dementia Program


AseraCare Hospice

Posted on

Jun 09, 2021


Nebraska - Eastern Region

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Older adults with dementia and their caregivers face serious challenges. Dementia symptoms can include confusion, agitation and memory loss, which may lead to feelings of anger and frustration. But with education and support, you can maintain a positive relationship and help create a calm, comforting environment.
Amedisys is here to help bring more peaceful, gratifying moments into your loved ones end-of-life dementia care. Our specialized end-stage dementia program helps improve the quality of life of our patients and their families through education, support, pain and symptom management, and caregiver empowerment. We provide compassionate end-of-life care wherever your loved one calls home.

Did You Know? Your loved one is not alone. An estimated5.5 million Americans have Alzheimers disease, the most common form of dementia among elderly people.

End-Stage Dementia Program Highlights

Focus on improving quality of life while managing the symptoms of dementia
Specialized care from a diverse team of professionals who have intensive training in end-stage dementia care
Dementia care that is backed by the latest research and goes beyond medications
Personalized hospice and palliative care planning tailored to the older adults needs and wishes

How Hospice Care at Home Helps With Dementia
Every familys journey is different. Well work with you to create a home hospice care plan that focuses on what matters most to you and your loved one. Elderly people with dementia receive care from a compassionate team of nurses, social workers, hospice aides, chaplains, bereavement counselors and trained volunteers, in conjunction with their doctor. Our end-stage dementia hospice program offers:

Pain and symptom control so older adults with dementia can spend quality time with their caregivers and loved ones
Nonverbal pain and behavior assessment
Medical care, including visits by a nurse, for acute conditions like infections, behavioral issues and breathing difficulties
Help with nutrition and specialized feeding needs
Skin assessment and protection
Help with bathing, grooming and personal care from a hospice aide
Medications, medical equipment and supplies related to dementia
Spiritual support with a hospice chaplain
Emotional support and resources for the patient and family from a hospice social worker

Improving Your Loved Ones Quality of Life
In home hospice care, we focus on preserving quality of life as the disease progresses, not curing dementia. In addition to pain management, some of the ways we can help older adults with dementia feel more comfortable include:

A safe, relaxed environment
Therapeutic blanket to calm unsettled behaviors
Activity lap pad with various textures and moveable parts to touch, helping to reduce agitation and increase mental stimulation
Chart-a-Life collage of memorable images that allows your loved one to relive significant past experiences and maintain mental, social and emotional functioning
Comfort musicto reduce restlessness and improve sleep, memory and social interaction
Soothing comfort baths to minimize bathing stress, agitation and safety risks
Gentle touch or massage, which provides relaxation, stress reduction, improved circulation and pain relief
Journaling as a form of communication and reflection between families and patients
Connection, compassion, communication and reassurance

Did You Know? Most elderly people (80%) with Alzheimers disease and related dementias receive care in their homes, usually provided by family or friends.

Support for Senior Caregivers
We understand the gratification, as well as the intense demands, of caring for a loved one with dementia. As the disease progresses, it can be difficult to manage dementia symptoms such as confusion and personality changes.
Senior caregivers have difficult decisions to make about their loved ones care. You also face major life decisions of your own such as needing to stop working or cut back on hours to meet the needs of a loved one with dementia. The stress can take a toll. Our specialized hospice program for dementia can help by:

Exploring family needs and expectations
Providing caregiver education and support, which allows senior caregivers to spend more time as a loved one and less time as a caregiver
Supporting loved ones as they process grief, loss, anxiety, depression and other emotions
Offering respite care, which gives caregivers a needed break to rest and recharge

Dementia Symptoms We Address in Hospice Care
In our end-stage dementia program, we address safety concerns and treat the following symptoms of dementia:

Unsettled behaviors such as restlessness, confusion and Sundowners Syndrome (late-day confusion)
Skin breakdown
Altered nutrition

Goals of Dementia Care in Hospice
Some of the goals of our end-stage dementia program include:

Improve comfort and quality of life for patients and senior caregivers
Create lucid moments for the patient
Increase family support and satisfaction
Avoid unnecessary trips to the hospital

What Are the 7 Stages of Dementia?
Your loved ones healthcare provider may talk with you about the stages of dementia. This is a way to determine how an older adults dementia symptoms have progressed and find the best treatment for their needs.
There are several scales for rating dementia. One of the most commonly used for older adults with Alzheimers disease is the Reisberg Scale, or Global Deterioration Scale. This scale describes the seven stages of dementia, based on the severity of an elderly persons symptoms. Because people dont typically get diagnosed with dementia in the first three stages, stage 4 is considered early dementia, stages 5 and 6 are middle dementia, and stage 7 is late-stage dementia.
Dementia Stage 1:Normal functioning, with no memory loss or mental health issues
Dementia Stage 2:Normal forgetfulness associated with aging
Dementia Stage 3:Loved ones may start to notice some of the following early dementia symptoms:

Increased forgetfulness
Trouble finding the right words
Slight difficulty concentrating
Decreased work performance

Dementia Stage 4:The older adults doctor can detect cognitive issues during an exam, based on the following dementia symptoms:

Difficulty concentrating
Memory loss about recent events
Trouble managing finances or traveling alone to new places
Difficulty with complex tasks
Withdrawal from friends or family

Dementia Stage 5:Dementia symptoms intensify to include:

Major memory loss that may include important aspects of current life events (e.g., date, time, address or phone number)
Need help with some daily activities such as bathing and cooking

Dementia Stage 6:Significant declines lead to some of the following dementia symptoms:

Need extensive help with daily activities
Memory loss that may include recent events and names of close family members
Difficulty with tasks like counting down from 10
Incontinence (loss of bladder/bowel control)
Trouble speaking
Personality changes
Compulsive or repetitive behavior such as cleaning

Dementia Stage 7:In end-stage dementia, the older adult may have the following additional symptoms:

Inability to speak
Need assistance with most daily activities
Inability to walk

Did You Know? In 2016,18%of hospice Medicare beneficiaries had Alzheimers disease or dementia as their main diagnosis.

When to Call Hospice for Dementia
Dementia is a chronic disease that sometimes follows an unpredictable course. For this reason, it can be difficult to determine the life expectancy of an elderly person with dementia. So how do you know when itstime for hospiceand palliative care?
For many families, an important consideration is quality of life. What are your loved ones goals of care? If comfort, patient and caregiver support, and quality of life are some of the top priorities, hospice care may be the best choice. We can help you gather information, make a plan and determine if your loved one is eligible for hospice care.
Signs of end-stage dementia may include:

Having trouble eating and swallowing
Limited speech, or being unable to speak
Incontinence (loss of bladder/bowel control)
Needing help to walk, or being unable to move without help
Needing help with daily activities like eating, bathing and getting dressed
Developing infections such as pneumonia
Being diagnosed with another condition such as COPD, heart failure or cancer
More frequent trips to the hospital
Feeling more agitated or restless
Memory loss, which may lead to inability to recognize friends and family

We can help you decide if it is time to bring in an Amedisys hospice care team to provide additional care and support. Hospice care provides relief for both patients and caregivers. Many families tell us their biggest regret is not getting hospice care sooner.

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Home Care for Seniors with Dementia

Caring for senior loved ones with dementia can be both rewarding and extremely exhausting. While we strive to do everything we can for them and want to be a part of their care as much as possible, it can start to take a toll on us. That is where home care for people with dementia can help. Having an in-home caregiver can help provide relief for family members and friends while at the same time providing personalized care and support for dementia patients within the comfort of their own homes. Professional home care workers, such as those with Visiting Angels Punta Gorda, can come into the home as much or as little as you like to help your senior loved one. They can supplement the care that family members offer, or family members can supplement the care they give. Home care workers also can help with specific tasks or all of the day-to-day tasks your senior needs.Here are some ways home care can help your senior loved one with dementia and also help family members on this care journey.Everyday NeedsProfessionals with home care agencies can help dementia patients with activities of daily living, including bathing, getting dressed and undressed each morning and night, grooming, using the toilet, eating and more. Often dementia patients resist showers. Home care workers skilled in working with memory loss patients can help them at least clean up each day. By helping with these tasks, they can help ensure their safety, health and hygiene are cared for. Home care workers can help them feel more like themselves throughout the day with brushed hair and teeth, clean clothes and a clean environment.SafetyWhile in-home caregivers are present in the home, they will help ensure your senior loved one suffering from dementia is safe. They can help ensure they dont wander from the home or leave the stove burner on after cooking something. If family members cannot always be there, home care workers can alert them to anything that might be a safety hazard, such as a loose rug, wobbly banister or door that your senior loved one keeps unlocking and trying to leave from. If your senior loved one needs more stability during their bathing, caregivers can let the family know they might need to install grab bars. They also can provide a steady hand for seniors and avoid any dangerous areas, such as cords, that could cause potential tripping hazards. Dementia patients may not remember to let their families know what they need or even be aware that it is a concern, so home care workers can provide an extra level of safety protection for them. CompanionshipHaving a homecare worker present can offer seniors with dementia constant companionship. People suffering from dementia often can become isolated or feel lonely, which can worsen their symptoms. Some symptoms of dementia include aggressiveness and/or crabbiness. Dementia patients have been known to push their family members away or to act hostile. A home care worker can provide companionship and support for senior citizens, especially when family members feel like retreating or that they need a break. They can listen to their stories, ask them questions and engage the patient in meaningful social activities to improve their emotional well-being.Relieving the familyThere is no doubt that caring for a loved one with dementia brings with it a ton of emotions and lots of stress. It also can place family members in situations they are not comfortable with. If children feel uncomfortable doing some of the caregiving for their parents, such as bathing or toileting, a home care worker can do the essentials so family members can simply spend time with them. They also can help with some of the more frustrating tasks so that family members dont lose patience and so that clients do not take out their frustration on their family members. Homecare workers also can provide respite care, which means family members can leave the home or caregiving duties for a short period of time. They can go out to coffee with a friend to refresh, have a nice dinner out without worrying about hurrying back to help their loved one, or they can even just take a peaceful nap at home with the help of respite care. Respite care can also provide short-term relief for a weekend away or an extended vacation.We Can HelpIf you are looking for help caring for your senior this spring and every season of the year, our professionals at Visiting Angels Punta Gorda are here to help. We provide a variety of home care services, including companion care, fall prevention and more. Our expert team of caregivers serves clients in Punta Gorda, North Fort Myers, Boca Grande, Cape Coral, Sanibel, Captiva, Arcadia and surrounding areas. To learn more about our services, call us at 941-347-8288, or contact us online.

Recognizing Alzheimers Disease and the Benefits of Memory Care

Over 6 million Americans are living with Alzheimers disease, and 3 million new cases are diagnosed each year. More than 747,000 Canadians are living with Alzheimers disease or another dementia.  These staggering statistics mean that you likely know someone or have a loved one who has a form of dementia. In the United States, 11 million people are acting as unpaid caregivers for a loved one with Alzheimers. November is National Alzheimers Disease Awareness Month, an opportunity to learn more about this disease that is deadlier than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined.  Alzheimers disease is the most common type of dementia. This progressive disease starts with mild memory loss and involves the part of the brain that controls language, thought, and memory, impacting a persons ability to carry out daily activities. Research has not determined the exact cause of Alzheimers, but it is believed that several factors can play a part in the disease, including:Genetics:  Family history may be linked to developing Alzheimers, though it is not guaranteed that if someone in your family is affected, you will be, too.  Healthy lifestyle choices like exercise, limiting alcohol consumption, not smoking, and eating a healthy diet may help. Age:  This is the best-known risk factor for the disease. Environmental factors:  Science is studying the potential connection. Changes in the brain:  These can happen years before symptoms appear. Since memory loss is not a normal part of aging, knowing the warning signs is important, especially if you have concerns about a loved one. Someone may experience the following symptoms early in the process: Challenges executing familiar tasks at home, work, or during leisure timeDisruptions in daily life due to memory loss, like repeating questions or becoming lost in a familiar placeDifficulties paying bills or handling moneyMood, personality, or behavioral changes Losing items and not being able to figure out how to retrace steps to look for themPoor judgment Memory Care Communities can benefit someone living with dementia as well as give their families peace of mind.  Often located within larger assisted living facilities or in smaller residential settings, these specialized facilities can provide dementia care for residents with middle to late stage memory loss. The environment is secure, and full of safety features designed to enhance memory function and decrease potential confusion for anyone who lives there. Memory Care focuses on giving aging adults a safe environment to stay engaged and active in a structured environment.  Features can include art classes, physical therapy, fitness classes, music experiences, and communal dining to help residents stay socially connected. CarePatrol has been helping families find the right senior care options for their loved ones for over 30 years.  As specialists in the field of aging, CarePatrol Local Senior Care Advisors are able to match older adults to the right communities so they can live their best life, including Assisted Living, Independent Living, Nursing Homes, and Memory Care Communities. Reach out to see how we can help your family today. 

What To Think About When The Unthinkable Happens

I was at a family reunion recently, and I overheard a lady say that one of the challenges of getting old is seeing your parents aging. This lady is probably in her late 50s and she is the caregiver for her mom, who is in her 80s, with very serious health problems. Speaking with the owner of a relatively large business recently, he said that many of his employees are needing to take time off from work. This is because they are caregivers for their parents. This is a sign of the times, and there are an increasing number of people dealing with these issues.This One Is For The CaregiversMost of our presentations and educational content are focused on our clients, whether its retirees in their 60s or seniors in their 70s and 80s. We do estate planning across the generations, but given the increasing number of caregivers taking care of their parents, I wanted to reach out to the caregivers. The title of this blog What to think about when the unthinkable happens, refers to what we should think about and do as caregivers, if a parent becomes sick or passes away.Estate planning is really about the management of control and access. The control aspect refers to who is making the decisions, and access refers to what is allowed with regard to the finances. If my client has a stroke, or gets dementia, they may have mental faculty issues. As a result, they may not be able to manage their own affairs as they used to. If you notice your parents health is declining, as caregivers you need to consider the following:Power Of Attorney DocumentThe first thing you need is a document called a financial power of attorney, which shifts control when someone needs assistance. There are essentially two types of Power of Attorney documents:A springing power of attorney is based on the idea that you sign the document while you have the capacity, so that should anything happen, your child can take over. The problem is that nobody ever admits that they are losing capacity, especially if they have dementia. It then becomes a battle if the child needs to use the power of attorney, to act on behalf of a parent.The other type is a durable power of attorney, which you sign while you have your mental faculties. However, the document is effective immediately even if your child may not use it immediately. This type of Power of Attorney is preferred in most situations. Since dementia is progressive in nature, there will likely be a gradual decline in a seniors mental capacity. Over time, the child caregiver will need to take more responsibility to help their parent. Eventually the time will come when the parent cannot manage on their own. This is the time when the durable power of attorney will work, and is the primary way to plan for someones incapacity.Asset Protection Is ImportantAnother suggestion is to consider doing some asset protection, using an asset protection trust. I recommend these trusts for middle class and upper middle class families who are concerned about long term care expenses. We can work with you to create these trusts. The system in this country often results in seniors going broke if they need long term care. Nursing homes in Pennsylvania cost $180,000 a year and most people cant afford to pay that. Only when you are broke, can you get Medicaid benefits to pay the nursing home. Medicaid is the only payment source for long term care, and its important to understand the rules of Medicaid. One of the rules is that if you have transferred assets to an asset protection trust ahead of time, those assets are protected from long term care costs.We Can Help You To Find Long Term Care FacilitiesIf you have a parent who is starting to slip, they may need long term care at a later stage. Please take the time to understand the different types of facilities available to provide care for your loved one. We help our clients with this aspect, and we have a social worker on our team who is familiar with the different facilities. We help people find good care, which I believe is part of doing good estate planning.Take Care Of YourselfWhile you are taking care of a loved one, if you are a caregiver, you must get the resources to help you to take care of yourself. Here is link to a website with information on caregiver resources: https://www.hospiceandpalliativecareofkodiak.org/caregiver-resources. Jennifer who started this company did so after being a caregiver. She realized the many challenges that caregivers face from an emotional standpoint. You are not in this alone and you also need the support.Losing A Loved OneWhen we talk about the unthinkable happening, we are talking about losing a loved one. Perhaps youre the executor and you are wondering what you should do first if your loved one passes away. Let me reassure you that there is no legal or financial emergency that needs addressing in the first 48 hours. If you have just lost someone dear to you, allow yourself time to grieve. When it comes to the estate administration process, it is a marathon and not a sprint. This is especially pertinent when it comes to probate cases. Please contact the Sechler Law Firm or your estate planning attorney, to get help with the estate administration process. 

Local Services By This Author

AseraCare Hospice

Hospice 6307 Center St Ste 210, Omaha, Nebraska, 68106

At AseraCare Hospice, we combine a foundation of clinical excellence with exceptional care and compassion to help our patients and their families, especially in the following areas of Support, Quality, Compassion and Trust