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Care & Share

Welcome to our Care & Share blog! This blog features advice, tips, life hacks, and encouragement for those caring for a loved one with memory loss. We put out a new post every month. If there’s a specific topic you would like for us to cover, let us know by emailing our Program Director, Sheri Wammack, at sheri@pagerobbins.org.

I Want to Go Home

When I think of home, I think of the house I currently own with my husband. It’s where we live with our 2 children and our dogs. I also think of our first home, where we lived for 16 years. Home is also the place I grew up with my parents and my brothers. But... Read more »

The Perfect Caregiver

I have heard on numerous occasions from many caregivers that caregiving is HARD. There is a huge learning curve when caring for someone with dementia. You are in luck because we are here to help! In fact, here are some simple steps that you can follow to become the perfect caregiver. Get your pen and... Read more »

Lying

Most of us have been taught that lying is wrong. Our parents, teachers, and friends impressed upon us the importance of always telling the truth. BUT what do you do when your husband with dementia asks you, “When can I see Mom?” And you know his mom has been deceased for 30+ years. What do... Read more »

Wellness Check

We all want to be healthy and well. Wellness is a great goal, but it can feel nearly impossible to accomplish. Are we ever fully well? The Global Wellness Institute defines wellness as “the active pursuit of activities, choices, and lifestyles that lead to a state of holistic health”.  It’s a journey, not a destination.... Read more »

Rethinking Frustrating Conversations

Have you ever had a conversation with your loved one that went terribly, horribly wrong? You are not alone. Dementia makes communication difficult. It changes the way you have conversations with your loved one. The old way of communicating won’t work anymore. Your loved one can’t think rationally. They don’t understand that something is wrong.... Read more »

Missing Person

We have all seen Silver Alerts on our smartphones or the news: “86-year-old Woman with Dementia Missing” or “79-year-old Man Missing After Not Returning Home from the Grocery Store.” These stories are heartbreaking. And if you care for someone with dementia, you have most likely worried about what would happen if your loved one went... Read more »

A Good Night’s Sleep

A good night’s sleep is important for everyone – no matter your age or stage of life. But it’s sometimes easier said than done. Right? It can be hard to keep a regular sleep schedule. And it can be hard to go to sleep and stay asleep. Sleep disturbances are especially common in people with... Read more »

The Perils of Quizzing

Imagine this… You’re in middle school. The teacher asks a question, and you have no idea what the correct answer is. The teacher looks for someone to call on. You keep your eyes down, hoping she doesn’t call on you. But of course, you hear her say your name. Of all the people she could... Read more »

Urinary Tract Infections

Why is my loved one behaving so differently all of the sudden? It could be a Urinary Tract Infection. “UTI” stands for Urinary Tract Infection and is a broad term used to describe any infection within the urinary tract: kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra. Most frequently, UTIs involve the bladder and can be called a... Read more »

Difficult Behaviors at Home

Why is my mom ruder/meaner/more difficult for me than for anyone else? When we have visitors or when we are out in public, my husband “pulls it all together” and appears “normal” to everyone else. But when we get home, the bottom falls out. I am the bad guy. Everything gets taken out on me.... Read more »

A Mental Refresh for a New Year

I think we can all agree that 2020 was not what any of us imagined it would be. Not even in our wildest dreams. We have faced illness, isolation, boredom, and fear, but also new diagnosis, stress, job changes, changes in living situations, and changes of pace in life. 2020 was hard, and I don’t... Read more »

Meal Hacks

When your loved one has dementia, many things in your life change dramatically. One of those things is roles in the home. One scenario we often hear is that Mom/Dad/Wife/Husband was the primary cook for the family. Now, that person can no longer cook, and the caregiver is left trying to figure out how to... Read more »

Preparing for the Holidays in 2020

The holidays are usually overwhelmingly busy. Parties to attend, family to visit and entertain, gifts to buy, dishes to make. It can all be too much - especially when you are caring for a loved one with dementia. But it doesn’t have to be this way. 2020 is the perfect year to simplify. The point... Read more »

Toileting

This is a subject that can be awkward to discuss.  But it’s something that caregivers often have questions about – anything and everything related to toileting.  There’s no taboo subjects here, just real advice for your real life, so let’s just flush this out (bad joke!).  As dementia progresses and individuals age, incontinence is a... Read more »

The Art of Redirection

Whatever type of dementia a person may have, there is a good chance that they will display some undesirable behaviors. Common Unwanted Behaviors Asking the same questions over and over Repeated requests Negative attitude about a subject, activity, or person Pacing Cursing Words or actions that express agitation Words or actions that express anger These... Read more »

Mental Health Check

Caring for a loved one with dementia is hard any day. It is especially difficult during a pandemic. So our question for you today is – How are you? How are you coping right now? Are you having trouble finding things to look forward to? Are you disappointed by canceled travel plans and gatherings? Are... Read more »

Advance Directives

End of life conversations are difficult to have. Many do not want to think about end of life for their loved ones or themselves, but these conversations are important. There is a common myth that making end of life decisions and discussing end of life wishes will hasten death. This is NOT true. Making these... Read more »

Decision Making

Caregivers are required make an overwhelming number of decisions every day – both for yourself and the person you are caring for. And some of those decisions are not easy to make. How do you deal with difficult decisions? What do you do when you are experiencing decision-making overload? Here are some things to remember... Read more »

Productive Activity

While we’re homebound and unsure about the future, it can be hard to find meaning in each day. We all need meaningful activity in our daily lives to feel a sense wellbeing. And those with dementia especially need meaningful activity to help them feel productive and valued. According to dementia specialist Teepa Snow, there are... Read more »

The Surprising Benefits of Exercise

In these uncertain times when we are all confined to our homes, we try to fill our days with engaging activities that will pass the time and minimize stress, anxiety, and worry. Although board and word games are a great way to pass the time, we must not forget good ol exercise! Daily physical activity... Read more »

Respectful Communication

It’s so important to be intentional and kind when we communicate with individuals with dementia.  There are many things that we can do to improve our communication, such as set a positive tone, be clear, and keep sentences short.  You can learn more communication tips from our previous blog post here. Another very important aspect... Read more »

Prioritizing Foot Care

Feet are usually the last thing on our minds when we think of health and wellness. They are “the low item on the totem pole.” Our feet are almost always covered and serve their purpose with little fuss. We may take extra care when sandal weather arrives, but otherwise, they aren’t a priority in the... Read more »

Backup Plans

Life is rocking along (not easily because you’re a caregiver, and caregiving isn’t easy).  But you are caring for your mom, and she is enrolled in an adult day program and enjoying it.  Or you are caring for your spouse, and you have in-home care to help several days a week.  Or your dad is... Read more »

Communicating with Your Doctor

As dementia progresses, your loved one’s physician will be an invaluable resource for you. You need to be able to ask questions and effectively communicate your concerns. These are our tips to make the most out communication with your loved one’s doctor: Have a physician that you trust. This is SO IMPORTANT! Because your loved... Read more »

Preparing for the Holidays

The holidays are busy. Parties to attend, family to visit and family to entertain, gifts to buy, dishes to make. It can all be too much - especially when you are caring for a loved one with dementia. But it doesn’t have to be this way. The point of the holidays isn’t all the stuff... Read more »

Thankfulness

I was planning to write a blog post on the benefits of thankfulness. I was going to talk about how gratefulness reduces stress and improves mood. I was going to share some tips on incorporating more thankfulness into your daily routine. But then I realized… instead of telling you how to be thankful, I should... Read more »

Hallucinations and Delusions

Often, people with dementia experience or believe things that are not real. This is called a hallucination or delusion. Hallucinations are false sensory experiences – perceiving something with your senses that isn’t real. Delusions are persistent false beliefs – believing something that isn’t real. These moments can be frightening. “There is someone living in my... Read more »

Self-Care for Caregivers

Being a caregiver is hard. Being a caregiver for a loved one with dementia is even harder. You hear it all the time: “You need to take care of yourself.” I’m sure caregivers get tired of hearing it because it is much easier said than done.Taking care of yourself takes time and effort that quite... Read more »

Dental Hygiene Tips

Most of us take our pearly whites for granted. We brush them morning and night. We floss. We get food stuck between our teeth and can get it out. We recognize when something hurts. People with dementia can’t always do these things, so their caregivers assume the responsibility. It isn’t easy to get an adult... Read more »

Can my loved one still stay home alone?

In the beginning stages of dementia, it is usually fine for your loved one to be left home alone for periods of time. As your loved one’s cognition declines, his/her ability to be alone declines. So it is important to reassess on a regular basis. Here are some scenarios to help you assess your loved... Read more »

Guilt and Caregiving

Let’s talk about guilt.  Many (if not all) caregivers struggle with guilt.  There’s guilt over being embarrassed by your loved one, guilt for wanting to get out of the house and be alone, guilt for taking the car keys away, guilt for moving your loved one into a memory care facility, guilt for not handling... Read more »

Wandering

Unfortunately, the news is full of reports of individuals with dementia who are missing. They were left sitting on a bench at the grocery store or mall and told to wait, but they aren’t there anymore. They have driven to a doctor’s appointment and been found hundreds of miles away. Their caregiver took a shower... Read more »

From the Nurse’s Desk: Infection

It is important to be on the lookout for signs of infection in people with Alzheimer’s and dementia. A person whose cognitive functioning is intact would tell us if he/she is in pain or doesn’t feel well. But dementia makes this process more difficult. Those with dementia can’t always express how they’re feeling. The key... Read more »

Television and Dementia

Let’s just admit it: Most of us watch TV more than we should. It’s an easy way to pass the time. Especially when it’s cold and rainy outside. Especially when you’re not as active as you used to be. And especially when you have dementia. TV seems like a good time filler. Television isn’t a... Read more »

From the Nurse’s Desk: Dehydration

Dehydration is something that gets talked about a lot in the summer months, but it’s a problem all year round. In the winter, we may not feel as thirsty, so we don’t drink enough. Also, central heat creates a dry environment, meaning we need more fluids to make up for the dryness. Dehydration is a... Read more »

Transitioning to Long Term Care

Moving your loved one into a dementia care residence or skilled nursing home is difficult for all parties involved. Here’s some suggested Dos and Don’ts to make the transition easier for you and your loved one. If you have questions about your specific situation, please give us a call at 901-854-1200. We’d be happy to... Read more »

Support Group Benefits

Recently, I sat in a Page Robbins support group, and one caregiver mentioned that a way she takes care of herself is by coming to support groups. She asked: “Why doesn’t everyone else come to these meetings? I know we aren’t the only people that need support.” That got me thinking about the perception of... Read more »

Finding Joy

Dementia is a hard. It’s hard for the person diagnosed: learning to adapt, trying to keep up appearances, coping with the loss of their own abilities. It’s hard for caregivers: constantly grieving little losses of their loved one, stressing over important decisions, losing sleep, answering the same questions repeatedly. Because dementia makes life so difficult,... Read more »

Guard Your Words

All too often we hear caregivers talk about their loved one with dementia as if that person is not there. What caregivers don’t realize is the impact words still have on their loved one. I don’t think family members are ill intentioned and meaning to talk about their loved one in a negative way. Families... Read more »

Activities for Meaningful Engagement

Activities are a great way for you to engage with your loved one. Engagement is any time a person with memory loss joins in on the conversation, the action, and/or the process. Your loved one with memory loss needs to feel like he/she belongs and needs to feel productive. Those with memory loss still have... Read more »

Long-Distance Caregiving

Caring for a loved one from a distance has its own struggles. If no other family lives near your aging parents, how do you ensure someone is looking out for them? If another family member is caring for your loved one with memory loss, how do you help? You may feel helpless, but you are... Read more »

Caregiving Mythbusters

There are many myths related to dementia and caregiving. And believing them isn’t doing you or anyone any favors, so let’s bust some myths. Myth: I can handle everything myself. I don’t need any help. Reality: You will need help. Don’t be afraid to ask for it. Caregiving is physically and emotionally hard. You will... Read more »

Planning Ahead

One of the struggles we often hear from caregivers is that it is so hard to plan. It is hard to plan for what life will be like in a year, 6 months, or even next week. Dementia is unpredictable. Things can be fine and suddenly your loved one has a major decline and doesn’t... Read more »

Caregiver Hacks

Life is hard. The struggle is real… am I right?! It is difficult is to get everything done. Add in caring for someone with dementia, and life just gets more complicated and stressful. But thankfully, there are shortcuts that can lighten the load. You don’t have to do things the way you’ve always done them.... Read more »

The Importance of Touch

Have you ever considered the importance of touch in your daily life? I love the feeling of my 8-year-old son jumping into my arms, his arms wrapped around my neck for a giant hug first thing in the morning. I love when my 11-year-old daughter, who is now as tall as I am, puts her... Read more »

Activities at Home

It can be difficult to find activities to do with your loved one at home any time, but the cold winter months are especially difficult when the days are short and the nights long. We’ve compiled a list of activities for you to do with your loved one, and we hope this list will spark... Read more »

New Year’s Resolutions

Have you ever made a New Year's Resolution that just didn't stick? Maybe it was to exercise every morning or to floss every night or to read one book a week or to go some place new each weekend. You started these goals out with great gusto - new year, new you! But eventually... things... Read more »

Music and Dementia

Christmas music is EVERYWHERE right now: in the car, at the grocery store, in the elevator, on hold on the phone. Have you ever noticed just how many places we hear music? Music is everywhere, and whether it’s in the background or turned up as far as it will go, music affects us and is... Read more »

Tips for Mealtime

The following are tips for enjoying meals with your loved one with memory loss. As always, if this blog post sparks a question or if you need advice for your specific situation, give us a call at 901.854.1200. We would be happy to help! Simplify. Eat at the table, not in front of the TV.... Read more »

The Importance of Laughter

Knock. Knock. “Who’s there?” “Humor.” “Humor who?” “Humor me for a second and read this blog post.” We know… we should stick to the caring and supporting and leave the knock, knock jokes to someone else. If you made it through that joke without cringing or scrunching your face up in confusion, we applaud you.... Read more »

The Race of Endurance

I have heard it said that caregiving is not a sprint but a race of endurance. Maybe you’ve just begun the race, but you’re already feeling out of breath. Or perhaps you have been caring for a loved one for several years and are thinking, “I’m too worn out. I just can’t do this anymore.”... Read more »

Home Safety Tips

As they say, home is where the heart is (and where we spend a lot of time), so it’s important to keep your home happy and safe. When you care for someone with dementia, there are new things to consider when thinking about the safety of your home. The goal of home safety is to... Read more »

Traveling and Dementia

It’s time for travels and vacations. Exciting? Yes! Stressful? Double Yes! Getting ready for a trip can be a lot of work and even more so when you are traveling with a loved one who has memory loss. Here are some ideas to help make traveling a bit easier and safer. Plan wisely. Avoid travel... Read more »

Choosing a Residential Placement

Being a caregiver is incredibly stressful: addressing daily care needs, managing bills, going to medical appointments, making meals, and keeping up the house. In addition to these things, making decisions about your loved one’s care is difficult. Caregivers spend a great deal of time stressing over if they should place a loved one in a... Read more »

Communication Tips

We all need people in our lives. We all need to feel a connection and be a part of something. This need to belong does not go away when someone has dementia. Recently, we’ve been talking a lot about caregiver isolation with our #iCareforCaregivers campaign, but caregivers aren’t the only ones who are isolated. Often... Read more »

Caregiver Wish List

One struggle that we often hear from caregivers is that they feel alone and isolated. Caregivers say that family and friends no longer come around. One caregiver said, “When we go out to a family event or get together, it’s like we have a bubble around us, and no one wants to penetrate that bubble... Read more »

31 Ways to Care for Caregivers

To kick off our #iCareforCaregivers campaign, we're sharing a list of 31 ways you can care for caregivers. Want to learn more about #iCareforCaregivers and how you can join in on the sharing and caring? Check out the official webpage at pagerobbins.org/icareforcaregivers. We encourage you to think of a caregiver you know and do one... Read more »

Accepting the Diagnosis

No one expects to be a caregiver to a loved one with dementia. No one plans for life to turn out this way, just as your loved one never planned on having dementia. Maybe you had plans to enjoy retirement, to travel, visit family, and spend time with grandchildren. Perhaps you are still working and... Read more »

Vision and Dementia

Seeing and understanding our world is a multi-step process – our eyes take in an image, that image is then sent to our brains (along with information from the other senses), and then the brain processes the image using the information gathered and past experience to make sense of what is being seen. When someone... Read more »

Caregiving and the Holidays

The holidays can be stressful. No surprise, right? We tend to spend the holiday months in a blur of activities. Parties, family get-togethers, church activities... the list goes on and on. The holidays are also a time for family traditions – donning Christmas aprons to make homemade desserts, decorating the tree with heirloom ornaments, driving... Read more »

Advance Directives

The greatest gift my mother ever gave me came the week after my daddy died. Daddy had undiagnosed stomach cancer that had been diagnosed as an ulcer and treated accordingly. The blood work showed something else was terribly wrong: the malignancy had metastasized throughout his body. He died 4 days after being hospitalized. We had... Read more »

Should you be concerned?

Several members of our staff had a movie night recently and watched Still Alice. We all remarked about what a well done movie it was and how true to life many things were – like how everyone initially overlooked her “slips” and odd choices of words until the lapses were too significant to misunderstand. Many... Read more »

Partnering with Your Doctor

While caring for your loved one, there will be times that you will need to consult with your loved one’s physician for a variety of reasons. Visits to see a physician may be an overwhelming experience for your loved one and may cause anxiety, which can make the appointment not go so well. It is... Read more »

Benefits of Adult Day Services for Caregivers

Earlier in May, the Commercial Appeal and other local newspapers featured a wonderful article on the benefits of adult day services for caregivers. The article references a study conducted by researchers at Penn State and the University of Texas at Austin. This study found that, on days their loved one participated in an adult day... Read more »

Safeguarding Against Falls

Unfortunately, falls are common and frightening for the one who falls as well as for caregivers. The elderly are at a greater risk for falls than other age groups due to frailty, side effects of some prescription medications, such as sedatives, and mobility issues. The CDC reports that 1 in 3 adults over the age... Read more »

Overcoming Personal Care Challenges

For those with dementia, personal care routines, such as nail clipping, bathing, dressing, and eating, that were once simple are no longer so. These activities of daily living are a process, with steps to follow and decisions to be made. Because individuals with dementia are not able to understand the steps needed to complete a... Read more »

Keeping Your Loved One Safe and Sound from Wandering

All too frequently we hear a media report about an individual with some form of dementia being lost. The family will often report that they were planning to take away his car keys, or that she had never wandered away before…. The best advice I can give to you is that wandering and disorientation will... Read more »

Bathing and Dementia

We've all done it – stepped into a shower at a hotel or a friend’s house and not been able to immediately figure out just how to turn it on! When individuals with dementia clearly have difficulty with linear thought processes (If I do A, then B should occur.), it should come as no surprise... Read more »

What Would My Loved One Do at an Adult Day Care?

For National Adult Day Services Week, we want to raise some awareness about the benefits of adult day services. Help us spread the word by sharing what adult day programs have to offer! Many people have a very misguided notion that an adult day care center “warehouses” individuals and that they sit and do nothing... Read more »

Quick Tips for Travel

In lieu of our last blog post, we have compiled a list of printable and shareable tips for those traveling with a loved one with dementia. Quick Tips for Travel These quick tips include: 3 essentials to have for all types of travel Advice on car and air travel Advice for hotel stays This list... Read more »

Tips for Traveling with a Loved One with Dementia

Traveling with an individual with dementia can be tricky. And while he or she is not going through a second childhood, I would ask that you think back to a time when you were traveling with an infant or toddler to think of some of the things you did to prepare for such a trip.... Read more »

Caregiver Newsletter

Subscribe to our monthly caregiver email, Caregiver Connection. At the first of each month, we’ll send you an email with a list of caregiver support groups and a Care & Share blog post.

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