The importance of keeping our minds engaged as we age cannot be overstated. In fact, Dr. Dharma Singh Khalsa, President & Medical Director of the Alzheimer’s Research & Prevention Foundation, recommends at least 20 minutes of brain aerobics, three times a week, to maximize memory and brainpower.
Whether you live far away or need to keep your distance from your parent to avoid exposing them to dangerous viruses, virtual caregiving technology makes it possible to connect with them and monitor their safety. And these tools aren’t just for the tech-savvy. Even if you rely on your grandkids to teach you how to make a call on your smartphone, you can provide effective virtual care.
Is your loved one insisting that it’s time to visit their sibling who has long since passed away? Are you finding yourself bracing to break the news to them…again? Unfortunately, for seniors living with dementia, this is a common occurrence. But each time you break the news to them, it can feel like the first time they are hearing it, bringing about fresh grief every time, making it extremely painful for them and nearly as painful for you.
Your father calls for you – repeatedly -- in the middle of the night because, apparently, he thinks you hate sleep. Your mother interrupts you every ten minutes, insisting she needs the bathroom because, apparently, she thinks you could use the exercise. You, of course, answer their calls every time because every time could be the time Dad fell or Mom has to go. But why do they cry wolf?
You overhear your Veteran dad regaling his buddies with tales of his days as a fighter pilot. While it’s true he was in the Air Force, he fixed planes, he didn’t fly them. Who is he trying to impress with those lies? you ask yourself. Your mom says a stranger broke in and ate the rest of the cereal – that you watched her finish off this morning. Why would she even say such a thing? you wonder. It’s a silly thing to lie about, and it’s not even believable!
As families everywhere adjust their 2020 traditions, their loved ones with dementia may sense that their holiday celebrations aren’t ‘quite right’ but not understand why. As the past ten months have taught frustrated family caregivers, explanations of why they can’t maintain social traditions this year won’t work.
According to the CDC, one in four adults over 65 falls each year, and one in five falls causes serious injury. Falls can range in severity, from cuts and bruises to broken bones to traumatic brain injury, loss of mobility and independence, or even death. But falling is not part of normal aging, and anyone of any age can reduce their risk by building strength and addressing potential hazards to regain their confidence.