On-line Dementia Care

According to The Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration (AFTD), Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD) refers to a progressive disease process which causes a group of brain disorders. These disorders result in cell damage to specific areas of the brain – the frontal lobes and/or the temporal lobes.  The atrophy of these nerve cells interferes with brain activity and causes a loss of function in these regions of the brain.

Frontotemporal Dementia is different from other types of dementia in two important ways:

  • The trademark of FTD is a gradual, progressive decline in behavior and language with memory usually remaining intact. As FTD progresses it gets more difficult for the person to plan or organize activities, interact with others appropriately, and care for themselves.
  • In the majority of cases, FTD occurs earlier in life in people between the ages of 45 to 65, although it has been seen in people as young as 21 and as old as 80.

Frontotemporal Dementia is often misdiagnosed as a psychiatric problem or a movement disorder, such as Parkinson’s Disease. This is because certain symptoms of FTD mimic other diseases and in other cases, individuals are considered “too young” to have dementia.  According to AFTD, Alzheimer’s Disease is another possible misdiagnosis; however, the largest difference is that FTD affects language and behavior, while AD affects memory. 

Brain image of FTD vs Alz: image from medschool.ucsf.edu

Image from medschool.ucsf.edu

FTD makes up about 10%-20% of all dementia cases and the course of FTD ranges from 2 to over 20 years. The average length is about 8 years from the beginning of symptoms. It affects both men and women and, in some cases, can be inherited.

According to HealthLine.com, symptoms of FTD differ depending on the area of the brain affected, but most symptoms fall under behavior or language.

Common Frontotemporal Dementia behavioral issues include:

  • Loss of empathy
  • Inappropriate actions
  • Compulsive behavior
  • Lack of inhibition or restraint
  • Neglect of personal hygiene and care

Common Frontotemporal Dementia language-related symptoms include:

  • Difficulty speaking or understanding words
  • Problems recalling language
  • Loss of reading and writing skills
  • Difficulty with social interactions

Cognitive and Emotional symptoms of FTD include:

  • Difficulty planning, organizing, and/or executing activities
  • Becoming less involved in daily routines
  • Abrupt mood changes
  • Apathy
  • Emotional withdrawal
  • Becoming distracted
  • Reduced initiative

FTD Movement symptoms include:

  • A difference in gait, such as walking with a shuffle
  • Tremors
  • Muscle weakness, or cramps
  • Clumsiness
  • Apraxia (Loss of ability to make motions which are usually common and easy, such as using utensils)

Proper diagnosis is crucial because some medications used to treat other types of dementia may be harmful to a person with FTD. Unfortunately,  AFTD reports no cures at this time. However, research is ongoing and rapidly increasing, and new drugs are beginning to be clinically tested.  

Most importantly, remember that those dealing with any form of dementia are not doing these things on purpose. When providing care, caregivers sometimes trigger behaviors without realizing it. By understanding more about the many different types of dementia, caregivers can begin to improve quality and enjoyment of life at whatever stage of dementia a person happens to be in.

Visit The Association for FrontoTemporal Degeneration

AFTD helpline: 866-507-7222


Learn about different types of dementia in our other blog posts!

Understanding Dementia

Understanding Alzheimer’s Disease

What is Vascular Dementia?

What is Lewy Body Dementia?

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Aspen Senior Care provides in-home care for seniors with all types of health challenges, including all forms of dementia.

Aspen Senior Day Center in Provo provides adult day care services (fun activities and personal care) for seniors with all types of dementia.

Contact Karen Rodgers, Family Caregiver Coach, for a free assessment to help you navigate the challenges of caregiving. You can reach her at 801-224-5910.

Visit aspenseniorcare.com or call our office at 801-224-5910 for more information.

It is helpful to begin by answering the question, what are Lewy bodies? Named after the scientist who discovered them, Lewy bodies are tiny abnormal protein deposits (also known as alpha-synuclein) found in the brain.

Lewy Body Dementia (LBD) is caused when Lewy bodies build up in the brain’s nerve cells. Eventually, Lewy bodies overtake the cells and cause them to die. They are so small they can only be seen with a microscope and can affect any part of the brain. According to The Lewy Body Dementia Association, these Lewy bodies affect individual’s behavior, sleep, body movements, and the ability to reason and make decisions. 

Image of a Lewy body in a neuron of the brain.

Unfortunately, LBD is believed to be underdiagnosed. This is due to overlapping symptoms found in Alzheimer’s as well as Parkinson’s Disease. 

Although the symptoms of LBD are similar to these diseases, LBD affects the brain differently. Because of this, getting an accurate diagnosis is important in managing this type of dementia. Some medications used to treat Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia may actually cause dangerous and permanent side effects in people with LBD.

Three Presentations of Lewy body dementia

Lewy body dementia is a term used to describe three related clinical diagnoses:

  • There are some individuals who present with neuropsychiatric symptoms (hallucinations, issues with difficult mental activities, and behavioral problems) which lead to an initial LBD diagnosis.
  • Some people may be initially diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease after experiencing movement disorders. Later they develop dementia and are diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease dementia (PDD).
  • Others will first experience memory and cognition disorders which can be mistaken as Alzheimer’s Disease. Over time these people develop more distinctive features of dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB), resulting in an accurate diagnosis of Lewy body dementia.  

According to The LBDA, “A rather arbitrary time cutoff was established to differentiate between DLB and PDD.  People whose dementia occurs before or within 1 year of Parkinson’s symptoms are diagnosed with DLB.  People who have an existing diagnosis of Parkinson’s for more than a year and later develop dementia are diagnosed with PDD.

Symptoms of Lewy Body Dementia include:

  • Detailed visual hallucinations
  • Individuals may experience depression, anxiety, agitation or other behavioral or mood symptoms
  • Difficulty with movements such as walking, tremors, or stiffness
  • Difficulty sleeping, interruptions to sleep, or vivid dreams
  • Losing the ability to manage body functions such as bladder or bowel control, blood pressure, or body temperature

Because Lewy bodies can affect many different parts of the brain, there are multiple symptoms that can occur. As more and more nerve cells deteriorate, symptoms can increase and become worse.

Treatments

At this time there is not a cure for Lewy body dementia and the course of treatment will vary from person to person. Because each person experiences different symptoms, and each symptom requires a different form of treatment, it is important to seek medical advice from a doctor to determine the best plan of care.

How you can help your loved one 

A woman with her arm around a friend

Learn what you can do to support your loved one.

The Alzheimer’s Society recommends developing tactics which may assist individuals who are experiencing symptoms. Making lists, writing events on the calendar, or setting reminder alarms can be good techniques to use for memory loss. Walks or other active daytime activities may help with sleep disturbances. Seeking professionals such as neurologists, or physical therapists may help with movement symptoms.

It is also recommended to reassure those experiencing hallucinations that you are there to help them and not that what they are experiencing is not real.

Most importantly, remember that those dealing with any form of dementia are not doing these things on purpose. When providing care, caregivers sometimes trigger behaviors without realizing it. By understanding more about the many different types of dementia, caregivers can begin to improve quality and enjoyment of life at whatever stage of dementia a person happens to be in.

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Learn about different types of dementia in our other blog posts!

Understanding Dementia

Understanding Alzheimer’s Disease

What is Vascular Dementia?

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Aspen Senior Care helps seniors with all types of dementia. We provide professional caregivers to assist them in their homes and to give the family caregivers the break they need.

Aspen Senior Day Center in Provo provides adult day care services (fun activities and personal care) for seniors with all types of dementia.

Contact Karen Rodgers, Family Caregiver Coach, for a free assessment to help you navigate the challenges of caregiving. You can reach her at 801-224-5910.

With so many families caring for a loved one with dementia, we decided it was important to have a family caregiver coach on our Aspen Team to support and encourage caregivers.

What is a Caregiver Coach?

Often families are so caught up in the day-to-day challenges of caregiving they don’t know where to go to find help. A caregiver coach is someone who meets with families and helps them find support and resources specific to their needs.

Our caregiver coaches will help you by:

  • educating families about the type of dementia their loved one has
  • offering ideas about creating a safe home environment
  • being a listening ear for caregiver challenges and frustrations
  • helping problem solve challenging behaviors and situations
  • finding support groups the caregiver might feel comfortable attending
  • helping families access respite, in-home care, and adult day programs in the area.

Aspen Senior Care has a Caregiver Coach!

Karen Rodgers is Aspen’s Family Caregiver Coach

Karen Rogers is our Family Caregiver Coach. She has received special training and has worked with the local Area on Aging to help families navigate the challenges of dementia care. She is a CNA and has served as a professional caregiver for 10 years and also as a supervisor. Karen is also currently a family caregiver to her in-laws.

Karen is happy to help anyone with questions or concerns about caregiving. She can help find community resources, support groups, or help families understand what is happening with their loved one’s illness and offer ideas about coping with challenging behaviors.

Here is an example of how Karen has helped some of our clients:

Recently Karen met with two amazing ladies who are in their 80’s. Rachel was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease last year and her friend, Barbara has been caring for her but having some difficulty keeping up with the changes Rachel was experiencing.  Food would disappear from the fridge and Barbara would find it several days later, spoiled in the garage or bedroom. Sometimes she’d never find it. Rachel couldn’t remember taking it or where she put it.  Barbara was also wearing herself out constantly caring for and supervising Rachel, who couldn’t be left alone for very long.

Clients love creating their own works of art at the Aspen Senior Day Center

Barbara and Karen brain-stormed about the food issue and Barbara ended up putting a safety lock on the fridge. She just uses it at night and it has helped with food disappearing.

Karen also suggested Rachel attend the Aspen Senior Day Center (an adult day care center) two times a week. Barbara was really hesitant about this at first, not thinking Rachel would like it. However, Rachel loves it! She has made some new friends and especially loves doing crafts. Barbara has decided she really likes it, too. She hadn’t realized how tired she was and now she uses this time to rest so she can enjoy time spent with Rachel when she comes home.

Aspen Senior Care takes a team approach to dementia care and wants to help you meet your caregiving goals!

Meeting with our Family Caregiver Coach is a complementary service we offer.

If you have questions please call us at 801-224-5910 or call Karen directly at 385-208-8709. We are here to be of service.

When a person is diagnosed with dementia, it affects the whole family.  Most families don’t know where to begin when it comes to finding help and resources.  Taking a team approach to dementia care is the best way to support families as they support their loved ones.

What is a team approach?

When we think about a team, we think about individuals working together towards the same goal. For families caring for a loved one with dementia, the goal is to provide good care as the disease progresses and also to support each other. Life doesn’t stand still for family members caring for their loved one. Families need to be able to continue with their hopes and dreams, even if some of those hopes and dreams have changed due to their loved one’s illness.We love working with our clients! It takes a team approach!

This is why a team approach to dementia care is so important.  There are agencies here in Utah County that share the same caregiving and quality-of-life goals for people with dementia that caregiving families have.  They offer dementia care education, respite care, and other kinds of support to these families.

Knowing where to find these resources can sometimes be a challenge, especially for families who have just received a diagnosis of dementia. This is where a caregiver coach can be of help.

A Caregiver Coach

Teams usually have a coach – someone who helps the team members by providing education, guidance, and support to help the team succeed. A Caregiver Coach helps families caring for loved ones with dementia. There are many resources available for such families –  the challenge is knowing where to find this information and what applies to their situation.

Each family caring for a loved one with dementia has unique challenges. A caregiver coach meets one on one with family caregivers and helps them find the right resources for them.

A family caregiver coach can:

  • educate families about the type of dementia their loved one has
  • offer ideas about creating a safe home environment
  • be a listening ear for caregiver challenges and frustrations
  • help problem solve challenging behaviors and situations
  • find support groups the caregiver might feel comfortable attending
  • help families access respite, in-home care, and adult day programs in the area.

    Caregiving takes a team

Aspen is here to help

The caregiving journey doesn’t have to be made alone. There are people who want to help and who know from experience the challenges families face. Aspen Senior Care takes a team approach to dementia care and wants to help you meet your caregiving goals. This is why we have a Caregiver Coach to help families meet the challenges of caregiving.  Meeting with our caregiver coach is a complimentary service we offer. To find out more about this service please call 801-224-5910. We are here to help!

 

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Learn about different types of dementia in our other blog posts!

Understanding Dementia

Understanding Alzheimer’s Disease

What is Vascular Dementia?

What is Lewy Body Dementia?

 

What is it?

Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common form of dementia and makes up about 60% to 80% of dementia cases.  However, many researchers believe this number is too high and that other forms of dementia may be under diagnosed. On average, a person diagnosed with Alzheimer’s will live with the disease for 4-8 years depending on the person’s health and age.  The majority of cases are people aged 65 and older.

In some cases, individuals with this disease aren’t diagnosed until they have had the disease for a few years because the symptoms come on gradually and can be confused with normal aging.

A healthy brain versus a brain affected by Alzheimer’s Disease.

What causes Alzheimer’s Disease?

Although there are ongoing studies, Alzheimer’s Disease is believed to be caused by protein build-up in the brain. These abnormal protein particles are called tangles and plaques and as these tangles and plaques start to attach to nerve cells in the brain, they block communication between the cells and also keep the cells from getting nutrients and oxygen to survive. When a nerve cell dies, that part of the brain shrinks causing the disease to gradually worsen over time. Subsequently, this begins to affect memory, thinking, and behavior as the brain’s “file system” is progressively removed.

Symptoms include:

  • Forgetting how to use common, everyday items
  • Forgetting how to do common activities, such as cooking and driving
  • Misplacing things and not being able to problem solve to find them
  • Becoming fearful or jealous of people
  • Unable to find the right words to speak or write
  • Repeating the same question over and over
  • Poor judgment about appropriate behavior
  • Confusion about time and place
  • Mood and personality changes
We Are People Who Have Alzheimer’s. We Are Not Alzheimer’s.

We Are People Who Have Alzheimer’s. We Are Not Alzheimer’s.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, there are different stages of the disease which will progressively worsen over time, although the disease will affect each individual differently. Initially, early-stage Alzheimer’s Disease will result in mild memory loss but as it progresses towards late-stage, the disease removes functionality and the ability to make conversation or respond to what is happening around one’s environment.  

Unfortunately, medication does not slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s Disease.  However, there are both drug and non-drug treatments which can help neurons in the brain to fire, aiding in cognitive and behavioral symptoms. 

 

To learn more about Alzheimer’s Disease and other Dementia related topics, visit our blog or the following websites:

Alzheimer’s Association  (24/7 Helpline: 1-800-272-3900 and Find Your Local Chapter)

NIH –  National Institute on Aging

Mayo Clinic

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Learn about different types of dementia in our other blog posts!

Understanding Dementia

What is Vascular Dementia?

What is Lewy Body Dementia?

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

At Aspen Senior Day Center in Provo, we provide adult day care services (fun activities and personal care) for seniors with all types of dementia.

Aspen Senior Care provides in-home care for seniors with all types of health challenges, including all forms of dementia.

Contact Karen Rodgers, Family Caregiver Coach, for a free assessment to help you navigate the challenges of caregiving. You can reach her at 801-224-5910.

Visit aspenseniorcare.com or call our office at 801-224-5910 for more information.

 

 

What is Dementia?

Dementia is not a specific disease, it is the term used to describe several different diseases of the brain which affect:

  • MemoryAspen Senior Care. We love our clients!
  • Language skills
  • Visual Perception (being able to see and understand what is being seen)
  • Capability to focus and pay attention
  • Capability to reason and make decisions

About Dementia

It is important to understand that dementia is more than just memory loss, it is brain failure. Dementia is caused by damage to brain cells thru a head injury, blockage to the blood flow, or certain types of proteins that build up and interfere with brain function.

Different parts of the brain are responsible for making different parts of the body work.  Therefore, the type of dementia a person has is determined by how and where the cell damage occurs in the brain. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, when the cells in the brain are damaged it prevents the brain from communicating efficiently. This can affect behavior, thinking, and feelings.

There are many different types of dementia. Dementia is an “umbrella” term used to cover many causes of brain failure.

The four most common types of dementia are:  Dementia is the term used to describe several different diseases of the brain which affect memory, language, and more.

  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Vascular Dementia
  • Dementia with Lewy Bodies
  • Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD)

It is not uncommon for a person to have two types of dementia combined, and this is called Mixed Dementia.  However, different brain imaging tools (PET Scan, MRI) can help determine which type of dementia one is dealing with. These scans can help solidify a diagnosis and are less invasive and more definitive.

Caregiver and client at an Aspen Senior Care event.

How can you support someone with dementia?

It is important for caregivers to have a general understanding of how dementia affects seniors and their families. While all dementia has some common characteristics, it’s helpful for caregivers to know the distinguishing characteristics of each type of dementia.

The more a caregiver knows about the type of dementia a senior has (if a diagnosis has been given) the more they will recognize and understand behaviors and learn how to use the positive approach when working with them.  However, it is important to remember that each person is unique and the course their disease follows will be unique.

Most importantly, remember that those dealing with dementia are not doing these things on purpose. When providing care, caregivers sometimes trigger behaviors without realizing it.

When they understand more about the many different types of dementia, caregivers will begin to improve quality and enjoyment of life at whatever stage of dementia a senior happens to be in.


Learn about different types of dementia in our other blog posts!

Understanding Alzheimer’s Disease

What is Vascular Dementia?

What is Lewy Body Dementia?

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Aspen Senior Care provides in-home care for seniors with all types of health challenges, including all forms of dementia.

Aspen Senior Day Center in Provo provides adult day care services (fun activities and personal care) for seniors with all types of dementia.

Contact Karen Rodgers, Family Caregiver Coach, for a free assessment to help you navigate the challenges of caregiving. You can reach her at 801-224-5910.

Visit aspenseniorcare.com or call our office at 801-224-5910 for more information.

Aspen Senior Care is excited to share some great on-line dementia care help for family caregivers!

With all of the information about dementia care out there, it can be an overwhelming task to sort through and figure out just what information is best and how it applies to your situation.

At Aspen, we understand the difficulties family members face while caring for loved ones with dementia and our goal is to be a source of support, education, and information to which family members may turn as they cope with the daily challenges of caregiving.

Learning from the best and looking for the positive

Because there is so much material on dementia care out there, we have looked long and hard to find up-to-date, quality information that is both useful and practical for families to implement, and we believe we have found this resource in Teepa Snow, a dementia care education specialist with over 30 years of experience in this field.

 

Teepa Snow,
Dementia Care Specialist

She has developed The Positive Approach to Care training series to help professional and family caregivers better understand the physical changes that happen with dementia, and develop skills to understand and care for people with dementia

Our professional caregivers use Teepa Snow’s Positive Approach to Care training series to better understand memory loss and how using this approach improves the quality of life for both the caregiver and the person receiving care.

The positive approach focuses on what individuals with dementia CAN do at each stage of the disease instead of focusing on the skills they have lost.

 

Online Caregiving Tips

With this in mind, we have put together a list of short video clips taken from Teepa Snow’s training DVDs. More can be found at Teepa’s YouTube channel and The Pines of Sarasota YouTube channel.

These are just a few of the on-line dementia care help available for family caregivers.  Aspen Senior Care has some of the full-length DVDs from which the above clips are taken. Family caregivers are welcome to come and watch the entire DVD if they would like. Just give us a call at 801-224-5910 to check on availability and schedule a time to come in.

Aspen Senior Care is here to help families meet the caregiving challenges they face. We want families to feel they aren’t alone, that there is hope and help available. Please visit our website at aspenseniorcare.com and call us at 801-224-5910 for more information. We’re here to help.

What is respite care?

Respite care is short-term care provided to a dependent, disabled, or elderly person with the purpose of giving the main caregiver a break from caregiving responsibilities. This is done while at the same time making sure your loved one is well cared for and able to follow his or her regular routine.

Respite care allows family caregivers to care for loved ones long-term, avoiding caregiver burnout. The care can be designed for a few hours, a day or for longer periods of time depending on what the caregiver needs and what type of care is needed and what services are available in your area.

What types of respite care are there?

There are several types of respite care available.

  • In-home care is provided by a licensed agency specializing in care for seniors or others needing special care. This may be for a short period of time or up to several days to a day, whatever the family caregiver might need in order to get a much-needed break or visit with family or friends. Respite care provided by an agency allows the caregiver peace of mind knowing their loved one is being cared for by someone who is trained to provide personal care, make nutritious meals, and handle challenging behaviors or situations that may come up.
  • Adult Day Care Centers provide licensed care during day-time hours, usually five days a week at a warm & welcoming facility. This is a great option for family caregivers who work during the day. Some caregivers choose to bring a loved one a few days a week on a regular basis.Adult day centers are a nice option in that they provide socialization, activities and nutritious meals. All adult day programs are NOT the same so it’s important to visit and ask questions when considering this type of respite option.
  • Specialized respite care facilities are places with staff trained for specific care, such as Alzheimer’s or dementia, where a loved one may stay for several days or a couple of weeks when the caregiver needs to go out of town or has other obligations.
  • Emergency respite care offers help and care on an emergency basis. Usually, home care agencies or respite care facilities offer this type of care.
  • Informal respite care is provided by family members or neighbors and usually allow a limited but much-needed break for the primary caregiver to run errands, go to a doctor’s appointment or simply take some time off from caregiving.dsc01792

What are the benefits of respite care?

Caring for someone with special needs can be overwhelming at times. Family caregivers today have family, work, church and community obligations on top of providing care for their loved-one.

They want to provide the best care and attention to everyone in their circle of influence but this is unrealistic and overwhelming. It can lead to caregiver burnout.

Respite care allows the caregiver to step back and take time for themselves, to refresh and recharge their energy and focus. It actually helps caregivers become better caregivers and take care of their responsibilities longer.

Dementia Orem, UtahIf you are interested in learning more about respite care options call Aspen Senior Care at 801-224-5910. We can help you find options and help determine what type of respite might be right for you. We provide in-home respite care and we also run the Aspen Senior Day Center in Provo which is an adult day center that specializes in working with individuals with Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia.

Visit our websites at www.aspenseniorcare.com and www.aspenseniorcenter.org to learn more about the services we provide and how we can help.