How to Respond When a Senior with Alzheimer’s Is Agitated

How to Respond When a Senior with Alzheimer’s Is Agitated

Agitation is a common symptom among adults with Alzheimer’s disease. When a person is agitated, they may become annoyed or restless with seemingly little to no provocation. A loved one who is agitated may fidget, pace, or repeat behaviors.

It can be difficult for caregivers to watch their loved ones in distress, and naturally, they want to help. In most cases, something is causing this reaction. By understanding why their loved ones are experiencing these feelings, caregivers can learn how to respond.

Understanding Agitation in Adults with Alzheimer’s

  1. Physical discomfort

When a person with Alzheimer’s disease experiences physical discomfort, their condition can make it difficult for them to identify the source of their distress. Other times, they may have trouble putting their symptoms into words. The inability to articulate their feelings can cause them to become agitated. Hunger, constipation, and sleep deprivation are common causes of physical discomfort that can contribute to agitated behavior.

Sometimes, discomfort causes pain. A love one’s body language may tell you what is bothering them. Do they hold or rub a particular area of their body repeatedly? Does their skin appear dry or irritated? If you suspect your loved one is in pain and you can’t identify the cause, it’s usually a good idea to ask their doctor.

  1. Overstimulation

Dementia can cause a person to become overstimulated quickly. Too many people talking at once and large crowds can overwhelm them and cause them to become agitated. Other forms of excess stimulation include clutter or background noise from the television or radio.

Caregivers can help by limiting the number of stimuli in a loved one’s environment. For example, keep music low and limit the number of people in their space. If you need to go to the store, go during times when it is less crowded.

  1. Change in routine

Sticking to a routine is important for people with dementia. It lets them know what to expect and allows them to carry out their responsibilities independently. Because change causes people with Alzheimer’s to rely on their memory as opposed to their habits, they may become frustrated as they try to adapt.

It may help to let your loved one know in advance about changes in routine. For example, remind them of upcoming appointments several times. Also, be sure to let them know when friends and family are scheduled to visit.

Validate Feelings

When a loved one is agitated, do your best to remain calm. Just because the disease is causing their feelings doesn’t make them any less valid. Your loved one will appreciate you taking time to understand why they are upset and figuring out ways to help.

Heritage Senior Communities

If you are struggling to manage your loved one’s Alzheimer’s symptoms, it may be time to consider memory care. Heritage Senior Communities provides specialized dementia care across Michigan. Because our communities are designed for people with dementia, they can help reduce many symptoms, including agitation. Contact us today to learn more.

Lifestyle Choices That Lower Your Risk of a Heart Attack

Lifestyle Choices That Lower Your Risk of a Heart Attack

Dear Donna,

World Heart Day is coming up, and it has me thinking about my health. Both of my parents have had a heart attack, and I am afraid I will have one, too.

What can I do to lower my risk of a heart attack?

Talia from Holland, MI

Improving Your Heart Health through Lifestyle Changes

Dear Talia,

It’s great you are being proactive about protecting your heart. Cardiovascular disease is the number one health condition in older adults and the world’s leading cause of death for men and women. Cardiovascular disease, also referred to as heart disease, is an umbrella term for the narrowing or blocking of blood vessels that can lead to a variety of complications, including a heart attack.

Although some factors that increase your risk of a heart attack are uncontrollable, including age and genetics, there are many elements you can control. Here are a few lifestyle changes that can help keep your heart healthy.

Tips for Reducing Your Risk of a Heart Attack

  • Eat a heart-healthy diet: A heart-healthy diet is one of the best ways you can protect your heart. When planning your meals, try to limit trans and saturated fats, added sugars, and salt. Instead, opt for foods with healthy fats, like salmon and almonds. Also eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Exercise regularly: Research has consistently shown exercise can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol, which increase the risk of heart disease. Seniors can reap the benefit by exercising for at least 150 minutes per week.
  • Learn healthy ways to manage stress: Stress is a normal part of life. But because it raises your blood pressure and heart rate, chronic stress can negatively impact your heart health. Seniors can benefit from learning how to cope with stress healthily. Many people find success with relaxing activities like meditation or talking to friends and family.
  • Get enough sleep: Sleep is essential for the heart to function efficiently. Not getting enough sleep is linked to cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease. Seniors should do their best to get at least seven hours of sleep per night.
  • Limit your alcohol intake: Drinking too much alcohol can have many adverse side effects. It can raise the levels of unhealthy fats in the blood, increase blood pressure, and may even result in heart failure or a stroke. While avoiding alcohol is best for most people, some seniors can get away with reducing their intake. As a general rule, women should limit themselves to one drink per day, while men shouldn’t consume more than two.

Adopting a Heart-Healthy Lifestyle

When it comes to reducing your risk for a heart attack, adopting a healthy lifestyle can make a world of difference. While genetics affect your risk, they make up only a fraction of the equation. By focusing on factors you can control, like your lifestyle, you can give yourself a better chance at protecting your heart.

I hope you can incorporate some of these lifestyle tips into your daily routine!



Heritage Senior Communities Encourages a Heart-Healthy Lifestyle

At Heritage Senior Communities, including our Appledorn location, we encourage our residents to live a healthy lifestyle. We offer heart-healthy meal choices and plenty of opportunities to exercise. Contact us today to learn more about our communities.

5 Ways Seniors Can Sit Less and Move More

5 Ways Seniors Can Sit Less and Move More

You may have heard the phrase “sitting is the new smoking.” This expression comes from several studies that suggest a sedentary lifestyle may be worse than smoking for some people. While the idea of comparing sitting to smoking may be difficult to understand, the risks associated with sitting for long periods are difficult to ignore.

A sedentary lifestyle has been linked to:

  • Increased risk of disability
  • Increased risk of developing chronic health problems, like diabetes and heart disease
  • Negative effects on mental health
  • Higher risk of becoming overweight or obese
  • Shorter life expectancy
  • Greater risk of falling

The best way to avoid many of the health risks associated with too much sitting is to become active. If you’ve lived a sedentary lifestyle for a long time, it can be overwhelming to think about starting a new exercise program.

You may have reasons why you feel discouraged about exercising, including health problems, limited mobility, or aches and pains. However, becoming active is far simpler than you anticipate. Here are a few ways seniors can incorporate more physical activity into their daily routine.

Physical Activities for Seniors

  1. Walking: Walking is an excellent exercise for older adults. It has been linked to a variety of health benefits, including a reduced risk of falling, a lower chance of a heart attack, and improved mental health. Even better, it only requires a pair of good walking shoes. A brisk ten-minute walk after each meal is a great place to start.
  2. Swimming: Swimming is great for seniors because it is a low-impact exercise. This means it is easier on the body than other forms of exercise. This makes swimming particularly great for seniors with limited mobility or stiff joints.
  3. Yoga: Yoga is another great activity for seniors. It improves strength, endurance, and mobility, which are essential for older adults. One of the best things about yoga is it can be adapted for any skill level.
  4. Tai Chi: Tai Chi is an exercise that combines slow, graceful movements with breath control. Because it is gentle, it is an excellent option for seniors who are just starting to incorporate exercise into their routine.
  5. Senior fitness classes: Taking classes designed for seniors is another way older adults can get active. There are a wide variety of options to suit every need, interest, and fitness level. For example, Zumba is fun for those who like to dance. Strength training classes may be better for those who want to build muscle.

The Benefits of Exercise Extend beyond Prevention

Regardless of your age, it’s never too late to start exercising. Getting fit isn’t just about preventing chronic illnesses. Exercise comes with many benefits, including improved sleep, a faster metabolism, and better physical and mental health.

Heritage Senior Communities Encourages an Active Lifestyle

In addition to assisting seniors with the tasks of daily living, Heritage Senior Communities also provides plenty of opportunities for seniors to be active. Contact us today to schedule a tour.

What Are the Differences between Home Care and Assisted Living?

What Are the Differences between Home Care and Assisted Living?

Dear Donna,

My mother lives on her own, and her arthritis is making it difficult for her to keep up with a few basic tasks. She says she could use some assistance. We have narrowed down our options to home care and assisted living, but we are having trouble deciding between the two.

What are the differences between home care and assisted living?

Jill from Saline, MI

Understanding the Differences between Home Care and Assisted Living

Dear Jill,

When an aging parent needs assistance, it can be tough to know where to turn. It’s not uncommon for seniors and family members to be torn between receiving care at home or in an assisted living community. Both options provide many benefits, but your decision will depend on your family’s unique needs.

Here are a few of the main differences between home care and assisted living.

Understanding Home Care

Home care, more specifically private duty home care, is a type of support provided to seniors in their house. Its purpose is to enable older adults to remain living in their homes safely. Depending on the person’s needs, professional caregivers can help with anything from light housekeeping to preparing meals and running errands.

Your loved one may benefit from home care if:

  • They need minimal to moderate assistance.
  • They need help with nonmedical activities for a few hours a day.
  • Their home is senior-friendly and safe.
  • They have an active social life.

Private duty home care is usually a short-term solution. If their care needs extend beyond a few hours a day or what a home caregiver can provide, they may find an assisted living community better meets their needs.

Assisted Living Explained

Like home care, assisted living supports seniors with the activities they need to remain independent, but in a community setting. Residents live in a home-like environment, but have access to caregivers around the clock. This service alone can bring seniors and their families peace of mind.

Assisted living may be best for your loved one if:

  • They have mobility challenges.
  • They have Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia.
  • Their home is an unsafe place to live.
  • They don’t have many opportunities to socialize.
  • They require moderate to extensive assistance to remain independent.

Deciding between Home Care and Assisted Living

When it comes to choosing between home care and assisted living, the answer is rarely easy. Both home care and assisted living come with many benefits. By assessing your loved one’s needs and understanding your options, you are more likely to find a solution that benefits your family.

I hope this helps you better understand the differences between home care and assisted living.



Heritage Senior Communities

At Heritage Senior Communities, including our Linden Square location, we encourage seniors and their families to visit our community. Contact us today to find out if our senior living options are a good fit for you or your senior loved one.