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We all have good days and bad days, and we’re all entitled to a little negative thinking or crankiness every now and then. If you are caring for a loved one who appears to have fallen into a routine of continuous negativity and complaining, however, it’s worth exploring whether a health issue might be the reason for these senior mood changes.

Here are several reasons for persistent negativity, and how you can help.

  1. Pain. A recent research study discovered that participants who had been enduring chronic pain reported an increase in negative moods, including anger, depression, anxiety, tension, fatigue, and more. It’s worthwhile to mention any of these mood changes with the doctor, as these kinds of mood changes actually impact the effectiveness of pain management treatments.
  2. Urinary tract infections. A UTI’s classic symptoms of burning, pain, and urgency to urinate can include additional side effects for seniors, including angry outbursts, confusion, irritability, along with other changes in behavior or mood. Check with the physician to rule out a urinary tract infection if you notice these kinds of atypical behaviors.
  3. Medication side effects. A wide range of medications – including those intended to help with mood, such as antidepressants – may cause problematic mood swings. Medications for blood pressure, seizures, and inflammation may cause behavioral and personality alterations in some people. Once again, talk with the doctor and go through every one of the senior’s prescriptions to figure out if the problem stems from one medication, or possibly the interaction of multiple medications together.
  4. Dementia. Mood and personality changes are typical in dementia. It is important to recognize that these changes are a symptom of the physiological changes in the brain, and are not a representation of the person’s own choices and decisions. There are medicinal and natural treatment options that can help the person feel calmer and less agitated that you may want to explore.

Negativity can arise from loneliness or boredom, too. Whatever the cause, chronic negativity can wear on a caregiver’s own sense of comfort and wellbeing. It is important to be able to step away from your care role on a regular basis, and to make this time away a top priority. The senior will also benefit from the chance to spend time with different friends, family members, or a professional caregiver. These breaks are a healthy part of your caregiver/care receiver relationship – for both of you.

As the leading provider of respite care in Reno, NV and nearby areas, our caregivers are great companions to help brighten the mood of the older adults we serve. All of our care staff are fully trained, background checked, and accomplished in a wide range of home care services for seniors. Contact us at (775) 507-3111 to learn exactly how we can help someone you love, while allowing you the time needed to rest and rejuvenate.

You’ve finally accepted that the family home is too much for you parents to handle. A small house became available just around the corner from you that’s perfect: a lovely flower garden in the front yard, a sunny, cheerful kitchen, and no stairs to navigate. Now it’s time to tackle the downsizing process. The only problem? Dad has dementia.

It can be challenging for seniors with dementia to accept change. Leaving the familiarity of home and moving into a new one can enhance feelings of agitation and anxiety, but there are strategies to help ease the transition.

  1. Take it slow. You may be tempted to make the process as quick as possible – like ripping off a band-aid. Even so, a more effective approach is taking time to talk through the upcoming changes with the senior, one step at a time. Maintain a consistent and calm demeanor, and empower the older adult to maintain as much control over the necessary decisions as possible.
  2. Create a system. Downsizing means a number of the older adult's possessions will have to be re-homed or discarded. Again, involve the senior in the decision-making process to the greatest extent possible. There will probably be specific items the older adult cannot stand to part with, which can be placed into storage if the new living arrangement is unable to accommodate them. If there are items the individual seldom sees or uses, however, it might be easiest to have those removed prior to involving the person in the process.
  3. Maintain memories. Take videos and/or pictures of some of the items being donated or discarded and use them to create a scrapbook for the senior. This allows the person to revisit the items whenever they would like, and can also be used to spark reminiscing and conversations following the move.
  4. Set up the new house yourself. Arrange the older adult's favorite furnishings and items of comfort in the new living environment before bringing them in. Include photographs of close friends and family near the bed, so they can see them when they go to sleep and first wake up. Then bring the senior loved one in, and assist with rearranging anything they’d like modified. This technique will lessen the anxiety that may occur for someone having to unpack and think through where to place items in a new environment.

Our professional dementia care team is fully trained, experienced, and highly skilled, and we’re available to help through the downsizing process and beyond. Contact us online or at (775) 507-3111 for more information about how our home care in Reno and the nearby areas can help.

“You are always free to choose what you do with your life. To make changes in your future, make new choices today.” – Brian Tracy

Technology can provide a variety of benefits to help seniors age in place.

Making a decision about where to live as you age is not easy. The vast majority of seniors would like to remain at home for a lifetime, but it is not without concerns. Can it be safe? How about mobility issues or other physical limitations? What if a senior falls and is unable get up?

Fortunately, there are plenty of solutions to help seniors age in place with peace of mind.  Technology, for instance, is regularly developing and evolving, providing answers to the challenges that could surface as we grow older. Just look at some of these tech devices and how they’re improving life at home for seniors!

Home Safety

Smart devices help seniors living alone, as well as their families, feel safer and more comfortable while they age in place in the comforts of home. Seniors can select from specific devices that meet a specific need, such as a smart door lock, doorbell, or fire alarm, or entire smart security packages with all of these features and more.

In addition, a smart speaker system such as Amazon Echo or Google Nest Audio operates by voice command, a vital feature to a home technology system. The older adult can simply say what they need, such as calling for assistance, and technology takes care of it.

Remote Patient Monitoring

Remote patient monitoring connects individuals to their physicians in ground breaking ways: wearable devices to trace vital signs, smart pill bottles with sensors, bio-ingestible capsules older adults can swallow, even electronic tattoos that can assess the progression of pneumonia. Remote patient monitoring takes telehealth to the next level, offering more detailed information on an individual's health condition than can be detected via a video chat.

Whole Home Automation

For people who want to jump into technology with both feet, a central control system will allow for a number of functions to be performed at the touch of a tablet or smartphone, such as lights, security camera systems, sensors, window shades, thermostat, music, Wi-Fi, and more.

Michael Miller, author of My Smart Home for Seniors, sums up the benefits of technology for older adults: “Technology helps all homeowners, but especially seniors, by automating things that are a pain or difficult to do.”

It goes without saying that a compassionate human touch is definitely necessary for safe and independent living at home, regardless of how many tech tools we utilize! Connect with Help at Home online or at (775) 507-3111 for customized home care in Reno and the nearby areas that helps older adults live life to the fullest.

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