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Alzheimer’s / Dementia: Is It Time to Find Help?

Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014

Witnessing a loved one suffer with Alzheimer’s disease or any other type of dementia is one of the toughest things we ever have to endure. It’s like watching a loved one’s personality slowly being erased.

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    Kenny Higdon, owner of 5 Star Home Care, with Luther Masingill

To help seniors maintain their independence and stay in their homes for as long as possible, 5 Star Home Care offers constant companion care/sitting services and are available 24/7.

“This helps because if a parent with Alzheimer’s is left at home, they will sometimes ‘take the car out for a drive’ and end up hundreds of miles away, lost and with no idea where they are. This actually happened to someone I spoke with last year,” said 5 Star Home Care owner Kenny Higdon.

According to experts, common early signs of Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias include:

• Memory loss

• Repetition

• Language Problems

• Personality Changes

• Disorientation and Confusion

• Lack of Hygiene

• Odd Behavior

If a loved one is exhibiting these warning signs, a doctor’s visit is in order for an evaluation. 5 Star works with family members to make sure seniors with Alzheimer’s or other dementia take their medications as needed.

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“The senior suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia mostly remembers the past and won’t remember current things such as when it’s time to take a bath, clean the house or even eat. We at 5 Star Home Care are not only there to remind them it’s time to do these things, but we also assist them to perform these essential tasks,” Higdon said.

5 Star Home Care also works with affected seniors on memory exercises that improve cognitive function. Someone with dementia is typically unable to concentrate on more than one thing at a time, so avoiding distractions becomes particularly important.

The staff at 5 Star Home Care are trained to show patience and compassion to their clients. They communicate with seniors by being gentle, encouraging and empathetic. Family members, often frustrated and saddened by a loved one’s mental decline, can feel immense pressure if they attempt to balance career, their own homes and caregiving responsibilities as well.

The family may feel as if their only option is to move the senior with Alzheimer’s or dementia into a nursing home or other facility for aroundthe-clock third party care, but removing the loved one from a familiar environment when they are already having difficulty remembering recent events can add to their confusion and angst.

Sometimes the best option for everyone involved is bringing in someone equipped with the skill, experience, and temperament to better cope with an aging senior in need of memory care – someone like the staff of 5 Star Home Care. It’s absolutely heartbreaking to a family member who attempts to care for a loved one suffering from Alzheimer’s who cannot remember their history or connection, much less express appreciation for the sacrifices being made on their behalf.

Dementia sufferers have good days and bad days, just like everyone else.

Researchers say about 80% of people with Alzheimer’s experience anosognosia, a lack of awareness that one is impaired. Such a mental state is particularly difficult for family members to cope with because it can manifest as paranoia, denial, difficulty managing money or bills, or becoming angry when confronted about forgetfulness, lack or self-care or poor decision making.

Mood swings are part of age-related memory issues. It’s not uncommon for the senior to become upset or angry for no particular reason. He or she may withdraw from things they usually enjoy. They may act suspicious of family members or be uncharacteristically trusting of telemarketers. They may place things in inappropriate places such as keys in the freezer or milk under the sink.

5 Star Home Care provides a structured schedule of tasks and specialized training to understand how to deal with those suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia.

Higdon said it’s tragic and painful to watch minor forgetfulness gradually morph into severe impairment, but 5 Star exists to help seniors stay in familiar environments for as long as possible.

About 5 Star Home Care

Higdon started 5 Star Home Care after witnessing the sacrifices his own mother had to make to become a caregiver after she simply couldn’t find anyone she trusted to watch after his grandmother.

Realizing how precious our seniors are, 5 Star employs the most qualified caregivers who are hired only after undergoing careful background checks and drug screens. The company’s procedures are tailored to work towards constant monitoring, care management and never placing the senior at risk of being left without care.

5 Star Home Care services the State of Tennessee, with its headquarters located in Chattanooga.

Home care services exist to provide the basic services that facilities do – light housekeeping, meal preparation and social activities – without removing the senior from the familiarity of home. It is a cost efficient alternative to an assisted living facility that preserves the aging loved one’s sense of freedom and comfort.

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