Saturday, February 29, 2020

Make the Time, Don’t Find the Time

If you've been a regular reader of the Dementia Society of America blog, you know that better heart health can lead to better brain health. Exercise is just one way to increase heart health, so, how do we make exercise a priority in our daily habits and among our countless distractions?

Most people are just kind of trucking through their day, trying to get through their tasks and to-do lists. That might involve getting their kids from school, work-related tasks, and hopefully having some time to spend time with friends or make a quick appearance at the gym.

One very telling trend is the number of people that buy a gym membership, yet fail to use it. While several different studies are posting similar statistics, it is estimated that 73% of people with a gym membership either fail to use it at all or use it so infrequently that it imparts no long term health benefits.

The usual trend is that there are a lot of people who sign up for a year-long gym membership as part of a New Year’s resolution. They get this membership with the best of intentions, but by the middle of January or early February, the vast majority of them have stopped going to the gym. One of the most common excuses use is that their lifestyle doesn’t allow them the time to work out regularly.

I have found that the key to developing a successful long-term exercise routine is to develop a mindset of making the time, instead of finding the time.

You should approach it with the same mentality you would if you were scheduling an office meeting every Monday, or making sure that you’re picking up your kids from school at the same time every day.

Some talk about how juggling their career and family, along with other responsibilities, can be a huge obstacle. While this does present challenges and imposes demands on our time, there are those with even more on their plate that still make it a point to make the time to exercise.

The bottom line is that you need to make the time to exercise, because if you try to find it; the day will get by you and you’ll end up sitting on your couch worrying about our waistline while your brain and everything else suffers as a result of not exercising the way you should.

Contributor: Dr. Michael Trayford is a Board-Certified Chiropractic Neurologist and Founder of APEX Brain Centers in Asheville, NC. For more information, please visit https://apexbraincenters.com/

The opinions expressed by contributing authors are not necessarily the opinions of the Dementia Society, Inc. We do not endorse nor guarantee products, comments, suggestions, links, or other forms of the content contained within blog posts that have been provided to us with permission, or otherwise. Dementia Society does not provide medical advice. Please consult your doctor. www.DementiaSociety.org

Monday, January 27, 2020

Take into Consideration: Planning for the Long Term


Much of Dementia care boils down to anticipating and planning for challenges you will face.

As a first step, the person or persons responsible for a loved one's care must have the legal rights to do so. Legal permission involves becoming the designated power of attorney (POA), or under certain circumstances, the conservator and guardian.

The amount and type of long term care your loved one needs is one of the first decisions you and your family will make.

Concerning home care, who will be the primary caregiver? What happens if it becomes neither realistic nor safe to shoulder caregiving responsibilities alone? Is the next step hiring a paid caregiver? Is the paid caregiver one that you hire or one contracted through a home care service? What are the criteria that make it necessary to transition your loved-one from home to an assisted living facility?

Some individuals fervently believe they will be his or her loved one’s caregiver throughout the illness. However, as is often the case, circumstances change. Therefore, you must anticipate and plan for modifications in the type and amount of care your loved one may eventually need. 

Research the options before you need them!

Contact your friends to discover if they know of a reliable caregiver or affordable homecare support. Look into non-profit organizations that provide various types of home care services. Visit assisted living facilities, speak with the director, ask about the services included in their monthly fees, view their inspection reports, and tour the facility. Learn the differences between a continuum of care, independent living, assisted living, and memory or dementia care. Become familiar with the steps you must take before you can place your loved one in an assisted living facility.

It may be months or even years before you come to this cross-road. However, doing your homework will minimize the time and stress of needing to take, often on short notice, this big step.

Developing the “what, if then, or buts” of medical care is another feature of a long-term care plan. Will your loved-one receive care from his or her family doctor or a Dementia care specialist? Research palliative and hospice care to be sure that preconceived ideas do not color your views. Learn about the purposes for palliative and hospice care, the best time to initiate them, and how they impact quality-of-life and end-of-life care. These last decisions are prone to family conflict and long-lasting feelings of ill-will.

A long term care plan includes funeral arrangements as well as various estate considerations. It’s not ghoulish to plan for the funeral. Cremation, embalming with or without embalming fluid, and burial location – are a few of many examples of the difficult and emotional decisions families make.

Prepare yourself for the eventual transition from caregiver to the representative of the estate. What are the responsibilities and the steps you must take to close the estate?

A long term care plan helps families navigate the challenges that dementia care present. Be sure to frequently review, update, and revise your loved one’s long term care plan.

Contributor: Janet Yagoda Shagam, Ph.D., is a freelance medical and science writer and the author of “An Unintended Journey: A Caregiver's Guide to Dementia.” Available through Amazon.

The opinions expressed by contributing authors are not necessarily the opinions of the Dementia Society, Inc. We do not endorse nor guarantee products, comments, suggestions, links, or other forms of the content contained within blog posts that have been provided to us with permission, or otherwise. Dementia Society does not provide medical advice. Please consult your doctor. www.DementiaSociety.org