Discovery 2019, the 34th Annual Alzheimer’s Regional Conference, was sponsored by Aegis Living. Kathy Stewart, VP of Nursing for Aegis Living, talks about warning signs when it’s time to get help for dementia or Alzheimer’s.
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*The following is the output of transcribing from an audio recording. Although the transcription is largely accurate, in some cases it is incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors.
The following is a podcast from a qualified senior care provider part on the answers for elders radio show. And welcome everyone to answers for elders radio. And we are here at the Discovery Conference for the Alzheimer’s Association and we are so honored to be working with the Alzheimer’s Association and the primary sponsor for this event is wonderful ages living, who does so many amazing things for seniors who have Alzheimer’s and dementia. You guys are so well known and one of the key figures in your organization Cathy Stuart. She’s the vice president of nursing and I’m so honored to talk to you, Cathy. Thanks for having me. So thanks for having me. You know, you are kind of being the vice president of nursing and your medical staff. You’re assessing where people are in their progress, you know, as dementia, you know, escalates and things like that. Just curious like, if I’m a family out there, and I know I was for my mom, what are kind of the warning signs when it’s time to get help, like what would you say would be the prime that’s a great question and it may be a little bit different depending on your situation, and basically it’s the thing is you want to make sure your family’s safe at home and the things that you and care for properly and healthy and the things. You want to look at it. And if families are startled. They may not have seen their mom for a while or just around the phone, and they kind of visit, they’ll notice certain things that are red flag. They’ll notice that the hygiene that they remember their mother or father keeping up is very different. They don’t like to shower anymore, or they haven’t been keeping up the house and and their clothes or dirty, or they’re wearing the same outfit over and over and you’re wondering what is going on and this is this? Is this right? What should I do? Should I step in? Also, you’ll see that there’s less socialization as people decline in their home alone. They’re fearful for showing that to others. Somebody embarrassed. True. So, true, their embarrassed, and so they won’t go to the social activities that they used to do, and so they just kind of disappear and become more reclusive. But it’s home. It’s also such a challenge. Every single thing I think gets harder when you have dementia, because it’s like you you’re not sure that you’re going to remember how to get home sometimes, you know, especially with Alzheimer’s and symptoms like that, and when those things happen, that’s can be scary. And and you know what I found with my mom. You know, she would be very she was very sociable, but you know, she preferred to just stay home and watch TV, which was like a total red flag because she was never like that before. So and general and generally people are very social. HMM. So for them to pull back from their social network because they’re embarrassed or they don’t think they’ll remember people’s names or they’re afraid there, you know, though, they’ll mess up and get lost and not find their way home. There’s social people. So they pull back and they stopped interacting with families or friends or even going on walks for fear, fear they won’t make it back to their house. And there’s a huge amount of depression with elderly and that just feeds into another situation of pulling back. They’re at home alone and now they’re not even socializing and that could lead to significant depression and El was likely and and the more isolation that they have, the more that the symptoms of dimension Alzheimer’s can actually escalate because they don’t have that mind stimulation. So, you know, it’s really important, if a senior is at home, to make sure that they do have a lot of inner action. And if it’s you know, if your family member out there thinking, you know, mom is fine because she sits home all day and watches her favorite TV shows and I see her, you know, maybe once a month, that’s not going to cut it as correct and so, you know, what we try to do with our you know, with our show and to reach out to families is don’t wait till it’s too late. Start to get involved early on the in the time frame, so that you understand the journey and understand how you can best support that loved one. And I think that’s, yeah, the importance definitely spot on it. When you go and visit your family member, you want to check certain things. You want to, you know, check the car. Does it have scratches of their new dance, because that’s an indication that maybe your family members should not be driving correct. Family members aren’t just going to give you the car keys and say, Hey, you know what, I don’t think I should drive anymore. That’s their lifeline to the world, to the grocery, to the things they used to do. But that’s something you need to check on because that could be very dangerous for them or others, because there’s a lot of significant accidents from people when they decline and aren’t aware of their inability. Also, you want to make sure the falls are so prevalent and elderly they’re more frail. That could lead to the really to the it’s the beginning to the end. If they they fall in they fracture something. So if you’re noticing the bruises, the skin tears, the injuries, ask about those and you should be aware of that and and see what you need to do next, because you don’t want it to keep on going and have that lead to something very significant, that loose to hospitals, ation and I yeah, at least for you. Know, my experience is that you know families today, they they are trying to ride a really delicate fine line. They don’t want to quote unquote, interfere with their parents. On the other hand, they have maybe some private concerns, but they don’t want to talk about it. They don’t want to, you know, make mom or dad feel uncomfortable or put something that it’s not their business kind of thing. So, you know, one of the things that I think you know and helping you know being that you know, being that loving family members, is what some of your advice on how a family member can really intervene and help keep mom or dad safe. The thing is family, the mom and dad they were still want to be the boss. They don’t want them, the younger adult child, to be the boss of them and they there’s going to be some resistance. So you have to really navigate that very carefully when you come and you want to make sure that number one is your mom or dad has their has access to their meds or not expired. They didn’t run out there taking them properly, because they could lead to a lot more dangerous situations of dizziness and and maybe little blood pressure or even high blood pressure or whatever could be going on with that that person’s health and wellbeing. And there’s but there’s things that you could help in place, that you could have lists of phone numbers so they have easy access to family members and they feel safe and they’ll reach out more readily they can. Also, there’s so much technology in place right now that you could have the people finder on your phone. You can say, Oh, MOM’s at the grocery store and I don’t know if that’s good for her to go there by her own more why is she three miles away on her walk, and you could keep track of that and always keep tabs on your family member. Good Point. There’s the life alerts, so you know when there’s a fall and there’s people that could could access any emergency. And also what you need to do is make sure that there’s there’s healthy groceries, something that’s not expired in the refrigerated that they’re going to get into big time. Make sure there’s water and that they have access to the water. Sometimes we have water bottles and they can’t open the water bottles M so I tell families if you’re going to get a big supply of water bottles, UN you know, loose in the caps. So we are talking to Cathy Stuart and Cathy is the vice president of nursing for a just living. Cathy, tell me a little bit about what you do specifically, and I know everybody may have heard of the name a just living, but you guys have communities all over the place. We are national. We have communities and Washington around the Puga Sound. We have California, northern and southern California and also in Las Vegas, and we have sixteen communities in the Washington Puga sound area with five more in development. And what we do is we are the leaders in memory care and that path for families to to have a partnership in the define another love one and you guys really specialize, I think, in memory care. You know that when it’s one of your you know what you’re known for. I know in in the industry, which is so amazing, and so I love the commitment that you have and I think the reason we’re leaders in the industry is we take family members that are are really healthy, but we know people age and they decline. No one’s getting younger and we will support them and they have path a decline to really end a life. They don’t have to move out and find that other place. That’s good. That’s good. So if I’m a family member, when is the right time for me to consider a new living situation for MOM or dad? If you’re asking that question, it’s usually that time. Very true, the most dangerous time for family member is in the beginning stage, is when they’re at home alone and they’re not able to do the task that they normally did, but they’re not aware, and so it’s very important that at that very beginning stage is when you get help. You don’t want people to have subjected to the financial exploitation from the predators, and they’re out there, they sure are. Yeah, and then you want them to have a safe environment, and it’s and have people home alone unmonitored is not safe. So just in the beginning stages when I think you should start exploring and looking around and seeing which is the best age is fit for you well. And I also recommend to families that they create a buddy system. You know, maybe everybody checks on Marmur Dad once a day, but at you take turns and you start, you know, everybody will now have more of a consistent experience of what’s going on. I think a lot of times with families, you know, there might be one or two siblings that don’t see Marmur Dad as much and so they come in and Marmor Dad will get themselves up. Really Work Great for that, you know, and so they’re going mom or dad is just fine, you know. and well, maybe they’re not necessarily fine, and that’s something I think that in just have a more group engagement, and you have a great point to split the responsibilities through all family members, because many times the burden is, I’m one family member. Sometimes it’s the well spouse and they get very fatigued emotionally and physically and they end up declining. Or It’s one adult child that has taken on the burden and there and they can’t maintain their family life as well as take care of their parent. It’s exhausting them right. That’s very, very true, and of course you guys provide a lot of resources, I’m sure, for families. Once a you know, family member moves in, once we once we partner with the family, we step and we take over. We let them be the family member, not the Caregivera to important. We partner with them and you give them tips and guide guidance for that. That’s great. That’s great. So tell us how we reach to and and in from bastion on, if somebody’s interested in ages living, how do we reach you? We have a website, a just livingcom Aegis living alive imcom you could call us eight hundred and sixty six, six hundred eighty eight, five, eight, two nine. Well, I’m, you know, really excited to be here and I also want to thank you for all of your support with the Alzheimer’s Association and working so closely. It is such an amazing organization to help families and guide them and in this really complicated journey of, you know, Alzheimer’s and dementia. So it’s just really such an honor to be working with this organization and have a just living on our show. We’re just really honored to have you. So thank you so much for them on the show today. Cathy, thanks for having me answers for elders radio show with Suzan Newman. Hopes you’ve found this podcast useful in your journey of navigating senior care. Check out more podcast like this to help you find qualified senior care experts and areas of financial, legal, health and wellness and living options. Learn about our radio show, receive our monthly newsletter, receive promotional discounts and meet our experts by clicking on the banner to join the Senior Advocate Network at answers for elders RADIOCOM. Now there is one place to find the answers for elders
Suzanne Newman, host of the Answers for Elders radio show and podcast, proclaims often, “Caring for my mom was the hardest thing I ever have done, but it was also my greatest privilege.” Following a career of over 25 years in sales, media, and marketing management, Suzanne embarked on a 6-year-journey caring for her mother. Her trials and tribulations as a family caregiver inspired an impassioned life mission outside of the corporate world to revolutionize the journey that so many other American families also find themselves on. Answers for Elders provides education, help, and support to families, caregivers, and seniors across the country who are experiencing their own unique journey within the complicated world of Eldercare. Each week, Suzanne is joined by vetted professional experts in over 65 categories including health & wellness, life changes, living options, money, law, and more. Suzanne lives in Edmonds, Washington with her husband, Keith, and their two doodle dogs, Whidbey and Skagit.