Tips for working through COVID-19 while Aging in Place are provided by Annie Jacobsen, client care manager at Home Care Assistance in Seattle and dementia coach & trainer at Jacobsen Dementia Care Coaching. She also describes how dementia affects brain functions.
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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, hurt, on the answers for elders radio show. And Welcome back everyone to answers for elders radio and I am here back again with Annie Jacobson, who is a dementia Alzheimer’s expert, also a care manager for home care assistance. But specifically you are a Dementia Care Expert Dementia Care Coaching. Is that correct, Annie? Yeah, I call myself a dementia care coach. My goal is really to help family’s loved ones, caregivers understand what’s changing in the brain so that they can work best with a person living with dementia and the quality of life for both is improved. He’s is enhanced with activities that occur and dementia is scary and when you understand what’s happening we can remove some of that scary and bring back some quality and connection. That’s why I do this work well, and you know you do amazing things and I have relied on you multiple times and there’s so many people in my life that have loved ones that have maybe the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s and dementia. Some of them are a little bit more so and obviously you know there’s a lot of fear factor that’s going on. You know in this whole world of of you know just the whole thing of Covid nightteen and how you know when you’re dealing with memory issues. Tell me a little bit about the challenges that are happening out there. Well, you saying fear with Covid is the perfect deleting for me. Thank you for that. The quick version of what’s going on in the brain is that logic, executive functioning, sequencing, short term memory, rational reasonable thought is being reduced in most forms of dementia. Those things are going first the ability to understand and make sense of the world around you. Okay, what’s retained is emotion, reading people’s energy levels. If I come up to us and I’m really glad to see you but I’m anxious, you’re not going to hear I’m really glad to see you, you’re going to hear and read anxiety. Okay, so we’re leaving lot. Yeah, we’re retaining for the energy read and the part of our brain that’s our protection center. People probably know the terms fighter flight. That center of brain is heightened because because its job is to keep us safe and the brain here something missing. It knows them aren’t quite right. It doesn’t know exactly what, but that center is on overdrive all the time. So think about these loss logic. You’re reading emotions. Everybody out there has high emotions right now and well, yes, they do. Your brains trying to keep you safe. So our people with dementia are really heightened right now because they’re reading the energy of the world around them without the ability to have the logic to calm them back down. is even more important to attend to this change functioning of the brain in the ways that can give people calm, that can help people who say right now and then. Certainly for you as a professional, you’re dealing with seniors not only that are in, you know, in skilled care situation, maybe a memory care situation, but there’s also seniors that are that are have all timers are dementia and maybe an earlier stage that maybe living with family. Is that correct? So you’re obviously dealing with all different types. Is that correct? Absolutely. Home Care is very commonly brought in as changes are progressing, whether the physical and mental, with aging people are trying to retain somebody at home as long as possible and that’s a wonderful home. We really loved being able to fill that and some people were able to stay at home through the end of life with our care. So often things are getting a little confusing. Somebody’s becoming a wander risk at night and the white is starting to fail because she’s getting no sleep. So we provide care over night so the white gets sleep, but we make for that husband who wanders and winds up in the middle of the road in the middle of the night stayed safe. So yes, people in their homes are very often bringing us in and the cognitive change of the big part of that. How do we keep people safe in their own homes and how do we keep the partnership, the well spelled safe, the adult child WHO’s trying to work a job? Take here, kids and parents. That gap, that that window of need is one that we do a huge amount of work in. Wow, wow, that’s so true. So we are talking again to Annie Jacobson, who is a DEMENTIIC Care Coach for Jacobson Dementic Care Coaching and Annie you’ve given us an amazing framework of what’s going on and and obviously you’re working with families all the time, but what are some tips and ways that you can help us help our seniors that have Alzheimer’s? LAMENTIA, thanks for the framework here. I’m just going to do a few bullet point things. One of the things is remember that their brain is trying to keep them safe. Okay, so, safe from an embarrassment face, from injury, safe from scary imagined things. So I have a client right now who is very scared because she’s in a new environment. I’ve been able to say, you know what, they’ve got a good supply of food here. Oh okay, because she reads the paper every day, she’s afraid she’s going to run out of food. Well, but but there’s my daughter. Know I’m here now. She does know you’re here. We’ve set up zoom so that when the caregivers from our company come in and fit with this woman, they get to have the daughter with that visual which again goes to that emotional connection part of the brain, calms her down. Hey, we even right sides that. We even had a woman meet her great grandchild for the first time over zoom called the other day. That joy and she has some mild pocketed changed and she’s just in angst all the time being disconnected from our family. But we were able to use the technology that she couldn’t do herself to let her meet her granddaughter, Great Granddaughter, and now we’re going to do that every week. So keeping them feeling safe, that is connection. That is you’ve got good food, you’re in a safe environment, your people know where you are, so whatever, it’s going to help them feel safe and calm and checking our own energy with the way we’re doing that message families that can connect with any of the video screen on a phone, whether that’s through a caregiver, neighbor. You know full of somebody did it through a window pane the other day for a neighbor so that the person be their family through a window pane. So all of these things. If there is any dementia, the visual is going to be important and the emotional energy is going to be important. So trying to connect with those. The other Biggie I want people to think about is to keep moving and keep nutrition up. People with dementia can forget to eat. They don’t get to signal that they’re hungry. The other side that you don’t stop even but low nutrition is going to amplify a lot of the demensia symptoms if people just on getting the nourishment their body needs, also if they get to sedentary. So and the example I used on your honor earlier interview was, okay, let’s walk from the living room window to the front door and back. We’re going to do that five signs in the morning and of the night. If your calling your loved one and they’re alone in their home, walk with okay, mom, let’s get up, get your Walker. All right, let’s walk over and you know the layout of their house. figure out what makes sense, but get them moving. Say Okay, Jimbo, sure, such for the ceiling. What’s such for the sky? Mom, Hey, dad, lift your knees one at a time. If he’s not steady, he can sit down and do stuff. But the bodies are locking up. And if there’s Parkinsonian dementia, it’s getting really bad right now because the people are told not to leave their home, so they’re not moving to that’s moving and that family can do. Get unable to stand outside your loved one’s window and stretch up over their heads and giggle with them. Right, right, so, right. They safety, nutrition and moving are the three things, but ask people to really think about right now. You know, it’s really I think I was inspired. I don’t know if you’ve seen it and I should probably look for it again, but you talked about, you know, just the window pane concept. I think there’s so many cool things. There’s a couple things on social media that I’ve seen seniors being able to put out a green card or a red card or a yellow card, and red card beans I need help or I’m you know, I’m in a bad way. Yellow Card means I could use some help, is somebody you know has has some time, and green means I’m just fine, don’t worry about me. But at least it’s a way that they’re communicating to their to their neighbors, and I love the concept and I I thought that was so cool. In many neighborhoods that are doing that. I wish there was more of an emphasis on that in our neighborhoods because we drive by people’s homes all the time and I thought that was really cool. And then another thing that I saw which of course, touched my heart to know and was a woman with the mention. I really wanted to bring this up to you have you seen on facebook a woman with dementia and she’s in a nursing, skilled nursing facility, and she’s in her you know, adjustable bed, sitting up on quarantine obviously, and her husband walks around at the window and they crack the window open just a little bit so he can she can hear him, and he starts singing amazing grace to her and she singing along with him. And you can see that. How for I have, I have. I love that and that’s great you bring that up, because music is immensely powerful and we can tell it to a window, we can, we can put it outside their homes or over the phone with them. Is Extraordinary. Right now, a son played guitar for his mom the songs that her husband used to play over the phone day. Yeah, I love yes, and I think there’s some ways in which you know, as if you have a loved one that might be have Alzheimer’s, the ment to you know, a great way to do that is to play music to you know, to even if it’s to go outside their door and look through their you know, through their window and tell them that you love them and you’re thinking of them. That means everything and I know that. You know, I’m certain that we can all get a little bit creative right absolutely, and we’ve got to be aware of one another. We’ve got to be keeping our eyes out and being attentive to one another and we if you’re dealing with somebody with dementia, we’ve all got anxiety right now. Shake it off, center yourself, home yourself and come to them with present because love. That help them most of anything right now is being calm and present. Thank you so much, Annie. Those are words that we will definitely love to hear as we move into the rest of this month. And how do we reach you? You can reach me directly at two hundred and six six, one seven six, six hundred and eighty three, or my website is Jacobson dcccom, and that’s Jacobs e and d dementia care coach, dcccom. Any thank you again for being on the show. We always love to have you and you stay home and stay safe. My friend will do. Thank you for what you’re bringing everybody. It’s so important right now. Thanks to them absolutely. Take care all right. Much last Pie answers for elders. 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Founder and CEO of Answers for Elders, Inc., Suzanne Newman 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 Newman found herself 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. In 2009, she became the founder and CEO of Answers for Elders, Inc., subsequently hosting hundreds of radio segments and podcasts, as well as authoring her first book. Suzanne and Answers for Elders, Inc. have spent 14 years, and counting, committed to helping families and seniors along their caregiving journeys by providing education, resources, and support. Each week on the Answers for Elders podcast, 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.