12.12.16 Some Things I Learned About Dementia – Hiring a Caregiver

Questions to Ask When Hiring a Caregiver

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The most important thing on my list of what I would want a caregiver to be is KIND!

How to interview an in-home caregiver

When hiring a caregiver for your older adult, you’re looking for someone who will be a good fit with your older adult and the care situation in their home.

Use these interview questions as a guide for evaluating your job candidates. They’ll help you find someone responsible, trustworthy, and compassionate. You don’t have to ask all the questions, just choose the ones you feel are most important.

be-kind-to-people-life-quotes-sayings-picturesInterview questions

Experience

  • What experience do you have caring for someone with [describe your older adult’s health conditions]?
  • What experience do you have with [ask about specific skills they’ll need, such as:]
    • Bathing
    • Lifting or transfer from bed to wheelchair
    • Assistance with toileting
    • Dressing
    • Cooking
    • Cleaning
    • Driving

Training and certification

  • Have you had formal caregiving training?
  • Have you had CPR or first-aid training?
  • What is your current health status – TB test, immunizations, etc?
  • Can you provide documentation for all your training and health status?
  • Are you licensed or bonded? If yes, please provide contact information so I can verify this.

References

  • I like to do a background and credit check on strong candidates to make sure they’re responsible and trustworthy. Is there anything you’d like me to know before I run the check?2015-kindness-quotes
    • Please provide your full name, address, phone number, social security number, and current photo ID
  • Where was your last job? How long were you there? Why did you leave?
  • May we contact your past two employers? Please provide their contact information.

Job details

  • What days and times are you available and how many hours are you looking for?
  • Talk about your major house rules, for example:
    • We don’t allow smoking in or near the house.
    • Absolutely no guests are allowed.

Evaluate the personality fit

  • Why are you interested in this type of work?
    • Look for someone who enjoys working with the elderly, or a caring, sociable, and nurturing person.
  • My older adult sometimes gets cranky, says rude things, or refuses to do what they need to do. [If those examples don’t apply, describe things your older adult is likely to do.] Describe how you would handle situations like that.

glittertrailofkindnessquoteBottom line

The questions you choose to ask and the description of your older adult’s needs will tell caregivers what kind of work to expect. Their answers will help you decide if they’re the type of trustworthy, dependable, or kind-hearted person you’d want caring for your older adult.

By DailyCaring Editorial Staff
Additional articles on caring for your loved one with dementia can be found at Daily Caring at: http://dailycaring.com/.

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Please come back next time when I’ll share more topics about dementia from this source and from me.  If you want to get an email whenever I post a blog (I write about other things, not just Alzheimer’s) find the “FOLLOW” box which is usually to the right hand side somewhere, enter your email and respond when the confirmation email is sent to you.

If you are in need of prayer for yourself, in your role as a caregiver, or if you have any specific questions please send me a comment with whatever information you want to share or ask about. I’ll say again that I’m not expert, but I probably experienced with my mom a lot of things you’re going through and will try my best to help. If I don’t know the answer I will tell you I don’t know. I’ll never judge, I’ve been judged enough to last a life time and would never do that to someone else. My email address is rosalyn@selu.edu if that is an easier way to communicate.

Until next time, Rosalyn

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12.11.16 Some Things I Learned About Dementia – Social Security Disability

13036I’ve always heard, and I’m sure that ya’ll have also, that applying and getting Social Security Disability is a difficult road to go on and almost impossible to get on the first try. In a nutshell, yep that’s how it was for me. I’ve been saying I’d write this for over a year but now I think I need to because I’m forgetting so much of this. Thankfully I kept copies of all the documentation I sent to them and the correspondence from them. That helped me a lot with writing this.

When I retired from Southeastern I chose regular retirement. Didn’t know at that point that I truly was disabled and didn’t know there was an option to take disability retirement. Maybe I didn’t do all my research but no one ever mentioned it so I didn’t go that route. I prepared an appeal to LASERS (the Louisiana Retirement plan I’m in.) It required a letter from my supervisor which she prepared. It then went to Southeastern’s Human Resources department for approval prior to going on the the state LASERS office. I was told by HR that I could not apply because I didn’t select disability retirement when I retired. This info will be important later in this story.

I originally was diagnosed with brain issues back in 2011, however at that time it didn’t seem to be a disability that would stop me from 14993201-social-security-word-cloud-concept-in-red-and-black-letters-with-great-terms-such-as-fica-age-65-retworking and I kept working a couple of years until 2013.

Between 2013 and 2014 my brain issues seemed to get worse and I looked into Social Security Disability because I worked most of my work life under Social Security.

In December of 2014 I had a through blood test to determine if I had some vitamin deficiency that would be causing my deficiencies) but for once all was good.

In January of 2015 my neurologist wrote a letter to the Social Security Administration stating that he believed that I am totally disabled due to my significant brain atrophy (shrinkage) in the frontal lob to temporal lobe as well as the posterior fossa and cerebellum.

aaca_braininjury_2I applied for Social Security Disability online in March of 2015.

I submitted the letter from my neurologist and so many other documents I can’t count them. Several of them were lost and I resubmitted them. I called each month to find out the status and learned that the determination of disability is handled by several different departments within Social Security. Each time it went to a new department it had to wait for its turn to be reviewed. Each department would request various documents from me and I’d send them. Nothing is done electronically once you apply so tacking on US Mail time each time added to the process.

In May of 2015 I received a determination that I was not disabled enough and didn’t meet their guidelines.images

In June of 2015, the appeal re-submission process began. Another form to fill out.

In July of 2015 they acknowledged receipt of the re-submission. Requests from them for more documentation were received.

The documentation submitted included a new neuropsych assessment report from Dr. Melissa Aubert in Metairie. The neuropsych assessment involved almost a whole day in her office taking tests. I also submitted a letter from my last boss at Southeastern who saw the deterioration of my abilities on a daily basis prior to retiring.

In August of 2015 they sent a 10 page report for Roy to fill out titled Function Report – Adult – Third Party. Lots of questions. It was painful to read the honest answers.

After reading these three documents it sunk in that this disability is real.

130529-social-securityFinally in January of 2016 I received a notification that approved my Social Security Disability request, but there would be no monthly disability payment. Here’s where Southeastern retirement is important. Social Security said that because I worked the last 15 years for a State of Louisiana agency that Louisiana retirement should pay me disability. The State of Louisiana says it is not their responsibility and Social Security says it is not their responsibility.

The thing that was actually awarded to me was that at 62 I was eligible for Medicare instead of at 65. This began in February. They do not pay for my Medicare but between Roy and I both being on Medicare and our reduced Southeastern Blue Cross insurance rates we are saving around $100 per month in premiums and every doctor visit we’ve had required no co-payment because the combination of Medicare and Blue Cross take care of the co-payment. Prescription coverage is amazing now with Medicare.

They also covered something quite amazing. Social Security sent a notice to my student loan folks, Nelnet, saying I am totally disabled and that they should discharge my debt to them – make it go away! That’s several thousand dollars we don’t have to pay back.

Because of all we’ve gone through with the Social Security Disability in this process, and the fact that I would turn 62 in September when I could start receiving regular Social Security, I chose not to pursue it any further with the State of Louisiana.

To summarize, it took almost 12 months and one rejection to get the final determination of approved. The paperwork and number of phone calls is enormous and seemingly never ending. I’m sharing all this to help someone who may be deciding to pursue this. My conclusion is that it is worth pursuing but be prepared from the beginning to stay on top of it and don’t let it overwhelm you. Having a brain disability added a different aspect to this since everything I had to do relied on my brain cooperating. Oh, and we did not use an attorney for the appeal.

I’m hopeful this information will help someone. Please feel free to share this with someone you know that is disabled and wants to apply for Social Security. If you are not positive you are disabled, apply anyway and let them determine if you are. Also a note to State of Louisiana employees who think they may be disabled, choose that option for retirement and provide whatever documentation the state asks for. I absolutely believe the State of Louisiana should have allowed me to change my retirement option at the time I learned I was disabled. Don’t put yourself in the same situation I did.

I don’t mean to badmouth Southeastern, they have been wonderful to our family over the years. This retirement issue is one of the only bad spots in my time there.

I plan to write here and in my dementia blog next about what the neuropsych assessment is all about and what to expect if you have or need one. If you or a loved one is showing signs of memory loss or other cognitive deficiencies make an appointment, find out if it is a concern or feel the relief that is is not. If they determine that there is something to medically look into they will send you to a neurologist for medical testing. I encourage you to take that step.

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Please come back next time when I’ll share more topics about dementia.  If you want to get an email whenever I post a blog (I write about other things, not just Alzheimer’s) find the “FOLLOW” box which is usually to the right hand side somewhere, enter your email and respond when the confirmation email is sent to you.

If you are in need of prayer for yourself, in your role as a caregiver, or if you have any specific questions please send me a comment with whatever information you want to share or ask about. I’ll say again that I’m not expert, but I probably experienced with my mom a lot of things you’re going through and will try my best to help. If I don’t know the answer I will tell you I don’t know. I’ll never judge, I’ve been judged enough to last a life time and would never do that to someone else. My email address is rosalyn@selu.edu if that is an easier way to communicate.

Until next time,4

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12.07.16 Some Things I Learned About Dementia – Sensory Activities Reduce Anxiety

6 Alzheimer’s Sensory Activities Reduce Anxiety without Medication

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Sensory therapy for Alzheimer’s reduces agitation

It’s difficult to stand by and watch your older adult with Alzheimer’s or dementia live with anxiety, agitation, or anger. A good way to calm and soothe without using medication is to use sensory therapy.

Sensory therapy is an effective method for reducing anxiety, calming nerves, and providing comfort. Seniors use simple touch-based activities to occupy their hands and minds in safe, soothing ways.

We found 6 simple, fun, and inexpensive sensory activities that your older adult will love.

 

6 Alzheimer’s sensory activities

1. DIY aquarium sensory bag
BabyFirstTV created a video for their Facebook page showing how to create a quick and easy sensory bag with an aquarium theme. It’s a sealed plastic bag with water beads and ocean animals inside

You can easily replace the ocean animals with items that are appealing to your senior, like flowers, sports equipment, or fun characters. Or, check out these additional sensory bag examples for more ideas.

See the video

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2. Scented sensory cards
Smells are a powerful way to trigger memories and emotions. A Little Learning for Two shows us how to create simple scented cards with a winter theme.

These are universally comforting scents, but you could also substitute other smells that your senior would associate with positive feelings.

Get the instructions

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3. Homemade non-toxic finger paint
These non-toxic, homemade finger paints are a fun way for your senior to express themselves through art. To keep the mess to a minimum, tape a giant piece of butcher paper to the table and let them paint on that.

Get the paint recipe

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4. Coin sorting
Sorting coins into small glass or ceramic bowls is fun, soothing, and may even give your senior a sense of purpose if you ask them to help you sort your loose change.

Here’s an example

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5. Popping bubble wrap
Everyone loves popping bubble wrap! This is one of the simplest activities around, but surprisingly satisfying. If you haven’t gotten any packages lately, bubble wrap inexpensive and easily found at office supply stores.

Buy bubble wrap

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6. Loop board
Create a simple threading activity with a board, screw eyes, and some cord or a shoelace.

Get the instructions7

Additional articles on caring for your loved one with dementia can be found at Daily Caring can be found at: http://dailycaring.com/

I will be sharing more information from this source as time goes on.

Have a Great Day! Rosalyn

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12.06.16 My dementia and new blog posts

I am writing to ask for prayers, for me.  My dementia has recently begun to get much worse.  I haven’t shared too much about me recently but this is where I am right now, with mushy brain.

Mushy brain is obviously not a technical term but how it feels when my brain is required to function at a higher level than normal.  Such as when we gather with family for Thanksgiving or other visits with people we know well.  These type of events take so much brain function that afterwards there’s nothing left.  I make mistakes in simple things that then causes me sadness because it is a sign my dementia is worsening and I wind up crying and wanting it all to stop.   While some may experience this after a hard week at work followed by a hard weekend with little rest, this is totally different.  I can rest all week and weekend and then spend two hours visiting and I’m mush.

A dementia person’s brain goes through cycling when they dip into a low functioning time like I am going through right now.  Then they return to a lower than previously but more normal plateau status which last for a while.  The more often they cycle to the low functioning time indicates the disease is progressing.

Back in September I put together a series of blog posts from a wonderful web page I found then.  Their information is fresh and I think quite helpful but I forgot about getting them published.

The next few weeks I will be sharing each of them while I can still do this blog.  I may be around many more years but right now it just doesn’t feel like it.

Prayers, please my friends.  As always my God is a big God and I believe He continues to wrap His arms around me and uses what I am experiencing and this blog for His Glory!

I’ll post the first of the new blogs tomorrow.

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Please come back next time when I’ll share more topics about dementia.  If you want to get an email whenever I post a blog (I write about other things, not just Alzheimer’s) find the “FOLLOW” box which is usually to the right hand side somewhere, enter your email and respond when the confirmation email is sent to you.

If you are in need of prayer for yourself, in your role as a caregiver, or if you have any specific questions please send me a comment with whatever information you want to share or ask about. I’ll say again that I’m not expert, but I probably experienced with my mom a lot of things you’re going through and will try my best to help. If I don’t know the answer I will tell you I don’t know. I’ll never judge, I’ve been judged enough to last a life time and would never do that to someone else. My email address is rosalyn@selu.edu if that is an easier way to communicate.

Until next time,

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cooltext1838781539

Click on the links below to go there!

Dora and the Explorers published randomly

Wacky Wonderful Wednesdays  published every Wednesday