Posted on Leave a comment

Avoiding Extreme Summer Heat with Dementia

staying cool in summer heat when living with dementia

As we currently struggle to cope with the unusually high temperatures sweeping the US and overseas, it is important to consider what that might mean for people who care for those living with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia

It is important to realize that, as we get older, our bodies are not able adjust to high temperatures lo as well as they did when we were young, and we can lose the ability to perspire and to regulate our body temperature. Our skin also tends to become thinner as we age, and this reduces our protection against the sun.

We must bear in mind as well that some prescription medications can further reduce our natural ability to sweat, and thus impair our ability to regulate our temperature.

These risk factors have to be carefully managed in the case of a person living with any kind of cognitive impairment, as they may not be able to communicate any specific heat-related distress that they are experiencing. 

In fact, in some cases, they may not even notice the heat or discomfort because of changes in the way that their brain is able to process sensory information, or regulate their body’s awareness of and response to excessive heat.

Caregivers therefore must endeavor to keep the person in their care as cool as possible, while monitoring them for indications of heat-related stress. Here are a few suggestions to follow when experiencing unusually hot weather conditions:

  • This may seem obvious, but it makes it no less important – ensure that the person in your care is wearing cool clothing, such as light-weight, loose-fitting clothes, ideally manufactured from natural materials, such as cotton. 
  • Fresh air is good, unless it is heavy and humid outside, or oppressively hot. But make sure the person you are caring for wears a hat, or sits under a parasol or sun shade, when venturing outside.
  • Yes, it is expensive to run, but air conditioning is always good. You don’t need however to turn the house into a fridge, but keeping the temperature in the 80-85 degree range will have a significant positive impact. 
  • If air conditioning is just too difficult to keep running, you could perhaps combine a change of scenery with a cooler environment, by perhaps driving to a mall, or to a library, where some time can be spent in an air-conditioned space, as long as it is not too crowded.
  • Keep out of direct sun! Stay indoors during the hottest hours of the day
  • Make sure the person you are caring for drinks plenty of water or juice, but avoid alcohol, coffee or tea. Left to their own devices, people living with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia often forget to drink anything at all; some of them may not even feel thirsty, but failing to drink will lead directly to dangerous dehydration, causing potentially serious. health issues. 
  • Eat light meals and try to avoid using using the oven – that can increase the ambient temperature
  • Check medications: ask a physician if the person’s medications are likely to affect their body’s ability to regulate temperature, or otherwise increase the risk of dehydration.
  • Check in often: If the person you are caring for lives alone, check in with them every day, or ask a neighbor to look in several times a day. 
  • Look for indicators: a cognitively-impaired person may not be able to tell you when he or she is feeling hot or unwell. Also, older people may not sense the onset of worrying levels of heat as quickly as people who are younger. Specifically, look for:
    • Headache, nausea and fatigue; these can be signs of potential heat stress. 
    • Heat fatigue: dizziness, sweaty looking skin that is moist and cool to the touch, a weakened pulse, feeling faint. 
    • Heat stroke: this is life-threatening and requires  Immediate medical attention, as death can occur quickly when heat stroke occurs. Body temperature rises above 100 degrees, and the person may become confused, combative, behave bizarrely, feel faint, stagger. Their pulse is rapid, and their skin is dry, flushed and may feel hot, but there will be a lack of sweat. Breathing may be fast and shallow, and pupils may widen or dilate. At the extreme, delirium, seizures or convulsions, and coma are possible. 

If you encounter any of these issues, dial 911 or summon medical personnel immediately for emergency assistance and, while waiting, take these actions:

  • Have the person lie down in a cool place. 
  • Elevate their feet. 
  • Apply cool, wet cloths or water to the skin, especially the head, groin and armpits which cool quickly. 
  • Fan by hand or with an electric fan. 
  • If possible, give small sips of cool water

Below are links to product recommendations available on Amazon that you can use to stay cool, stay hydrated, and avoid the heat this summer season:

 Portable Neck Cooling Rechargeable Fan 

cooling neck hat for shade

Sun Defender Cooling Neck Guard Wide Brim Hat

clip on chair shade for sun protection

Adjustable Shade Umbrella with Universal Clamp

handheld mini fan for staying cool in summerMini Handheld Fan

REUSABLE FOLDABLE WATER BOTTLES FOR PORTABLE USE BPA Free Silicone Foldable Water Bottles 

cooling patches for heat and feverCooling Patches 

(These links do contain affiliate links that we may earn commission from should you choose to purchase)

Posted on Leave a comment

Simon Gidney joins Jennifer Fink on her Fading Memories podcast

The Fading Memories podcast provides valuable insights and guidance for caregivers of loved ones with dementia. As rates of dementia rise globally, the lessons on effective communication, stress management, and coping with grief and loss are more relevant than ever. By prioritizing the well-being of both caregivers and their loved ones, the podcast’s messages of empathy, compassion, and self-care have the potential to benefit anyone facing the challenges of caring for a loved one with a chronic illness or disability.

Here are the links to watch or listen:

Apple:  https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/fading-memories-alzheimers-caregiver-support/id1372194620?i=1000660145679

Spotify:  https://open.spotify.com/episode/6nk6jImVCXIGEA16FOc567?si=a286cda2a246453f

YouTube:  https://youtu.be/9vDYx5i8WvU

Video Clips: https://www.dropbox.com/scl/fo/0e35lqi5omdk6w3ayjcf3/AEz-CqeTJN1TARWqDqKhoUk?rlkey=ha26in9venzqw3i3pky03oyd6&dl=0

Posted on Leave a comment

You Can’t Pour from an Empty Cup!

caregiver self care self love respect nurse hard work

As a Caregiver, you must remember to also look after your own health and wellness – here are some helpful suggestions:

Understanding caregiver self-help

Caregiver self-help is about taking care of yourself while you care for others. It’s essential to prioritize your mental health to provide the best care possible. Here are some key points to understand about caregiver self-help:

  • Self-care is not selfish: Taking time for yourself allows you to recharge and be a better caregiver.
  • Setting boundaries is crucial: Learn to say no when you need t, and ask for help when necessary.
  • Seek support: Connect with other caregivers to share experiences and find emotional support.
  • Practice mindfulness: Stay present in the moment and manage stress through deep breathing or meditation.
    Remember, caring for yourself is essential when caring for others.

Importance of mental health for caregivers

Taking care of your mental health as a caregiver is crucial for providing the best possible care to your loved ones. Research shows that caregivers often face high levels of stress, anxiety, and burnout, which can impact their overall well-being. By prioritizing your mental health, you can reduce the negative effects of caregiving stress and maintain a healthy balance in your life. Remember, taking care of yourself is not selfish; it is essential for being a strong and compassionate caregiver.

Effects of caregiving on mental health

Caregiving can impact your mental health in various ways. It can lead to stress, anxiety, and feelings of isolation. Research shows that caregivers are more likely to experience depression compared to non-caregivers. Additionally, caregivers may neglect their own well-being while prioritizing others, leading to burnout. It’s crucial to recognize these effects and prioritize self-care to maintain your mental well-being while caring for others.

Self-care strategies for caregivers

Taking care of yourself is crucial when you’re looking after others. Here are some simple self-care strategies for caregivers:

  • Prioritize your sleep: Make sure to get enough rest to recharge your energy.
  • Take short breaks: Find moments to relax and breathe throughout the day.
  • Stay connected: Reach out to friends or support groups for emotional support.
  • Maintain a healthy diet: Eating well can help you feel better both physically and mentally.
  • Ask for help when needed: Don’t be afraid to delegate tasks or seek assistance from others

Setting boundaries and managing stress

Setting boundaries is crucial when caregiving. It’s important to recognize your limits and communicate them effectively. Establish boundaries with the person you care for to avoid burnout and maintain your mental well-being. Additionally, managing stress is essential. Find ways to destress regularly, such as deep breathing, going for a walk, or practicing mindfulness. Prioritize self-care to ensure you can continue providing quality care to your loved one.

Building a support system

It’s important to have a support system in place while caring for others. Here are some ways to build a support system:

  • Reach out to family and friends: Don’t hesitate to ask for help from your loved ones. They might be more than willing to lend a hand or simply provide emotional support.
  • Join a caregiver support group: Connecting with others who are in a similar situation can be comforting. Support groups offer a space to share experiences, advice, and resources.
  • Consider professional help: Don’t be afraid to seek guidance from a therapist or counselor. Talking to a mental health professional can provide insight and coping strategies.
  • Take breaks and practice self-care: Remember to take time for yourself. Engage in activities that bring you joy and relaxation to recharge your energy and maintain your well-being.

Incorporating mindfulness and relaxation techniques

When caring for others, it’s essential to take care of yourself too. Mindfulness and relaxation techniques can help you stay grounded and calm. Here are some ways to incorporate these practices into your daily routine:

  1. Mindful Breathing: Take a few moments to focus on your breath. Inhale deeply through your nose, letting your belly rise, and exhale slowly through your mouth. Repeat this several times to center yourself.
  2. Body Scan: Close your eyes and mentally scan your body from head to toe, noticing any areas of tension or discomfort. Acknowledge these sensations without judgment, and try to release the tension as you breathe deeply.
  3. Guided Meditation: Listen to a guided meditation or visualization to help calm your mind and reduce stress. There are many apps and online resources available for free to guide you through relaxation exercises.

Remember, incorporating mindfulness and relaxation techniques into your caregiver routine can help you maintain your mental well-being while caring for others.

Balancing caregiving responsibilities and personal well-being

It’s crucial for caregivers to find a balance between taking care of their loved ones and looking after their own well-being. Here are some tips to help you maintain that balance:

  • Prioritize self-care: Make sure to schedule time for yourself, whether it’s for a hobby, exercise, relaxation, or socializing.
  • Set boundaries: Learn to say no when necessary and communicate your needs to others.
  • Seek support: Don’t hesitate to reach out to friends, family, or support groups for help and understanding.
  • Practice mindfulness: Engage in activities that help you stay present and reduce stress, such as meditation or deep breathing exercises.

By focusing on your own mental health and well-being, you’ll ultimately be able to provide better care for those you love.

Seeking professional help and resources

It’s okay to ask for help while you’re caring for someone else. Seeking professional help is an important step in making sure you can provide the best care for your loved one while also taking care of yourself. There are many resources available to support caregivers, such as support groups, counseling services, and respite care programs. Professional help can provide you with the tools and guidance you need to balance your caregiving responsibilities with self-care. Remember, taking care of yourself is just as important as taking care of others.

Empowering caregivers for sustainable support

Caregivers play a crucial role in providing support to loved ones, but it’s essential for them to prioritize their own well-being too. By taking care of your mental health, you’ll be better equipped to assist others in the long run. Here are some ways to empower caregivers for sustainable support:

  • Practice self-care regularly to prevent burnout
  • Set boundaries to maintain a healthy balance
  • Seek support from other caregivers or professionals when needed
  • Prioritize your own needs and well-being

Remember, taking care of yourself is not selfish; it’s necessary for effective caregiving.

Lots more help, ideas and suggestions can be found in our 52-week Self-Help Guide for Carers “Caring for the Caregiver” available on Amazon at the link below

Caring for the Caregiver: A 52 week check in for self-reflection, cultivating gratitude, nurturing well-being, and mastering stress management on your compassionate caregiving journey.: Care, A Mind to: Amazon.com: Books

Posted on Leave a comment

Caregiver stress

Understanding caregiver stress

Taking care of a loved one can be rewarding but also challenging. Caregiver stress is common and can affect your physical and emotional health. Here are some key points to understand about caregiver stress:

  • Caregiver stress can result from the constant demands of caregiving, lack of time for yourself, financial strain, and worry about your loved one’s well-being.
  • It’s important to recognize the signs of caregiver stress, such as feeling overwhelmed, tired, anxious, or irritable.
  • Seeking support from family, friends, or support groups can help you cope with caregiver stress.
  • Remember to take care of yourself and prioritize your well-being while caring for others.

Man Holding Woman’s Hands

Signs and symptoms of caregiver stress

Caregiver stress can manifest in various signs and symptoms that are important to recognize. These can include feelings of anxiety, irritability, or sadness. You may also experience fatigue, difficulty sleeping, or changes in appetite. Physical symptoms like headaches or body aches are common. Forgetfulness and difficulty concentrating may also be present. If you notice any of these signs in yourself or someone you know who is a caregiver, it’s crucial to address them and seek support.

Impact of stress on caregivers

Taking care of a loved one can be emotionally and physically demanding. The stress that comes with caregiving can lead to a range of negative impacts on the caregiver’s well-being. Some common effects of stress on caregivers include:

  • Increased risk of depression and anxiety
  • Feelings of isolation and loneliness
  • Physical health issues such as high blood pressure and weakened immune system
  • Difficulty in maintaining work-life balance

It is essential for caregivers to prioritize self-care and seek support to manage the effects of stress effectively.

Coping strategies for caregiver stress

When caring for someone, it’s normal to feel overwhelmed at times. To manage caregiver stress, it’s important to prioritize your own well-being too. Here are some simple yet effective coping strategies:

  • Take breaks: Avoid burnout by taking short breaks throughout the day.
  • Seek support: Connect with other caregivers or join a support group for emotional support.
  • Practice self-care: Make time for activities you enjoy, like reading a book or going for a walk.
  • Set boundaries: Learn to say no and prioritize tasks to avoid spreading yourself too thin.
    Remember, taking care of yourself enables you to better care for others.

Importance of self-care for caregivers

Taking care of yourself is crucial when you are caring for others. Self-care for caregivers is not a luxury; it’s a necessity. Here’s why:

  • Prioritizing your well-being enables you to better support those in your care.
  • Preventing burnout is essential for maintaining your physical and mental health.
  • Engaging in self-care activities helps reduce stress and improves your overall quality of life.

Remember, by looking after yourself, you can provide better care for your loved ones.

Seeking support as a caregiver

As a caregiver, it’s essential to seek support to help you cope with the stress that often comes with caregiving. Here are ways you can seek support:

  • Join a caregiver support group to connect with others who understand what you’re going through. The Alzheimer’s Association offers local support, as well as a 247 Help hotline: https://www.alz.org/help-support/caregiving/caregiver-health
  • Talk to family and friends about your feelings and challenges as a caregiver.
  • Consider seeking professional help from a counselor or therapist to process your emotions and gain coping strategies.
  • Take breaks and prioritize self-care to recharge and prevent burnout.

Remember, seeking support is not a sign of weakness but a necessary step towards maintaining your well-being while caring for others.

Balancing responsibilities and self-care

It’s essential for caregivers to take care of themselves while looking after others. Balancing responsibilities and self-care is crucial to prevent burnout and maintain overall well-being. Here are a few tips to help you achieve this balance:

  • Set boundaries: Learn to say no when needed and prioritize tasks.
  • Delegate tasks: Don’t hesitate to ask for help from family members or friends.
  • Take breaks: Allow yourself some time to relax and recharge.
  • Practice self-care: Engage in activities that bring you joy and relaxation.
  • Seek support: Join caregiver support groups or seek professional help if needed.

Respite care options for caregivers

Many caregivers overlook themselves while caring for others, leading to burnout and high stress levels. Respite care offers a temporary break from caregiving duties, providing caregivers with time to recharge and take care of themselves. Some options for respite care include in-home care services, adult day centers, and short-term residential facilities. In-home care services allow a caregiver to have professional assistance in the comfort of their own home, providing flexibility and peace of mind. Adult day centers offer a supervised environment for the care recipient, allowing caregivers to have a break during the day. Short-term residential facilities provide temporary care for the care recipient, giving caregivers the opportunity to take longer breaks to focus on their well-being.

Setting boundaries and asking for help

It’s essential to set boundaries as a caregiver to prevent burnout. Establish specific times for self-care and communicate your needs to others. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. Reach out to friends, family, or support groups for assistance. Remember that taking care of yourself allows you to better care for your loved one.

Conclusion: managing caregiver stress

It’s important to remember that taking care of yourself is crucial when you’re taking care of others. To manage caregiver stress better, make time for yourself to recharge, seek support from family and friends, and consider joining a caregiver support group. Remember that it’s okay to ask for help, and setting boundaries is essential to avoid burnout. Practicing self-care activities like exercise, meditation, or hobbies can also help alleviate stress. Prioritize your well-being to continue providing the best care for your loved one.

Posted on Leave a comment

THE IMPORTANCE OF SELF-CARE FOR CAREGIVERS

caregiver journal for wellness stress management

Anyone who has flown on a major airline is familiar with the safety instructions given before take-off, in fact frequent flyers might be able to recite them in their sleep. However, familiarity with an important principle does not make it any less important. In the event of a de-pressurization of the cabin, oxygen masks will appear and will need to be put on. The instructions always remind passengers that, should this happen, they must put their own mask on before they assist anyone else in putting on their mask. This may seem selfish, but it is rooted in stone cold common sense; put simply, if we ourselves are incapacitated in any way, it makes it much harder for us to offer meaningful assistance to anyone else.

And therein lies the gut-wrenching challenge for anyone caring for a loved one. And that applies to the estimated 40 million plus unpaid caregivers in the United States, doing their level best to care for someone they love. It is a role that few of us seek, but which many of us will find ourselves in; the love that binds us together will dictate that we do everything in our power to help those we love. They desperately need our help, so we give it without question to the utmost of our ability and often beyond that which we can physically, mentally or emotionally bear. Yes, caregivers are susceptible to various physical, mental and emotional challenges, and they can become ill due to the demands and stresses of their role. The caregiving responsibilities can be intense, often involving physical exertion, emotional strain, and prolonged periods of stress.

Some common health issues that caregivers may face include:

Physical Health Issues

Caregivers may experience physical health problems such as back pain, muscle strains, fatigue, and compromised immune function due to the physical demands of caregiving, including lifting, assisting with mobility, and performing other strenuous activities.

Mental Health Challenges

Caregiving can take a significant toll on mental health. Caregiving often involves high levels of stress, due to the emotional burden of providing care, especially in challenging circumstances, or for individuals with chronic conditions; all of this can contribute to mental health issues. Persistent stress can lead to burnout, a state of physical,
emotional, and mental exhaustion.

Sleep Disorders

The stress and demands of caregiving can disrupt sleep patterns, leading to insomnia or other sleep disorders. Sleep deprivation can further contribute to physical and mental health problems.

Neglecting Personal Health Needs

Caregivers are likely prioritize the health needs of the person they are caring for over their own; as a result they can neglect regular check-ups, preventive care, and necessary medical attention for their own health concerns.

Impact on Relationships

The strain of caregiving can affect relationships with family and friends. Caregivers may find it challenging to balance caregiving duties with maintaining healthy relationships, leading to potential conflicts and stress. It’s crucial for caregivers to recognize these potential challenges and to prioritize their own self-care. Seeking support from family, friends, or support groups, taking breaks, practicing stress-reduction techniques, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle are essential strategies to help caregivers safeguard their own health while fulfilling their caregiving responsibilities. Regular communication with healthcare professionals can also aid in addressing any emerging health concerns.

How to Sustain Quality Care

Firstly, understand just how important self-care for caregivers really is. A caregiver’s ability to provide effective care is directly linked to their own well-being. When caregivers are physically and emotionally exhausted, their capacity to offer quality care diminishes. Taking time for self-care helps maintain the energy and focus needed to provide optimal support. Caregiver burnout is a state of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion resulting from the prolonged and overwhelming stress of caregiving. Regular self-care helps prevent burnout, allowing caregivers to continue providing care without compromising their own health. Caregivers who do find a way to practice self-care tend to be more resilient in the face of challenges.

By maintaining their physical and emotional well-being, they are better equipped to cope with stress and adapt to changing circumstances. Taking time for personal interests, hobbies, and relaxation contributes to a sense of fulfillment and happiness. This, in turn, enhances the overall quality of life for caregivers.

In summary, taking some time and space to care for oneself must never be seen as selfish, or a neglect of caring responsibilities; instead it must be seen as a critically important release mechanism to recharge batteries, re-center, take a breath and a little space, to ensure that they can continue to provide sustained, high-quality care to others.

Here’s a checklist put together by the National Institute on Aging for signs that you may be suffering from Caregiver stress: https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/caregiving/taking-care-yourself-tips-caregivers


Feeling exhausted, overwhelmed, or anxious Becoming easily angered or impatient
Feeling lonely or disconnected from others
Having trouble sleeping or not getting enough sleep
Feeling sad or hopeless, or losing interest in activities you used to enjoy
Having frequent headaches, pain, or other physical problems
Not having enough time to exercise or prepare healthy food for yourself
Skipping showers or other personal care tasks such as brushing your teeth
Misusing alcohol or drugs, including prescription medications


Is there anything you can do to help alleviate these challenges? Well, top of the list is to Ask for Help. This may seem obvious but often Carers are embarrassed to actually let people know that they are struggling. Family and friends are a great place to start – even if it is grabbing groceries for you when they are at the store, or popping in for a coffee, or to give you an hour off to take an hour off or run errands.

In addition, help is available from your doctor, or counselors, or from your local chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association
( www.alz.org )

A Mind to Care also has a 52-week Journal, designed to help Caregivers with a weekly check in to help manage stress, find breathing space, re-center and find nurture and self confidence in the challenges they face, click here: https://www.amazon.com/Caring-Caregiver-self-reflection-cultivating-compassionate/dp/B0CNYXC2C2/

Posted on

Understanding the Benefits of Cognitive Stimulation Therapy for Dementia Patients

cognitive stimulation therapy

Cognitive Stimulation Therapy (CST) is a non-pharmacological treatment for people living with dementia. It is a structured program that involves engaging in group activities and discussions designed to improve cognitive function, memory, and quality of life for people with dementia. CST is a person-centered therapy that focuses on the individual’s strengths, abilities, and interests. In this blog, we will discuss the benefits of CST for dementia patients.

Cognitive Stimulation Improves Cognitive Function

Cognitive Stimulation Therapy has been shown to be effective in improving cognitive function and sort-term memory in people with dementia.

The program is designed to stimulate the brain and encourage participants to engage in activities that require cognitive processing, such as memory games, puzzles, word games, and discussions.

Research has shown that CST can improve memory, attention, and language skills in people with dementia, which can help them to maintain their independence and improve their quality of life.

Reduces Behavioral and Psychological Symptoms of Dementia

Behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD) are common among people with dementia. These symptoms include agitation, aggression, anxiety, depression, and social withdrawal. CST has been shown to reduce the severity of these symptoms, leading to improved well-being and quality of life for people with dementia. The program provides a structured and supportive environment that can help to reduce anxiety and increase socialization among participants.

CST Increases Socialization and Communication

Socialization and communication are important factors in improving the quality of life for people with dementia.

CST provides a structured environment that encourages socialization and communication among participants. Group discussions and activities provide opportunities for participants to interact with each other and engage in meaningful conversations. This can help to reduce social isolation and improve mood in people with dementia.

Supports Caregivers

CST is not just beneficial for people with dementia; it can also provide support for caregivers. Caregivers often experience high levels of stress and burnout, which can affect their ability to provide care for their loved ones.

CST provides a structured and supportive environment for people with dementia, which can help to reduce the burden on caregivers. In addition, caregivers can participate in the program, which can provide them with a much- needed break and support system.

In conclusion, Cognitive Stimulation Therapy is an effective non-pharmacological treatment for people living with dementia. It provides a structured and supportive environment that encourages socialization, communication, and cognitive stimulation. CST can improve cognitive function, reduce BPSD, and improve quality of life for people with dementia. It can also provide support for caregivers, which can help to reduce stress and burnout. If you are caring for someone with dementia, consider incorporating Cognitive Stimulation Therapy into their care plan.

A Mind to Care Game & Activity Therapy System provides CST Activities

The use of A Mind to Care Game & Activity system includes cognitive stimulation activities, such as word games, puzzles, ability to use pictures to discuss present or past events or other topics of interest, and more. Our game and activity therapy system may be a nice way to start with cognitive stimulation therapy with your loved one living with dementia.

Posted on

How Colors can impact Dementia Care

dementia and colors alzheimers

Dementia and Colors

Could it really be true that different colors can actually have an impact on our moods? Interestingly, a lot of research* has been done over a number of years on the effect of different colors on the brain and human behavior, and it is increasingly apparent that different colors are interpreted differently by our brains and that they can actually have a subliminal impact on how we feel at any given moment. As a result, it does appear that careful choice and use of color can be helpful in improving quality of care for people living with dementia.

Contrast

The use of contrast in colors can be used to help define objects more clearly. So using a color with high contrast with its immediate background will draw attention to key features. In fact, the use of contrasting colors is very helpful in marking the edges of things; it can draw attention to furniture, or hazards that might cause someone to trip, or even to more easily find the toilet seat in an all-white bathroom.

Extending this principle into other areas, you might differentiate the colors that you choose for pillows, sheets and blankets, or to using dinner plates that are a different color to a tablecloth, for example. Other suggestions include using a contrasting wall color, so that it will be easier for someone to locate switches, sockets and handrails.

Red

There are studies that suggest that the color red can increase brain activity. It can also lead to a perception that a room is warm. Additionally, red can increase appetite and encourage eating when featured in plates and cups. It also figures that any dinnerware that is a different color to the food placed on it is helpful to someone living with dementia. Further research indicates that the color red can also promote participation; for example, red shoes might actually encourage someone to enjoy a walk. Oddly though, a  caregiver might want to avoid wearing red clothes, as the color red can also sometimes be perceived as intimidating

Green

The color green is associated with nature, and lighter shades of green can promote relaxation and calm. It is perceived as a restful color and can help to reduce central nervous activity. The use of green may also lead a room to be perceived as larger than it actually is.

Lime green, more specifically, has been shown to be effective for people living with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia, in providing visual cues to the location of doors to bathrooms, or bedrooms.

In addition, research has shown that the color green is one of the last colors that we lose the ability to see, so placing a piece of green tape on a cane, or a walker, or other items that people need to use every day, can be very useful. Not surprisingly, green is a good color for Caregivers to wear as it fosters feelings of engagement, relaxation and calm.

Purple

Purple is a color that has been shown to stimulate the imagination and also spirituality. Purple objects are often perceived as being valuable.

This belief dates back thousands of years as the physical resources needed to create a purple dye was very hard to come by; purple is uncommon in nature and was therefore very costly to create. As a result, only the elite could use purple dye. The association of the color purple with royalty and extravagance persists even today.

So, it might be a good idea to choose purple as a way to encourage someone to think of an object as desirable.

Yellow

The color yellow has been shown to increase feelings of happiness; people tend to smile more in yellow rooms, and individuals with dementia tend to stay longer in rooms that are painted yellow.

Blue

Blue is a color that promotes relaxation; blue rooms can reduce any feelings of confusion and increase concentration. Blue has been shown to be a restful color, with a calming effect. Research shows that using blue in the physical environment can actually lower blood pressure, and that blue rooms are seemingly cooler than rooms painted in shades of red or orange.

White

This may seem like stating the obvious, but white is a difficult color to see. As a result, an all-white room can appear to be circular to someone with dementia. It might be a good idea to paint an accent wall in a different color or create a colorful focal point somewhere in a white room.

Black

Also perhaps unsurprisingly, the color black can be associated with fear or sadness. As a result, if you wear black it might make it difficult to communicate with someone who has dementia. A black carpet would also be a poor choice, as it may appear like a large black hole to someone living with the condition. Conversely, a black mat in front of an external door might be a good disincentive.

Caring for Someone with Dementia and Colors Used in their Environment

As you are able to select colors of objects and surrounding of your loved one living with dementia, keep in mind the findings of studies on color and its impact on mood and perception.  Some ideas of how you might utilize colors: Walls could be painted green or blue. Use plates that are red.  Mark important doors, like bathrooms and  bedrooms with lime green tape, but paint the door going outside black so they are less likely to wander out accidentally.  Be sure steps or any other potential hazards are clear with a high contrast color to its immediate surroundings. Wear green. 

*Related articles:

Posted on

Taking Care of the Caregiver Benefits Both

The well-being of the family caregiver can have a direct impact on the quality of life of the dementia patient.

Family Caregiver –  Labor of Love

It is the hope of most folks to be in their own home for as long as possible. Home caregivers (usually family members) make this possible longer for people who suffer from dementia or other neurological or physiological conditions by helping their loved ones adapt to and cope with limitations in ability, mobility, communication and cognition.

The caregiver is constantly working to stabilize or lessen the progression of disorders with exercise, nutrition, activity, hygiene and generally some mix of medicinal schedules. It can be a very hard and often heartbreaking job, yet so many take it on as a labor of love.

A Healthy Caregiver Benefits Both Themselves and the Patient

Studies have shown that “the health and general well-being” of a family caregiver can have a direct impact on the quality of life and success of therapy for dementia patients in their care.

Additionally, research indicates that dementia patients have higher rates of behavioral symptoms and mortality when cared for by carers who are stressed, use emotion-based coping (e.g., wishing that the disease would go away), or negative communication strategies.

Effective Coping

If you are a family caregiver, finding an effective coping mechanism for both you and the loved one you are caring for are important. Everyone’s health and well-being are interconnected and interdependent.

Happily, there are many resources for the family caregiver to call on to help with the daunting and difficult task of providing home care for their loved one. Understanding the changing needs and communication strategies of their charges is an important factor in successfully managing a home care situation.

One such sources was provided by the Lewy Body Dementia association, found online here.  This document helps to set expectations about caring for people with dementia, and also offers a helpful section titled “Care for the Caregiver” that includes common sense suggestions for maintaining personal equilibrium in the face of such demanding and difficult work.

Use tools and resources to make caregiving easier and pleasant for you and your loved one. As possible, share in activities you both enjoy like games, puzzles, and looking at old photographs. Our Game & Activity Therapy System is made just for this – to help engage those with Alzheimer’s, dementia or other cognitive impairment in a positive activity.

How Do You  Know You Need Help?

Caregivers are less likely to prioritize themselves and may not spend time on preventive health services such as checkups. They are therefore at higher risk of health issues, even increased risk of premature death. 

Do you have any of these signs?

  • insomnia
  • exhaustion
  • ill-tempered
  • feeling of being sad
  • loss on interest in hobbies you once enjoyed
  • skipping personal care tasks
  • overuse of alcohol or drugs

The National Institute of Aging provides suggestions for caregivers to care for themselves.

Get Support

Remember, it is NOT selfish to take care of yourself when you are a caregiver. It’s important for you to do so for both your own well-being, as well as the person you are caring for. 

Join a caregiver support group. A support group can help you share your feelings in a safe environment among those who can understand what you might be feeling. 

Our Caring for the Caregiver is a 52-week paperback journal, designed to cultivate self-reflection, gratitude, well-being, and stress management for caregivers.

Utilizing a trusted in-home care agency can provided needed respite is another option.

Many other sources for information and helpful resources for the caregiver can be found online, with many different organizations providing helpful resources for home caregiving needs.

We’re Here to Help

A Mind to Care was created to contribute quality of life to others.  So if you need help with finding and connecting with useful resources, drop us an email at customerservice@amindtocare.com and we’ll be happy to pass on any information we have available.