“About 200,000 people in the United States have spinal cord injuries…and most of these injuries occur in men” according to “Living With Spinal Cord Injury” by The American Occupational Therapy Association, Inc. These injuries result from a trauma, including vehicle accidents, falls and effects from disease or disorder. A SCI (spinal cord injury) limits or… Read more »
A recent, revolutionary way of understanding the brain has moved from an experimental study to a practical therapy. Neuroplasticity is the term used to describe how a brain is able to change and adapt in response to an experience…especially reoccurring experiences. The widely accepted theory suggests neural pathways and synapses adjust and transform based on… Read more »
According to the World Health Organization, “The number of people living with dementia worldwide is currently estimated at 35.6 million. This number will double by 2030 and more than triple by 2050.” Most forms of dementia cause healthy brain tissue to degenerate, producing a steady decline in memory and mental abilities—interfering with daily functioning. Early
According to the World Health Organization, “The number of people living with dementia worldwide is currently estimated at 35.6 million. This number will double by 2030 and more than triple by 2050.” Most forms of dementia cause healthy brain tissue to degenerate, producing a steady decline in memory and mental abilities—interfering with daily functioning.
Early Warning Signs of Dementia
- Confusion with time or place
- Challenges in making plans or solving problems
- Trouble with visual images or spatial relationships
- Misplacing items
- Forgetfulness and an increasing reliance on reminder notes
- Difficulty holding conversations
- Changes in mood and personality; withdrawing from social activities
People living with dementia often become confused, frustrated, fearful, uncertain and depressed. That is why a calm, stable, familiar environment is the key to living peacefully. This new understanding of dementia is part of the “aging in place” movement, which also stresses the importance of ensuring your loved one’s home has been updated to keep pace with their changing needs.
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia. So, in honor of World Alzheimer’s Action Day on Sept. 21, here are a few tips for living wisely from our expert occupational therapist, Debbie Hartzler.
- Many falls occur at night when getting up to go to the bathroom. Night lights in hallways, bedrooms, and bathrooms can help increase safety.
- Shadows and changes in light levels can be disorienting. Create a uniform level of light with uplights that reflect off the ceiling and adding extra lights in entries, outside landings, hallways, stairways and bathing areas.
- Recent studies show increasing the amount of blue light during the day (types sold as aquarium lamps) can result in an improvement in sleep and a 47 to 55% reduction in disruptive behaviors in those with dementia.
- A barrier free shower eliminates a trip hazard and can help caregivers assist with transfers. Maximize safety by installing grab bars at the tub/shower, and toilet, using shower seats and hand held showers.
CLUTTER & SAFE WALKING AREAS
- Remove obstacles, low coffee tables, and clutter to create safe pathways. Slippery floors and carpeting can become trip hazards. Consider thin pile or hard surface flooring without busy patterns.
- Solid black mats in front of doors can appear as deep holes and may keep a person from passing through a door.
- Mirrors and glass or shiny surfaces can cause increased confusion and may need to be removed or covered. Stickers on windows and glass doors can help distinguish open from closed.
TIPS FOR LIVING WISELY The symptoms of Parkinson’s disease vary widely in intensity and rate of progression from person to person making it a difficult to plan daily and future activities. As the disease progresses, movement becomes less fluid, steps become shorter, balance less stable, and some may experience episodes of “freezing”, an inability to… Read more »
When asked, most seniors will say that they want to remain living at home for the duration of their lives. By addressing a few key issues, most seniors can remain living at home safely, with dignity and with a relatively high level of independence. The issues involve: • communicating effectively with physicians; • understanding medications… Read more »
Last week, we conducted an “Expert Q&A” with Home Remodeling Expert, Mike Dodd. “There are so many home remodeling specialists out there. How do I go about choosing the right person?” an anonymous user asked. According to Mike Dodd, identifying a home remodeling specialist is not as difficult as one might think. Check out the… Read more »
Arthritis is a term that is used to describe over 100 rheumatic diseases and conditions including, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. The CDC estimates that 50 million U.S. adults report having doctor-diagnosed arthritis – that’s about 1 in 5 Americans. Managing a disease like arthritis can be challenging, especially when it comes to mobility.… Read more »
Healthy Vision Month is held every May and is a time for Americans to make their eye health a priority and learn steps to protect their vision. Listed below are few things you can do to keep your eyes healthy. • Get a dilated eye exam • Live a healthy lifestyle • Know your family… Read more »
Question: My mother’s eyesight is failing. What kind of home remodeling should I focus on to make her life easier? Answer: Conduct a home safety assessment with a qualified professional, preferable an occupational therapist, to determine the appropriateness of the physical surroundings. Removing loose articles from the floor (throw rugs, extension cords for lights, pet… Read more »
Question: My parents live far away from me. They are recently retired and relatively healthy and active. At what point, should I look into aging in place home features for them? Answer: It is never too soon to begin the investigation process with respect to features in the home that will allow for greater accessibility… Read more »