Caregiverlist® Blog: Caring for the Caregiver

Archives

RecentComments

Comment RSS

About the author

Caregiverlist provides senior care information by senior care industry professionals. Caregiverlist's blog posts include Monday's Caregiver Stress Relief Photo, Tuesday's Senior Issues blog by Renata Jasinski Laszuk and Paige Krzysko with her popular Tech Friday blog.

Dementia Prevention Through Brain Fitness

by Paige17. October 2014 09:00

Keeping the brain fit as seniors age plays a large part in prevention of the onset of dementia. As senior caregivers work with their clients, finding little ways to keep their minds active can help avoid memory loss. The Fit Brains app gives seniors a series of games intended to improve memory, speed and overall functionality of the brain.

New users to the app are first asked to identify functions of the brain they would like to work on improving the most, such as problem solving or thinking speed. Seniors can choose from any of the listed categories as all of the games within the app will accomplish the goal of exercising the brain on a regular basis.

Once the user has completed their profile set up, the app takes them to the first games to work on the targeted areas identified by the initial questions. The games feature simple concepts, such as matching two of the same symbols from a group of different shapes and colors or sorting fruits as quickly as possible into their matching categories (I.e. bananas on the left, cherries on the right).

Once time runs out on a game, the app brings up a score summary. As users play the same game over time, they can see all of their scores and compare to see how their brain activity in a certain area like speed has improved as they've completed the exercise more times. The app also features some information on brain fitness and how specifically the games in the app challenge the brain in the right way to keep all areas of the brain engaged.

The Fit Brains app is available for free for Apple and Android platforms. 

Senior caregivers, let us know your feedback on this app and keep us posted if you discover additional apps that assist with caregiving duties and help relieve caregiver stress. You may also refer-a-friend to a senior caregiving job and win prizes weekly and monthly on Caregiverlist. 

-Paige Krzysko

 

Tags: , , , ,

Tech Friday

Alzheimer's Caregiver Advice on Alzheimer's & Daily Companion App

by Paige29. August 2014 09:00

For senior caregivers, working with clients who have dementia or Alzheimer's disease can be taxing and stressful. Seniors experiencing memory loss can become agitated, anxious or upset from situations that previously would have been part of their daily routine. When senior caregivers are experiencing issues working with their clients with dementia, they can turn to the Alzheimer's & Other Dementias Daily Companion app for advice and tips on dealing with specific situations. 

The main function of the app focuses on advice divided into 25 different categories, with many more subcategories. Caregivers can easily navigate through the topics ranging from Social Withdrawal to False Accusations and Paranoia to find advice relating to their specific situation. The descriptions under a topic include possible reasons for a senior client feeling that way and advice on how to remedy the situation or address the specific behavior and prevent it in the future. 

Another section of the app allows caregiver to seek emotional support from other caregivers by suggestions of support groups and ways to care for themselves. It suggests resources such as "10 Organizations Every Caregiver Should Know," and "8 Ways to Arrange Breaks form Caregiving." Managing caregiver stress plays an important part in overall caregiver health and well being. 

If caregivers don't see a category for the situation they'd like advice on, the app features an area where caregiver questions can be submitted to the app creator. Caregivers can also call a number for a 24-hour caregiver support line if they'd like to speak to someone immediately. If a caregiver worked through a particular issue himself/herself and would like to share advice, the app also features a spot for caregivers to share a story that will lend emotional support for other caregivers. 

The Alzheimer's & Other Dementias Daily Companion app is available for Apple and Android products.

Senior caregivers, let us know your feedback on this app and keep us posted if you discover additional apps that assist with caregiving duties and help relieve caregiver stress. You may also refer-a-friend to a senior caregiving job and win prizes weekly and monthly on Caregiverlist. 

-Paige Krzysko

Tags: , , , , ,

Tech Friday

Seniors Can Listen to Old Radio Programs on Yesterday USA App: Caregiverlist Senior Care App Review

by Paige8. August 2014 09:00

Before iPhones, hundreds of TV channels and the internet were at our fingertips at any given moment, entertainment came in the form of old radio programs. From drama programs to old news reels, the Yesterday USA radio network app gives senior caregivers and their senior clients the chance to step back in time and listen to programs from when they were younger. 

 

The app accompanies the YesterdayUSA Radio Network website, which was created by the National Museum of Communications, Inc, where users can also listen online. The app features two different streaming stations- the Red Station and the Blue Station. Within the app, users can browse the upcoming schedule of programs ranging from old dramatic theater shows to old music programs and old trivia. The programming runs on a two week loop, so if you can't catch a program the first time around you can view the next time it's scheduled to air. 

For seniors who may be experiencing an onset of dementia, listening to programs from their past could help spark memories. Familiarity of things from our youth can spark nostalgia in all of us, but for seniors with dementia it can help them remember parts of their lives they may have forgotten otherwise. Seniors and their caregivers might enjoy sitting down together a few times a week to listen to these old programs and talk about how life was back when they aired. Caregivers may learn new things about their senior clients and their lives by hearing stories from when they were young. 

The YesterdayUSA App is available for Apple platforms. 

Senior caregivers, let us know your feedback on this app and keep us posted if you discover additional apps that assist with caregiving duties and help relieve caregiver stress. You may also refer-a-friend to a senior caregiving job and win prizes weekly and monthly on Caregiverlist. 

-Paige Krzysko

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Tech Friday

4Pics 1Word App Useful for Dementia Prevention: Caregiverlist Senior Care App Review

by Paige25. July 2014 09:00

Senior caregivers can work with their senior clients to exercise their brains to prevent onset of dementia or Alzheimer's disease. The app 4Pics 1Word shows users four images and asks them to find the word that links all of the pictures together, then enter the word using the letters in a bank provided at the bottom of the screen. 

Using the brain in ways that force cognitive connects plays a large part in preventing dementia as seniors age. Seniors often don't partake in these activities as part of their daily routine unless they make a point to include them. The 4Pics 1Word app forces a connection between the images seen on screen and the language a senior client knows. The app starts out at an easy, low level, and the image-word relations increase in difficulty the longer you play. 

For example, a lower level includes a picture of a mailbox, a pair of boxing gloves, a cardboard box and a checkbox, so the common word the user needs to enter into the space provided is "box." Caregivers can play this game with their senior clients and help them come up with the answers, or switch turns going back and forth. Or, they can make it into a fun little competition and see who can correctly guess the answer first. Play a few times a week to ensure that senior clients are adequately exercising their minds for the most dementia prevention potential. Caregivers might also enjoy the game as a form of stress relief to take their minds off the events of a particularly long day. 

 

 The 4Pics 1Word app is available for Apple and Android platforms.

Senior caregivers, let us know your feedback on this app and keep us posted if you discover additional apps that assist with caregiving duties and help relieve caregiver stress. You may also refer-a-friend to a senior caregiving job and win prizes weekly and monthly on Caregiverlist. 

-Paige Krzysko

Tags: , , , , , ,

Tech Friday

2048 Game App Requires Strategy, Exercises the Mind: Caregiverlist Senior Care App Review

by Paige25. April 2014 09:00

These days half of the games popular to play on smartphones are mindless, requiring the same repetitive action without strategy. One of the most popular games for smartphones now though is 2048, a game comprised entirely of strategy to combine numbered tiles until they reach the target number. Senior caregivers and their senior clients can play this game to help keep clients' minds active. 

The 2048 game concept is basic- at the start, two tiles bearing the number 2 appear. When the user slides the tiles together, they combine into a number 4 and another number 2 tile appears. When any two tiles with the same number are combined, they are added together to make one tile with a larger number. The object of the game is to combine tiles together until the user obtains the 2048 tile, and then they win the game. 

The extra challenge of the game presents itself when every move causes a new number 2 tile to be placed on the board. 16 squares make up the playing board, so if a player runs out of opportunities to slide tiles with the same number side by side to combine them, the board will fill up with extra 2 tiles until it's full and the game will end. 

Senior caregivers can sit down with their senior clients and play this game together. The strategy required to group the same numbered tiles together in order to combine them provides important mental exercise for seniors as they age. Mental engagement plays a large part in prevention of dementia in seniors. Caregivers and their clients also may find enjoyment in strategizing how to win the game together. 

 

The 2048 app is available for free on Apple and Android platforms. 

Senior caregivers, let us know your feedback on this app and keep us posted if you discover additional apps that assist with caregiving duties and help relieve caregiver stress. You may also refer-a-friend to a senior caregiving job and win prizes weekly and monthly on Caregiverlist. 

-Paige Krzysko

Tags: , , , , ,

Tech Friday

Word Search + App Provides Themed Puzzles for Cognitive Exercise: Caregiverlist Senior Care App Review

by Paige28. March 2014 09:00

Senior caregivers and their clients may find that they tire of playing the same games over and over again to keep up cognitive activity. The Word Search + app provides a fun way for seniors to exercise their brains while completing themed puzzles.

Intellectual activity stimulates the brain and keeps it functioning in top shape. Just like physical activity is required to keep the body in shape, mental exercise is required for seniors to maintain a fit brain as they age. The Word Search + app provides 16 free categories of word searches with options to play on Easy, Medium or Hard levels. Categories range from Dog Breeds to Classical Composers to Ancient Civilizations and range from puzzles with six words to 12 words depending on the level of difficulty.

Words can be displayed horizontally, vertically or diagonally within the block of text. When a user finds a word from the bank below in the puzzle, they simply select it in the puzzle by sliding their finger along the letters of the word in the puzzle to highlight it. A timer also keeps track of how quickly a user completes the quiz, in case they would like to attempt to beat their own time in the future. 

In addition to simply finding the words, caregivers and their senior clients could learn from the words in the given categories. If seniors choose a specific category for the puzzle such as Artists, as they complete the search they will look for names of famous painters which could remind them of a favorite work or peak their curiosity about an artist that they've never heard of before. After finishing the puzzle, caregivers can help their senior clients look up any topics or people generated by the quiz that they would like to learn more about. 

 

The Word Search + app is available for Apple platforms.

Senior caregivers, let us know your feedback on this app and keep us posted if you discover additional apps that assist with caregiving duties and help relieve caregiver stress. You may also refer-a-friend to a senior caregiving job and win prizes weekly and monthly on Caregiverlist. 

-Paige Krzysko

Tags: , , , , ,

Aging Well | Alzheimer's Disease | Tech Friday

Words With Friends Encourages Mental Engagement: Caregiverlist Senior Care App Review

by Paige25. October 2013 09:00

Finding new and fun ways to keep your senior clients using their brains can be difficult. Mental engagement in day to day activity is crucial for preventing Alzheimer's disease as well as dementia. The Words With Friends app offers a simple way for caregivers and their senior clients to play a game to exercise their minds. 

Words With Friends reflects the board game Scrabble in that players are provided with letter tiles that they must combine to create words to place on the board. Each word placed on the board must connect with another previously played word by using at least one of the same letters. There are various point values assigned to the letters based on how difficult it is to place them in a word. The player with the most points when the letters run out at the end of the game wins. 

The app features many different play options, which makes it ideal for any situation. Users can find their real life friends on the app and challenge them to a game. The app notifies you of when your opponent has made a move so that you can view the outcome and make your next move. There is also an option to play a random opponent if none of your friends are interested in a game, or the option to "pass and play" which is perfect for senior caregivers and their clients to use and play against one another. The first player makes their move and then hands the device off to the second player to make their move, and this continues back and forth until the conclusion of the game. 

For seniors, unscrambling and rearranging the letters in the game to create the words engages the mind to help keep it sharp as they age. Try playing a game or two with your senior clients, either against one another or as a team coming up with words to play against an outside opponent. 

 

The Words With Friends app is available free for Apple and Android platforms. 

Senior caregivers, let us know your feedback on this app and keep us posted if you discover additional apps that assist with caregiving duties and help relieve caregiver stress. You may also refer-a-friend to a senior caregiving job and win prizes weekly and monthly on Caregiverlist. 

-Paige Krzysko

Tags: , , , , ,

Aging Well

Brain Game App Keeps Mind Active for Alzheimer's Prevention: Caregiverlist Senior Care App Review

by Paige30. August 2013 06:30

Exercising the mind contributes to healthy aging just as much as regular physical activity. Senior caregivers can help their clients keep their minds sharp by picking up a new habit or hobby that engages the mind. Something as simple as doing a crossword puzzle or playing a basic game helps keep the brain active. The smartphone app Binaural Brain Game combines brain exercise for Alzheimer's prevention with the need to relieve stress and relax. 

The games feature an icon that the user moves around the surface of the screen to collect crystals whilst avoiding spinning colored wheels. The motions in the game help keep the mind sharp whilst doing something seemingly almost mindless.  Once the user collects their first 1,000 crystals in the first game, they can unlock the second game in the app. There are five different games total that the user can unlock by gathering more crystals in a lower level. Mental stimulation is key in Alzheimer's prevention, along with physical diet, exercise and social connections, as outlined by the Alzheimer's Association

Senior caregivers can benefit from the app as well as it plays tranquil music during games to help calm and soothe the user. After a long day as a caregiver, come home and play the game for a few minutes to clear your head from the day and put you in a good headspace to relax for the rest of the night. 

 

The app is available for free for Apple users. There is also a paid version free of advertisements. 

Name: Binaural Brain Game: Relaxation Therapy for Stress, Insomnia & Alzheimer's 

Senior caregivers, let us know your feedback on this app and keep us posted if you discover additional apps that assist with caregiving duties and help to relieve caregiver stress. You may also refer-a-friend to a senior caregiving job and win prizes weekly and monthly on Caregiverlist. 

-Paige Krzysko

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Aging Well | Alzheimer's Disease | Memory Loss | Tech Friday

Dark Chocolate Boosts Elderly Brains

by 025. August 2012 00:22
Here’s some science I can get behind: a recent study shows that the consumption of dark chocolate and red wine may improve cognitive function in older adults.Senior caregivers can now have a positive reason to share chocolates with seniors.

Flavanol consumption is favorably associated with cognitive function, according to The Cocoa, Cognition, and Aging (CoCoA) Study conducted by lead researcher Dr. Giovambattista Desideri, director of the geriatric division in the department of Life, Health, and Environmental Sciences at the University of L'Aquila, Italy, and published online in the August 14 issue of the American Heart Association journal, Hypertension.

In the study, 90 elderly individuals with mild cognitive impairment consumed drinks containing high, medium and low milligrams of cocoa flavenols once daily for 8 weeks. Their results showed a marked difference in brain function, with those who consumed the highest amounts of flavenols scoring higher in verbal fluency and eye-hand coordination. The study was funded by the candy-bar company, Mars, Inc.

If the findings are true, implications could be widespread. Mayo Clinic researchers have found that mild cognitive impairment is prevalent among the elderly and increases with age. According to Ronald Petersen, M.D., Ph.D., “12 percent to 20 percent of the entire population of those over age 70 may have either mild cognitive impairment or dementia, which is quite significant.”

In addition to the recent research, flavanols have been shown to provide a variety of benefits, including improving high blood pressure, preventing blood clots, and improving insulin resistance.

Although dark chocolate’s benefits are many, those suffering with obesity or borderline diabetes should find their flavenols from other sources like broccoli, grapes, apples and tea.

Not all researchers are on board with the findings. According to US News and World Report’s HealthDay reporter Steven Reinberg, when asked, Dr. Sam Gandy, associate director of the Mount Sinai Alzheimer's Disease Research Center at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, said that "the study is interesting but requires replication before it can be taken seriously."

I’ll take my chances and begin to include reasonable amounts of dark chocolate and red wine (along with other flavenol-rich foods, of course) into my diet in my effort to age well.

, ,

Tags: , ,

Senior Caregiving | Caregiver Jobs | Caregiving Issues

Daily Activities Can Help Stave Off Alzheimer's and Dementia

by 024. April 2012 14:46
Exercise for seniors is a good idea. It promotes healthy aging, improves health and increases longevity. Now a recent study published in the journal Neurology, shows that exercise can help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, even in those over 80 years old.

We’re not talking about lifting weights or running for miles. Simple daily chores such as cooking, cleaning, washing dishes — even moving around more, showed that active seniors are less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than their less active counterparts.

According to Dr. Aron S. Buchman, lead author of the study and associate professor of neurological sciences at Rush, “These results provide support for efforts to encourage all types of physical activity even in very old adults who might not be able to participate in formal exercise, but can still benefit from a more active lifestyle.”

Doctors at Chicago’s Rush University Medical Center monitored the daily activity of 716 people without dementia by use of a device called an actigraph, on their nondominant wrist for 10 days. All activity was recorded and subjects were given annual cognitive tests for the next 3.5 years.

Results showed that those test subjects in the bottom 10 percent of daily physical activity were more than twice as likely (2.3 times) to develop Alzheimer’s disease as people in the top 10 percent of daily activity.

So much of the fear associated with Alzheimer’s and dementia comes from the feeling that one has no control over the disease. This study gives the hope that there is something we can do to prevent the onset of those devastating conditions. My 82-year-old mother still washes her kitchen floor every other day, sometimes on her hands and knees. She refuses my help, insisting that it’s her activity that has kept “Old Timer’s disease” at bay. It looks like once again, mom may be right.

The Study on Frailty in Aging (SOFIA) is a sub-study of the ongoing Rush Memory and Aging Project. Rush is still actively recruiting participants for the SOFIA study. Those interested in becoming part of the Rush Memory and Aging Project and SOFIA can contact study coordinator Tracey Nowakowski at (312) 942-2214. Participants must be 65 years of age or older with no previous diagnosis of dementia.

If you are already caring for someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia, Caregiverlist has partnered with the leading producer of training videos for the caregiving industry, Terra Nova Films, to assist our caregiving community with understanding how to care for the physical, emotional and psychosocial needs of older adults.

, , , , ,

Tags: , , , , ,

Senior Caregiving | Caregiving Issues | Memory Loss