alzheimer's care

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Caring for Diabetic Foot Problems Begins with Prevention

Home Care

If you have type 2 diabetes, one of the biggest concerns you’re likely to face is diabetic foot ulcers.

As many as 70 percent of diabetics have mild to severe forms of nervous system damage which can cause impaired sensation or pain in their feet. Of all lower limb amputations in the U.S., nearly 70 percent are the result of diabetes – with four out of five of these amputations preceded by a foot ulcer.

Effective foot care management can make a big difference. This begins with routine foot care and evaluation, as it’s easier to fix something before the condition worsens.

Part of the problem is that diabetics, because of nerve system damage, don’t necessarily feel foot pain and so tend to ignore a problem until it’s too late. Since normal sweat secretion and oil production that lubricates the skin of the feet is often impaired, abnormal pressure on the skin, bones and joints of the feet during walking can lead to a breakdown of the skin and foot sores. Bacterial infection of the skin, connective tissues, muscles and bones may then occur. Since diabetics are prone to poor circulation, antibiotics cannot get to the infection site easily.

Prevention starts with inspecting your feet daily, seeing if there are cuts, cracks, redness, bruises, or swelling. Medical guidelines recommend that diabetics routinely see a foot specialist for an examination at least once a year. Experts can evaluate and get you the proper shoes to prevent breakdowns.

Recent studies have shown that a proper foot care program can reduce amputations by as much as 85 percent. This includes the use of therapeutic footwear.

Here are some other recommendations:
  • Wash your feet daily in lukewarm water and dry them gently.
  • Carefully trim your toenails regularly (and follow-up with a foot specialist).
  • Keep the skin on your feet soft and smooth.
  • Don’t go barefoot (even around the house).
  • Wear clean, dry socks – made from such fabrics as cotton and acrylic fibers (that pull sweat away from the skin); avoid nylon socks or those with tight elastic bands.
  • Buy shoes that fit properly (and speak to a foot doctor about special shoes that fit the exact shape of your feet, cushion them and evenly distribute your weight).
  • If you smoke, stop – smoking impairs circulation and reduces the amount of oxygen in the blood.
  • Take any foot injuries or changes to the skin very seriously.
  • Maintain a healthy diet, exercise regularly, and carefully monitor your blood sugar.
Although the treatment for diabetic foot problems has greatly improved in recent years, it all starts with prevention. And, should a foot problem occur, get prompt medical care.

Avoid Caregiver Burnout – Part 3

95613396-300x208This is part three of a series that offers some helpful tips to avoid caregiver burnout when dealing with someone suffering with Alzheimer’s disease. Learning as much as possible about Alzheimer’s can help alleviate burnout and make life easier for you and the person afflicted with this disease. This part discusses realistic expectations and setting up a game plan.  This is the final part of that series. Read More

Avoid Caregiver Burnout – Part 2

in home careFamily Cooperation

If the person with Alzheimer’s is a member of your family, your immediate family is likely to be your primary source of support and relief. Siblings often trade off care duty and share financial obligations.

But there are tremendous emotional benefits to a united family, too. Decision making is much easier when families are in general agreement. You’ll also be less likely to feel guilty or isolated, second-guess yourself, or waste mental energy feeling resentful or unappreciated if you can all work toward consensus (or at least mutual respect). Read More

Avoid Caregiver Burnout – Part 1

caregiver-stressMost people simply dive in to the responsibility of caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease and then take it one day at a time. That sounds like the best course of action right? Before you find yourself combating both his disease and your own emotional strain and battle fatigue, be sure you have these stress-busters on your side.  If you don’t cover yourself first then your no help to him. Read More

Personal grooming and housekeeping changes — a warning sign that care may be needed series

A messy house is not necessarily a cause for concern. First, take into consideration underlying reasons. Person Washing Hands with Soap in WashbasinIf the elder is recovering from illness or injury, they may not have the ability to keep up their normal routine due to pain. If it has been awhile since you’ve seen the elder—maybe they don’t keep their house the same as they did when you were younger. You need to assess if this is by choice or lack of ability. Drastic changes, especially, are the concern. For both of those issues housekeeping services will help. If the holidays are near there can be other factors such as depression of the loss of loved ones or the family’s inability to come together. Still, you can be sensitive to recognize warning signs during occasional visits. See other warning signs that care may be needed. Download our printable checklist to see if care might be needed.

Weight loss — a warning sign that care may be needed series

People of all ages benefit from losing excess weight, reasons include reduced risk of cancer, less stress on joints and reduced depression. However, when an elder suddenly loses weight without apparent reason, it could be cause for concern.Weighing Scales

If it is due to forgetfulness or inability to prepare meals—the weight loss may be an early sign that care is needed.

It could also be a sign of health risks or disease. At first sign of sudden weight loss, try talking to the elder to see if you can discover the reason.  If financial ability is a concern and the elder lives in Ada County, consider these options.  Learn more about nutrition for seniors. Read More

Increased injury and safety concerns — a warning sign that care may be needed series

Fall-related injuries are the leading cause of accidental death in adults age 65 and older. After a fall, the fear of falling can become as life changing and routine-inhibiting as the pain and recovery. One of my senior loved ones fell recently. She was so badly injured, she ended up in the hospital for almost a week. Afterwards, she needed physical therapy to improve her balance and coordination. medical

There are several easy steps you can take to prevent falls and reduce the fear of falling in older adults. For example, remove throw rugs and incorporate confidence-building exercise. Here is a great resource: Preventing falls in older adults. Read More

Loss of Mobility — a warning sign that care may be needed series

Lack of mobility seriously hampers daily life for elders. If you or a loved one are prone to falling, view our resources for suggestions to keep the house free of clutter and increase exercise for strength and mobility.

RetirementIf an elder is rebuilding energy and strength after surgery or illness, consider having family members and friends take turns pitching in an occasional day to clean and cook. Keeping a few prepared meals easily accessible will ease the burden on the elder. If this is not possible respite care or housekeeping services will provide that help. Read More

Sensitive Solutions to Help with Hoarding

Compulsive hoarding (or pathological hoarding or disposophobia) is the excessive acquisition of possessions (and failure to use or discard them), even if the items are worthless, hazardous, or unsanitary. Compulsive
hoarding impairs mobility and interferes with basic activities, including cooking, cleaning, showering, and sleeping.

It can also put a senior at risk for one of the most life-threatening and preventable possibilities: falling. Read More

Preventing Falls in Older Adults

Prevent Falls in SeniorsIt is estimated that one in three adults age 65 and older fall each year. Older adults are hospitalized five times more frequently for falling related injuries than any other cause. Accidental falls are the leading cause of injury related deaths and non-fatal falls shown in one study estimated the average cost of falling to be $19,440 per person.

In addition to the injuries, many older adults develop a fear of falling and limit their activity. This actually decreases their mobility and increases their chance of falling. Read More