Understanding Dementia Behaviors: Rummaging

 June 25, 2020 by Dean Bellefeuille

Searching through bins, cabinets, and closets, pulling out assorted items from drawers, and searching repetitively through a number of items might be frustrating for individuals providing care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s, but in reality these behaviors are fulfilling a purpose. Rummaging can supply a measure of comfort for those with Alzheimer’s, through identifying familiar items and finding purpose and meaning. (more…)


Are You Stressed Out Providing Care For a Senior Family Member? These Tips Can Help.

 June 16, 2020 by Dean Bellefeuille

Stress is inevitable, and actually, not always a negative thing. After all, as the saying goes, “A diamond is just a piece of charcoal that handled stress exceptionally well.” Nonetheless, especially if you are providing care for a senior family member, the amount of stress can quickly intensify and be overwhelming, and when not handled well, lead to serious health issues. (more…)


Caregiver Support Tip: How to Build Resiliency in a Time of Crisis

 June 11, 2020 by Dean Bellefeuille

A time of crisis can bring out both the very best together with the worst in us. Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, we’ve heard stories of people hoarding items and selling them in order to make an excessive profit, coupled with stories of heroes who selflessly met the needs of others despite their personal fears. (more…)


Top 5 Treatment Options for Seniors with Mesothelioma

 May 23, 2020 by Dean Bellefeuille

Learn about the top five treatment options for individuals diagnosed with mesothelioma.

Older adults diagnosed with mesothelioma have a variety of options when it comes to treatment. The type of care your loved one receives will be determined after a doctor or specialist evaluates him or her. Since each older adult’s diagnosis is unique, treatment will vary on an individual basis. While there is no specific treatment that cures mesothelioma, an early diagnosis and aggressive treatment can lead to your loved one going into remission. (more…)


A Woman Can Smell Disease and It Is Changing the Way We Diagnosis Parkinson’s

 May 20, 2020 by Dean Bellefeuille

You might not recognize her by name, however you’ve probably come across her story. Joy Milne has a remarkably specialized talent: detecting Parkinson’s disease through her sense of smell. Her gift came to light when she sensed what she explains as an “overpowering sort of nasty yeast smell” in her husband of ten years. Subsequently identifying other changes in her husband, such as personality and mood changes, he ultimately went to the doctor for medical assistance, and received a diagnosis of Parkinson’s.

Subsequently, upon joining a Parkinson’s support group meeting, that exact same odor permeated the room – even though reportedly only Joy was able to notice it. As a matter of fact, she was even able to detect varied degrees of the scent – some whose scent was weak, while for other people, it was more powerful. With both her own and her husband’s medical backgrounds (she a nurse and he a physician), this revelation was unmistakably important and called for additional action.

Her story led her to help Tilo Kunath, a Parkinson’s disease researcher at the University of Edinburgh, with the aim of creating an instrument to provide earlier detection – and in the long run, treatment – of Parkinson’s.

Although first skeptical of the possibility of Parkinson’s being identified through scent, he was open to additional investigation into the way we diagnosis Parkinson’s through smell after finding out about the success dogs were having in picking up on the odor of cancer in patients. He then designed an approach to assess her talents, by giving her a random selection of t-shirts – half which had been worn by a patient clinically identified as having Parkinson’s, and 50% by those without the disease – and, her accuracy rate was remarkable. As a matter of fact, she missed the mark on only one of the shirts, worn by someone without Parkinson’s, but who actually was later identified as having the condition as well.

Kunath says, “Imagine a society where you could detect such a devastating condition before it’s causing problems and then prevent the problems from even occurring.” Dr. Thomas Hummel of the Technical University of Dresden’s Smell & Taste Clinic, concluded that while the idea is interesting, there are still a number of questions to first address.

Parkinson’s disease, along with a host of other chronic health issues, can be more successfully managed with the help of a home care provider like At Home Independent Living. Reach out to us at (315) 579-HOME (4663) to learn more about our elder care in Syracuse, NY and the surrounding area.


Learn About the Disease That Looks Like Alzheimer’s: LATE

 May 13, 2020 by Dean Bellefeuille

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An older adult who exhibits loss of memory, confusion, poor judgment, repetition, and problems with completing day to day activities has the distinguishing signs of Alzheimer’s disease, right? Actually, what seems like an obvious case of Alzheimer’s may in fact be a newly recognized dementia.

Known as LATE, or limbic-predominant age-related TDP-43 encephalopathy, this diagnosis presents with almost identical symptoms, but the root cause is another story. As opposed to the buildup of amyloid plaques and tangles inherent with Alzheimer’s, LATE is diagnosed by deposits of TDP-43 protein, according to Dr. Julie Schneider, associate director for the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center.

And TDP-43 protein issues are in fact quite common in seniors, with as many as one in four older adults over age 85 impacted enough to cause recognizable cognitive and/or memory issues. Yet it continues to be an under-diagnosed condition, which might result in mis-diagnoses, and consequently, inappropriate treatment plans.

The latest guidelines call for seniors who have been diagnosed with LATE to be pulled from Alzheimer’s medication research, focusing research alternatively on establishing biomarkers to better detect LATE, to locate therapeutic intervention methods, and to expand testing to include a broader array of diverse populations, in an effort to perfect both prevention and treatment.

Being familiar with the differences between both types of dementia is paramount to appropriate treatment, and according to Dr. James Pickett, head of research at the Alzheimer’s Society, “This evidence may also go some way to help us understand why some recent clinical trials testing for Alzheimer’s disease have failed – participants may have had slightly different brain diseases.”

Key components of LATE include:

  • Generally affecting older adults over age 80
  • A much slower advancement than Alzheimer’s
  • Usually only affects memory
  • Could be combined with Alzheimer’s disease, which leads to an even more rapid decline

Whether Alzheimer’s disease, LATE, or some other form of dementia, At Home Independent Living provides the fully customized, skilled and creative caregiving that helps senior loved ones live the highest possible quality of life where it’s most comfortable: at home. Our care aides are fully trained and experienced in assisting those with dementia, as well as family caregivers, to more effectively manage the varying challenges experienced in each stage.

Contact us any time at (315) 579-HOME (4663) to ask about further dementia care resources, find answers to your questions, or to schedule a consultation to discover more about how we can assist with home or respite care in Syracuse, NY and the surrounding areas.


Top Resources for Seniors and Family Caregivers in Learning About COVID-19

 May 6, 2020 by Dean Bellefeuille

Being aware of the best place to turn to for the current, most dependable information about COVID-19, especially as it pertains to seniors and family members who provide caregiving assistance for them, is essential – and complicated. Due to many sources and differing viewpoints on this topic, we want to help make it easier to locate what you need by sharing the following list of top resources for seniors and those they love. (more…)


Ease Senior Finance Issues with These Tips

 April 21, 2020 by Dean Bellefeuille

senior finance - elder care in syracuse ny

Senior finance conversations can lead to a variety of arguments, heightened emotions, and misunderstandings. And for many of today’s seniors, who maintain a “Depression mentality” from years of saving for a rainy day and learning to “waste not, want not,” it can be hard for them to share access to finances with adult children, and to accept the need to spend some of those finances on caregiving needs. 

Talking with an aging parent about finances is most effective when started before the need arises, understanding it may take several conversations before an agreement can be reached. These conversation starters can help: 

  • “Dad, in time, we’re going to need to make some decisions about the future. Now might be a good time to sit down together and go over your wishes and the financial side of making sure we can abide by those wishes.” 
  • “Mom, I know you’re managing your finances just fine now, but what if something were to happen to your health that prevented you from paying your bills on time? It would be good to have a backup plan in place. Let’s sit down and come up with one.” 
  • “Mom and Dad, you’ve always been so good at managing your finances and providing for us while we were growing up. We want to be sure to continue that legacy, and to understand how best to help you both meet your financial obligations if the time comes that you need some assistance with that.” 

It can also be helpful to share real-life scenarios of a friend or neighbor who was victimized by identity theft, or a story from the news about the changing economy, stock market drops, changes to tax laws, etc. This can jumpstart a discussion about your aging parents’ own retirement plans and any financial fears for the future, allowing you to come to a mutually agreeable resolution, such as talking with a financial advisor together.   

Most importantly, be sure to maintain a sense of respect, never attempting to “take over” your parents’ finances, but to provide the reassurance and peace of mind that their financial matters will continue to be managed effectively. Ask your parents for advice and include them in the decision-making process. Daniel Lash, certified financial planner at VLP Financial Advisors, suggests, “Tell them what you’re thinking about doing so you give them the power to tell you what they think you should do. It’s like they’re giving you advice because that’s what parents are good at – giving advice.” 

At Home Independent Living, the top providers of elder care in Syracuse, NY and the surrounding area, offers a free in-home consultation to help older adults and the families who love them understand their options for care, and to help mediate difficult conversations such as those related to senior finance concerns. Contact us at (315) 579-HOME (4663for assistance.  


Dementia Care Tip: Discover the Benefits of Journaling

 April 14, 2020 by Dean Bellefeuille

dementia care - camillus home care

Providing dementia care is a fluid, ever-evolving process. One day can be calm and peaceful, with your loved one enjoying activities, eating healthy meals, and sharing laughter with you; while the next day may be fraught with agitation, anxiety, and sullenness. What will today bring? 

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How to Better Manage Senior Medicine to Avoid Complications

 April 7, 2020 by Dean Bellefeuille

senior medicine - home care and independent living

A recent study of over 2,000 seniors reveals that an astounding 87% take at least one prescription drug, and a full 36% are taking five or more – in addition to 38% using over-the-counter meds on a regular basis. Managing senior medicine can be extremely challenging, and there are a number of risks and dangers that can arise in the process.  

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