September 16, 2022 by Dean Bellefeuille

We all have bad days and good days, and we are all entitled to a bit of crankiness or negative thinking occasionally. If you’re taking care of a loved one who appears to have fallen into a routine of continuous negativity and complaining, however, it’s worth exploring whether a health problem may be the root cause. A physician can help you determine if a loved one’s mood is being affected by common health problems in the elderly.

Listed here are several reasons for recurring negativity and how you can help.

  1. Urinary tract infections (UTIs). A UTI’s classic symptoms of burning, pain, and urgency to urinate may include additional side effects for older adults, including angry outbursts, confusion, irritability, along with other alterations in mood or behavior. Check with the doctor to rule out a urinary tract infection if you notice these kinds of irregular behaviors.
  2. Pain. A recent research study discovered that participants who are experiencing chronic pain reported a rise in negative moods, including anger, depression, anxiety, tension, fatigue, and much more. It’s important to discuss any of these mood changes with the physician, as these types of mood changes actually impact the effectiveness of pain management treatments.
  3. Medication side effects. A wide range of medications – including those meant to help with mood, such as antidepressants – can cause troublesome mood swings. Medications for hypertension, inflammation, and seizures may cause behavioral and personality alterations in some people. Once again, talk with the doctor, and go through each of the older adult’s prescriptions to figure out if the problem stems from one medication or maybe the interaction of multiple medications together.
  4. Dementia. Mood and personality changes are common in dementia. It’s crucial to recognize that these changes are a symptom of the physiological changes in the brain and are not a representation of the person’s own choices and decisions. There are medicinal and natural treatment options that can help the person feel calmer and less agitated that you may desire to explore.

Negativity can arise from boredom or loneliness, too. Whatever the cause, persistent negativity can wear on a caregiver’s own sense of comfort and wellbeing. It’s important to be able to step away from your care role on a regular basis, and to make this time away a top priority. The senior will also benefit from the chance to spend time with a variety of friends, family members, or a professional caregiver. These breaks are a healthy part of your caregiver/care receiver relationship – for both of you.

At Home Independent Living’s caregivers are great companions to help brighten the mood of the older adults we serve. All of our caregiving staff are fully trained, background checked, and accomplished in a wide range of in-home care services for seniors. Email or call us to see exactly how we provide the kind of home care Syracuse, NY, and nearby areas trust most. To learn more about all of the areas we serve in New York, please visit our Service Area page.


 September 9, 2022 by Dean Bellefeuille

Remember memorizing the order of the colors of the rainbow in elementary school? Many of us were introduced to Roy G. Biv to learn this feat – among the many mnemonics we learn that, interestingly, often stay with us for life.

As we grow older, some amount of memory loss in old age is to be anticipated; and naturally it’s much more pronounced when Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia is a factor. Scientists are continuously striving to identify effective ways to improve memory and cognitive functioning and have discovered some intriguing findings on “old school” techniques such as mnemonics. Here is what they have recently uncovered:

Mnemonics

Mnemonics produces an association to a memory through a phrase, abbreviation, song, etc. This particular training revealed remarkable results in increasing activity in areas of the brain which are affected by dementia, resulting in increased retention of information.

You can discover limitless mnemonic strategies which are very effective in enhancing memory. For example, try mnemonic keywords. They are a fun and creative option to memorize words in a different language. It involves selecting a word that is much like the new word you wish to learn, and visualizing an image that brings the two words together. As an example, if you’re wanting to remember that chapeau is French for the word “hat,” you could picture Charlie Chaplin and his infamous black hat. The “Chap” element of his name can trigger the first letters in chapeau, and the memory will stick.

Spaced Retrieval Training

This tactic involves gradually increasing the length of time between memory tests, and was found to be extremely successful for people with Alzheimer’s. When compared with mnemonics, however, there was actually a decrease in brain activity, leading scientists to ascertain that the information was being processed more efficiently.

Spaced retrieval training is highly helpful for enhancing independence and reducing anxiety for those with cognitive challenges. Choose a desired event or activity for the person to keep in mind, such as a lunch date with a friend on Friday. First ask the person a question to ascertain if the memory is already in place. If not, remind them they are having lunch with Sally on Friday. Wait 15 seconds, and ask the person the question again. In the event that the memory is in place now, double the time to 30 seconds, and ask again, continuing to increase the time and ask again. If the person doesn’t remember after 15 seconds, keep repeating the method every 15 seconds several more times before determining that it is not an effective technique, at least not for this particular event or activity.

Both methods are simple, drug-free techniques to incorporate into the treatment for a person in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, or even for anybody who is seeking ways to improve memory.

Let At Home Independent Living provide additional support and resources for someone you love with dementia. Our creative approaches to care help make the most of a senior’s cognitive functioning, independence, and wellbeing. Reach out to us at (315) 579-HOME (4663) for additional information, and discover how we provide the kind of senior care Memphis, NY, and nearby areas prefer most. To learn more about all of the areas we serve in New York, please visit our Service Area page.


 April 20, 2022 by Dean Bellefeuille

Many of today’s seniors were raised during the Great Depression. They lived through a period of time when the nation was pinching pennies and cutting corners. Frugality was embedded in many of them very early on and often remains firmly in place for a lifetime. (more…)


 April 14, 2022 by Dean Bellefeuille

Memory loss and Alzheimer’s may seem synonymous. However, it’s important to realize that long-term memory frequently remains intact long into the progression of the disease. That is why tapping into those distant memories with reminiscence therapy is an ideal strategy to help a senior with dementia stay engaged in current conversations by connecting to the past. (more…)


 November 3, 2021 by Dean Bellefeuille

You may have had your suspicions, or maybe it blindsided you. Mom has just received a diagnosis for a progressive disease that is going to make independent living a challenge. While there are lots of questions, one thing is for sure: she is determined to remain at home – meaning you’ll have some decisions to make about how to provide for the care she will need. You may decide to take on a new role as the family caregiver for your mom. (more…)


 July 22, 2020 by Dean Bellefeuille

Those diagnosed with COPD have needed to remain especially vigilant since the COVID-19 pandemic started, because they are likely at both a greater risk for contracting the virus and for developing more severe complications. A recently available study published by the European Respiratory Journal reported that people with COPD were more likely to be admitted into the ICU, require ventilator care, and succumb to the virus compared to those without the disease. (more…)


 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…)


 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.


 March 5, 2020 by Dean Bellefeuille

We are already aware of how amazing our body’s immune system is in fighting invading bacteria and viruses and restoring us to health following an ailment. Even so, the most current discoveries from a report by Cardiff University are positioned to generate an innovative and unanticipated development: stopping cancer in its tracks. (more…)