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 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.

 August 19, 2022 by Dean Bellefeuille

You’ve decided the family home is just way too much for your mother and father to manage. A small house became available just around the corner from you that’s ideal: a beautiful flower garden in the yard, a sunny, cheerful kitchen, and no stairs to navigate. Now it is time to start the downsizing process. The only problem? Mom has dementia. (more…)

 July 5, 2022 by Dean Bellefeuille

Are you finding the need to turn the television up louder for an older adult you love? Conversing more loudly? Repeating topics your senior loved one missed hearing the first time? Hearing loss in seniors is not uncommon. But new scientific studies are pointing to a surprising link between hearing loss treatment and preventing dementia. (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…)

 April 6, 2022 by Dean Bellefeuille

From the moment you woke up this morning up until the end of an exhausting day, you have given your all to your older family member. You provided help with showering and dressing, prepared nutritious meals, cleaned the house, all while making sure the person was happily involved in enjoyable activities, made it for their 3:00 hair appointment, and picked up prescriptions and groceries afterwards. And while you are not doing any of these things for a pat on the back, a simple “thank you” would be nice – but is rarely offered. (more…)

 March 10, 2022 by Dean Bellefeuille

Short-term memory problems. Confusion. Inability to focus. Could it be Alzheimer’s?

Perhaps; however if you’re a cancer survivor, there is another likely culprit that might be at play: chemotherapy. Known as chemotherapy induced cognitive impairment (CICI) or “chemo brain,” effects including these can last for months and even years post-treatment. (more…)

 February 3, 2022 by Dean Bellefeuille

There has long been an assumption that when someone receives a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, the only real option for dementia care services is a nursing home. After all, it’s extremely hard for someone with cognitive decline to continue to reside at home, particularly when they live alone – or is it? (more…)

 December 17, 2021 by Dean Bellefeuille

Picture for a second how it could feel to grapple with the cognitive obstacles of dementia. The family and friends who are closest to you are now unfamiliar. The words and phrases that would roll off your tongue without a second thought are now just out of reach. In fact, the whole world as you once knew it has completely turned upside down, leaving you yearning for a familiar foothold. (more…)