How to Handle Frustrating Dementia Behaviors

Alzheimer’s and dementia are devastating for everyone. It can be incredibly difficult to watch your family member or loved one turn into someone you no longer know. Their personality may change completely, and they may start to display erratic, unusual, and even aggressive behaviors that leave you frustrated, upset, and unsure how to cope.

What works one day may utterly fail the next, and you may find yourself lost trying to navigate your loved one’s unpredictable behavior. Serving as caregiver for an individual suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia is challenging, but there are some steps you can take to manage frustrating dementia behaviors and increase both your and your loved one’s quality of life.

Understanding why dementia behaviors occur

The first step to effective management of frustrating dementia behaviors is understanding the underlying causes. Many times, dementia patients are unable to fully verbalize or articulate their feelings and needs, so they communicate through their behavior instead. Often, odd or aggressive behavior is simply an indication that they have an unmet or unrecognized need.

They may be experiencing stress, pain, or depression, or they may simply have a physical discomfort, such as hunger or cold. So when your loved one begins displaying abnormal behavior, your first action should be to verify that there are no obvious physical or mental causes.

This can be a frustrating process in itself, as they may not even be fully aware of what they’re feeling or experiencing, and it can take some trial and error to determine the reason for the behavior. But as you progress, you’ll gain a better understanding of your loved one’s triggers and be able to manage their behavior more effectively.

Managing dementia-related aggression and agitation

Agitation and aggression are challenging dementia behaviors, and they are usually caused by feelings of stress and frustration. It can be difficult not to react in kind, but try to keep a level head and speak in soft, soothing tones, reassuring your loved one that you are there, you acknowledge their feelings, and you want to help them.

A distraction or change of environment can be powerful tools for managing agitation and aggression. So you can try taking them for a walk or ride in the car, or even just take them to a different room. You can also talk to them, play or sing familiar music, or give them a simple task or activity to focus on to distract them from their anger and frustration.

Dealing with paranoia or suspicion

Like anger and agitation, paranoia and suspicion are not logical and can’t be reasoned away — but they are valid feelings that the individual is experiencing. They may claim that someone is stealing their money or belongings or trying to break into their house, and they can also experience hallucinations that further reinforce their delusions.

When dealing with this situation, it’s important to listen and let them air their concerns — without trying to correct or reason with them. Let them know that you understand how scary or frustrating the situation must be for them, and reassure them that you are there to help.

If they believe their money has been stolen, offer to help look for it. While searching, you can try to redirect their attention to another object, or you can even keep some coins or small bills on hand to “find” and resolve the situation. If they are worried about a break-in, acknowledge their concerns, but reassure them that you are there and you aren’t going to let anything bad happen.

How to handle sexual behaviors

Dementia doesn’t eliminate the need for human touch and intimacy, but dementia sufferers may no longer be able to express those desires in appropriate ways. They may try to touch or undress themselves in front of others, or even make inappropriate sexual advances.

While this can be incredibly embarrassing or uncomfortable for friends and family members, it’s important to remember that it is simply a symptom of the disease. However, it’s also a difficult symptom to manage, as those needs cannot fully be met in the way the individual desires. But there are some steps you can take to help manage inappropriate sexual behaviors in dementia patients.

To start, stay calm and composed and don’t act shocked or try to shame them. Instead, suggest that they may want some privacy or personal time and walk them to a private room. You can also use distraction techniques to redirect their attention and get them to focus on another task or activity.

And most importantly, keep in mind that inappropriate sexual behavior is often born from a desire for basic human touch. So make sure that you provide that platonic touch throughout the day through hugs, handholding, hair brushing, and other actions.

Managing dementia behaviors can be challenging, frustrating, and take a toll on caregivers, family, and friends — and it’s important to recognize when you need outside help. If you’re caring for a family member or loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia, Right Hand Senior Care would love to become a part of your care team. We offer affordable in-home care services designed to fit your family’s needs. You can contact us at (insert phone) or (insert email) to learn more about our in-home care options for dementia sufferers.

Summer Safety Tips for Seniors

It’s starting to get hot out there, and as much as we joke about frying an egg on the sidewalk, summertime can actually be dangerous for seniors. According to the CDC, there are an average of 67,512 visits to the emergency room for heat-related conditions, and the majority of those are elderly adults.

As we age, our bodies become less efficient at temperature regulation, primarily because we sweat less, which is the body’s number one way to cool off. So here are some precautions seniors and their caregivers and loved ones can take to stay safe in the summer heat. We’ll also go over the symptoms of different heat-related illnesses and how they should be treated.

Make sure to stay hydrated

Dehydration is especially common among seniors, so drink plenty of water throughout the day. Aim for a minimum of eight glasses each day, and avoid beverages with caffeine, alcohol, or excessive sugar as much as possible. Both alcohol and caffeine are diuretics, meaning that they will cause your body to lose water, bringing on dehydration quickly.


Spend the middle of the day indoors

There’s no need to stay cooped up inside for the entire summer, but seniors should avoid the outdoors during the hottest part of the day — typically around 10:00am to 4:00pm. So plan to do any outdoor activities in the morning or evening, when the temperature is a little cooler. When you are outside, stay out of direct sunlight, drink a generous amount of water, and take frequent breaks if you are doing any sort of physical activity.


Use fans and air conditioning as much as possible

Central air conditioning is optimal to help beat the heat, but not everyone has an air-conditioned home. If you live in an extremely hot, humid area, even a window unit in a single room can be a lifesaver, and there are federal and local programs available to help low or fixed-income seniors cover the cost of air-conditioning units.

In milder climates, both ceiling and box fans can be used to help circulate the air and keep the in-home temperature down. And on particularly sweltering days, it’s a good idea to spend the hottest part of the day at a library, shopping mall, religious center, or another air-conditioned location.


Dress for the heat

Lightweight, loose-fitting clothing is the best option for hot weather, and lighter colors help reflect heat away from the body. If you’re spending time outdoors, a wide-brimmed hat will also keep the sun off of your face and neck — just make sure it’s made of a breathable material that won’t trap heat.


Protect your eyes and skin

In addition to heat protection, you should also safeguard against harmful UVA and UVB rays that can cause sunburns, damage your skin and eyes, and increase your risk of skin cancer. Wear UV-blocking sunglasses while outdoors, and apply at least an SPF 30 sunscreen to all exposed skin. While you’re at it, you may also want to spray on some bug repellent to protect from insect bites, which can also cause complications for seniors.


Exercise safely

Exercise is important for health and mental and physical well-being, but make sure you work out safely in the heat. If possible, get your exercise in at an air-conditioned gym, or even better — a swimming pool. Local senior centers often have free fitness classes in air-conditioned environments as well.


Check in with friends and family members regularly

Heat-related illnesses can come on fast and leave you extremely disoriented or incapacitated, so stay in regular contact with family members and friends. You can even schedule a daily check-in via a simple text message or phone call with a trusted loved one. If they don’t hear from you when expected, they’ll know something might be wrong and that you may need help.


Heat-related illnesses you should watch out for

Illnesses brought on by the heat can be life-threatening, so keep an eye out for any of these signs or symptoms. Remember, it’s better to get medical help sooner rather than later, so don’t hesitate to call a healthcare provider or 911 if you have any doubts.


Dehydration is caused by insufficient water in the body, and the symptoms include:

If the individual is awake and coherent, get them to a cooler location right away and provide them with plenty of water or beverages containing electrolytes. However, if the symptoms do not resolve, they lose consciousness at any point, or they have any underlying heart or blood pressure conditions, seek emergency medical assistance immediately.

Heat Exhaustion

Heat exhaustion is brought on by a combination of excessive heat exposure and dehydration. The symptoms include:

Immediately move the person to a cool, shady place and give them plenty of water or electrolyte drinks. If they have any underlying blood pressure or heart problems, or if they don’t feel better after fluids, call 911 right away.

Heat Stroke

Heat stroke occurs when your body temperature reaches an extremely high, dangerous level, and the primary symptoms are:

If heat stroke is suspected, call 911 immediately. Keep the individual as cool as possible while waiting for emergency assistance, and provide water or electrolyte drinks if they are conscious and able to swallow.

In summary

High summertime temperatures and humidity can be dangerous for older adults, but there are precautions seniors can take to lower their risk for heat-related illnesses and complications. However, if dehydration, heat exhaustion, or heat stroke are suspected, it’s vital that you address it immediately and get emergency medical help if needed.

If your elderly family member or loved one could use a little extra help staying safe and healthy this summer, Right Hand Senior Care offers affordable, flexible in-home care services designed to fit your family’s needs. For more information, contact us (insert phone) or (insert email) today.

Early Signs of Alzheimer’s or Dementia

While we can all be a little absent-minded or scatterbrained sometimes, forgetfulness and confusion in seniors is something that shouldn’t be ignored. When your aging loved one struggles with their memory, it may be just a side effect of old age, but it could also be a sign of the onset of dementia. It can be difficult to tell the difference, so it’s definitely something that you should address with their doctor, especially if they are showing any of these early signs of Alzheimer’s or dementia.

Inability to perform routine tasks

Early dementia sufferers may mentally struggle to carry out tasks that they’ve never had difficulties with before. Even normal, everyday chores — such as grooming, cleaning, cooking, or paying bills — can become a challenge.

Difficulty concentrating or following instructions

You may notice that your loved one can’t seem to concentrate on a task or follow directions. They may struggle to follow a recipe, even a familiar one, or have trouble doing things like reading, using normal household appliances, or comprehending new information.

Disorientation in familiar places

With the onset of dementia, individuals tend to get disorientated in places they’ve been to many times before. This is especially dangerous if they are still driving, as they can easily become lost and confused and unable or unwilling to ask for help. 

Confusing times, places, or people

Dementia sufferers may appear to get confused about the current date or the time and place an event occurred. For example, they may talk about an event as if it happened recently, when in reality, it occurred a decade or more earlier. They can also forget family members’ names or mix them up with other individuals.

Frequently repeating themselves

Repeating the same stories within a short period of time or asking the same questions over and over can also be a strong sign of the onset of dementia. Sufferers may also forget about events or appointments and have trouble retaining new information.

Misplacing belongings

When suffering from dementia, seniors tend to put objects in strange places or frequently lose belongings. They may also become angry or paranoid and accuse others of stealing items that they themselves misplaced.

Poor judgment and decision-making skills

This is an especially dangerous sign of dementia and should not be ignored. Seniors with dementia or Alzheimer’s may display poor judgment when it comes to things like finances, safety, or personal hygiene. This can result in falling for scams or significantly overspending, putting themselves in dangerous situations, or neglecting their own health.

Withdrawing socially

Individuals with dementia can have difficulty following or participating in conversations, so they often withdraw from family, friends, and social situations. They may also lose interest in hobbies or activities that they previously enjoyed.

Personality changes

The onset of dementia often brings about noticeable personality changes. Dementia patients may become abnormally angry, short-tempered, depressed, or anxious, especially around groups of people or in unfamiliar places.

As our loved ones grow older, it’s normal to see some physical and cognitive decline — that’s just an unavoidable part of aging. But some changes can signify the onset of Alzheimer’s or dementia and should not be ignored. If your loved one is displaying any of these signs, it’s important to speak with their doctor right away and have them screened for dementia. An early diagnosis can make all the difference when it comes to their future and quality of life.

If your loved one is suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia, or they are just having difficulties caring for themselves as they age, in-home care can provide the help they need while allowing them to remain in their familiar, comfortable home environment. Right Hand Senior Care offers affordable, custom care plans for seniors, giving them the care they need — and you peace of mind. For more information, contact us (insert phone) or (insert email).

Helpful Home Modifications for Seniors With Disabilities

More than ever, seniors are choosing to remain in their homes as they age, rather than moving to an assisted living facility. Resources like in-home care, tech devices, and delivery services have made aging in place much safer and more feasible, even for seniors with disabilities.

However, there are many practical home modifications that can make life easier for your aging loved one and help ensure their safety. While some of these options are more expensive and may require installation by a professional, others are highly affordable, DIY solutions that can make a world of difference for your loved one.

Wider Doorways

Standard-width doorways are not designed to accommodate a wheelchair or walker. So if your loved one has mobility issues or is confined to a wheelchair, wider doorways can make it easier and safer for them to move about their home.


Ramps can also be incredibly helpful for wheelchair or walker users. Many people have outdoor steps leading to their yards or gardens, and if your loved one does not have a ramp installed, it may be difficult or impossible for them to get outside and enjoy the outdoors on their own.

Lower Countertops

Countertops are designed for use while standing, so if your loved one uses a wheelchair or has trouble standing for extended periods of time, they may have difficulty reaching their countertops. Lowering the countertop and sink heights in their home can help your loved one maintain their independence and reduce the risk of dangerous accidents.

Walk-In Shower or Tub

Bathroom falls are incredibly common. The surfaces are often slippery, and standard tubs require you to climb in and out — a challenge for anyone with limited mobility. Some seniors start to neglect their hygiene simply out of fear of falling in the bathroom or an inability to navigate in and out of the tub.

Walk-in showers and tubs are much safer and easier to use, and there are many different DIY and professionally installed options to fit different budgets. It’s also a good idea to add a non-slip mat or strips to the shower or tub floor for an extra layer of protection.

Hard Flooring and Low Transitions

Carpet and rugs, especially those with higher or looser piles, present a significant tripping hazard for seniors. In addition, it’s much more difficult to use a wheelchair or walker on carpeted floors. Replacing carpets with hard flooring, such as tile, vinyl, laminate, or wood, can make your loved one’s home safer and allow for easier movement. If you do use rugs, choose low profile rugs and secure them firmly using rug tape.

High transition or threshold strips can also be tripping hazards and may be difficult for wheelchair and walker users to navigate over. However, these are simple and cheap to replace with low profile options.

Grab Bars

Grab bars are easy to install and quite affordable, but they can make a huge difference when it comes to your loved one’s safety. Securely install grab bars in places where there is a greater risk of falls, like in the bathroom and near stairs. 

Better Lighting

Many elderly individuals suffer from poor eyesight, so installing brighter lighting can help them move about their homes more safely. This can be as simple as replacing light bulbs with higher wattage bulbs, or as complex as installing new or additional lighting fixtures. If your loved one has unlit closets or hallways, there are many battery-powered or plug-in lighting options that are affordable and easy to install. 

Assistive Seating or Lifts

If your loved one has difficulty standing from a seated or lying position, there are a variety of powered lift options to make things easier for them. Some electric recliners can tilt forward to give them a boost, and there are also independent lifting seats that can be used with any chair.

Hoyer lifts come in a wide variety of options and can be incredibly helpful for individuals with extremely limited mobility. While they are quite expensive, your loved one may qualify for Medicare or VA assistance to help cover some of the cost.

There are plenty of other helpful home modifications for seniors with disabilities, but this list is a great place to start. Even just making a few affordable, DIY changes can help create a safer home environment for your loved one.

If your aging loved one needs some additional support to maintain their independence and remain safely in their home, Right Hand Senior Care can help. We offer affordable, customizable in-home care services that can give you peace of mind and your loved one the assistance they need. For more information, contact us at (insert phone) or (insert email).

When to Seek Outside Care for Your Elderly Loved One?

According to a 2023 AARP report, around 38 million people in the U.S. are providing caregiving services to at least one loved one for an average of 18 hours every week. Many seniors are choosing to stay at home and age in place, receiving care and assistance from friends and family members, rather than relocating to an assisted living or care facility.

However, the older they get, the more reliant they become on this care, and eventually it becomes too much for their caregivers to feasibly handle. If you are caring for an elderly parent or loved one, it’s important to understand when it’s time to seek outside help — both for their safety, health, and quality of life and yours.

Sometimes, the signs are obvious, but more often than not, it’s a slow, subtle buildup of signs that go unnoticed. So it’s helpful to take a step back and look at the situation objectively to see if your loved one is displaying these indications that it’s time to seek professional, outside care.

Poor Hygiene or Lack of Self-Care

When seniors begin to struggle with everyday tasks, hygiene and self-care are often the first things that are neglected. It can be due to mobility challenges, where they have difficulties navigating in and out of the bathtub, or they may simply forget to do these basic tasks.

So you may start to notice an increase in body odor or bad breath, changes in grooming habits, frequently unclean clothing, and other cleanliness issues. Weight loss can also be a sign that they are not taking care of themselves properly and getting adequate nutrition.


Personal or Environmental Safety Issues

As your loved one’s cognitive function declines, they are more likely to put themselves into dangerous situations or display risky, unsafe behaviors. They may habitually neglect to lock their doors or forget to turn the stove off. If they are still driving, you may notice unexplained dents or scratches on their car, indicating difficulty navigating around objects or in parking lots. They may also begin making unwise financial decisions and become likely targets for scammers.


Memory Problems

Most people will experience some level of cognitive decline as they age. But if your loved one has substantial memory issues or seems to be getting worse, it can be indicative of Alzheimer’s or dementia, which require a professional level of care, especially as the disease progresses. They may forget family members’ names or mix them up, have difficulty managing their medications and general health, become confused about events or timelines, and even get lost in familiar places.


Worsening Health or Mobility

The worse an individual’s health becomes, the harder it is for their family members and loved ones to provide adequate care, especially if the person’s mobility is affected. If your loved one’s health or mobility is getting to the point where they need help with even basic tasks, then it’s time to consider a more comprehensive care solution. In addition, suddenly worsening health may indicate that your loved one is not managing their conditions appropriately or taking their medications correctly.


Changes in Mood or Personality

Significant personality changes can be a sign of Alzheimer’s or dementia, but they can also be symptoms of a loss of independence. Your loved one may become frustrated by their own limitations and angry that normal everyday tasks have become such a challenge, leading them to lash out at the people around them.

Declining Social Engagement

Not everyone is a social butterfly, but if your loved one has begun isolating themselves and avoiding social situations, it can be indicative of a bigger health or cognitive issue. Seniors often begin to self-isolate or avoid social gatherings due to limited mobility or stamina, which makes it difficult for them to stand, walk around, or participate in any physical activities.

They may also have some cognitive issues that make it hard for them to follow or take part in conversations, or even keep stories, people, and names straight. Both of these issues can be frustrating and embarrassing, so they may avoid social situations altogether. 

Caregiver Burnout

Finally, outside care can be just as important for you, the caregiver, as it is for your loved one. Caregiving is a hard job, and caregiver burnout can be dangerous for everyone involved. If you’re feeling depressed, anxious, angry, overwhelmed, or suffocated by your responsibilities, that’s a good indication that it’s time to get some outside help.

If you need professional, compassionate care for your elderly loved one, Right Hand Senior Care offers affordable, flexible services to fit your family’s needs. For more information, contact us (insert phone) or (insert email). We would love to become a part of your loved one’s care team.

How to Encourage Your Loved One to Accept Home Care

Most of the time, an aging senior’s loved ones become aware of a decline in health or capabilities long before they themselves do. So it can be difficult to convince them that they need outside help. When it’s time to approach the topic of at-home care, keep these tips in mind to make the transition as smooth as possible.

Avoid argument or heated discussions

First of all, this is the time to keep your cool and avoid letting your emotions get the better of you. This can be difficult, since you’re likely feeling fear and anxiety over your loved one’s health or mobility issues. But keep in mind that this is scary for them as well. They are approaching the end of their life and are becoming incapable of taking care of all of their own needs.

So instead of trying to coerce or convince your loved one to accept home care, approach the discussion with patience and empathy, and give them some time to get used to the idea of help. While they may be resistant at first, often seniors will come around to the idea once they’ve had some time to think about it.

Reassure them that they will maintain their independence

One of the biggest reasons seniors hesitate to accept in-home care is the fear that they will lose their independence. Make sure that you reassure them that in-home care is a way to help them maintain their independence — not take it away. In-home senior care will allow them to remain in their comfortable, familiar home environment, while still receiving the care that they need.

Allow them to be a part of the planning

If you make all of the arrangements yourself, your loved one may feel like they are losing control of their life and decision-making power. So don’t exclude your loved one from the process of setting up in-home care.

Let them be a part of caregiver selection and care plan development. Encourage them to ask questions and make sure they are comfortable with the caregiver and the plan of care. Take any concerns they have into account, and work with them to find a plan that works for everyone.

Focus on the advantages

If your loved one is having difficulty completing household chores and everyday tasks, this can be a great way to approach the subject of at-home care. They may be much more open to the idea if you frame it as a way to get them some well-deserved help around the house, leaving them with more time to focus on the things they enjoy. As their caregiver establishes a relationship with them, they will likely become more comfortable with receiving assistance with personal care as well.

Frame it as a favor to you

Most parents do not want to worry their children or be a burden on them, and caring for an aging parent can become a stressful, full-time job. So it can be helpful to present in-home care as a favor to you. Let them know that you worry their needs aren’t all being met, and that you would feel more comfortable if they had some assistance around the house when you can’t be there.

It can be hard for seniors to admit that they need help in their daily lives, but we hope these tips will help you approach the subject gracefully and encourage your loved one to accept home care. If you are looking for affordable, compassionate in-home care for your aging loved one, Right Hand Senior Care can help. For more information, contact us (insert phone) or (insert email).

Technology That Can Help Seniors Keep Their Independence

Modern technology is making it easier than ever for seniors to safely remain in the comfort of their homes as they age. If you are concerned about an aging loved one, there are plenty of tools and devices available that can help you ensure their safety, even from a distance. From smart devices to apps to monitoring systems, we’ll go over the best technology that can help seniors keep their independence and age in place.

Smart devices for seniors

Smart watches — Today’s smart watches range from basic fitness trackers to what are essentially mini smartphones. Advanced models even offer safety features like fall detection and heart health monitoring. All of the data collected is sent to an app, which caregivers can also use to view their loved one’s health stats and receive emergency alerts.

Smart home devices — There are few different options for smart home devices, but in general, they can all be used by both seniors and their caregivers to make lists, set reminders, look up information, and even call for help in an emergency. 

Tablets and smartphones — Seniors need to remain connected to friends, family, and the outside world, and tablets and smartphones are more user-friendly and accessible for seniors than laptops and desktop computers. Caregivers will also find it easier to put safety measures in place on these devices to help protect their loved ones from scams, malware, and other risks.

Smart medication dispensers — There are a variety of tools available to help ensure medication safety and compliance, from fully automated dispensers to digital medicine bottles. These devices can be used to make sure that seniors take their medication regularly and on time, as well as to prevent accidental overdoses.

Monitoring systems to ensure seniors’ safety

Medical alert devices — We all remember the terrible Life Alert commercials, but in reality, falls can be devastating and life-threatening. Fortunately, modern medical alert devices are quite advanced and include GPS monitoring and automatic emergency alerts. They are also much smaller and more discreet than the enormous old necklaces.

Health monitors — These wearable devices generate constant data on the wearer’s vitals, including blood pressure, blood glucose, oxygen levels, cardiac health, and even sleep patterns. Some options can even transmit this information directly to the individual’s healthcare provider.

Smart home security systems — From the simple smart doorbells to whole-home security systems, these devices can give both seniors and their caregivers peace of mind and prevent dangerous situations. There are also smart home monitoring systems that use sensors to alert carers to unusual patterns and potential emergencies, without the use of privacy-invading cameras.

Apps and services to make life easier for seniors

Grocery and meal delivery services — For seniors who no longer drive, grocery and meal delivery services can be a life-saver. These apps are quite user-friendly and allow seniors to easily place orders for delivery from their local grocery store or favorite restaurant. 

Video chatting — There are a number of video chatting apps available now that can help seniors stay connected with friends and family in a more interactive and personable way than texting or phone calls.

Brain games — It’s important for seniors to continue to exercise their minds, and there are tons of brain game apps designed to sharpen critical thinking and reasoning skills. These games can help stave off age-related cognitive decline and provide hours of quality entertainment.

Transportation services — Another great option for seniors who don’t drive, the popular rideshare apps allow them to request rides any time, without having to rely on friends and family. They also have built-in safety features that caregivers can use to make sure their loved ones stay safe.

How to help seniors adjust to new technology

Many seniors have difficulty adjusting to constantly-changing modern technology, so you may need to introduce new tools and devices slowly and help them get used to using them. Take it one step at a time and let them watch you navigate the app or device before letting them try it themselves. Remember to be patient — unlike younger generations, they haven’t spent the majority of their lives using smartphones, tablets, smart devices, and other modern technology, So for many seniors, using technology doesn’t come naturally, but it’s a skill that can be developed.

These devices can help your loved one remain in their home and retain their independence as they age, but if they need a little more help, Right Hand Senior Care offers flexible, affordable in-home care services. For more information, contact us at (insert phone) or (insert email) to learn how we can help your loved one stay healthy and safe in the comfort of their own home.   

Safety Precautions for Dementia Sufferers

Individuals with dementia or Alzheimer’s rely on their loved ones and caregivers to ensure their safety. Without proper supervision and safety precautions in place, dementia sufferers often find themselves in dangerous and even life-threatening situations. For example, they may forget to turn off a stove burner, resulting in a house fire, or they might get confused and wander out of the house alone.

Because of these risks, the family members of dementia sufferers frequently feel that they have no choice but to place their loved one in a nursing home or supervised care facility. However, individuals who are still in the earlier stages of the disease can often maintain some independence and continue to live at home or with family members — provided some important safety precautions are put in place.

Keep dangerous items of out of reach

First, you need to make sure that the individual cannot access dangerous items, such as insecticides and other chemicals, toxic cleaning supplies, power tools, lighters and matches, weapons, and medications. Store these types of items in locked cabinets and ensure that the keys are not easily accessible. You may also want to use child-safety locks on cabinets and drawers that contain potentially dangerous items.

Utilize smart home and safety devices

At the bare minimum, test the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors regularly to make sure that they will work in an emergency. You should also keep at least one fire extinguisher readily available. However, there are all types of smart home devices that can also help you keep your loved one safe — and even make their life easier.

For example, a smart watch can track the individual’s location and movements, while home monitoring or security devices can alert you to opened doors and windows or even let you keep an eye on your loved one. You can also use a stove monitoring device that provides an auto-shutoff function and allows you to control the appliance remotely.

Ensure easy navigation

Dementia patients may have difficulty navigating their environment, so spaces should be open and easy to walk through, with no heavy rugs or cords that are easy to trip on. Large pieces of furniture should be secured to prevent tipping if the individual grabs onto them to steady themselves. Lighting is also important, especially if the individual has poor eyesight. Make sure that all rooms and hallways can be well lit both day and night.

Protect against wandering

There are many different ways to prevent or discourage dementia sufferers from wandering out of the home. Most importantly, you should install sturdy locks either significantly lower or higher on the door than normal — outside of eye level — and don’t leave the keys in a visible, easily accessed place. You can also hang a curtain or tapestry in front of the door to camouflage it and install child safety devices on the doorknobs. A standard stop sign mounted on the door may also be effective.

However, you should have other precautions in place in case these tools fail. So speak to neighbors about the situation and have them call if they see your loved one wander out of the home. Wearable devices can also help you track the person down if they do leave, and an ID bracelet will allow others to identify your loved one if they are found wandering.

Enlist the help of at-home caregivers

You can’t be by your loved one’s side 24/7, but you can employ a full or part-time caregiver to regularly check up on them and be there when you can’t be. An in-home caregiver can assist your loved one with things like daily tasks, hygiene, preparing meals, medication compliance, and ensuring their overall safety. 

At Right Hand Senior Care, our caregivers have the experience, training, and expertise to support and care for sufferers of dementia or Alzheimer’s. If you would like more information on our services, feel free to contact us at (insert phone) or (insert email).

Nutrition Guide for Seniors and Caregivers

As a caregiver for an aging loved one, it’s important to make sure that they are eating right and getting the correct nutrients for optimal health. But with so much diet and nutrition information available, it can be difficult to know what recommendations are accurate. So we’ve created this convenient, factual guide that covers the basics of nutrition for seniors and their caregivers.

Why healthy eating is important for seniors

While eating a healthy, balanced diet is a good idea for everyone, it’s especially important for seniors. Not only does it help ensure that they receive adequate amounts of vital nutrients, it also prevents muscle and bone loss, protects against illness and diseases, and alleviates stress on the body due to excess weight.

However, it can be difficult for seniors to get enough of the important vitamins, minerals, and nutrients, because as we age, our body requires fewer calories. So many seniors have reduced or minimal appetites. Therefore, the best options are typically nutrient-dense foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, seeds and nuts, and legumes. A balanced, nutritious diet will include a mix of these foods on a regular basis to ensure that the individual gets enough protein, carbohydrates, healthy fats, fiber, calories, and vitamins and minerals each day.


Protein is essential for everyone, but for seniors, it’s especially vital. Our bodies use protein for repair and maintenance, and seniors who do not eat enough protein can experience muscle loss, greater risk of injury, and slow healing. So each meal should include a source of protein, such as:


When it comes to carbohydrates, complex is best. Complex carbohydrates provide the most nutrients and fiber, which is essential for digestive health and also helps reduce cholesterol, prevent high blood pressure, and maintain balanced blood sugar levels. Whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and legumes are all excellent complex carbohydrates.


Our bodies need fats for brain function, nutrient absorption, and overall physical and mental health. But not all fats are created equal. You’ve probably heard of “good” fats and “bad” fats. Good fats are unsaturated fats found in things like salmon, nuts, avocados, eggs, and vegetable oils. These fats are vital for the body to function properly and actually help reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke.

Bad fats include saturated and trans fats, with trans fats being the worst. Fortunately, trans fats are much less common nowadays, but they can still be found in some processed and fried foods. Saturated fats are less harmful, but should still be eaten in moderation, as they can increase the risk of heart attack, stroke, and other health issues. Red meats and high-fat dairy products, such as butter, ice cream, and cheese, all include saturated fats.

Vitamins and nutrients

There are a few nutrients that are especially important for seniors to get on a regular basis.

While it’s best to get your vitamins and nutrients from real food sources, that’s just not always possible. Some seniors may need to take a supplement to ensure that they get the recommended amounts of necessary nutrients. However, you should always talk to your loved one’s doctor before giving them any vitamins or supplements. The doctor can determine if their diet is adequate or if supplementation is necessary.

You should also remember that, as a caregiver, it’s important to make sure that you are eating a balanced, healthy diet as well. You can’t give your loved one the care they need without caring for yourself. If taking the time to care for yourself sounds impossible, Right Hand Senior Care would love to help. To learn more about our at-home care for seniors, contact us at (insert phone) or (insert email).

How to Discuss End-of-Life Preparation

Death is an inevitable fact of life, but many people still find it difficult to talk about. No one wants to imagine the death of a loved one, however, as family members age, it’s important to have that tough discussion about end-of-life preparation. If you’re unsure what to ask, or even how to start the conversation, we’re here to help. From funeral preferences to legal issues, we’ll show you how to approach the subject of end-of-life preparation with care, compassion, and confidence.

How to talk about death

It’s a difficult conversation to have — for all parties involved. Both you and your loved one may feel awkward or uncomfortable, and quite often, the aging individual will be resistant to the discussion and attempt to brush it off or even lash out in anger. So remember to be compassionate and keep a level head.

You should also plan the conversation ahead of time and initiate it in an appropriate time and place. Ask yourself where your loved one feels most comfortable and will be more likely to open up. At their kitchen table? While on a walk? There may be multiple people who want or need to be involved in the conversation, but try to keep it as small and intimate as possible. A large crowd of well-meaning family members may make your loved one feel pressured or ganged up on.

If they are still in moderately good health, reassure them of this and frame the conversation as a plan for the future to make sure their needs and desires are met. If you’ve noticed particular health issues, you can carefully point them out and let them know that you are concerned and that their health is important to you. Above all, make sure they understand that the goal is to learn their wishes and needs and fulfill them to the best of your ability.

Legal and financial planning

This may be the easiest topic to start with, because it involves primarily facts and figures, rather than emotional subjects. You’ll need to ask about their:

Will — Do they have an updated will on file to ensure that their belongings and assets are distributed according to their wishes? If not, do they need assistance contacting an attorney to create one?

Life insurance — What policies, if any, do they have in place? Are the listed beneficiaries correct? Do they have any type of funeral insurance to help cover expenses?

Accounts — What bank accounts or safe deposit boxes do they have? If your family is comfortable talking about finances, you can also ask for a general idea of their assets so you know what to expect if they require long-term care.

Passwords — Do they have a list of account information and passwords? If not, you may want to show them how to use a digital password storage tool or help them create a hardcopy list of their account details.

Be sure to write down any information they provide, so that you’ll have it available when you need it.

Health and medical care

The best time to ask about healthcare and medical wishes is before they are needed, while your loved one is still of sound mind and able to make these decisions themselves. You’ll need to learn their preferences for:

Long-term care — Would they prefer to relocate to a nursing or senior care facility, or would they rather stay at home and enlist the help of an in-home caregiver?

Life-sustaining treatment — Are there any medical procedures that they do or do not want, such as a ventilator or feeding tube? Do they have a DNR in place?

Medical decisions — Who do they want to make medical decisions for them if they are incapable? Do they have or want to file a medical power of attorney to ensure that this person is authorized to make decisions on their behalf?

Advance directive — An advance directive is a legal document that dictates an individual’s medical care preferences and names a healthcare agent to make sure those desires are carried out. Ask if your loved one already has one in place or would like to file one.

Final wishes

Finally, talk to your loved one about any preferences they have for what happens after they are gone. For example, you can inquire about:

Funeral arrangements — Do they want a traditional funeral or something else? Is there any particular music they would like played or any requested speakers or clergy? Would they like a traditional burial, or would they prefer cremation?

Goodbyes — Are they interested in creating their own obituary or a goodbye video or letters to family and friends?

Needs — Is there anything they need you to do after they are gone? This can include anything from taking in a beloved pet to removing items from the house that they do not want other family members to see.

Death is an uncomfortable subject, but hopefully this guide has helped you better prepare for the difficult end-of-life conversation with your loved one. Watching your loved one age and approach the end of their life is hard, especially if you are responsible for their care, so remember to seek out support for yourself, as well as them.

If you need caregiving assistance for your loved one as they age, Right Hand Senior Care offers affordable in-home care services designed to meet your family’s needs. For more information, contact us at (insert phone) or (insert email).