fbpixel In Conversation with Judith A. Levy | Home Care Expert Insights

Home Care Expert Insights

In Conversation with Judith A. Levy to Bring Her Insights on Caregiver Support

Providing unparalleled caregiver support is paramount in ensuring the holistic well-being of both caregivers and those under their care. At the core of every effective caregiving system lies the crucial pillar of support for these dedicated individuals.

Acknowledging the challenges they face, whether emotional, physical, or professional, is key to fostering a nurturing environment. By offering tailored resources, training, and a supportive network, we aim to empower caregivers with the tools needed to navigate their roles effectively while preserving their own health and resilience.

Our commitment stands strong in ensuring caregivers feel valued, equipped, and supported in their noble mission of providing compassionate care.

To shed some light on the same, we interviewed a home care industry expert to bring her perspective on caregiver support.

Expert QA session with Judith A. Levy

Who Did We Interview?

Judith A. Levy is an esteemed professional in Occupational Therapy, boasting a Bachelor’s degree from Boston University’s Sargent College of Allied Health Professions and a Master’s from Rutgers University.

With over 40 years of experience in adult rehabilitation across various healthcare settings, Levy has established OT departments, instructed home health aides, and served as a guest lecturer in OT programs. Leveraging personal and professional insights, her book extends support to caregivers navigating Alzheimer’s Dementia roles.

Let’s get started with knowing what our expert thinks of the home care industry:

Question 1: What, in your opinion, can caregivers do to support seniors with Alzheimer’s?

First off I want to stress that it is not only seniors who have cognitive issues. It can be a diagnosis of young-onset dementia, sports related head injuries which affect memory and/or motor skills, post-surgery anesthesia complications. Even something as benign as a vitamin deficiency can result in similar problems.

If you notice decreased socialization, decreased self-care, weight loss, it’s time to take action. The best support that you can give is to arrange for a medical evaluation. Take notes on the assessment. Then, coordinate and discuss this with your client/family to agree on a plan going forward.

Question 2: Do Alzheimer’s patients need to make certain lifestyle changes for minimizing the impact?

Lifestyle changes are necessitated by the level of cognitive loss and this is different for each person. Before rushing into thoughts of moving or the need for hiring a caregiver, make sure that all legal, financial and medical forms are updated and available for the future carers. Consider having an Ethical Will in addition to the Living Will, POLST forms and Powers of Attorney. Depending on what State you live in, have the will and/or trust arranged. Having a plan and taking care of the paperwork makes things much easier and will minimize problems that are sure to arise as the illness progresses.

If you have to decrease your loved one’s independence by taking away the car, be sure to have another means of transportation available. This possibly can keep someone in their home for a longer period of time. Consider meals-on-wheels to provide and have food available on a consistent basis. If they are not eating it’s time to consider more care.

Question 3: How should family members and caregivers communicate with Alzheimer’s patients?

Today there are so many advances in technology that makes a home more memory friendly. With the availability of smart watches, Alexa voice commands, sensors that indicate a person’s movement within the home – big brother can indeed be watching. This is good for distant family carers and offers an awareness of the need for help in an emergency but, it can be confusing for the individual who is not tech savvy and doesn’t understand where a voice is coming from when alerts and commands are given. I love phone calls on FaceTime as opposed to regular voice only calls. It’s another way to check in on the person in addition to what’s being said while chatting.

When having a conversation be sure to sit where they can see and hear you. Don’t forget that often people use hearing aids and if they aren’t wearing them you won’t get far! Remember to speak clearly, not use too many words and be seated at their eye level. Don’t speak down to them, both figuratively or verbally, and give them adequate time to respond.

Don’t press for questions that they may not be able to answer. Oftentimes having photographs or something of interest to them will help create a welcome topic. If they change the subject, remember to be flexible.

Question 4: Do caregivers and family members need to take certain steps to make the elderly’s house Alzheimer’s friendly?

In my book “Activities to Do with Your Parent Who Has Alzheimer’s Dementia” I’ve provided a Room By Room Safety Checklist for the home. It offers such suggestions as: adequate lighting throughout each room that eliminates shadows which can cause agitation; removal of loose throw rugs in bathrooms and kitchens which are a tripping hazard; painting the edges of stairs to make them more visible. Should wandering become an issue, different types of door locks are something to consider.

Question 5: What advice do you give to caregivers dealing with Alzheimer’s older adults?

And finally, what I consider to be my best piece of advice: Take care of yourself. Be flexible. Ask for help and accept it. Don’t reinvent the wheel. Dementia is difficult, do the best that you can.

Key Takeaways

Supporting those with Alzheimer’s spans beyond age, encompassing various cognitive issues. Recognizing warning signs such as social withdrawal and diminished self-care triggers proactive steps. Early medical evaluations and collaborative planning empower families. Tailoring lifestyle changes, ensuring legal documentation, and providing alternative transportation and consistent meals sustain independence. Technology aids communication but may confuse patients. FaceTime usage for clarity proves effective.

Home modifications with safety checklists—adequate lighting, visible stairs, and secure locks—reduce risks. However, the cornerstone advice remains caregiver self-care and flexibility. Understanding dementia’s challenges and prioritizing support form the essence of compassionate care for those with Alzheimer’s.

Want to contribute to our expert insights for the 'Home Care Q/A' series?

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Want to contribute to our expert insights for the 'Home Care Q/A' series?

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