Life Worth Living: Tips for Helping Loved Ones with Alzheimers

Dec. 22, 2006 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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Heidi Rehak Lovy
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Life worth living
Tips for helping loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease

(PHOENIX, Ariz.) A diminished quality of life is one of the first things that can torment Alzheimer’s disease patients and their loved ones.

Everyday pleasures like sports, art and travel suddenly become a thing of the past. What once made life flourish turns quickly into a faded, unattainable memory. But with the right information, and the help of a qualified caregiver, some of those vital elements can continue.

Stephenie C. Hebert, owner of Carefree Homecare Companion Service, currently is working with a client who proves just that.

Hebert recently received a call from a family whose father is suffering the effects of Alzheimer’s. Their 79-year-old father was a successful businessperson who enjoyed an incredibly active lifestyle — including a stint as a Grand Canyon hiking guide.

The family was seeking a caregiver to accompany their father on short trips to the park. Hebert met with the man and instantly decided a mere park wouldn’t do: They were going hiking at a local mountain preserve area. Now, Hebert says both she and the client look forward to their invigorating weekly treks.

“The visible joy these hikes have given our patient and his family has been rejuvenating to me personally,” said Hebert. “This experience has reminded me, once again, why I got into this business to begin with.”

Caregivers like Hebert do more than provide much-needed respite for family members. They are able to provide encouraging, specialized attention to those suffering with Alzheimer’s.

Hebert has established Carefree Homecare Companion Service, Inc. as one of Phoenix’s premier long term in-home care providers and presently manages more than 45 employees in support of over 100 clients.

Hebert recommends the following tips on how to effectively communicate with loved ones suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. For those who need more, there are options and qualified, compassionate help available.

1. Set a positive mood for interaction: attitude and body language communicate feelings and thoughts stronger than your words. Set a positive mood by speaking to the Alzheimer’s patient in a pleasant and respectful manner. Facial expressions, tone of voice and physical touch will help convey your message and show affection.

2. Get the person’s attention: Limit distractions and noise – turn off the radio or television, or move to quieter surroundings. Before speaking, make sure you have their attention; use names frequently; identify yourself frequently and use nonverbal cues and touch to help the person focus. If they are seated, get down to their level and maintain eye contact.

3. State your message clearly: Use simple words and sentences. Speak slowly, distinctly and in a reassuring tone. Refrain from raising your voice higher or louder; instead, pitch your voice lower. If you are not understood the first time, use the same wording to repeat your message or question.

4. Ask simple, answerable questions: Ask one question at a time; those with yes or no answers work best. Refrain from open-ended questions or giving too many choices.

5. Listen with your eyes, ears and heart: Be patient in waiting for your loved one’s reply. If they are struggling for an answer, it’s OK to suggest words. Watch for nonverbal cues and body language and respond appropriately.

About Carefree Homecare Companion Services, Inc.
Locally owned and operated in Scottsdale, Carefree Homecare has been providing outstanding home care services to residents in the Greater Phoenix area since 1995. With a focus on providing caring, compassionate and responsive staff, Carefree Homecare is an excellent resource for those needing assistance with activities of daily living, personal care or companionship. Carefree’s trained, insured and bonded employees are personally matched to clients to provide personalized care. For more information, visit www.carefreehomecare.com or call (480) 483-8531.

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