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“Thank you for giving my mother back to me”

Caring HandsIn a short, powerful VIDEO, Hospice of Michigan highlights the ability of Music Therapy to bring quality of life to patients with limited responsiveness. Whether it’s dementia or aging or disease, MUSIC reaches past the pain or cobwebs to bring back memories connected to familiar tunes.

WATCH >> THE VIDEO  (2:46)

Marsha Goldsmith Kamin, co-founder of Marisa Home Care, is featured in the uplifting video with her mother, Gladys Goldsmith and Music Therapist Kaitlin Ridgway.

The Hospice of Michigan website states:

Music has a universal power to affect emotions. The right kind of music can enhance relaxation to ease pain and anxiety. Research has shown the effectiveness of music therapy even in patients resistant to other treatment approaches. Our music therapist engages patients with music in ways best suited for their needs and preferences.

And Marsha agrees.

“It’s incredibly magical, but a lot of it is Kaitlin — Kaitlin’s doing what she’s been trained to do,” said Marsha. “When you talk about treating the whole person you want to treat every aspect of their life, because what you want is dignity and respect to the very end.”

Reflecting on her mom’s joyful response to her weekly music therapy visit, Marsha added:  “It’s really wonderful to see that spark again — when Kaitlin is with her it brings her back. I wrote a letter and said thank you for giving my mother back to me.”

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Read more on how MUSIC can help you connect to family members in “When the Visit Doesn’t Go Well“.

 

Visit our Marisa Home Care RESOURCE PAGE and find creative solutions for the challenges of daily living.

Don’t see what you need? Just ask!

Call 248.354.7600.

When the Visit Doesn’t Go Well…

Caring Hands

 

The Mother’s Day visit did not go so well…Mom was angry, and her assisted living center was busy and all suggestions to go for a walk or out to eat were met with negativity or agitation.

Now Father’s Day is coming up and you are tense and depressed over a possible replay of another visit making you and a parent unhappy and frustrated. Dementia can complicate matters; stress can provoke bewildering outbursts in a dementia patient and leave family members feeling helpless and unable to connect.

How can you make time spent with your elderly mom or dad in a nursing home or memory care center a positive experience for both of you?

You can play music.

Multiple studies have shown that music reaches elderly patients with cognitive issues when all else fails.

“Musical aptitude and music appreciation are two of the last remaining abilities in patients with Alzheimer’s,” said Linda Maguire, lead author of a 2013 study on dementia, music and cognition.

The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America has produced research detailing music’s behavioral influences: “When used appropriately, music can shift mood, manage stress-induced agitation, stimulate positive interactions, facilitate cognitive function and coordinate motor movements.”

There are some wonderful free or inexpensive smartphone music apps that allow you to create a portable playlist of favorites for your mom or dad. I Heart Radio (download from your phone’s app store) has even compiled the musical hits of each high school graduating class back to the 1950s – just click on the free playlist for the year selected and the music is ready to go!

Perhaps the key to a ‘good’ visit with a parent dealing with an incapacitating disease is not in doing, but in listening. Time spent together sharing favorite old concerts or popular tunes, singing or humming along with the music – these moments can strike a calm, connective chord that reaches back to the person that you both remember. ~

Resources

Marisa Home Care

Alzheimer’s Foundation of America

Music Therapy Offers an End-of-Life Grace Note (NYT 2018)

New Ways Into the Brain’s ‘Music Room’ (NYT 2016)

 

Caring Hands

Daily Life…Simplified

 

Modifying the items used in everyday living can be extraordinarily helpful for a person with limited physical strength or range of motion. Adaptive measures offer a degree of independence to people living with a disability or dementia, and a small device can act like another set of helping hands to a busy caregiver. Sometimes daily life really is about the “simple things”…

Get Up & Get Dressed!  

MOTIONS we take for granted can take monumental effort when performed with a limb in a cast, crippling back pain, or with weakness induced by illness or injury. Getting into an upright position to get out of bed can take caregiver help – or a HandiRail® bed support!

 

Assistive devices like HandiRail may be purchased online, at medical supply stores, and at some drugstores. Community senior centers may offer the use of daily living devices to residents for free, or for a small rental fee.

ZIPPERS and tiny buttons can make getting dressed a time-consuming exercise in frustration for people with diminished motor skills, sensory issues or dementia.

Adaptive clothing replaces typical closures with VELCRO®, magnets, snaps or elastic — or does away with unnecessary closures altogether. Many styles of adaptive clothing and footwear may be found online.

 

A few of our recommendations:

Let’s not forget accessories! Adaptive jewelry clasps are easy to add to existing necklaces and bracelets, making favorite jewelry wearable again with magnetic closures.

One of our favorite websites was founded by a local Metro Detroit Occupational Therapist. Alison Emerick has collected attractive, high-quality products at Ease Living that are assistive without looking like they belong in a hospital. Ease Living’s tagline, Live Long. Look Good., offers a refreshing perspective: sometimes we need a little help, but we’d like to live in style!

Get Out & About

GETTING IN and out of a car may be the toughest part of any trip for people with mobility issues. Entering and exiting a vehicle takes twisting, stepping up, sliding and a shift of body weight – difficult actions to perform in sequence for people who are weakened or unsteady.

We suggest 3 simple auto aids that can assist you or your family member with easier, safer transfers: 

  1. Swivel Seat Cushion. This cushion has a base that swivels. You just sit down, then easily swivel your legs into the car. No more struggling to lift legs and turn at the same time. It also makes it easier for someone who’s helping another person into a car.

 

  1. Stander HandyBar. This removable handle fits securely into driver or passenger car doors. It’s non-slip grip creates leverage and lets passengers boost themselves up and out of the car. Works for up to 350 pounds and fits on any door latch – no vehicle modification required.

 

 3. Easy Reach Seat Belt Handle Extension. People with arthritis or limited shoulder / torso mobility find it difficult to reach up and pull the seat belt down. This device latches onto the seat belt and makes an extra-long handle for easier access and pull-power.

A few simple gadgets and modifications can make a very big difference in the daily life of a family member needing a little extra assistance or requiring in-home care. ~

Marisa Home Care logo of Turquoise Flower with Company Name

 

Visit our Marisa Home Care RESOURCE PAGE and find creative solutions for the challenges of daily living.

Don’t see what you need? Just ask!

Call 248.354.7600.

 

Caring Hands

“Was it one pill at 2:00 PM…or two pills at I:00 PM?”

 

Medication Management & Safety for Caregivers

 

There has been a lot of recent news coverage on the ‘Opioid Epidemic’.  The focus has been on the overuse and abuse of these powerful painkillers, and while these drugs can become addicting they are also our frontline defense against extreme chronic pain.

Learn: Opiate, Opioid, Narcotic – What’s the Difference?

When a family member has been prescribed narcotics for healing and pain management, it is important to monitor for correct usage to keep the patient both safe and comfortable.

As a caregiver, there are some actions you can take that will simplify dispensing narcotics and other types of medication, and help you stay on top of your family member’s health.

ALL the Meds

First, check with ALL of your family member’s doctors and pharmacists to put together a complete list of medications and potential drug interactions. Patients often have several physicians for varying issues, who may not know there are other medical personnel or multiple pharmacies involved.

You can also search the internet for interactions caused by the wrong combination of drugs, or for medicines contraindicated for specific health conditions or allergies. It is important to know the health history of your family member, so you can advocate against a potentially disastrous prescription or drug combination.

Ensure that your family member continues a full dose of prescribed medication for the correct amount of time and doesn’t try to save money by cutting pills in half.

Get Organized!

Does this look like your bathroom counter?

Pill bottles in basket

Throwing all the patient’s pill bottles in a basket is a recipe for mixing up or missing meds — and disorganization can be dangerous. Here are some ideas to keep pill-taking orderly and on track:

  • Pill Reminders allow you to set up an entire week of medication dispensing by day and time. These plastic, compartmentalized boxes should be see-through, and have removable pill slots so a patient can take pills to-go when away from home for the day. Pricing can range from just a few dollars for a basic pill reminder model, to a couple of hundred dollars for an automated pill ‘tracking system’
  • Medication reminder APPS for smartphones send a message or beep an alarm to remind either the patient or the caregiver about medicine in a timely manner
  • Refrigerator visuals are basic, but a check-off chart in plain view can offer a methodical safeguard against too little or too much medication
  • Other creative med reminder ideas to consider

Pills in a dispenser box marked with days of week

The Hospice Option

Another resource to assist with medication management is hospice care. The old vision of hospice was of a place where people went to die, but hospice has evolved into a system of in-home, modern-day pain management – helping medically compromised people live out their lives in comfort.

A patient must first be admitted to hospice under a medical diagnosis that fits hospice coding, and the patient must be willing to forego ‘life-prolonging’ treatment. This does not mean a patient’s physical needs are ignored, but the hospice medical team will treat the patient with medication to maintain quality of life rather than use invasive, life-extending procedures.

Home Care Help

A reputable home care agency can provide professional caregivers and nursing staff, for both short-term and long-term situations. Marisa Home Care staff can accompany a patient to a doctor’s appointment and translate a medical diagnosis or care updates for family members living out of state. Medication management and in-home patient care is a 24/7 job, and a family caregiver deserves the partnership with supportive, affordable assistance whenever feasible. ~

Marisa Home Care logo of Turquoise Flower with Company Name

 

 

We’re here to help: visit Marisa Home Care online for free resources or call us NOW at 248.354.7600.