Early Signs of Dementia

Posted on May 22, 2017

Early Signs of Dementia

Memory loss is the most commonly thought of symptom associated with dementia. However, this doesn’t mean dementia is the cause of all memory loss in elderly people. In order for dementia to be the true cause, there needs to be memory loss and trouble with one of the following issues:

  • Focus
  • Reasoning
  • Language
  • Communication

There are many early signs of dementia you can be looking out for. If you start to notice any of the following signs with your loved ones, talk with your doctor about what you can do to slow the progression of dementia.

Short-term Memory Loss

It may not be very obvious when it starts, but pay attention to times that they can’t remember things they did the day before or even earlier today. Odds are they’ll be able to recall events from the past easily, but more recent events will be hard to recollect.

Finding the Right Word

We’ve all had those moments when the right word seems to escape us. These moments will become more and more common as dementia progresses. Conversations may start to take longer because your loved one is frequently having trouble finding the words they need to explain what they’re thinking.

Mood Swings

If your loved one is typically shy, but then suddenly becomes very outgoing, it might be a sign of dementia. This condition affects judgment, so major mood swings and personality changes are typical.

Apathy

Hobbies and activities that used to really interest them might suddenly seem boring. They might not have the energy or desire to get out and do activities anymore.

Comprehension

One of the tell-tale signs of dementia is difficulty understanding stories and conversations. This happens because they’re having trouble understanding the meaning of the words being used and can’t understand what’s happening.

Repetition and Collection

Repeating daily tasks, like showering, and collecting random objects are both strong signs of dementia setting in. Typically, patients do this because they don’t remember showering the first time.

While there’s no cure for dementia, it can be mitigated, especially if it’s caught early. Use these signs to spot dementia before it takes full effect.  

  

How to Plan a Funeral

Posted on May 18, 2017

Funeral

We understand planning a funeral for a loved one can be incredibly overwhelming. No matter how sudden or expected the death is, making all the arrangements can be very stressful. This is why we created a step by step guide to help families plan after the loss of a loved one.

Slow Down- Unless you’re under a religious or cultural obligation to have the funeral within a certain timeframe, there’s no hurry to have the funeral. You certainly don’t want to drag it out, but you shouldn’t feel pressure to make all the arrangements immediately.
Check for a Will- If your loved one had a last will and testament, you’ll want to check for any funeral preferences listed in the will. If there any wishes, it will give you some guidance on what to do.
Pick a Funeral Home- This is possibly one of the most important steps, as a good funeral home should take a lot of the work off your shoulders. Once you’ve selected which home you want to work with, you’ll need to arrange for transportation of the body to the funeral home.
Report the Death- There’s a legal process to report a death to the government. Typically, you’ll just need to file the certificate of death the attending physician gives you with the state. The funeral home can also assist with this process.
Interment Method- Providing there are no specifications given in the will, you’ll need to decide between burial and cremation. The funeral home will be able to assist you in finding a casket or urns.
Plan the Service- Some opt for a more formal and traditional service while others go for a more informal memorial service. When planning the service you’ll want to consider what your loved one would have wanted as well as what will help you and friends and family cope with the loss.
Let People Know- With modern technology, notifying people is easier than it used to be. There’s no need to send formal invitations in the mail for a funeral, although you can if you wish, phone calls, text messages, emails, and social media posts are all appropriate ways to inform friends.

Planning a funeral doesn’t have to be a stressful process. We know this is a hard time, but we hope these steps will help you through it. 

The Importance of Hospice Formulary

Posted on May 10, 2017

Hospice Formulary

A formulary is a term that applies to hospices, hospitals, and any other facility capable of offering prescription medication. The term refers to the list of medications a hospice will keep on hand and can offer to their patients. When a patient is in need of prescription medication, the doctor will check the formulary to see what the options are, and prescribe the appropriate medication. 

A larger formulary is better for patients because it gives them more options for medication. At Cura-HPC, we have an open formulary. This means our medical director can go outside of the predefined list of medications if they feel it’s best for the patient. 

This is great news for our patients because they’ll never be restricted to a list of medications that are covered by the hospice benefit. We can offer medications from multiple brands, suppliers, and vendors. We strongly feel this is in the patient’s best interest, and that’s why we offer this service. 

Under a closed formulary, patients might have to settle for less than optimal medication because the formulary doesn’t include the best medication for them. When considering a hospice provider for your loved one, a large, or preferably open, formulary needs to be on your list of criteria. 

Although medication is only a small part of the hospice service, it will have a large impact on the quality of life your loved one will experience while receiving hospice care. If you’re in search of a hospice provider, or have questions about how a formulary can affect patients, call Cura-HPC today. 

How Loneliness Affects the Elderly

Posted on May 04, 2017

If you live long enough, you’ll likely experience some form of loneliness at some point. Sadly, it’s those who have lived the longest who experience loneliness more than anyone else. According to recent studies, one-fifth of all Americans claim to experience loneliness. This number was drastically higher among elderly populations.

Loneliness might seem fairly innocuous, but new data is showing it might be more harmful than obesity. The mortality rate among lonely people is 50% higher than non-lonely people, compared to an 18% increase in mortality rate with obese versus non-obese.

The effects of loneliness on the elderly aren’t limited to emotional symptoms, as some might think. While depression and fatigue are part of the equation, there are several physical manifestations of loneliness as well. Lonely seniors will typically see a decline in functional activities such as –

  • Dressing
  • Bathing
  • Upper extremity capabilities
  • Walking
  • Climbing stairs

Loneliness also increases the risk of several common medical conditions the elderly face.

  • Hypertension increased by 3%
  • Diabetes increased by 2%
  • Heart disease increased by 5%
  • Depression increased by 26%

As we age, more and more of our friends and families will inevitably die, leaving less and less people to connect with. This can create a cycle of isolation, that only perpetuates negative thoughts about the late stages of life.

This is why it’s so important for seniors to stay active and social. By making new connections and staying in touch with friends and family, seniors can break the loneliness cycle and hopefully avoid the above-mentioned complications.  

What is a Hospice Discharge?

Posted on Apr 27, 2017

hospice discharge

It might come as a surprise, but hospice discharges really do happen. These events don’t happen every day, but they’re certainly not unheard of. A patient can be discharged from hospice when their condition improves and they no longer qualify for the hospice benefit. This can happen for one of two reasons:

The patient’s condition no longer has the required six-month diagnosis.
The patient’s condition improved and they no longer meet hospice criteria

Before a patient is discharged there will be a meeting with all members of the patient’s treatment team (medical director, nurses, aides, social worker, and bereavement coordinator). In this meeting, they will discuss the patient’s progress and current condition. If the topic of discharge comes up, they will also consult the family to get their perspective.

In the event of a discharge, the family will be notified and the hospice will begin the discharge process. This process takes some time to be official, and if the patient’s condition changes and is found to be eligible for hospice care, the discharge process will stop.

When a patient is discharged, we will do our best to facilitate a smooth transition back to the medical treatment the patient was receiving prior to hospice care. We will also do occasional check-ins with the patient to see how they’re doing. Once a patient has transitioned out of hospice care, they can come back to hospice at any point (provided their condition meets the qualifications).