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National Assisted Living Week

national assisted living weekEvery day we work to help our residents live the best lives possible, and while we’re always grateful for the opportunity to work with these incredible people, once a year there’s a week in which we get to really celebrate our jobs.

This year that week is starting on September 9thand going through September 15th. It’s the 23rdannual National Assisted Living Week, which was established by the National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL) to provide opportunities for residents, their friends and family, staff, and volunteers to recognize the role assisted living plays in caring for older Americans and those with Alzheimer’s or some form of dementia.

Each year, National Assisted Living Week has a theme and this year’s theme is “Capture the Moment.” The theme has a few goals, including inspiring residents to seize the day and realize their dreams, while also encouraging staff and volunteers to think of the short moments and small interactions with residents as the ones that really define their care. Finally, this theme will hopefully help the country at large to realize that, contrary to popular belief, those living in assisted living have not yet reached the end of the line.

While the wordplay in the title of this year’s theme intentionally evokes thoughts of photography and videography, it’s not just about capturing today’s moments. It’s also about providing an opportunity for residents to look back over their lives at the things they’ve seen and done and experienced, as well as the people they’ve known. Photos and videos can be a great way to help residents accomplish this, especially those with degenerative diseases who might not be able to remember some of the most significant moments in their lives.

If you’re looking for activities for your assisted living community to do to celebrate this year’s National Assisted Living Week, we’ve got you covered:

Portable cameras

Arm everyone with a camera: residents, visitors, and staff. You can either use disposable cameras and then take them in to get the film developed, or you can use polaroid cameras so everyone can see the results immediately. It’s best to stick to physical cameras, rather than smart phones, since many older people don’t know how to use smart phones properly and could get confused.

But everyone knows how to use a physical camera and polaroids give the added pleasure of watching the picture come to life before your eyes. On the other hand, disposable cameras are just as easy to use, cost effective, and the delay in getting to see the photos provides extra joy as everyone gets to see photos they don’t even remember taking – or they do remember, but the picture didn’t turn out quite like they thought it would.

Drawing

You can think outside the box when it comes to “capture the moment” and capture it with pencil and paper instead of a camera. This might be difficult for some of the older residents, but it could be fun for the more artistically inclined staff and visitors to draw residents and share the results.

Scrapbooking

Scrapbooking is a great way to reminisce. It gives residents a chance to think about their lives as a story as they organize their scrapbooks by grouping photos together. They’re also creative and just a fun way to spend time.

We’ve just scratched the surface of the possibilities here. Don’t be afraid to dig a little deeper into your creative well and think up fun ways for you and your residents/loved ones to celebrate National Assisted Living Week.

Here at Stillwater Senior Living, we treat our residents like family. Our apartments include studio, one bedroom, and two bedroom suites. They are designed with security features, maximum accessibility, and include walk-out patois with a full range of amenities for the entire family.

CONTACT US today for more information and a tour of our beautiful state-of-the-art community.

Fun Activities for Children Visiting Their Grandparents in Assisted Living

children visiting grandparents in assisted livingChildren visiting their grandparents in assisted living can be a challenge. While you want to make sure the grandparents have a chance to play an active role in the lives of their grandchildren, kids (especially small kids) are easily bored and are not always able to understand why grandma and grandpa can’t participate in certain activities. In order to avoid this pitfall, we’ve come up with a list of fun activities that can be enjoyed by everyone.

Arts and Crafts

Who doesn’t love arts and crafts? It’s a chance for everyone to express themselves creatively. You can draw pictures, make masks, make ornaments, make a bird house out of popsicle sticks and then paint it. This is not only fun, but the end results will show off everyone’s individual personality. They can make great conversation starters by giving you an opportunity to ask each person why they made the creative choices they did.

When the holidays come around, you can buy a gingerbread house kit that everyone can assemble and decorate together.

Games

Games are a great way to bring families together, and there are so many different kinds that it’s easy to find something everyone can manage. If the grandparents enjoy card games, many of those are easy to teach to kids. You can even have the grandparents teach the kids older card games that they might not be familiar with, such as Bridge or Go Fish.

Board games like Chutes and Ladders and Scrabble are also great for family members of all ages. Who knows? The kids might even learn something while having fun (it’s OK, we won’t tell them).

Go for A Walk

Walks are great for everyone and they’re an especially good idea when the little ones start getting restless. Discourage the kids from running ahead by asking them to spot certain plants and animals. You can use a book or just your smartphone to identify the kinds of birds, trees, and flowers you spot on your walk. Make it into a game by seeing who can name more than anyone else.

Bake Something

Who doesn’t love cookies? Kids love learning how to make their favorite foods from scratch, and you can include the grandparents by asking them to show everyone how to make one of their signature recipes. For some extra points, you can decorate the cookies afterwards.

Cakes and cupcakes are also a lot of fun to decorate together. You can either bring a pre-made cake or cupcakes without frosting, or you can choose a simple recipe that’s easy for the kids to follow as active participants in the process, then decorate afterwards.

We even have a full kitchen in our fireside lounge where you can do this together!

What Does Your Family Like to Do?

Every family has their own traditions, so think about some of the things your family has always done together. They’re usually things that people of all ages can enjoy together, so you can help keep the tradition alive by introducing it to the new generation, while including the past generation.

Here at Stillwater Senior Living, we treat our residents like family. Our apartments include studio, one bedroom, and two bedroom suites. They are designed with security features, maximum accessibility, and include walk-out patois with a full range of amenities for the entire family.

CONTACT US today for more information and a tour of our beautiful state-of-the-art community.

The Biggest Misconceptions About Assisted Living

Misconceptions About Assisted LivingThere are so many unfounded rumors and misconceptions about assisted living that we hardly even knew where to begin. Eventually, we decided it was best to start with the most common misconceptions about assisted living and go from there.

Loss of Independence

Many people think that moving out of their own home and into assisted living will mean losing all their independence, but that’s simply not true. It’s called “assisted” living for a reason, not “controlled” living. Our job is to assist our residents in living their best lives.

As people age and start to lose some of their ability to take care of themselves, our role as an assisted living community is to help them with those tasks, including helping out with hobbies and other fun activities as needed.

At Stillwater Senior Living, we not only have parking available for our residents who are still able to drive, we also provide transportation to those who are no longer able to drive. Wherever it is you need to go, we’ll help make sure you get there.

Big-Name Assisted Living Communities Provide the Best Care

Humans are primed to prefer the familiar, which means, when it’s time to choose an assisted living community, we’re more likely to choose one we’ve heard of over a smaller community that might not have as large of a marketing budget.

This is a mistake. You should always do your due diligence before deciding on something as important as assisted living. You’re trusting your loved ones to this building and this staff, so you had better make sure you can trust them.

Assisted living can also be very individual. A larger company might have the more well-known brand, but they might not be able to provide your loved one with the specific level of care they require. The benefit of smaller assisted living communities is that they often have the ability to be more flexible, and are sometimes more affordable because of their lower overhead costs.

Assisted Living Is More Expensive Than Staying Home

This is not always the case, and even when it is, consider the other costs associated with staying home. For example, many of those who choose to stay home rely on an unpaid family member to take care of them. While this person may be very loving and doing their best as a caregiver, if they’re not a trained professional, they may not be equipped to provide the best care. There’s always the chance they may miss something that a professional would recognize as a red flag, or they could make a simple mistake that turns out to be dangerous.

It also means having to put their own career on hold, so the financial strain imposed on the rest of the family as a result of the decision to forego assisted living actually has the potential to outweigh the costs of assisted living.

Conclusion

The bottom line is that you shouldn’t believe everything you hear and be sure to question everything you think you know about assisted living. It’s an industry that’s changing along with our society, so what may have been true of assisted living in your grandparents’ day may not necessarily be the case today.

Here at Stillwater Senior Living, we treat our residents like family. Our apartments include studio, one bedroom, and two bedroom suites. They are designed with security features, maximum accessibility, and include walk-out patois with a full range of amenities for the entire family.

CONTACT US today for more information and a tour of our beautiful state-of-the-art community.

4 Assisted Living Mistakes to Avoid

assisted living mistakes to avoidChoosing an assisted living community for your loved one is a big decision and not one to be undertaken lightly or quickly. In addition to the significant expense involved, most communities require you to sign a contract, so even if you and/or your loved one aren’t happy with the result, they could be stuck there for months until your contract runs out.

We’ve looked at four of the most common assisted living mistakes people make when choosing an assisted living community and listed them below so you can be on your guard and avoid making these mistakes.

Not Doing Your Research

Assisted living is too expensive and important an investment to not do your research ahead of time. Know whether the community is licensed by your state (they should be). What’s their rating according to the state? What’s their rating according to other residents and family members?

Take a tour. Talk to the staff. Talk to other residents if you can. Ask around to see if you know anyone who has used the facility, and if so, what they have to say about it.

Failing to Be Realistic About Current and/or Future Needs

This can be tough, especially when it comes to our parents. We want to believe they’re invincible and it can be incredibly upsetting to see them in a state of vulnerability. But that’s exactly why you’re looking at assisted living options in the first place, so it doesn’t do any good to shy away from the facts. Be realistic, not only about what they need now, but what they might need in the months or years to come. If they have a degenerative disease, know the stages and what future stages might look like. How will that affect the level of care they’ll need? How will you and the assisted living community adjust to take those additional needs into account?

Choosing What You Want Instead of What’s in The Best Interests of Your Loved One

It can be very tempting to choose the first community with a glossy brochure and clean waiting area with new furniture, but there’s so much more to assisted living than that. One community might have a great library, which sounds like heaven to you, but how does that sound to your loved one? Do they like to read? Are they losing their eyesight, which is making reading harder for them? If so, does the community offer alternatives, such as books with large print or audiobooks?

Maybe your loved one prefers playing board games. In that case you should ask if the assisted living community has a good supply. Do they have a weekly game night or a chess club? Look for activities you know your loved one will enjoy.

Remember, you’re not the one who’s going to be living here – they are. Not only should they feel comfortable there, but the top priority needs to be making sure their needs are met.

Going it Alone

It can be hard for many of us to accept help, even when we need it most. While you can do your research online and take a tour of the facility, few things measure up to talking to people who’ve been there. Reach out to people you know who have had to put their loved ones in assisted living communities. Even if you end up choosing a different community, it can be helpful to talk to someone who’s been through the process, so you know what to expect and what to look for.

Hiring a geriatric care manager or a senior living advisor can also be a great way to get professional advice on what your loved one needs and the best ways to make sure they get it.

Here at Stillwater Senior Living, we treat our residents like family. Our apartments include studio, one bedroom, and two bedroom suites. They are designed with security features, maximum accessibility, and include walk-out patois with a full range of amenities for the entire family.

CONTACT US today for more information and a tour of our beautiful state-of-the-art community.

The Differences Between Assisted Living and Memory Care

Differences Between Assisted Living and Memory CareOnce you’ve determined your loved one needs help with daily tasks and some of the basics of taking care of themselves, it’s time to consider the level of care they need. We’ve talked before on this blog about the differences between assisted living communities and nursing homes – now it’s time to look at the differences between assisted living and memory care communities.

Assisted Living Communities

There is no federal regulation of assisted living communities, but they do need to be licensed by the state. The services offered by assisted living communities vary from one to another, so it’s important to do your research ahead of time to know what each community offers, as well as their location, pricing and payment plans.

While some assisted living communities offer just help with basic day-to-day tasks such as cooking, dressing, and remembering to take medications, others offer more extensive care, including 24-hour nursing to those who need it. Residents are often given the choice of living on their own or with a roommate, depending on their preferences and affordability. In some cases, spouses can choose to stay together, and if one needs more care than the other, each pays only for the services they need.

Memory Care Communities

There is also no federal regulation of memory care communities and only 23 states require their memory care communities to be licensed, so be extra thorough when doing your research before deciding on a memory care community for your loved one, especially if you live in a state that does not require memory care communities to be licensed. Online reviews aren’t always the most trustworthy source of information, but they can be a good starting point, especially if you can also get personal recommendations from someone you trust.

Memory care communities provide a higher level of care designed specifically to take care of residents with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and other diseases that involve loss of memory and cognitive abilities. They generally have a layout that is welcoming and easy to navigate in order to reduce stress and anxiety for the residents. They also have 24-hour measures in place to prevent residents from wandering off.

Two in One

Some assisted living communities offer memory care services in addition to their other services, usually as a separate building or wing that is dedicated to residents with dementia or Alzheimer’s. Depending on the community and the current physical and mental wellbeing of your loved one, this can be a great option for someone who’s still fairly active and alert, but might need more help with daily living as their condition deteriorates.

If your loved one is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s or dementia, or you suspect they may develop the disease later on (for example, if it runs in your family) an assisted living community that also offers memory care could provide the best of both worlds. They can start at whatever level of care they need and progress to the memory care if you and the staff decide that’s what is in their best interests.

Here at Stillwater Senior Living, we treat our residents like family. Our apartments include studio, one bedroom, and two bedroom suites. They are designed with security features, maximum accessibility, and include walk-out patois with a full range of amenities for the entire family.

CONTACT US today for more information and a tour of our beautiful state-of-the-art community.

Communicating with Someone with Dementia

dementiaIt can be one of the hardest things to see someone you love and have counted on for a long time, and yet not be able to communicate with them. It’s safe to say dementia changes people, while also leaving parts of them more intact than ever before. Just because they don’t talk or act the way you remember, doesn’t mean your loved one isn’t in there somewhere. It might take a little more work to get them to come out of their “shell,” but it’s well worth the effort.

We’ve come up with some strategies that can help you reach the person we all know is hiding in there, but first, you have to:

Set Realistic Expectations

Don’t assume your loved one will be able to talk to you the way they always have, and don’t try to force them to do so, because that will just make things worse. People with dementia often have a hard time understanding others and communicating, so cut them some slack and avoid getting frustrated when you can’t understand them. Instead, try to come up with creative ways to convey what you’re saying, and the same goes for trying to understand their communications. Their sentences may be broken or they may try to use more hand gestures to convey their meaning, so just go with it and do your best to understand. This is hard for them, too.

Talk Somewhere Quiet

Find somewhere that’s quiet and free of distractions so both of you can focus on the conversation at hand.

Talk Normally

Don’t use baby talk or speak to them in any other condescending way. Avoid getting agitated, and talk in a calm, level voice, but don’t ever talk down to them.

Use Names

People with dementia can find conversation hard to follow when there are a lot of pronouns involved, so avoid using words like “he,” “she,” and “they.” Call them by their names, and the same goes for initiating a conversation. Don’t just say, “Hi, it’s me.” Instead, say, “Hi Grandpa, it’s Suzie.” Don’t make them guess because that will lead to frustration and anxiety. Make it easy for them and the whole interaction will go much more smoothly.

Take It One Thing at a Time

Don’t jump around from topic to topic, because they’ll be less likely to be able to follow you. Pick a subject and stick to it. By the same token, if your loved one changes the subject abruptly, just go with it. Don’t try to guide them back to what you were talking about, but listen to what they have to say. That’s the track their mind is on at the moment, so you’ll get the most out of following it, rather than trying to derail it.

Use Body Language

Nonverbal cues, such as smiling and maintaining eye contact, will help put your loved one at ease, no matter what stage of the disease they’re in. They may also find it difficult to use and interpret language as the disease progresses, so hand gestures and other nonverbal cues may be the best way to get them to understand you.

Be an Active Listener

Every conversation needs to have some give and take and that’s as true when talking with someone with dementia as it is of talking with anyone else. Always pay attention to what they’re saying and let them know (gently and calmly) if you don’t understand.

Trying to have a conversation with someone who has dementia is always going to be hard and there’s just no way around that. But with these tips, hopefully you can make the process a little easier.

Here at Stillwater Senior Living, we treat our residents like family. Our apartments include studio, one bedroom, and two bedroom suites. They are designed with security features, maximum accessibility, and include walk-out patois with a full range of amenities for the entire family.

CONTACT US today for more information and a tour of our beautiful state-of-the-art community.

 

Traveling with Loved Ones with Dementia

traveling with loved ones with dementiaSummer is typically travel season. Whether you’re flying to a far-off destination or just taking a quick road trip to a great camping ground one or two states over, it’s perfectly understandable to want to bring mom and/or dad.

But what if the loved one you want to bring has dementia? How do you navigate all the hazards of travel with the added burden of someone who may have a tendency to become anxious in unfamiliar settings – or worse, get lost?

Making the Decision

The first step is to determine whether it’s a good idea to travel with a loved one who has a degenerative disease. They may still enjoy traveling in the early stages of the disease, but as it progresses, they’ll need a higher level of supervision and will be more likely to become confused and anxious in new situations. So the first thing to determine is the level of care your loved one needs and whether they can handle the stress of travel.

One thing that can help in determining whether they’re fit to travel is deciding where to go. Generally speaking, travelling to far-off destinations with a different language and different customs can be a lot of fun when you’re young, but to those suffering from dementia, it can be confusing and anxiety inducing. If you do decide to take your loved ones on vacation this summer, make sure it’s to a destination that was familiar to them before they got sick.

Be Prepared

The #1 tip for any successful trip is to plan ahead and prepare for all possibilities. Not only should you make sure you and your loved one are equipped with the proper clothing for all kinds of weather, but you should also plan on bringing plenty of water, their favorite snacks, and all the medications they’ll need for the duration of the trip. In addition to your travel itinerary, make sure to keep a schedule of when they need to take each medication and have the proper medication on hand at the proper time. This will mean planning ahead to take it with you if you intend to do some sightseeing or go for a hike.

In addition to packing all the necessary medications, you should keep an updated list of emergency contacts and copies of important documents.

If you will be staying in a hotel, alert the staff to your needs before you arrive so they can be prepared to help you out during your stay. Keep in mind that new locations can trigger wandering in patients with dementia as they seek out the familiar, so stay alert and take advantage of programs like the MedicAlert® + Alzheimer’s Association Safe Return®.

Timing is Everything

Finally, make sure to travel during the time of day when your loved one is at their best. People with dementia often experience increased anxiety during certain periods of the day, usually around sunset, hence the term “Sundown Syndrome.” Know when your loved one is at their best and when they tend to be at their worst and plan accordingly. During the times of the day that tend to be tough for them, be sure to have something familiar and comforting on hand that you know will help reduce their anxiety.

Here at Stillwater Senior Living, we treat our residents like family. Our apartments include studio, one bedroom, and two bedroom suites. They are designed with security features, maximum accessibility, and include walk-out patois with a full range of amenities for the entire family.

CONTACT US today for more information and a tour of our beautiful state-of-the-art community.

Family Conflicts Over Elderly Parents

family conflicts over elderly parentsChildren fighting over what’s best for their aging parents is at least as common as parents fighting over what’s best for their children. Although everyone can agree they want the best for their parents, family conflicts over elderly parents often arise when siblings disagree on what that means.

Ideally, you should have a discussion with your parents before things get bad about the kind of care they want as they age. Powers of Attorney for both healthcare and finances should be determined, and a will should be drawn up, signed and notarized. All the children should be made aware of all these papers and their contents. Hopefully, all the children will also be able to agree on the contents of the papers and leave everything the way their parents laid it out.

But life rarely goes the way we hope it will go.

Instead, there’s generally one child who gets stuck with most of the responsibilities involved in caring for their aging parents. If all but one or two children have moved out of town, it’s usually the child who still lives closest to the parents who sees their deterioration first hand and ends up lending a hand – first with one or two things, but often the burden increases as the parents’ capabilities decline.

This can often leave the caregiver sibling with resentment of their brothers and/or sisters for whom the situation is out of sight and out of mind. They don’t see everything the caregiver is doing for their parents and so they assume everything is fine – not realizing that it’s because of all the work the caregiver is putting in that everything is running so smoothly.

When that happens, the caregiver sibling should detail everything they’re doing to care for their ailing parents and give their siblings a chance to offer their help, either financially or through other means.

But money is also a sore spot and the caregiver can sometimes find themselves accused of spending too much of the parents’ money. The siblings who aren’t there to monitor the situation are often unaware of how bad things have gotten and might become suspicious of the caregiver trying to take advantage of their parents financially.

Again, this is where the caregiver taking the time to list their responsibilities and all the work they’ve been doing can come in handy. This is especially true if the caregiver was forced to quit their job in order to take care of their parents full time, leaving them without any other form of income with which to support themselves.

Unfortunately, that isn’t always enough to resolve the situation, in which case counseling might be needed. This offers the siblings a chance to repair their relationships so they can come together for the good of their parents. Talking over their challenges and frustrations in the presence of a neutral third party can help each side see things from the other’s perspective.

If that still doesn’t work, you might want to find a professional elder care mediator to help mediate your family dispute over your elderly parents.

Here at Stillwater Senior Living, we treat our residents like family. Our apartments include studio, one bedroom, and two bedroom suites. They are designed with security features, maximum accessibility, and include walk-out patois with a full range of amenities for the entire family.

CONTACT US today for more information and a tour of our beautiful state-of-the-art community.

Need Help Navigating Medicaid? Here Are Some Tips

medicaidMedicaid can be a wonderful thing that helps us get through tough times, but you have to jump through so many hoops to get it that more people end up confused and frustrated than grateful. No matter what stage you’re in of the application process (even if you’re just considering it as a future possibility) you should consult an elder law attorney to help you navigate the process.

Get Help

Hire an elder law attorney ahead of time to help arrange your assets to make sure they don’t exceed the limit and place you out of eligibility for Medicaid. An attorney can help you place some of your assets in a Medicaid Planning type estate plan, which will better enable you to navigate the process of qualifying and applying for Medicaid.

Plan Ahead

Because there are things that are best taken care of ahead of time, you should consult an elder law attorney right away. Don’t wait until after something terrible has already happened, because by that time it could be too late. You want to get your assets in order before catastrophe strikes and/or you start to lose some of your mental faculties. Consult a qualified attorney when you’re at your best so they can help you stay that way.

The same goes for Power of Attorney, both for healthcare decisions and financial decisions. You want to have your Power of Attorney in place sooner, rather than later, because if something does happen and you’re unable to apply for Medicaid yourself, you’ll need your Power of Attorney to apply for you, but they can only do that if the process of authorizing them as your Power of Attorney has been completed.

Do Your Research

The best practices for applying for Medicaid will vary depending on whether you’re married or single, and if married, your spouse’s situation. For example, in some cases, it might make more sense to claim more income for the Medicaid recipient if it means letting the spouse keep more resources. It’s all about finding the sweet spot that lets you get the most out of your assets and Medicaid.

Furthermore, there are plenty of other mistakes that can derail your application for Medicaid, including:

  • Failing to properly report all your assets (even if the mistake is unintentional);
  • Leaving the nursing home or long-term care community to go home or to the hospital;
  • Moving from a nursing home or assisted living community in one state to a community in a different state; or
  • Failing to properly fill out the recertification application

That’s right – as if applying for Medicaid once wasn’t enough of a hassle, the government requires you to reapply every year to make sure you still qualify. They look for new assets and income, but they also update the application process because it’s not unusual for them to make changes to Medicaid. So just because you managed to successfully apply for Medicaid last year does not mean you can just copy and paste the previous year’s information into this year’s Medicaid application.

Hiring an experienced elder law attorney is really the best way to go to make sure you get the most out of your Medicaid. You might think someone working for the federal government or for your assisted living community would be able to advise you, but the truth is most of them don’t know as much about the process as a qualified elder law attorney. Even those working for the government don’t know all the ins and outs of their own regulations, so be sure to hire an attorney who knows what they’re doing.

Here at Stillwater Senior Living, we treat our residents like family. Our apartments include studio, one bedroom, and two bedroom suites. They are designed with security features, maximum accessibility, and include walk-out patois with a full range of amenities for the entire family.

CONTACT US today for more information and a tour of our beautiful state-of-the-art community.

Managing Hoarding Behaviors in Patients with Dementia

HoardingHoarding is its own psychological disorder, characterized by an excessive accumulation of objects to the point where it begins to interfere with the person’s life, often by covering just about every available surface in their living area and/or including keeping food and medicine that has gone bad. The person feels distress at the thought of throwing anything away, and while the disorder can be isolated, it can also be paired with other disorders, such as severe anxiety and/or depression. It may make them feel safe to know they have everything they could ever possibly need.

Hoarding can also be found in conjunction with Alzheimer’s or dementia, in which case it may be due more to confusion than out of any fear of throwing something away. Food may have been left to rot because they can’t remember when they bought it and their sense of smell has deteriorated to the point where they can’t tell it’s gone bad. Medications may likewise be left to go bad if the person can’t remember what it is, why they’re taking it, how much they’re supposed to take, when they’re supposed to take it, or when they took their last dose.

Likewise, mail may be left to pile up if they’ve lost the mental capacity for sequential tasking. If that’s the case, then someone will need to sit down and go through the mail with them to make sure no important documents are lost and bills don’t go unpaid.

Patience is A Virtue

As tempting as it is to get frustrated with hoarders and dementia patients (and doubly tempting when the two disorders are combined), it is of the utmost importance to remain calm and speak kindly and gently to your loved one. Remember that they’re not doing any of this on purpose, and if you lash out or yell at them, you’ll make them more confused and anxious, which will make everything worse.

Choose your time to talk about the hoarded objects wisely – specifically when your loved one is in a good mood. Talk them through the process of selecting items to be thrown away – if they haven’t yet lost the ability to appreciate logical reasoning, you might be able to convince them to discard much of what they’ve collected without too much trouble.

Memory Box Technique

The memory box technique is one strategy that has proven to be successful when dealing with hoarders. Choose a box to be their designated place to keep “special things.” You can even decorate it together to make the box both more special and more memorable – this has the added benefit of creating a fun activity you and your loved one can share together. Anything your loved one likes to collect can be put in the memory box, which makes it easy for you to keep track of the accumulation of those items. If their rubber band collection is getting out of control, for example, you can remove some of them and your loved one probably won’t even notice. You can also label and keep items that really are valuable, such as keys and wallets, in the box. That way, when your loved one comes to you looking for something, you can simply suggest they check their box.