All Posts By

Lisa Rohlfing

August 16, 2016

Diagnosis Dementia: Simple Survival Secrets for Caregivers

The dementia epidemic is worldwide

They refer to it as the Dementia Epidemic. As many as 5.2 million people in America are living with this disease.

Dementia is an umbrella term describing a variety conditions that develop when nerve cells in the brain die or no longer function normally. The damages to these nerve cells cause changes in one’s memory, behavior and ability to think clearly.

When your loved one has a diagnosis of dementia, it brings with it a whole different dimension in caregiving. It brings the dementia epidemic home. Today I’d like to share a few practical strategies to help cope with a multi-faceted issue I experienced first hand.  Emotional, social and psychological implications we’ll discuss in future installments.

My vibrant, independent Mother was slipping. It started subtly enough, with forgotten appointments, missing keys, expired milk in the fridge.

These things happen, right? Then, past-due notices on the bills. What bills? She didn’t remember any bills. Unexplained scratches and dents on her car and finally, friends calling to report she was seen driving down a one-way street…the wrong way. What next!?

A referral to a wonderful, kind neurologist confirmed her diagnosis: Dementia. Mom’s neurologist and I would become close partners in her care over the years. There were a few medications available at the time, and we tried them all without much success. Coping with- not curing- the disease was the only path available. Coping with as much grace as possible was our shared goal.

Diagnosis dementia

In the early stages, dealing with memory loss requires making adjustments to the patient’s environment. It’s not enough to encourage the patient to remember, you must help them remember. Do your best to set them up for success. Here are a few suggestions I found helpful:

A bold calendar in a prominent place, marking appointments and important dates on the calendar. I would call Mother every morning and have her look at the calendar, review what was on for that day to help keep her on track.

Purchase a pill container with days and times, and you or another responsible caregiver will need to fill it, then monitor that the patient is being compliant. Special programmable pill containers are available to prevent overdosing.

A basket placed by the front door gave her a place to put her mail each day (until I could go through it) and kept the bills from being discarded.

Along with the memory loss, Mothers’ balance and coordination were affected. We noticed that in order to steady herself she had to hold on to the furniture and walls as she moved about the house. After several falls resulted in trips to the ER, we purchased a rolling walker which she kept constantly by her side. That rollator gave her self-confidence a real boost, and allowed her to continue to be mobile for years to come.

rolling walkers help with balance and coordination

Mom wanted to stay in her own home at all costs. Fortunately, it was an accessible rancher that she had built for my Dad when he became wheelchair bound, so the accessibility assets were already in place. If that’s not the case for you, a safety audit will help you identify potentially dangerous hazards that may need to be addressed.

Bathroom safety is a big issue. Read our blog post Four easy steps to a safer bathroom for some great suggestions.

 

Even though I lived nearby, was my Mother safe alone? Sometimes she couldn’t remember basic things- like using the television remote, or dialing the phone. Sometimes she would invite complete strangers inside her home- just because they came to her door. This scared me to death! What would she do in an emergency? emergency dialing telephone system with emergency pendant

We had to insist, but eventually we added an emergency dialing phone system. It came with a pendant Mom could wear even in bed or while showering, just in case. It was set up to dial several personal numbers (the gal next door and me, of course) as well as 911 for fire and police. Knowing she had that phone and pendant gave us real peace of mind.

 

Dementia is a progressive disease, and learning to manage your loved one’s care will be a work in progress…stay tuned for further articles on coping with dementia, and God Bless!

 

July 12, 2016

Four easy steps to a safer bathroom

The statistics are true, one-third of all accidents take place inside the home, and most of those occur in the bathroom. Take these four easy steps to a safer bathroom.

Four ways to a safer bathroom

Popular Bath Safety Options

The combination of wet, soapy surfaces, lots of obstacles and reduced visibility all add up to an environment that is not very user-friendly at all! Let’s take the opportunity to discuss the four easy steps to a safer bathroom.

The typical bathroom has a cold, hard tile floor so the first thing we do is place lightweight scatter rugs all around the room to keep our feet warm and comfy.

The problem with this is that scatter rugs are a real trip hazard! Catch your foot on the edge of the rug and down you go, right on the hard tile floor. Take up those rugs, and make it a policy to wear slippers that have a grip-type sole in the bathroom. Use a bathmat only as you exit the tub or shower, and make sure it has a non-skid backing as well.

Soap makes everything slick, and if you are still using bar soap, consider the number of times that soap slips out of your hand while bathing. There you are, bending over double to try and regain control over that scoundrel! Eliminate that risk by switching to liquid soap, preferably in a pump-style bottle. Just pump some on your washcloth and make your bath a whole lot safer. Use a rubber bath mat with strong suction cup grips to help keep your footing in the tub or shower, too.

Four easy steps to a safer bathroom

Rubber bathmat with suction cups

Four Easy Steps to a Safer Bathroom

Grab Bar

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June 28, 2016

Spotlight on Reverie Adjustable Beds

Reverie Adjustable Beds

Reverie 7S Sleep System

Reverie adjustable beds provide a truly unique solution in the quest for a great night’s sleep!

Another night of tossing, turning, propping, trying to get comfortable to no avail? Maybe your mattress is too firm, too soft, whatever, you just can’t seem to get comfortable.  SpinLife is proud to offer the innovative line of Reverie Adjustable Beds 

Reverie is a leading American manufacturer of adjustable foundations and latex mattresses. Holding over 30 patents, Reverie is a leader in the sleep products industry. Their adjustable bed frames provide a strong base for support, and almost limitless adjustability.

Reverie Adjustable Beds

Inside the DreamCell Sleep System

Therapeutic wave massage aids circulation and provides deep relaxation. Their remote control systems offer Bluetooth technology, USB ports, and pre-programmed positioning. Reverie Adjustable beds feature attractively upholstered bed bases and can be used with many headboard and bed frame styles to blend perfectly with your decor.

When you look at Reverie’s “DreamCell™” mattress construction, you’ll see what really sets them apart! The DreamCells are made of soft, medium and firm natural latex cylinders.  They are breathable, hypoallergenic, anti-microbial, anti-bacterial, dust mite resistant and extremely durable. Reverie’s patented DreamCells provide the ideal support system, and a comfortable, healthy sleep environment. The natural latex topper and the mattress cover are constructed of natural, breathable, hypoallergenic materials.

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June 21, 2016

Scooters you’ll love-the ZooMe Flex and the King Cobra PGV

Today’s Product Spotlight is a little different…we’ve got two great new scooters here at Spinlife that are about as different as night and day (David and Goliath might be a better comparison)…the new ZooMe Flex, and the awesome King Cobra PGV.

Writing about two products in the same article is a bit tricky, but here goes…the new ZooMe Flex, and the awesome King Cobra PGV.

The truth is, both of these products make perfect sense- even together. If you are faced with mobility issues, you have probably realized that there is no single solution to your desire to go about the business of living independently.

Many people compromise, and decide to use one small to mid-sized scooter to suit most of their needs most of the time. Going for the happy medium just means that you live within the performance limitations of the scooter that you choose.

Spinlife is excited to present two brand new scooters from Drive Medical, representing  both ends of the performance spectrum.

The ZooMe Flex 4 wheel Folding Travel Scooter is perfect for travel, shopping, and ultra-convenient to transport without needing to use a lift. The ZooMe Flex uses ultra-lightweight lithium batteries, and will travel up to 13 miles on a charge. It has an easy to steer Delta style tiller that adjusts for a good fit, and anti tip wheels on the back for safety. Just fold it up, load it and go! The entire scooter weighs in at just 53.6 lbs without the 5 lb battery pack, and is rated to carry up to 275 lbs.

Zoome Folding Scooter

ZooMe Flex Scooter folded for transport

ZooMe Flex Scooter

ZooMe Flex Scooter

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June 14, 2016

Give Dad a Lift on Father’s Day! Ultimate gift ideas…

Now it’s your turn to give Dad a lift! Two ultimate gift ideas to make this his best Father’s Day ever.

Remember all those times he picked you up after practice? This Father’s Day return the favor and give him the gift of mobility!  At the top of my “ultimate gift ideas” list this year is the new Buzzaround EX Scooter from Golden Technologies, a Spinlife online exclusive. The Buzzaround Ex is lightweight, and convenient, small enough to take apart and transport in the trunk of a car, but powerful enough to go all day on a single battery charge!

travel scooter with big batteries Ultimate gift Ideas

Buzzaround EX 4 wheel

The secret? The Buzzaround Ex is equipped with U-1 batteries- like you would expect on a full-size scooter- but in a travel scooter body. The cleverly designed two-part battery box eliminates the heavy lifting, but still carries batteries that travel up to 18 miles on a charge.

Two-part Battery Box for easy lifting Ultimate gift Ideas

Two-part Battery Box for easy lifting

A full front and rear suspension makes for a smooth ride, and the 9” tires give the Buzzaround EX 4” of ground clearance – practical for use both inside and out. There are also many convenience features packed into this new model. A bright LED headlamp will light his way if he’s out after dark, and the charging port is up on the tiller- close to the key switch, so it’s handy for charging. This speedy scooter is sure to make Dad smile this Father’s Day!

And here is another ultimate gift Idea…

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