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Helpful Homecare Info
Nov 5, 2018

Family Caregiver Journey Map–Alzheimer’s


The AgingWell Hub, in partnership with the National Alliance for Caregiving, has created an integrated journey map for those caring for loved ones with Alzheimer’s and other dementias. The map can be used to identify opportunities to provide support and intervention for caregivers, and in turn, to benefit their care recipients. Multiple players in today’s health care system — a pharmaceutical company, health care provider, health-related technology provider, university, leading national nonprofits and more — came together to share expert knowledge and proprietary research to develop the map from the perspective of consumers.


In this case, the consumer is the unpaid family caregiver of an older adult with Alzheimer’s disease. The goal of the caregiver journey map is to capture the 360-degree experience of individuals caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or other serious cognitive impairment. Creating a common framework and terminology allows us to:

  • Identify and prioritize areas where caregivers need support

  • Drive alignment and collaboration across various players within the health care and community services ecosystem

  • Inform the development of technology-enabled solutions to benefit caregivers as well as their care recipients


New Posts
  • Helpful Homecare Info
    Jul 16

    You’re going to hear a lot from us about how technology can help us live independently longer as we age. Parallel to that goal: How can technology help family caregivers worry less, toil less and love more? In their efforts to support healthy aging, IBM and its Cognitive Horizons network of universities has just added a new partner, the Artificial Intelligence for Healthy Living Center at U.C. San Diego. Together, they’ve launched a research initiative to “identify early signs of cognitive impairment and dementia to help delay impairment and extend independent living options for the aging population.” Sounds great: Identify the markers for cognitive decline to address these early. But there’s a missing link (or maybe IBM just forgot to include it?): The family members who play a huge role in helping senior loved ones continue living ‘independently’ in their home of choice. Family input is critical to this and other studies, especially for seniors who are already halfway down the path of mental decline and rely on others to make decisions for them. Without input and data from family caregivers, without their observations and self-taught lessons, IBM and its partners will solve only half of the equation, and “discover” only half of the solution.
  • Tracey Clayton
    Jun 24, 2018

    We are constantly hearing stories and advice about the importance of exercising to stay fit. And while the good condition of our body is essential for our good health, we must not neglect our mind, for it is the beginning and ending of everything. The brain, just like your biceps and gluteus, is a muscle, and it needs training in order to remain in top form. Physical exercise and a balanced diet contribute to our mental health, but there is the need to go further than that to stay mentally fit. Let’s discuss some more on the necessity of “mental lifting” and ways to do it. What happens if your brain is asleep on the job? The human brain is a fascinating supercomputer “designed” to perform brilliantly. Together with your mind and billions of cells, it can do wonders. However, if you don’t put enough challenges in front of your brain (e.g. complex thinking and analysis), it becomes stuck in a routine forcing it to complete each task with the minimum amount of energy. This makes it harder for the brain to create new neuronal pathways. This makes your brain weaker, and leaves it exposed to various threats. Looking toward the future You may be thinking that things are OK as they are now, why would you need to train your brain to think better and faster? That is a waste of time. No, actually, it is a waste of mind. It is the same as with your body – you train now, and you know you will be healthier when you grow old. If you don’t exercise your brain, it will be vulnerable to mental disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and other memory and focusing problems. Some people think that dementia is a natural and inevitable part of growing old, but that is not so. Other confuse it with Alzheimer’s disease. It is important to know they are not the same and that both can be avoided. The risk always exists, but it can be minimized, by taking good care of your brain on time. The whys of cognitive training Your daily activities at home and at work are not enough to keep your brain sharp, because it is basically a lazy machine that always searches for similar previous experiences. Cognitive training can help with what we explained in previous paragraphs. It is an organized and continuous activity that includes challenging your brain to develop new thoughts. The goal is seeking fresh unknown events that encourage focus and attentiveness rather than relying on your routine form of thinking. This way, you generate brain cell activity and strengthen your brain. The hows of cognitive training But how can you perform cognitive training? It is a common trap thinking that games like crosswords and Sudoku are enough for that. That may be so at the beginning, but once they become a habit too, the brain will adopt routines for them, and take the easy way out every time. The best cognitive training is tailored for your individual needs. Just as a physical fitness training program, it includes setting an achievable goal, monitoring your progress, and providing ongoing motivation. Ideally, you should dedicate about one hour a week (three 20-minute sessions) to your “mental lifting”. Many dementia care programs include cognitive training exercises tailored individually for each patient which can be more effective than training on your own. Ideas for training your brain As we’ve already said, mental training is different for different people. Still, there are some generally accepted ways of challenging your mind: · Read a new book (even better, a book from an author or genre you’ve never read before) · Learn to play a musical instrument · Learn a new language · Visit new places · Visit trivia events · Arrange scavenger hunts · Try exergame training · Play logic games · Meditate · Write down your thoughts and ideas · Communicate with people beyond chitchat · Take up a hobby · Daydream Working out at the gym helps you perform all of your daily activities much more easily, including carrying heavy bags and climbing the stairs. Training your brain will improve its capabilities and improve all those things you use on a daily basis, including short-term memory, hand-eye coordination and visual-spatial orientation. Furthermore, it will contribute to a healthier and happier future.
  • Helpful Homecare Info
    Oct 18, 2017

    The drug that I represented while working as a Pharma Rep was for COPD, Spiriva, from Boehringer Ingelheim. Our training was three weeks of eight-hour days. Toward the end, they had us do a demonstration that would drive home to us how horrible COPD is. We were each given a straw and a clothespin type device. We were to close our noses, and use the straw to breathe through our mouths while walking up and down the hallway. Scary! It didn’t take long to feel like not getting enough air. Then we were given one of those stir straws that you get for coffee, with the VERY narrow hole through its length, and to repeat the walk down the hall. Shortly, extreme panic set in. That, we were told, was what stage four COPD feels like. I lost my Mom to COPD, and to have the realization of what she had gone through hit home. Believe me, whenever and however I could help a patient suffering from this progressive disease with no cure, I did whatever I could. The lesson learned is to never smoke or stop now, and to encourage your loved ones to do the same. The price to pay down, now or in the future is “scary” and heart-breaking to witness or live through. Art, Florida

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