Sometimes caring for a loved one with dementia means seeking

Sometimes caring for a loved one with dementia means seeking outside help.

As our society ages, more and more families are struggling to live with a family member who is suffering from dementia or Alzheimer disease. While memory loss can be a frightening experience for our aging parents or grandparents, its impact on the family can be equally frightening, particularly when there are young children in the home.

I learned that fact first hand when I brought my 93 year-old grandmother home to live with us. There were a host of reasons why I felt she should come to live with us; her home was old and in need of serious repair, there was a steep set of stairs that she had fallen down more than once, and perhaps most important, she had raised me as a child when my own mother was ill. For all of these reasons and my stubborn belief in the extended family, we brought her home to live with us.

After a very short time, we realized her dementia had progressed far beyond the simple forgetfulness she occasionally displayed. On most days, she would chuckle at her lapses of memory. On others she would lash out verbally and even physically as she retreated in terror at the unfamiliar.

Before coming to live with us, she had spent the past 30 years living alone. In retrospect I realize she was completely unprepared for the realities of living in an active household with children. The simple act of going up and down the stairs would wake her from a sound sleep and send her into a rage. The constant opening and closing of doors would accomplish the same. The house was never clean enough, our children had far too many friends coming to visit, and I never spent enough of my time sitting at the table and visiting with her over coffee.

Gradually, the reality became clear. I could not care for my children and my grandmother at the same time. The needs of one were diametrically opposed to the other. The active, laughter-filled household that made all the neighborhood children want to visit our home enraged my grandmother to the point of violence. Friends began to stay away and my children searched for excuses to spend their time elsewhere.

Agonized by the decision I had to make, God took pity and intervened. My grandmother suffered a heart attack and spent two weeks in intensive care. While she eventually recovered, she was left in a weakened state and her equilibrium was severely compromised. The result: under medical advice, she would be unable to return to our home and required 24-hour care.

Today she lives in a Catholic nursing home and I am truly astounded by the changes she has undergone in just a few short months. Their care has been nothing short of miraculous. With diligent monitoring of her diet she has lost the extra weight she put on, and has been removed from all medication. She is more active, and truly enjoys the companionship of others her age. She occasionally asks about coming back to live with us and I laugh with joy. Are you nuts? I ask her. You look better today than you have in ten years.

The simple reality is that others were far better equipped to provide my grandmother with the care she needed. As our population ages, and people live far beyond the life expectancy of even 20 years ago, more and more families will be forced to acknowledge their limitations, just as I was. Choosing to place a family member in a nursing home is not an admission of failure on your part, but an acceptance of the fact that prolonged life expectancy carries with it a need for more complex care than the vast majority of us can ever hope to provide.

Safety Issues Regarding Laser Hair Removal

Safety issues regarding laser hair removal relate to both clients and technicians. These safety issues are very different than those involving other forms of epilation. There are no concerns of drawing blood, contaminating probes, or risking infection. However, there are concerns regarding burns and eye safety. Several organizations have laid down guidelines to ensure the safety of both the clients and technicians. These organizations include The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, The American National Standards Institute, The Food and Drug Administration, The Center for Devices and Radiological Health, and The Society for Clinical and Medical Hair Removal.

All laser hair removal devices in the United States are subject to very strict mandatory performance standards. They also must meet the federal laser product performance standard, which includes specifying their safety features, both for the benefit of the patient and technician.

It is best to purchase new laser hair removal equipment. If used equipment must be purchased, it should only be bought from a qualified distributor with the assurance that it has been thoroughly checked and serviced. The equipment should also be guaranteed..

The room that is used for laser hair removal can be used for other treatments. However, it must be set up in accordance with the strict guidelines that are associated with the use of laser equipment. Setting up the room the proper way is usually done by the equipment distributor or the manufacturer.

The laser hair removal room should have a door that can be locked during treatment. There should be a warning light outside the door to let others know that treatment is being done and they should not enter. There should be protective eyewear, outside of the door for people who may need to enter during a treatment. They should not be any windows in the room, however if there are windows they should be blacked out with protective coverings. It is very important to that the electrical outlet has its own circuit breaker. It also must be grounded, and have the proper amperage and voltage. The room should not have any mirrors or reflective surfaces in it.

Laser hair removal equipment should be on a flat surface and have plenty of ventilation around it. This equipment should only be serviced and calibrated according to the manufacturer’s guidelines for that particular device. It should be regularly cleaned of any carbon buildup that may occur. When the laser equipment is not in use the key should be removed.

It is important that the operator of the laser hair removal device be well trained and qualified. This training should be in all areas including histology and client care. The technician should not wear any reflective clothing or jewelry. The technician, along with any other person in the room, is required to wear ANSI approved protected our eyewear in order to avoid laser blindness.

The client should receive a thorough and detailed consultation, pre and post care instructions, and a patch test before the laser hair removal treatment begins. It is also important that the client understands the benefits and risks of the treatment. During the laser hair removal process the client should wear ANSI approved protective eyewear and be instructed to keep the eyewear on throughout the treatment.

Does Massage Therapy Help Against Back Pain?

I originally thought that massage therapy would be a gentle, soothing massage that would lessen the ever present tightness in my shoulders and lower back. Boy was I wrong.

I made an appointment at the insistence of my boss because the neck pain I had experienced since adolescence was becoming more intense from the way I sat at my computer.

I was led into a pastel room with soft lighting and asked to strip to my underwear and lay face down on the table. My head went into a donut shaped holder and there was a place to rest my arms. The massage therapist came in and asked me some questions about the location of my pain and then went to work.

It was the most excruciating pain I had ever felt.

Deep tissue massage is used for breaking up the tightness in the muscle tissue and retraining the muscles. Although the first few sessions seemed to hurt more than they helped, I stuck with it, coming three times a week for a month. By the end of the second month I had begun to look forward to each session and noticed that I wasn’t clenching my jaw as much. I also noticed that my lower back didn’t hurt as much at the end of the day.

The therapist had given me several back stretching exercises to do at night and the results were amazing. I now refer all of my friends with muscle pain for massage therapy.

Massage works the soft tissue-muscles, ligaments and tendons-to stimulate circulation and improve muscle tone. It is a system of kneading and pressing on specific muscle bundles just underneath the skin, but a good massage therapist can reach deeper muscles. Massage is and ancient and simple form of therapy.

Another benefit is improved breathing and circulation. Because the lymphatic system runs parallel to the circulatory system, there is improved elimination of waste through out the body, and in order to experience the full benefits the client is taught how to breathe deeply and slowly. While the few initial visits were quite uncomfortable, the full result was entirely relaxing.

An occasional soft massage is so relaxing that many people fall asleep during the treatment.

However, if you have pain like mine a course of several treatments will result in the full benefit, such as along with increased circulation and improved breathing, a relaxed muscle is a good way to prevent sprains and torn ligaments, especially if you are an athlete. ( I am far from being an athlete, but am just as prone to injury from excess tension and structural weakness.)

For example, when the structure in my lower back is compromised due to inactivity, I am much more likely to strain my back when I lift heavy objects, even though I am aware of how to properly lift a box-with your knees, not with your back- but because my legs and lower back are weak, massage can greatly improve the position of the muscles and makes them more pliable, thus resulting in less chance of sprain or strain.

Massage is also used to relieve fatigue, which can be caused from the muscles in the body being so tight that you use extra energy to function. Because massage relaxes the muscles, the entire body doesn’t have to work so hard and what was once fatigue can now be energy directed elsewhere.

One last note on the benefits of massage-the use of massage oils help lessen the friction of massage on dry skin, and are often used as an aromatherapy along with the massage process. A good, clean essential oil such as rosemary can leave the client feeling relaxed and calm, so don’t hesitate to ask your therapist to use scented oil.