Early Stage Dementia: What To Do

Recognizing Early Stage Alzheimer’s in the Washington DC area

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive condition that affects each individual differently. Alzheimer’s disease accounts for roughly 80% of all new dementia diagnoses. Each stage of Alzheimer’s introduces symptoms that directly impacts the cognitive and functional abilities of the individual. In the early stage of the disease, symptoms are generally mild and may be difficult to notice. At this stage, the individual may functional independently with the ability to complete all of their own activities of daily living. However, they may begin experiencing frequent memory lapses or the inability to identify familiar words. Friends and family may notice the individual struggling with performing routine tasks or maintaining organization. During a medical examination, doctors may identify problems in memory or concentration. It can be helpful to involve Senior Care professionals, family and friends in the examination to provide their personal accounts of symptoms, as the individual may not be readily able to identify changes in themselves.

Common challenges in the Early-Stage of Alzheimer’s include:

  • Difficulties with planning or organization
  • Difficulties with recalling the right word or name for familiar objects
  • Difficulties with performing social or work tasks
  • Frequent memory lapses
  • Frequently losing or misplacing valuable objects
  • Difficulties with retaining new information
  • Difficulty following storylines
  • Deteriorating sense of direction

Once medical examinations are completed and an Alzheimer’s dementia diagnosis is received, it’s important to optimize the safety and quality of life of the individual. Caregivers and friends should provide the individual with support and empathy while preparing for upcoming challenges ahead. Senior Home Care professionals should discuss advance directives and preferred future plans of care with the individual, to ensure that their wishes are upheld when they are no longer able to make decisions for themselves. Take the time to carefully plan for comprehensive and holistic care which meets the entire needs of the individual– it’s the best way to honor their life and legacy. Finding holistic and comprehensive care in the Washington, D.C area can be challenging. However, care that is tailored to the needs of the individual and enhances their well-being is essential to ensuring longevity.


Alzheimer’s Association . (2017). Stages of Alzheimer’s. Retrieved from

Higuera, V., & Ellis, M. (2016, July 12). 10 Early Symptoms of Dementia. Retrieved from

Mayo Clinic. (2017). Dementia. Retrieved from

Dysphagia and Seniors – Causes and Treatments

Caregiver in Great Falls VA

Has your elderly loved one ever had trouble swallowing? If so, they could have dysphagia. Dysphagia occurs when the esophagus and throat Caregiver-in-Great-Falls-VAare not working properly, making it difficult for food and drinks to go down and into the stomach. This can be a scary experience for both the elders with this condition and their caregivers.

Fortunately, by understanding what causes dysphagia and how it can be treated, your loved one may be able to rid their swallowing problems once and for all.


If the elder is having trouble getting food and liquids down the esophagus, the following causes could be the culprit.

  • Previous stroke or spinal cord or brain injury
  • Issues with the immune system that causes it to become swollen and weak
  • The muscles in the esophagus randomly tighten, also known as esophageal spasm
  • The tissues of the esophagus become narrow and hard, also known as scleroderma
  • A health condition that can cause a blockage in the throat, such as GERD or an infection
  • Allergic reaction to food
  • Diverticula, or small sacs in the walls of the esophagus or throat
  • Cancerous or benign tumors in the esophagus
  • Masses that are located outside of the esophagus, like tumors, lymph nodes, or bone spurs
  • Dry mouth


If you witness any of the following symptoms in your parent, they most likely have dysphagia.

  • Coughing, choking, or gagging when attempting to swallow food
  • Trouble getting food or liquids down the throat the first time
  • Frequently feel as though food or liquids are stuck in the throat or chest
  • Unusual weight loss as a result of not getting enough food or liquids
  • Pain when swallowing
  • Heartburn or pain or pressure in the chest


Once the elder gets an official diagnosis from their doctor, here are some things they may recommend to treat their condition.

  • Change your diet. The doctor may want your loved one to eat or avoid certain foods.
  • Exercise. The goal is to strengthen various muscles needed for swallowing.
  • Endoscopy. A long, thin scope may be needed to find and remove any item that could be blocking the elder’s throat.
  • Surgery. In some severe cases, the doctor may want to perform surgery on the elder to remove the blockage.
  • Medication. If the elder has dysphagia as a result of their heartburn, GERD, or esophagitis, medication may be prescribed to manage the symptoms of these conditions.

Dysphagia is a terrifying condition and one that will make the elder feel as if they are choking. Help them overcome this condition by talking to their doctor as soon as you can.


If you or an aging loved one are considering caregiver services in Great Falls, VA, please call the friendly staff at Philia Care today at 202-607-2525.



Why Choose Community Gardening

Caregiver in Great Falls VA

Many seniors love gardening; but not all seniors have the space in which to grow vegetables, fruits, flowers, or plants. That’s where aCaregiver-in-Great-Falls-VAcommunity garden can be beneficial.

Communities and individual farms all over the United States allow community gardens, in which local citizens—either collectively or individually—can have “ownership” of a small section. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, community gardens are “collaborative projects on shared open spaces where participants share in the maintenance and products of the garden,” including healthy, affordable fresh fruits and vegetables.

Whether working a garden of their own or a community garden, seniors can derive so many benefits from it. Cognitively, gardening offers new skills while providing opportunities to utilize current or past skills, pay attention to tasks, make decisions and follow simple instructions. From a physical standpoint, they are doing exercises by focusing on various motor skills, without even realizing they’re getting exercise. This is important if your loved one isn’t real enthused with traditional exercise. Psychologically, they are getting a sense of self-worth, while developing an attitude that embodies nurturing and having responsibility for a living thing.

There are some community gardens that are strictly for the planting of flowers and the like. Restoration of natural areas and native plant gardens are also popular for some community gardens, while other gardens can have a variety of planting elements such as small orchards, herbs and even butterfly gardens.

As someone providing family caregiving for your loved one, if they want to work on a garden project, you may want to suggest a community garden as a great option for them. It would give them the chance to enjoy their hobby or favorite pastime, while enjoying the outdoors and fresh air. And, in addition to the benefits already mentioned, they could have these, as well:

  • They can enjoy the beauty of fresh flowers and plants; or grow and eat fresh fruits and vegetables, thereby being healthier.
  • Their social interactions can improve while working toward common goals with others.
  • They will be participating in creating green space, while at the same time, potentially beautifying vacant lots. Community gardens can also revitalize certain industrial areas, and revive and beautify public park land, provided the municipality allows a garden project to be established in a park area.
  • In some areas where community gardens have been started established, there has been a decrease in violence or other crime-related activity.

To learn about any community gardens in your area, you can contact your local municipality or university extension office, if you have one. They can also tell you if there is any kind of fee associated with having a section of land for a garden and if there are any restrictions on what can be planted there. You can also locate the closest gardens to you by visiting the web site for the American Community Garden Association, listed below.


If you or an aging loved one are considering CAREGIVER SERVICES IN GREAT FALLS, VA, please call the friendly staff at Philia Care today at 202-607-2525.