Jackie W.M.

The best I could ever have hoped for my husband while living with Parkinson’s dementia. Very best caring, caregivers!
– Jackie W.M.

A Guide to Visiting and Connecting with Your Senior Loved One


Staying connected. It’s no secret how very important this is to our overall physical and mental health and well-being. Over the years, researchers have conducted many different studies on the topic of social connection all with similar findings: the more connected we are to each other, the healthier we are in return.

According to Dr Emma Seppala, PhD, who is a science director at Stanford University and the author of The Happiness Track, these health benefits include a stronger immune system, reduction in depression and anxiety, higher self-esteem along with empathy, increased chance of longevity, and better emotional regularity.

Staying Connected During the Pandemic

When you think of some of the ways you like to stay connected with those you love, you might automatically think about spending time together in person, such as sharing a meal or browsing a store.

However, with the current state of affairs today, it is not always safe or feasible to be together in person, as much as your loved one may want that especially with loved ones who are more susceptible to contracting COVID-19.

The good news is that it is still possible to stay connected and maintain relationships with your loved ones in senior living communities.

Now that we are in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, staying connected may not be as easy or convenient as it once used to be, but it is definitely not impossible. While many facilities are limiting interaction, there are still many ways in which we can continue to stay connected to our loved ones while remaining physically apart.

Connecting In Person with Your Loved Ones

If your loved one is in a community that is allowing visitors, it is best to contact the organization beforehand or check their website and find out if there are any restrictions in place for visiting due to COVID-19.

Some common restrictions may include a limit on the number of visitors at one time, shortened visiting hours, or mandatory wearing of masks. If the weather permits and the facility has the space to accommodate, a visit outside may be safer at this time than a visit indoors.

The community organizers may also require you to maintain a distance of 6-feet from your loved one which can be difficult but remember, it is for their safety.

You should also make sure you bring hand sanitizer. Even if you don’t plan on physically touching or hugging your loved one, you will still come in contact with high touch areas such as doorknobs or faucets during your visit.

Connecting Digitally


If being together with your loved one in person during this time is not a possibility, there are still a number of different ways to connect digitally with each other thanks to technology.

Now, not everyone is tech-savvy and there may be a bit of a learning curve at first when it comes to video calls, but it is an extremely safe and personal way to connect with your loved one.

Video chats are a popular way to stay connected because they allow each person to see the other one’s face and is also a guaranteed way to make your loved one smile.

There are many different video chat platforms to choose from, including Skype, Zoom, FaceTime, or Google Hangouts, among others. There is even an option to talk via video through Facebook messenger. The most important thing to consider when deciding which video platform to use is to choose a service that is already familiar to your loved one and yourself or a service that is not too difficult for them to learn how to use.

If they have never used the service before they may need some help getting it set up and understanding how it works for the first time. Here are some guides that can help you set up video calls on different platforms.

We find that if you both have Facebook Messenger, this is one of the easiest video chat platforms to use for most parties. Here is a guide on how to use it. It is just an app download and then two clicks!

Playing games together online is another fun way to connect together digitally. There are lots of different mobile phone apps and websites for this, depending on which type of games you are wanting to play. Some popular games that are available to play online with friends and family include Clue, Monopoly, Online Bingo, and Scrabble.

Your loved one may also enjoy setting up a time for you to get together for a virtual coffee chat or lunch date where you play a game together or just chat.

Last but not least, never underestimate the power of a simple phone call. Hearing your familiar voice on the other end of the line will forever be a bright spot in your loved one’s day. If you have tried the video call platforms or online games and they just aren’t working for you, a phone call is also an effective way to stay connected.

It Won’t Always Be Like This

While it may be easy to get discouraged during this difficult period of our lives, especially if your time together with your loved one is being restricted due to no fault of your own, it’s important to remember that it won’t always be like this.

Better days are coming and the ability to stay socially connected is easier nowadays than it ever has been before. While our preferred methods of connecting may be limited, for the time being, staying connected is attainable and very much worth it.

Catholic Care Center is a nationally recognized organization that offers many activities and services to seniors. The expertly crafted wellness program ranges from intergenerational enrichment programs to daily outings and trips. The center has nurses who are qualified to work with senior patients and understand the specific care that these patients require. Click below to learn more about our organization.

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Caring for Someone with Alzheimer’s: Care Tips and Activities for Your Loved One


Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s can be challenging – especially for those providing full time care to their loved ones. Your loved one may seem perfectly fine and lucid one day and in a completely different space the next. Although difficult, the time spent with your loved one means the world to them – even if they cannot express that feeling.

Before we continue, we want you to know that you are not alone and there are resources available to support caregivers just like you. At Catholic Care Center, we provide Adult Day Programs for adults with dementia. Our programs are available for half or full-day accommodation with wellness-focused activities, round the clock nursing staff, nutritious meals, and more.

If you are caring for someone with Alzheimer’s, it is key to establish routines to help them feel comfortable and reinforce feelings of familiarity. Within these routines, it is extremely important that you include stimulating activities that help slow cognitive decline.

Below we have outlined activities you can do with your loved one and a few tips for caring for someone with Alzheimer’s.

Tips for Caring for Someone with Alzheimer’s


  • Choose simple words and short sentences.
  • Use a calm tone of voice and ask questions with a positive tone.
  • Allow enough time for them to form thoughts and do not to interrupt them.
  • Do not use baby-talk
  • Do not use phrases like, “Try to remember,” or ask questions like, “Do you remember?”
  • Address them by name and make eye contact to ensure that they are engaged.

Developing Routines

  • Maintain structure and familiarity
  • Let your loved one know what to expect
  • Use cues to communicate routines i.e. opening curtains in the morning or turning on soothing music at night
  • Involve them as much as possible by giving them manageable daily tasks i.e. sweeping, wiping the counter, putting clothes in the hamper, making toast, etc.

Medication Administration and Management

  • Give medication during the time of day when they are most calm.
  • Administer medication in a calm environment.
  • Use short sentences and don’t try to explain or reason.
  • Try again in 10-15 minutes if difficulties arise.
  • If pills are difficult to swallow, ask the doctor about alternatives i.e. liquid medication or smaller options.

It is also important to take your loved one in for regular check ups and appointments as the disease progresses. A physician may suggest new medications or programs that can help manage symptoms and slow decline.

Caring for Yourself

  • Ask for help when you need it i.e. adult day programs or professional assistance with care.
  • Find a support group.
  • Give yourself grace (not everything will be perfect and that’s okay).
  • Implement relaxation techniques into your routine.
  • Take time for yourself and do things you enjoy

Activities for Adults with Alzheimer’s


Stimulating activities are important for those with Alzheimer’s. The right activities can:

  • Encourage self-expression
  • Foster emotional connection
  • Lessen any anxiety and stress
  • Reduce irritability
  • Help with memory retention

You will want to choose activities that are manageable and won’t cause stress or anxiety. Remember that comfort should always be top of mind when engaging with someone who has Alzheimer’s. If you start to see that the activity is causing your loved one irritability or stress, move onto something else.


Painting is a fantastic activity for individuals suffering from Alzheimer’s. Artistic engagement may help to ease symptoms of dementia like anxiety, agitation and depression. Painting is a great way for your loved one to channel their emotions without having to use their words. There is also something relaxing about brushing wet paint on a canvas and creating something special may help improve mood and boost confidence.

If you choose to paint with your loved one, keep supplies and tools simple. For more mild cases, you can try to follow an easy painting tutorial video but it is best to just let the mind choose what it wants to paint as a form of self expression.

Work on a Puzzle

Puzzles are great for those with Alzheimer’s. Puzzles give the brain something to focus on and  many use them as a way to manage anxiety.

Studies have suggested that it may be beneficial to encourage those with Alzheimer’s disease to do puzzles. These studies have also shown that those who do puzzles perform better on tests related to memory than those who don’t. Puzzles also improve visual perception and visual recognition – both of which decline as the disease progresses.

Puzzles also have varying degrees of difficulty making it easy to choose one that is manageable for your loved one depending on the severity of their condition.

Get Outside and Enjoy the Weather

A little fresh air and change of scenery can do wonders for mental health. Whether you choose to go on a walk with your loved one or just sit on a bench outside and watch the birds, they will enjoy the time outside of the home.

Sunlight triggers a release of the hormone serotonin in the brain. This particular hormone is associated with boosting mood and helping a person feel calm. Low levels of serotonin are associated with major depression with seasonal pattern. So, when weather permits, encourage your loved one to go outside with you and soak up some rays.

Spending time outdoors is something that you easily can work into regular daily routines. For example, a daily 10-15 minute walk can have a big impact on mood and disposition. If you are in the middle of summer and temperatures are high, plan your walks or outdoor time for early morning to avoid overheating and don’t forget the sunscreen!

Read From Their Favorite Book

If your loved one was an avid reader before, this is a great activity to incorporate into their routine and can be adjusted based on how severe their condition is.

For individuals who still have the ability to read on their own, you can buy them their favorite books (new or used) with larger print. For those who are experiencing the more moderate stages of dementia, you can read aloud to them from their favorite book and ask them questions at the end of each chapter to encourage memory retention. You can also download audio versions of their favorite books and listen to those with them.

In the later stages of dementia, it is recommended that you share things like familiar magazines and books with a lot of pictures with them. You can discuss the images with your loved one and share thoughts on what is on the page.

Play a Game

Studies demonstrate that card games and board games are effective in stimulating memory and help promote brain health. Games also promote the use of visualization, memory and sequencing skills.

Choose games that are the same or similar to games your loved one enjoyed in the past. If they enjoyed playing cards in the past, games like bridge, go fish, gin rummy, and poker all help promote brain health.

Are cards not their thing? Games like checkers, dominoes, scrabble, and bingo are all great choices and stimulate the mind.

Look at Photos

No matter what stage of Alzheimer’s your loved one is experiencing, visual aids like family photos can help stir memories and allows those living with the disease to reminisce about pleasant times in their lives. Looking at photos can also help them engage in the present moment as you converse about who is in the photo and what was going on at the time.

There are several ways to go about this activity. You can look back at photo albums, create a memory box that contains photos and mementos, or an online album. For more severe cases, we suggest using an online album or just looking at one physical photo at a time as seeing multiple pictures in a physical photo album may be overwhelming for some.

Final Thoughts

Caring for a loved one with dementia, while dealing with work and other obligations is tough but we have resources to help ease some of that stress. If you choose to enroll your loved one in our adult day program, you’ll be able to put them in trusted hands while you take some time for yourself. Caring for someone with dementia is a compassionate and selfless act of love, but it’s important to remember to focus on your own well being, also.

How We Can Help

The nationally recognized adult day program at our organization offers many activities and services to seniors with dementia. The expertly crafted wellness program ranges from intergenerational enrichment programs to daily outings and trips. The center has nurses who are qualified to work with dementia patients and understand the specific care that these patients require. Click below to learn more about our program.

The Benefits of Day Programs for Adults with Dementia


Dementia affects every individual differently, therefore every family who has a loved one with dementia is affected differently. General health, personality, and social situations are all factors in determining the impact of dementia. Along with memory loss, another detrimental symptom is difficulty managing practical tasks that used to be familiar. This means that people with dementia might inevitably need a considerable amount of care from family members.

Even the most dedicated caregivers need a moment to focus on their own mental and physical health, run errands, and participate in their own daily activities – this freedom is what an Adult Day Program can provide. The program provides the stimulation and socialization that are important to the cognitive health of someone with dementia.

What is an Adult Day Program?


It can be challenging caring for someone with dementia at home 24/7. Adult day programs are a great way to give yourself a bit of a break. Programs like the one at Catholic Care Center can provide them with a safe environment to participate in activities with others and can be customized to your needs and the needs of your loved one.

Our adult day program offers:

  • Half or full-day accommodation
  • Wellness focused activities
  • Meals provided
  • Rest areas
  • Assisted shower
  • Nursing team 24/7
  • Overnight respite options based on availability

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The Benefits of an Adult Day Program

Adult day programs offer a welcoming environment, a variety of services, and trained staff to make caregivers feel at ease. Here are some of the services that benefit your loved one when you enroll them in an adult day program.

1. Counseling

Counseling is normally offered to both the person with dementia and their families. Experienced professionals can give you advice on the everyday challenges associated with dementia and real-life struggles you may be dealing with. They will also offer practical solutions for difficulties you may be having and extra resources for support at home.

2. Health Services

You will need to make sure the facility is aware of any underlying medical conditions and if they need to administer medication. The center you choose should have a knowledgeable and caring staff that is well equipped to give insulin shots, give daily prescriptions to help improve functionality, etc. A lot of programs also offer things like minor check-ups, blood pressure checks, and eye exams. The team at the care center should also be able to recognize and respond to more dangerous medical situations.

3. Nutrition

Many centers provide nutritional advice and their staff is fully trained to accommodate dietary requirements of seniors with certain health conditions. Part of any great adult day program is ensuring that your loved one receives delicious and nutritious meals while they are at the center.

4. Personal Care

Adults with dementia often need help in the bathroom or suffer from incontinence. Professionals at the center should be trained to deal with these issues discreetly and with kindness. They’ll also be able to help out with things like bathing and dressing, if needed.

5. Activities

Fun and creative activities that help promote physical and mental health are offered daily as part of the program. Seniors can take part in a range of stimulating activities such as arts and craft classes, music classes, fitness activities, and groups that play games.

Long-term Benefits

Adult day programs are becoming increasingly popular because they provide seniors who are not ready to move into assisted living and prefer to live at home meaningful social interaction and cognitive stimulation in a safe place.

Engaging in mentally stimulating activities, eating nutritious meals, and getting regular physical activity can slow the progression of dementia and reduce cognitive decline.

The most important thing is that Dementia Daycare gives you flexibility. You get to choose how long to enroll someone for and which days you would like for them to be at the center. You will receive a tailored care program from qualified professionals along with the support you need.

Caregiver’s Peace of Mind

The relief from the stress of trying to juggle responsibilities is often the biggest benefit for caregivers. Caring for a loved one with dementia, while dealing with work and other obligations is tough. If you choose to enroll your loved one in our adult day program, you’ll be able to leave them in trusted hands while you take some time for yourself. Caring for someone with dementia is an act of love, but it’s important to remember to focus on your own wellbeing from time to time.

Why Choose Catholic Care Center?

The nationally recognized adult day program at our organization offers many activities and services to seniors with dementia. The expertly crafted wellness program ranges from intergenerational enrichment programs to daily outings and trips. The center has nurses who are qualified to work with dementia patients and understand the specific care that these patients require.

Supporting Your Loved One with Dementia During the Pandemic


Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia can be challenging in today’s environment. The most important thing is to limit their risk of exposure to the virus. As a caregiver, you will have to decide how much time you spend around others and in public and understand that people living with dementia will likely not comprehend the importance of not touching communal items and to avoid touching their face, and may be challenged to wear a mask.

If you choose to shelter-in-place, it’s important to keep your loved one engaged. Spending time visiting with family members and friends by phone or video call is a great activity.  Based on the level of functioning of the dementia patient, they may not be able to use the phone appropriately and it might be difficult to remember to keep the receiver near their ear. They also might not connect with the voice to the person they are talking with.

Connecting Through Video Calls

Video calls are a great way to connect with those suffering from dementia during the pandemic. Being able to see and hear from someone is very helpful in maintaining the connection during the call.

You may find that your loved one with dementia is focused on “finding” the person they are video calling after the call is over and you will have the determine if this is easily redirected or if it is causing unnecessary anxiety. If you do notice that the call may be causing stress or anxiety, you may want to limit those calls.

Hand Washing and Sanitation

If you choose to venture out into public, consider helping encourage your loved one to wash their hands by offering them scented soaps. You can also help by administering hand sanitizer through a handshake or hand massage.

Maintaining Structure and Wellbeing During Unpredictable Times

Whatever you choose to do during this unprecedented time, remember that even a structured day should have some flexibility for someone with dementia. Try to focus the structure around the person’s natural rhythm and daily habits, and remember to give yourself a break. No matter what you are doing, you are doing great because you are trying so, give yourself some grace.

Focus on trying to fulfill the spiritual, intellectual, physical, emotional, and environmental needs of the person you are caring for and don’t stress about trying to have a perfect day – focus on having a good day.

Try starting out with a daily reflection or moment of prayer. These are trying times and the hidden benefit of this worldwide crisis is that we have more time with our families than ever before, make the most of it!

At Catholic Care Center, we provide not-for-profit safe retirement living and healthcare to seniors and retired individuals where they could learn, live, grow, and receive the care they need regardless of religious affiliation or condition.

Our goal is to help you find the best option for the senior in your life. We are currently taking new residents. Reach out to us by calling (316) 771-6550 to schedule a virtual tour.

8 Great Gifts for Parkinson’s Patients


April is Parkinson’s Awareness Month and now is a great time to let the loved one or friend in your life that has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s know that you care.

The effects of Parkinson’s can cause issues with dexterity, mobility, sensory receptors, and more. It can be challenging to buy a gift for those with the condition because of how it affects the body’s functionality but we have put together a list of gifts for Parkinson’s patients that will help you choose something great!

1. Audiobooks/Audible Subscription

If you have a lover of literature on your list, then this gift is perfect! Books are obviously a great way to pass the time but those with moderate to severe tremors may have trouble holding the book steady so they can focus on the page.

Audiobooks can also provide comfort to those who are suffering from anxiety. Hearing a relaxing voice reading the story can soothe and provide a sense of companionship.

You can buy individual audiobooks and send them as gifts or purchase a subscription from Audible for around $15 per month for those who are truly avid readers.

2. Smart Speaker

A smart speaker is a gift that pretty much anyone will enjoy but those with Parkinson’s especially benefit from being able to control the device using only their voice.

With the disease often comes muscle stiffness and poor balance meaning that getting up to do things like pause a book or song can be difficult and painful. Smart speakers can also set timers, read the latest news headlines, list upcoming appointments, and so much more making them very useful for those with Parkinson’s.

3. Cleaning Service

If your loved one or friend is still living relatively independently, we highly suggest this gift option. Cleaning can often be painful and quickly cause fatigue for those with Parkinson’s so gifting them cleaning services will be greatly appreciated.

If you don’t want to pay for a cleaning service, offer to go in and clean for them once a month. They will likely appreciate both the gesture and the company!

4. Heated Blanket

People who have Parkinson’s are normally more sensitive to cold temperatures so a heated blanket is a great gift choice. We are big fans of this gift idea because it can benefit almost anyone with the disease no matter what their interests are. We highly suggest choosing a blanket like this one that has automatic shutoff and heat adjustment options.

5. Streaming Subscription

Although many people have streaming services, a lot of others (especially seniors) do not and if your loved one or friend is a movie buff or huge TV fan, we cannot suggest this gift enough.

Whether it is Netflix (suggested for movie fans), Hulu (suggested for TV hounds), or something more specialized, they will appreciate the entertainment.

TV and movies can offer a relaxing distraction when pain flares up and they will love being able to watch whatever they want, whenever they want!

6. Make Them Their Favorite Meal and Deliver it to Their Door

This gift idea is both cost-effective and extremely thoughtful. Parkinson’s can bring about loss of appetite and having a favorite dish that is easy to heat up on hand can make eating more enjoyable – even when it is one of the last things you want to do.

Whip up their favorite meal (make a few days worth of food if you can) and deliver it to their door with a handwritten note telling you how much you care about them. This gesture could be exactly the remedy needed to turn a tough day around.

Note: If your loved one is currently in an assisted care center and you are unsure if they are allowed to receive homemade food deliveries, call and ask what the policy is. You can always send a care package with their favorite pre-packaged snacks instead!

7. Electric Back or Foot Massager

Although a professional massage is a fantastic gift idea for when things are normal, we need to make sure we are taking steps to protect everyone’s health so an at-home back or foot massager is the next best thing.

Those with Parkinson’s will appreciate the muscle relaxation that these devices offer and can hit those aches and pains on-demand in the safety of their own home. You can even find massagers that have built-in heating elements for an even better experience.

There are manual back and foot massagers on the market but we suggest choosing an electric option as they will be much easier to use. Choose something like a massage chair pad or this hands-free foot massage machine.

8. Make a Donation to the Parkinson’s Foundation

Donating to the Parkinson’s Foundation in their name can be combined with any of the gifts above but is a meaningful gift all on its own. It only takes about 5 minutes and your money goes towards critical Parkinson’s research for new treatments and improved care for those living with the condition. Click here to go to the Tribute Donation page of their website.

At Catholic Care Center, we provide not-for-profit retirement living and healthcare to seniors and retired individuals where they could learn, live, grow, and receive the care they need regardless of religious affiliation or condition because we are truly all of God’s children.

Our goal is to help you find the best option for the senior in your life. Reach out to us by calling (316) 771-6550 or click below to learn more about us and our mission.