Joyful Memories: How Music Enhances the Lives of Dementia and Alzheimer’s Patients
It’s a Monday afternoon in a Memory Care Facility in Birmingham, AL. A room full of people in their Golden Years suffering from varying levels of Dementia gathers in a circle for a daily activity. Unbeknownst to them, I am providing their activity and this is the first time I have “performed” for a group of seniors. As I look around the room, I see confusion in some of their eyes. Others are completely dejected and some are sleeping. Of course I’m familiar with this scene but I have yet to see what my untrained voice and a familiar tune can do for these people. I handed a single jingle bell to everyone in the room as it was Christmas time (Insert more confusion). As the music began to play and I began to sing classic Christmas songs, the room realized that I had not only given them a jingle bell but I had given them an instrument. The rest of the afternoon was filled with laughter, singing, jingle bells jingling, and a room of Dementia patients coming alive and remembering every word of every song that we shared that day. From that point forward music has been a central part of my interaction with Dementia and Alzheimer’s patients.
Why use Therapeutic Music? Music helps turn on the brain, build neurons and strengthens neural pathways. Musical memory lights up the brain and improves memory function. It is a form of sensory stimulation, which provokes responses due to the familiarity, predictability, and feelings of security associated with it. It can also provide a vital lifeline to human interaction for those whose special needs make other means of communication difficult. Music is central to our lives, embedded in our culture defining, transforming and inspiring us. Words may desert us, but music is always present – like a heartbeat, linking us to our world and providing a pathway back home.
ComForCare Expands Into New Office in Mountain Brook
March 15, 2017
Under new ownership, ComForCare Home Care has expanded its footprint over the last 6 months. With a growing staff and a need for more space, the business has moved its headquarters to the Welch Group Wealth Management Building at 3940 Montclair Road in Mountain Brook, AL. Official business began at the new location on 3/1/17 with a Grand Opening of 4/1/17. While already operating in most of Jefferson and Shelby counties, the ComForCare team looks forward to working more closely with local families and businesses in Mountain Brook and surrounding areas. ComForCare Home Care primarily provides care for the elderly, but plans to expand its offerings to Respite Care for disabled children and their families as well as consulting and care for new mothers and babies. If you or a family member are in need of a helping hand or are battling a condition that you can’t handle on your own, call ComForCare Birmingham at 205-730-7190.
Local Business Sponsors Radio Show Highlighting Joys and Challenges of Growing Older
March 1, 2017
Ryan Robnett, Owner of ComForCare Home Care, has taken on a new role in addition to his duties in caring for elderly and disabled individuals in the Birmingham Metro area. Robnett is now the host of a new radio show called "Golden Years in Alabama," a talk show discussing local healthcare topics and services. ComForCare Home Care is the premier provider of Home Care in the Birmingham Area and is the main sponsor of the new healthcare talk show. The show takes on the ComForCare motto, “Live Your Best Life Possible,” and offers the community a wealth of knowledge and resources that are vital to caring for our aging and disabled population. Robnett’s show has already featured many esteemed health professionals and the listenership and demand for advertising grow each week. If you’d like to join the "Golden Years in Alabama" discussion or are interested in advertising on the show, call 205-522-1559. Follow the show on Facebook for station and show times. For information regarding ComForCare, call 205-730-7190 or email BhamCare@ComForCare.com.
Young Couple Excited About New Venture: ‘Understand Your Own Vision For Success’
October 24, 2016
Ryan Robnett is only 31 years old, but his words ring with a wisdom beyond his years when he talks about his newest business venture that he launched in September, along with his wife, Shae.
In September, the Robnetts purchased an existing ComForCare Home Care franchise. The premier provider of private-duty, non-medical home care, ComForCare caregivers provide professional personal care and companionship services for individuals in their homes, independent living facilities, nursing homes, hospitals and more.
After working in sales management, Ryan joined a pharmaceutical company in 2012, working in marketing. With the company experiencing strong growth, Ryan became a partner in 2013 and this past April the company was sold. With Shae being a nurse, the Gardendale residents began looking for a business such as ComForCare that would allow them to be more hands-on in the community.
“I saw the opportunity to take a small business that had been operated with a very caring, personal touch and expand the footprint and the number of lives we are able to influence daily,” Ryan said. “It’s exciting to start with a small staff, focus on quality of service, expert training, education and accreditation and use that foundation and expertise to be a valued partner in the lives of clients and their loved ones.”
From its Birmingham office, ComForCare serves the surrounding areas and north Shelby County, providing assistance with ADLs (activities of daily living) such as light housekeeping, meal preparation, dressing, bathroom assistance and other services. Care is provided on an hourly, daily, weekly or live-in basis and every ComForCare caregiver is meticulously screened through a rigorous hiring process and is bonded and insured.
Services are provided primarily to seniors, but individuals with chronic medical conditions or disabilities, accident victims or those recovering from a recent illness or surgery can also benefit.
“It’s important that we build quality, long-lasting relationships, especially since we offer a service that is as personal as caring for someone in their home,” Ryan said. “Our goal is to form relationships with healthcare providers and local communities in an effort to expand the territory we serve to most of Central Alabama by 2020.”
Robnett said he developed his work ethic as a 16-year-old in his first job working as a “weed eater” at a sprawling golf course within a dense forest. “With a work day starting at 5 a.m., rain or shine, it wasn’t my favorite,” Ryan said. “But I never missed a day of work and it set the tone for the work ethic that I carry with me today.”
Ryan and Shae have known each other since they grew up in a small town, later going to college together and marrying shortly after graduating. Ryan said he and Shae enjoy working together, combining her nursing background with his business education and experience.
“Everyone has a different vision for what success looks like,” Ryan said. “For some, success is measured financially. For others, success is measured by how much time can be spent with family while making a living. I think it’s important to create your own vision for success, develop a plan to reach your goal, then go out and offer a product or service that you can be proud of. Success will follow.”
Signs a Loved One Needs Help at Home
December 16, 2015
If you’re nervous about talking to your loved one about long-term care, don’t worry – you’re not alone. The growing need for assistance has resulted in an intense strain on the “Sandwich Generation,” a label placed on the millions of Americans who juggle their aging parents’ and children’s competing needs. An estimated 16 million Americans – more people than live in all of New England – find themselves ‘sandwiched’ between two generations, struggling to raise their kids while caring for an aging loved one. And this is a figure that will only increase in the coming years.
But how do you know if your loved one truly needs helps? There are several signs to look for. First, pay attention to the condition of his or her home. Is it more messy and cluttered than usual? Are kitchen supplies being put away in the right places? Are bills being paid on time?
Next, look at the condition of the person. For instance, take notice to his or her hygiene and clothing. Is he or she taking showers, brushing teeth and changing clothes on a daily basis? More importantly, do his or her clothes make sense? Check to see if your elder is wearing weather-appropriate clothing items. Weight loss is also a sign that they may need additional care.
And lastly, confusion and forgetfulness are both important factors to consider. Is he or she missing doctor’s appointments, forgetting to take medications, missing church when they have been regular church-goers their whole lives? Is he or she confused when you talk to them about topics that they’d normally understand? If the answers to these questions are yes, then you will have to speak to him or her about long-term care.
Before approaching your loved one and communicating with them about the topic, inform the elder of your desire to have the discussion. Remember it is not an intervention, and you don’t want anyone to be on the defensive right away. Let he/she know you love them and would like to talk about the future.
Be sure to do research before the talk and set an agenda of what you will say. Prioritize the topics that you feel are most important to be discussed. In doing research, be sure to consider all options. Remember, if your elder is apprehensive about living in an assisted living or nursing home, there are other alternatives. With the help of home care assistants, people can remain in their home indefinitely. By providing assistance with activities of daily living such as light housekeeping, meal preparation, dressing, bathroom assistance and other services, home care is an effective solution for the elderly who prefer to remain at home where their quality of life is enhanced without the stress and hardship of interrupted routines and daily habits. Care is provided on an hourly, daily, weekly or live-in basis.
Regardless of the option you choose, be sure to consider your relative’s independence and what brings him /her joy. And when you’re expressing your concerns, don’t mandate anything. Instead, listen to your elder and consider your relative’s priorities. Understand that it’s not always going to be smooth. If the conversation gets heated, try again on another day.
For more information, contact us at 205-730-7190.