Nursing Homes Questions Questions
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- Two places: directly from the medical provider or from this website.
- As hard as it is, try not to take harsh comments personally. Try these more constructive approaches:
- Be simple and direct, but not overly technical. Alzheimer's is a big word that may not mean much to kids of any age, and "disease" can sound like something catching (which it isn't). So simplify: "Grandma has a memory problem." Or, "Grandma has a disease that is sort of like if you had a tape recorder in your head, but the tape recorder is turned off...
- Above all, don't be frightened. Don't tell the person who is seeing or hearing things that you know what he sees isn't real, because the things are real to him. The most common hallucinations involve sight or hearing, but people with Alzheimer's may also smell, taste, or feel things that are not really there...
- Life expectancy for those with Alzheimer's can vary greatly from person to person. One reason is that the length of each stage (early/middle/late) differs widely by individual. Other factors include one's other health conditions and age at diagnosis.
- When a person with Alzheimer's disease reaches the final stage, he usually displays the following physical and cognitive signs:
- You can't force someone to make this big change unless you have guardianship or other legal authority to do so. But here are some ways you can encourage someone with dementia to move to assisted living:
- Some memory loss is normal for everyone from their 20s on. But serious memory problems are not an inevitable part of aging. Memory loss is problematic when it begins to affect daily life.
- The best way to get your parent to try a support group is to figure out what kind of appeal will carry the most weight. You're certainly right to try, because support groups have many benefits for spousal caregivers.
- Most people with dementia retain the essence of their pre-disease personality. In fact their personality seems to be exaggerated - a sweet young person appears to be even more gentle with Alzheimer's and 'the boss' becomes more controlling...
- You're right not to leave it up to the person. Even in cases of mild or early dementia, it's common to have poor prospective memory -- that is, memory for events in the future -- like taking medication or keeping appointments. It's also hard to form new habits, whereas longtime pill-taking routines may be easier to remember and maintain...
- Not necessarily. Having a parent, especially a mother, with Alzheimer's is a known risk factor. But this doesn't mean that you will automatically get the disease. The cause of Alzheimer's isn't known and the role of heredity is unclear.
- There's no single "best" way or timetable for sharing this information. Ideally, in the early stage, the person with the disease should direct how and when to tell others. Some people feel embarrassed or ashamed and don't want anyone to know...
- Yes, the person has the right to know this information, no matter what stage of disease she's in. How she responds and how well she remembers depends on the person and the circumstances.
- Yes, it's possible for someone with dementia to travel safely. Let common sense be your guide, along with some simple travel strategies.
- Your primary concern is keeping the person safe. More than 6 in 10 people with Alzheimer's wander (pace the floors or walk away from where they live), and every year tragedies result.
- As an older adult's driving capabilities diminish, many adult children worry not only about the parent's safety but also about their own liability for damages from an accident the parent causes. In general, adult children are not legally responsible for damages resulting from an accident caused by a parent...
- Many people are concerned that if their parents are unable to pay their debts, they -- the adult children -- will be responsible for them. In general, though, children are not legally responsible for their parents' debts. However, there are certain circumstances in which this simple rule gets more complicated...
- If a woman's spouse needs long-term nursing home care, he may be eligible for Medicaid coverage of that care even though she keeps the family home and a substantial amount of other assets, as well as some regular income.
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