October 28, 2008

How You Can Use Adult Daycare for Alzheimer’s Patients (2)

How does one go about finding an adult daycare? The easiest way to find one that’s near you is to look at your local agency on aging. Most have a full database, and some of the better ones even include which daycares deal with which stages of Alzheimer’s. Yet, you have to make sure that you actually visit the daycare before sending off the person, just to ensure that the facility is up to your standards, and are capable of dealing with the person with Alzheimer’s.

A different big question on everyone’s mind is that of cost. Just how much does it cost to put an adult in daycare? The prices range from $1800 to $4500 a month, or $60 to $150 a day. Those are just general ranges though, and the actual price can vary dramatically depending on where the daycare is located, and the amount of services it offers. Generally speaking, the medical daycares will be closer to the $4500 a month mark, where as the socializing daycares will be much lower. The less care required, the less you’re going to have to pay.

A lot of people wonder whether they can use health care or insurance to pay for adult daycare. Typically, the answer varies. As a rule social daycares aren’t eligible for healthcare, although some private insurance plans may cover the cost. You have to check with each individual daycare to discover, as the answer will vary from place to place. Medical daycare on the other hand, most of which are in someway connected to a nursing home or healthcare provider, are sometimes covered my health care. You have to check your health care plan, and see if it’s provided. The general consensus, unfortunately, is that healthcare does not cover even medical daycares.

In general, are adult daycares a good option? While they’re not perfect, they do provide a great atmosphere that the adult may not otherwise receive, and it can take the heavy weight off of whoever is taking care of the person during the rest of the day. Adult daycares provide an option that people never used to have, so why not take advantage?

October 23, 2008

How You Can Use Adult Daycare for Alzheimer’s Patients (1)

Alzheimer’s disease is one of the more hard diseases for families to care for. That is why more and more people are trying what’s known as “adult daycare” for Alzheimer’s patients. Mainly people start by wondering if it’s a good idea, particularly with people being in the condition that Alzheimer’s victims are in. Well, during the past few years, more and more daycares have cropped up, and some even specialize in Alzheimer’s patients.

There are two special types of adult daycares. The first type is a social daycare. The second type is a medical daycare. There are not many things in common with both types. To start with, both places provide anywhere for an Alzheimer’s victim to go during the day, which allows them to socialize – something that is very important to Alzheimer’s victims. It also allows the Alzheimer’s patient to stay productive, and makes sure they still enjoy life. The majority daycares offer one or two meals a day, depending on the timing. Several of the higher priced centers have transportation from door to door, but you’ll have to ask to find out if this is included in the cost or not.

There is one obvious difference between the two types of daycares though. That difference would be that social daycare is specifically designed for adults to go to during the day, socialize, and be active with the people around them. On the contrary, the medical daycare usually provides the same purpose, however, the people in the daycare may be nurses, doctors, and other medical professionals. In general, although the medical daycares are preferred over the social daycares, they also cost more due to the amount of medical professionals on the premises.

When choosing a daycare, be sure to note that not every daycare has the ability to care for people with Alzheimer’s. Some daycares are completely unequipped to deal with it, while others will only deal with certain stages of it. Even rarer are those that specialize in Alzheimer’s, and therefore are willing to care for the patient throughout the whole stage of the disease. Since everyone afflicted with Alzheimer’s has different symptoms and different stages, you must look really hard to make sure that the daycare is capable of dealing with Alzheimer’s patients.

October 17, 2008

Alzheimer's Is a Sort of Diabetes?

Is Alzheimer's disease simply a kind of diabetes? New research is begining to support that idea.

As this video reports, it could have implications for treating Alzheimer's.

October 15, 2008

What to Take Care Of Before You Really Suffer From Alzheimer’s

After the primary diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, there are several legal issues that should be taken care of as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the more complicated the decisions will be, as the victims of Alzheimer’s may soon lose the capacity to even take part in the decisions that will affect their life dramatically.

The first thing you should do after the diagnosis, is get a group of people together to begin planning for all the potential legal issues that could come up. Start by looking around the family for people suitable to come in and help with those decisions. Preferably, this group of people shouldn’t be too large, or there may be too much conflict to be helpful. To start with, the person afflicted with Alzheimer’s should be present, as well as their significant other. The main caregivers and those closest should also be present. Any person who is either a distant relative, or isn’t directly involved with the victim’s life should probably be kept on the outside of this meeting.

At the beginning, start talking about advance directives. Advance directives are essentially documents that will speak for you, if you are unable to speak at anytime. These documents generally specify which type of healthcare you would prefer, and who you would want to make decisions for you. Using advance directives, you can designate someone to make decisions regarding the type of healthcare you want for you. This can be an incredible amount of pressure onto whoever is chosen, so choose carefully.

The first type of advance directive that should be discussed is the “Power of Attorney”. Basically what the power of attorney does is it gives one person the power to act on the behalf of another. These can be either general, or very particular. For example, you could decide that one person should have whole control. In that case, that person would make all decisions regarding the victim’s future. This is done in the event that the victim was unable to speak for him or herself. On the other hand, the power of attorney can be as specific as managing the sales of the victim’s home, or just deal with the healthcare of the person. Many arguments may come up over who should do what, but its best if everyone works together to decide on a small group of people, rather than everyone being included.

Apparently, a will, a living will, and a living trust should be created. The first document that you’ll deal with, a living will, essentially discusses what should be done regarding to life support. Do you keep the person on life support, or do you pull the plug, to break it down to layman’s terms. Next, a living trust determines who will manage the victim’s assets when they are unable to manage them themselves. This includes both money and any property they may have. At last, a will, the most common, determines how assets will be distributed upon death.

After you’ve decided everything as clear as you can, it is time to find a lawyer who can finalize everything. It may not be cheap, but it will avoid any major family struggles in the long run. Look particularly for a lawyer who specializes in elder care. Most states have a directory specifically for them. After you’ve found your lawyer, send two people from the aforementioned meeting to go and meet with them. Ensure to bring copies of whatever agreement it was that was arranged, so that the lawyer can review them and draw them up into a contract.

Dealing with Alzheimer’s can be really difficult. That’s why it is in your best interest to deal with any legal possibilities as soon as possible, while the afflicted one can still communicate what they would prefer to happen. Always make sure that you listen to them, and follow their wishes as well as you possibly can. Many family members may fight over what is wrong and what is right, but if the person who has Alzheimer’s is there, he or she can be the voice of reason. Nevertheless, you are there to help them do what is best for them – according to their beliefs. Make sure you do that.

October 07, 2008

How to Talk About Alzheimer’s Disease with your Young Children

When a loved member of the family gets a crippling disease, it can be nearly impossible to discuss it with a young child. There will be many differing emotions and questions that develop in the ignorant mind. Unfortunately, children very rarely come right out and say what it is they’re feeling, be it because they don’t know what it is they’re feeling, or because they simply don’t want to talk about it. Either way, it makes the job of the parent a lot more difficult. There are a several ways to help the child cope, and there are also a few activities to try, to keep the child in touch with the family member.

Before discussing a degenerative disease like Alzheimer’s, you must plan in advance for what the child could feel. You need to be prepared for every possible way the child could take the news, so you’re ready no matter what happens. The first and most common emotion when a child learns of the disease is that of sadness. The child is sad and uncomfortable with what is happening to the relative. This is followed directly by confusion and fear. Children don’t have a very good grasp on what Alzheimer’s is, and even with the best of explanations they’re still going to be confused about why Grandma has begun to behave differently than usual. After they’ve figured out what exactly Alzheimer’s is, many children will be hesitant to spend time with Grandma, believing they might catch the disease, or that their parents will. You must put that fear to rest immediately, so that the children know they have nothing to fear.

On the other side of the emotional scale, some children may begin to develop somewhat darker emotions. These include anger, frustration, guilt and jealousy. The reasons for those are varied. Some will be angry because they have to repeat questions, or will have trouble doing activities with the relative. After that, they’ll feel guilty for being angry, believing that they should know better. Later on, they may even become jealous or resentful of the Alzheimer’s victim, mostly because of the increased time that the rest of the family seems to spend worrying about them.

To talk about Alzheimer’s with a child, you have to keep everything simple, while at the same time preparing them for what’s to come. Make sure you fully understand it, so that you know how to answer questions when they inevitably pop up. Tell them that Grandma is still the same person she always was, but that she won’t remember things that well and sometimes she won’t know what she’s doing. Make sure you mention that the disease is not contagious.

After the initial talk, be prepared to help the child cope with the fact that Grandma has Alzheimer’s. You always need to be around to offer support, and give them a shoulder to cry on if they need it. Be sure to reassure them that any feelings they have are normal, and are nothing to be afraid of. Tell them that if they have any questions they can ask you, and be sure to answer them honestly. There’s no sense in telling the child to ask questions if you’re just going to lie, even if it’s about the grimmer parts of the disease. “Sugar coat” if you must, but do not lie.

Finally, there are several activities that a child can do with the individual who has Alzheimer’s, preferably with the whole family. Simple things, like taking a walk together as a family, will do wonders for a child who is still unsure of what is happening. Make sure you involve Grandma in the child’s life, so they aren’t left in the dark about what’s going on. Other things, such as singing and dancing are also enjoyable for both parties. Some people have found success by simple things like making a family tree, or watching a movie.

Remember that when you’re talking about a younger person about a disease such as Alzheimer’s, to keep things simple enough for them to understand, and answer any questions they have. There is nothing worse for a child than for them to be both scared and confused. Keep that in mind, keep your arms open to them and you’ll help them through.

October 01, 2008

How to Evaluate Eating Time For Alzheimer’s Patient

Eating time for Alzheimer’s patients should be a very simple, step-by-step activity, one that is routine and enjoyable. Still, some problems can arise. Many patients have difficulty eating, whether because of a sudden loss of appetite or from having difficulty evaluating food. A patient might also overlook that he or she has eaten and ask to eat again. By evaluating eating time, and taking some important reminders into concern, caretakers can make eating time easier and more pleasant.

1. Is your patient in good health? Mouth sores, poor-fitting dentures, gum disease or dry mouth will certainly make eating a hard task. Intestinal or cardiac problems, diabetes, constipation and depression are also serious conditions that could contribute to a loss of appetite. Regular visits to the doctor or physician might be a good idea to make sure the patient is healthy and enjoying his eating time.

2. A patient should enjoy his eating time. Eating is a pleasure and an enjoyable activity. If a patient is showing signs of distraction or confrontation then try and find the cause. Remove any distractions in the room and ask the patient if he or she is comfortable. Distractions can even be very small, such as loud tablecloths or colorful patterns on plates.

3. Make routines. Meals be served consistently and at scheduled times. It might help to use visual aids as a reminder for mealtime. A clock with large numbers or a chalkboard listing the scheduled times would be helpful in getting the patient to assist.

4. Create a comfortable and safe environment. Remove any odors or excessive noise that might interfere with a good meal and proper digestion. Even sudden movements can be a distraction. A safe and steady environment is necessary to creating a healthy mealtime.

5. Be careful in evaluating food quality. Remember that you are dealing with a person who has become accustomed to certain tastes and preferences when it comes to eating time. As much as possible try and keep the patient’s likes and dislikes in mind when preparing a meal. Make sure the food is appealing in smell, appearance and moderate temperature.

6. Use a warm, easier style when giving instructions. Make sure the instructions are clearly stated. To-the-point commands like “Pick up your fork. Put some food on it. Now raise it to your mouth,” work fine and can even be repeated if necessary.

7. Tolerance is needed. Be careful not to criticize the person’s eating habits or rush him to finish his meal. The patient should look forward to eating time and see it as a pleasant activity free from stress.

8. Stay away from foods that would cause indigestion or difficulty in swallowing. A protection against this would be cutting or grinding some foods into bite sized pieces. Some food like popcorn, nuts or raw carrots may get lodged into a person’s throat and are best avoided. With some types of food it might be a good idea to explain to the patient that he should chew slowly and swallow carefully.

9. An Alzheimer’s patient may forget that he or she has eaten or have no concept of how much is too much. It is best for the caretaker to serve healthy portions and restrict further portions when appropriate. If a patient continues to ask for additional meals after eating time, it might be a good idea to start separating breakfast, lunch and dinner respectively, into several smaller courses. In fact, planning for several small meals in the day is a healthier choice than serving three large meals.

10. Set a good after meal routine. After eating time is over, check to see if the patient has swallowed the food completely and that nothing remains in his mouth. Help the patient to perform good oral hygiene, including regular visits to the dentist. If may be easier to use oral swabs than a toothbrush, just whatever works. Good hygiene is not only healthy but also good for a patient’s self-esteem.

Learning more about Alzheimer’s disease care and treatment makes planning eating time that much easier. By taking into account these small but important reminders in evaluating eating time, a caregiver can take better care of a patient and see more positive results in behavior.