Mary Alexander: Hi! I'm Mary Alexander from Home Instead Senior Care. And today, I'm talking about common concerns, held by caregivers who have loved ones suffering with Alzheimer's disease or other dementia.
Among the biggest concerns are the costs associated with caring for someone with Alzheimer's disease. No doubt, the costs are high, but Alzheimer's care expert David Troxel recommends several steps.
First, make sure that your family member's legal and financial affairs are up-to-date. Second, look for sources of help or untapped benefits, such as an existing long-term care insurance or veterans benefit. You can also log on to benefitscheckup.
org which can help with resources related to everything from medications, healthcare, food and utilities.
Third, call your local Alzheimer's Association Chapter to see what other programs are available to help such as friendly visiting programs and home delivered meals.
Fourth, research community based and home services that are usually less expensive than residential care. Beyond the financial cost of Alzheimer's disease is the physical toll it takes on the person. Caregivers often ask how they can best support a loved one who is in late stage Alzheimer's. These individuals may be fully incontinent, need help with eating, have difficulty walking and are no longer able to communicate.
David Troxel first recommends always approaching persons with late stage dementia with dignity. Never talk about them in their presence as though they aren't there, and encourage caregivers to keep them neatly dressed and clean.
Second, engage their senses by providing a reassuring touch, listening to music, going outside for fresh air or having a visit from a cat or dog. Third, manage their pain. If your senior loved one cries out, grimaces when touched or shows other sign of pain, talk to his or her medical provider about appropriate medications.
Fourth, take advantage of hospice care. They can include assistance with nursing and medication. Help with bathing, respite care and spiritual support for your senior loved one and the whole family. Lastly, remember to take care of yourself. Join a support group and take time to exercise, eat well and spend time with your family and friends.
Certainly caring for a senior loved one with Alzheimer's or other dementia is challenging. If you need more help or information, visit the Alzheimer's Association at alz.
org or helpforalzheimersfamilies.