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January 2010

From Medicare to Insurance Scams: Some Tips for Help

Dear Readers: This is housekeeping day. Along with questions, I get a lot of tips from readers. Also, there are resources that need updating or repeating. I can’t run them all, but here are a few. Please feel free to send me your favorites. I’ll try to pass them on. 


Mayo Clinic Alzheimer’s newsletter: You can find this by going to www.mayoclinic.com and clicking on the letter “A”

Read more tips on for newsletters and support in inforum.com:

Find agencies to help you in your loved one's area:

Jump start discussion in support groups: with real stories - for bulk orders e-mail Carol:

Sleep Apnea, My Road to Dementia

Leah, my colleague, has vascular dementia. Here is a fascinating post she wrote for OurAlzheimers.

"While researching something other than dementia, I had an "ah-ha" moment; in a flash everything from the last ten years of my life came together and I realized, for the first time, what probably has been the root of my major health problems, especially my dementia-SLEEP APNEA. 

"At least ten years ago, I fell asleep at the wheel of my car. I was less than two miles from home. At twelve thirty in the afternoon, I was returning from Vacation Bible School where I had spent an active morning teaching. In the back seat, I had precious cargo, my only grandchild and a young niece. I can remember singing children's hymns with them as we made our way home. And then it happened. Suddenly, an impenetrable sleepiness hit me."

Read more of Leah's story on OurAlzheimer's.com:

Find care agencies near your home:

Jump start discussion in support groups: with real stories - for bulk orders e-mail Carol:

10 Ways Alzheimer's Affects Legal Issues

Fellow blogger  on OurAlzheimer's, Christine Kennard, wrote an excellent post on Alzheimer's and legal documents. I want to pass it on to you here:

"How do caregivers take over the administration of estates and care for people who seem unable to look after themselves and their financial affairs? In this Sharepost I look at how Alzheimer's can affect judgement, their capacity to make decisions and their competency. It is important that caregivers help to protect the legal and human rights of someone with a progressive form of dementia like Alzheimer's at the same time as implementing any healthcare plan they may need.

1. There are two words that will be used and which are important to know about; they are capacity and competency."

Read more about Alzheimer's and legal documents on OurAlzheimers.com:

Find care agencies to help your loved one:

Jump start discussion in support groups: with real stories - for bulk orders e-mail Carol:

An Educated Caregiver Is a Better Caregiver

Caregiving can be tough work. Caring for a person with Alzheimer's or a similar dementia, particularly in the later stages, can be particularly tough work. I often write about caregivers taking a break and about realizing that we, as caregivers, will never be perfect. The flip side of that, however, is that caregiver's behavior can bring out the worst in a care receiver. Therefore, not only is it good for the caregiver to get breaks in order to be a better caregiver, it's important for a caregiver

Read more about caregiver education on healthcentral.com/alzhiemers:

Find care agencies to help with your loved one:

Jump start discussion in support groups: with real stories - for bulk orders e-mail Carol:

Whole Family Must Be Considered When Alzheimer’s Moves In

Dear Carol: My wife has stage five Alzheimer’s and we have a teenage daughter. I’ve been able to keep my wife at home so far, but it’s becoming difficult, and my daughter gets almost no time from me. How do I get over the guilt of putting my wife in a nursing home? Sometimes I just want to give up and die. Curt 

Dear Curt: First, for your sake and that of your loved ones, you need to see a doctor. You may have depression, and you could need some therapy. Hire an in-home care agency for your wife so you can leave long enough to get medical care for yourself. You are in a rather unusual situation. These choices between children and


Read more about choices between person with Alzheimer's and children on inforum:


Find care agencies to help with your loved one:


Jump start discussion in support groups with real stories - for bulk orders e-mail Carol:



Top Ten in 2010: Resolutions for Caregivers and Care Receivers

Not everyone reading this post is a caregiver. Some of you have Alzheimer's, some of you have vascular dementia and some of you have other illnesses leading to dementia. If you are a caregiver, you aren't necessarily all the same type of caregiver.  Some of you have a loved one at home and others have a loved one in a care facility. Some of you care for one person, some of your care for several.  Yhere are even more differences than those above. Some readers are adult children

Read more on caregiver and care receiver resolutions on HealthCentral.com/Alzheimers:

Find care agencies to help with your loved ones:

Caregiver stories from the trenches:

2010 Begins with New Hope For Woman With Dementia

Leah, my friend and colleague, has vascular dementia. I often share her remarkable posts with you. Here is one she wrote on look toward the New Year.

"This blog is about hope. With my old year ending with the loss of my father, it would be very easy to sit back and pine for the "good ol' days" when I had all my family and did NOT have dementia. Easy, but not at all practical. I can truthfully tell you that I have been doing a lot of soul searching since Dad passed away, and I have learned some very basic truths about myself. The most important realization was that, for years, I have just been waiting for death. Yes, you read that correctly"

Read more on HealthCentral.com/Alzheimer's:

Find care agencies in your area:

Buy Minding Our Elders in bulk for caregiving support:


Read Care Agency Contracts Carefully Before You Sign

Dear Carol: My mother went into assisted living. I like the facility, she is making friends and eating well, but she needs help with medication. Her inability to keep her medication schedule straight was part of the reason that I liked her going into assisted living. Now, I find I have to pay an extra fee to have an agency come in and set up the medications.  What gives? Florence

Dear Florence: The services provided by assisted living centers can vary a great deal. They aren’t as regulated as nursing homes. Some are small family ventures and others are large retirement type villages. The problem is, many people expect more medical care than most centers offer. People need to talk to administrators and then read the contract carefully. Most assisted living centers don’t offer


Read more about contracts and care agencies on inforum.com:


Find care agencies to help with your loved one:


Read stories from caregivers:

Eye, Ear, Teeth Check-ups Are Difficult When Elders Have Dementia

Imagine yourself with dementia or Alzheimer's, beginning to get confused and disoriented in a world that no longer makes much sense. Your daughter – you do still recognize her as your daughter – takes you to an appointment to get an exam, because your glasses seem to only make the world more confusing. You are helped into a chair and the doctor covers one of your eyes and asks what letters you see. What is a letter, you think, and why is he covering my face? You start to squirm and then push him away. This happens, my friends. When I took my dad to the eye doctor because he still liked to try to read but his glasses were wrong for him, he responded in such a way. He happened to be having one of his worst days and thought the doctor was trying to kill him.

Read more on agingcare.com:

Find care agencies in your area:

Read read caregivers' stories:

Should Your Elderly Parent Risk an Anesthetic Disaster or Forego Surgery?

Just last week a reader asked me whether she should try to sway her mother, who had colon cancer, toward surgery. Her mother, 87, was diagnosed with colon cancer and given the choice of surgery and chemotherapy or letting it alone. If she chose not to have surgery, she could still have chemotherapy and radiation, though she was told that treatment wasn’t apt to help a great deal. As expected, the daughter was distraught. She was seeking help in determining what her responsibility to her mother is. The woman mentioned that her mother was mentally sharp,

Read more on agingcare.com:

Find care agencies to help you care:

Read real caregiver stories: