Page 1
Page 2
Page 3
Page 4
Page 5
Page 6
Page 7
Page 8
Page 9
Page 10
Page 11
Page 12
Page 13
Page 14
Page 15
Page 16
Page 17
Page 18
Page 19
Page 20
Page 21
Page 22
Page 23
Page 24
Page 25
Page 26
Page 27
Page 28
Page 29
Page 30
Page 31
Page 32
Page 33
Page 34
Page 35
Page 36
Page 37
Page 38
Page 39
Page 40
Page 41
Page 42
Page 43
Page 44
Page 45
Page 46
Page 47
Page 48
Page 49
Page 50
Page 51
Page 52
Page 53
Page 54
Page 55
Page 56
Page 57
Page 58
Page 59
Page 60
Page 61
Page 62
Page 63
Page 64
Page 65
Page 66
Page 67
Page 68
Page 69
Page 70
Page 71
Page 72
Page 73
Page 74
Page 75
Page 76 NOVEMBER DECEMBER 2015 65 Balancing a life that involves caring for a parent with Alzhei- mers and dementia symptoms along with supporting and caring for your own children can be a stressful undertaking. Andrew a University Park dad of three girls recognized when his father was in his early seventies that something was going on with his fa- ther that he could no longer attribute to just getting older or the normal aging process. His father lived alone 100 miles from An- drews house and would visit often driving himself up and back. When his father began failing to show up at the appointed time or forgetting his plan to visit Andrew became concerned. When his father reported to the local police that his car had been stolen and an investigation determined that it was not stolen but he had simply forgotten where he parked it Andrew knew it was no longer safe for his father to live alone. Being very inde- pendent his father resisted moving in with Andrews family so he moved into an assisted living facility near Andrews home and eventually into its Alzheimers and Memory Care unit where he passed away a few years later. Andrew says he remembers thinking ironically He was raising me not too long ago and now he needs my support. As the disease pro- gressed the support he needed was sim- ilar to what one of our younger children required. Bobbie a Plano mom of two teens had similar issues when her mother who lived across the country began show- ing signs of dementia. For several years Bobbie and her five siblings would take turns traveling to visit their mother and report back to each other on her condi- tion. When it became apparent that hav- ing home caretakers around the clock was no longer working her mother was moved into a skilled nursing facility that provided residential care. Bobbie says When you are dealing with these is- sues long distance you rely on impressions from the people who have been around your loved one most recently. In our case one sibling would report that nothing was wrong another that she needed immediate medical attention another that she needed her medications checked and yet another that she was halluci- nating. Bobbie says when you dont have regular day in and day out contact with someone suffering from dementia the issues can get murky. People have different perceptions and differing ways of expressing those perceptions and to complicate things further the inconsistent demeanors and actions of a dementia patient are often a symptom of the disease itself. Bobbie says Even after her death it is difficult to separate her behaviors that were fueled by the disease from the behaviors that were truly her. As our parents age it is important to educate ourselves on the symptoms and signs of Alzheimers and demen- tia as well as what to do next should a diagnosis be determined. Alzheimers can be diagnosed through a complete medical assessment that includes a thorough medical history mental status testing a physical and neuro- logical exam and other tests such as blood tests and brain imaging to rule out other causes of dementia-like symptoms. While certain behaviors or actions should raise a red flag for you re- member that there are typical age-re- lated changes such as making a bad decision once in a while missing a monthly bill payment forgetting which day it is and remembering lat- er sometimes forgetting which words to use and losing things from time to time. The best course of action is to go with your gut instinct. If you feel like something is not right then its probably a good idea to have your parent checked out by their physician and get his or her recommendation on how to proceed. Caring for an elderly parent with Alzheimers dementia or any other debilitating condition or disease can be a daunting task and most likely one you cannot undertake without professional help. Andrews advice is Be very patient with your ailing parents. It is an extremely frustrating situation for them. Your number one job is to make decisions that will keep them safe and comfortable. goodTO KNOW So what behaviors or actions should concern you if you witnesstheminaparent 10 EARLY WARNING SIGNS OF ALZHEIMERS 1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life 2. Challenges in planning or solving problems 3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home at work or at leisure 4. Confusion with time or place 5.Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships 6. Struggling with words in speaking or writing 7. Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps 8. Decreased or poor judgment 9.Withdrawal from work or social activities 10. Changes in mood and personality IMPORTANCE OF EARLY DIAGNOSIS An early diagnosis allows people with dementia and their families a better chance of benefiting from treatment more time to plan for the future to experience lessened anxieties about unknown problems increased chances of participating in clinical drug trials and helping advance research an opportunity to participate in decisions about care transportation living options financial and legal matters time to develop a relationship with doctors and care partners to benefit from care and support services making it easier for them and their family to manage the disease