CREATIVE BEHAVIORAL TECHNIQUES Once my parents’ brain chemistries were better balanced, I was finally able to optimize nutrition, fluids, medication, treatments, exercise and socialization with much less resistance. I was also able to implement creative techniques to cope with the intermittent bizarre behaviors. Instead of logic and reason—I used distraction and redirection to topics they were interested in. I also learned to use reminiscence and talk about the old days, capitalizing on their long-term memories which were still quite good. Instead of arguing the facts—I simply agreed, validated frustrated feelings, and lived in their realities of the moment. I finally learned to just go-with-the-flow and let any hurtful comments roll off.
And if none of that worked, a bribe of vanilla ice cream worked the best to cajole my father into the shower, even as he swore a blue streak at me that he’d just taken one yesterday (actually over a week ago). I was finally able to get my father to accept a live-in caregiver (he’d only alienated 40 that year—most only there for about ten minutes), and then with the benefit of Adult Day Care five days a week for my parents and a support group for me, everything finally started to fall into place.
IF WE ONLY HAD LONG TERM CARE INSURANCE
Before long my parents’ life savings was gone and we were well into mine.
Before long my parents’ life savings was gone and we were well into mine. I was advised to apply for Medicaid for them and after months of evaluation they were approved for financial help from the government. I was so relieved, until I learned it would only pay to put my parents in a nursing home, not keep them at home with 24/7 care. And, since my mother needed more skilled care than my father, they’d be separated—something they would never consent to nor did I want to do after all this work to keep them together.
I just could not believe it—I finally had everything figured out medically, behaviorally, socially, legally, emotionally, caregivers in place, the house elder-proofed, and all I needed was some financial help to keep them at home. If I’d only made sure my parents bought Long Term Care Insurance (or I bought it for them) years ago while they were healthy and before a diagnosis of dementia, it would have covered the cost of their care at home. Instead, I paid for their care, which nearly wiped me out in every way. After four more years of managing every detail of 24/7 live-in care for my parents, I then survived invasive Breast Cancer.
EARLY SIGNS OF DEMENTIA OFTEN OVERLOOKED
What is so astonishing is that not one healthcare professional discussed the possibility of the beginning of Alzheimer’s (or any type of dementia) in my parents with me that first year, which happens far too often. Alzheimer’s afflicts 5.4 million Americans, but millions go undiagnosed for so many years because intermittent subtle warning signs are just chalked up to stress and a “normal” part of aging. Since one out of eight by age 65, and nearly half by age 85 get Alzheimer’s, healthcare professionals of every specialty should know and share the “Ten Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s” when they notice subtle signs in their patients, so everyone can save time, money—and a fortune in Kleenex!
TEN WARNING SIGNS OF ALZHEIMER’S
(Reprinted with permission of the Alzheimer’s Association)
1. Memory loss
2. Difficulty performing familiar tasks
3. Problems with language
4. Disorientation of time and place
5. Poor or decreased judgment
6. Problems with abstract thinking
7. Misplacing things
8. Changes in mood or behavior
9. Changes in personality
10. Loss of initiative
- Jacqueline Marcell is an international SPEAKER on Eldercare, Alzheimer’s now being termed “Type 3 Diabetes”, and Breast Cancer. She is the author of the best-selling book ELDER RAGE (print, audio, Kindle/Nook), a Book-of-the-Month Club selection receiving 50+ endorsements, 400+ 5-Star Amazon reviews, required reading at numerous universities, and considered for a film. www.ElderRage.com