Can you tell whether a close friend or relative is facing Alzheimer’s rather than experiencing normal aging patterns? Do you know the most effective way to communicate with someone suffering from Alzheimer’s?
Dr. Joseph Straton, medical director of Vitas Hospice, recently led a discussion about Alzheimer’s Disease, hosted by the White Horse Village in Newtown Square. According to Dr. Straton, one in eight Americans over 65 years of age are afflicted with Alzheimer’s Disease. The prevalence of the disease is predicted to double every 20 years.
Since there are 10 million Americans providing unpaid care for a family member with Alzheimer’s, chances are that you know someone caring for a parent or close relative. Dr. Straton distributed a handout, also attached to this article with his permission, to help a caregiver distinguish between Alzheimer’s and normal aging patterns. A second handout, also attached with Dr. Straton’s permission, outlines the seven stages of Alzheimer’s. The seventh stage is one in which you may wish to consider hospice.
Despite the high number of seniors afflicted with Alzheimer’s, few family members can effectively communicate with their afflicted relative. Dr. Straton distributed a third handout to help caregivers effectively communicate with someone who has Alzheimer’s.
Facilities such as White Horse Village, the organization who hosted the event, can provide temporary respite for caregivers. This will provide an opportunity to relax and recharge while a loved one is in the hands of professionals.
At some point, caregivers should consider hospice services provided by an agency such as Vitas Hospice. Hospice service is covered by Medicare. According to Dr. Straton, a hospital will not refuse to treat someone on hospice. Even if that were so, he stated, a hospice order can be revoked at any time by the duly authorized caregiver.
In fact, sometimes the health of an individual will improve while on hospice, so they are removed from that care until a later time. Hospice provides dignified comfort and care to an individual in the later stages of Alzheimer’s and it should never be overlooked.
Other speakers at the event included my colleague, and fellow member of the Delaware County Bar Assoc. Elder Law Section, Linda Anderson, Esq., who educated the audience about the legal Power of Attorney and Advance Medical Directive forms. A separate post about her presentation is coming shortly. A short video clip also accompanies this post.
Stay well until the next post.
Robert Gasparro is an Elder Practitioner (an accountant and attorney). He can be reached at email@example.com. He welcomes comments or ideas for future blogs.