Posts Tagged ‘Alzheimer’s Disease’
Yesterday I walked in Georgia’s Alzheimer’s Association’s Walk To End Alzheimer’s. My family and the Jones family joined to form the Family Caregivers Team. Pictured here is seven of our twelve team members. Together we were able to raise $2,500 dollars for Alzheimer’s research. Both of our families have lost loved ones to Alzheimer’s disease so we know first hand how important it is to raise money for Alzheimer’s research.
In the picture above and below, you see us holding flowers we were given at sign-in. There were three categories of flowers: yellow flowers if we were walking in support of someone with Alzheimer’s, purple flowers if we were walking in memory of someone who had died from Alzheimer’s and blue flowers if we had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
During the Opening Ceremonies we were asked to raise our flowers if we had Alzheimer’s; raise our flowers if a loved one had died from Alzheimer’s; and raise our flower if we care for or had cared for someone with Alzheimer’s. Almost every flower was raised for those who had taken care of someone with Alzheimer’s disease. It was a very emotional and eye opening moment. Thousands of purple and yellow flowers raised in the air. YET, so many people in this country have no idea what it means to take care of someone with this dreadful disease.
People of all ages participated in the Walk - babies in infant carriers and strollers and young children walking beside their parents; tweens and teens, college sororities and fraternities, young adults and not so young adults. Everyone had gathered for the Walk To End Alzheimer’s. As I looked around at some of us (myself included) who were overweight, it was quite apparent to me that we did not walk regularly and would probably have to take an Epsom salt bath when we got home. But the aches and pains didn’t matter, we wanted to support this very important cause.
This gentleman was quite an inspiration for me. Can you see his walker in the picture? By the time I took this picture we had walked about three quarters of a mile and we were on an uphill slope. This man had a caregiver with him who is off to the side but close enough should he need assistance. I don’t know if he walked the mile and a half track or the three mile track. I was just impressed that he participated.
It has been almost a year since I blogged. After Gladys passed, I just couldn’t seem to find the motivation to write any articles. This Walk was just what I needed because it gave me something to want to write about. If you’d like to see all of the pictures I took, you can find them here on our Facebook page. If you would like to donate, you can do so here on our Alzheimer’s Association Walk To End Alzheimer’s page.
Next year we’re going to try to recruit a bigger team. Why don’t you form a team where you live? These walks are going on all around the country.
It’s been a month or so since I posted here and a lot has happened. Life in general is full of change and unexpected occurrences. Those of us who take care of family members with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia are very familiar with change. We’ve had a full schedule recently – car problems, job issues and most importantly caregiver issues. We have to find new care options for Gladys.
We all know that car problems occur when we least expect them or are the least prepared to pay for them. Over the past two months we had the key problem that I talked about in the previous post. That problem was more frustrating than anything and unreasonably expensive. Just before the key problem we had to replace the front struts. Now it’s the catalytic converter.
A lot has been going on at the church. Recent staff changes has caused all of us to pitch in more to make sure things don’t fall through the cracks.
Last month Gladys’ adult day care told me that they didn’t think they would be able to accommodate Gladys much longer. She was beginning to require too much care.
- she needs help sitting down and getting up
- she needs help going to the bathroom and adjusting her clothes
- she’s getting confused at mealtime and forgets how to use her utensils or thinks her banana is a fork
- she’s moving extremely slow
- she’s not participating in activities because she keeps falling asleep
Last week the day care called and said that April 30th would have to be Gladys’ last day.
When I got the first call, I began to explore our care options and possible funding assistance. Unfortunately, her income just meets the cut off amount to qualify for assistance.
About nine months ago I met a young lady from Hospice Advantage who told me to contact her if I ever needed any help. Like so many other people, I thought hospice only took care of people who were dying. Not So! I contacted the young lady, told her my situation. This is what happened:
- a nurse came out to evaluate Gladys (she qualified for services)
- a nurse visits twice a week to check Gladys’ vitals and her overall condition
- a home health aid comes by three times a week to bathe, dress and groom Gladys
- they supply her disposable briefs, disposable underpads, perineal wash, dry skin cream and some of her medications
- a social worker was assigned to assist us
- we have access to an on-call nurse 24 hours/day
- they provide 5 days of respite care per quarter
- gave us a list of recommended agencies and private caregivers
The services offered by hospice don’t resolve daily care issues but the services they provide are a big help and free up some finances.
- Quit my job and take care of Gladys full-time
- Hire an unemployed friend or church member to take care of Gladys
- Employ the services of an agency that provides CNA’s and trained caregivers
- Employ the services of an independent CNA or trained caregiver
Here’s where we are with care options: 1) I need my job; 2) hiring a friend or church member may not work out and potentially damage relationships; 3) agencies offer a good service but are too expensive (for us) for long term care. That brings us to 4) employ an independent caregiver.
I went through the list provided by hospice and called for rates. I contacted the agencies and the private sitters. I was very impressed with one of the private sitters and contacted her references. She is primarily a live-in hospice caregiver but I am only looking for 3 days per week. Her previous clients gave her outstanding recommendations.
We will interview her this afternoon. I’ll keep you posted.
I came across this story about Peter Falk while I was on Twitter. I was and am a big Peter Falk fan. I still watch his old movies and repeats of the old Columbo TV series that Peter Falk starred in during the 1960′s. I even have several seasons of the Columbo TV series on DVD. Of course I was saddened to learn that Mr. Falk had Alzheimer’s disease but I was equally disturbed about other elements of the story.
The main thing that caught my attention was this section from the Associated Press article:
The Emmy-winning actor slipped rapidly into dementia since a series of dental operations in late 2007, Dr. Stephen Read testified Monday, the final day of a two-day conservatorship hearing.
Read said it was unclear whether Falk’s condition worsened as a result of anesthesia or some other reaction to the operation.
Read first evaluated Falk in June 2008 before the actor was scheduled to undergo hip surgery. His dementia and apparent Alzheimer’s disease worsened after that procedure, and Read said the actor no longer remembers his signature role in the series “Columbo.”
The story’s focus is actually about Falk being placed in Conservatorship and family issues between Falk, his wife and daughter. But the reason it caught my attention was the part about his mental deterioration following surgery. I have a friend whose family experienced something similar. Last summer her mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease but it was in early stages. A few months later her mother fell and broke her hip and had to have hip replacement surgery. After the surgery, her mother’s Alzheimer’s worsened.
This begs a question that I can’t answer. What is the correlation between the rapid progression of dementia/Alzheimer’s disease and surgery. If there is a correlation, do you weigh the value of the surgery against the value of the patient’s mental condition? If anyone can shed some light on this, I would really appreciate the feedback (and so would my readers).
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