Sunday, January 12, 2014

Best ways to relieve pain for those with dementia

Dementia healthcare professionals, other healthcare professionals and caregivers, here is some information you will find useful for clients and loved ones with dementia as well as others you might care for.
 
There are times when those with dementia may be in pain and they have trouble telling you, or are resistive to taking medication. One way to relieve their pain is to use  LGMedSupply Muscle Stimulators , Ultrasound Units and/or Tens Unit for relief of pain for you or for someone you care for who needs pain relief and/or rehabilitation. 
 
These devices are relatively easy to use, cost effective and do not require the patient or loved one swallow any pills which as you know can be difficult for a patient to take especially if they have dysphagia (swallowing difficulties).
 
LGMedical Supply Company is easy to deal with because they have a wide variety of the latest and greatest pain relieving supplies. They are always adding products because they have an excellent research and development team. They do not charge unreasonable rates and they are always having specials on their products. Besides this, they stand by their products, and they have an excellent customer service department. Employees of LGMedical are always willing to share product information so you can choose the right products for you, your clients or your loved one especially those with dementia.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

When do those with dementia need a nursing home-funny but true

Caregivers and healthcare professionals, here is some great information

Here is a great dementia resource for caregivers and healthcare professionals,

Your residents will love the Amazon Kindle Fire

Here is information on being the best caregiver you can be

Here is a way for nurses administrators, social workers and other health care professionals to get an easyceu or two

Follow alzheimersideas on twitter

The Dementia Caregiver's Little Book of Hope [Kindle

aging care newsletter
When you get up in the morning feeling nothing but a sense of dread and gloom, it's time for a NH!
When your mom messes and pees on the floor more than the dog, it's time for a NH!
When strangling your parent suddenly seems like a good thing, it's time for a NH!
When you clean the kitchen, look back a few minutes later, do a double take and can't remember doing it because you're so exhausted from care giving, it's time for a NH!
When you're jekyll one minute and hyde the next, it's time for a NH!
If you start going outside and cussing like a sailor to relieve stress, praying the neighbors won't think you're nuts, it's time for a NH!
When YOU start to wonder if you're nuts, it's time for a NH!
When the doc says your blood pressure is through the roof and you're on your way to a stroke, it's time for a NH!
When AC is the only socializing you've done in years, it's time for a NH!
When you're wiping your elderly parents butt more than your own, it's time for a NH!
 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

For Elderly with Dementia, Better Eating Slows Depression, Improves BMI

Caregivers and healthcare professionals, here is some great information

Here is a great dementia resource for caregivers and healthcare professionals,


Your residents will love the Amazon Kindle Fire


Here is information on being the best caregiver you can be


Here is a way for nurses administrators, social workers and other health care professionals to get an easyceu or two


Follow alzheimersideas on twitter

The Dementia Caregiver's Little Book of Hope [Kindle Edition

MPR
 
(HealthDay News) – For elderly adults with dementia, symptoms of depression can be improved through nutritional improvement interventions, according to a study published in the Journal of Advanced Nursing.
Hua-Shan Wu, PhD, RN, from Chung Shan Medical University in Taiwan, and Li-Chan Lin, PhD, RN, from National Yang-Ming University in Taiwan tested the effectiveness of a combination of methods to teach eating procedures to elderly adults (mean age, 82.8 years) with dementia. A group of 25 participants received fixed spaced retrieval memory training combined with Montessori-based activities over 24 sessions, through which structured activities relating to daily life were sequentially and repetitively practiced. The same intervention was delivered to 38 participants in an individualized group, which made adjustments for each participant's learning response. A routine care group included 27 participants. At the pre-test, posttest, and at one, three, and six months of follow-up, body mass index was recorded and participants were scored according to the Chinese version of the Mini-Nutritional Assessment and Cornell Scale for Depression in Dementia.
The researchers found that, over time, the Mini-Nutritional Assessment scores and body mass index of the fixed and individualized groups increased significantly. As a result of the improvement in the Mini-Nutritional Assessment scores arising from the individualized intervention, the Cornell Scale for Depression in Dementia scores were significantly reduced.
"Individualized spaced retrieval combined with Montessori-based activities produced nutritional improvements that could moderate depressive symptoms in residents with dementia," write the authors.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Alzheimer's update

Caregivers and healthcare professionals, here is some great information

Here is a great dementia resource for caregivers and healthcare professionals,


Your residents will love the Amazon Kindle Fire


Here is information on being the best caregiver you can be


Here is a way for nurses administrators, social workers and other health care professionals to get an easyceu or two


Follow alzheimersideas on twitter

The Dementia Caregiver's Little Book of Hope [Kindle

Time to Step Up




Over the years we've accomplished so many things together: Passage of the National Alzheimer's Project Act (NAPA) (P.L. 111-375), the unveiling of the first-ever National Alzheimer’s Plan, enhancements to government benefits programs for individuals with Alzheimer's, introduction of critical legislation, and increased federal funding for Alzheimer’s research in the midst of challenging budgetary times. In the past year alone we've seen a host of new bipartisan co-sponsors for the HOPE for Alzheimer's Act, new members of the Congressional Task Force on Alzheimer’s Disease, dozens of town hall events, thousands of in-person meetings with elected officials, and a growing recognition of the Alzheimer's crisis among federal officials. 

By reaching out to your elected officials, via the phone and through our action alerts & petitions you've created change and made a difference in the lives of those affected by this devastating disease. You’ve repeatedly demonstrated your commitment to conquering Alzheimer's. Isn’t it time members of Congress did the same?
Tell Congress To Support Alzheimer’s Caregivers. Urge your members of Congress to support the HOPE for Alzheimer’s Act.
The Health Outcomes, Planning, and Education (HOPE) for Alzheimer's Act (S.709/H.R. 1507) will improve diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease and increase access to information on care and support for newly diagnosed individuals and their families. An early and documented diagnosis when coupled with access to care planning services leads to better outcomes for individuals with Alzheimer’s as well as their caregivers. Tell your member of Congress that families living with this devastating disease need HOPE!
Save the Date!
Mark your calendars now for the 2014 Alzheimer’s Association Advocacy Forum, taking place April 7-9 in Washington D.C. The Association’s 26th annual Forum includes the National Alzheimer's Dinner, an excellent opportunity for advocates to celebrate another exemplary year of advocacy, growing awareness and leadership in advancing Alzheimer's research and support.  Visit alz.org/forum/ to learn more about the Advocacy Forum.Advocate Mobile App on iPhoneHave you downloaded our ALZ Advocacy mobile app yet? Visit alz.org/advocateapp on your iPhone or Android device

Sunday, October 20, 2013

More Evidence Links Atrial Fibrillation and Dementia Risk

Caregivers and healthcare professionals, here is some great information

Here is a great dementia resource for caregivers and healthcare professionals,

Your residents will love the Amazon Kindle Fire

Here is information on being the best caregiver you can be

Here is a way for nurses administrators, social workers and other health care professionals to get an easyceu or two

Follow alzheimersideas on twitter

The Dementia Caregiver's Little Book of Hope [Kindle Edition

Medscape Today
Atrial fibrillation (AF) is significantly associated with cognitive impairment and dementia, independent of history of clinical stroke, a new meta-analysis has found.
Previous research had highlighted the association between AF and cognitive decline, but it was assumed that this association was mediated through clinical stroke because patients with AF are 4 to 5 times more likely to develop clinical stroke, said lead author Shadi Kalantarian, MD, MPH, research fellow, Massachusetts General Hospital Cardiac Arrhythmia Service, Boston.
"We wanted to know if this association was independent of that stroke history, and we observed that it was," he told Medscape Medical News.
The study, the first to collect and present separate data for dementia and cognitive impairment, provides the most comprehensive evidence to date of the potential effects that AF has on cognition, but also highlights "critical gaps" in understanding the mechanism underlying the association, said Dr. Kalantarian.
The study is published in the March 5 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.
21 Studies
Researchers searched 5 large databases — MEDLINE, PsycINFO, Cochrane Library, CINAHL, and EMBASE — as well as reference lists, with no language restrictions, for studies that reported the association between AF and cognitive impairment or total dementia.

Dr. Shadi Kalantarian
The analysis included 21 studies representing geographically diverse regions, such as Asia, North and South America, Europe, and Australia. Fourteen studies reported the association between AF and cognitive impairment or dementia in patients with or without a history of stroke, and 7 studies examined the association of AF with cognitive impairment or dementia after stroke.
In a combined analysis of the 14 studies that investigated the association between AF and dementia or cognitive impairment, 9 of which were prospective, AF was significantly associated with the risk for cognitive impairment (relative risk [RR], 1.40; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.19 - 1.64).
There was significant heterogeneity, however, possibly due to variance in participant characteristics. With use of a random-effects model, pooled estimates were almost the same for prospective and cross-sectional studies.
Heterogeneity was still seen in prospective studies, possibly because of different outcome measures. When the analysis was restricted to dementia outcomes, which are more accurately diagnosed than cognitive impairment, the heterogeneity was eliminated but the association didn't change substantially (RR, 1.38; 95% CI, 1.22 - 1.56).
Limiting the analysis to studies using the Mini-Mental State Examination, the most widely used screening tool for cognitive decline, also did not appreciably change the results.
In the 7 studies reporting cognitive impairment or dementia after a stroke, AF was associated with a more than 2-fold increased risk (RR, 2.70; 95% CI, 1.82 - 4.00).
To evaluate the association independent of stroke history, the investigators did a meta-analysis of studies that either excluded patients with a history of stroke or adjusted for stroke in the multivariate adjusted model. For this analysis, the RR was 1.34 (95% CI, 1.13 - 1.58).
Dr. Kalantarian emphasized that the association was independent of "clinically overt stroke," that is, strokes with which patients had been diagnosed, and that they had reported.
Possible Mechanisms
Shared risk factors, such as hypertension, congestive heart failure, and diabetes, which tend to accumulate as the population ages, might explain the association between AF and cognitive decline. Another explanation could be the hypercoagulable state in patients with AF or stasis of blood in the left atrium that may lead to formation of thrombi in the left atrial appendage and then to stroke.
Other unproven mechanisms, said Dr. Kalantarian, could involve cerebral hypoperfusion — that is, less blood going to the brain might affect cognition — or the proinflammatory state in both AF and dementia.
Perhaps the most plausible explanation is that AF increases the risk for silent infarcts, which would mediate the association between AF and cognitive impairment, said Dr. Kalantarian. However, 1 study in the analysis that excluded patents with a history of stroke with detailed imaging also showed an association between AF and cognitive impairment.
"That's only 1 study in the literature, and it says that there's a gap in our knowledge," said Dr. Kalantarian. "We think that silent infarct is a major contributor, but we can't say that it's 100% the underlying mechanism and that other things are not contributing. It's probably multifactorial; that other factors are contributing as well."
Priority should be given to studies that will elucidate the underlying mechanism, she added.
The authors used several objective criteria to assess the quality of individual studies. Of the 9 prospective studies in the broader population, 6 had "reasonably good quality" in that they matched 5 or 6 of the 7 quality criteria, said Dr. Kalantarian.
However, 6 of the 21 studies met 3 or fewer quality criteria, mainly because of a higher potential for misclassification of AF or outcome, inadequate adjustments for potential confounders, and the presence of attrition bias. Sensitivity analyses that excluded these studies did report similar results, though.
Another possible limitation was that stroke was mostly self-reported or derived from medical records and rarely confirmed by imaging.
The study results warrant further well-designed longitudinal studies with better adjustment for potential confounders and with detailed information on subtype of dementia, according to the authors. As well, clinical trials to evaluate interventions that may lower the risk for cognitive impairment in patients with AF are also needed, they said.
In future trials, "investigators should consider cognitive function as a new outcome to be assessed in interventional studies for the treatment of AF," the authors write.
Critical Question
Asked to comment on these findings for Medscape Medical News, Stefan Knecht, MD, professor, neurology, St. Mauritius Therapieklinik, Meerbusch, Germany, said he's not convinced that the meta-analysis adequately answers the critical question of whether cognitive impairment is linked to something other than stroke in patients with AF.
For one thing, he said, asking patients for their history of stroke is a weak tool because if they have had "silent" strokes, they wouldn't be aware of it, and so would not report it.
. Given the propensity of AF to cause strokes, it's not clear by what means other than some sort of stroke AF would affect brain function, he pointed out.
"There are actually several questions still to be answered," he said. "What kinds of strokes occur in AF to cause cognitive impairment? How much of a problem is this? How much of this is related to the type of treatment patients receive? And what can we do about it?"
The paper simply confirms that a relationship does exist between AF and cognitive impairment, but the authors do little to disentangle possible mechanisms, added Dr. Knecht.
"Could they have done so? I think so. For example, they could have tried to sort out differences in cognitive impairments in patient with versus patients without a history of stroke."
Dr. Kalantarian noted that she and her colleagues didn't have enough data to separate out different domains of cognition.
"The methodology of cognitive assessment is so variable and not many studies look at specific domains of cognitive function," she said. "That's why we were not able to say, for example, that patients with AF are more prone to have executive dysfunction."
Dr. Kalantarian and Dr. Knecht have disclosed no relevant financial relationships.
Ann Intern Med. 2013;158:338-346. Abstract

     

    Friday, October 18, 2013

    Cost of Alzheimer's disease

    Caregivers and healthcare professionals, here is some great information

    Here is a great dementia resource for caregivers and healthcare professionals,

    Your residents will love the Amazon Kindle Fire

    Here is information on being the best caregiver you can be

    Here is a way for nurses administrators, social workers and other health care  professionals to get an easyceu or two

    Follow alzheimersideas on twitter

    The Dementia Caregiver's Little Book of Hope [Kindle Edition

    Examiner
    While cancer and heart disease are the leading killers of Americans, Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia disorders lead in treatment costs. The total annual treatment cost for Alzheimer’s disease in the U.S. is as much as $215 billion, the Associated Press reported April 3.
    And what makes Alzheimer’s disease so expensive to treat is not medical care or medications but helping those with the disease simply live their daily lives, according to a new study from the RAND Corp.
    “The economic burden of caring for people in the United States with dementia is large and growing larger,” said Michael Hurd, the study’s lead author and a senior economist at RAND, a nonprofit research organization. “Our findings underscore the urgency of recent federal efforts to develop a coordinated plan to address the growing impact of dementia on American society.”
    The RAND report also gave a new estimate for how many Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease: 4.1 million. Previous estimates from the Alzheimer’s Association put the number at about 5.2 million Americans.
    Dementia is a chronic disease of aging characterized by progressive cognitive decline that interferes with independent functioning. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia and the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.
    The direct cost of treating dementias and Alzheimer’s diseases, which includes medications and nursing homes, is about $109 billion annually, the report said.
    The cost of caring for heart disease is about $102 billion and cancer about $77 billion.
    The informal care for dementia and Alzheimer’s patients by family members and others pushes the total cost of dementia care even higher, reaching as much as $215 billion.
    The Rand Alzheimer’s disease study was sponsored by the National Institute on Aging and was published in the New England Journal of Medicine on April 4.
    One of the reasons that Alzheimer’s disease is so expensive to treat is because people with dementia disorders live four to eight years on average after diagnosis, while some live for decades — needing specialized care throughout that time.
     

    Wednesday, October 16, 2013

    19 Free Services for Seniors or Their Caregivers

    Caregivers and healthcare professionals, here is some great information

    Here is a great dementia resource for caregivers and healthcare professionals,

    Your residents will love the Amazon Kindle Fire

    Here is information on being the best caregiver you can be

    Here is a way for nurses administrators, social workers and other health care professionals to get an easyceu or two

    Follow alzheimersideas on twitter

    The Dementia Caregiver's Little Book of Hope [Kindle Edition

    AgingCare.com
     
    Most seniors these days are living on limited incomes from sources that may include Social Security, a small pension or maybe some other form of government assistance. With few resources at their disposal, finding services for free or discounted prices is vital.
    There are likely many of these types of services available through your local Office for the Aging (the name of this government agency may be different in your local area, i.e. Division of Senior Services) or local charities such as Lions Club or Meals-on-Wheels, or on the Internet through sites like ElderCare.gov.
    However, in my opinion, the most rewarding of these freebies for seniors and their caregivers – things like free hearing aids and free dentures – will be more difficult to come by. From my experiences as a caregiver, I have compiled a list of these types of services and provided a roadmap and examples for how to find them.
    Free or Discounted Services for Seniors or Their Caregivers
    1. Benefit Counseling
    How many times have you, either as a senior or as a caregiver, wrestled with trying to figure out what type of help was available to you? There is free counseling available through your local Office for the Aging that can provide this type of assistance and point you in the right direction to receiving the help you need.
    You can get answers regarding health insurance, food stamps and other services through these counselors.
    2. Adult Day Care
    Adult day care centers can be run by a government entity, or through a local charity or house of worship. The purpose of these senior centers is to provide a safe place to socialize and have a hot meal in a protected setting. These adult day care centers are ideal for seniors who cannot remain alone, but are not in need of the care that a nursing home provides.
    If you go through your local Office for the Aging, they will probably be able to direct you to such a day care center, let you know if there is a charge for the facility and what the eligibility requirements are.
    As for the fees associated with these facilities, if the facility does in fact charge a fee they are normally quite nominal and are just there to help the center cover its own costs for meals and operating costs like utilities.
    As for the eligibility requirements, that will depend upon the capabilities of the staff at each individual facility. As an example, some adult day care centers will only accept those who are continent because they will not have the supplies to change adult diapers. Other facilities may require a certain amount of mobility for those attending (i.e. they are able to get out of a wheelchair on their own or with minor assistance). It is really 'hit or miss' because each facility will have their own requirements.
    When initially contacting the Office for the Aging or the local charity, give them as much information upfront regarding both the fees (if you are only looking for a free facility) and the physical condition of the applicant. This way they can act as a filter to point you in the right direction.
    3. Dentists That Accept Medicaid
    Due to the problems of billing and getting paid by the government, there aren't many dentists that accept Medicaid, but a few do. This means that a senior with no dental insurance may still be able to get the dental care needed…you just might have to travel to get it.
    To find a dentist in your state that accepts Medicaid, contact your state Department of Health, but keep in mind that you may have to travel out of your way to get these services. For example, in my home state of New York, the state Department of Health website lists about 40 dentists that accept Medicaid. That's not a great number for a state with a population of 19,500,000. On Long Island, where I live, there are only two.
    4. Free Dentures
    As incredible as it may seem, it is possible for low-income seniors to receive a free set of dentures. In addition to calling your Office for the Aging to see if they know of a source, here are two additional places to look into:
    • Your State Dental Association: here you will be able to access free or low-cost dental programs. As an example, one of my customers contacted the Ohio Dental Association and was then directed to Dental Options (in Ohio). She discovered her mother was eligible and will soon be getting the help she needs. While these services will vary based on your location, the place to start is with your state dental association.
    • Dental Colleges: while not free, if there is a local dental college in your area you could get a substantial discount on dental care.
    5. Elderly Pharmaceutical Assistance Program (EPIC)
    EPIC is the name of the State Pharmaceutical Assistance Program in New York. New York is one of the 23 states that have such a program (the other 27 canceled their programs after the Federal government instituted Medicare Part D). If you live in Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, New Jersey, Nevada, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Virginia, Vermont, Washington State or Wisconsin, you have access to another means of assistance to obtain your prescription medications.
    Income requirements vary from state to state, so you will have to check with your state administrators to determine your level of eligibility, but this can be a great way for seniors to save on their prescription drug costs.
    6. Low Cost Prescription Drugs
    Despite the advent of Medicare Part D, and certain state run assistance programs such as EPIC (outlined above), there are still many seniors that cannot afford their medications.
    This is why most manufacturers of prescription drugs provide assistance for those who cannot afford their medications. A comprehensive list of these programs is provide by the Partnership for Prescription Assistance as well as the steps to follow to apply for assistance.
    Another cost saving strategy is to make the switch to generic drugs.
    As the Food and Drug Administration says: "Generic drugs are important options that allow greater access to health care for all Americans. They are copies of brand-name drugs and are the same as those brand name drugs in dosage form, safety, strength, route of administration, quality, performance characteristics and intended use."
    Generic drugs cost about 50%-80% less than their brand name equivalents, so it makes all the sense in the world to speak with your doctor about making the switch.
    7. Family Caregiver Support Programs
    These programs are often offered through the government, or volunteer organizations. Either way, as a caregiver, you can be provided with respite care by volunteers, as well as counseling and support groups to ensure your physical and emotional wellbeing. These services are designed to supplement, not replace, the efforts of the family in caring for a loved one.
    8. Free Cell Phones or Discounted Phone Service
    LifeLine is a federal government program for qualifying low-income consumers designed "to ensure that all Americans have the opportunities and security that phone service brings, including being able to connect to jobs, family and emergency services."
    LifeLine assistance provides one free or discounted phone (either landline or wireless cell phone) per household. To qualify, seniors will likely have to be on some form of government assistance, such as:
    • Medicaid
    • Food Stamps
    • Supplemental Social Security
    • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
    • Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program
    Visit LifelineSupport.org to see if you qualify and to find participating companies in your state.
    I was able to get my mother a free cell phone within five days of her being approved for Medicaid, after providing a picture of my mother's Medicaid award letter (yes, I know it is shocking for the government to move that quickly). The only drawback to the program is the type of phone that you are sent. My mother can use it but it has smaller buttons that can make it confusing. I would prefer for her to have a larger handset with larger buttons, but this is working for the moment.
    9. Free Phone for Hearing Impaired
    A new service that is (at least temporarily) being funded by the FCC, called CaptionCall, provides free phones to those with medically recognized hearing loss.
    The way that this phone works is simple. A screen on the phone instantly takes the words being spoken and puts them onto a screen on the phone so that hearing impaired individuals can read what is being said.
    You can learn more at CaptionCall.com/Caregiver (and click on Promotions) for more information.
    10. Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP)
    This used to be called Food Stamps, but is now known as the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP). You can apply through your state Office for the Aging, or Elder Affairs Department.
    Each state has slightly different requirements based upon income, but what I have found is that most states have a website (www.mybenefits.ny.gov in my home state of New York) where you can set up an online account and, based upon your age, zip code, income and residence status, you are then directed to all of the benefits that you are eligible for.
    Once you are approved, the maximum monthly benefit depends upon the size of your family, from $200 all the way up to $1,500.
    11. Other Free Food Services
    In addition to programs such as SNAP, there are many nutrition programs, offered either by local charities or local governments that can provide seniors with a nutritious meal (typically lunch) and the opportunity to socialize.
    Check with your local Office for the Aging to see what programs are available in your area. In my county, there are 33 such nutrition sites that seniors can attend and, in some cases, transportation is provided.
    There are also websites that have listings of local food banks where qualifying individuals can receive free food. The best food bank search engine is at Feedingamerica.org. Simply plug in your state and a listing of locations and the types of services offered at each food bank will pop up.
    12. Free Hearing Aids
    Buying a new hearing aid can run into the thousands of dollars, so it's no wonder that seniors are hard pressed to pay for these devices. But I have found that there are a few ways to obtain free hearing aids. Some will be new, and others may be used, but they will all be free.
    First, try your local Lion's Club. Most chapters either operate or know of a local hearing aid bank that can match needy seniors with recycled hearing aids.
    Another approach is to seek out clinical trials of new hearing aids. Contact hearing aid manufacturers and see if you can volunteer for a trial. When the trial is over, you typically get to keep the hearing aid. I recently saw a commercial from one hearing aid manufacturer that was advertising for people to participate in trials, so they are open to this idea.
    You will have to medically qualify for the trial and you may have to contact several manufacturers until you find one that works for you. You may also get put on a waiting list. Regardless, this can be a powerful way for very low income seniors to receive a free hearing aid.
    13. Free Legal Help
    When my mother had her heart attack and I started the Medicaid application process, I quickly realized that there would not be any money to pay our mounting bills. So I called my local Office for the Aging and they put me in touch with a local law school that operated a Senior Law Center for low income seniors like Mom.
    They wrote a letter to the creditors on my behalf asking for the debts to be forgiven. With this letter I attached a letter from the nursing home detailing Mom's prognosis. That was 14 months ago, and I haven't heard from the creditors since, so I guess that ‘no news is good news.' I did receive one confirmation letter, from Wal-Mart, that the debts were forgiven. The others have not contacted me yet, so I am hopeful that they've written the debts off as bad debt.
    These types of law centers won't represent you in a large scale, but they can be invaluable in drafting a simple will, certifying a POA or health care proxy, or drafting a letter to creditors.
    If your Office for the Aging is unaware of a local resource for such help, another place to look would be the Lion's Club. Many of the members of the Lion's are attorneys and local business leaders who may be able to help you find a pro bono attorney to handle something like this.
    14. Free Medical Alert System
    We have all seen the television commercial with the elderly woman in the bathroom saying, "Help, I've fallen and I can't get up!" That's what a medic alert system is for. It is a waterproof pendant that is worn around the neck or wrist, that works in conjunction with a wireless phone attachment. In an emergency, the wearer presses the button to be connected with the monitoring service and speaks into the pendant.
    The actual system is totally free, even the shipping. The monitoring service does have to be paid for, but that is normally around $30 a month.
    One thing I would advise you to consider when choosing a medic alert company. Make sure that the company you choose does NOT outsource its central station monitoring service. When your loved one hits that button, you want a trained, competent professional who can calmly contact emergency services and stay on the line with your parent until help arrives.
    There are many medical alert products out there, such as, LifeStation and Rescue Alert, that offer this type of service.
    15. Free Walkers or Rollators
    A walker will run you around $40 (rollators are a little more expensive). That can be a lot of money for a cash-strapped senior. If you are looking for a discounted or free walker, here are places you should start your search:
    a) Thrift stores such as Goodwill, which operates outlet stores throughout the country and has very reasonable prices
    b) Hospitals and nursing homes may periodically dispose of reliable, used equipment that may be ideal for you.
    16. Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP)
    Through your local or state Office for the Aging, you can apply for assistance either in the form of weather upgrades to your residence - such as added insulation in the attic to improve the energy efficiency of your home (this is known as the Weatherization Assistance Program) – as well as direct cash assistance based upon your income level.
    One not widely known fact about HEAP is that it is available to both homeowners and renters, making it more widely accessible for low-income seniors.
    17. Ombudsman Services
    For caregivers of nursing home patients, the state ombudsman's office is there to address issues with the care of their loved ones. You can think of the ombudsman as similar to a union rep. They will investigate complaints on your behalf to insure that nursing home residents are being treated fairly.
    I previously wrote about my own experience with nursing home neglect against my mother and how I brought in the state ombudsman to investigate the issue.
    If you feel there is an issue of neglect or abuse of a nursing home resident, getting the contact information is easy. This information must be prominently displayed in the lobby of all nursing homes, along with the website and phone number to call for help.
    18. Residential Repair Services
    Need some minor work done around the house, but can't afford the labor? Many Offices of the Aging run a residential repair service where seniors can have minor work done to their home or rental at no labor cost.
    NOTE: You will have to pay for supplies, but the labor is free from the volunteers.
    19. Silver Alert Program
    Caregivers of seniors with dementia are often concerned about a loved one getting lost while wandering - especially if they are driving with dementia. There are many ways to combat this. One way is through a Silver Alert program, which (as defined on Wikipedia) "is a public notification system in the United States to broadcast information about missing persons – especially seniors with Alzheimer's Disease, dementia, or other mental disabilities – in order to aid in their return."
    Silver Alert and similar programs vary greatly by state. The way the Silver Alert program works in my local area is as follows:
    The caregiver will contact the local police department and fill out a form identifying the senior, giving a physical description, as well as any medical information you wish to disclose.
    Your parent will then be issued a Silver Alert bracelet that will have a unique ID number and instructions for anyone who locates them to call a police non-emergency number. This way they can be safely returned home without compromising any personal information on the part of the senior or caregiver.
    Check with your local Police Department for more information.
    I have used many of these services to assist me in my role as a caregiver and hope that this list of free or discounted services is useful to you and your family as well.
    Do you know of other free services for seniors that we can add to the list?


     
     

    Fitness is important in dementia prevention. Click below for more info