Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The dangers of your aging parent covering up dementia (part 3)

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

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


Carolyn Rosenblatt

1. Persuade Dad to get a checkup from a reliable MD, preferably a neurologist who deals with aging patients.

You need information. If there are symptoms of dementia, you need to find out what’s going on. If other conditions are in play, appropriate care may make a difference. If you have to conspire with the doc in advance, do it.

2. Locate and update all estate planning documents. Work with your parents on this. Trusts, wills, durable powers of attorney and health care directives are the most important ones you need to review. It might have been years since anyone looked them over. Urge your parent to see an estate planning attorney. Tax laws change, state laws can vary. Some aging parents have never actually gotten the necessary legal papers together. The time may come when Dad is no longer competent to sign anything. Waiting until “the right time” is not good strategy. It can be too late before you know it.

3. Plan ahead for Dad’s possible care needs. Who would look after him if Mom could no longer do this? He may go downhill in the future. If he does have dementia, it won’t remain the same over time. People get more dependent on help with their daily needs. Help is not free. Some source of payment for help with daily care should be in the plan.

4. Discuss Dad’s situation with all family members. Call a family meeting. If Dad has memory problems now, everyone in the family will eventually be involved in the situation. Siblings may need to share caregiving duties. Some may need to make financial contributions. Taking care of both parents as they age is no longer rare. An honest conversation about who can do what, and who is willing to help aging parents can go a long way toward avoiding resentment and conflict later on. Take the first step. Be the leader. Someone has to do this, and it isn’t always an aging parent.

You don’t want to be the one lulled into a false sense of security because no one has officially diagnosed your aging parent with a specific kind of dementia. It doesn’t matter. Trust your own eyes and ears. If your gut tells you there’s something wrong here with your loved one, there probably is something wrong. Jaclyn already knows something is brewing with her Dad. She’s being proactive and I applaud her.

You’re not alone if you have a parent with memory loss. Millions of people are facing this every day. They find a way to manage it, and survive and you will too. Be smart. Look down the road. Stand tall and do this last part of being a grown child of your parent. Take the basic steps to protect your aging parent and yourself and you will get through it without unnecessary stress.

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