Loss of communication with a person who has dementia creates stress in both the individual and his/her caregiver.  Alzheimer’s Disease and other dementia diagnoses are called ‘the family’ diseases because the progression of the illness has a profound effect on the lives of those close to the patient.  Information about the disease, it’s progress, and how to continue to communicate will relieve the stress of caregiving: Personalize your conversation.  Use the person’s name to get their attention and make eye contact. Use short, simple sentences. Speak clearly, slowly, and use simple words appropriate to the stage of the disease.  Do NOT “baby talk”! Repeat sentences exactly.  If you repeat what you say, use the exact same words and sequence.  Each word is a symbol and requires concentration to determine it’s meaning. Be specific.   Say “here is your sandwich”, not “it is time for lunch”.  Name person, place, time, details exactly. Offer simple choices.   Say “Would you like steak?” NOT “Would you like something to eat?” Give simple brief instructions.  Say “put these pants on” NOT “get dressed”.  Then direct attention to the task with a physical gesture such as holding the pants out or pointing to the pants. Use signalsRead More

When you find that you need to participate in the care planning of a parent or family member, it will help you to know what documents are needed before you meet with the care consultant or any professional helping you plan for care.  If you are planning for Medicaid Spend Down, information on a trust and all financial, life insurance and real estate information will be needed. LEGAL DOCUMENTS Power of Attorneys Wills Living Wills Trusts FINANCIAL INFORMATION: Bank statements, at least 2 months previous Statements from savings, annuities, IRA, 401K and all other investments Real estate values/mortgage statements Income sources and the amounts Life insurance policies (if whole life value) MEDICAL INFORMATION List of all physicians with their contact information and specialty Most recent list of medications Brief history (with dates if possible in years) of major medical events Health insurance policies Long term care insurance policy HELPFUL INFORMATION – It is also helpful to take a copy of all immediate family members and their contact information. Most people find themselves trying to learn about long term care planning after a health care crisis.  That is not the ideal time to determine what documents exist, where they are and what plansRead More

What is the purpose of www.thecaresupport.com? Through the years that I have practiced geriatric and medical social work, I’ve always thought “Northwest Arkansas needs one resource to find and learn about resources for the ageing and for caregivers to find the support and resources they need.”  THIS WEB SITE IT THAT RESOURCE! Locate the topic of interest, click on that topic, and hopefully you will find the information that you need and it will be helpful.   What does Sara do as a geriatric care specialist? Very few people know about resources for care. My role is to determine the needs for care, then to provide information about all the options available to meet those needs.  I provide a written review of your needs assessment and all the resources available to meet those needs, and their costs. Here is an example of a typical caregiver who called me: Opal is 94. She still lives in the home she retired in in 1977. Her husband died in 2000, she has one child in Maine who visits her once a year , but her health is not good.  Opal is independent in all her daily activities but she is losing her sight.Read More