How to Understand an Alzheimer’s Diagnosis

How to Understand an Alzheimer’s Diagnosis

A positive Alzheimer’s Diagnosis is a life-changing event both for the person receiving it and for those who care about him or her. Did you know that understanding the diagnosis and early stages of the disease are critical for identifying effective medical treatments, caregiving options, and future planning items aimed at providing long-term care?

June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month. Alzheimer’s is a brain disease and the most common form of dementia, which is a general term for memory loss and degenerative mental capability. Toxic changes in the brain occur long before any Alzheimer’s symptoms are exhibited. Abnormal protein deposits form plaques throughout the brain and cause healthy neurons to cease functioning. To diagnose Alzheimer’s, doctors conduct tests to assess memory impairment, cognitive reasoning skills, functional abilities, and behavioral changes. They also perform a series of tests to rule out other possible causes of impairment.

While there is no known cure for Alzheimer’s Disease, family caregivers and adult children can better understand a senior loved one’s diagnosis by asking the evaluating physician important questions, such as:

  • What tests or tools were used to determine the diagnosis?
  • What were you measuring when the tests were performed?
  • How will the disease progress?
  • What treatment options are available?
  • What care planning services do you provide?
  • What support services or resources are available to help with the disease?

Early detection usually provides the best opportunities for long-term care and access to clinical trials. Traditional and experimental drug and non-drug interventions can ease the burden of the disease, and slow memory loss and other symptoms. If diagnosed during more developed stages, specializing physicians can still impart caregiving strategies to enhance safety and maximize quality of life for as long as possible.

Understanding an Alzheimer’s Diagnosis also helps families plan for the future. For example, a trusted family member can obtain a durable power of attorney document that would allow him or her to make binding decisions on the elder adult’s behalf when the elder adult is no longer competent. Advance health care directives, medical privacy releases, and updates to estate plans are also important planning items for long-term care needs and inheritance wishes.

If you or someone you know would like more information or guidance on related legal issues, we are here to help. As an elder law firm, we are committed to providing legal counsel on matters relating to degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s. Contact us today to schedule a meeting.

Tips for People Who Cannot Visit Loved Ones in Nursing Homes

Tips for People Who Cannot Visit Loved Ones in Nursing Homes

Human beings are social creatures. Similar to animals, we live in family groups for much of our lives and tend to seek out companionship. For the most part, we also seem to find comfort in human contact during stressful or difficult times. If the findings of a recent survey are any indication, this instinct or need to be together persists throughout our lives.

Let us share a bit more information here. In the 2019 survey of people with loved ones in nursing homes, nearly 55 percent said they do not spend enough time visiting. Those who felt this way visit their loved ones four times per month, and devote less than two hours to each visit. By contrast, participants who said they spend enough time visiting their loved ones did so more often. They also devoted more time to each visit.

Now, with the Coronavirus Pandemic prompting skilled nursing homes across our state to halt visitation, residents cannot see their loved ones in person at all. We all worry about not only how our loved ones are being cared for, but also want to ensure that they do not feel increased isolation or depression. Let us share some simple tips to keep in touch and ease your fears during this time.

1. Send photographs and small gifts. Start by checking with staff to see if it is okay to send your loved one a care package. If you can, send a homemade card along with a few of his or her favorite things. Depending on his or her preferences, consider sending paperback books, music, snacks, puzzles or games. Exchanging photographs is another easy way to stay connected while visits are prohibited. If they have not done so already, ask the nursing home staff about starting a program to facilitate this activity. That way, your loved one could send photos to you, and you could take photos to send to them.

2. Use technology to facilitate communication. If your loved one has access to email, feel free to communicate that way. You may also want to ask if your loved one can have access to video conferencing services such as FaceTime, Zoom, or Skype. If not, there is nothing wrong with making routine telephone calls or sending letters.

3. Get the information you need as well. Do not hesitate to request regular updates from facility staff, including administrators. This may alleviate any fear or concerns you have about your loved one’s well being. You can also request information about any protocols implemented to promote staff and patient safety.

In the meantime, we are here to address any legal concerns you may have about visitation. Simply contact our law firm to arrange a telephone consultation with attorney Scott Selis at your convenience.

Knowing Risk Factors and Causes of Bedsores Can Help Prevent Them

Knowing Risk Factors and Causes of Bedsores Can Help Prevent Them

Did you know aging adults with limited physical mobility are at the highest risk of contracting the painful sores? If left untreated, or if there’s a delay in proper care, bedsores can easily become infected and lead to serious health risks and even death. Unfortunately, bedsores are one of the most common injuries suffered by elder Americans who stay in nursing homes.

Outside of immediate medical attention once they’re discovered, the best way to deal with them is prevent them from developing at all. In reality, this may be harder to prevent than you might think. Seniors who are immobile for extended periods of time are extremely susceptible to pressure sores, often at no fault of any caregiving treatment they are receiving.

When you are caring for your aging parent, either personally or by overseeing the care they receive, knowing associated risk factors and direct causes is extremely valuable information. This can be important for anyone who may be thinking of committing an elder parent or loved one to the care of a nursing home, and especially relevant if they are already there.

First, it’s important to understand that nursing home residents rely on their caretakers to maintain their health. If a senior is considered an “at-risk” patient or resident, he or she should be regularly re-positioned with full-body assessments being performed. This is standard care for a senior to receive, not something extra.

A healthy diet and proper hydration are also major factors in preventing bedsores as they help maintain healthy skin. Research shows that when it comes to seniors, malnutrition and dehydration can be signs of neglect. Remember that medication can also impact the senior’s intake of food and water. Be sure to check in with the doctor and the facility to make sure the medication and diet are in line to continuously improve the senior’s health.

Further, regular movement is a critical preventative factor. Anybody, not just elderly people, can be at risk of developing bedsores if they stay in one position for too long. Medical professionals commonly refer to bedsores as pressure sores because prolonged pressure to one or more areas of the body will irritate the skin, and eventually rupture it. This is why regular movement is so important.

Another cause is known as “shearing”. This occurs when skin rubs one way and underlying bone moves another way. It often happens when an elder person is hastily or otherwise improperly moved. Friction can also lead to bedsores when an aging senior’s clothes are left on too long. If there are significant issues with movement that your elderly loved one has, do not wait to talk to the long-term care facility.

We know that you may have questions when it comes to the care that your elderly loved one needs. Do not wait to contact our local elder care law firm to get answers and to help you make your caregiver decisions.

Elder Care Law: Can You Give Me Tips to Find the Right Nursing Home for My Parent?

Elder Care Law: Can You Give Me Tips to Find the Right Nursing Home for My Parent?

As our parents age, a time may come when they are no longer able to live safely at home. Whether due to a crisis or as a complication arising from the aging process, their needs may increase to a care level where they need 24-hour assistance. This level of long-term care is not only expensive but is often best provided inside of a Florida skilled nursing facility.

 

Placing a parent or helping a parent select a nursing home is not an easy task. How will you choose the right facility for your parent? What should you look for? What should you avoid? How will you be able to monitor the care to make sure it is what your parent requires? How will you be able to afford it?

 

We help families with these questions every day and we can assist you. We want to share with you our top three tips that we share with our clients and professional advisors when they are seeking Florida elder care help.

 

Tip 1: Start off by making a list with your requirements.

 

What do you and your parent require from the Florida skilled nursing facility? Does the nursing home need to be a certain distance from you or your siblings? Does your parent require any specialty care? Is the nursing home equipped to meet specific care needs? How often are elder care conferences held? Before you go on a tour or sign a contract, make a list of your needs and make sure the facility is able to meet them.

 

Tip 2: Do your research.

 

Research can show you facilities that are in your parent’s home town and give you an idea of the services each skilled nursing facility provides to residents. Don’t hesitate to search for references from friends and family or to ask your elder care attorney for recommendations. Getting educated on your options and knowing what to expect can help you and your elderly parent with this transition.

 

Tip 3: Take tours of the skilled nursing facilities you select.

 

Narrow down your list from your research and visit each nursing home. Taking a tour of potential skilled nursing facilities can help you better understand and evaluate where your parent could be living. While on your tour, be sure to eat a meal and pay attention to how the staff interacts with the residents. Sitting in on a group activity can also allow you to have a better idea of the structure of the nursing home. Is it more of a family setting? Are residents stimulated? Are the levels of care represented similar to what your parent needs?

 

Don’t wait to get the help you need. This means communicating with all of your loved ones who will be involved in this process and working with a knowledgeable elder care law attorney. We work with our Florida seniors and their children to find solutions that provide excellent elder care at a cost the family is able to afford. While at first this may seem to be an insurmountable task, we are more than qualified, ready and able to assist you. Call us at (877) 977 – ELDER or contact us through our website to discuss the planning you need.