What Will You do if Alzheimer’s Moves to South Florida?
Currently in our nation, there are approximately 6 million people who have the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. Within the next two decades, that number is expected to increase to 11-16 million if there are no medical breakthroughs. As of yet, there are no known preventative measures, and there is no cure for Alzheimer’s. As our baby boomers enter into senior status, the numbers of those who will at some time succumb to Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia will increase dramatically. Are you prepared?
No want wants to think about long-term care, or end of life care when they are healthy and viable. For many, there is a “well, let’s wait and see” attitude. However, it is imperative that such directives are discussed and planned to avoid not only financial ruin, but also family misunderstandings. Lets consider the following example as a common occurrence when families fail to plan.
Dad has been suffering with some mild dementia over the past 2 years, but Mom insists that everything is okay and she is handling it. They still continue to do the previous activities they used to do, but suddenly Mom has landed in the hospital, having gotten injured. Dad decided to drive, and Mom was unable to say no to him. He became belligerent when she tried to take the keys, and to avoid confrontation she allowed him to drive-and as a result, an accident occurred. And this is not the first time Mom has gotten hurt either. Now you, their son, living a state away has decided to step in and take over their care. Dad is in a facility, and Mom is angry. The courts must now decide. The son has been awarded temporary guardianship as he tries to move his parents closer to help them. Mom thinks he just wants their assets. Brother and sister want nothing to do with it. You feel like everyone hates you. Your best intentions to keep Mom and Dad safe are not seen as such, and your happy loving family may never recover.
This is just one snapshot of a family in crisis, a family that used to be great. Avoiding such a situation takes just one simple first step – talking. No one expects such conversations to be easy. Take a chance and get the big “but what if’s” out there on the table. Decide who will take charge “if” someone becomes mentally or physically incapacitated and decide what type of care is preferred “if” someone starts showing signs of dementia. Decide sooner rather than later before things spiral out of control. Start talking to get these general questions answered, and from there planning can begin on the logistics.
Sometimes adult children or other family members find they are too close to the situation to have productive discussions. In this situation, an independent professional known as a Geriatric Care Manager can help. Typically nurses or social workers, these advocates provide an arms-length independent assessment with specific recommendations as seen through the lens of a professional.
For help assessing the situation and navigating South Florida Alzheimer’s resources, consider the services of a Geriatric Care Manager. For Geriatric Care Management in South Florida, visit Advocare at http://www.caremanage.com.
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