When Money and Memory Seem to Fail
Financial planning seems to be an endless process. Your parents planned for your future; as you grew up, you planned for your spouse and children; as the nest emptied out, you planned for your retirement. And now, the cycle takes a turn: you may be planning for your parents’ future, especially if dementia or other senior-care needs are thrown into the mix. If that is the case, the time to start planning is now.
The costs for senior care, especially for dementia patients, can take you by surprise, and may change as the disease progresses. You can explore your options with insurance and other benefits, but don’t expect outside assistance to cover all the costs. The following are some common costs to keep in mind, as well as the fact that costs may vary according to your location and providers.
When the Patient Is Truly at a Loss for Words
On average, we communicate about 15,000 words per day. A small percentage of that is considered meaningful by researchers. The human brain is remarkably capable of processing this onslaught of verbal missiles, as well as tone of voice and body language. However, the parts of the brain that process communication are progressively affected by Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, making even simple communication increasingly difficult.
As we age, we commonly begin to forget or substitute simple words and even names. Our train of thought can easily get derailed, or we get tangled up in multiple conversations or story lines. We can choose to laugh these off as signs of old age or become frustrated and withdraw. But when these symptoms become pronounced, they may signal the onset of a form of dementia.
Although your loved one with dementia may have lost their fluency, all is not lost as far as communicating. Following a few simple rules and keeping it simple will help keep the lines of communication open as much as possible. And remember, don’t take things personally. When the conversation or language comes across as offensive, it’s the disease talking, not the person’s heart.
Working Out the Best Workout Plan for Dementia
Exercise is one of those things that usually finds its way onto your list of New Year’s resolutions, then eventually gets lost. We think of the benefits exercise has for the body, whether it be maintaining our health or recovering from illness or accident. When a person has dementia, we might think exercise and activity would be wasted on someone who has limited responsibility and responsiveness, and perhaps little time left to enjoy life, such as it is. But that is far from the truth.
Exercise and activity benefit the mind as well as the body, especially for someone afflicted with dementia. After all, a dementia patient is still a person with a body and soul that need stimulation and training. A well-planned and well-managed exercise routine can increase the quality of life of your loved one by providing them with pleasure and purpose. It can also help when dealing with challenging behaviors.
Exercise and activity don’t necessarily mean hiking down to the local fitness club or cluttering up the house with barbells and designer sneakers; a little common sense and advice from a medical professional can start you and your loved one on that path to purpose and pleasure.
One of the joys of retirement is the ability to travel without worrying about missing work. Now you can visit some of those places you worried about missing when you were tied down to a job, and not worry about safety.
Besides the toothbrush and travel alarm clock, there are many things a senior must consider before locking up the house and leaving your worries behind. For example, you don’t want to leave your medications and important papers behind. Here are some tips to help your vacation go as smoothly as possible.
Is It a Good Idea to Take a Dementia Patient to a Fireworks Display?
For Americans, the Fourth of July is a day to celebrate freedom and independence. John Adams wrote to his wife Abigail that what we now call Independence Day “will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival” and that the celebration should include “Pomp and Parade…Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other.” It is a day of joyous, raucous celebration. However, for loved ones suffering from dementia, there is little freedom and independence.
In fact, loud noises and a flurry of activity can trigger negative emotions and reactions. Motorcycles, loud cars, airplanes, barking dogs, fireworks — many common sounds can cause the patient to become distressed and agitated.
So, is it a good idea to take your loved one to a fireworks display? It depends, and the results can be unpredictable. If he or she has shown signs of distress at loud noises, it might be best to forego the festivities, or at least the noisy parts.