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Dealing with Alzheimers and Dementia

Dealing with Alzheimers and Dementia

One of the hardest things I have to deal with as an Elder Law attorney is talking to caregivers watching their parents’ and spouses’ mental capabilities deteriorate due to Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Serving as the current chair of the Alzheimer’s and Dementia Resource Center and as a board member for the past eight years, I’m quite familiar with the ravages and uncertainties of this terrible disease. Often, caregivers aren’t sure whether or not their loved one is dealing with Alzheimers and Dementia and have a lot of difficulty taking away freedoms that many of us take for granted, even if they’re doing it to keep that person safe.

How can you tell your husband, wife, or parent that they’re not allowed to drive anymore? Or that they can’t leave the house without you because you’re afraid that they might wander off? And how do you know when things have gotten bad enough that you should declare the person legally incompetent? Before doing anything, it’s important that you know the different signs you should look for, as well as how the disease progresses.

Signs and Symptom’s of Alzheimer’s and Dementia

It’s important to remember that just having a few of these symptoms doesn’t mean that your loved one definitely has Alzheimer’s or dementia. Medical experts have divided Alzheimer’s and dementia into seven stages, from no impairment during the first stage to very severe decline in the final one. But if you notice that they are suffering from a large number of the symptoms over a long period of time and the problem appears to be getting worse, their chances of having the disease increase.

  • Memory loss. We all forget things but those with dementia and Alzheimer’s often ask for the same information over and over—especially recent information. Others in more advanced stages simply seem to forget important events and dates in their life completely.
  • Inappropriate behavior. Some people may start to ignore social norms such as bathing regularly, wearing clothes when they go outside, or speaking politely around others.
  • Time and place confusion. You may notice your loved one having trouble remembering where they are, how they got there, and what’s happening to them.
  • Difficulty in following directions and solving problems. Does a recipe that was once simple now take them twice as long? Do they get lost when traveling to familiar places? Do they have trouble keeping track of their bills each month?

An Elder Law Attorney Can Give Caregivers the Tools to Cope

When people reach Stage 5 of Alzheimer’s, the disease can be difficult for caregivers to handle on their own and they may wish to seek out long term care. If their loved one isn’t agreeable, this may necessitate them being declared incompetent. To talk further about this major step, contact The Law Office of Kathleen Flammia today.