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Archive for the ‘Alzheimer’s Care’ Category

Dealing with a Mother’s Dementia: One Texas Caregiver’s Journey

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

Beatriz Terrazas is a journalist, writer, photographer- and a caregiver for her mother, who suffers from Alzheimer’s Disease. Beatriz resides in Dallas, Texas, while her sister Angelica and her mother reside in El Paso, Texas. Angelica is the primary caregiver, while Beatriz provides caregiver respite to her sister and also performs administrative tasks such as researching Medicaid coverage and making doctor’s appointments. (more…)

A Virginia Assisted Living Facility Offers Innovative Alzheimer’s Care

Sunday, November 28th, 2010

Quite often, individuals suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease require skilled nursing and memory care that is outside the capacity of well-meaning family members and friends. The caregivers of Alzheimer’s patients, who are usually their adult children, are also often taking care of their own children. Such caregivers are part of the “sandwich generation,” a segment of the population that is trying to balance the demands of a full-time job with those of a nuclear family, and then trying to balance these demands with those of an aging parent. (more…)

Can Assisted Living Facilities Adequately Care for Alzheimer’s Residents?

Thursday, August 19th, 2010

Some assisted living facilities portray themselves as being capable of attending to all types of residents, including those who suffer from Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia. However, there is a big difference between the skilled nursing that is provided at a nursing home versus the non-skilled service that is provided at assisted living facilities. Nursing homes are also likely to have sufficient staff in place, as well as the specialized medical and surveillance equipment, that is needed for adequately taking care of Alzheimer’s or dementia patients.

Long Term Care Options

Friday, July 30th, 2010

When considering long term care for a friend or relative, you may be interested to know that there are several options available to you in addition to skilled nursing homes or assisted living facilities. Some options are less costly than others, while others allow for the individual to remain in his or her home. (more…)

Alzheimer’s..What are the signs?

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

Alzheimer’s..What are the signs?

About 500,000 Canadians across the country currently suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, a degenerative neurological condition which gradually robs a person of memory, cognitive function, and eventually of life. Anyone who has ever cared for someone with Alzheimer’s knows how devastating this disease can be, and how important it is to catch the disease early in order to slow its progression as much as possible. Here are eight common signs of Alzheimer’s disease everyone with an aging loved one should know: (more…)

Alzheimer’s Care, Alberta

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

Alzheimer’s Care — Alberta

Alzheimer’s disease is a devastating, degenerative neurological condition which attacks the brain and central nervous system and eventually leads to a crippling dementia. Affecting mood, memory, emotions, and behaviour, Alzheimer’s gradually robs a person of their ability to function normally and support themselves. Alzheimer’s patients must eventually have around-the-clock care in an institutional setting such as a nursing home, or by a caring relative, spouse, or friend. Alzheimer’s has the ability to cause death, but not everyone with Alzheimer’s dies directly as a result of the disease.

The Stages of Alzheimer’s Disease (more…)

Caregiver Issues: Elder Care and the Workplace, Calgary Alberta

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

Caregiver Issues: Elder Care and the Workplace

As Canadians age, more and more work-aged adults are finding themselves juggling their work obligations with family obligations related to caring for elderly relatives and loved ones. Eighty percent of the elder care in Canada is provided by family members, and about 60% of caregivers are women – women who often have children of their own still living at home, and are balancing motherhood with careers and caring for an older parent, parent-in-law, or other elderly relative. How are businesses responding to the new family obligations affecting their workforce? Here’s a look at how the balance between elder care and work is unfolding in Canada.

Canadian Aging Research Network (CARNET) (more…)

Effects of Caregiver Stress; Oakville, Ontario

Monday, September 28th, 2009

Because of the baby boom generation, Canada’s median age is about to increase by quite a bit. In fact, by the year 2020, a full 20% of people living in most provinces in Canada will be over the age of 65. While these aging baby boomers will be healthier, more active, and live longer than their parents’ generation, nonetheless they will face the same problems that the elderly have always faced: they will gradually become physically weaker, cognitively weaker, and require long term care from their families or from a long term care facility.

Who are Canada’s Caregivers?

Most long term care for our elders still happens within the family. A recent survey discovered that nearly 2.5 million Canadians older than 45 are primary caregiver for an elderly family member or close friend. Of these caregivers, the majority are women (about 60%), and those most often cared for are parents or parents-in-law.

Caregiving Takes a Toll

Caring for elderly loved ones is not easy. About 53% of Canadians over the age of 65 have a severe to moderate disability. Caring for someone with these sorts of needs, while simultaneously caring for oneself and one’s own family, can lead to a great deal of stress for the caregivers. More than two-thirds of the women who care for an elderly loved one also hold down a job, while nearly 80% of men who are caregivers hold down a job.

Valinda Woods of Oakville, ON, knows what this is like. A teaching assistant in Oakville, Woods has a 90 year old father with Alzheimer’s disease who lives in his own home because he refuses to leave his house of 55 years for a long term care facility. Woods frequently leaves her job for an extended lunch in order to run errands for her father and check on him. While Woods has a very understanding employer, she wonders what would happen if her employing was less sympathetic to her plight, or if she had the sort of job that required her to be in the classroom all day.

Recognizing the Signs of Caregiver Stress

Here are a few of the signs of caregiver stress, as listed by the Alzheimer Society of Canada:

- Withdrawing socially from interacting with friends or participating in hobbies.
- Anxiety and depression.
- Exhaustion coupled with sleeplessness.
- Lack of concentration.
- Weight gain, weight loss, or increased susceptibility to sickness.

If you notice these sorts of symptoms of stress in your own life, reach out to a support group or advocacy group to help you find creative ways to cope.

Alzheimer’s Care Nova Scotia

Monday, September 28th, 2009

Alzheimer’s Care in Nova Scotia

Helena “Heli” Munroe earned her Ph.D. in cognitive psychology, with her specialty in Alzheimer’s disease. But this didn’t protect Dr. Munroe from succumbing to Alzheimer’s herself. Originally from the UK, Heli Munroe and her husband Alasdair lived in Nova Scotia. As her descent into Alzheimer’s began, the two lived near Fisherman’s Memorial Hospital, where she received most of her therapy.

But in 2005, something quite unusual happened. Dr. Munroe was taken by her brother to England, because he claimed that she was very unhappy in Nova Scotia. Her husband was shocked by his brother-in-law’s action, and accused him of kidnapping his wife. Mr. Munroe was even more shocked when he realized he did not have legal guardianship over the woman whose rapid cognitive decline was made it impossible to make clear her own wishes about where she wanted to live and with whom.

While for Mr. Munroe the action was kidnapping, for Heli’s family it was rescuing. The family accused Alasdair Munroe of domestic abuse, which he vehemently denied. Some nurses who worked with Heli Munroe did suggest that Mr. Munroe’s behavior was sometimes concerning, and even more concerning was the couple’s estranged son living in a remote area of British Columbia, who claimed he had seen his father choking his mother before. But friends of the family – including Heli Munroe’s doctors – supported Munroe’s rebuttal of the accusations.

Meanwhile, Heli Munroe could not speak for herself.

Finally, in the fall of 2009, Heli Munroe’s ashes returned to her husband in Nova Scotia. Over the summer, Dr. Heli Munroe had slipped into a coma and died of Alzheimer’s. Just as he had fought for the return of his wife, he also fought to have her ashes returned. This battle, he won. But it is a bittersweet victory.

Who Can Make Decisions About Alzheimer’s Care?

The family feud over Heli Munroe underscored a need for clearer laws regarding care for those with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, both in Nova Scotia and throughout Canada. Specifically, does the spouse or the family speak for the individual with Alzheimer’s by default?

For more information regarding care for elders with Alzheimer’s in Nova Scotia, a good place to start is the Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia. An advocacy and support group for people with Alzheimer’s and their family, their website makes it easy to find resources on the latest research on Alzheimer’s disease, as well as links to services for people living with Alzheimer’s in Nova Scotia.

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