"Long Term Care Insurance can cover the costs of Assisted Living, Homecare or a Nursing Home; plan for the future"
Posts Tagged ‘Alzheimers’s care’
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…)
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…)
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.
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…)
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…)
Tuesday, October 6th, 2009
Caregiver Support in Toronto
Those who are caring for an elderly relative know the kind of emotional and physical toll it can take. That’s why support groups for caregivers have sprouted up all over the Toronto area.
Support groups in Toronto fall into two basic categories. The first are moderated support groups, which feature various experts who come in to share information with members of the group. The second group are self-moderated groups, which are more traditional support groups that focus on caregivers supporting one another by sharing problems they have and solutions they have found.
Alzheimer Society of Toronto Support Groups
Here’s a list of a few of the support groups for caregivers in Toronto, offered by the Alzheimer Society of Toronto:
Early Onset Alzheimer’s – Family Support Group: Contact Xochil Amaya, Counsellor, at 416-322-6560. Pre-registration is required for this group.
Frontotemporal Dementia Family Support Group: Contact Nora McKellin, Counsellor, at 416-322-6560. Pre-registration is required for this group.
Lewy Body Family Support Group: Contact Desiree Jones, Counsellor, at 416-322-6560.
Vascular Dementia Family Support Group: Contact Caitlin Agla, Counsellor, at 416-322-6560.
Workshops for Caregivers at Family Service Toronto
In addition to support groups, such as those listed above, Family Service Toronto offers ongoing workshops to help caregivers learn how to help their elderly relatives or friends. These workshops are all free, but pre-registration is required. You can register by calling 416-595-9618. Here is a list of their upcoming workshops:
“Long Distance Caregiving”: Monday, October 19, 6pm – 8pm.
“Advocating for Your Relative”: Wednesday, November 18, 12pm – 2pm.
“Finding the Joy in Caregiving”: Thursday, December 3, 12pm – 2pm.
In addition to these workshops, Family Services also offers a Caregiver Discussion Group. The group meets on Monday per month from 6pm – 8pm. Again, the Discussion Group is free, but pre-registration is required.
Caregiver stress can interfere with your ability to offer care to your elderly loved one. Support groups and workshops like those listed above are great ways to reduce that stress, learn new coping strategies, and make connections with others in the same situation as yourself.
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.
Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009
Seniors are living longer than ever before in Canada, and as the baby boomers start to hit age 65 in the next few years, the “baby boom” generation will become the “elder boom” generation. Right now, seniors represent about 12.5% of the Canadian population; by 2021, they will represent closer to 20%, or one out of every five Canadians.
Already, health expenditures for seniors are disproportionately large to the senior population. Although seniors are only 12.5% of the population, they account for 42.8% of the total health care expenditures. Alzheimer’s alone costs Canada nearly $4 billion per year, and by 2031 the number of Canadians with dementia is expected to double. Furthermore, while the cost of caring for elders is relatively reasonable for those elders younger than 85, once seniors pass the 85 year mark, the cost of care more than doubles. This is a point of concern, as more and more seniors are living longer. In fact, by the year 2056, the number of seniors above the age of 80 is expected to triple – from one in thirty seniors to one in ten.
If you are a government minister, looking at these cost figures will make you swallow hard.
The Canadian government has not paid particularly much for long term care for its most elderly citizens. Access to government-funded nursing homes is challenging; wait lists can be up to two years long, but the care itself does not have a particularly good reputation. Meanwhile, most private long term care facilities are unaffordable for most families, costing anywhere from $40,000 to $70,000 per year. Public and non-profit nursing homes are certainly more affordable, but recent government spending cuts have made even these long term care facilities unaffordable or close to unaffordable.
It is fair to say that the Canadian health care system is in a state of crisis. It is easy to see that the aging population will put even greater stress on the health care system, and funding long term care for seniors in Canada will grow harder by the year.
What does the future hold for government funding for long term care in Canada? Will the government have no choice but to create a more privatized system of health care delivery – which has proven to be both costly and inefficient in the United States? Or will the government and its people find a creative solution for the ever-increasing cost of caring for seniors? Time will tell. In the meantime, caregivers of seniors in Canada (and soon-to-be-seniors) should live by one golden rule: use preventive methods to keep your elders in as good shape as possible, because by the time they develop chronic diseases, funding for them might no longer be available.
Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009
Robbing elders of their personality, their memory, and their independence, Alzheimer’s disease is one of the cruelest diseases of old age. As if the cruelty of the disease itself weren’t enough, caring for a senior citizen suffering from Alzheimer’s is difficult and expensive. In 1994, the net cost of caring for Alzheimer’s patients in Canada was nearly $4 billion. Today, the Alzheimer Society of Canada estimates that this figure has risen to $5.5 billion. As the population ages, this number will only increase.
What about the individual cost of care of seniors with Alzheimer’s in Canada? A study in 2006 in the International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry found that the average cost to caregivers of elders with Alzheimer’s was almost $1,300 per month. And as Alzheimer’s patients gradually suffered more from the disease, this cost went up by $30 per month for every one point increase in the patient’s MMSE score.
Slowing the Progression of the Disease is Also Cost-Effective
Because the cost of caring for an elder with Alzheimer’s disease increases as his or her mental state deteriorates, slowing the progress of the disease is not just good health policy but also good economic policy.
The drug Rivastigmine (also known as Exelon) is one fairly common pharmaceutical treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. A 1997 study that appeared in the journal Clinical Therapeutics found that Rivastigmine saved $0.45 per day after six months, and as much as $6.44 per day after two years.
Future Factors in the Costs of Alzheimer’s Disease
In 2007, 88 year-old Sydney Salter, who suffered from dementia, wandered away from his retirement home and died in a parking lot from hypothermia. When Alberta judge Ronald Jacobson studied the case, one suggestion he offered was to study the possibility of putting GPS tracking ankle bracelets onto elders suffering from Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.
Some think the judge’s suggestion is a sound one. Others balk, including Mary Anne Jablonski, who is Alberta’s minister of seniors and community. In an interview with the CBC News, she compared the idea to George Orwell’s book 1984, in which Big Brother was always watching. The Alzheimer Society of Canada fears that ankle bracelets will only further escalate the costs associated with Alzheimer’s.
Studies suggest that a careful look at the cost-effectiveness of different Alzheimer’s treatments have not yet been explored. As the Canadian baby boom generation enters their twilight years, such an exploration is certainly necessary.