Tag Archives: dementia

Why Elder Care Should Matter to You Too

24 Aug

I’m committed to finding ways to advocate for aging populations. And while I’ve been lax with original content for this space, I have been dutifully keeping up with the latest in issues relating to seniors, aging, dementia and elder care. I do so by reading as much as I can on these subjects whenever I can steal a moment.

With a rapidly aging global population and the likelihood of more individuals than ever before being afflicted with dementia,there seems to be a new study or report released every day. Many of these studies are from  highly reputable institutions. Others are from businesses looking to profit off the coming “grey tsunami” .
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Watch Out for Well-Attired Caregivers

21 Jul

Sadly, elder abuse is far more common than most of us realize. It’s certainly not an unfamiliar concept to me. Both my mother and my late uncle were victimized by paid caregivers.

A few years ago,  my brother and I were given three hours notice that my mother was to be released from hospital but would require around-the-clock care for several months. We didn’t have a clue how to hire a care giver. All we knew was my mother really wanted to go home and the hospital wanted its bed back.  Lorna was the only applicant I spoke with and I hired her immediately. She seemed trustworthy and competent. And she was immediately available.

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My Little Black Book

17 Jul

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If someone you love is living in a long term care home, chances are you have a version of my little black book. I have another one for my mother, but I kept this one next to my bedside phone so I could scribble down notes for the many calls I took relating to my uncle.

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Dementia and Aging Aren’t Synonomous

25 Jun

I had my introduction to dementia on my uncle’s 91st birthday. He had been hospitalized and it was the first time I heard the term Lewy Body disease. Prior to his late 80s my uncle’s retirement years were anything but typical: at 65 he started a business and ran it quite successfully for well over 20 years. He read voraciously and could converse about complicated subjects with utter confidence.  He lived independently and his only health complaints were poor hearing and arthritic knees.

Looking back, signs of my uncle having dementia appeared long before that visit to the hospital. But I mistakenly believed those indicators were part and parcel with aging. I naively thought his increasing habit of repeating the same story over and over again was funny. It was only after he had several falls and started swearing at me that I suspected something more than normal aging was at play.

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Is it Alzheimer or is it Selective Memory?

6 Jun

My mother is somewhere between stage five and stage six in the progression of her alzheimer disease. This means gaps in her memory and thinking have become more and more noticeable. She also requires increasing amounts of help with daily activities.  As long as I can remember my mother has had selective memory. As her dementia has progressed, her ability to remember things the way she would like to remember them has become even more so. For example:

She can remember an expensive leather suit she really thinks she ought to have with her in the nursing home, but she can’t remember it’s been at least 30 years since she wore it.

She can remember I haven’t shared a copy of her tax statement but she can’t remember her failing eyesight made it virtually impossible for her to read or understand any of last year’s.

She can remember wanting to call the police to have me arrested when she discovered I had removed all her lovely high heel shoes from her home. And she regrets not doing so. But she can’t remember tripping and falling repeatedly before her Imelda Marcos-like footwear collection was culled.

She can remember just about anything of value she’s ever owned. But she can’t remember that almost all of these items are no longer of use to her.

She can remember she has grandchildren. But she can’t always remember their names. Not that she cared much for their names anyway.

Most mystifying of all, she can remember she needs to see any number of medical specialists, but she can’t remember she has Alzheimer’s.

Does the CCAC Really Work for You?

22 Apr

If you live in Ontario and are responsible for overseeing the personal affairs of an aging relative, chances are you’re already familiar with the CCAC.

The CCAC received $2 billion from the province in 2012 which amounts to slightly less than 4.6 per cent of Ontario’s total health care spending. It is a centralized body created to connect individuals with health care services, some of which are subsidized and some of which are not.  The acronym stands for Community Care Access Centre.  Although CCAC exists to coordinate health-related services for all Ontarians, almost half of its clients are over 65.

If you were to read the CCAC website, you might think it is a wonderful organization staffed by highly qualified individuals who are committed to making the life of every Ontario citizen that much better.  I’m sure there are some excellent professionals employed by CCAC . I am just not convinced there are enough of them, or enough services, to properly meet the needs of an already increasingly aging population. Additionally, I find it alarming that postings for CCAC case managers ask for only one year of work experience.

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More on Montessori for Seniors

20 Mar

In my earlier post today about the similarities between people with dementia and very young children, I briefly mentioned Montessori methods as being good for both age groups. The following video shows how one retirement home in Toronto uses Montessori techniques as part of its dementia care programming.

When my son was two, he was given the same clothes pin exercise while attending a Montessori. It helped with his fine motor skills

The L’Chaim Retirement Home is on Sheppard Ave. west of Bathurst St. I’m not familiar with it, but might have to check it out for my mother.

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