One hundred and eight years have passed since Dr. Alois Alzheimer first described a disease now recognized as a progressive degenerative neurological condition. Within that time span, a host of neurological conditions that cause dementia have been identified. It's safe to describe Alzheimer's as an “umbrella term,” encompassing numerous symptoms of progressive degenerative dementias. Some of the most familiar include Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD); multi-infarct dementia (MID); Frontotemporal dementia; Parkinson's disease (PD); Lewy body disease; and Huntington's disease.
Because Alzheimer's-type dementia destroys memory it has a profound impact on language skills related to word finding, organizing/completing one's thoughts, and following directions. Depending on how long the person lives with dementia, over time he will probably experience a number of the following issues :
Agnosia: Inability to interpret sensations and recognize familiar objects. The person has difficult knowing the meaning of what he sees, hears, smells, touches, or tastes. He may not recognize familiar faces, his surroundings, and/or distinguish between his and others' belongings.
Anomia: Inability to find the right word, name an object, or express an idea.
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Every day presents new challenges for a loved one living with Alzheimer's and for you, the caregiver. If you feel as though you wake up to a new world every day, please know that you are not alone; ongoing shifts and changes are hallmarks of this dementia. Every caregiver faces similar challenges. Be ready to shift from plan A to plan B and sometimes to plan C. Have supports ready in the wings to assist you. And please, don't try to go this alone. Remember, in the name of caregivers everywhere, that we do our work Together With Alzheimer's.
What Is Alzheimer's?
MARK YOU CALENDARS--UPCOMING EVENT:
TOGETHER WITH ALZHEIMER'S: CARE AND SUPPORT FOR THE CAREGIVER
Join us as Trish Scott, PT, demonstrates "Exercising During the Winter Months."
7:00-8:00, Wednesday, January 21, 2015
Sacred Heart Parish Center,
326 Main St, Yarmouth, Maine
Co-Occurring Conditions of Alzheimer's
How to Change Difficult Behavior
Being a caregiver is a tough job, one we can do, especially when we have the right support.
As Christopher Robin tells Pooh:
"Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think."
So are we.
Caregivers are understandably absorbed by the intricacies of attending to the daily living needs of their loved ones: feeding, dressing, toileting, and organizing opportunities for exercise, socialization, and other forms of mental stimulation. Underlying these activities and often making them possible is the realm of the financial: funding for the supports needed for those dealing with dementia: insurance to cover medical, including psychiatric care; skilled nursing; dental and eye care; therapies including physical therapy and speech and language therapy; home health aides; transportation to and from appointments; and expenses related to remodeling that allow your loved one to remain at home.
Those caregivers fortunate enough to have a support team that includes a person conversant with the federal tax code most likely are aware of the many deductions available to them and/or their loved one. For those less familiar with those regulations, this article highlights information pertinent to caregivers.
For additional details and specifics re: the regulations and any exceptions to the rules, refer to IRS Publication 502, available online: http://www.irs.gov/uac/Publication-502,-Medical-and-Dental-Expenses-1.
Don't let the the details and exceptions delineated within the tax code surprise you--contact a qualified financial adviser such as an attorney, accountant, or one of the resources identified within this article to discuss your particular situation. If you find that in years past o you've overlooked important deductions, don't panic; you can most likely file an amended return.
If I'm caring for a relative, may I claim their medical expenses on my income taxes? Whose medical expenses may I deduct?
You may claim medical expenses that you paid for for yourself, your spouse, or a dependent, referred to in IRS-speak as a “Qualifying Relative.”
The qualifying relative must have been your dependent either a) at the time the medical services were provided or b) at the time you paid the expenses.
So, who, exactly, is considered a “Qualifying Relative”?
Your brother, sister, half brother, half sister, or their son or daughter.
Father, mother, or an ancestor or sibling of either of them (e.g., your grandmother, grandfather, aunt, or uncle).
Stepbrother, stepsister, stepfather, stepmother, son-in-law or daughter-in-law, father-in-law, or mother-in-law, brother-in-law or sister-in-law.
Anyone--other than your spouse--living with you all year as a legal member of your household.
The qualifying relative must be a U.S. Citizen, a national or a resident of the United States, Canada, or Mexico.
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Caring for the Caregiver:
Tips for January
Because Alzheimer's affects language in so many ways,
here are a few guidelines for communicating with your loved one:
Be an engaged, interested listener.
When your loved one misplaces his words, help him fill in the blanks.
Pay attention to facial expressions and body language and respond appropriately.
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The Caregiver's Journey:
Tools, Tips, and Provisions
A guide to assist caregivers,
from novice to seasoned,
in thoughtful, person-centered planning.
Based on twelve years experience as caregiver, advocate, and point-person for her mother's care, award-winning author Catherine Gentile offers a guide to caregiving that is compassionate, candid and practical.
Your Caregiving Journey: Tools, Tips, and Provisions will give you:
Intimate, insightful reflections on the nature of caregiving, its challenges and joys
Descriptions of the many stages of caregiving
Practical tools that promote your loved one's well being and yours
Lists of considerations--legal, medical, financial—and directions on how to break large jobs into doable parts.
A support team: its members and why you need one
Tips on how to prioritize
Management advice on communication, repetitions, and behavior management—yours and your loved one's!
Caregivers: Take care of yourself, too.
Easy-to-read, ebook format: available at: www.catherinegentile.com.
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Together With Alzheimer's.
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