Archive for September, 2016

Back to School With Alzheimer’s

Posted on: September 27th, 2016 by Jamie

Alzheimer’s in School

back to schoolIt’s September – school is back in session and I recently came across a few articles I want to share. The first, from Colorado Public Radio about intergenerational learning where a group of seventh graders in Denver were involved in a service learning project featuring seniors with Alzheimer’s.

The second article is within the first one as a link to England’s Intergenerational Schools Project. In 2012, the UK Alzheimer’s Society began working on the Dementia4Schools Project as part of the Prime Minister’s Challenge on Dementia. The project has become a comprehensive (and accredited) model for education in the classroom and in the community too. There are now hundreds of schools in England termed “dementia-friendly”.

The third features an inner-city charter school in Cleveland where residents of a local retirement community, including those with Alzheimer’s, are volunteers.

These are the facts:
• More than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s and that number is growing fast.
• Every 66 seconds someone in the United States develops the disease.
• One in nine people age 65 and older has Alzheimer’s disease.
• It is the 6th leading cause of death in the U.S. and is the only disease among the top 10 causes of death that cannot be prevented, cured or even slowed. It is the 6th leading cause of death here.

Integrating Alzheimer’s education into the school curriculum makes so much sense, as we can see from the facts above, Alzheimer’s affects almost everyone in the U.S. directly or indirectly. Through education, our children would develop compassion and empathy while removing the isolation or stigma that having a family member with Alzheimer’s might otherwise cause. In addition, students would learn valuable social skills and create connections with a different generation. These connections would also benefit the older participant.
Resources for Kids (and You)

Even though we do not have a call to action here in the United States to educate our kids about Alzheimer’s in school, there are resources for you, your family and beyond. These are from the Alzheimer’s Disease Education and Referral Center at the National Institute on Aging. Here are videos and resources for children and young people from the “Life with Alzheimer’s Disease” section of the Alzheimer’s Association website. Use the left column navigation to select books and videos by age.

 
Back to the facts: unfortunately, by 2050, someone in the United States will develop the disease every 33 seconds and the number of people age 65 and older with Alzheimer’s disease may nearly triple, from 5.2 million to a projected 13.8 million, barring the development of medical breakthroughs to prevent or cure the disease. With this in mind, we owe it to every citizen to increase awareness and understanding for those moving through the stages of Alzheimer’s and their families, friends, neighbors and communities.

The End of Alzheimer’s Starts With You and Me

Posted on: September 19th, 2016 by Jamie

Walk to End Alzheimer'sThe End Of Alzheimer’s Starts With You

That is the one of the Alzheimer’s Association slogans. Yesterday was the 2016 Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Shelburne, Vermont. The Walk is the Alzheimer’s Association’s largest national event to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s care, support and research. Vermont Walks were held in Rutland and St. Johnsbury earlier this month; the last one is in Bennington on September 25.

 

This was my first Walk. As the daughter and former full-time Caregiver to a parent with dementia, I was very moved. It was a sea of purple; a visual illustrating how many of us have been touched by the disease. The Promise Garden was also powerful. Each registered walker chose a Promise Garden flower that best represented their connection to the disease: blue represents someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia, purple is for someone who has lost a loved one to the disease, yellow represents someone who is currently supporting or caring for someone with Alzheimer’s and orange is for everyone who supports the cause and vision of a world without Alzheimer’s. After the official kick-off -complete with surprise appearance by Vermont’s own Grace Potter– the Walk began and volunteers stayed behind to “plant” our chosen flowers. Shelburne Museum provided the perfect backdrop for the Walk with its gorgeous grounds, buildings and outdoor exhibits. Finishing the Walk and looking out at the Promise Garden was a sight I won’t soon forget; I am already looking forward to the 2017 Walk to End Alzheimer’s.

 

Armistead Senior Care was proud to volunteer, walk and participate. We are honored to be a part of such a special day and we appreciate all of the planning and hard work put in by our local chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association and their volunteer committees. Thank You-Walk To End Alzheimer'sand the End of Alzheimer’s Starts With All Of Us.

 

Walk To End Alzheimer's Walk to End Alzheimer's

 

The Cycles of Life Part 7

Posted on: September 13th, 2016 by Jamie

the Cycles of LifeThroughout these Cycles of Life posts, I have mentioned “list” several times. In this age of technology, I must admit that I am a fan of good old-fashioned paper. Don’t get me wrong, I love my smart phone and use it all the time but I also have a binder and a notebook for each of my parents. I find the binder is very helpful at doctor appointments and especially during a hospital visit or stay. The binder allows me to add, maintain and find their health care information easily plus I don’t need wi-fi or a data plan to use it.

 

 

Each binder includes: name, address, and phone number(s), complete emergency contact information, copies of health insurance information, complete list of all health care providers and their contact information, list of current medication(s) including what the medicine is for and list of medical issues/concerns. I also keep copies of the advance directive and the DNR/COLST in each binder. I divide my binder into sections: by each health care provider, medication and pharmacy information and hospital visits. For regular doctor appointments, the after-visit summary is printed and placed into the binder along with any other information/notes from the visit. This is what works for me. If you help with your loved one’s with their finances, the binder also becomes a valuable tool for cross-referencing medical bills and insurance statements with doctor visits, etc.

 

binder
For hospital visits and stays, I cannot stress this enough: write everything down. Begin the minute you walk in the door. Use whatever method works for you, paper or electronic, but do it. If you have entered via the ER and your loved one uses Medicare as their primary insurance, make sure you are aware of their hospital status: “inpatient” or “outpatient”. Even if they stay in the hospital overnight, they may still be considered an “outpatient” if they have not been admitted. This distinction is important to know so you need to ask. Here is a Medicare publication that helps define these terms and explain how this relates to coverage.

 

Time usually moves at the slowest pace you have ever experienced during a hospital stay. I keep track of the room number and name of the floor the room is on (patients are moved around), the name of the doctor overseeing the care, how often and when is that person around, will that person change (weekly or daily) and if so what is the name of the next person coming on. I always write down the name of anyone I speak with and what their position is. I ask what tests are being run, what the tests are for, when the test will be run, when the results will be ready, names of medications that have been given, what the medicine is for, what the diagnoses is, how certain they are, what other specialists are being called in on the case and why, and what happens next. Take as many notes as you can in the moment and copy them over as needed- did I mention that time moves very slowly at the hospital?

 
I also research what I can online and write down any questions that arise from my research. I am guessing doctors probably dislike Google however the internet can be a valuable tool if you are thorough and diligent with what you take away from it. When you get a chance to actually speak with the doctor, you want to be prepared as time is usually short and you need to maximize that time. I have to add that most health care providers chuckle when they see my binder BUT they take me quite seriously. In addition, you may have to advocate for your loved one. If you receive conflicting information, you can give specific examples and ask for clarification, over and over if need be. Lastly, things change, sometimes rapidly. There is a lot of information to manage and writing it down is a great way to keep up with it.

 
During a hospital stay the nursing staff is an exceptional resource for you; develop a positive and respectful relationship with the nurses and LNA’s as they do the majority of the actual care. Communicate information about your loved one to them, they can utilize it to provide better care and patient cooperation. If your loved one has any issues, you can help resolve them. As with all aspects of care, communication is key.

 
If you are not able to go to the hospital, write down everything you learn over the phone and be very assertive about being kept in the information loop. The doctor will call you when their schedule permits so if your information and questions are at your fingertips, it will be a more productive conversation. You may have to call many times each day, always try to speak to the nurse caring for your loved one as they know what is going on. Everything from above applies. Be patient, determined and kind-it will go a long way. Hospitalizations are just another part of the cycle, approach them with a strategy and it should help. Knowledge is power and allows for better planning and support.

 

 

The reality is that my binder system also allows me to have some control or at least to create the illusion of having some control over a situation where I have no control- my loved one aging and their health declining.

Comedy for a Cause Tonight!

Posted on: September 9th, 2016 by Jamie

Comedy for a CauseArmistead Senior Care and Spring Village at Essex are co-sponsoring Comedy for a Cause on Friday, September 9, 7:00 p.m. at Twiggs American Gastropub, 24 North Main Street, Saint Albans City. Tickets are $20, proceeds benefit the Franklin County Dementia Care Coalition.

 

Doors open at 6:30, show runs from 7:00-9:00. Not suitable for people under 18. Email Carrie Rae at Carrie.shamel@springvillageessex.com for more info.

 
We are proud to support the Franklin County Dementia Care Coalition, whose mission is to be a vocal advocate for those affected by this disease. Their services are always available to help individuals and families within Franklin County who need support or advocacy. In addition, they aim to enhance the quality of life for persons with dementia and their loved ones by coordinating community resources and offering advocacy and support.

Come join us for a fun evening for a great cause!

 
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