National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month
National Caregiver Month
The Three Stages of Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s disease is an irreversible, progressive brain disease that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills, and eventually even the ability to carry out the simplest tasks. In most people with Alzheimer’s, symptoms first appear after age 60.
Mild: As Alzheimer’s disease progresses, memory loss worsens, and there are changes in other cognitive abilities. Problems can include getting lost, trouble handling money and paying bills, repeating questions, taking longer to complete normal daily tasks, using poor judgment, and mood and personality changes. People often are diagnosed in this stage.
Moderate: In this stage, memory loss and confusion grow worse, and people begin to have problems recognizing family and friends. They may be unable to learn new things, carry out tasks that involve multiple steps (such as getting dressed), or cope with new situations.
Severe: By the final stage, people cannot communicate and are completely dependent on others (usually family members) for their care.
Visit the Alzheimer’s Association website at www.alz.org for information.
Thirty-nine percent of all adult Americans are caring for a loved one who is sick or disabled, including 15 million family caregivers who are providing care to over five million loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease.
Caring for family members can have high physical, emotional, and financial costs. Almost half of all family caregivers perform complex medical/nursing tasks such as managing multiple medications, providing wound care, and operating specialized medical equipment. The demands of day-to-day care, changing family roles, and difficult decisions about placement in a care facility can be hard to handle.
Developing good coping skills and a strong support network are important ways that caregivers can help themselves handle the stresses of caring for a loved one.
When a caregiver is supporting someone else, Bristol Elder Services is here to support the caregiver. Our caregiver support program offers unique support, information, and linkage to services especially for caregivers. Through the caregiver support program, we also offer habilitation therapy, helping the caregiver better understand the progression of dementia and the unique needs of the person with dementia. Our staff can offer suggestions and options to make daily care simpler and safer for the caregiver and the person with Alzheimer’s disease. To make a referral for caregiver support services, contact Bristol Elder Services’ intake unit at (508) 675-2101.
For more information and resources on caring for a family member, visit the Caregiver Action Network at www.caregiveraction.org.
Sources: nia.nih.gov and caregiveraction.org
Medicare Open Enrollment
October 15 - December 7
Medicare beneficiaries are able to change their Medicare health plan and/or their prescription drug coverage during the period of October 15th through December 7th. Information on plans will be available beginning in October. If you have Medicare, you can call 1-800-MEDICARE or visit www.medicare.gov for plan information.
If you are satisfied that your current plan will meet your needs, you do not have to do anything.
If you would like assistance comparing plans in order to find which is right for you, there are SHINE counselors who are trained to help you. SHINE counselors provide impartial and unbiased information, counseling, and assistance on Medicare and related health care coverage, including original Medicare A & B, Prevention Services, Part D Prescription Drug Benefit, Medicare Advantage HMOs and PPOs, Supplemental Insurance (Medigap), and Medicare Savings Programs and Long Term Care.
SHINE counselors may be contacted at Councils on Aging, hospitals, and other community based agencies. They are available to meet with you in person or respond by telephone or e-mail.
To schedule an appointment with a SHINE counselor, call 1-800-AGE-INFO (1-800-243-4636) and then press 3. You may also contact the local SHINE office directly at the Attleboro Council on Aging or by calling 1-800-987-2510.