Alzheimer’s Blues

Alzheimer’s Blues

You’ve got your first diagnosis from a specialist–a neurologist, but he/she said things that perhaps shouldn’t have been said. What to do?

Got another opinion. Maybe two extra might soothe your wounded spirit, maybe more. Don’t let anyone tell you what you can and can’t do. After all, this is your beloved someone that was diagnosed.

You don’t have to sit there and take it like a man, with a stiff upper lip, suck it up, deal with it and then get over it.

There’s salvation in them hills. And, now you know that there’s life after your loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

Been There. Done That.

Despite what you’ve been told, or have read, or seen on the idiot box (slang for television), there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. You’re the one who turned it on. It will keep burning brightly until you’ve turned it off.

First thing, Don’t Panic!

Everyone has a first reaction to those dreaded words that doctors and specialists sling around: Alzheimer’s, Cancer, Diabetes, Anorexia, Dementia. The medical world is full of these buzz words. However, the biggie here is don’t let it scare you to such a degree that you can’t get past it.

Cause it doesn’t solve anything, except the release of tension and anxiety.

First Things First

What’s the order of getting things done? It depends for each one of us. The first words out of the specialist’s mouth was: “There’s a good assisted living facility right behind this hospital. Got and check it out.”

Which we did. We spent the whole day there. Right after I called my son and told him in a panic-stricken voice: “Your father has second stage Alzheimer’s.”

Was that a relief? No way Jose, but it sounded dramatic enough to catch his attention. Which it did. He told me to start breathing-long steady breaths and to calm down.

We went to the facility right behind the hospital and was under impressed. Remember, this is one of the Cadillacs of the assisted living world. We toured the facility, but I didn’t get a warm fuzzy feeling about the place.

Warm Fuzzy Feeling

Funny you should ask. We were told by a salesman that if we didn’t get a warm fuzzy feeling about the facility we’re looking at, it probably wasn’t the place for us.

How many did we visit? Not many. Let’s see. We saw five places. Out of the five, we dissed two. One had an improperly dressed sales person. If the sales person looks unkempt and they’re representing that facility, what does the facility really look underneath all that sales pitch?

The second place didn’t grab us, and it should have, but it didn’t. Don’t get me wrong. It’s the Lexus of the bunch of facilities that we saw. Everything included especially the microwave oven, but we didn’t get that quilt feeling upon first, second, or even a third inspection.

One did call my spouse who told me, “this is the place!”

And after all, we were doing all of this touring and visiting these places because our life took a sudden turn at the cleft of the road. My spouse had to be comfortable not only with the living arrangements, but with the activity arrangements and the atmosphere of the place.

Many Decisions

When you visit a facility, be aware there are many different floor plans. Yes, you can downsize or buy an apartment, villa, cottage, house, loft, whatever you want to house your furniture in.

To us, kitchen space is important. We wanted a larger kitchen than one that was the width of the dish washer’s door when it opened downward, about 12 inches between counters with the sink at the end of the narrow passageway.

Room size is important as well as how many rooms do you need. Some people do downsize. Others cram in as much furniture, pictures, and other stuff that they can.

Yes, these facilities provide storage lockers. Yes, these storage lockers are inside and outside.

Depending on the facility, the amenities are numerous. Most provide the standard equipment one finds in a house or apartment: microwave, oven, dishwasher, refrigerator, cabinet space, closets, and a balcony or patio.

Some provide the unit with a stacked washer and dryer with larger washer and dryers stored in other rooms for heavier laundry loads like towels and sheets.

Make sure you bring a list of questions with you.

We fell down on that one. Go google a list of what to ask for independent and assisted living. Allot of the questions are the same for both types of living, while there are some differences.

Make sure you speak to a lawyer and a CPA for various purposes: taxes, deductions (medical if still applicable), living wills, long-term care insurance, life insurance, Medicare and supplemental insurance. Find out what you personally need to know about Estate Planning.

This is a PAYING enterprise you’re becoming involved with. Many facilities will ask for an Entrance Fee, Monthly Fee (find out what that covers), Meals (some come with restaurants with 3 meals a day for assisted living patients.)

There’s a lot of important stuff that one must know before signing any contract. Make sure you understand what you’re signing.

This is Part 1 of additional parts to come.

Fasten your shoulder belt, it’s going to get bumpier!

Until next time… .


About Lillian Cauldwell

Own and operate an Internet Talk Radio Network for 10 years, 2005 to Present Published Author of Non-Fiction Book, 1996, "Teenagers! A Bewildered Parent's Guide. Published Author of several fiction books, 2006 "Sacred Honor" and 20010 "The Anna Mae Mysteries: The Golden Treasure." Playwright of Theater of the Absurd and Black Comedies. Screenwriter, Black Comedies