9.05.16 Does Your Parent Need An Alzheimer’s Care Plan by Mary Yamin-Garone
Good afternoon. Welcome to Demystifying Alzheimer’s. I’m your hostess Mary Yamin-Garone
Today’s topic is “Does Your Parent Need an Alzheimer’s Care Plan?”
If your parent has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, your life—and theirs—will change dramatically. One way to deal with those changes is to design an Alzheimer’s care plan.
The question becomes how do you know if your parent needs such a plan? Perhaps your father hasn’t been shaving or opening his mail. Maybe your mother’s clothes are wrinkled and she’s missed several hair appointments. Or you’ve noticed bruises or burns on their arms or legs.
When questioned, your parents are quick to tell you everything is fine. They tell you there’s no need to worry but you know better. After being independent and self-sufficient for so long, it’s hard for your parents to acknowledge that they can’t do things for themselves—especially to their children.
Here are some warning signs that your parents may need help.
They are having trouble with—or can’t perform—routine activities of daily living (ADL), including:
- Dressing and grooming
- Handling their finances
- Transferring or moving from one place to another, such as from the bed to the chair or getting up from a seated position.
Changes in their physical appearance also can be an indicator that they could use some assistance.
- Noticeable weight loss. This could be due to difficulty eating and/or shopping for food, trouble following a recipe, holding utensils or operating the stove.
- Sloppy appearance, wearing the same clothes or inappropriate clothing
- Noticeable decline in grooming habits and personal care. For example, there’s a noticeable unpleasant body odor.
- Black and blue marks or bruises on their body that might be the result of falling
- Noticeable burns on their skin may indicate they have experienced problems cooking
Certain physical clues around your parents’ house also may be a red flag:
- The yard has not been taken care of as it normally would; another sign that they’re having difficulty completing regular tasks.
- The inside of their house hasn’t been maintained or cleaned the way it normally would. Dirty laundry is piling up and there’s a lot of clutter; more signs that your parents may be having difficulty completing routine tasks.
- Their car has dents and scratches that could mean their driving ability is impaired.
- Carpet stains that may be the result of dropping or spilling things.
- There is a smell of urine in the house. This could be a sign of incontinence.
- Noticeable burn marks on their pots and pans might be an indication that they forgot they had food on the stove and left it burning.
- Unopened mail/unpaid bills could be another signal that your parents are having difficulty completing routine tasks.
- Unfilled prescriptions, filled bottles or ones that need refilling more frequently may mean that mom or dad is forgetting to take their medications or they are taking more than the prescribed dosage.
- Low supply of food on hand or there is spoiled food in their refrigerator
Your parents may be exhibiting some unusual behavior, such as
- They don’t seem to have any drive or motivation to do simple, routine tasks.
- They’ve stopped answering the phone or returning your phone calls.
- They have become physically and/or verbally abusive.
- They are missing important appointments.
- They have lost interest in hobbies, activities, visiting friends or attending worship services.
You may notice some warning signs that your parents are beginning to experience cognitive impairment, including:
- Consistent lapses in memory
- Loss of reasoning skills
- Difficulty performing familiar tasks
- Repeatedly misplacing things
- Frequently getting lost while they are walking or driving
- Repetitive speech
- Inability to complete a sentence
- Rapid mood swings or changes in their behavior
- Changes in their personality
- Difficulty remembering names of familiar people, places or objects
- Loss of initiative
If you see your parents experiencing any of these indicators it might be time to talk to them about their care needs. Implementing an Alzheimer’s care plan might be the best way to guarantee the highest quality of life for your parents and give you peace of mind.
That’s all for today. Thanks for listening. I hope you found this information helpful.
Join me next time for more Demystifying Alzheimer’s.