Be Prepared…

By Robert Elmer III on July 17, 2016 in Uncategorized

How well organized are you? Are you one that’s good at planning ahead and anticipating how do deal with whatever challenges and issues that may be around the next bend? I’m sure most of you are familiar with the quote “Life is what happens when you’re making other plans.” Well, no one realizes this more than an at home caregiver of a loved one with Alzheimer’s.
If you’ve been noticing some of the early signs of Alzheimer’s, as the Boy Scouts say, “Be Prepared.” Just to review, are they showing bad judgment? Are they misplacing things? Are they having trouble performing familiar tasks? Are they having trouble finding the right words? Have they become anti-social? These are just some of the signs of what may be ahead for you and the sooner you start planning, the better it will be for both of you.
If you’re going to be their “point person” there’s a great deal you can do and should do and the first step is education. Contact your local Alzheimer’s Association and/or an Alzheimer’s care specialist to learn as much about the disease as possible. Also join a support group and involve all the members of the family that you can. This will go a long way in helping all of you understand that you’re not alone as well as what is happening and why.
The legal issues can be considerable and they can’t be ignored. Is there a Power of Attorney for health and finance? Does your loved one have a will? Is there a Living Will? What about the bank accounts? When my mothers health started to fail, I arranged to have a “Bob or Mom” account, not a “Bob and Mom” account. This way, when the time came when she couldn’t write or take action on her own behalf, I could continue to deal with the financial responsibilities without any issues. You may want to consider taking away their credit cards or at least lowering the amounts and if you haven’t already done so, get them on the “No-Call” list to avoid telemarketers. By the way, the smartest thing I did in dealing with my failing mother was to have all of her financial issues go through a Cash Management Account. At the end of every month you receive an accounting of everything that went in and everything that went out and you’ll find that very valuable in the event that a wayward sibling becomes suspicious. Don’t be shy about contacting your banker and an Elder Care Attorney as you’ll find it time very well spent.
The final phase is the one where you get organized and get your “ducks in a row.” Who is going to be part of your support system? What kind of activities are you going to have planned when they need a distraction? Do you have emergency contacts in case you “take a hit?” Remember to keep that journal of their behaviors for their Doctor. Are you ready to take the car keys or the car? Should they be enrolled in the MedicAlert program because they wander? And are you looking ahead to the next step in the event that you simply can’t do it at home anymore? The best time to do your homework there is sooner than later. No one wants to make that decision in a crisis. Imagine, they’ve fallen and are in rehab and you get a call from their Discharge Planner telling you he/she has to leave the hospital but they can’t go home and ask, where would you like them to go?
In my new book “Join the Journey-Care for The Alzheimer’s Caregiver” and in these articles, I’ve mentioned time and time again, if you’re going to be an effective caregiver, you need to take care of you. Make sure that your plan also includes some very important “you” time. You’ll earn it.
If you have any questions, please email me at Remember, Join the Journey.

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Robert Elmer IIIView all posts by Robert Elmer III