Complex issues arise from the tension between private enterprise and public welfare, public financing, and public health oversight. Some believe that a free-market approach would result in lower costs and care of a reasonable quality. Others believe that quality care will never be achieved through a private system. In the words of Elma Holder, Executive Director of the National Citizens’ Coalition for Nursing Home Reform (NCCNHR): “Care that is driven solely by the profit motive is unconscionable. A system that largely puts mammon first, and workers and residents last, is contrary to the maintenance of quality care.” NCCNHR, a group of advocates, professionals, and residents, is the leading source of information, analysis, and advocacy at the federal level. NCCNHR was founded in 1975, its goal to present a united consumer voice to the nursing-home industry and government. They were [Read more...]
Losing remote memory means forgetting the past, including what we learned as children. This includes activities we take for granted brushing our teeth, taking a bath, getting dressed, holding a conversation, using the toilet. As the disease progresses the victim regresses. She may forget how to use eating utensils, forget how to dress, forget the sensations of hot and cold, forget how to control bowel and urine, forget what food is, and how to chew and swallow. She may forget inhibitions learned in childhood and may expose or touch her sexual parts in public. The person with Alzheimer’s loses a sense of time and can no longer look forward or back, or turn to the collected knowledge of her life for help. With such helplessness, partnerships between adults slowly change to parent/child-type relationships, or an adult child may have to become [Read more...]
In such a difficult time, the support of friends and relatives becomes more important than ever. With Alzheimer’s disease such support is difficult to sustain, since the stricken person loses the social traits that drew others to her: a sense of humor, kindness, special interests and talents. She also loses control over language as a means of communication. The stricken person becomes a stranger to relatives and friends, who may react with withdrawal and avoidance, appalled at the loved one’s condition. In addition, visits can be difficult to manage since the victim is often confused by any changes in the daily routine and embarrassed by her inability to remember who the visitors are. The resulting isolation of the victim may also lead to isolation of the caregiver. As relatives or friends of Alzheimer’s disease victims, it is important for us to remind ourselves that the stricken person still needs and recognizes [Read more...]
Group or individual counseling sessions can be important for the caregiver. They also are sometimes offered for the afflicted person, but only people in the early stages of the disease do well in counseling sessions. To find out about counseling programs, consult your physician or get in touch with local hospital and mental health centers that might offer such sessions. The ADRDA nearest you will also know about types and locations of help available.
Respite: In adult day health centers, people with Alzheimer’s take part in activities according to their own abilities within a supervised, structured program. These provide the ill person with attention and social interaction, and provide caregivers with much-needed intervals of rest and relief. Respite in-home services, weekend assistance programs, and long-term (one to two weeks) respite care programs are also starting to develop in some hospitals and [Read more...]
Among physicians, we find a wide range of opinions on hormone therapy as a preventive measure. Some advocate it for all postmenopausal women; some promote it for women at high risk for osteoporosis, while others are against mass campaigns that recommend hormones for prevention. Generally, practicing physicians, in contrast to medical researchers, are more likely to use hormone therapy both to prevent and to treat osteoporosis. These physicians have direct contact with women and are thus forced to come to some decision regarding the prescribing of hormones. Women themselves may ask for hormones. The physician should explain the risks and possible benefits so that an informed decision can be made by the women themselves. Some physicians worry about the possibility of a lawsuit if they do not prescribe [Read more...]