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“The End of Alzheimer’s Starts with Me” Campaign for the Alzheimer’s Advocate

Submitted by Maria Jose Chaves on 13:48

The entire phrase is nothing more than reality… the truth. The only way to defeat Alzheimer’s and other related dementias is by being a dedicated and leader Alzheimer’s advocate. For years many patients, experts and family members have been spreading the word on early diagnosis and reuniting contributions for research studies and those in need of medical assistance and cannot afford it. This strong statement catches the eye as it involves everyone, from scientists and doctors to patients and family, and even people not related to this disease but happen to encounter this campaign along the way to work on in the news, and just by sharing what you saw you are inadvertently becoming an Alzheimer’s advocate. Our voice joined with others is what causes real actions that inspire reactions from those with power to create change.

Starts with Me

How can the cure for a disease start with me? Pretty simple. By just being aware, sharing the news, contributing your money and time to raise awareness or provide funding for research is a boost to getting closer on preventive treatments and even better the end of all related dementias. Being an Alzheimer’s advocate might feel like you are a small grain of sand in the immensity of adversities, but if we all give and take part of all awareness impulses, we will soon become a landslide that overpasses and destroys this terrible disease.

Can a caregiver sue an Alzheimer’s patient?

Submitted by Pablo Retana on 16:18

caregiver patient

A paid caregiver hired through an agency cannot sue an Alzheimer’s disease patient for injuries sustained while caring for that patient, as long as the home health aide has been warned of any risks – which he or she would voluntarily assume – and the injuries are inflicted as a result of symptoms of the condition. This is the ruling that the California Supreme Court reached last month in a 5 to 2 vote. “Those hired to manage a hazardous condition may not sue their clients for injuries caused by the very risks they were retained to confront,” Justice Carole A. Corrigan wrote. “If a patient injures a caregiver by engaging in the combative behavior symptomatic of Alzheimer’s disease, the ‘particular risk of harm that caused the injury’ was among the very risks the caregiver was hired to prevent.”

The decision came as the resolution of a lawsuit filed by healthcare worker Carolyn Gregory against Bernard and Lorraine Cott of West Los Angeles. In 2005, Bernard hired Gregory through an agency to care for his 85 year old wife at home, as well as tend to the house. Flash-forward to 2008 when Lorraine bumped Gregory from behind while the latter was doing the dishes; during the clash, Gregory’s wrist was cut by a knife she’d been washing. Her lawyer said that she lost feeling in a thumb and two fingers and developed constant pain in her wrist and hand. In addition to getting workers’ compensation, the home health worker sued the couple for negligence and premises liability, and for battery. Since the Cotts both passed away last year, the case was defended by their homeowner insure.

Shopping as a Caregiver

Submitted by Alberto Chaves on 15:33

When caregiving, time (and supplies) are of the essence. It is all about balance, being able to have enough time to handle your duties as a caregiver and being able to deal with the external aspects of job. Many caregivers are able to lean on family members and friends to help them solve certain situations. For example, going for a quick errand to the grocery store or getting some more supplies or medicines for the person they are caring for. But, if they are by themselves this could become an issue. A caregiver’s duties are almost a round the clock affair. Demanding that they be on notice as much as they can, so shopping as a Caregiver can be tricky.

Caregivers who excel at their duties are those who are able to divide their time and be able to multitask. But as superhuman as they might be, they can’t be in two places at the same time. The trick to being able to handle their duties and still be able to get what they need is to see the short route. A seasoned caregiver will be able to identify right form the bat, the supplies that will be necessary for them to fulfill their duties on a day-to-day basis.  The first thing that they do is to make a list of the items that constantly are needed to be at hand at all times. For caring for patient who is bedridden, disposable diapers, latex gloves and wound care supplies might be necessary almost daily. Therefore they know that it is crucial that they have enough of these supplies at home at all times.

A Positive attitude and Caregiving

Submitted by Alberto Chaves on 14:05

positive attitude

Pretty much every single caregiver I know share one thing in common, they are a joy to be around them. They have this energy about them that really is contagious. Is like the glow with positive energy. I recently had a conversation with a close relative who dedicated almost a whole decade to caring for a relative on a daily basis. As we spoke about small things, just the regular insignificant things you are able to speak during family gatherings, it dawned on me that this person took some year plus of a decade of her life to care for another human being. Dedicating her life entirely to make sure this family member was looked after, cleaned, fed and so on. As I was talking to this member of my family, I realized that she always had this positive vibe about her. She is a joker, always quick to come up with a witty remark or a joke, she is chatter also, and she will talk to you for hours and hours and not get bored. Above all, she is a very caring and happy person. I have rarely seen her upset or angry about something. I just wish I had her temper.

I asked her about her times caring for our family member, she smiled and said: “it was a beautiful time.” Her response floored me, because she meant it, you could see it in her eyes. But then she added one thing, that eventually lead me to write this article: “the key to facing difficult obstacles is to keep a positive attitude in life, no matter what you do or where you are”.

Flu and other Viruses? Draw the Line for Family Visits

Submitted by Mariela Miranda on 16:28

When you are a caregiver there are many things you must juggle at the same time. Not only are you trying to balance your life, but you are also putting all your good will and love on your loved one's life. Trust me, I know!  Caregiving has been a part of me for several years now and I have learned to love it and cope with the "not so nice" parts of it.  When I became a mom, that instantly turned me into a caregiver.  Then came my grandparents once we became their neighbors. I began helping my mom in the daily caregiving tasks whether big or small and slowly I started falling in love with the blessing of being a caregiver of elderly loved ones such as Grandpa and Grandma.

The one particular scenario in caregiving that was somewhat the same with my children and my grandparents was protecting them (and myself) from the Flu.  Sometimes people just don't think, are out of logic or simply don't care about being sick and visiting someone who is vulnerable and weak. Logic tells me STOP!  Why on earth would you do something like that?  When my children were born I made a lot of people mad or resentful for simply saying:  "Would you please go wash your hands before touching the baby?"  It's amazing how some people take it as if I was saying "Ewww, you are contagious, go away!"

Twitter chat Recap: Positive Caregiving - Thinking differently

Submitted by Marie Gomez on 16:29

After last week's serious topic, we changed our angle and focused on the positive aspects of caregiving this Wednesday. There were quite a few new faces, and the discussion was lively and inspiring.

The questions discussed were:

Q1. Why is it important to keep a positive outlook on caregiving as caregivers?

Q2. Do you find it easy to stay positive, or is it a struggle? What’s your natural disposition?

Q3. How do you cheer up during rough times?

b. How do you involve your care to help stay positive?

Time travel through Song

Submitted by Maria Jose Chaves on 10:22

Time travel

You know how there is that song that takes you back to a special moment in time where you hold very fond memories. Music has that amazing power of time travel through song. And it is something we see even on people that are losing most of their cognitive faculties. Musical notes that appeal to the patient’s taste can stimulate, soothe and bring back memories and images that were long gone and bring the patient back to life for those few minutes the music lasts.

In an almost magical way, a certain song can transport you to that specific moment and remind you how you felt and could even bring those images back to your mind.  For people living with Alzheimer’s or any other form of dementia this is no different, it is like the files where we keep our “music memories” are safe in a sort-of airplane black box. Those parts of the brain that seem gone can be reached with music in ways that normal communication does not.

Tweetchat Recap: End of Life Caregiving

Submitted by Maria Jose Chaves on 12:28

On our #DMSHealth tweetchat for this week we discussed “End of Life Caregiving”, a topic often seen as the “elephant in the room” by the caregiver family as they avoid talking about death and sometimes by the patient for fear of it and of making his or her family uncomfortable of the situation. We had excellent input from our participants which we always highly appreciate. That is entirely the purpose of this chat to create a conversation that covers tips, comments, questions and ideas that many caregivers can benefit from.

On this very special chat we had true life experts, people who have gone through the passing of a close loved one they cared for and of caregiving experts that shared very valuable pieces of information. We covered:

  • How to plan and stay organized through these hard times.
  • How to make End of Life plans.
  • How to explain this to the younger ones.
  • When it is best to accept or deny other people’s help.
  • How to maintain the patient’s dignity.
  • How to support the dying patient.
  • How to support yourself as a caregiver.

Caring for Caregivers

Submitted by Alberto Chaves on 13:20

Caring for caregivers
What starts as an act of love and compassion, can become tortuous, that is why a caregiver relief, in the form of respite care, is a much-needed solution to the overwhelming stress that caregivers go through every day. Even those who care for loved ones, can experience caregiver burn out.

Caring for the elderly, disabled or the chronically ill is a demanding and relentless job that can really take its toll on the caregiver. Frankly it is a task that no one person can do effectively alone. That is why respite care can be a lifesaver. In short, what it means is that respite care, means caring for the caregiver. Sharing the responsibility and allowing for the caregiver to have much needed rest and support.  As the world turns, we are on the verge of seeing a large increase in the population of senior in America, as it is expected to double in size by the year 2030, by that measure the number of caregivers will be proportionately larger by that time and the importance of dealing with the issue of caregiver relief now is critical.

Last Moments of Caregiving

Submitted by Maria Jose Chaves on 13:23

last moments
I cannot say that I have personally experienced being a caregiver for a dying loved one. But I can certainly say that I have witnessed how those brave hearts we call caregivers endure their difficult last moments of caregiving for their loved ones. I have seen true expressions of love as my grandma cared for my grandpa on his passing time and then how my aunt cared for her during her final months. I have also seen how other relatives go entirely out of their way to tend for those they love.

More recently,  I did not exactly see or personally witness this act of love but it is not hard to understand how much a person cares for the other as when their eyes lit by talking about someone they hold dearly close to their hearts. This is the case of my editor and good friend Mari M. Jenkins whose grandfather’s last moments were joyous and so full of love it inspired many wonderful pieces of art and music from Mari and her two amazing children. She also dedicated her beautiful blog to him as her personal letters to her dear grandpa and also shares her thoughts on caregiving with other millions of silent heroes of love around the world.

On those last moments of caregiving, it is a time where many priorities change and the quality of life’s final moments become the top concern. Making sure your loved one’s final moments are the best they can be requires much more than just tending for their health but also for their emotional state. Planning ahead for the end of life caregiving is the best strategy to follow as the final journey comes turning grief into acceptance and sadness to joy.


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