Resources are available to assist in adjusting to Alzheimers and dementia

Thursday, November 1, 2018
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Literary Junction

Several months ago I called my dad, who lives in Texas, just to say hi and see how he was doing. His health has been declining a bit and his wife had come to the painful conclusion that she was no longer able to care for him adequately. For that reason, she had him placed in a nursing home where he could get the care he needs.

Now, in order to talk to him at the nursing home, I have to call the front desk and they then bring the phone down to him in his room. It was a bit of an ordeal, but they finally got the phone to him, and I was able to catch up with him as to what was going on in his world.

He seemed a little confused and, soon into our conversation, he said he would ask my mother about something, but at that moment he didn’t know where she had gotten off to. We talked for a few more moments and said our goodbyes, at which time I put the phone down and quite literally began to sob. My mom died in 1997.

My dad suffers from Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. I’m told they’re not one in the same, but I don’t quite understand the difference. His memory is very hit-and-miss. There are times when I talk to him that I’m not sure he knows who I am, and there are other times when he seems okay. He sometimes has episodes where he is combative with the people in the nursing home, and has had to be restrained, in order to get his medication. It’s a very sad ordeal.

I don’t write this to gain anyone’s sympathy, but simply to say that there is help available to people who are going through what my family is experiencing right now. At the Big Horn County Library, we have a notebook full of resources for family members who are looking to address the needs of individuals and families with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.

There are sections in this notebook that deal with estate planning for individuals and families experiencing Alzheimer’s disease, long-term care, setting up a power of attorney, setting up a will and more. All of these are things must be dealt with when experiencing Alzheimer’s disease in a family member.

This resource was put out through the Montana State University Extension office, but there also are resources in it from other organizations such as AARP and the Alzheimer’s Association.

If you or someone you know is going through this and would like to know what kind of help is out there, I would strongly advise you at least start with this resource available at the Big Horn County Library.