Alzheimers disease...our experience...steps you can take if it happens to your family

My mother and her sister, my favorite aunt, died of Alzheimers disease. Why is this on a frugal retirement living site? Because it can affect you, your retirement, like it did my family, even though you are very healthy.

Alzheimers affects not just the patient

You do not have to have the disease to be affected.

Think about it, when your Mom starts being forgetful. It is up to the family to provide care.

We started with round the clock semi skilled help...we tried that for a year, honoring Mom's request to stay at home.

Some of the care was great and compassionate...some of the care took advantage of the situation.

A empty bank account proved that.

How do you know they have Alzheimers Disease?

You will soon hear the word dementia thrown aound. All Alzheimers disease is dementia, not all dementia is Alzheimer's disease. The only sure way to find out if someone has Alzheimer's disease is an autopsy.

You don't need to to know all the jargon. All you need to know is that something is wrong with Mom or Dad...and there is no cure for what she or he is suffering from.

When we decided that staying home was no longer an option...we went looking for a Alzheimers care facility.

We were very lucky that a special wing was being set up for Alzheimers disease in a nursing home in Mom's home town.

We saw great care there...not so great care when my aunt was hospitalized.

The facilty manager at Mom's place came to the house and asked Mom a few question's. My Mom did the crossword every day and I considered her to be very smart.

"Do you know who the President is?" Answer, "Of course I do" followed by silence.

"If you subtract 7 from 100 what do you have?". Quickly Mom said, "93". "OK subtract another 7". Silence.

Call it what you will dementia, old age...we knew Mom was sick...and she needed to be taken care of.

We were able to get her in this new facility and she died 2 years later...2 weeks after breaking her hip. The care she received was wonderful.

Not all care for Alzheimers Disease is the same

When Mom's younger sister developed the same disease a few years later...she did not have a similar facility to my Mom's to go to. Where at my Mom's place there was rigorous training required of all personnel and the staffing levels were double...the care was not as good for my aunt.

She was in a separate wing of the nursing home with coded locked doors...patients tend to wander...but with minimal training for the staff on how to handle patients with this disease.

Because my uncle had the means, in addition to him spending 3 to 5 hours personally every day, he hired some one to sit with my aunt 4 hours a day from 4 to 8 in the evening.

What you can do to reduce the burden?

In my Mom's case the financial burden was reduced by her having a longterm care health insurance policy. This covered her care for up to three years in a home.

I wish I could direct you to a source like Ehealth Insurance but they do not offer long term care policies.

I strongly recommend that you purchase such a policy for someone before they show major symptoms of the disease.

I hope this will help you...your plans for enjoying retirement can be adversely affected by Alzheimers disease.