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Dementia

What is it?

It is a progressive brain disease that affects millions of Americans. The cause is unknown and we do not have a cure. It causes a person to have short term memory loss, confusion, and to be unable to safely handle finances, and other things.

How can AgingParents.com help a family that has an elder with dementia?

We offer families coping with an aging parent who has dementia to understand what they need to do to keep the elder safe. This likely involves legal advice, planning for caregiving, identifying who can take over responsibility for managing the elder’s money and bills. Dr. Davis can test and evaluate a local elder who has signs of dementia to find out where the elder is with his or her issues and what steps need to be taken by family.

Legal Questions

What questions come up for families of elders who are losing independence?

Some families have aging parents who saw a lawyer and did an estate plan. Some have never done this. Questions come up about who is in charge, how to get a stubborn elder to give up control and how to prevent or stop financial abuse.

How can AgingParents.com help a family with legal issues?

Ms. Rosenblatt offers legal advice to families about what needs to be done, who can be on a Power of Attorney and Healthcare Directive agent and what their responsibilities are. She reviews the trust, if there is one, and helps families transition the elder out of the seat of control when that is appropriate. Both Dr. Davis and Ms. Rosenblatt are passionate about stopping and preventing elder abuse.

Family Conflicts

What can a family do when siblings fight with other siblings and there is very difficult communication?

Families do not always get along. When they must come together to manage an aging parent with problems and a need for care, the conflicts from the past often boil to the surface and it is very painful for all.

How can AgingParents.com help a family that is at “war” with its own members?

Both Ms. Rosenblatt and Dr. Davis are trained and experienced mediators. We have helped many families make agreements for the sake of the elder. It is not therapy and you may not all end up with warm and fuzzy feelings about one another. However, even with conflicts, it is possible, with the help of family meetings we conduct (sometimes by phone or Skype video) to reach agreements that allow families to share responsibility for the elder and to get jobs done for the aging parent’s sake.

Caregiving Decisions

What issues are common when an elder needs help due to physical disabilities or dementia?

As people live longer than ever and longevity brings loss of independence, families need to ensure that their aging parent will get the help they need. When the elder or family can afford it, they pay for help. When they can’t afford it, they provide care themselves.

How can AgingParents.com help a family that has issue about caring for an aging parent?

Ms. Rosenblatt is an R.N. with 10 years of hands-on experience. She has worked in hospitals, nursing homes in the community with countless families as a visiting nurse. She has trained and supervised home care workers. She knows the field well.  She has been a RN in skilled nursing facilities and has sued them for neglect in her legal career.  She offers a unique expertise on the range of caregiving options that exist.

Financial Questions

What are the most frequently asked questions about money that families bring up?

Families often seek advice when money is a problem, either in the elder managing finances or in running low on funds when caregiving is needed.

How can AgingParents.com help a family that has issues about finances?

Sometimes, the matriarch or patriarch in the family is beginning to lose track of money. Sometimes a person is taking advantage of the elder who is unable to see or resist undue influence. We directly intervene by advising families how to remove an impaired elder from being in charge of finances on the family trust. We report elder abuse to authorities and instruct others how to do so, with supporting evidence.

We also help families plan ahead for the very costly matter of paying for care, either at home or in a care facility. We refer to competent attorneys who can assist with Medicaid planning. We offer advice on the range of services available and how to be a good consumer of any services offered, saving families time and money.

Dangerous Driving

What are the most frequently asked questions about aging parents and driving?

Families often raise questions about an elder who is impaired but refuses to give up the keys. This can be due to dementia, vision or other physical problems and families worry about everyone’s safety.

How can AgingParents.com help a family that has issues about a dangerous older driver who won’t stop driving?

We offer legal advice, psychological approaches to bringing up the issue with the aging parent, and a step-by-step plan for intervention into the driving problem in families. We counsel families about various ways to bring driving to a stop against the elder’s wishes, even if the elder resists. Ms. Rosenblatt represented accident victims, most from car accidents, over 27 years of legal practice. She sees this serious issue as one of public and personal safety in which families must involve themselves.

Difficult Conversations

What kinds of conversations do most families find difficult to have with aging parents?

It is really hard for most adult children to bring up the topic that an aging parent who is not able to properly care for himself or herself any longer needs to get help. Others face the problem of talking to aging parents about giving up handling finances, stopping driving, or moving to a place like assisted living.

How can AgingParents.com help with difficult conversations?

Fortunately, we have Dr. Mikol Davis, a communications expert here. He has a Bachelor's, Master's and Doctoral degree in psychology. He has had to tackle difficult conversations and how to approach serious subjects for decades with clients of all ages. He focuses now on issues related to aging. "What to say" and "how to say it" is one example of what he can advise you about. How to deal with aging parents' resistance and stubbornness is another area of his expertise. He is skilled with mental health issues families face, as well.

 


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"The Family Guide to Aging Parents is a helpful and practical resource for family caregivers and professionals. Written by an experienced geriatric nurse and elder-law attorney, it offers useful health care and legal information and I recommend it for students, professionals and the many families grappling with these challenging issues. "                             -- Gary Small, M.D., Author, Professor of Psychiatry and Aging, Director of the Longevity Center at UCLA