Page 34 - BusinessWest 2021 Senior Planning Guide
P. 34

Continued on page 26
• Challenges in planning or solving problems. Someone with dementia will struggle with decision making, appear confused, or have trouble following directions or instructions. They may take much longer to do things than they did before.
• Difficulty performing familiar tasks. You may get distracted from time to time and forget to serve the dinner rolls you made with your meal. A person with dementia would struggle to follow steps in order to make the dinner in the first place.
• Confusion about time and place. It’s normal to sometimes forget what day it is. With dementia, you may be confused about the time, day, month, or even year.
• Language struggles. A person with dementia may forget simple words or substitute inappropriate words, making them difficult to understand.
• Difficulty managing finances. Complex thinking like math can be especially difficult for a person with dementia who may not understand what numbers mean.
• Poor or decreased judgment. Someone with dementia may make poor choices or decisions that put their safety at risk, such as being outside in the cold without a coat. They may not be able to evaluate a situation, and they may have difficulty determining what is important and what is unimportant. They may misjudge other people or their own abilities.
• Problems misplacing things. While anyone could
Continued on page 42
plan — and the responsibility of health plans to meet those needs. It’s so important to have a portfolio that meets the needs of seniors across their age range. A product might be a great fit when you’re aging into Medicare at age 65, but when your needs change over time, your Medicare plan should be ready to meet you there as well.
Whether looking into Medicare coverage for the first time or looking to switch to a new plan, it’s important to weigh plan benefits and costs against your personal needs. Deductibles and premiums are different from plan to plan, so it’s critical to ask questions, understand what’s included, and have
a retirement checklist for yourself as you compare plans. That way, you stay on track and get the coverage that best suits your lifestyle. n
With more than two decades of experience work- ing with local and regional health plans, Andre Gabryjelski joined Health New England as direc- tor of Medicare in September 2020. Prior to his current role, he worked as director of Medicare Advantage at Fallon Community Health Plan and Tufts Health Plan.
Continued on page 28
• Do I have trouble staying in my lane?
• Do I have trouble moving my foot between the gas and the brake pedals, or do I sometimes confuse the two?
• Have I been pulled over by a police officer about my driving?
If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, it may be time to talk with your doctor about driving or
Local Facts
Of 153,991 residents in Springfield, 17,908 residents are age 65 or older, and 16.9% of them reported living with a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or other chronic condition causing dementia. The national average is 13.6%
Do you have concerns about dementia? Start with your primary-care provider, who can make a referral for a neurologist and neuropsychological testing.
A neurologist can make recommendations based
on their findings, as they manage disorders of the brain. You may also be referred for testing with a neuropsychologist, who will closely examine areas of brain functioning, such as language, speech, judgment, word processing, recall, memory, and other areas.
The Alzheimer’s Assoc. (413-787-1113) can help with resources and set up a clinical meeting with one of its clinicians by phone, as well as letting you know where local support groups are. There are groups for both caretakers and people newly diagnosed with a memory disorder.
Let’s work together to destigmatize Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. There is no shame in having a memory disorder. n
Beth Cardillo, M.Ed, LSW, CDP is executive director of Armbrook Village, which offers independent-living, assisted-living, and memory-care services.
Continued on page 34
to assess the need for care. For many, care is essential, and refusing assistance in not an option. If you’ve determined help is necessary, check with the agency to determine what safety protocols are in place. In addition to following CDC guidelines, you may want significant details related to how the agency is protecting staff and clients. For example, what practices are in place to minimize the number of caregivers visiting each client? Are all caregivers vaccinated against COVID-19? How does the agency handle potential exposures to COVID-19?
Q: Are there any other things I should consider before receiving home care?
A: If a client or family hasn’t ever had help at home in the past, it can create some distress. The loss of independence and privacy can be factors. Often times, if a competent caregiver with the right skills is placed, even the most seemingly resistant client may begin to look forward to the caregiver visits. Establishing expectations based on an appropriate plan of care and a goal for each visit is important for both the client and caregiver. With the right blend of care and compassion, a bit of support can make the world of difference in allowing someone who wishes to remain home stay safe and healthy. n
Tania Spear is the owner and administrator of Silver Linings Home Care, LLC; (413) 363-2575; tania@silverliningshomec-
volunteers who will drive you where you want to go. You can also think about using a car or ride-sharing
service. Sound pricey? Don’t forget — it costs a lot
to own a car. If you don’t have to make car payments or pay for insurance, maintenance, gas, oil, or other car expenses, then you may be able to afford to take taxis or other transportation. You can also buy gas for friends or family members who give you rides. n
misplace their keys, a person with dementia may lose things and be unable to retrace their steps to find them.
• Changes in personality or behavior. Someone with dementia can exhibit rapid mood swings for no reason. They can become confused, suspicious, or withdrawn. Some people may become inappropriate, making hurtful, mean, or vulgar comments; using profanities regularly; or lacking modesty. They may feel anxious, distressed, or depressed. They may cry without cause.
• A loss of initiative. Dementia may cause a person to lose interest in previously enjoyed activities. They may require prompting to start most tasks or activities (such as taking a bath, getting dressed, or eating breakfast). They may lose interest in hygiene or appearance.
How Does Dementia Get Diagnosed?
If you have concerns, you may want to get more information about dementia.
I use the terms Alzheimer’s and dementia interchangeably, but dementia is actually a collection of symptoms. If you think of an umbrella, with dementia being at the top of the umbrella, there are 103 spokes from that umbrella that are the different types of dementia. Alzheimer’s accounts for roughly 75% for all diagnosed dementias. Other types include frontotemporal dementia, Lewy body dementia, Parkinson’s disease, and vascular dementia. Dementia itself is not a disease, even though we call Alzheimer’s a disease.
Continued on page 33
has tiered or a la carte pricing, can I get a full list of all possible fees?
• Will you require me to hire a personal aide as my loved one’s care needs change, and if so, at what rate?
• How often do the fees go up?
• What is the history of price increases for the last five years?
• Are there additional fees for activities?
• Are there additional fees for transportation?
• Are there additional fees for things like medication distribution or escorting to meals and activities?
• How many years of financial coverage do you require new residents to meet prior to moving in? • What happens as a person begins to spend down their assets and can no longer afford to live in the community? Are they asked to leave? n
For answers to these questions, call or e-mail us today. At Christopher Heights Northampton, contact Joy Peterson at jpeterson@christopher- or (413) 570-4201. At Christopher Heights Belchertown, contact Lorna Stone at [email protected] or (413) 323- 5500.
have a driving assessment.
How Will You Get Around?
Are you worried you won’t be able to do the things you want and need to do if you stop driving? Many people have this concern, but there may be more ways to get around than you think. For example, some areas provide free or low-cost bus or taxi services for older people. Some communities offer a carpool service or scheduled trips to the grocery store, mall, or doctor’s office. Religious and civic groups sometimes have
     34 AUGUST 2021

   30   31   32   33   34