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WSJ: "Staying put at age 96"
Old 05-07-2006, 02:00 PM   #1
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WSJ: "Staying put at age 96"

"As Americans live longer, a rethinking of old-age care aims to keep people at home. A son watches nervously."

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1146...89945572.html?

It's interesting to read the views of both generations in this article. Mom accidentally locked herself out of the house and slept on the lanai that night-- no big deal to her. Son found out about it from a neighbor and almost spun up into the overhead.

The article also mentions the RSVP volunteers. We could do something similar on this board!
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Re: WSJ: "Staying put at age 96"
Old 05-07-2006, 02:26 PM   #2
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Re: WSJ: "Staying put at age 96"

My DW is looking at assisted living homes for her 85 year old father who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's. He is driving her nuts with his inability to manage his own affairs, et cetera. Something has to be done but "he's not ready to give up his indepenence" which to him means staying in his house. My wife keeps trying to "rationalize" with him which I figured out was pointless months ago.

One of the things that came up in one of the tours of homes was a comment from one of the managers/staff. She said that 50% of the 85 year olds have Alzheimer's or some other form of dementia. I don't know if that is true. If it is, it puts a whole other twist to the extended life span. Why live to 100 if the last 15 are with Alzheimer's?

Staying put at 96 sounds fine but who's going to deal with the Alzheimer infested lot we seem destined to become?
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Re: WSJ: "Staying put at age 96"
Old 05-07-2006, 02:40 PM   #3
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Re: WSJ: "Staying put at age 96"

Alzheimers is a terrible disease, physically you recognize them, but mentaly, they are strangers.

Patients can get violent and sometimes you just have to make the decision.

Our friends did that, it was necessary for the personal safety of the parents.

Progress is being made on treatments, Aricept is one, but there are still ways to go.

My Dad at 87 is still mentally sharp, physically he is slowing down.

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Re: WSJ: "Staying put at age 96"
Old 05-07-2006, 04:52 PM   #4
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Re: WSJ: "Staying put at age 96"

i am caregiver for alzheimer's diseased mom for about 12 years now including the last 3 (going on 4) in an alzheimer's unit of assisted living facility and a year before that of home care with the assistance of nurses aides. it has been both an honor yet all too sad taking on this role. currently we have engaged palliative (hospice) care.

10% of those over age 65 & 50% of those over age 85 suffer some form of dementia and as far as i can determine, 90% of them still drive.

the personalities do not necessarily change so much, though eventually some sort of guardianship is required. the main factor guiding caregiving decision making is safety of the a.d. victim. after that, comfort. cure, for now, is not even a consideration.

i was relatively lucky with mom as her wonderful personality, even much of her abilities, stayed intact more so than most all the way thru to end-stage, i had supportive family and friends including my brother & sil near-by, and we had plenty of financial resources. also we were quick to reach out for proper medical support and never shied from community outreach.

there is not much you can do medically at this point. seroquel is often useful in regulating behavior. aricept might help, mom was on it, but i'm not convinced of any benefit. in fact, when we removed aricept in stage 7 of 7 we definitely noticed improved lucidity. nothing known yet stops or even slows progress of the disease. some stuff, like aricept and nemanda, supposedly mask symptoms. but i think, statistically speaking, any benefit might be hard to prove. by the time someone usually faces their disease in stage 4 or 5 of 7, 50% of the brain has already been destroyed.

i have three other family members & friends going through the same ordeal.

my cousin handled her husband's parents wonderfully. they didn't have much money but my cousin worked with the system and found them a good facility. fortunately, the parents died just before the money ran out. because of lack of resources my cousins did a lot of work for the parents. it is good to see they have their life back again.

a close friend who i grew up with also just lost her mom to alzheimer's. her mom changed drastically and became very mean, even cursing-out my friend. my friend, who has a heart of gold, somehow managed to put aside her mother's new found nastiness and stayed the good daughter. they had no money, but towards the end my friend found a clean facility that took her mom on medicaid. my friend was there everyday helping out.

i have another friend from junior high who is a cop and who's mother has become paranoid of him. i tried to explain that this new behavior is the disease, not his mom, but my friend has taken his mom's new behavior to heart and can not get himself to be the good son. it is very hard to watch. i tried to explain that someone could cheat his mom out of her savings and her house and that she'd then have no resources for the care she will surely need in years to come. i tried to put it in a selfish light that he might protect his inheritance. still, my friend is afraid to take any action, afraid to face his mother, unable to separate his mother from her disease.

my cousin and i reached out to the community and learned everything we could about this horrible disease. yet neither of my friends reached out for help and i think both suffered greatly, & unnecessarily, for that. there seemed nothing i could do or say to alter their course as much as i tried.

about the worst story i heard of was of someone who left their alzheimer's diseased mom in a wheelchair at the dog track in hollywood florida. just left her there. like taking out the trash. we really do need to rethink how we care for our aging and how we ourselves age.
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Re: WSJ: "Staying put at age 96"
Old 05-07-2006, 08:04 PM   #5
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Re: WSJ: "Staying put at age 96"

LG4NB,
You sound like an amazing son. Your mother is a very lucky woman to have you looking out for her.

I helped to take care of my father when he was dying. It was the most heartbreaking task of my life. However, I wouldn't have missed it for the world. I will never forget the last time he looked at me before he closed his eyes for the last time. It was pure love and it is my last memory of him. I am so grateful for the time we were together.

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Re: WSJ: "Staying put at age 96"
Old 05-07-2006, 10:40 PM   #6
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Re: WSJ: "Staying put at age 96"

thanx ll, but hardly. now mom, she was amazing. me? i'm just a momma's boy losing his mom.

what a beautiful memory you have of your dad. no doubt you eased also his passing.

sometimes, what we think is a broken heart is just growing pains.

"when the heart is full, the eyes overflow."~~yiddish saying
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Re: WSJ: "Staying put at age 96"
Old 05-07-2006, 10:55 PM   #7
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Re: WSJ: "Staying put at age 96"

LG4NB,

You have hidden qualities. Good on ye, mate.

These things are in the back of our minds, too.

On my part, I have given notice to the wife that she is authorized to push my wheelchair into the Pacific should dementia come to me, if I can't manage it myself. The Gulf of Mexico or the Sea of Cortez will do, but we are children of the Pacific, so I have stated my preference. I am 100% serious. She is a tough hombre and she knows my heart.

If it comes to her first, I will do what you are doing until I can't anymore. If she is anything like her mother, it could be tough, but I can manage. There is a point where a family's strength will be exhausted. I have heard good things about 'retirement' homes around Lake Chapala in Mexico. According to plan, we wil be able to afford them or comparable services.

I am sad that your friend from jr hi has had trouble accepting and adjusting.

I think that life in the US in the 20th century disrupted previous traditions of care for our older relatives. I think the the way things used to be done will come back, adjusted for a globalized culture.

Just my thoughts.

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Re: WSJ: "Staying put at age 96"
Old 05-07-2006, 11:20 PM   #8
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Re: WSJ: "Staying put at age 96"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed_The_Gypsy
I think that life in the US in the 20th century disrupted previous traditions of care for our older relatives.* I think the the way things used to be done will come back, adjusted for a globalized culture.
i think you are absolutely right. financially, i can't imagine how we can not revert to caring for our own. though, recalling the stories my cousin shared of helping her fil with his catheter, i'm so thankful for good finances and insurance. because if i would have had to wash my mother's breasts and change her diaper for all these years, well, i just might have had to forgo sex for the next 5 to 20 lifetimes.

i ran a unscientific calculation. for just alzheimer's, given 5 million current american victims, at a cost of even $50,000/year for assisted living, this system would have to cough up $250 billion per year or $1 trillion for a average 4-year stay. by 2050 with an expected 13 million victims that cost increases to $650 billion per year in today's dollars. $2.6 trillion for a 4-year stay or $9,545,775,910,964.57 at 3% compounded inflation rate. i look at that number and can't even wrap my brain around it.

that's just one group with one disease in one country. yikes. we are living too long. soon we will all be jumping off cliffs. i will have to move to california before dementia strikes because florida has no cliffs to jump off. foiled again.
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Re: WSJ: "Staying put at age 96"
Old 05-07-2006, 11:42 PM   #9
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Re: WSJ: "Staying put at age 96"

Nix CA. Florida is better. Trust me.

Ed, once-upon-a-time from Lakeland
"Florida, I love you. My heart is buried in your sand."
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