Help for the Alzheimer's Families and Care Givers
- Published on Tuesday, 22 July 2008 18:35
- Written by Stanton O. Berg
The decison to commit a loved one to a nursing home for their future care is an agonizing and emotional undertaking with many ramifications and concerns. The caregiver may debate and question the decision they have made for the next several years or perhaps for the caregiver's lifetime. If the loved one involved is the caregivers spouse who was deeply loved, feelings of guilt and questions on the correctness of the decision made, may be even more intense.
For the story of this caregiver's decision, the history and factors leading up to the decision and the resulting aftermath, click on the following link:
The following references and sources will be of help in the more practical aspects of making the selection.
1. Selecting a proper care facility for a loved one who has Alzheimer’s can be both challenging and difficult. Below are suggested reference sources and information that is available from both the Federal Government and the Minnesota Department of Health.
a. The Federal Government has set up a Federal rating system for Nursing Homes so that an individual wanting to select a nursing home would have a comparison source to compare the Government's Medicare and Medicaid approved Nursing Home Facilities. It is called "Nursing Home Compare". This program is operated by the U.S. Government's "Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services."
b. The Minnesota Department of Health has a site devoted to helping a family or a caregiver in selecting an appropriate nursing home facility for a loved one. This site lets you select a nursing home within a chosen number of miles of a zip code. It also rates Nursing homes with what they call a “Nursing Home Report Card.” It allows you to choose the factors or quality measures that are the most important to you. The Nursing homes are scored in seven quality measures with a score of one through five for each measure. One is the lowest and five is the highest. Click on:.
Note: For a practical and detailed discussion on the selection of a nursing home and for the "Care, Comfort Considerations" on a day to day basis for loved ones in nursing homes, click on the below care practice essay:
b. State Inspections and Surveys. The State of Minnesota , Department of Health under a “cooperative agreement with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) is responsible for ensuring that the facilities accepting Medicare and Medicaid payment for services, meet federal regulations and certification rules. The surveys "evaluate the quality of care and services provided as well as the appropriateness of the facility’s building, equipment, staffing, policies, procedures and finances.” The results of the surveys are available for your review and inspection. Click on:
2, Nursing Homes and Problem Resolutions: You may find you’re self in a situation where you feel that you must file a complaint in regard to the care received by your loved one in an Alzheimer’s facility or nursing home. If you are at a point where you have exhausted all efforts to deal with the facility or nursing home and need additional help resolving your problem, links are provided to file a complaint with the Minnesota Department of Health or to request help from the Ombudsman for Older Minnesotan's at the Minnesota Department of the Aged. If you feel that your problem involves consumer fraud, you may want to contact the Minnesota Attorney General’s Department and file a complaint with that department. Cick On:
3. This web site (June K. Berg, Alzheimer’s) is also a rich source of information about Alzheimer’s and Alzheimer’s care giving. Refer to the navigation menus for a variety of information. See the top Navigation bar and menu item - Click this link::
See the center Navigation Bar and menu itemd ”About Alzheimer"s". This item gives you access to a video and a Power Point Presentation that details the story of Alzheimer’s. The same navigation bar menu items “Care Practices” and “Alzheimer’s Drugs” with their own sub menus have much practical information for both the family of an Alzheimer’s victim as well as the care giver. Click on this link:
4. See also the following additional resource sites: Click on the below desired links:
The below link to the Minnesota Department of Health goes directly to their Alzheimer's site. The State of Minnesota established this site only after much lobbying in behalf of such a site. Commissioner Mandernach's letter to me on 2 August 2007 states: "I want to thank you for your persistence.....I have directed our Health Promotion and Chronic Disease division to add information on Alzheimer's to our web page. This will be done by Septemeber 4, 2007. The page will also include links to other resources..."
5. Your Local Church: Most churches have racks of literature or publications for the members of the church and the church guests. Frequently the church will have a rack of "Care Notes". These helpful little pamphlets are available at no cost for the members of the church or guests of the church.
One specific "Care Note" pamphlet has an outline of suggestions and helps for the Alzheimer's family. "Ten Helps for an Alzheimer's Family". (2004) by Carol Luebering of Care Notes, One Caring Place, Abbey Press, St. Meinrad, IN 47577. (The 10 help outline consists of the following 10 parts.: 1. Know your enemy. 2. Hold a family conference. 3. Make room for grief. 4. Plan ahead. 5. Get support. 6. Put safety first. 7. Simplify. 8. Accept your loved one as she/he is. 9. Take care of yourself. 10. Stay in touch.
A second specific "Care Note" pamphlet suggests how a family can deal witha member having Alzheimer's. "When Alzheimer's "Steals" the Loved One You Knew" by Joel Schorn. (2008) One Caring Place, Abbey Press, St. Meinrad, IN 47577. Topic headings are: "Working Yor Way Through", "Understand the Disease", "Remember it's the Disease, Not the Person.", "Find New Ways to Connect...and to Let Gol When Necessary.", "Get the Help You Need.", and "Take Heart". A touching line from "An Alzheimer's Patients Prayer" by Carolyn Haynali reads: "I still need the compassion...most of all I still need you to love me." I can think of nothing more important for a family caregiver to keep in mind!
A third specific "Care Note" pamphlet has general information on Alzheimer's and Dementia.. "What Everyone Should Know About Dementia." (2004) by Patti Normile, Care Notes, One Caring Place, Abbey Press, St. Meinrad, IN 47577. This pamphlet also can be helpful if one does not become confused in the terminology of Alzheimer's and Dementia. One should keep in mind that there is no such disease as Dementia. The term dementia refers to a set of symptoms. In order to have the dementia symptoms one must have an overlying disease that causes such symptoms. Alzheimer's is the largest single cause of dementia symptoms. (Estimated at 70-80% of all dementia symptoms are caused by Alzheimer's. Other causes of dementia symptoms may be Huntington's disease, Lewy Body disease, Parkinson's disease etc.) The 6 part outline of this pamphlet would be: 1. Get the facts. 2. Avoid denial. 3. Turn to others for support. 4. Acknowledge the loss. 5. Learn some new skills. 6. Take heart.
In addition, your church may offer counseling services for the Alzheimer's family. Most churches will have a visitation's pastor who regularly calls on the senior members of the church and on the sick. Most churches have a "Senior Ministry" oriented to the needs of the senior members of the church!
I am a member of the Redeemer Lutheran Church at 61 Mississippi Way NE, Fridley, MN 55432. This is the same church where my wife June and I have been members for over 50 years.
Our senior Pastor, Dr. Dave Glesne would like to extend a warm welcome to anyone residing or visiting in the Twin Cities (Minneapolis-St. Paul) Metropolitan area, to attend any of our (four) traditional or contemporary Sunday morning services and avail themselves (without charge) of any of the "Care Notes" or other literature on display in the front commons area of the church.
Our church staff in addition to a "Senior Ministry" also has a "Pastoral Care" minister (Pastor Harley Schmitt) who visits, counsels with and otherwise attends the spiritual needs of the seniors, the sick and others. Pastor Harley is very familiar with Alzheimer's disease as his father was also a victim of this terrible disease.
For more information, please visit the website of this dynamic, vibrant and friendly church at: (Click on)
Note: June's obituary as printed in the Minneapolis Star Tribune following her death in October 2008 can be found on the top blue navigation strip under the label "In Memoriam" and on the drop down menu. (Click on:)
Last Update: 4 April 2013.