June is Alzheimer's & Brain Awareness Month, I almost forgot....
Working and playing and being surrounded by our senior population in our area I've come to realize the changes in a few folks that I met fifteen years ago that were in their 60's now in their 80's. My first experience with any type of dementia, and so out of the loop with being educated at all, was while I worked at the law office.
Our client (I'll call her Mary) walked through the door one day and asked if she was late for her doctor's appointment. At first I didn't pay too much mind to her mistake, many folks used to call the attorney "doctor" by accident. We would laugh it off and move on. I glanced at the book and Mary did not have an appointment with us that day. When I looked up from the appointment book to tell Mary, she was sitting in a chair visibly upset. "Mary" I said, "are you okay?"
"No, I'm loosing it" she snapped back. I sat next to her and she began to tell me that she doesn't know how she got to the office, or why she was there. "Do I have dementia?"
I couldn't imagine. What do you do with that? I did not want her to drive. Her family lived up north in Connecticut, so I couldn't call them to pick her up and take her home. I diverted the conversation to something light and we laughed. We walked outside to the parking lot wherein I began pressing the key to find her car. I drove her home that day, co-worker following behind to take me back to the office. We made sure she was safe, her neighbor was outside when we pulled up to her home. He explained that she was "a little off" lately, leaving the door open a lot. He promised to keep an eye on her.
I took the keys to her car back to the office with me and called her family. They were "blown away" "We were just down there for spring break with the kids and she was fine!" The son took a flight down not to long after, in the interim he contacted the neighbor to keep tabs on her. She didn't think about driving and never noticed the keys were missing for the car. The son and Mary came into the office during his visit. Mary's documents were in order for the her son to take over as her Power of Attorney and Medical Surrogate (be sure your documents are in order before something like this happens!)
The attorney referred a neurologist practice and the family made the appointment. Only problem was the appointment was out three weeks and the son had to go back to Connecticut. Enter Senior Solutions. When our clients at the law office became unable to care for themselves, be it physically or otherwise, we would refer Linda and her team to the families. Senior Solutions was able to keep Mary home and safe until her appointment was ready and her son was back in town. Mary went back to Connecticut with her son after her appointment with the neurologist and never came back to Florida. Mary's son called to assure us that she was happy living with her family. Mary was diagnosed with Alzheimer's.
After this episode I decided to educate myself so I could be more aware of the signs and symptoms of Dementia and Alzheimer's. I would like to pass along to you the resources that has helped me though the myriad of questions I had once had.
We had the opportunity to sit down and talk to Dr. Laura Fix, DO Specialist in Neurology recently and shared a great discussion about dementia and debilitating effects on both patient and family members. Dr. Fix doesn't like to wait for months for an appointment for new patients and sets aside specific days so you don't have to wait. She is located at:931 SE Ocean Blvd., #A, Stuart, Florida 34994 and her telephone number is (772) 288-6300.
Senior Solutions has also had the privilege to have ongoing discussion with Mary Barnes, President and CEO of Alzheimer's Community Care. Mary's dedication to Alzheimer's Community Care is unfaltering in her advocacy for those coping with neurocognitive disorder. Mary is in integral part in implementing the Silver Alert in the State of Florida and the ID Locator Service. Alzheimer's Community Care is there to provide patients and caregivers services and resources. CONTACT THEM!
Dementia. What is it? Is it the same as Alzheimer's? No. How do we keep it all straight? My go to page for any information or questions I may have is Alzheimer's Association. This website is the be all end all to any questions I had to differentiate the two and compartmentalize each type of dementia. Click here to see the Warning Signs