Tag Archives: Alzheimer’s Resource Kit

Choosing the Right Nursing Home | Chicagoland Elder Care Attorney

Choosing a nursing home for a loved one may be one of the most daunting things we have to do in life.  But, when a loved one is in a condition that requires them to be in a nursing home, as a caregiver or agent under power of attorney, it is your job to choose the place that is best for them.  You want them to get the proper medical attention while still feeling like they’re at home.  Your worst case scenario would be for them to feel neglected or to be treated poorly.

There are ways to ensure that this does not happen.

For starters, when beginning the nursing home selection process I recommend that you visit https://abferrarolaw.com/senior-resource-kits/alzheimers-resource-kit/.  There you will find the guide, “How to Choose the Right Nursing Home and Ensure Your Loved One Gets Great Care,” which includes:

1)      A Nursing Home Evaluation Form, which gives you a lot of insight pertaining to issues that people tend to overlook when choosing a nursing home;

2)      3 steps to make the nursing home transition a smooth one; and

3)      1 huge secret on how to connect with nursing home staffers so that your loved one gets the best treatment.

After narrowing down the nursing home selections, the next best thing to do is to contact someone on the nursing home staff, such as the social worker, to voice your concerns and engage in further questioning on your nursing home of choice.  After contacting staff, they may offer to give you a tour of their facility to give you an even more in depth insight on what may soon be your loved one’s new home.

All in all, throughout the whole process, make sure to involve your loved one. Make sure that they know that the journey they are about to embark on is not a scary one, but an exciting one.

-Anthony B. Ferraro

Should Your Loved One with Alzheimer’s Still be Driving? | Illinois Estate Planning & Eldercare Attorney-CPA Anthony B. Ferraro

One of the dilemmas a caregiver for someone with Alzheimer’s faces is whether or not they should continue to let their loved one drive.  No longer allowing your loved one to drive can lead your loved one to a feeling of defeat and taking away their keys can mean the loss of your loved one’s independence; however,  you must balance that loss with the safety of others on the road.

An issue that many caregivers face surrounding the driving issue is their loved one’s insistence that there is no reason why they can no longer operate a vehicle.  Even if you get the doctor to insist to the patient that they should no longer drive, due to the memory loss, the patient may completely forget what the doctor told them.  So, you will find yourself in a seemingly never ending cycle of your loved one insisting on driving and you telling them no.

In this case, the best thing to do is change the topic of conversation when the driving topic is brought up.  Diverting to a lighter topic of conversation by saying something like, “What do you want for dinner tonight?” may feel odd at first, like you’re ignoring your loved one, but the truth is, switching to a lighter topic of conversation can be a great stress reliever for both you and your loved one, even if it is only for a brief moment.

Changing to a lighter topic should not take away from the overall seriousness of the driving issue, but for the time being, it provides some relief and you both can move forward.

It is important to realize that driving is one of the most challenging issues surrounding Alzheimer’s today.  Helpful answers to this issue can come from the Alzheimer’s resource center at abferrarolaw.com/senior-resource-kits/alzheimers-resource-kit/.

-Anthony B. Ferraro

Alzheimer’s Caregivers’ Advice | Illinois Estate Planning & Eldercare Attorney-CPA Anthony B. Ferraro

Assuming the role of a caregiver for a loved one with Alzheimer’s is very hard. It can be a struggle, both physically and mentally.  As an Alzheimer’s caregiver, you are going to be approaching challenges that are both new and frightening.

Alzheimer’s is a complex disease and it can affect your loved one in many different ways.  Someone with Alzheimer’s may struggle doing simple tasks such as getting dressed or eating.  The typical Alzheimer’s patient will also face confusion and, therefore, you will receive repetitive questions and see odd behavior.

In a situation like this, it is normal to feel trapped.  However, I am here to assure you that there are ways to make you and your loved one’s journey through Alzheimer’s easier.

First off, I suggest that you abferrarolaw.com/senior-resource-kits/alzheimers-resource-kit/.  There you will find many tools on how to cope through the Alzheimer’s journey, including the recording called, “Caring for and Communicating with the Alzheimer’s Patient.”

Other helpful information covered on the above website includes paying for the cost of Alzheimer’s care, discovering hidden VA benefits, and how to approach crucial legal documents.

-Anthony B. Ferraro

Coping with Alzheimer’s | Chicago Estate Planning & Eldercare Attorney-CPA Anthony B. Ferraro

Alzheimer’s has been termed “The Long Goodbye” due to its devastating effects that last for many years.  When our loved ones have Alzheimer’s, it doesn’t only affects them, it affects us.

However, there is still hope: hope in learning how to cope with Alzheimer’s.  As of today, there is no official cure for the disease, but by taking the simple steps many Alzheimer’s caregivers are using to cope, we can regain some peace of mind.

By visiting the website below, you will gain access to the Indispensable Alzheimer’s Resource Kit.  This is a helpful tool that will assist you in providing stress-free care for both you and your loved one, as well as ways to pay for Alzheimer’s care without going broke.


I also encourage you to visit www.AlzheimersHope.com, which is an internet community that will give you the opportunity to connect with Alzheimer’s caregivers from around the world.

You are not alone in your journey through Alzheimer’s, and the above websites will assure you that there are many others experiencing the same thing as you.

If you have any other questions about Alzheimer’s or any other legal-related issues, please call my office at (847) 292-1220.

-Anthony B. Ferraro


My father keeps asking to go home. What do we tell him? ? | Chicago, Illinois Elder Law Attorney Anthony B. Ferraro

When your father or any loved one starts to ask about home, someone could drive them past a previous home, even from childhood. Often, he will not recognize the old house because a house and a home are two different things. That’s why it is best to make him feel safe and secure, regardless of wherever he is.

To most people, “home” is a place where we feel loved and accepted — and safe. So the best way to answer your question is to think about the word “home” and what it signifies. Depending on where he is with memory loss, your father might be conjuring thoughts of a childhood home with his parents and siblings. Or the home where he was first married, the kids were young or any time before, after or in between

He might be living in the same home he’s been in for 20 or 30 years and still ask to go home.

Due to the nature of Alzheimer’s, your dad is likely feeling insecure, fearful, even unlovable. Please pay close attention to this next point: It is not your fault. He is dwindling a bit, day-by-day, and he is frightened. Fear can drive many emotions, not the least of which are insecurity, anxiety, anger and low self-esteem. Your father needs to feel safe. If he doesn’t carry good feelings about himself, he probably doesn’t feel he can be loved by anyone.

Remember that the most important thing to realize is you need to constantly validate his feelings. Instead of telling him he is home, tell him simply that he is in a safe place and that he is loved very much. You can tell him, for example, “Dad, you’ll be staying with me and Anthony for a while. We’re happy you’re here and we love you.”

Reminiscing about his childhood and looking back at his life and life accomplishments also should make him feel good about himself and decrease negative feelings.

Because Alzheimer’s patients typically have short-term memory loss, he will nonetheless continue to ask about “home.” Repeat over and over that he is in a safe place and loved very much. Giving hugs throughout the day will truly say much more than words. A hug produces feelings of love, acceptance and security — three big concepts that continually need addressing.  For more information regarding how to treat a loved one with Alzheimer’s, click here.

My mom thinks, after a few sessions, that her doctor-ordered speech therapy is a waste of time. Should we put up with the stress of forcing her to do this if she doesn’t want to? | Chicago Long-Term Care Planning Attorney Anthony B. Ferraro

You better go talk to the physician involved before you assert yourself here. Also, discuss this with the speech therapist to find out what type of therapy work your mother is undertaking. The therapist should have her individualized care plan available to discuss. It should include a goal and various steps for meeting it.

Speech therapy does a lot more than most people realize. It is not just about talking more clearly. Some of the most important work may have to do with swallowing issues, which can be quite dangerous if not addressed appropriately. As Alzheimer’s disease progresses, for example, swallowing becomes more difficult, sometimes to the point of being life-threatening. Choking is a big concern.

Speech therapists can assess such situations and apply therapies as needed. Rather than just having a person form sounds and letters, speech therapists also conduct swallowing tests on people with dementia — sometimes with the use of X-rays. These can help form care plans. It is easy to see why an Alzheimer’s patient might not understand all of this.

You probably will want your mother’s doctor to explain the seriousness of the situation to her, and why the speech therapy is needed. Then, if your mother complains in the future, you can rely on the authority of the doctor. You also will both be more knowledgeable and familiar with the reasons for speech therapy.  For more information from the Alzheimer’s Resource Kit, click here.

How can you get a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease to eat more? | Chicago Long-Term Care Planning Attorney Anthony B. Ferraro

Often, as Alzheimer’s progresses, a person loses his or her appetite. Getting the person to eat can be a constant struggle. This is, in fact, one of the great challenges that Alzheimer’s caregivers face on a regular basis.

It might be helpful to serve Alzheimer’s patients food on brightly colored plates and drinks in brightly colored cups or glasses. A study in a recent edition of Clinical Nutrition magazine revealed that when nursing home Alzheimer’s patients were served food on bright red plates, with red cutlery, they ate 24% more than when served on white plates. Similarly, bright red cups led to 84% more liquid being drunk than out of plain glasses.

It’s a little-understood fact about Alzheimer’s that as the disease progresses, the ability to process all types of information is often lost. Outwardly it might seem obvious and easy for a person to recognize food on a plate, but it can be a challenge for an Alzheimer’s patient.

So if other strategies for encouraging or cajoling more eating and drinking have failed, try serving food on bright red plates and putting beverages in red cups to encourage greater consumption.  To learn more, try the Alzheimer’s Resource Kit, click here.

Since my father just wandered from his nursing home, could it be that he’s placed inappropriately? | Chicago, Illinois Elder Law Attorney Anthony B. Ferraro

This depends on a number of factors. If he is considered a high-risk case for wandering and the provider is admittedly not suited to deal with it, then, yes, he may be incorrectly placed. But if this was a first or “one-time” incident and staff members say they can handle it from here on out, try to keep your father where he is. It’s good for him to remain in familiar surroundings. (If you think the facility simply is not living up to its care obligations or has been derelict in its duties, then looking for a different facility would be advised.)

Having a person with Alzheimer’s disease move can often be traumatic. What makes this predicament particularly difficult is you can’t typically determine if your father is going to wander until the first time it happens. A facility can be caught off-guard by this but then can recover by ramping up supervision to responsibly take care of him. The facility might, in fact, have a very good resident monitoring system available or in place but did not think to tell you about it because your father wasn’t yet deemed a wandering risk.

You can do a little research to help determine the next step. Speak with the facility’s activity director to learn whether your father takes part in activities. If he doesn’t or doesn’t take part much, ask the director to get him more involved in either group of individual activities. This will help keep his body active and his mind stimulated, diverting some of the energy that would be used for wandering. Exercise is a good way to spend excess energy

You also can look into engaging private duty or sitting services. Consult facility staff about having someone come in to spend one-on-one time with your father. This would still not guarantee against wandering (due to the nature of the disease) but it would be another proactive measure against it.

Have all caregivers track whether your father tries to leave the facility, and if staff members are able to prevent or counteract it. If they can’t prevent it, you might need to explore other options.

Also consider: Does your father seem anxious or extremely agitated? His doctor might be able to do something about this with an appropriate intervention. There is also the chance that your father may remain agitated enough to wander no matter where he is. Be sure to keep his doctor up to date on the situation.

For more information, go to our Alzheimer’s Resource Kit by clicking here.

How will we know when it’s appropriate to move my dad from adult day care to a nursing home, or an assisted living facility? . | Chicago Long-Term Care Planning Attorney Anthony B. Ferraro

The answer is simple: When you no longer can care for him at home.

Adult day care is just a day service, so it occupies only part of the time. Care at home is still needed for nights and weekends. There are some adult care centers that offer evening and weekend services, but often it is not enough. Some people “package” services from a home care agency with the time spent at adult day care. In addition, a home care agency can assist with evening and weekend care to reduce the strain on you, and keep your father at home longer.

But as you can see, that takes quite a bit of coordination, and still a fair amount of resources, to do properly. Everyone’s situation is different and everyone has a different threshold, so you have to figure out what is appropriate for you and your loved one.

It is time to consider a nursing home or assisted living facility if you are feeling overwhelmed and the quality of life at home has fallen. You need to remember that it isn’t fair to either of you if your time with your father is so strained it diminishes your quality of life. If he were to go to an eldercare facility, your time together would likely be decreased, but then your time together could be that much more focused on doing things you like together, and in a lower stress environment.

Some assisted living facilities have staff members who are trained and equipped to work with Alzheimer’s residents. But many do not. You must research any long-term care operator’s limitations before making a decision. Some will accept Alzheimer’s residents until they become incontinent or require some other type of skilled care. In that case, you must consider what an extra move might mean to your father’s well being and sense of orientation.

This is a decision that you, as primary caregiver, must make. Everyone has different limitations and goals. When you know you have reached your limit, make the most appropriate, effective decision for everyone involved.  Realize you have done your best and that that is good enough. Let go of any guilt, for it can only destroy you.  For more information about Alzheimer`s, click here for our Resource Kit.


How can I get a family council established at my husband’s nursing home? | Chicago Elder Law Attorney Anthony B. Ferraro

When done right, family councils can be very beneficial. Their goal is to discuss issues with staff members in a constructive, non-threatening setting. They are not supposed to be forums for constant complaining or berating of staff. At these meetings, ideas, concerns and possible solutions are shared. It is also an opportunity for bonding with staff members.

If you want to establish a council, speak with the nursing home’s administrator. These councils are common so you might not face much resistance. Establish a place, day and time to meet, as well as a format for how meetings will run and what will be addressed. You’ll also need to determine who will run such meetings, and create a way of informing all residents, family members and staff about them.

The meetings can be informal, or quite formal — complete with minutes being taken. It’s up to everyone to decide. The structure isn’t as important as getting information out and distributed.

One big function of family councils is to help arrange activities that involve both residents and their families. By this, we’re mainly talking about picnics held at the facility. These can help promote a sense of unity among residents, family members and staff.  For more information, look into our Alzheimer’s Resource Kit.