abferrarolaw.com/senior-resource-kits/alzheimers-resource-kit/. -Anthony B. FerraroOne 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
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
Good communication can help many problematic situations and behaviors, and even sometimes negate them. The No. 1 tip you can learn on this topic is to treat a loved one with Alzheimer’s as an individual with a disease, not as a diseased individual. The person has an entire, personal, individualized history that will stay with him or her throughout life’s journey. Some characteristics will never leave; some will become more pronounced. A high-anxiety person could still be tightly wound, while a laid back person could become even more so. Everyone needs to have his or her feelings validated, and individuals with Alzheimer’s are no different. In fact, they might need it even more, given their likely memory loss or possible insecurity issues. Here’s an example: You mother, who has Alzheimer’s is angry with your wife a lot of the time. They were on good terms in the past, but now she blames your wife for everything. You have to keep in mind that it is the dementia talking, not your mother. You can validate her feelings by saying, “I don’t blame you for being angry” and then move on. What she feels is real to her (even if it’s not true) and you should at least afford her some validation. Of course, you might have to coach your wife at this point, too. Reinforce that the comments and action aren’t necessarily against her at a personal level. It’s the nature of this devastating illness and, in the long run, is only a temporary condition. People who have Alzheimer’s respond well to affirmation so be generous with the praise and comments such as “good job” or “way to go,” etc. Here are some other tips to conducting good communication with your loved one (or anyone) who has Alzheimer’s:
- Identify yourself when you begin a conversation. If he says he knows already, laugh and joke it off
- Maintain eye contact when speaking
- Slow down when you talk
- Use short sentences
- Smile and be pleasant
- Be aware of her body language. A sudden change in position (i.e. sit-to-stand) could indicate the need to go to the restroom, or another form of discomforts
- Be aware of YOUR body language. Try not to appear tense, upset or intimidating. Remember: The majority of communication is conveyed non-verbally
- Don’t argue
- Ask only one question at a time. Give enough time for responses. Yes/no questions are the best
- Don’t talk about your loved one as if she or he weren’t there — you can never be sure of just how aware she or he might be. Also, don’t be condescending or order the person around
- Try to avoid a high-pitched tone of voice. It could be interpreted as anger
- When your loved one is upset and communication between you just isn’t working, try a hug. Soon, anger should be forgotten and you can try again
- Use gentle touches to get your love one’s attention if necessary. You can try by putting your hand on his shoulder, knee or hand
- Eliminate any noise that could be distracting, such as TV or radio. Go to another room to talk if it would be helpful.