More than five million Americans are currently living with Alzheimer's disease. It takes an average of 30 months from the time family members notice the first symptoms of dementia until the person is diagnosed with Alzheimer's. There are several reasons for this, but one of the principal ones is that family members hesitate to take their loved one to a doctor, fearing that the diagnosis will in fact turn out to be Alzheimer's. Alzheimer's is, above all, an insidious illness. It begins with very mild symptoms — things we all do from time to time, such as forgetting to turn…
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Problems handling finances are often the first sign of cognitive decline. Financial competence involves a complex set of skills, from simple arithmetic to remembering to pay bills to understanding how loans work. Therefore, impaired seniors are at risk not only because unscrupulous outsiders (or their own family members) can defraud them, but because they themselves make self-destructive decisions as shoppers or investors. This is a strong indicator that a dementia diagnosis will follow, often within a year. So how should a primary care physician respond when a family member reports these symptoms? The JAMA article suggests that doctors talk to…
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The Journal of the American Medical Association recently published an article suggesting steps they can take to mitigate the damage.
The AARP has come up with some questions to ask before moving out of a nursing home. Do you want to live independently? You must be motivated enough to overcome frustration and inconvenience. Are you able to live independently? People with limited mobility can often manage. Can you afford to live independently? Government programs offer a variety of financial help. Is in-home care available? Together, a doctor and a transition coordinator can help compile a list of needed services. Is appropriate housing available? Requirements vary with health and mobility, and include access, safety features, security, and kitchen and dining facilities….
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The Kaiser Family Foundation Report explores factors that appear to drive relatively high rates of hospitalizations, based on interviews with doctors, nursing home staff and families in four cities. Key factors include liability concerns, limited onsite staff capabilities, difficulty reaching residents' physicians for care instructions on nights and weekends, better and more timely access to diagnostic tests in hospitals, and patient preferences. Physicians with patients in a long-term care facility say it is more convenient and potentially in their financial interest to see patients in the hospital, based on their understanding of coverage and payment policy.
Physicians may now authorize nursing home nurses to call in the prescriptions directly to pharmacies.