SHARE REPRINTED FROM FALL RIVER HERALD NEWS
By Deborah Allard
Herald News Staff Reporter
Posted Mar 24, 2017 at 1:51 PMUpdated Mar 24, 2017 at 2:00 PM
FALL RIVER — Fall River Municipal Credit Union became the first dementia friendly business in the city after being trained on how best to interact with people suffering from the disease’s trademark mental decline and loss of memory.
“We’re finally doing this,” said Bristol Elders Services CEO Nancy Munson. “This is our first.”
Bristol Elders, after offering a summit in the fall to make Fall River a dementia friendly community, has begun signing up businesses for the special training. Walsh Pharmacy employees will be trained next week.
“Businesses are starting to line up,” Munson said. “It’s going to help those customers. They’ll say ‘this is a place we can go.’”
Upon completion of the short training presentation, businesses will be given a dementia friendly sign for their window or door letting the public know that employees understand dementia and the special needs of those suffering from the disease and their caregivers.
A dementia friendly community brings awareness of dementia to as many people as possible including those in banking, retail and restaurant establishments, city offices, first responders, health care facilities, churches, and others.
Atty. Jane E. Sullivan, who specializes in elder law, estate planning and probate, presented the training to FRMCU employees.
She said some 1,500 people in Greater Fall River have been diagnosed with dementia, with many more going undiagnosed. Some 25 percent of those with dementia and Alzheimer’s live alone.
“Our goal is to be able to help (people with dementia and Alzheimer’s) live in the community,” Sullivan said. “We want them to be able to continue to go to all the places they want to.”
Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia. Others can include vascular and alcohol dementia and other types brought on by certain diseases. While it typically affects elders, early onset dementia can start in the 60s, 50s, and even 40s.
“We want people to be aware of the signs and symptoms,” Sullivan said. “We want to greet them with support and empathy.”
People with dementia may have some troubles when inside a business or facility like not remembering how to begin a transaction, locating the exit, becoming confused when counting money, or they may repeat themselves.
A person with dementia may appear restless or agitated at times. They may have a hard time filtering conversation from overhead music.
Sullivan said it’s best for employees to speak slowly, ask one question at a time, use their name when speaking to them, stay calm, and be courteous and helpful. And, never argue with a person with dementia.
“They’re counting on you to help get them through the situation,” Sullivan said.
Bristol Elder Services, which serves the greater Attleboro, Fall River and Taunton areas, chose Fall River to be its first dementia friendly community because it is its largest service area, and because Fall River has a high rate of dementia risk factors like heart disease and diabetes, and because it has already become part of a Healthy City initiative.
“We deal with a lot of elderly who come in and do their banking,” said FRMCU President and CEO Matthew G. Schondek. “We see them starting to slow down. If we recognize it, we can help. If we get a lot of businesses involved, we can help people stay in the community.”
To be a part of the dementia friendly community effort, contact Munson at Bristol Elder Services at 508-675-2101.
To learn more about dementia friendly communities, visit dfamerica.org
Email Deborah Allard at firstname.lastname@example.org
Last September, I was contacted by Claudette Azar-Kenyon to help her mother, Flora Azar, move from her large family home of 30 years to a two-bedroom condo. Flora lived at home with her husband, George, who was suffering from medical complications that prevented him from helping Flora with the move. (George passed away in March 2016, and we offer the family our most sincere condolences). Flora and George, married for 65 years, had been talking about downsizing for 10 years but life had intervened, as it so often does, with illnesses and various family challenges. Last year, Flora knew she had reached the critical point of needing to sell their house and downsize. Sadly, she was now facing the move without the emotional and physical support of her life partner.
Flora, at 86, is vibrant and sharp – but with less energy than in previous years. Trying to organize, pack and move – all while caring for her ailing husband -- was more than she could manage on her own. While her oldest daughter, Claudette, enthusiastically tried to help her parents organize for the move, she faced the time constraints of a demanding professional career. Claudette decided it was time to seek our professional help.
At Simplified Lives, we are often contacted by adult children who are working full-time jobs and taking care of their own children and pets while trying to maintain their own homes. It is difficult to squeeze into a busy life the enormous task of downsizing, packing and moving one’s parents!
Claudette said her best advice for other adult children facing this situation is to strive to strike a balance. Parents will have less room in a new living arrangement, but they may find it very difficult emotionally to let go of extra clothes, dish sets, pictures and decorations. Claudette offered two key words: “Have patience.” Even now, after the move, she is working to be patient with Flora when they talk about something that was not moved, as Flora still adjusts to smaller closet space.
Flora offered this advice to anyone her age thinking about downsizing and moving:
Please consider giving your mother the present of your time to get Mom started on organizing and downsizing. And for all of those amazing adult children out there who are already trying to help their mothers, or who would like to help but face “completely booked” schedules, give us a call at Simplified Lives. This work is our profession. We are experts in the art of moving. We are knowledgeable, helpful -- and, yes, patient!
ElderCareNetwork September 28, 2016 -- Sarah is a 75 year old woman in relatively good health until she fell and broke her hip last July. After a hospital stay and three weeks in rehab she came home with many new medications. Unfortunately, when she turned 65, she did not enroll in Medicare Part D (prescription drug program) as she was not taking any medications at that time. Now she is unable to enroll until open enrollment (three months away) and will pay a lifetime penalty (based on national premium) when she does enroll. Oops!
While hospitals and other providers line up for performance-related penalties, patients are also in the line of fire if they do not make the correct decisions at the right times. Examples include penalties for late enrollment in Medicare Part B without creditable coverage, and/or late enrollment penalties for Part D without creditable coverage.
With open enrollment scheduled to begin October 15, it is important for your patients and clients to review their current plans and know their options. Free help is available from local SHINE counselors.
Kathy Heery RN, MS, CCM, CCP
What is the ELCN?
The Elder Life Care Network (ELCN) is about aging well in the community. We work with elders and families helping them make informed decisions that lead toward workable solutions during difficult elder care situations.Each service (Smart Home Monitoring, GCM, Private Home Care) can stand alone, but when combined together provides solutions to the broader set of problems.
It is rarely just about the health care problem; the living environment, affordability and use of other services are just a few concerns. If you have problems, we have answers.
52 Court St - Plymouth, MA
EXPERTS IN AGING WELL:
A membership service bringing clarity to elders and their families through the aging process. A guide for life.The Elder Life Care Network™ (ELCN) is a comprehensive service for elders and their families who struggle with chronic illnesses, wrestle with fragmented care systems, lack consistent and credible information sources and desire to remain independent at home. The ELCN assembles team members, led by credentialed experts, supported by certified caregivers and enabled through technologies. Together the team supplies needed services, offers continuous information feeds, shares this information through various technologies and provides ongoing decision support throughout the aging process.