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Are you prepared for the 2018 hurricane season?


By Linda Ziac
The Caregiver Resource Center
July 9, 2018
www.CaregiverResourceCenter.com


The 2018 Atlantic hurricane season began on June 1, 2018, and will end on November 30, 2018.


ARE YOU PREPARED?

As a Board Certified Case Manager and a member of the City of Stamford Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), I have encountered people faced with a wide variety of emergency situations. I was fortunate to have been a volunteer during Hurricane Sandy.

During the hurricane and the days following, I witnessed firsthand the difference it made for people who were prepared, verses those that were caught off guard.

We never know when an emergency situation may strike; whether it’s a medical emergency precipitating a trip to the ER, or a weather related emergency, such as a hurricane that forces us to leave our home.

Keep in mind that when away from home and with the possibly of limited or no electricity, you may not be able to access your cell phone, computer, or the Internet.

It’s for this reason, that it’s so important to create an Emergency Go Bag complete with important documents. It is recommended that a Go Bag be created for each member of the family, including children. For children it makes sense to include some of the child’s favorite books, crayons and paper, games, etc.

Since time is of the essence in an emergency situation, it would be beneficial to prepare your Go Bag in advance, and leave the bag in a readily available place.

As you prepare to create a Go Bag, the first step is to obtain a bag that is sturdy and large enough to hold your desired items, such as a back pack or duffle bag.


To follow is a list of some items that you may want to include in your Go Bag, along with your own list of items.


“Hope for the best - prepare for the worst”


SAMPLE EMERGENCY GO BAG CHECKLIST

When emergencies happen, it’s important to be prepared.

Create an Emergency Go Bag to take with you if you suddenly have to leave your home.
- File of Life (The “File of Life” is a medical information packet designed to provide Paramedics and Emergency Medical Technicians with the necessary medical information to begin immediate treatment.)

- Copy of Medical Insurance Cards

- Copy of Living Will, Advanced Directives, Power of Attorney, DNR

- Picture of a Photo ID (Driver’s License, work or senior center ID)

- List of Names and phone numbers of Family & Friends

- List of Surgeries with dates (e.g. appendicitis 1978)

- Cell phone with electric outlet & car charger

- Laptop Charger & Laptop Car Charger Adapter

- Reading Material, Crossword Puzzles, etc.

- Bottled water & snacks (e.g. crackers, granola bars)

- Comb, brush, toothbrush & travel size tooth paste

- Wet wipes, hand sanitizer & package of tissues

- Notepad and pen

- 7 day supply of daily prescription medications + a copy of the prescriptions

- Small flashlight with extra batteries

- Battery powered AM/FM radio with extra batteries

- Extra pair of eyeglasses and hearing aid batteries

- Moist towelettes or baby wipes

- Special sanitary needs

- First Aid Supplies

- Playing cards

- Other personal items as desired

Source: The Caregiver Resource Center • Greenwich CT • 203-861-9833


PREPAREDNESS RESOURCES

To follow are some resources that can be helpful to you and your family, in preparing for a possible emergency situation.


- FEMA
Emergency preparedness guidance from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security
http://www.ready.gov
800) 621-3362
TTY: 800-462-7585 - NATIONAL SAFETY COUNCIL
http://www.nsc.org/safety_home/Resources/Pages/EmergencyPreparedness.aspx
800-621-7615 - CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL (CDC)
https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/hurricanes/index.html
800-232-4636
TTY: 888-232-6348 - AMERICAN RED CROSS
Plan & Prepare
http://www.redcross.org/prepare 800-733-2767

Find Your Red Cross Local Chapter
http://www.redcross.org/find-your-local-chapter


- EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS - FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES
Red Cross
http://www.redcross.org/prepare/location/home-family/disabilities



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The information in this article is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. This information is not intended to be patient education, does not create any patient provider relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.

Please consult your health care provider for an appointment, before making any healthcare decisions or for guidance about a specific medical condition.

________________________________________________________________________

Linda Ziac is the owner and founder of The Caregiver Resource Center. The Caregiver Resource Center is a division of Employee Assistance Professionals, Inc. which Linda founded in October 1990. The Caregiver Resource Center provides a spectrum of concierge case management and advocacy services for seniors, people with special needs and families.

Linda’s professional career spans more than 40 years in the health and mental health field as a CT Licensed Professional Counselor, CT Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor, Board Certified Employee Assistance Professional, Board Certified Case Manager, and Board Certified Dementia Practitioner. In addition, Ms. Ziac has 15 years of experience coordinating care for her own parents.

Linda assists seniors, people with special needs and their families; in planning for and implementing ways to allow for the greatest degree of health, safety, independence, and quality of life. Linda meets with individuals and family members to assess their needs, and develop a Care Team, while working with members of the Team to formulate a comprehensive Care Plan (a road map). Once a plan is in place, Linda is available to serve as the point person to monitor
and coordinate services, and revise the plan as needed. This role is similar to the conductor of an orchestra; ensuring that there is good communication, teamwork, and that everyone remains focused on the desired goal.

http://www.CaregiverResourceCenter.com
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Respecting A Senior’s Independence

By Linda Ziac
The Caregiver Resource Center
June 26, 2018
www.CaregiverResourceCenter.com


FINDING WAYS TO HELP WITHOUT BEING INTRUSIVE

As a Board Certified Case Manager, a day doesn’t go by that I don’t have a conversation with someone who is concerned about their aging parent, spouse, family member, or friend.

Unfortunately, when we become concerned about another person, the tendency is for us to jump in to “fix things”; often creating a bull in the china shop scenario.

Thoughts of a loved one aging can be frightening, possibly surfacing as fears of the person developing Alzheimer's Disease, becoming wheelchair bound, or ending up in a nursing home.


DAY TO DAY CHALLENGES FOR SENIORS

What many of us take for granted are the day to day tasks we do so easily, that seniors and people with special needs struggle with on a daily basis. This may be something as simple as threading a needle or opening a jar.

One of the images I have from my childhood is watching my mother struggle to thread a needle. I remember bragging about how easy it is to thread a needle.

What I didn’t know at that time but I learned later first-hand , was that as we age, once simple tasks become much more difficult to accomplish.


I also clearly remember 20 years ago when my neighbor moved in. She was emptying some groceries from the trunk of her car, when I rushed over to help.

I stopped dead in my tracks when my neighbor said, “You can’t do that. You need to let us do things for ourselves. We’ll ask for help if we need it”

I then asked if I could help, and with a big smile she said “Of course you can help.”

I’ve learned many valuable lessons from my neighbor who is now 100years old and still living next door. Over the past twenty years we’ve become good friends, and have had many conversations on the importance of finding a balance between helping a senior, and allowing the senior to maintain their independence and dignity.


SENIORS OFTEN SUFFER IN SILENCE

All too often, a senior wants to retain their independence, and doesn't want to become a burden on their loved ones. In order to maintain their independence, the senior may attempt to hide the fact that they are struggling, and are in need of some assistance.


One way that you may learn of a problem, is when you receive a phone call in the middle of the night. When you answer the phone you hear "Your mother is in the emergency room, she's fallen and broken her hip." As the closest living relative you receive the call, and within minutes you are being faced new responsibilities as your mother's caregiver.

Not all problems occur as a crisis, but instead evolve in a gradual series of warning signs spanning weeks, months, or even years. You may notice that the senior is having difficulty cleaning the house, cooking meals, paying bills, or that you are finding yourself speaking louder so that you can be understood.


BUT I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO

A recurrent theme expressed, is the fear of broaching the subject of whether or not, a senior is capable of caring for themselves. In addition, once it’s clear that the senior is in need of assistance, there is often confusion as to what is the best way to proceed.

This is a delicate balancing act, ensuring an senior's health and safety, while maintaining their independence and dignity.

It’s only natural that when we become scared or concerned about a senior, our first impulse is to express our concerns, and immediately look to "fix" the problem. Unfortunately this can often make the situation worse.

Unless you are faced with an emergency that threatens the senior's safety or well-being, it’s wise to take some time to gather information and properly assess the situation, prior to taking any action on your own..


SENIORS HAVE CONCERNS TOO

It's important to note that seniors are also concerned about what they may encounter as they grow older.

In the most recent NCOA survey of senior concerns, it was found that older American’s top concerns include:

- Remaining independent in my home (75%)

- Maintaining my physical health (40%)

- Fear of memory loss (35%)

- Maintaining my mental health (32%)

Source: NCOA (National Council on Aging) 2015


A MAGIC WAND

It’s common for a loved one to ask a senior what they need, or if they want help.

The usual response is “I don’t need anything. I’m fine.”


I acknowledge how important it is for us to support a person’s independence and dignity.

At the same time, I share that although a senior may still be able to accomplish certain tasks on their own, perhaps they would enjoy a better quality of life, if they delegated some of these tasks.


I ask the senior “If you had a magic wand what would you want to change in your life.”

The responses I often hear often include:

- I wish someone would drive me to the doctor’s office. There are never any places to park.

- I wish someone would walk my dog. He pulls so hard on the leash, I’m afraid I’ll fall.

- I wish someone would do my laundry. It’s hard for me to carry the laundry basket up and down the stairs.

- I wish my eyesight was better. I have trouble using the phone.

- I wish my knees were stronger. I have trouble getting up and down from the toilet.

- I wish my children lived closer so I could read bedtime stories to my grandchildren.


All of these have very simple solutions, but if we aren’t aware, we can’t help make the senior’s wishes come true.

Once I’m aware of the senior’s wishes, I’m better able to work with the senior and their loved ones, to help make their wishes come true.


A GIFT FOR A SENIOR

Loved ones often tell me that they feel frustrated and guilty when they try to help, but they’re repeatedly told “I don’t need anything.”

One suggestion that I often make to loved ones, is that after learning a senior’s wishes, it maybe possible to give a gift to the senior for no special reason; or for a special occasion such as a birthday, mother’s day, Christmas, or Chanukah.

These gifts can help improve a senior’s quality of life in so many ways.


I recall one evening when we had a blackout.

I went next door to check on my neighbor, only to find her walking around in the dark, searching for her flashlight.

After the power was restored, I decided to do some research to find a way to help prevent my neighbor and my clients from a potential fall during a blackout.

I knew that office building have emergency lighting systems, and I found a very reasonably priced product for home use, that doesn’t require any installation.

I purchased 2 emergency lights for my neighbor, which could be placed on an end table and plugged into a regular electrical outlet ; one for each floor of her home.

These emergency lights last up to several hours before needing to be recharged, and allow a senior or person with special needs time to move safely about their home, and get settled to wait out the black out.

I routinely suggest emergency lighting for all my clients.


SOME OTHER GIFT IDEAS

You may also want to consider one of the following:

- Create a gift certificate for 6 rides to the doctor’s office. If you don’t live local, you can make arrangements for a substitute driver.

- Provide a senior with a tutorial on Facetime or Skype, so they can read bedtime stories to their grandchildren.

- Arrange for yourself or a person in the neighbor to walk the senior’s dog. Even one time would be a welcome relief.

- Provide a gift of a “cleaning person” to do a full house cleaning, including laundry. Even if this is a onetime gift, it would still be gratefully appreciated.

- Make a gift coupon book for a senior which includes a variety of services which you or a paid helper is willing to provide (e.g. cook a meal, grocery shop, pick up medication)

- Arrange for a home safety audit to identify any areas of concern in the senior’s home, along with a corrective action plan.


Assistive Devices

Perhaps you may want to purchase an assistive device gift to help make the senior’s life a little bit easier.

Some sample ideas include:

- Car Cane - an inexpensive small portable device that provides a senior leverage to lift
themselves up and out of a car. (I keep a car cane in my car for those who need a little extra assistance.)

- Large Button Picture Memory Phones which allows the senior to see the picture of the person they want to call. One push on the picture button dials the call.

- Raised toilet seat with handles

- LifeLine – a medical alert system available with AutoAlert fall detection

- Arrange for a pharmacy to provide the senior with monthly pre-filled medication boxes and free delivery

- Replace regular door knobs with door knob levers

- Buy a shower seat

- Purchase a combination voice activated smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector.

- Provide small home fire extinguishers

- Replace the regular faucet with a lever faucet


PLANNING AHEAD

As I shared earlier, you may now be faced with a delicate balancing act, ensuring a senior’s health and safety, while maintaining their independence and dignity.

Effective communication is key to ensuring that a senior and their loved ones can talk openly about their feelings, needs, and wishes moving forward.

Once the senior has shared what they would like to see happen, and you have gathered information about available resources, you can now work together on creating a realistic plan of action. It’s crucial to allow the senior a sense of influence and control regarding decisions affecting their future.

If the history of your relationship with the senior has been a difficult one, you may find it helpful to seek assistance from a professional (e.g. case manager, doctor, or therapist).

A professional can help you map out a viable strategy for moving forward.

Keep in mind that in order for there to be success moving forward, you will need cooperation and by in from the senior.


A PERSONALIZED ACTION PLAN

The Caregiver Resource Center’s “Action Plan for Successful Aging” Program helps seniors and people with special needs take a proactive approach to addressing their current needs, while also planning and preparing for potential future challenges and crises.

Our successful aging strategies provide a wide range of services to meet the unique needs of the individual and their family. These strategies focus on health and mental health, case management and advocacy, home safety, transportation, and advance care planning to name a few.


Some Benefits of Our Services

• Well respected company serving the community since 1990

• All services are individually designed to meet the unique needs of the client and their family

• We are available 7 days a week by appointment, and 24/7 for emergencies

• Our services are provided onsite throughout the continuum of care

(Home, doctor’s office, ER, hospital, short term rehab, assisted living, hospice, long term care facility.)

For more information please visit us at http://www.caregiverresourcecenter.com


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The information in this article is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. This information is not intended to be patient education, does not create any patient provider relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.

Please consult your health care provider for an appointment, before making any healthcare decisions or for guidance about a specific medical condition.

__________________________________________________________________________

Linda Ziac is the owner and founder of The Caregiver Resource Center. The Caregiver Resource Center is a division of Employee Assistance Professionals, Inc. which Linda founded in October 1990. The Caregiver Resource Center provides a spectrum of concierge case management and advocacy services for seniors, people with special needs and families.

Linda’s professional career spans more than 40 years in the health and mental health field as a CT Licensed Professional Counselor, CT Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor, Board Certified Employee Assistance Professional, Board Certified Case Manager, and Board Certified Dementia Practitioner. In addition, Ms. Ziac has 15 years of experience coordinating care for her own parents.

Linda assists seniors, people with special needs and their families; in planning for and implementing ways to allow for the greatest degree of health, safety, independence, and quality of life. Linda meets with individuals and family members to assess their needs, and develop a Care Team, while working with members of the Team to formulate a comprehensive Care Plan (a road map). Once a plan is in place, Linda is available to serve as the point person to monitor
and coordinate services, and revise the plan as needed. This role is similar to the conductor of an orchestra; ensuring that there is good communication, teamwork, and that everyone remains focused on the desired goal.

http://www.CaregiverResourceCenter.com
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Welcome to the Case Manager’s Corner – June 2018

"Understanding the value of a conservator."

By Linda Ziac
The Caregiver Resource Center
June 19, 2018
www.CaregiverResourceCenter.com


Every day, The Caregiver Resource Center receives calls from individuals who feel overwhelmed by the challenges of life; whether it’s dealing with parenting, a healthcare issue, an aging parent, or the struggles of living with a disability. Often times these individuals aren’t sure what questions to ask, what rights they have, or where to turn for help.

The goal of The Case Manager’s Corner is to provide a venue where Linda Ziac can share tips and skills that Linda has acquired over more than 40 years as a licensed pychotherapist, board certified case manager and board certified dementia practitioner; while helping readers become better educated consumers for themselves and their families.

Each month Linda will present a case that she’s worked on and the steps she’s taken with clients and their families, to positively impact their lives and overcome challenges. Please note that this information is provided in a way that helps protect the client’s privacy and confidentiality.


TODAY’S CASE PRESENTATION - MR. R

When Linda is asked to help on a case with a senior or person with special needs, her number one focus is always on what is needed in order to help ensure the client’s health, safety, independence and quality of life.

Over Linda’s years of practice, she’s received calls from a wide variety of people requesting her services, many of whom are overwhelmed and ill prepared for the role they have taken on.

Linda’s work with Mr. R and his niece Vanessa was one such case.


THE SITUATION

Today Linda would like to share a call she received from Vanessa, a single woman and the niece of Mr. R a 76 year widowed man. Vanessa is Mr. R’s only living relative with whom she’s had little or no contact with over the past 25 years.

Vanessa first called Linda to say that she needs help because her uncle’s psychiatrist diagnosed him with cognitive impairment and Mr. R won’t listen to her about his needing help. It’s not uncommon for a senior or person with special needs to be hesitant or resistant to outside help, especially if they aren’t included as part of the planning process.

As Linda has shared in previous articles, things are not always as they appear. Using a metaphor, situations are often like an iceberg, with much of the information below the surface, and not readily visible.

Vanesa reported that she reconnected with her uncle 4 months earlier, when a nurse from the hospital called her as Mr. R’s only living relative, following Mr. R experiencing a fall and a one night stay in the hospital. Mr. R was discharged from the hospital to home with Vanessa in charge of overseeing Mr. R’s needs.


Anyone who has ever been a caregiver or who has been asked to step in during a medical crisis can attest to the fact that this can be overwhelming, even under the best of circumstances.


VANESSA’S PERCEPTION OF THE SITUATION

Vanessa described Mr. R as angry, negative, confrontational, anti-social, and unwilling to do anything to help himself. In addition, Vanessa said that while Mr. R was in the hospital he was seen by a psychiatrist who diagnosed him with moderate Alzheimer’s disease and recommended 24/7 care; which Mr. R refused. Vanessa arranged several more appointments for her uncle with this psychiatrist for a more in-depth assessment.


According to Vanessa, based on her conversations with the psychiatrist and her uncle’s diagnosis, the psychiatrist suggested that Vanessa file for an “involuntary” conservatorship of her uncle with the local probate court.

Vanessa was able to share with Linda that although Vanessa really wanted to help her uncle she felt totally overwhelmed and angry. Vanessa was able to express that when she went to the hospital after her uncle’s fall, it unknowingly re-triggered the trauma of her mother’s stroke, fall and subsequent death.


CONSERVATORSHIP

According to CT statutory definitions, conservatorship is a legal mechanism by which the probate court of a given town appoints a substitute decision maker for an individual who is determined to be incapable of managing his or her own 1) financial and/or 2) personal affairs.

- Voluntary conservatorship occurs when a person asks the court to appoint a conservator on his or her behalf.


- Involuntary Conservatorship occurs when a concerned individual or organization submits an application asking the court to appoint a conservator for a person who is believed to be incapable of caring for themselves.


MR. R – THE CLIENT

Mr. R is a 76 year old man who had been a very successful business owner, and married for 52 years to his high school sweetheart until her death 2 years ago. From what Mr. R described his wife was the love of his life, and after retiring she was his reason for getting out of bed in the morning.

In speaking with Mr. R, Linda learned that he had been scared and overwhelmed while in the hospital; and angry that in his words “They (hospital staff and his niece) were telling me what to do. I don’t like anyone telling me what to do.”

Mr. R said that some doctor came to talk with him while he was in the hospital, and “I just said anything to get rid of him.” Mr. R acknowledged that he knows his memory is not as sharp as it once was, his hearing is poor, and that he has been lost since his wife died.


A SUMMARY OF LINDA’S ASSESSMENT AND WORK WITH MR. R

Linda’s role as a board certified case manager is to gather “pieces of the puzzle” from many sources, including the client, family, and healthcare professionals, and then help devise an appropriate action plan (road map).

When Linda first meet with Mr. R, Linda explained that she was there to be his advocate. Linda’s role was to help determine what Mr. R’s abilities, needs and wishes are; and to help him develop a plan that best meets his needs.

Mr. R seemed very open and honest with Linda about his life since his wife’s death, and he shared how much he appreciated Lnda listening to him without judging and not telling him what to do.

Mr. R was able to acknowledge, that, “I was so scared after the fall and I was afraid of losing my independence that I dug my heels in.”

Mr. R also shared that in his effort to fight back “I told the psychiatrist a lot of gibberish. I can see why he thinks I lost all my marbles.”


OUR PLAN

It’s amazing what we can learn when we really listen to what another person is saying, and we acknowledge and respect their thoughts and feelings.

Mr. R agreed to a 2nd psychiatric and geriatric assessment with a well-known and respected area geriatric psychiatrist. As expected this assessment showed that Mr. R did not have Alzheimer’s disease.


As a result of Mr. R’s assessments, and Linda’s work with Mr. R, we determined:

1. Mr. R was found to have some depression and unresolved feelings related to his wife’s death.

Mr. R agreed to work with a grief counselor for a few seasons to talk about the loss of his wife.


2. Mr. R was found to have some hearing loss.


Mr. R agreed to a hearing test with an audiologist, which lead to Mr. R getting a hearing aid.


3. Mr. R acknowledged that caring for his home, financial affairs, and other personal matters was at best very challenging.


Mr. R agreed to a meeting with Linda, his niece Vanessa and an attorney of Mr. R’s choosing.

After much discussion, Mr. R agreed that it would be in his best interest to file a request for a “voluntary conservatorship”, with his niece as the chosen conservator.

The probate court appointed Vanessa as Mr. R’s “voluntary” conservator.


4. Mr. R and Vanessa asked Linda to work with them while they built their working relationship.

Together we worked on communication and listening skills, trust building, development of Mr. R’s goals, objectives and a care plan, as well as outlining Vanessa’s role and responsibilities.


A PROGRESS REPORT ON MR. R AND VANESSA

Mr. R reported that he now tries to live each day as fully as possible, because “My wife is still alive in my heart, and this is what she’d want for me.”

Mr. R joined the retired men’s association and also volunteers with SCORE, where he uses his entrepreneurial and business knowledge to help other business owners.

Vanessa and Mr. R have formed a nice relationship and they’re both looking forward to spending more time together this year as family.

Vanessa also made the decision to see a counselor short term, to help Vanessa process her feeling of loss regarding her mother, that were retriggered by her uncle’s hospitalization.


THE VALUE OF CASE MANAGEMENT

Care for seniors and people with special needs often requires a multi-disciplinary team approach that encompasses many aspects of life such as:

• Health and Mental Health

• Activities of Daily Living (ADLs)

• Transportation

• Finances

• Social Opportunities

• Emotional Well Being


This process needs to focus on a person's:

• Hopes and Desires

• Short and Long Term Goals

• Abilities and Needs

• Spectrum of Resources to address current and evolving needs


Case management is a collaborative process that consists of four steps:

1. Needs Assessments

2. Development of a customized Care Plan (road map)

3. Implementation & Monitoring of the Plan

4. Ongoing Review and Modification of Care Plans as client needs change


THE CAREGIVER RESOURCE CENTER

Each person is unique, and as a result each person has unique needs. Some people may experience mental and physical limitations that limit their level of functioning, while others will remain relatively high functioning.

The Caregiver Resource Center’s role is to work with the client, their family and healthcare professionals to help assess, plan for and implement ways to allow for their greatest degree of health, safety, independence, and quality of life.


Some Benefits of Our Services

• Well respected company serving the community since1990

• All services are individually designed to meet the unique needs of the client

• We are available 7 days a week by appointment, and 24/7 for emergencies

• Professional support & guidance

• Our services may be provided on-site in the home, doctor’s office, ER, hospital, assisted living facility, or nursing home


Photo from Microsoft

The information in this article is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. This information is not intended to be patient education, does not create any patient provider relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.

Please consult your health care provider for an appointment, before making any healthcare decisions or for guidance about a specific medical condition.

______________________________________________________________________

Linda Ziac is the owner and founder of The Caregiver Resource Center. The Caregiver Resource Center is a division of Employee Assistance Professionals, Inc. which Linda founded in October 1990. The Caregiver Resource Center provides a spectrum of concierge case management and advocacy services for seniors, people with special needs and families.

Linda’s professional career spans more than 40 years in the health and mental health field as a CT Licensed Professional Counselor, CT Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor, Board Certified Employee Assistance Professional, Board Certified Case Manager, and Board Certified Dementia Practitioner. In addition, Ms. Ziac has 15 years of experience coordinating care for her own parents.

Linda assists seniors, people with special needs and their families; in planning for and implementing ways to allow for the greatest degree of health, safety, independence, and quality of life. Linda meets with individuals and family members to assess their needs, and develop a Care Team, while working with members of the Team to formulate a comprehensive Care Plan (a road map). Once a plan is in place, Linda is available to serve as the point person to monitor and coordinate services, and revise the plan as needed. This role is similar to the conductor of an orchestra; ensuring that there is good communication, teamwork, and that everyone remains focused on the desired goal.

http://www.CaregiverResourceCenter.com
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National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Calls Rose 65%

The Suicide Crisis Text Line saw a 116% increase in volume.

By Linda Ziac
The Caregiver Resource Center
June 13,2018
http://www.CaregiverResourceCenter.com


People tend to reach out for help following the death of a celebrity, such as the recent deaths by suicide of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, which triggers more conversations and publicity about suicide, depression and available hotline resources.


If you or someone you know may be considering suicide, help is available.

National Suicide Lifeline
800-273-8255


Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S.

According to the CDC, the suicide rate in the United States has increased more than 25% since 1999.

In 2016 the CDC reported that as many as 45,000 people died by suicide.


DID YOU KNOW?

• A person dies by suicide every 12.3 minutes in the US

• A child age of 13 and under dies by suicide every day in the US

• 43,000 Americans die by suicide every year in the US

• Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States

- 2nd leading cause of death for ages 44 and under

- 5th leading cause of death for ages 45-54

• Veterans comprise 22.2% of all suicides

• 90% of those who die by suicide had a diagnosable psychiatric disorder at time of their death

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Suicide – Facts at a Glance


WHY SHOULD I CARE?

Suicide rates have reached their highest peak in 30 years; and suicide impacts people of all ages, races and socioeconomic groups.

Perhaps you personally know someone who attempted or succeeded in a suicide attempt.


JUST THE FACTS

Studies have clearly shown that there are a number of factors that lead to suicide such as substance abuse, mental health issues, or the stigma of people with of a problem seeking help; to name a few.

According to a National Center for Health Statistics Report released on April 22, 2016, “After a period of nearly consistent decline in suicide rates in the United States from 1986 through 1999, suicide rates have increased almost steadily from 1999 through 2014.


An alarming statistic is that in 2016 alone, 45,000 Americans died from suicide, and more than 21,386 were firearm-related deaths.

From 1999 through 2016, suicide rates in the United States:

• increased by 25%

• increased for both males and females for all ages 10–74

• were highest for females aged 10–14, and for males aged 45–64

Source: American Foundation for Suicide


WOULD IT SURPRISE YOU TO KNOW THAT MOST PEOPLE WHO ATTEMPT SUICIDE DON’T REALLY WANT TO DIE?

They just want to stop hurting.

During my many years of working in the health and mental health field, I have encountered a number of people who were going through a difficult time and considering suicide as a way out.
One such situation occurred in my previous role as the EAP Coordinator for a hospital.

I received a call from the HR Director informing me that they had an employee Patty who had been missing a lot of work. That morning a co-worker called Patty to see how she was, and the co-worker notified HR that Patty sounded very strange. I was asked to call the employee to see if I could help.

While speaking with Patty on the telephone, it became apparent that Patty was very depressed. Based on my training and experience, I was able to ask Patty a number of questions, which lead me to learn that Patty was feeling suicidal, she had a plan, and Patty had the means to carry out her plan.

From there I was able to contact the police in the town where Patty lived, arranged for an officer and EMS to go to Patty’s home, and we were able to get Patty to the ER where she was able to get the help she needed. Weeks later Patty acknowledged to me how desperate she had been, and how much she appreciated our help.


SUICIDE

ONE MILLION people in the US attempted suicide in 2016, with someone dying by suicide every 12.3 minutes.

Source: American Foundation of Suicide Prevention (most recent data available)


Suicide is a devastating act that almost always seems to friends and family members like a bolt from the blue.

But people often give clues that they’re thinking of suicide. Recognizing the warning signs of suicide could result in a life being saved.


WARNING SIGNS

• Giving away cherished possessions, making a will and being preoccupied with death are red flags for impending suicide.

• Furthermore, the old saying that people who talk about suicide don’t do it is simply not true. Often such talk is a cry for help before it’s too late.

• Depression is another warning sign for suicide.

• Over 90% of people who die from suicide had a clinical depression, or a diagnosable mental health disorder.

According to the Mayo Clinic, “Depression is a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. Also called major depression, major depressive disorder or clinical depression, it affects how you feel, think and behave and can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems. You may have trouble doing normal day-to-day activities, and depression may make you feel as if life isn’t worth living.”


The following changes may indicate depression:

• Feelings of hopelessness, helplessness

• Changes in eating, sleeping patterns or behavior

• Withdrawal

• Poor performance at work or school

• Poor concentration


KEEP IN MIND

• Symptoms of depression in the elderly are often confused with symptoms of other ailments (e.g. UTI). An assessment for an elderly person may also need to focus on memory issues, chronic pain and medical problems.

• Complicating a diagnosis of depression is the fact that depression itself is a common symptom of many chronic conditions, as well as a side effect of many drugs commonly prescribed for the elderly and for those with chronic conditions.


RISK FACTORS FOR SUICIDE

Anyone who is depressed or has been depressed is at risk for suicide.

Other Risk Factors Include:

• Alcohol and/or drug use

• History of physical or sexual abuse

• Troubled teenage years

• Death of a friend or family member

• End of a relationship

• One or more previous suicide attempts

• Family history of mental disorder or substance abuse

• Family history of suicide

• Family violence

• Physical or sexual abuse

• Keeping firearms in the home

• Chronic physical illness, including chronic pain

• Exposure to the suicidal behavior of others


SOME WARNING SIGNS OF SUICIDE

Here are some warning signs that a person may be considering suicide:

• Talking or thinking about death

• The presence of a clinical depression (e.g. deep sadness, loss of interest, trouble sleeping and eating)

• Having a “death wish,” or tempting fate by risk

• Losing interest in things that were once enjoyed

• Talking about feeling worthless, hopeless, or helpless

• Tying up loose ends, changing their will or putting affairs in order

• Making comments such as “You would be better if I wasn’t alive” or “I want it to end”

• Sudden transition from being very sad to being in a state of calm or happy

• Talking about killing one’s self or committing suicide

• Taking steps to say goodbye to people of giving away personal belongings


WHAT TO DO IF YOU SUSPECT SOMEONE MAY BE AT RISK OF SUICIDE

The following information is provided courtesy of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention


TAKE IT SERIOUSLY

• 50% to 75% of all people who attempt suicide tell someone about their intention.

If someone you know shows the warning signs above, the time to act is NOW.


ASK QUESTIONS

• Begin by telling the suicidal person you are concerned about them.

• Tell them specifically what they have said or done that makes you feel concerned about suicide.

• Don’t be afraid to ask whether the person is considering suicide, and whether they have a particular plan or method in mind. These questions will not push them toward suicide if they were not considering it.

• Ask if they are seeing a clinician or are taking medication so the treating person can be contacted.

• Do not try to argue someone out of suicide. Instead, let them know that you care, that they are not alone and that they can get help.

• Avoid pleading and preaching to them with statements such as, “You have so much to live for,” or “Your suicide will hurt your family.”


ENCOURAGE PROFESSIONAL HELP

• Actively encourage the person to see a physician or mental health professional immediately.

• People considering suicide often believe they cannot be helped.

• If you can, assist them to identify a professional and schedule an appointment. If they will let you, go to the appointment with them.


TAKE ACTION

• If you are experiencing depression, substance abuse or thoughts of hurting yourself or someone else, confidential help is available. Why not call your doctor, a person you trust, or 211 (Info-line) to talk about how you are feeling, while exploring viable options.

• If a person is talking with you about being depressed or thinking about hurting themselves, suggest that you take the person to a walk-in clinic at a psychiatric hospital or a hospital emergency room.

• If you are with someone who is threatening, talking about, or making specific plans for suicide, this is a crisis requiring immediate attention. Do not leave the person alone.

Keep in mind that the most important thing is to keep yourself safe.

Do not handle the situation by yourself. A suicidal person needs immediate assistance from qualified mental health professionals.


CALL 911 or THE NATIONAL SUICIDE LIFELINE at 800-273-8255

• Don’t assume this will blow over.

• Share your concerns with someone who is in a position to take charge.

• Getting a person past a suicide crisis involves being very direct.


RESOURCES

Remember that help is just a phone call away!


NATIONAL SUICIDE LIFELINE
800-273-8255

“We can all help prevent suicide. The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals.”


National Suicide Lifeline (Veterans)
800-273-8255 Press 1

National Suicide Lifeline (Spanish)
800-273-8255 Press 2

National Suicide Lifeline for Gay Teens
866-488-7386 24 hrs. /7 days a week

National Suicide Lifeline (Deaf Hotline)
National Suicide Hotline
TTY 800-799-4889


CONNECTICUT SUICIDE HOTLINE / CRISIS SERVICES

Greater Bridgeport Community Mental Health Center
8am - 8pm
800-586-9903
24 hours / 7 days
Serving Bridgeport, Darien, Easton, Fairfield, Greenwich, Monroe, New Canaan, Norwalk, Stamford, Stratford, Trumbull, Weston, Westport, & Wilton

Franklin S. Dubois Center
203-358-8500
800-586-9903

Connecticut Mental Health Center
Serving South Central Connecticut
24-Hour Crisis Line
9am - 10pm (203) 974-7735
10pm - 8am (203) 974-7300
TDD (203) 974-7295


CT DEPARTMENT OF MENTAL HEALTH & ADDICTION SERVICES
410 Capitol Avenue
Hartford, CT 06106
800-446-7348
TDD: 888-621-3551
www.dmhas.state.ct.us


F.S. DUBOIS CENTER
(Operated by the State of CT)
780 Summer Street
Stamford, CT 06905
For general information: 203-388-1600
Crisis services: 203-358-8500


CRISIS PREVENTION AND RESPONSE TEAM
Serving Westchester County
914-925-5959
24/7 Telephone Coverage
Mobile Response Now Monday - Saturday


National Runaway Switchboard
800-86-2929
800-621-0394 TDD


CT INFO-LINE
Dial 211
http://www.211ct.org


CT PRESCRIPTION OPIOIDS or HEROIN ADDICTION TREATMENT
Access Line and Transportation
800-563-4086


Photo from Microsoft

The information in this article is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. This information is not intended to be patient education, does not create any patient provider relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.

Please consult your health care provider for an appointment, before making any healthcare decisions or for guidance about a specific medical condition.

__________________________________________________________________________

Linda Ziac is the owner and founder of The Caregiver Resource Center. The Caregiver Resource Center is a division of Employee Assistance Professionals, Inc. which Linda founded in October 1990. The Caregiver Resource Center provides a spectrum of concierge case management and advocacy services for seniors, people with special needs and families.

Linda’s professional career spans more than 40 years in the health and mental health field as a CT Licensed Professional Counselor, CT Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor, Board Certified Employee Assistance Professional, Board Certified Case Manager, and Board Certified Dementia Practitioner. In addition, Ms. Ziac has 15 years of experience coordinating care for her own parents.

Linda assists seniors, people with special needs and their families; in planning for and implementing ways to allow for the greatest degree of health, safety, independence, and quality of life. Linda meets with individuals and family members to assess their needs, and develop a Care Team, while working with members of the Team to formulate a comprehensive Care Plan (a road map). Once a plan is in place, Linda is available to serve as the point person to monitor
and coordinate services, and revise the plan as needed. This role is similar to the conductor of an orchestra; ensuring that there is good communication, teamwork, and that everyone remains focused on the desired goal.

http://www.CaregiverResourceCenter.com
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Sun Safety & Medication

Medication can make some people more sensitive to the sun and heat.


Photosensitivity is a common side effect of medications, herbal remedies, sunscreens and even perfumes.

Spring is here, and as a result, more and more people are enjoying outdoor activities. If you take medication, one of the things you might want to think about before going outside, is how to protect yourself from potential photosensitivity.

Sun sensitivity or photosensitivity is the inflammation of the skin, as the result of being exposed to sunlight while taking certain medications.

People who experience photosensitivity will usually first experience a burning or stinging sensation on their exposed skin. Within 24 hours the exposed skin area will most likely show some damage; ranging anywhere from redness, to swelling, to blisters in more severe cases.

It is suggested that if you are taking medication, that you ask your doctor how to best protect yourself when in the sun.


SOME PRECAUTIONARY STEPS

When a person can’t avoid sun exposure, there are some precautionary steps that can be taken to help reduce the effects of photosensitivity.

• Avoid or limit the amount of sun exposure during the hours between 10 am and 4 pm.

• Apply a broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher, at least 30 minutes prior to sun exposure.

• Wear light colored protective clothing such as a wide brim hat, long sleeve shirt and pants.

• Use sunglasses with impact resistant lenses that offer 100% UV protection.

• Check with your doctor or pharmacist about your medications’ drug photosensitivity potential.

• Reapply sunscreen every 2 hours, since sunscreen gradually wears off. You will also want to reapply sunscreen after swimming or strenuous activity resulting in heavy perspiration.


SAMPLE LIST OF MEDICATIONS

This is a sample list of some medications that may increase a person’s sensitivity to the sun.

Not everyone who takes these medications will develop photosensitivity reactions. It’s important to keep in mind that some people have more susceptibility to these medications than others.

It is suggested that if you are taking any medication and plan to be out in the sun, that you ask your doctor how best to protect yourself while in the sun.


The following medications have been linked with photosensitivity in some people.

• Acne medications - isotretinoin (Accutane), acitretin (Soriatane)

• Antibiotics - Doxycycline, Tetracycline, Ciprofloxacin, Ofloxacin, Levofloxacin, trimethoprim

• Anticonvulsants - Carbamazepine (Tegretol), Felbamate (Felbatol), Gabapentin (Neurontin)

• Antidepressants - Elavil, Imipramine, Desipramine, Ludiomil, Desyrel (Trazadone), Norpramine, Parnate, Sinequan, St. John's Wort

• Antihistamines - Promethazine, Diphenhydramine (Benadryl)

• Antihypertensives - Aldactazide, Capozide, Cardizem, Diltiazem

• Antiparkinsonians - Cogentin, Artane, Symmetrel

• Cardiac Drugs - amiodarone (Cordarone), nifedipine (Procardia), diltiazem (Cardizem, Dilacor, Tiazac)

• Cholesterol Drugs - Simvastatin, Atorvastatin (Lipitor), Lovastatin

• Diabetic drugs - sulfonylureas [chlorpropamide (Diabinese), glyburide (Micronase, DiaBeta, Glynase)

• Diuretics - Furosemide (Lasix), Bumetanide (Bumex), Hydrolorothiazide (Microzide, Esidrix)

• Fragrances - Musk Ambrette, 6-methylcoumarin, Sandalwood

• Hormones - Corticosteroids (Prednisone), Oral contraceptives

• Hypoglycemics - Glucotrol, glyburide

• Neuroleptic Drugs - Chlorpromazine, Fluphenazine, Perphenazine, Thioridazine, Thiothixene

• Nonsteroidal-anti-inflammatory drugs - Ibuprofen (Advil and Motrin), Naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn), Celecoxib (Celebrex), Ketoprofen (Orudis)

• Psychiatric drugs - - Thorazine, Compazine, Stellazine, Mellaril, Navane, Trilafon, Haldol, Loxitane, Prolixi, Risperdal

• Skin medications - photodynamic therapy for skin cancer [ALA or 5-aminolevulinic acid (Levulan), Methyl-5-aminolevulinic acid)


REMEMBER

It’s important to ask your doctor how best to protect yourself while in the sun.


Photo from Microsoft


The information in this article is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. This information is not intended to be patient education, does not create any patient provider relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.

Please consult your health care provider for an appointment, before making any healthcare decisions or for guidance about a specific medical condition.

____________________________________________________________________________

Linda Ziac is the owner and founder of The Caregiver Resource Center. The Caregiver Resource Center is a division of Employee Assistance Professionals, Inc. which Linda founded in October 1990. The Caregiver Resource Center provides a spectrum of concierge case management and advocacy services for seniors, people with special needs and families.

Linda’s professional career spans more than 40 years in the health and mental health field as a CT Licensed Professional Counselor, CT Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor, Board Certified Employee Assistance Professional, Board Certified Case Manager, and Board Certified Dementia Practitioner. In addition, Ms. Ziac has 15 years of experience coordinating care for her own parents.

Linda assists seniors, people with special needs and their families; in planning for and implementing ways to allow for the greatest degree of health, safety, independence, and quality of life. Linda meets with individuals and family members to assess their needs, and develop a Care Team, while working with members of the Team to formulate a comprehensive Care Plan (a road map). Once a plan is in place, Linda is available to serve as the point person to monitor
and coordinate services, and revise the plan as needed. This role is similar to the conductor of an orchestra; ensuring that there is good communication, teamwork, and that everyone remains focused on the desired goal.

http://www.CaregiverResourceCenter.com
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Thank You

A special thank you to all Veterans & Their Families for the sacrifices you've made to help preserve our freedom.
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Caregiver Burnout Warning Signs

“7 Signs of Caregiver Burnout & How to Help Yourself”


By Linda Ziac
May 25, 2018
The Caregiver Resource Center
www.CaregiverResourceCenter.com


Helping to take care of a loved one can be rewarding, while at the same time challenging, demanding and stressful.

It’s no wonder that caregivers suffer a high rate of burnout.

According to WebMD, “Caregiver burnout is a state of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion that may be accompanied by a change in attitude -- from positive and caring to negative and unconcerned.


HOW DO YOU RECOGNIZE CAREGIVER BURNOUT IN YOURSELF

Experts have determined that there are seven signs of caregiver burnout.

If you are experiencing one or more of these, you may be at risk for burnout.


STAGE 1 - Loss of Appetite or Other Changes in Your Eating Habits

- Are you eating less?

- Eating more?

- Losing or gaining weight?

- Eating junk foods?

- Skipping meals?


STAGE 2 - Overly Emotional

- Do you begin to cry unexpectedly or at inopportune times?

- Do you laugh at things that aren’t funny?

- Are you overly sensitive to the comments of others?


STAGE 3 - Feeling Overwhelmed

- Do you wake up in the morning wondering how you are going to get through the day?

- Do you feel like tasks are accumulating, and you will never be able to catch up?


STAGE 4 - Withdrawn

- Are you beginning to withdraw into yourself, and away from the world?

- Are you tending to bottle emotions up inside of yourself?

- Are you avoiding confronting people - either your care recipient or others?


STAGE 5 - Isolation from Peers

- Have you stopped participating in activities that you once enjoyed?

- Are you avoiding the phone calls or other friendly social advances of others?

- Are you making excuses for not seeing people?


STAGE 6 - Losing Focus at Work

- Are you unable to concentrate on your job?

- Do you find yourself taking excessive time worrying about non- job-related things?

- Do you take excessive time off from work to attend to the needs of your care recipient?

- Has your boss mentioned that you don’t seem as focused as you once did?


STAGE 7 - Lack of Interest in Appearance

- Have you stopped buying clothes for yourself?

- Stopped getting regular haircuts?

- Lost interest in looking your best?


Everyone in a caregiving role is likely to experience some of these things at one time or another.

Ask yourself if the warning signs are debilitating, making your life seem impossible. If so, you may very well be experiencing caregiver burnout, and you may want to seek professional help.

A doctor, therapist or social worker will help you recognize what you can do to make yourself feel better, to take better care of yourself, and to meet the challenges of caregiving once again with an open heart and mind.


IS A SUPPORT GROUP RIGHT FOR YOU?

As a caregiver, you may be feeling alone. You don’t have as much time to socialize now that you have to care for a senior or person with special needs. Often times your own family may not understand what you are going through. If this sounds like you, you might want to try to find a support group.


WHY A SUPPORT GROUP?

Support groups are one of the best places for caregivers to find others who are experiencing similar situations. They can help caregivers bond with each other, socialize and build a network of caring, supportive people. Support groups are important because caregivers can express their emotions in a safe place, and can hear from others who have gone or are going through some of the same emotions.

These groups are not meant to be group therapy, but they do allow people to understand that they are not alone, and to learn how others have handled similar emotions, crises and problems. Support groups can also allow people to share valuable information and insights into the dynamics of caregiving and specific illnesses or medical conditions.


TYPES OF SUPPORT GROUPS

A wide variety of support groups are available for caregivers, although these groups are often difficult to sustain. Some groups are designed for people caring for seniors with specific medical, psychological or physical conditions - such as Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, diabetes or other illnesses. Others have a more general focus, designed for caregivers of all ages and in all situations.

Think about what kind of support you need, and then start looking for a group that can help with that kind of support. Depending on your interests and time, an Internet support group may be an ideal option so you can share feelings and experiences with others while not taking up too much of your time.


WHERE TO FIND A SUPPORT GROUP

Support groups are formed in many different locations, and you can look around for the one that best suits your needs.

Here are some of the places that you might look for a support group:

• HOSPITAL: Hospitals often host a variety of support groups, particularly those that focus on a particular medical condition. Check the bulletin boards at your hospital.

• DOCTOR’S OFFICE: Ask your doctor if he or she knows of any caregiver support groups in your area.

• SENIOR CENTER: Senior centers are a great place to find support groups for caregivers, particularly those focusing on caring for a spouse. Call your local senior center to see what is available.

• LIBRARY: Check the local library’s newsletter and bulletin boards to see if there are notices of support groups that meet there.

• NEWSPAPER: Look under the community section of your local newspaper for information about local support groups, including times, dates and meeting places.

• CHURCH/SYNAGOGUE: Churches and synagogues often sponsor or host support groups. Check with your minister, priest or rabbi about these.

• INTERNET: Increasingly, the Internet offers a way for caregivers to net- work with each other – locally, nationally and internationally. Look at reputable websites, like AARP, to find information about support groups that meet in real life and in the virtual world.

• ASSOCIATIONS: Organizations like the Alzheimer’s Association often sponsor support groups; call the local or national number for the organization that interests you to see if there is information about any local support groups.

Source: Parlay International


INFO-LINE 211

Remember that help is just a phone call away!

As I shared in a previous blog article on Info-line, the 211 data base resource number is nationwide, and is operated by a private non-profit community service organization, local government, or local affiliates of the United Way of America.

The amazing thing about dialing 211 is that no matter where you live in the U.S. or Puerto Rico, you will receive access to information and referrals regarding local and national assistance,


WAYS TO ACCESS 211

1. You can pick up the phone and dial 211

or

2. You can visit - http://www.211.org

You will be taken to a website where you can search for by zip code, city, or state

This can be especially helpful if you are searching for resources for a friend or family member who lives in another area of the country.


Photo from Microsoft

The information in this article is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. This information is not intended to be patient education, does not create any patient provider relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.

Please consult your health care provider for an appointment, before making any healthcare decisions or for guidance about a specific medical condition.

__________________________________________________________________________

Linda Ziac is the owner and founder of The Caregiver Resource Center. The Caregiver Resource Center is a division of Employee Assistance Professionals, Inc. which Linda founded in October 1990. The Caregiver Resource Center provides a spectrum of concierge case management and advocacy services for seniors, people with special needs and families.

Linda’s professional career spans more than 40 years in the health and mental health field as a CT Licensed Professional Counselor, CT Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor, Board Certified Employee Assistance Professional, Board Certified Case Manager, and Board Certified Dementia Practitioner. In addition, Ms. Ziac has 15 years of experience coordinating care for her own parents.

Linda assists seniors, people with special needs and their families; in planning for and implementing ways to allow for the greatest degree of health, safety, independence, and quality of life. Linda meets with individuals and family members to assess their needs, and develop a Care Team, while working with members of the Team to formulate a comprehensive Care Plan (a road map). Once a plan is in place, Linda is available to serve as the point person to monitor and coordinate services, and revise the plan as needed. This role is similar to the conductor of an orchestra; ensuring that there is good communication, teamwork, and that everyone remains focused on the desired goal.

http://www.CaregiverResourceCenter.com
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The Case Manager Corner – May 2018

By Linda Ziac
The Caregiver Resource Center
May 9, 2018
www.CaregiverResourceCenter.com


When a Loved One Needs Help

“What to do if you suspect a loved one may need help?”


The Caregiver Resource Center rotinely receives calls from individuals who feel overwhelmed by the challenges of life; whether it’s dealing with parenting, a healthcare isNina, an aging parent, or the struggles of living with a disability. Often times these individuals aren’t sure what questions to ask, what rights they have, or where to turn for help.

The goal of The Case Manager’s Corner is to provide a venue where Linda Ziac can share tips and skills that Linda has acquired over more than 40 years as a licensed pychotherapist, board certified case manager and board certified dementia practitioner; while helping readers become better educated consumers for themselves and their families.

Each month Linda presents a case that she’s worked on and the steps she’s taken with clients and their families, to positively impact their lives and overcome challenges. Please note that this information is provided in a way that helps protect the client’s privacy and confidentiality.


TODAY’S CASE PRESENTATION - AUNT NINA

Linda received a call from Nancy who said that Linda’s name was given to her by an area department of social services.

Nancy is a 42 year old single woman who lives in Boston MA. Nancy shared that she has only one living relative Aunt Nina who lives in a small home in Fairfield County CT. Nancy recalled traveling to CT every year to celebrate Aunt Nina’s birthday with her mother and Aunt Nina, until Nancy’s mother passed away a year ago. Nancy’s mother and sister lived less than a mile apart, and were known to spend most of their time together.

Nancy shared that she had gotten a letter from Aunt Nina at the beginning of April inviting Nancy to her home this year to celebrate Aunt Nina’s birthday “like old times”. Nancy called and spoke with Aunt Nina and they made plans for Nancy to come and spend a week together.


THE SITUATION

Nancy said that everything seemed great when she talked to Aunt Nina on the telephone before coming to CT. “Aunt Nina said everything was going great. She seemed alert, energetic and genuinely looking forward to my visit.”

When Nancy arrived for her visit on a Monday and got out of her car in her aunt’s driveway, Nancy said she was shocked at what she saw.

In place of the once well maintained lawn and house, Nancy now saw uncut grass, broken front steps, and an assorted number of items on the front porch including boxes, newspapers and old appliances.

The situation became even more upsetting for Nancy, when Nancy was greeted by Aunt Nina who looked disheveled with unkempt hair, and a bathrobe covered with food stains. As Nancy walked into the living room she saw even more piles of what she described as debris, ranging from broken furniture, boxes, magazines, and lots of plastic bags filled with who knows what.

Aunt Nina invited Nancy in and showed her through a pathway weaving through the assorted items which Aunt Nina had obviously accumulated over the past year, since Nancy’s last visit. As it turns out, the kitchen and other rooms of the house were just as cluttered.

Nancy ended up taking Aunt Nina out for dinner because the stove and microwave were covered with debris, and non-working. Nancy noticed that her aunt ate very little for dinner, and in fact appeared to have lost a great deal o weight over this past year. Not knowing what to do, Nancy didn’t say anything, for fear of hurting her aunt’s feelings.


Nancy called Linda on Tuesday and asked to meet with Linda alone. Nancy said that she needed some help in sorting out what she had encountered at her aunt’s home, and what if anything she can do to help. Nancy was convinced that Aunt Nina had become a hoarder.


IS THIS A POSSIBLE CASE OF DEMENTIA - OR DEPRESSION - OR HOARDING

Based on the description that Nancy provided of Aunt Nina’s home and person, it was important to look at a number of potential issues, including possible dementia, depression or hoarding; to name a few.


DEMENTIA

Although dementia is known to affect mainly older people, dementia is not a normal part of aging.

It’s important to note that dementia is not a specific disease, but instead is a term that describes a broad range of symptoms.

The term dementia is used to describe a person who is experiencing cognitive functioning in two or more areas of their life as a result of changes in the brain. These include:

• Memory - Subtle Short-Term Memory Changes

• Communication and Language - Difficulty Finding the Right Words

• Apathy - Lose of Interest in Hobbies or Activities

• Reduced Ability to Focus and Pay Attention

• Difficulty Doing Normal Tasks

• A Loss of a Sense of Direction

• Loss of Emotional and Behavioral Control - Changes in Mood

• Being Repetitive

• Reduced Problem Solving Abilities

• Confusion


DEPRESSION

According to the Mayo Clinic, “Depression is a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. Also called major depression, major depressive disorder or clinical depression, it affects how you feel, think and behave and can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems. You may have trouble doing normal day-to-day activities, and depression may make you feel as if life isn't worth living.”

Sampling of Warning Signs

• Loss of interest in home and work

• Crying

• Change in eating or sleeping habits

• Unexplained anxiety or irritability

• Poor self-image

• Inability to express feelings

• Loss of pleasure

• Indecisiveness

• Poor concentration or forgetfulness

• Social isolation

• Increased physical problems

• Feelings of guilt

• Suicidal thoughts


TYPES OF DEPRESSION

Situational or Transitional Depression

Temporary sadness as a reaction to death, divorce or other major life change is normal and expected. Time and patience are necessary to get through these feelings. Spend time with friends or family who can be supportive of your emotional needs. Feelings of depression may go on for more than a few weeks or interfere with your home or work life. If this is the case, it might be time to seek some professional help. Ask your doctor for a checkup and a referral to an appropriate healthcare provider.

Moderate Depression

Moderately depressed people often feel that their lives are shaky at best. Many moderately depressed people describe their lives as being as unstable as a house of cards. They struggle with daily tasks that were once easy to manage. It’s also difficult for them to enjoy family and friends. If you’re feeling moderately depressed, explore self-help skills and seek professional help.

Severe Depression

Severely depressed people can’t enjoy the people around them and have lost the will to seek pleasure in life. Too often they have even lost the will to live. Depressed people see their lives as frustrating, their pasts as wasted and their futures as futile. They often view themselves as losers. The risk of suicide is high for severely depressed people. If you or a loved one experiences any of these feelings on a regular basis or have suicidal thoughts, seek professional help immediately.


COLLECTING vs. CLUTTERING vs. HOARDING

Collecting

When we look at collecting, we see that collectors typically keep their possessions well organized, and each item differs from other items, to form interesting and often valuable groupings.

An important purpose of collecting is to display the items for personal as well as other’s enjoyment, and to appreciate their value.

Collecting may include items such as dolls, sports memorabilia, or coins.


Cluttering

The concept of cluttering falls somewhere in between collecting and hoarding

Cluttering lacks the organization usually associated with collectors, and it also lacks the “mass” or “volume” associated with hoarding

A key factor is that cluttering doesn’t interfere with the person’s daily life.

Also, although clutter is the most easily visible marker of hoarding, a home can be cluttered for a variety of reasons.

Only when the clutter results from excessive acquisition and difficulty getting rid of things, and it interferes with the person’s daily functioning does this behavior constitute hoarding.


Hoarding

Now looking at hoarding - hoarding is the compulsive purchasing, acquiring, searching and saving of items that have little or no value.

This behavior usually has negative effects which can be emotional, physical, social, financial, and even legal; which we know not only impacts the hoarder, but their family as well.


GATHERING THE FACTS

Nancy arranged for me to meet with her and her aunt, at Aunt Nina’s home.

Although Aunt Nina did not see a problem with her “collection of things”, she was able to acknowledge that she has been struggling since her sister died two years ago, and Aunt Nina said “I think that I may be a little depressed.”

After a lengthy discussion, Aunt Nina agreed to meet with a psychiatrist for an evaluation, which Linda was able to schedule for the following Monday afternoon.

This evaluation would look at Aunt Nina’s

- Abilities and needs

- Challenges

- Potential signs of depression, dementia, cognitive impairment, etc.

- Level of acknowledgement of a problem(s)

- Risk factors

- Aunt Nina’s willingness to accept help

- The impact of the behavior on Aunt Nina and her niece, to name a few


Nancy agreed to remain in CT in order to accompany her aunt to the appointment, and help devise a plan moving forward.

Nancy called Linda for a 2nd appointment to discuss what had transpired with the psychiatrist, and how Linda might be able to help Nancy and her aunt moving forward.


As it turns out Aunt Nina was dealing with a number of challenges:

- Aunt Nina was diagnosed with untreated depression, which history showed had been present all of Aunt Nina’s life

- It came to light that Nancy’s mother had taken on the responsibility of cleaning and maintaining Aunt Nina’s house, while she was alive.

- Several other issues came to light which included

1) Aunt Nina was routinely forgetting to take her medication for high blood pressure and diabetes,

2) following several “fender benders” Aunt Nina gave up driving which limited her access to doctor appointments and the grocery store

3) Aunt Nina was afraid to let anyone know how much she was struggling for fear of “being put in a nursing home”.


OUR PLAN

Together we were able to develop a care plan (road map) which included a wide range of services such as:

- House cleaning and addressing home maintenance issues

- Setting up Aunt Nina’s medication box and oversee her medication compliance

- Arranging for Aunt Nina to meet with a therapist to discuss a number of issues, including the loss of her sister who was “my best friend”, and a psychiatrist to help manage the medication to treat Aunt Nina’s depression

- Arranging for someone to take Aunt Nina grocery shopping and help with meal preparation

- Accompany Aunt Nina to doctor appointments

- Helping Aunt Nina reengage in previously enjoyed activities such as membership at the local women’s club and golf club,


THE VALUE OF CASE MANAGEMENT

Care for seniors and people with special needs often requires a multi-disciplinary team approach that encompasses many aspects of life such as:

• Health and Mental Health

• Activities of Daily Living (ADLs)

• Transportation

• Finances

• Social Opportunities

• Emotional Well Being


This process needs to focus on a person's:

• Hopes and Desires

• Short and Long Term Goals

• Abilities and Needs

• Spectrum of Resources to address current and evolving needs


Case management is a collaborative process that consists of four steps:

1. Needs Assessments

2. Development of a customized Care Plan (road map)

3. Implementation & Monitoring of the Plan

4. Ongoing Review and Modification of Care Plans as client needs change


THE CAREGIVER RESOURCE CENTER

Each person is unique, and as a result each person has unique needs. Some people may experience mental and physical limitations that limit their level of functioning, while others will remain relatively high functioning.

The Caregiver Resource Center’s role is to work with the client, their family and healthcare professionals to help assess, plan for and implement ways to allow for their greatest degree of health, safety, independence, and quality of life.


Some Benefits of Our Services

• Well respected company serving the community since1990

• All services are individually designed to meet the unique needs of the client

• We are available 7 days a week by appointment, and 24/7 for emergencies

• Professional support & guidance

• Our services may be provided on-site in the home, doctor’s office, ER, hospital, assisted living facility, or nursing home


Photo from Microsoft

The information in this article is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. This information is not intended to be patient education, does not create any patient provider relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.

Please consult your health care provider for an appointment, before making any healthcare decisions or for guidance about a specific medical condition.

__________________________________________________________________________

Linda Ziac is the owner and founder of The Caregiver Resource Center. The Caregiver Resource Center is a division of Employee Assistance Professionals, Inc. which Linda founded in October 1990. The Caregiver Resource Center provides a spectrum of concierge case management and advocacy services for seniors, people with special needs and families.

Linda’s professional career spans more than 40 years in the health and mental health field as a CT Licensed Professional Counselor, CT Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor, Board Certified Employee Assistance Professional, Board Certified Case Manager, and Board Certified Dementia Practitioner. In addition, Ms. Ziac has 15 years of experience coordinating care for her own parents.

Linda assists seniors, people with special needs and their families; in planning for and implementing ways to allow for the greatest degree of health, safety, independence, and quality of life. Linda meets with individuals and family members to assess their needs, and develop a Care Team, while working with members of the Team to formulate a comprehensive Care Plan (a road map). Once a plan is in place, Linda is available to serve as the point person to monitor and coordinate services, and revise the plan as needed. This role is similar to the conductor of an orchestra; ensuring that there is good communication, teamwork, and that everyone remains focused on the desired goal.

http://www.CaregiverResourceCenter.com
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A FREE EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM

“5 Building Blocks for Successful Aging”


By Linda Ziac
May 7, 2018
The Caregiver Resource Center
www.CaregiverResourceCenter.com


YOU ARE INVITED

You are invited to attend a complimentary educational program hosted by Bridges by Epoch in Norwalk CT; and presented by Linda Ziac, President of The Caregiver Resource Center, and Thomas Smith, President of Aging Workforce Solutions.


A recurrent theme that we hear from individuals, is that they fear broaching the subject of whether or not an individual is capable of caring for themselves. In addition, once it's clear that the person is in need of assistance, there's often confusion as to what is the best way to proceed.

This is a delicate balancing act, to ensure a person's health and safety, while maintaining their independence and dignity.


Taking A Proactive Approach

While studies show that as we age, most people will remain healthy and function at high levels, it's inevitable that some issues will surface related to our independence. Care often requires a multi-disciplinary approach that encompasses many aspects of life such as healthcare, activities of daily living, transportation, finances, and emotional well being.

To ensure the highest quality of life for the longest time possible, it is crucial that seniors, people with special needs and their loved ones, begin a dialogue to discuss the topic of aging and disability.

This process needs to focus on the person's hopes and desires, short and long term goals, and their abilities and needs; while at the same time establishing a spectrum of resources that will address the person's evolving needs.


The time to plan for your aging is now, while you are still healthy, active and able to make decisions on your own.


“5 BUILDING BLOCKS FOR SUCCESSFUL AGING” WILL FOCUS ON:

1. Understanding the Many Aspects of Aging

2. Talking with Your Loved Ones

3. Ensuring Your Wishes Are Honored

4. Exploring the Spectrum of Care Options

5. Financial Options to Pay for Care


WHEN:

This program is being offered on two different days and times.

- Tuesday, May 15 at 2:00 pm

- Thursday, May 17 at 5:30 pm


WHERE:

Bridges by EPOCH at Norwalk
memory care assisted living community
123 Richards Avenue
Norwalk CT


Refreshments will be served.


PLEASE NOTE:

Bridges is extending an offer to you to bring your loved one to enjoy an engaging activity with our residents, while you attend the presentation.


FOR MORE INFORMATION OR TO RSVP:

Call Bridges by EPOCH at Norwalk
203-523-0510


Photo by Microsoft

The information in this article is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. This information is not intended to be patient education, does not create any patient provider relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.

Please consult your health care provider for an appointment, before making any healthcare decisions or for guidance about a specific medical condition.

__________________________________________________________________________

Linda Ziac is the owner and founder of The Caregiver Resource Center. The Caregiver Resource Center is a division of Employee Assistance Professionals, Inc. which Linda founded in October 1990. The Caregiver Resource Center provides a spectrum of concierge case management and advocacy services for seniors, people with special needs and families.

Linda’s professional career spans more than 40 years in the health and mental health field as a CT Licensed Professional Counselor, CT Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor, Board Certified Employee Assistance Professional, Board Certified Case Manager, and Board Certified Dementia Practitioner. In addition, Ms. Ziac has 15 years of experience coordinating care for her own parents.

Linda assists seniors, people with special needs and their families; in planning for and implementing ways to allow for the greatest degree of health, safety, independence, and quality of life. Linda meets with individuals and family members to assess their needs, and develop a Care Team, while working with members of the Team to formulate a comprehensive Care Plan (a road map). Once a plan is in place, Linda is available to serve as the point person to monitor and coordinate services, and revise the plan as needed. This role is similar to the conductor of an orchestra; ensuring that there is good communication, teamwork, and that everyone remains focused on the desired goal.

http://www.CaregiverResourceCenter.com

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Is It Dementia or Something Else?

“When a loved one seems more confused.”


By Linda Ziac
April 23, 2018
The Caregiver Resource Center
www.CaregiverResourceCenter.com


There are as many as 60 conditions that mimic dementia, that are treatable.


DON’T JUMP TO CONCLUSIONS WITHOUT ALL THE FACTS

I’d like to stress the importance of not jumping to conclusions.

There are as many as 60 conditions that mimic dementia, that are treatable.

It’s very important that you have a yearly physical, and if you are concerned about yourself or another person’s memory loss or other symptoms, speak with your doctor as soon as possible.


MEDICAL CONDITIONS THAT CAN MIMIC DEMENTIA

There are as many as 60 conditions that are known to present with dementia like symptoms, and are referred to as reversible dementias.

It has been estimated that as many as 20% of people presenting with dementia like symptoms, actually have an underlying condition that if diagnosed and properly treated; can result in a partial or full return of the person’s mental functioning.

Remember the first step is to have a thorough diagnostic evaluation conducted by a qualified medical professional to rule out what it is and is not, before determining whether this may be a reversible or irreversible form of dementia.

Common causes of reversible dementias.

Could it be…

• Alcohol abuse
• Anoxia – when organ tissues aren't receiving enough oxygen (e.g. severe asthma, heart attack, carbon monoxide poisoning)
• Brain disease (e.g. tumor which presents as impairment of mental functions)
• Delirium
• Depression (may include forgetfulness, disorientation, inattentiveness, and slowed responses)
• Diabetes
• Drug abuse
• Environmental toxins (e.g. exposure to heavy metals such as lead)
• Hormonal disorders (e.g. thyroid disease)
• Infections (e.g. urinary tract infection)
• Metabolic disorders (e.g. dehydration, kidney failure, COPD)
• Normal-pressure hydrocephalus (May cause walking problems, urinary difficulty & memory loss)
• Subdural hematomas (blood clots caused by bruising)
• Traumas (due to falls, concussions or contusions to the head)
• Heart disease
• Vitamin deficiencies (e.g. B-12 with pernicious anemia)
• Medication (e.g. side effects, drug interactions, drug overdose)


Here is a sample list of the many medications that can cause dementia like symptoms:

• antidepressants
• antihistamines
• anti-Parkinson drugs
• anti-anxiety medications
• cardiovascular drugs
• anticonvulsants
• corticosteroids
• narcotics
• sedatives

It is very important that you have a yearly physical, and if you are concerned about yourself or another person’s memory loss or other symptoms, speak with your doctor as soon as possible.


DEMENTIA

Although dementia is known to affect mainly older people, dementia is not a normal part of aging.

Around the world, there were 9.9 million new cases of dementia in 2015, one every 3 seconds.

Surprisingly, dementia is potentially preventable in 1/3 of cases.

Source: World Alzheimer Report, August 2015


"It is a disease you can prevent...it's not an inevitable part of ageing." according to Hilary Evans, Chief Executive of Alzheimer's Research UK when speaking on the subject of dementia.


THE LATEST RESEARCH ON DEMENTIA

Studies have shown that there are 7 key factors that have a strong link to dementia, which include:

• Physical Inactivity

• Smoking

• Diabetes

• Depression

• Midlife Hypertension

• Midlife Obesity

• Low Educational Attainment

Source: National Institute for Health Research Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care


Study 1

A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in August 2013 “Glucose Levels and Risk of Dementia” results suggest that higher glucose levels may be a risk factor for dementia, even among persons without diabetes. (Funded by the National Institutes of Health.)


Study 2

Another study published on January 26, 2015 showed an increased risk of developing dementia, for people who use medications with anticholinergic effects at higher doses or for a longer time.

Anticholinergic medications include those used to treat diseases like asthma, incontinence, gastrointestinal cramps, and muscular spasms, depression and sleep disorders.

An example of an anticholinergic medications is the nonprescription diphenhydramine, which includes Advil PM, Aleve PM, Bayer PM, Benadryl, Excedrin PM, Nytol, Simply Sleep, Sominex, Tylenol PM, and Unisom.

Source: “Cumulative Use of Strong Anticholinergic Medications and Incident Dementia." JAMA Internal Medicine January 26, 2015


UNDERSTANDING DEMENTIA

JUST THE FACTS

• In 2015 there were 9.9 million new cases of dementia.

• As of 2015 there were 46.8 million people worldwide are living with dementia; an increase of 2.4 million people over the past two years

• A new case of dementia is diagnosed every 3 seconds.

• The number of people diagnosed with dementia is expected to double every 20 years, reaching 74.7 million in 2030, and 131.5 million by the year 2050.


WHAT IS DEMENTIA

Although dementia is known to affect mainly older people, dementia is not a normal part of aging.

It’s important to note that dementia is not a specific disease, but instead is a term that describes a broad range of symptoms.

The term dementia is used to describe a person who is experiencing cognitive functioning in two or more areas of their life as a result of changes in the brain. These include:

• Memory - Subtle Short-Term Memory Changes

• Communication and Language - Difficulty Finding the Right Words

• Apathy - Lose of Interest in Hobbies or Activities

• Reduced Ability to Focus and Pay Attention

• Difficulty Doing Normal Tasks

• A Loss of a Sense of Direction

• Loss of Emotional and Behavioral Control - Changes in Mood

• Being Repetitive

• Reduced Problem Solving Abilities

• Confusion


TYPES OF DEMENTIA

Although most people are familiar with the term Alzheimer’s disease, there are many other types of dementia. The names of these various forms of dementia are often named for the condition that caused the dementia, or the person who first identified the particular form of dementia.

Alzheimer's disease is reported to be the most common dementia for people over age 65, and accounts for 60% - 80% of dementia cases.

An estimated 5.2 million Americans have Alzheimer's disease in 2014, including 200,000 people under age 65 who have younger-onset Alzheimer's

Vascular dementia is usually caused by brain damage from a cerebrovascular accident or cerebrovascular insult (stroke), and is the second most common dementia type.

Lewy body dementia is another common and progressive dementia where cells in the brain's cortex die and other areas contain abnormal structures called Lewy bodies. Symptoms may include hallucinations, shuffling gait, and flexed posture. These symptoms may vary daily.

Frontotemporal dementia is associated with the degeneration of nerve cells in the frontal and temporal brain lobes.

HIV-associated dementia is due to infection of the brain with HIV virus; presenting with symptoms such as impaired memory, apathy, social withdrawal, and concentration problems.

Huntington's disease is a heredity disorder caused by a faulty gene symptoms beginning in 30-40 year old people. This is marked by personality changes such as anxiety, depression and progress to show psychotic behavior, severe dementia and chorea (involuntary jerky, arrhythmic movements of the body).

Boxer's syndrome is the result of a traumatic injury (often repeatedly) to the brain. Symptoms commonly are dementia and parkinsonism (tremors, gait abnormalities) and other changes depending on where in the brain the injury took place.

Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is a fairly rare disease for people over 60 years of age, that seems related to a gene mutation that causes a rapid degenerative and fatal brain disease. This is marked by personality changes and reduced coordination, rapidly followed by impaired judgment and vision.

Secondary dementias occur in patients with movement disorders such as Parkinson's Disease or Multiple Sclerosis.

Other Conditions that May Cause Dementia include reactions to medications, endocrine and metabolic problems (e.g. Thyroid, Diabetes), nutritional deficiencies (e.g. Vitamin B1), infections (e.g. Urinary Tract Infection), subdural hematomas, poisoning, brain tumors, anoxia (lack of oxygen), as well as heart and lung problems which restrict oxygen to the brain.

Mild Cognitive Impairment is a fairly new term that is used to describe people who have some problems with their memory, but do not currently meet the criteria to be diagnosed with dementia.

Pseudodementia is a syndrome seen in older people where a person who is suffering with depression can also experience cognitive impairment that looks like dementia. It is important to keep in mind that alcohol and other substance abuse or dependence may also co-exist with depression.


SYMPTOMS OF DEMENTIA

Early symptoms of dementia may include:

• Difficulty performing tasks that once came easily (e.g. balancing a checkbook, playing games, learning new information)

• Getting lost in familiar places

• Language problems (e.g. difficulty with word finding such as naming a familiar object)

• Losing interest in previously enjoyed activities

• Misplacing items

• Personality changes

• Changes in a person’s level of social functioning


As the dementia worsens, symptoms will become more obvious and will begin to interfere with daily living, such as:

• Changes in sleep patterns (e.g. waking during the night)

• Forgetting details about current events, or forgetting events in one's own life history

• Having difficulty with basic tasks (e.g. selecting appropriate attire, driving)

• Experiencing hallucinations, increased arguments, or being more aggressive

• Having more difficulty reading or writing

• Using poor judgment or losing the ability to recognize danger

• Using the wrong word, not pronouncing words correctly, or speaking in confusing sentences

• Withdrawing from friends and social contacts


STRIVING FOR A HEALTHY BRAIN

It has long been known that choosing a healthy lifestyle can positively impact our brain and our body.

Here are some positive steps you may wish to take in a proactive approach to longevity and a healthy brain.

• Positive Support System

• Eating healthy

• Aerobic Exercise

• Cognitive Stimulation

• Relaxing Quality Sleep

• Stress Management

• Fulfilling and Active Social Life


YOU HAVE A CHOICE – RISK FACTORS THAT YOU CAN CHANGE

More and more studies are showing that with an increased focus on a healthy lifestyle, you might be able to minimize or eliminate the following risk factors of dementia.


Cardiovascular Disease

There is a strong link between dementia and high blood pressure, cholesterol, obesity and atherosclerosis.


Diabetes

There is a strong link between Type 2 diabetes in mid and late-life being associated with an increased risk of developing cognitive impairment and dementia.


Heavy Alcohol Intake

It has long been known that long term heavy use of alcohol consumption is linked with the development of ‘alcohol related dementia; which is a broad set of dementia like symptoms which can include problems with memory, reasoning , attention, and the ability to learn new tasks.


Depression

In a paper published in the journal Neurology in July 2014,Robert S. Wilson, PhD, lead researcher on the study and a professor of neuropsychology at Rush University in Chicago, built on previous research about the connection between depression and dementia. In addition, the Alzheimer’s Association reports that as many as 40% of people with Alzheimer’s disease also have depression.


Smoking

There is strong evidence that smoking increases the risk of developing dementia and it does
so in several ways. (1) Smoking increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and stroke which are also underlying risk factors for dementia. (2) Smoking also accelerates atherosclerosis - the build-up of fatty substances leading to a narrowing of the blood vessels in the heart and brain - that can deprive brain cells of oxygen.

Source: What is Alzheimer’s disease? Factsheet 401. Alzheimer’s Society, 2014


Sleep Apnea

People who have sleep apnea or spend less time in deep sleep may be more likely to have changes in the brain that are associated with dementia, according to a new study published in the December 10, 2014, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. The study found that people who don’t have as much oxygen in their blood during sleep, which occurs with sleep apnea and conditions such as emphysema, are more likely to have tiny abnormalities in brain tissue, called micro infarcts, than people with higher levels of oxygen in the blood. These abnormalities are associated with the development of dementia.

Source: Can Spoor Sleep Lead to Dementia? e American Academy of Neurology. December 10, 2014,


RESOURCES

Remember that help is just a phone call away!

Alcohol & Drug Abuse Helpline (National)
800-662-HELP

Alzheimer’s Association Info Line
800-272-3900

Alzheimer’s Association of CT (24 hour)
800-356-5502

American Diabetes Association
800-342-2383

American Heart Association
800-242-8721

American Trauma Society
800-556-7890

Area Agency on Aging (Southwestern CT)
203-333-9288

Assisted Living Federation of America
703-894-1805

CDC – Centers for Disease Control
800-232-4636

CT Department of Social Services
800-842-2159

Elder Abuse Reporting (CT)
888-385-4225

Elder Abuse Reporting (NY)
800-342-3009 press option 6

Elder Info Line National Hotline
866-847-4418

Eldercare Locator
800-677-1116

Federal Information Center
800-FED-INFO

National Adult Day Care Association
877-745-1440

National Association of Homecare & Hospice
202-547-7424

The Caregiver Resource Center
203-861-9833

Veterans Affairs Customer Service
800-827-1000



Photo from Microsoft

The information in this article is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. This information is not intended to be patient education, does not create any patient provider relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.

Please consult your health care provider for an appointment, before making any healthcare decisions or for guidance about a specific medical condition.

________________________________________________________________________

Linda Ziac is the owner and founder of The Caregiver Resource Center. The Caregiver Resource Center is a division of Employee Assistance Professionals, Inc. which Linda founded in October 1990. The Caregiver Resource Center provides a spectrum of concierge case management and advocacy services for seniors, people with special needs and families.

Linda’s professional career spans more than 40 years in the health and mental health field as a CT Licensed Professional Counselor, CT Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor, Board Certified Employee Assistance Professional, Board Certified Case Manager, and Board Certified Dementia Practitioner. In addition, Ms. Ziac has 15 years of experience coordinating care for her own parents.

Linda assists seniors, people with special needs and their families; in planning for and implementing ways to allow for the greatest degree of health, safety, independence, and quality of life. Linda meets with individuals and family members to assess their needs, and develop a Care Team, while working with members of the Team to formulate a comprehensive Care Plan (a road map). Once a plan is in place, Linda is available to serve as the point person to monitor and coordinate services, and revise the plan as needed. This role is similar to the conductor of an orchestra; ensuring that there is good communication, teamwork, and that everyone remains focused on the desired goal.

http://www.CaregiverResourceCenter.com
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