Alzheimer’s Care: Beating the Stigma Attached to Alzheimer’s/Dementia

alzheimer's care

Dementia sufferers should know that this is only a blip on the radar screens of their lives.

Almost five and one-half million elderly people in America have Alzheimer’s. It is one of the leading causes of death in the country for which there is no prevention and no cure. That figure is expected to triple by 2050. Additionally, there are different types and gradations of dementia, such as early on-set dementia and vascular dementia. Nationwide, Alzheimer’s care centers are springing up which include memory support care services. Developers see the need for care centers, they are consulting the demographic, and they are moving to supply the services.

However, Medicare doesn’t cover long-term nursing home expenses. In-home care is covered for 100 days, following which it will pay 80 percent of the costs. Medicare will pay, though, for Alzheimer’s care in the home, but only if the patient is at the very advanced stages of the disease. What about the millions of dementia sufferers who still have productive years ahead of them? The second they mention the word Alzheimer’s or dementia, they are shunned as if they were lepers. What is being done to help them?

The answer is a lot. A rather unfortunately titled article in The Guardian describes an English movement to restore the humanity to those elderly robbed of their credibility. According to Having Alzheimer’s is An Adventure, Not a Disease, a movement called “dementia friends” is being established. It will educate people regarding the origins of dementia, its sufferers’ needs and how to see dementia in a positive, instead of negative, light. In America, the movement is called Momentia, established in Oregon. Momentia instructs dementia sufferers how to accept this change in their lives and move on.

But it’s more than that. The movement teaches dementia sufferers that this is only a blip on the radar screen. They are still viable human beings with something to offer. The problem is that when an elderly person mentions the word dementia, people retreat with terrible looks on their faces. Most sufferers don’t even mention the word, which accounts for elders’ voluntary retreat from productive living. It is the general public that needs to be educated about Alzheimer’s care and dementia, not just the sufferers.

Awareness of the problem is becoming widespread, and folks are primed to do something about it. Many states have awareness and education programs for the edification of the general public. Even the United Nations has established June 15 as an international elder abuse awareness day, in response to a World Health Organization report that four to six percent of the elderly suffer some form of abuse. Financial abuse is one of the leading abuses of the elderly, and the more so if the elder suffers from dementia. Indeed, if dementia sufferers are still viable members of society, these abuses would be greatly reduced.

When you contact us about Alzheimer’s care for a loved one in Paradise Valley, Mesa, Phoenix, Sun City, Scottsdale or Tucson, rest assured you will be working with caregivers who are well educated in working with dementia patients. They, too, understand the stigma attached to dementia, and work hard to dispel such thoughts.

Elder Care in Sun City West, AZ-Understanding Living Wills: Five Wishes

Whether you are 18 or 88, an advanced directive is a wise idea to help protect your wishes and to avoid forcing your family or others to make difficult or even misguided decisions on your behalf. An advanced directive, also known as a living will, is a legal document that instructs your decisions about serious medical care and treatment when or if you are not able to do so.

About Advanced Directives

An advanced directive tells others whether you desire the use of breathing machines and/or dialysis to help you stay alive as the situation dictates, as well as whether you wish artificial nutrition via tube feeding or through an IV. You may also determine how you wish to be comforted, such as receiving medication for pain or nausea, ice chips for dry mouth and/or spiritual and emotional counseling.

In addition, an advance directive tells others whether you want resuscitation if your heartbeat or breathing stops. You can also determine whether you want to participate in organ or tissue donation after your death.

Another element to an advance directive is to establish a durable power of attorney for health care, which names the person you want making decisions on your behalf if you cannot, due to a physical or mental condition. Establishing the person to direct your elder care is often a relief for both the senior and their family.

About Five Wishes

Making the decisions required by an advance directive can be difficult. However, there is help available. The Aging with Dignity organization has a mission to protect and affirm individual human dignity as they age and help ensure sound elder care for those who are reaching the end of life.

Aging with Dignity introduced a document called “Five Wishes” in 1997. Five Wishes helps users fill out and compete an advanced directive, meets the legal requirements for an advanced directive in at least 42 states, and is useful in all 50.

Five Wishes is now available online and allows users to determine not only their desired medical treatment but also information about their care and comfort, as well as information they wish their loved ones to know. The standard Five Wishes form is available online.

The Aging with Dignity organization also offers a “Next Steps” guide to help individuals speak with their family members about their advanced care directive and their wishes for medical care and treatment when they are no longer able to articulate them.

For more information about Five Wishes or the Aging with Dignity organization, call 888-594-7437 or email

When researching options for elder care agencies in Sun City West AZ, call us at (480) 535-6800. Home care counselors at Endeavor Home Care are available to talk with you about your elder care needs including how to reduce caregiver stress while providing better, affordable care. We are an elder care agency providing home care in Sun City West, AZ.