My aunt is 80 years old and has Alzheimer's dimentia. The disease is getting worse. She can still get around but she's starting to fall, because she's getting more unsteady on her feet. I can't keep her from getting up at random times during the night. I'm looking into what Medicare will help cover and also in home help on the two days a week that I work.
If anyone who has been through the process, it would be helpful to get as much information as possible to keep my aunt safe and at home as long as possible. I live in Michigan and I'm her full legal guardian. Conservators handle her finances. I live in her home with her. I've been with her since 2008. She started showing signs of Alzheimer's in 2011 and was diagnosed by her dr in 2012 with Alzheimer's dimentia.

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Kimmie....some suggestions:

1. Falling

a. I don't know whether your aunt could follow PT instructions, but that, as well as information on fall protection would help. One of your aunt's doctors can script for PT at a place that specializes in it (such as some of the Michigan hospitals - Rehab Institute of Michigan and Providence) or for home therapy in her house.

Going to a PT facility is great because there's a wider range of equipment that can be used, but it does mean transporting to and from generally 3x weekly. And sometimes the change of place from home to another building can be confusing.

b. Guidelines have also been published on the factors influencing falls: sight, hearing, balance. I don't recall the most recent information I saw on this, or where I saw it, but you can Google for it. I did pick up some handouts at one of the AAA Expos, mentioned below.

c. Do you have grab bars, have eliminated trip hazards, etc.? If not, just say so and recommendations can be made on what you'll need to do. The goal is to provide as safe an environment as possible by installing and/or creating hand holds as well as eliminating slip and fall objects.

2. Area Agency on Aging

a. This agency provides a lot of information as well as hosts an annual caregiving expo in SE Michigan. The next one is Oct. 17 from 9 to 2 at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi. Parking and admission are free, and there are delicious free bagels, donuts, coffee, tea and water for early arrivals., for services, etc., offered, and for info on the expo. As the time draws closer, there might be a list of vendors on the website.

b. Presentations are also made by nonprofit as well as profit organizations. One is "Where to turn for Help", by a VP of the local AAA. Generally presentations provide handouts with lists of organizations to contact for assistance.

Another presentation is "Managing Challenging Behaviors in Dementia", presented by a member of the Alzheimer's Assn. of Michigan.

c. There are dozens of vendors ranging from SNFs, AL, IL and other facilities, companies which provide retrofitting for assistive devices, companies which provide in home care, elder law attorneys, SMART, the SE Michigan regional transportation entity (low cost transit for elders), and much more.

d. The Elder Law of Michigan agency is also represented. It provides legal advice for qualified seniors, website links to relevant agencies and issues. It used to assist in providing info on getting a Bridge Card for food assistance for income qualified seniors.

I haven't yet missed one of these expos; they're excellent. There's a wealth of information available to pick up, take home and read and use to locate services. And it's a good, consolidated source to see what's available for the caregiver and his/her loved one.

3. Senior Center and community expos

a. Local expos are also held at various communities in the SE Michigan area. Farmington Hills had one this week; Waterford has one in November. Generally like the AAA Expos, they are smaller in size but have local medical providers, sometimes offer free screenings as well as a lot of handouts (lotions, toothpaste, toothbrushes, eye drops, etc.). It was through one of these that I became aware of discounted dental treatment at one of the local community colleges with a dental program.

4. Alzheimers Assn., Oakland County

Your profile doesn't state where you are in Michigan, so this may not apply. But if you are local to Oakland County, the Alz. Assn. a few years ago offered a free 6 week course titled Creating Confident Caregivers. Generally directed toward Alz., it also addresses dementia.

Ours was a small group, 8 I think with a few who dropped out. There's a lot of interaction between the participants, very, very, very helpful manuals, and some problem solving situations. I vaguely remember something about a DVD being created.

This is really worth exploring if you're close to this area.

As SunnyGirl wrote, PACE is another program to consider for in-home help.
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Sorry that link doesn't work, but google using PACE in Michigan. It provides lots of info.
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I hope others will respond who have dealt with your situation. I'll share a few things I have learned though.

I would discuss her sleeping and falling problems with her doctor to see if there is some reason for it besides the dementia. They can go over her medication and see if any of it is causing her to fall. See if they can adjust meds to help her sleep better at night. Her doctor may need to fill out forms that confirm what her needs are due to her condition.

You might also read about the progression of dementia. It is progressive and she is likely to need a greater level of care and eventually need complete care around the clock. This is a huge job to do by yourself or even with help two days per week.

Here's a link for a program called PACE. It's for in home care for seniors and the disabled. I think it's applied in each state. This is for Michigan.,4612,7-132-2945_42542_42543_42549-87437--,00.html
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