Alzheimer's blog

Wellness, chocolate and caregiving: Best wishes for 2011

By Angela Lunde January 11, 2011

Happy new year to those of you loyal followers of this blog, as well as those of you who tune in every once in a while, and to those of you who are finding us for the first time.

The number of you who have been a part of this blog community over the past year has been remarkable. The compassion and support you provide one another through your words is more valuable than you know.

Over the past week, a couple of important and timely pieces of information and articles have crossed my desk that I thought I'd pass along.

First a new Medicare Benefit went into effect on January 2, 2011. Under the Affordable Care Act (the healthcare reform law), Medicare will now pay for an annual wellness visit.  This visit will include a personalized prevention plan including an assessment of cognitive function.

This is a big victory for those of us advocating for early diagnosis of a cognitive disorder due to Alzheimer's or other dementia. Details are included in this fact sheet:

Medicare Update: Annual Wellness Visit (PDF file requiring Adobe Reader)

Also, a few days ago, Karen made a comment on the blog that I think is true for most caregivers. She wrote:

"I realize that I (caregiver and daughter) may be the one grieving more than her (Karen's mother with dementia) because as long as she feels secure, she seems to be happy. One of the basic universal needs each of us has is to feel secure. Consequently, one of the most loving things we can do for a person with Alzheimer's disease is to figure out what provides them with a sense of security and contentment. This approach may essentially be Alzheimer's 'therapy' at its best. The 'therapy' is connecting the person with dementia with a familiar object, touch or activity; it may be soft music, a particular aroma or even chocolate!"

A great article in the "New York Times" came out on December 31. "The Vanishing Mind: Giving Alzheimer's Patients Their Way, Even Chocolate", stated "with virtually no effective medical treatment for Alzheimer's yet, most dementia therapy is the caregiving performed by families and nursing homes." The article provides an overall philosophy of care that I wholeheartedly embrace. It's worth reading and sharing your thoughts.

"Laugh when you can,
Apologize when you should,
And let go of what you can't change.
Life's too short to be anything ... but happy."

- Anonymous

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Jan. 11, 2011