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Is There Help For Dementia

Low To Moderate Amounts Of Alcohol

Dementia – Help For Caregivers

This is a somewhat controversial one since there are some risks associated with drinking alcohol, but multiple research studies demonstrated a cognitive benefit for those who drank light to moderate amounts of alcohol. Some of this may be related to the resveratrol in red wine, but other research found this benefit in other kinds of alcohol as well.

Keep in mind that there are some people who should never drink alcohol, such as alcoholics, those with Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, and those for whom it will interact with their medications.

Using Reverse Mortgages For Alzheimers Care

The decision on whether or not to use ones home, through a reverse mortgage, to help pay for care is not an easy one. In many cases, it does not make good economic sense, but in other situations it does.

The two most important factors when considering a reverse mortgage to pay for Alzheimers care are ones marital status and their expected duration of need.

Reverse mortgages come due one year after the homeowner moves from their home. Given that most individuals with Alzheimers will eventually require residential care, it becomes a question of how many years until that point. Should one be at the early stage of the condition and wont require residential care for 5 years, a reverse mortgage might make good sense as a funding resource for occasional assistance around the home. However, if one might need to move within 2 years, a reverse mortgage would be considered an expensive source of funds. The exception to this rule is when the individual with Alzheimers has a healthy spouse who will continue to live in the home when the spouse with Alzheimers moves into a care facility. In this situation, a reverse mortgage could be a sound decision.

Alzheimers Resource Locator Tool

Our websites database contains information on over 300 programs that provide financial assistance or reduce the cost of caring for the elderly. Many of these programs are specifically applicable to those suffering from Alzheimers, dementia or other related memory disorders. One can search specifically for programs relevant to them by entering their demographic information into our Resource Locator Tool.

Eldercare Financial Assistance Locator

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Tips For Everyday Care For People With Dementia

Early on in Alzheimers and related dementias, people experience changes in thinking, remembering, and reasoning in a way that affects daily life and activities. Eventually, people with these diseases will need more help with simple, everyday tasks. This may include bathing, grooming, and dressing. It may be upsetting to the person to need help with such personal activities. Here are a few tips to consider early on and as the disease progresses:

  • Try to keep a routine, such as bathing, dressing, and eating at the same time each day.
  • Help the person write down to-do lists, appointments, and events in a notebook or calendar.
  • Plan activities that the person enjoys and try to do them at the same time each day.
  • Consider a system or reminders for helping those who must take medications regularly.
  • When dressing or bathing, allow the person to do as much as possible.
  • Buy loose-fitting, comfortable, easy-to-use clothing, such as clothes with elastic waistbands, fabric fasteners, or large zipper pulls instead of shoelaces, buttons, or buckles.
  • Use a sturdy shower chair to support a person who is unsteady and to prevent falls. You can buy shower chairs at drug stores and medical supply stores.
  • Be gentle and respectful. Tell the person what you are going to do, step by step while you help them bathe or get dressed.
  • Serve meals in a consistent, familiar place and give the person enough time to eat.

Getting Help And Support As A Carer

Understanding the Stages of Dementia

Find out more about the different types of help and support available to you as a carer for someone with dementia.

When you are caring for someone with dementia you are likely to need support at some point. Carers who get less support are more likely to feel stressed and depressed.

If you dont have friends or family members who can help or give you a break, there are a number of other ways you can get help. This section describes different kinds of support not every type of support suits everyone. You also might need different types of help and support at different times.

Try a few options to find the right services for you. You might have to be persistent and push to get the help you need. This can be frustrating and you may feel you dont have the energy, but it is important to carry on and get the support you need.

There are a range of people and organisations you can turn to for face-to-face support, as well as options for using online services. Some of these include:

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Other Government Benefits And Assistance Programs

There are many government benefits and assistance programs available to help with the care for Alzheimers and dementia. Government benefits might not erase all of the costs, which can be crippling, but should provide a helping hand and needed financial help for dementia patients.

Heres a rundown:

Social Security It provides retirement income, disability payments and other payments to workers who contributed to the plan during their employment. For information, log onto or call 1-800-772-1213.

Veterans Benefits If an Alzheimers patient was in the armed services, they might qualify for Veterans Administration program benefits, including long-term care. For information, log onto or call 1-800-827-1000.

State and Area Agencies on Aging They provide information on affordable health care services, support groups and legal services.

State Departments of Health and Social Services They provide information on state and local programs, including respite services and financial assistance.

Supplemental Security Income The government provides help for some people who cant work because of a disability . To qualify for SSI, a person must have less than $2,000 in net resources, which refers to money in bank accounts, cash, investments and real estate earnings. It does not include a home or car. For information, call the Social Security Administration national office at 772-1213.

What Are The Cholinesterase Inhibitor Medications Called

Donepezil: originally patented as the brand name Aricept, but more widely available now as the generic Donepezil

Rivastigmine: originally patented as Exelon, and is now also available as other brands as well as generic Rivastigmine

Galantamine originally patented as Reminyl and is now also available as generic galantamine and the brands Reminyl XL, Acumor XL, Galsya XL and Gatalin XL.

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Financial Assistance By Source


Unfortunately, Medicare provides limited assistance for the costs incurred by families for Alzheimers and dementia care. Medicares benefits are strictly for medical needs and so much of providing care to individual with Alzheimers or dementia is non-medical in nature. Supervision, assistance with dressing, bathing or eating, transportation are all time-consuming activities but are non-medical in nature and therefore Medicare does not provide coverage or financial assistance. To be clear, in-home care and memory care are not paid for by Medicare.

Medicare Supplemental Insurance policies, as a rule, do not offer areas of coverage that Medicare does not cover. Instead, Medicare Supplemental Insurance simply helps with co-payments. Therefore, unfortunately, these policies offer little additional assistance over Medicare.

Having said that, Medicare does provide help with diagnostic procedures, prescriptions and some assistance as these conditions progress and needs become more severe. Read a complete analysis of Medicares dementia benefits.

Some Good News


Did You Know?

Veterans Programs

State Programs

Finding these programs can be a challenge. It is recommended that one begin by contacting their local Area Agency on Aging . Typically, AAAs are county-specific. One can locate their AAA here.

Other Sources and Options

Palliative Care For Dementia As A Hospice Day Patient

How to accept help as a dementia caregiver: Dementia Caregiver Support Series

If someone who has dementia prefers to remain living at home, they may be able to visit a hospice during the day. This means they can receive the care and support they need without permanently leaving their home.

As a day patient, they will be able to access more services than could be offered if they stayed at home. Such services might include creative and complementary therapies and rehabilitation, as well as nursing and medical care. They will also meet other patients. Hospices often provide transport to and from the hospice.

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Palliative Care In A Care Home

Palliative care is available in residential care homes. If someone with dementia is already in a residential home, they may want to stay there for their palliative care. This may make them more comfortable and less distressed than having to go into hospital, unless that is necessary.

You should ask if the residential home is accredited by the end of life Gold Standards network, which means that the home has specially trained staff and good links with local GPs.

Alzheimers Treatment And Support

While there are currently no treatments available to slow or stop the brain damage caused by Alzheimerâs disease, several medications can temporarily help improve the symptoms of dementia for some people. These medications work by increasing neurotransmitters in the brain. To see a list of medications approved to treat Alzheimer’s in Canada, visit Alzheimer’s Society of Canada’s website.

Help Is AvailableFind local programs and services through the Alzheimer’s Society of Canada.

Researchers continue to search for ways to better treat Alzheimer’s and other progressive dementias. Currently, dozens of therapies and pharmacologic treatments that focus on stopping the brain cell death associated with Alzheimer’s are underway.

In addition, having support systems in place and the use of non-pharmacologic behavioral interventions can improve quality of life for both people with dementia and their caregivers and families. This includes:

  • Treatment of co-existing medical conditions
  • Coordination of care among health care professionals
  • Participation in activities, which can improve mood
  • Behavioral interventions
  • Education about the disease

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Stage : Age Associated Memory Impairment

This stage features occasional lapses of memory most frequently seen in:

  • Forgetting where one has placed an object
  • Forgetting names that were once very familiar

Oftentimes, this mild decline in memory is merely normal age-related cognitive decline, but it can also be one of the earliest signs of degenerative dementia. At this stage, signs are still virtually undetectable through clinical testing. Concern for early onset of dementia should arise with respect to other symptoms.

Getting A Needs Assessment

Dementia Caregivers Help Improve Confidence in Loved Ones

If you find you need help to manage everyday tasks like washing, dressing or cooking, it’s advisable to get a needs assessment from the social services department of your local council.

Ideally, this assessment should take place face to face. It’s a good idea to have a relative or friend with you if you’re not confident explaining your situation. They can also take notes for you.

If the needs assessment identifies you need help such as a carer to help with personal care , meals delivered to your home , or a personal alarm, you will then have a financial assessment to see how much you’ll contribute to the cost of your care.

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Support Is Just A Phone Call Away

Dementia Advice responds to the immediate needs of persons with dementia living in community settings and their care partners, who require health related advice, education, information on community resources, and emotional support for events that occur during the course of dementia.

for free, confidential, 24/7, dementia expertise and advice.

Health Link staff will assess your needs and provide advice for your immediate concerns. When needed, you will be referred to a specialized dementia nurse for additional advice.

Need Dementia Advice?

To learn more, visit Dementia Advice .

For other ways to contact us go to

Related Resources

Print Resources

Personal Savings & Assets

Personal savings and assets often fund the help needed after a dementia diagnosis.

These funds typically come from:

  • The sale of a home and/or estate
  • An existing savings account
  • Help from friends or family members

However, personal savings can also come from investments or personal property such as fine art or valuable jewelry.

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Medicaid & Hcbs Waivers And Alzheimers Care

Medicaid is a state and federally funded health insurance program for low-income families and the elderly. Each state administers their Medicaid programs separately. Therefore, each state offers different benefits with regards to caring for individuals with Alzheimers or dementia.

Medicaid Waivers are state programs that allow individuals to receive care outside of nursing homes. Instead of requiring institutionalization, Medicaid Waiver participants can receive care, paid for by Medicaid, in their homes, the homes of relatives, and sometimes in adult foster care homes and assisted or senior living residences. Almost all Medicaid Waivers have both financial eligibility requirements and requirements that the participant have functional limitations. Very few, require a specific diagnosis of Alzheimers or dementia. Instead, they consider ones ability or inability to care for themselves by accessing their ability to perform their activities of daily living. From a functional perspective, mid to late stage Alzheimers patients typically qualify for Medicaid benefits quite easily.

For more information on Medicaid and each states waivers, please use the following links: General Medicaid, Home Care Waivers, Assisted Living Waivers, Adult Day Care Waivers, and Adult Foster Care Waivers.

Helping A Person With Dementia

There is No Magic Pill for Dementia

If you’re a carer or friend of a person with a dementia, there are different ways to support them in their everyday life.

You can help by:

  • remembering they are still the person and friend you may have known for a long time
  • including them in group conversations
  • asking them their opinion and not assuming you know what they want
  • offering your support, they may not feel confident enough to approach you and may need your help
  • being sensitive, for example, understanding and supporting their approach to living with the condition
  • remembering they can still do the same things as you with a little help

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Smoking And Dementia Risk

Smoking is likely to increase risk of dementia as it causes problems with blood vessel function meaning that a person is more likely to have small strokes or small bleeds in the brain, and it may also be that chemicals in tobacco smoke cause inflammation, Sommerlad said.

Heres what you can do: Even if youre a smoker, its not too late to stop smoking. After all, older adults who stop smoking may substantially reduce their risk of dementia. Get help to stop smoking, Livingston said, such as by using nicotine patches.

Read more about past research on the link between smoking and dementia

What Types Of Help Are Available

There are many different types of care available depending on the level of help or care you need.

  • Day-to-day support can be found through adult day centers and respite services. These options provide short-term care for a person with dementia and allow the caregiver to take a break. Day-to-day support may include supervision, meals delivered to the home, and/or transportation.
  • Long-term care in the home may be provided by unpaid family members and friends or by paid service providers and can involve general care or medical care. Home care services often focus on everyday activities such as bathing, dressing, eating, and ensuring the person with dementia is safe. Home health care services involve licensed medical professionals and require a doctors order.
  • Residential care may become necessary as a person with dementia requires more care and supervision than can be provided at home. Assisted living facilities may be able to provide enough support in the early stages of dementia, whereas nursing homes may be more appropriate for people who are no longer able to live safely at home. Continuing care retirement communities are multi-level care facilities that provide living accommodations and health services. A resident can move between multiple levels of care as needed.
  • Hospice services provide end-of-life care and comfort for people with dementia and their families. These services can be received in the home or at a residential care facility, hospital, or hospice facility.

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Stage : Moderate Dementia

Patients in stage 5 need some assistance in order to carry out their daily lives. The main sign for stage 5 dementia is the inability to remember major details such as the name of a close family member or a home address. Patients may become disoriented about the time and place, have trouble making decisions, and forget basic information about themselves, such as a telephone number or address.

While moderate dementia can interfere with basic functioning, patients at this stage do not need assistance with basic functions such as using the bathroom or eating. Patients also still have the ability to remember their own names and generally the names of spouses and children.

Can Dementia Be Prevented

Demystifying Dementia: Getting the right support

Although dementia cannot be prevented, living a health-focused life might influence risk factors for certain types of dementia. Keeping blood vessels clear of cholesterol buildup, maintaining normal blood pressure, controlling blood sugar, staying at a healthy weight basically, staying as healthy as one can can keep the brain fueled with the oxygen and nutrients it needs to function at its highest possible level. Specific healthful steps you can take include:

  • Follow a Mediterranean diet, which is one filled with whole grains, vegetables, fruits, fish and shellfish, nuts, beans, olive oil and only limited amounts of red meats.
  • Exercise. Get at least 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week.
  • Keep your brain engaged. Solve puzzles, play word games, and try other mentally stimulating activities. These activities may delay the start of dementia.
  • Stay socially active. Interact with people discuss current events keep your mind, heart, and soul engaged.

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