The Other “Hard Talk”

January 9, 2015


Excerpted from the article:

When Should You Get Power of Attorney For a Parent?

Multiple types of agreements cover healthcare, finances and more

By Eileen Beal | Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging

 Click thru below for the full article on


The following are important documents to establish and have readily on hand before your loved one needs your help with financial, legal, health decisions and more.  Its a very hard conversation to have, but its very essential for all concerned.  Have the talk, seek out legal advice, file away in a safe place…you’ll be glad you did.

1. Power of Attorney for Health Care, which grants you (as the designated agent) the right to make all health care decisions for your parent when he or she is unable to do so. This document should be shared with your parent’s primary care physician and, if he or she is admitted to a hospital, included in his or her hospital records.

2. Limited Power of Attorney, which grants you limited powers and/or time to act in a specific situation. For example, a Limited POA might enable you to sell your father’s lifelong collection of baseball cards or manage your mother’s move from her current home to an assisted living community. The Limited POA expires when the task is completed or the timeframe ends, whichever comes first.

3. Financial Power of Attorney, which grants you access to and management of financial accounts and resources specifically listed in the POA. Some Financial POAs divvy up responsibilities, giving one individual access to accounts used for bill paying and another person management of stock and investment accounts.

4. Durable Power of Attorney, which grants you the right to manage all aspects of your parent’s life and finances, and health care, where specified. It goes into effect when signed and stays in effect until your parent cancels it or dies.

5. Springing Power of Attorney, which “springs” into action in case of an emergency in which your parent becomes incapacitated and unable to speak for himself or herself. When (or if) the crisis is over and he or she is able to speak for himself or herself, the POA ceases to be in effect.

Stay On Top Of The Documents

If you go the POA route, Rahl suggests making copies of all the documents involved and storing them in a safe, easily accessible place. These documents might include:

1. Title/ownership documents (deeds, stock certificates, loan papers, car title, etc.)

2. Contracts and other legally binding agreements

3. Legal documents (birth/adoption certificates, marriage certificates, wills, other/situational powers of attorney)

4. Bank records that show ownership and how accounts are held (statements, passbooks, CDs, safety deposit box information, etc.)

5. List of major assets (real estate, financial accounts, stocks, cash, jewelry, insurance, pre-paid funeral arrangements, etc.)

6. List of outstanding debts (with supporting materials if available)

7. Living will/advanced directives

8. Names and numbers of doctors, attorneys, accountants, etc.

The Glen Campbell Movie

November 6, 2014

Alzheimers knows no boundaries.

Alzheimers has no respect for fame, fortune, love, loss.

Glen and his family are bravely willing to share part of their journey down the path of “The Long Goodbye”.



Please click thru for a preview of this poignant story as told by Glen and his family.


Arguing Both Sides by Lon Kieffer, Defender Of Caregivers aka DOC

October 22, 2014

To paraphrase Jeff Foxworthy,

You might be a caregiver if…

anything in this video snippet resonates with you.

If this rings true to your ears,

call us, we can recommend resources,

and if you need us, we can help.

Kathy Spence, Co-Owner

PA HOME CARE of Lancaster

2703 Willow Street Pike, N.

Willow Street, PA 17584

(717) 464-2006

(866) 205-0348


Alzheimer’s/Dementia Community Education Group

March 25, 2014

Join us Wednesday October, 1 2014 when our topic will be Nutrition and Memory.  It should be a great night of information and sharing!


The group will meet 7:00 – 8:30 PM on Wednesday October 1st, 2014.  The group is free of charge and no registration is required.  It is held in the Community Room at the Willow Valley Medical Center, West Entrance.  All of those who care about someone experiencing any type of cognitive impairment are welcome!



We hope you will be able to join us; please invite your family and friends!

PA HOME CARE of Lancaster

2703 Willow Street Pike, North

Willow Street, PA   17584

(717) 464-2006

(866) 205-0348

Alzheimer’s/Dementia Community Education Group

January 30, 2014


Teepa Snow: Author, Speaker, Educator

Please join us at our next Alzheimer’s/Dementia Community Education Group being held at the Willow Valley Medical Center Community Room in Willow Street.  We will be reviewing Teepa Snow’s “Gems of Caregiving”


Elaine Potts, LCSW and group facilitator will present Teepa’s take on the different levels of dementia and how a caregiver can most effectively understand and work with their loved one at those specific stages. Handouts and snacks provided.


Elaine Potts: LCSW and group facilitator


This is an open group that meets monthly and welcomes all caregivers dealing with any form of memory loss issues.  Please call the office of PA Home Care for any additional information on the group (717-464-2006), or go to our website at, or find us on Facebook


We hope to see you there!



Holiday Gift Ideas for People with Alzheimer’s and their Caregivers from Caregiver.Com and Alz.Org

December 14, 2013


According to the 2007 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures, one out of eight people age 65 and older have Alzheimer’s and nearly one out of every two over age 85 has it.  There are currently more than 5 million people in the United States living with Alzheimer’s and almost 10 million caring for someone with the disease.  Therefore chances are pretty high that this holiday season, you’ll be buying a present for parents, grandparents, relatives or friends who have been touched by the disease.



Holiday Gifts for Caregivers

Nearly one in four caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias provide 40 hours a week or more of care.  Seventy-one percent sustain this commitment for more than a year, and 32 percent do so for five years or more.  One of the best gifts you can give someone caring for Alzheimer’s is something that relieves the stress or provides a bit of respite for the caregiver.


The Gift of time:  Cost-effective and truly meaningful gifts are self-made coupons for cleaning the house, preparing a meal, moving lawn/shoveling driveway, respite times that allow the caregiver time off to focus on what he/she needs.

Gift Certificates: Give gift certificates for restaurants and laundry/dry cleaning services, especially those that deliver; lawn care services; computer/technology support; maid services; personal pampering services such as messages, facials, manicures/pedicures.

Books: In addition to fictional and non-fictional books that a caregiver might enjoy, there are a number of books created to assist caregivers such as “The 36-Hour Day: A Family Guide to Caring for Persons with Alzheimer Disease, Related Dementing illnesses, and Memory Loss in Later Life,” by N.L.Mace and P.V. Rabins; “A Dignified Life: The Best Friends Approach to Alzheimer’s Care: A Guide for Family Caregivers,” by V. Bell and D. Troxel; and “Alzheimer’s: A Caregiver’s Guide and Sourcebook,” by H. Gruetzner.

Digital Video Recorder (DVR)/DVDs/CDs:  Purchase DVR/TiVo and years worth of services that will enable a caregiver to record favorite shows he/she may not be able watch,  purchase his/her favorite movies or music CDs for the caregiver to enjoy on their down time.



Holiday Gifts for People Living with Alzheimer’s

Early Stage:  Approximately 2.5 million people currently living with Alzheimer’s are in the Early Stage of the disease, a period when they can live active, healthy lives, but may begin to notice subtle changes.  Here are some gift ideas for people living in the early stages of the disease.

Items to help remember things such as magnetic reminder refrigerator pads, Post-It notes, baskets or trays that can be labeled within cabinets or drawers, a small pocket-sized diary or notebook, erasable white boards for key rooms in the house, a memorable calendar featuring family photos – write special family occasions such as birthdays and anniversaries.

Items that may help with daily activities such as a memory phone that can store up to eight pictures with the names and contact information of family and friends, automatic medication dispenser that can help the person living with Alzheimer’s remember to take his/her medicine, nightlights that come on automatically when it gets dark, and clock with the date and time in large type.


Entertainment:  Plan an outing to a movie, play or concert, sporting event, museum or possibly an organized holiday shopping outing with friends and family, favorite musical CDs or CD with compilation of favorite tunes, VHS/DVD collection of favorite movies.  Also activities such as scrapbooking or other craft projects that are social in nature.

You might want to think twice before buying some gifts: Giving electronics may seem like a good idea to make life easier for someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia, but that isn’t always the case.  If you decide to give someone with the disease a new piece of electronic equipment, remember to review the operating instructions with them slowly and more than once.  Make a copy of the instructions for the person with the disease and  for yourself, so you can talk them through the process on the phone if you need to.

Moderate/Late Stage:  People in the later stages of Alzheimer’s generally need assistance with day-to-day activities as their memory problems continue to worsen.  Here are some gift ideas for people living in the later stages of the disease.

Items that provide sensory stimulation:  In the later stages of the disease sensory stimulation may bring back pleasant memories, so gift ideas include scented lotions, a fluffy bathrobe in his/her favorite color, a soft blanket or afghan to keep the person warm.

Clothes: Comfortable, easy to remove, easily washable clothes such as sweat suits, knits, large banded socks, shoes with Velcro ties, wrinkle free nightgowns, nightshirts and robes.

Music: Research shows that music has a positive impact on individuals with Alzheimer’s, bringing them back to good times, increasing stimulation and providing an opportunity to interact with family members.  So buy favorite CDs or burn a CD full of musical favorites.


Framed Photographs/Photo Collage: Copy photos of family members and friends at photo centers, insert the names of the people in the photo and put in frames or in a photo album created specifically for that person.

Safe Return: Enroll the person in the later stages of Alzheimer’s in the Alzheimer’s Association’s Safe Return, a nationwide identification program that provides assistance when a person with Alzheimer’s or a related dementia wanders and becomes lost locally or far from home.




The Alzheimer’s Association is the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s care, support and research. Our mission is to eliminate Alzheimer’s disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health.  Our vision is a world without Alzheimer’s. For more information please visit

Holidays and Alzheimer’s issued by editors

November 15, 2013

Though written specifically with Alzheimer’s in mind, the following tips for making the holidays enjoyable are applicable to most people who find themselves in a caregiving situation.  note from Kathy Spence @ PA Home Care of Lancaster


For most families, holidays are filled with opportunities for togetherness, sharing, laughter and memories. But holidays can also be filled with stress, disappointment and sadness.

Because of the changes he or she has experienced, the person with Alzheimer’s may feel a special sense of loss during the holidays. At the same time, caregivers may feel overwhelmed maintaining holiday traditions while caring for their loved one. In addition, caregivers may feel hesitant to invite family and friends over to share the holiday for fear they will be uncomfortable with behavior changes in the family member.

Here are some suggestions that may help to make holidays happy, memorable occasions.

Adjust expectations

• Call a face-to-face meeting or arrange for a long-distance telephone conference call with family and friends to discuss holiday celebrations. Make sure that everyone understands your caregiving situation and have realistic expectations about you can and cannot do. No one can expect you to maintain every holiday tradition or event.


• Give yourself permission to do only what you can reasonably manage. If you’ve always invited 15-20 people to your home, consider inviting five for a simple meal. Consider having a potluck dinner or asking others to host the holiday at their home.

• Familiarize others with your situation by writing a letter that makes these points:

“I’m writing this letter to let you know how things are going at our house. While we’re looking forward to your visit, we thought it might be helpful if you understood our current situation before you arrive.”

“You may notice that ___ has changed since you last saw him/her. Among the changes you may notice are ___. I’ve enclosed a picture so you know how ___ looks now.”

“Because ___ sometimes has problems remembering and thinking clearly, his/her behavior is a little unpredictable.”

“Please understand that ___ may not remember who you are and may confuse you with someone else. Please don’t feel offended by this. He/she appreciates your being with us and so do I. Please treat ___ as you would any person. A warm smile and a gentle touch on ___’s shoulder or hand will be appreciated more than you know.”

“I would ask that you call before you come to visit or when you’re nearby so we can prepare for your arrival. Caregiving is a tough job, and I’m doing the very best I can. With your help and support, we can create a holiday memory that we’ll treasure.”


Involve the person with dementia

 • Involve the person in safe, manageable holiday preparation activities. Begin slowly by asking the person to help you prepare food, wrap packages, hand you decorations or set the table. (Avoid using candies, artificial fruits/vegetables or other edibles as decorations. Blinking lights may confuse or scare the person.)

• Maintain the person’s normal routine so that holiday preparations don’t become disruptive or confusing. Taking on too many tasks can wear on you and the person.

• Build on past traditions and memories. Your family member may find comfort in singing old holiday songs, for example. But also experiment with new holiday traditions, such as renting seasonal videos.

Adapt gift giving

• Encourage people to buy useful gifts for the person such as an identification bracelet (available through MedicAlert® + Alzheimer’s Association Safe Return®); comfortable, easy-to-remove clothing; audiotapes of favorite music; videos; and photo albums.

• Advise people not to give gifts such as dangerous tools or instruments, utensils, challenging board games, complicated electronic equipment or pets.

• Depending on his or her abilities, get the person involved in giving gifts. For example, someone who once enjoyed cooking may enjoy baking cookies and packing them in tins or boxes. Or, you may want to buy the gift and allow the person to wrap it.

• If friends or family members ask what you want for a gift, suggest a gift certificate or something that will help you out as you care for your loved one, like a cleaning or household chore service.

Try to be flexible

• Consider celebrating over a lunch or brunch, rather than an evening meal, to work around the evening confusion or sundowning that sometimes affects some people with Alzheimer’s. Also consider serving nonalcoholic drinks and keeping the room bright.

• Prepare for post-holiday letdown. Arrange for in-home care so you can enjoy a movie or lunch with a friend and reduce post-holiday stress.

• Holidays are opportunities to share time with the people you love. Try to make these celebrations easy on yourself and the person with Alzheimer’s disease so that you may concentrate on enjoying your time together.


 MedicAlert + Safe Return is a 24-hour nationwide emergency response service for individuals with Alzheimer’s or related dementia that wander or who have a medical emergency.  To learn more or to enroll, contact your local Alzheimer’s Association, call 1.888.572.8566 or register online at

The Alzheimer’s Association is the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer care, support and research.


1.800.272.3900 | © 2007 Alzheimer’s Association. All rights reserved. This is an official publication of the Alzheimer’s Association but may be distributed by unaffiliated organizations and individuals. Such distribution does not constitute an endorsement of these parties or their activities by the Alzheimer’s Association.

Caregiver Burnout

October 14, 2013


By Dr. M. Ross Seligson

Being able to cope with the strains and stresses of being a Caregiver is part of the art of Caregiving In order to remain healthy so that we can continue to be Caregivers, we must be able to see our own limitations and learn to care for ourselves as well as others.


It is important for all of us to make the effort to recognize the signs of burnout, In order to do this we must be honest and willing to hear feedback from those around us. This is especially important for those caring for family or friends. Too often Caregivers who are not closely associated with the healthcare profession get overlooked and lost in the commotion of medical emergencies and procedures. Otherwise close friends begin to grow distant, and eventually the Caregiver is alone without a support structure. We must allow those who do care for us, who are interested enough to say something, to tell us about our behavior, a noticed decrease in energy or mood changes.

Burnout isn’t like a cold. You don’t always notice it when you are in its clutches. Very much like Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, the symptoms of burnout can begin surfacing months after a traumatic episode. The following are symptoms we might notice in ourselves, or others might say they see in us. Think about what is being said, and consider the possibility of burnout.

  • Feelings of depression.
  • A sense of ongoing and constant fatigue.
  • Decreasing interest in work.
  • Decrease in work production.
  • Withdrawal from social contacts.
  • Increase in use of stimulants and alcohol.
  • Increasing fear of death.
  • Change in eating patterns.
  • Feelings of helplessness.

Strategies to ward off or cope with burnout are important. To counteract burnout, the following specific strategies are recommended

  • Participate in a support network.
  • Consult with professionals to explore burnout issues.
  • Attend a support group to receive feedback and coping strategies.
  • Vary the focus of caregiving responsibilities if possible (rotate responsibilities with family members).
  • Exercise daily and maintain a healthy diet.
  • Establish “quiet time” for meditation.
  • Get a weekly massage
  • Stay involved in hobbies.


By acknowledging the reality that being a Caregiver is filled with stress and anxiety, and understanding the potential for burnout, Caregivers can be forewarned and guard against this debilitating condition. As much as it is said, it can still not be said too often, the best way to be an effective Caregiver is to take care of yourself.

M. Ross Seligson, Ph.D., P.A., is a Licensed Psychologist in Ft. Lauderdale Florida. He has supported Caregivers in his community for a number of years, including participation in AIDS, Mental Health, Cancer and Educational organizations.  As posted in Caregiver.Com


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