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Carillon VP Drummond Shares Alzheimer’s Care Insights on Popular Radio Show

Joyce headshot2Carillon’s own Mary Ann Drummond was a guest host on Chapel Hill radio station WZHL recently, sharing her insights and expertise on Alzheimer’s care issues. Drummond, Carillon’s vice-president of operations, helped develop the company’s highly regarded Alzheimer’s care program, The Garden Place. A licensed nurse and longtime geriatric healthcare administrator, Drummond has worked with Alzheimer’s residents and their families for more than 20 years.

She focused her 30-minute discussion on tips to help caregivers prepare for the long journey of Alzheimer’s disease, a journey that few are prepared for, as well coping strategies to meet their loved one where they are in that journey and accept new realities.  Often, that means learning to let go of the person as they were later in life, and accepting the person as they are now.

“A person with Alzheimer’s disease has such cognitive impairment, and their short term memory is in such a state, that it’s the long-term memory they revert to time and again,” Drummond told listeners tuning in to the Caring Connections radio show.

“Suddenly, Mom is returning to the days when she had young children that she loved do dearly. And for her adult children, it’s important for them to know that person.  They need to know that when Mom reverts, she is in a wonderful place that absorbs her stress and anxiety, and suddenly she is able to function and participate in activities again.”

Planning for the myriad long-term care challenges associated with Alzheimer’s disease was another hot topic of Drummond’s presentation. She cautioned listeners not to assume that their long-term care insurance would cover the cost of Alzheimer’s care. Unless the policy specifically covers so-called custodial care, most policies do not cover Alzheimer’s care costs.

Another common misconception is that having a healthcare power of attorney in place is enough to protect and provide legal decision making on behalf of someone with Alzheimer’s disease.

“I think I have someone to make decisions for me because I have a healthcare power of attorney, but that only works if I can’t speak for myself, and with Alzheimer’s, I can speak, but I may be making incompetent decisions. So it’s important to understand the difference between a power of attorney and what we call a legal guardian.”

Drummond recommends family members enlist the help of a long-term care planning attorney earlier in the Alzheimer’s journey, when their loved one is still able to help make decisions about their care.

To listen to the full Caring Connections podcast, click here:

Posted in Alzheimer's and Dementia Care, Perspectives on Alzheimer's, Resources on November 8, 2013

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