If you read the first four blogs of this series, you know how much I encourage everyone to make sure they do some basic estate planning. This includes preparing a Will as well as a Durable Power of Attorney and Living Will. These may not seem like important documents to you now since you may […]
The fear of having to go into a nursing home scares the bejeebers out of people – and it should! First of all, no one aspires to want to live out the remainder of their years in a nursing home. Second, the cost can be crippling. The average cost for a nursing home today is about […]
In our first post, Mrs. Smith learned of and finally came to terms with her husband’s diagnoses of dementia, probably Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s is not an easy diagnosis while a person is alive, but experienced doctors can make a fairly accurate diagnosis through eliminating other causes of the dementia. In the case of Mr. Smith, […]
Mrs. Smith: So doctor, is my husband going to be okay?
Doctor: Well, in the short term I think he will be fine, but as you know his memory is a bit off and that concerns me.
Mrs. Smith: Yes, that’s true but I attribute that to old age – he’s 81 you know – not a spring rooster anymore!
Doctor: No no, I am aware of that, but this is a bit different than ordinary memory loss associated with the aging process. Something else is happening that is more insidious. For instance, he recently had the incident of misplacing the car keys that you shared with me.
Mrs. Smith: Oh yes, that was so funny. We ended up finding them in the dishwasher of all places. Imagine that. I guess he thought that would be an easy way of washing the car. He always had a good sense of humor. He’s so cute.
Doctor: Well I suppose there is some humor in that but one does not normally mistake his car keys for the actual car or a dishwasher for a car wash. And on the testing I did on him, the standard mini-mental test, he did very poorly on that as well. He scored an 11 out of 30 which indicates moderate dementia.
Mrs. Smith: Oh, that’s nothing. My husband never scored well on those standardized tests. He always hated those tests in school. But he is so intelligent.
Doctor: Well, this is a different kind of test – not like an SAT test you would take to enter college. These are basic questions that are asked like recalling words I have told him, or counting backwards, or drawing the hands of a clock at a certain given time. This is a test for memory and executive functioning, not intelligence.
Mrs. Smith: Well the next time he will have to study a bit more but I am sure he would do fine if he took the test again. He’s always been an overachiever you know.
Doctor: Well, the other thing he told me when I was just meeting with him privately is that he believed you were his secretary, some woman named Sue or Suzie or Sophia or something like that. Does that ring a bell?
Mrs. Smith: WHAT? He thought I was his secretary!! Why that no good &#%!@? I think he’s lost his mind!!
Doctor: Precisely Mrs. Smith, that’s what I have been trying to tell you!