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Founded in 1977, Family Caregiver Alliance was the first community-based nonprofit organization dedicated to helping caregivers. FCA experts' pioneering work in education, research, and advocacy makes them your ideal guides to the challenging world of caregiving.

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Meet the Expert - Doctor Marion

Doctor Marion shares the wisdom she's earned over several decades as a prominent professional caregiver and educator. Her compassionate advice inspires caregivers and elders alike to strive for a better quality of life.

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Meet the Expert - AFA

Alzheimer's disease presents caregivers and their loved ones with a distinct set of challenges. AFA experts can help you deal with dementia and other difficult issues

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Meet the Expert - Family Caregiver Alliance

Family Caregiver Alliance is a community-based nonprofit that provides education, research, access, and advocacy to families and friends caring for a loved one at home. The FCA resource team provides expert advice on all kinds of real-world caregiving issues.

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Meet the Expert - HFA

Hospice Foundation of America is a not-for-profit organization that helps people deal with terminal illness, death, and the process of grief, either professionally or personally.

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Meet the Expert - LightBridge

Dr. Mindy provides general answers to questions related to health and Alzheimer’s based on the latest medical research available. Her organization, LightBridge, is a provider of educational CDs for caregivers dealing with a loved one who has Alzheimer’s.

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Featured Video

Use Doctor Marion’s considerate approach in communicating with your loved one. Patience is the name of the game.

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Questions

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Doctor Marion

Question

Dear Doctor Marion, My mother is taking about 23 different medications. She is having bad reactions to some of these medications. Is there any type of doctor that helps with "medication management"? – Barbara, Oxnard, CA

Answer

Believe it or not, what you’re going through with your mother is very common. I’m not a medical doctor, and my experience has been that when there are issues surrounding medication, it’s vital for you to consult with a medical doctor who is also a gerontologist. Gerontologists have a better understanding of the effects and side effects of medication on an elderly population. They also know when medications are contra-indicated, and can tell you if your mother should or should not be taking various vitamins and over-the-counter items.

Before you contact a gerontologist, be sure to list out all...

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Family Caregivers Alliance

Question

The expenses of caring for my dad are becoming overwhelming. Surely there is some sort of government support to help me with reducing the costs of all his care? Where do I start?

Answer

Unfortunately, there is no system to help pay for the expenses of long-term caregiving unless your dad is considered low-income. If he is, the Medicaid system might be able to help you. Since this program is different in every state and the qualifications are different in every state, you would start by calling your Area Agency on Aging and asking them for the number of your local Medicaid office.

There are also ways that your dad could legally pay you for being his caregiver, if he can afford it. For that, you would do well to consult...

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Alzheimer's Foundation of America

Question

My 78-year-old father is experiencing the early stages of dementia. What can I do to minimize his frustration?

Answer

First, be sure that your father has been thoroughly assessed by a physician and that he is properly diagnosed. In some cases, dementia symptoms are caused by a treatable medical condition. If your father has been diagnosed with a progressive (irreversible) dementia, continue to pay close attention to his behavior and his complaints—and report any changes to his doctor. The doctor may propose treatments that will have the effect of reducing feelings of frustration.

As a family caregiver, you will have many opportunities to manage his experience to help reduce frustration. It helps to stick to a daily...

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Hospice Foundation of America

Question

My mom has a very serious illness and we think we’ll be using hospice soon. What services are included? – Sally, Reno, NV

Answer

Before providing care, a hospice clinician, the patient’s personal physician(s), and the hospice physician confer on the patient’s disease history, current physical systems, and life expectancy.

A hospice representative meets with the patient and family to discuss the hospice philosophy of care, services available, pain and comfort levels, expectations, advanced directives, the support system available, financial and insurance resources, medications, and equipment needs. Patients are asked to sign an informed consent for care. From the information gathered, a “plan of care” is developed. As the patient’s condition changes, this plan is regularly reviewed and revised.

The plan of...

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LightBridge

Question

The doctor said my grandma has dementia. Is that the same thing as Alzheimer’s Disease? – Helen, Birmingham, Alabama

Answer

Great question, it’s easy to confuse the two. Dementia is not a disease, but rather a group of symptoms characterized by a decline in intellectual functioning severe enough to interfere with a person's normal daily activities and social relationships. Alzheimer's disease is but one of the many types of dementia, but is the most common cause of dementia in older persons. It is marked by progressive and, at present, irreversible declines in certain cognitive functions. These impairments may include declines in memory, time and space orientation, abstract thinking, the ability to learn and carry out mathematical...

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