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September 29th, 2016

Aging with Grace…

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As we go through this life, we often times have to make choices for ourselves and our loved ones that we wish we could avoid. We can either try to delay the decision or work through the process and come to the best decision possible. This week’s column addresses this process, which is not always and easy one.

Dear Grace,
I’m helping my sister Judy who is in the early stage of dementia and the time is coming when she/we need to make some decisions about where she is currently living and whether or not she can continue there. She has sons but they live out of the area and I’m not sure how much they will be involved. Physically, she is doing okay but emotionally and cognitively, not so much. What can I do to help her through this process? I need help figuring this out!
Thanks,
Suzanne

Dear Suzanne,
You need to have an honest discussion with your sister about the possible need to make changes to her living arrangements and get her thoughts and emotions around this and I encourage you to involve her sons even though they are not here physically. This would also be a good time to discuss whether or not your sister has given someone her Power of Attorney and completed Advance Directives for Healthcare. These two documents will become very important as your sister’s health declines and allow her loved ones to make sure her wishes are followed. Your local Council on Aging is a knowledgeable resource for assisting with these documents. If you are not already involved with a caregiver support group, I recommend joining one to help you through this difficult process.

Project Independence holds a monthly Caregiver Support Meeting on the first Wednesday of every month from 4:30-6 p.m. For more details call 802.476.3630 or email us: Pibarre@giffordhealthcare.org

CVCOA has workshops and support group meetings available. For details contact Barb Asen at 802.476.2681 or basen@cvcoa.org

The Alzheimer’s Association, Vermont Chapter, is also a great information resource. Contact them at 1.800.272.3900 or on the web at www.alz.org/vermont

If you have topics you’d like more information on or questions you’d like answered, please email me: DearGrace@pibarre.org or write me: Dear Grace, c/o Project Independence, 81 N. Main Street – Suite 1, Barre, VT 05641-4283

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