* Are you the caregiver or the responsible family member of an Alzheimer’s patient?

* Are you frustrated by how often the Alzheimer’s patient loses things of importance?

* Are you concerned about this person’s inability to keep track of important documents?

* Are you afraid to make any changes or take control because the Alzheimer’s victim will be angry with you?

Please understand that you are not alone. This type of dilemma is both common and inevitable. You cannot avoid dealing with these concerns. This article offers proven solutions to safeguard the valuables of an Alzheimer’s patient.

The mind set of an Alzheimer’s patient prevents him/her from believing that he/she “lost” an item. The patient usually thinks that someone else “stole or took” the item. Your best response is to help the patient search for the missing item and not argue over why it is missing.

It is not unusual for the patient to lose the same item frequently. Favorite lost items include: keys, wallet, purse, jewelry, cash, credit cards, checks, I.D., eye glasses, hearing aids, dentures, in-coming mail, bills to be paid, dividend checks, and medications.

In addition to helping the Alzheimer’s patient recover missing items, you need to plan in advance to help prevent a future catastrophe.

KEYS: have duplicates made. Give the Alzheimer’s patient only one set at a time. A responsible adult, who lives close by, should keep the other sets. Make a telephone list of a local locksmith and a car dealership, for car keys.

PURSE, WALLET: buy duplicates when possible. Control and limit the contents to the bare minimum. Remove I.D. and medical cards and give them to the responsible, local adult.

CASH, CHECKS, CREDIT CARDS: limit value of cash in wallet. Change checking account to joint account with the responsible adult. This person then controls available funds in the account. Have all bank statements mailed to the responsible adult. Limit credit cards to one multi-purpose type, such as Visa. Reset available credit to low limit. Have all statements sent to responsible adult.

JEWELRY: Remove all items not being worn continuously and lock up in home safe or bank box. Only the responsible adult should have the key. For jewelry, such as wedding rings, that are habitually worn, consider having a jeweler make up a low value copy, and then switch the rings. Offer a simple excuse, such as “Your ring needs professional cleaning,” or “Your stone is loose and needs repair.”

MEDICAL AIDS: If the vendor offers replacement insurance on eye glasses, hearing aids, dentures, etc., BUY IT!!!

IN-COMING MAIL: You could have all the mail rerouted to the address of the responsible adult by notifying the post office. A better method is to individually contact creditors to reroute bills and financial institutions to reroute monies. This way, the Alzheimer’s patient can still receive pleasant mail, such as cards from the family.

MEDICATIONS: Utilize a pill box system. Have the responsible adult fill up the pill box each week. At the same time, that person can check to see if the patient remembered to take all the pills from the previous week. When compliance becomes a problem, a responsible adult must be present to watch the Alzheimer’s patient take the medications, every time a dose is due to be taken.

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