Summer Safety Tips for Those with Dementia

Countless times, I have gone to meet a new client, a couple, mother or father (with an adult child present for the consultation), and within a few sentences, one person mentions that the potential client has “some memory loss”. Sometimes it is evident before we even begin the consultation; other times, it is harder to determine at-first-glance.

When I have a spouse, or adult child, tell me that there is “some memory loss”, I generally explain, “My father had Alzheimer’s”, and that statement immediately lowers anxiety about my ability to have patience and empathy. Many of our clients (both potential and ongoing) have developed remarkable day-to-day coping skills to cover-up their dementia. It is common for us to witness the (non-affected) spouse and adult children minimize the loss of memory for someone they love. We also see denial in recognizing loss of executive functioning skills in a spouse, parent or close relative.

Recently, I have become acquainted with the Dementia Friendly Massachusetts Initiative; “The Dementia Friendly Massachusetts Initiative is a whole-community response inviting you to join in creating dementia friendly communities.”

In August, the staff at Simplified Lives is going to be trained to become a “dementia friendly company” by the Boston Jewish Family & Children Service.  Because we work with many clients with varying levels of dementia, we believe training will help us become cognizant of how to be more helpful and aware.

If you are visiting your parents, aunts and uncles, or aging family friends, over the summer, and you have not visited since last winter (perhaps during the holidays), take a close look to see if a “little loss of memory”, or their executive functioning skills, have diminished their ability to make sound and safe decisions in their own home.

And, while you are visiting in New England, give us a call for a no-obligation, move management consultation. At Simplified Lives, we do not make any medical, or psychological, determinations but we do provide professional resources for assessment, and help with housing ideas and best placement. We can also create a plan to get people downsized, moved and safe – before the winter!

By Valerie Achorn

Valerie Achorn, M.P.A., President of Simplified Lives has many years of experience managing moves for clients around the country. Holding a Master’s Degree in Public Administration (M.P.A.) from Harvard University, Valerie brings a broad management background and savvy networking skills to Simplified Lives.