Did you know the Alzheimer’s Association has a telephone helpline that you can call any time of the day or night? And, that their helpline is especially busy the first few months of every year.
Today’s families are scattered far and wide, which means many adult children don’t see their parents and other older relatives on a frequent basis. However, the end-of-year holidays — Hanukkah, Christmas and New Year’s — often bring all the generations together, and these gatherings are when younger generations will notice significant changes – both physical and mental – in their aging relatives.
While the changes may be obvious or more subtle, they raise a red flag. Back home after the holidays, the adult kids begin to search for answers.
This is why the Alzheimer’s Association says calls to their toll-free, 24/7 Helpline increase following the holiday season.
Alzheimer’s Association Helpline
Staffed by trained personnel, the confidential, free phone service at 800-272-3900, provides information, guidance, emotional support and referrals.
Seeking a diagnosis for their loved one is a top reason callers use the Helpline. They want an answer to the nagging question, “Is it Alzheimer’s disease, or something else? The Helpline staff does not perform a medical diagnosis, but they can offer guidance about seeing a doctor, and suggestions about what to ask during an appointment.
The Helpline staff also provides emotional support, which is especially important to callers.
Many callers are overwhelmed and feel alone. They simply want to talk about their concerns and have a shoulder to lean on. It also helps to know the conversation is private and that you will never be charged a fee.
Helpline callers are offered current, specific information on a wide-range of programs and services, including home care, adult day care, care coordination, assisted living, skilled nursing facilities, elder care attorneys, financial planners, support groups, physicians, transportation and other community services.
One of the most important services available through the Helpline is the ability to schedule up to three in-person care consultation sessions for family members. These meetings are with a masters-level clinician who provides decision-making support, crisis assistance and education on issues that families commonly face.
Memory Impairment Warning Signs
So what should family members look for when assessing the mental health of elderly relatives?
- Observe without passing judgement
- Look for what might be out of the ordinary, like unpaid bills, clutter and signs of hoarding
- Watch for personality changes, such as frustration, anger or withdrawal
- Assess the person’s short-term memory and reasoning skills
- Ask yourself if the person is safe in the home
Helpline callers learn memory issues do not necessarily mean a person has Alzheimer’s disease. There are many treatable conditions, like depression, drug interactions, certain vitamin deficiencies, excessive use of alcohol and thyroid problems which may also cause dementia-like symptoms.
Knowledge is power, so make that first step by calling the Alzheimer’s Association 24/7 Helpline. Don’t wait until another holiday season is has come and gone before taking action.
Alzheimer’s Association 24/7 Helpline 800-272-3900
Toll-free, confidential phone service