12 WAYS TO HELP AN ALZHEIMERS CAREGIVER

One in 10 Americans over age 65 years and almost half of those over age 85 years have Alzheimer’s disease or a related type of dementia.  Alzheimer’s disease (AD), the most common form of dementia, involves a gradual breakdown of nerve cells in the brain. Affected persons lose the ability to interpret information and send messages to their bodies to behave in certain ways. Over time they experience mental, emotional, behavioral and physical changes, necessitating increasing amounts of….

PROBATE BASICS

Probate is the legal process of transferring ownership of property from the decedent to his or her heirs either by accepting the validity of their last will and testament or by following the Kentucky laws of intestacy.  For a will to be valid, it must be “self-proven” or proven as valid in court by at least one of the witnesses.  A valid will can also be holographic: written entirely in the handwriting of the decedent, signed, and dated.

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CONTAINER GARDENING

Gardens are great, but they require a lot of time, labor and money. They also require land space and good soil. Container gardening skirts all these obstacles, offering reduced time, effort and costs, and can be enjoyed in an apartment or other home lacking a yard. Vegetables and herbs can be grown in containers on a balcony, patio or walkway.

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If your disability enables you to transfer from a wheelchair into an automobile, storing a folding wheelchair in the trunk or back seat of your car, it simplifies the trip considerably. It is always advisable to travel with someone who is familiar with how to help you transfer and other routines of your day as a disabled person, including getting up and dressed in the morning and preparing for bed at night.

If anybody knows how to travel by wheelchair, it’s Ralph Yoder. For more than 20 years, Yoder’s lower body has been paralyzed and he has only limited use of his hands.


It all began Aug. 15, 1994, the day Yoder fell off a roof. He landed on a concrete driveway 20 feet below, completely shattering two vertebrae in his neck. Fracture is the most serious injury the spine can suffer because if the fractured vertebrae move, the spinal cord may be compromised, causing paralysis of all muscles below the point of injury.


That is what happened to Yoder. He was 37 years old. He had a wife and two young daughters. He would never walk again. His hands no longer responded correctly to his efforts to move them.


With hard work and determination, Yoder learned to feed himself and write again. But he remains immobile and must be lifted from his wheelchair to a chair, bed, or vehicle. He received a custom-fitted motorized wheelchair. He now moves along at a good clip all over his Central Kentucky town, day or night, in the heat or cold.


When the Yoders wanted to try flying with the wheelchair, they did a lot of research. Airlines generally let immobile passengers fly, but the secret to a successful flight is to start planning early. One week or at least 48 hours may be required for the airline to meet some requests.

TRAVELING WITH A WHEELCHAIR

If you call an airline’s main reservation number or go to its Web site, you can usually access a Disability Service Request form or find a special assistance section that will give information about whether your needed medical device or particular type of wheelchair is approved for travel. Although it depends on the aircraft, in most cases an immobile passenger will be transferred to an aisle seat and the wheelchair stowed elsewhere on the same plane.


According to information on the Delta Airlines Web site  (www.delta.com), before an immobile passenger can book a flight, the airline must know his or her weight. This enables the airline to have adequate personnel available at the airport to lift the passenger from the wheelchair into a regular seat on the aircraft. If the chair is motorized, the airline needs to know what is needed to recharge its battery. Most airlines require a disabled person to always fly with a companion, never alone.


After a frightening experience in which an airline sent his chair to the wrong airport, the Yoders purchased a Ford E-150 van. The van makes possible road trips from Kentucky to visit their family in Pennsylvania. A special lift raises Yoder, chair and all, into the passenger’s side of the front seat of the van. A bolt in the floor of the van secures the chair, and Yoder, still in his chair, straps in with a seat into an belt made to work with the wheelchair. And he’s ready to go.

MARTHA EVANS SPARKS

Martha Evans Sparks is a Staff Writer for Living Well 60+ Magazine

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