Toni Patillo – Santa Monica and Palisades Real Estate Agent

Dementia: The Plague of the Above 50 Market

The Plague… sounds dramatic doesn’t it? Unfortunately, this is no joke. Nearly 50 million people globally are living with some form of dementia.   4 out of 5 of these victims have Alzheimer’s and the cost of caring for just one of them is estimated at $60,000 per year. Do I have your attention?

As a Real Estate professional specializing in the Above 50 market, I am keenly aware of the burden families and friends must carry for their loved ones. I have spent quite a lot of my time coaching, assisting, recommending and even participating in the care of my clients, but that’s not how I became such a passionate advocate for the families of the afflicted. You see, my brother was afflicted as well.

The truth of the situation stunned my sister and me.  When we discovered my brother was having problems and was not being properly cared for, a decision had to be made. So, I got a roommate.   Though the next few years were challenging, we were all very fortunate that we had the time together. I am certainly grateful that we were able to provide a little bit of a better quality of life for him.

So what can you do to help you’re client or loved one who’s showing signs of dementia?

Well you’ll be happy to know that progress is being made in the area of cognitive disorders and memory care. There are new therapies and new facilities that focus on reducing medication by providing an environment that eases the frustration of memory loss. Some clinicians suggest familiar surroundings are important to patients experiencing memory loss. This therapy called “Reminiscence Therapy” incorporates sensory cues like touch, sight, smell, and sound to help trigger memories. Come to think of it, I can put on a particular record and teleport myself back in time in my mind, to a place that comforts me. Can’t you? (I won’t tell you what that place is though). Anyway, I guess if we can do it, why wouldn’t it work for dementia patients.

Fortunately, these resources are out there for those in need, but unfortunately most families don’t know about them. This is why professionals such as ourselves, must stay up on the latest in medical care and treatments for dementia. This way, when a problem shows itself you can be prepared with a compiled list of places for them to go for help.

Here are a few practical things you can do for someone showing signs of dementia:

  • Lock up or remove dangerous items such as knives, scissors, chemicals & firearms.
  • Secure dangerous kitchen appliances by adding things like safety knobs to range-tops.
  • Be sure the garage door opener has a functioning safety stop.
  • Eliminate tripping hazards like loose power chords.
  • Keep all keys for cars, lawnmowers etc.
  • Lock up medications.
  • Install grab bars in the bathrooms, handrails on stairs and non-slip decals in the bathtub.
  • Install smoke detectors and check them often.

When all is said and done, these small changes and others like them will greatly assist the victims of dementia and their families.

If you’d like to stay connected, you can find Toni Patillo on www.facebook.com/tonipatillo&associates, twitter: @tonipatillo and email: toni@tonipatillo.com

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