Saturday, July 10, 2010

Dotty Remembers New Year's Eve 2009 -- Is a Miracle About to Happen?

By Bob DeMarco
Alzheimer's Reading Room

Yesterday, July 4, we went to a barbecue. 167 people sang Happy Birthday to Dotty. She was very pleased, smiled and said -- Thank You. I was looking forward to how she would react. You never know with someone suffering from Alzheimer's disease. I was very happy to see her reaction.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Ten Tips for Communicating with an Alzheimer’s Patient

Do not argue with them. It gets you nowhere......
By Carole Larkin
Alzheimer's Reading Room

Ever feel like your loved one is ignoring you or that you just weren’t getting through to your loved one? Try some of these tips to see if they help.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A Good Pharmacist is Essential to Good Healthcare and Reducing Prescription Drug Costs

In my opinion pharmacists are underutilized and under appreciated.....
By Bob DeMarco

One thing I learned over the last several years is the importance of a good pharmacist. You can learn from a pharmacist and benefit. Benefit means learn about an alternative medication and save money.,

A few years ago my sister told me an interesting story about how her pharmacist found a way to give her three times the usual diabetes insulin at the same cost. Meaning, my sister was saving significant out of pocket costs.

This was a accomplished by a simple rewriting of a prescription, and a good understanding of the rules and regulations of her healthcare insurance company. Same drug, same doctor, smart pharmacist -- significant savings.

Just this past week one of our readers who suffers from early onset Alzheimer's received the shock of her life. Her doctor informed her that he was increasing her medication from one to two pills a day. When she went to the pharmacist to get the prescription filled it was denied. It seems her healthcare company changed the rules beginning on the first day of 2010.

After phone calls and all other kinds of machinations it appeared that she was going to be covered for one pill, and would have to pay out of pocket for the second. A cost of more than $350 a month.

One thing that I found odd about the entire situtation was that I checked my mother's Medicare Advantage HMO, and her healthcare company covers the drug and there is no co-payment. A bit confusing for sure.

Enter the pharmacist. At the end of the day, not only did our reader get her prescription filled for the equivalent of two pills (twice the dosage she was taking in 2009), her co-pay went down.

I was very happy to hear from her when the situation was resolved. I guess she would like to know what I was thinking. My first thought was crystal clear -- the angels among us.

It is my belief that we, the taxpayers, could save enormous amounts of money if a once a year pharmacist consult was paid for by Medicare.

I know of one example where an elderly gentleman is getting his Flomax prescription filled every month. Meanwhile, he only takes Flomax "when he needs it". He has full bottles of Flomaxd in his drawer (30 pills). When I asked him why he keeps getting the prescription filled he said, "what is the difference, I don't pay for it." Say what?

Not only is he paying for these wasted drugs, every single taxpayer is paying. I doubt he is the only example of this problem. I can tell you the typical senior citizen believes they are not paying, so what the heck. Well if they live long enough they are going right into the donut hole. Then they will learn Medicare is only free if you don't use any expensive brand name prescription drugs.

If every elderly person had a once a year consult with a pharmacist I am convinced we, the taxpayers, could save billions. Here is another not so original thought, most of us would end up with better health thanks to the pharmacist.

On the other hand, some pharmacies and drug companies wouldn't really like to see my idea implemented. Profit Profit Profit.

I wrote previously about how I did a little research on the Internet and saved $624.72 on my mother's prescription drug costs. The bottom line on that one, I searched for an alternative drug for the one she was taking. When we went to the doctor he said we could try it. It worked.

I bet a lot of pharmacists already have this kind of information in their head.

My suggestion -- ask. It can't hurt, and you might end up with hundreds or thousands of dollars in your pocket. If you don't want to ask the pharmacist for some reason, search the Internet and find out if you could be taking a lower cost drug that does the job just as effectively as the one you are taking.

In my opinion pharmacists are underutilized and under appreciated.

File this one under Bunkhouse logic.

Popular articles on the Alzheimer's Reading Room

Bob DeMarco is the editor of the Alzheimer's Reading Room and an Alzheimer's caregiver. Bob has written more than 1,050 articles with more than 8,000 links on the Internet. Bob resides in Delray Beach, FL.

Original content Bob DeMarco, Alzheimer's Reading Room

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Popular Articles on the Alzheimer's Reading Room -- September (Top Landing Pages)

Test Your Memory (TYM) for Alzheimer's or Dementia in Five Minutes (#1 June, July, August, September)
A new cognitive test for detecting Alzheimer's disease is quicker and more accurate than many current tests, and could help diagnose early Alzheimer's, dementia, or mild cognitive impairment.
To continue reading go here.

Dementia and the Eight Types of Dementia
Dementia is a an illness that usually occurs slowly over time, and usually includes a progressive state of deterioration. The earliest signs of dementia are usually memory problems, confusion, and changes in the way a person behaves and communicates.
To continue reading go here.

Five Ways to Keep Alzheimer's Away
A recently released study showed that regular exercise is one of the best ways to reduce your risk of dementia and can help slow progression of Alzheimer's disease. Less well known is the fact that if you have a big belly in middle age the chances that you could suffer from dementia are tripled.
To continue reading go here.

The Combination of Aricept and Namenda Helps Slow the Rate of Decline in Alzheimer's Patients
"The results of this study should change the way we treat patients with Alzheimer's disease. Cholinesterase inhibitors are approved for use in mild to moderate dementia, while memantine has been approved for advanced dementia. But it looks like there is an advantage in prescribing both drugs as initial treatment."--John Growdon, MD
To continue reading go here.

A Simple Three Minute Test Can Detect the Earliest Stage of Alzheimer's Disease
The study shows that the combination of a very brief three-minute cognitive screening test, called the Mini-Cog (MC), with a Functional Activities Questionnaire (FAQ) -- administered to a family member or friend -- could accurately identify individuals with MCI and undiagnosed dementia.
To continue reading go here.
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Bob DeMarco is the editor of the Alzheimer's Reading Room and an Alzheimer's caregiver. The Alzheimer's Reading Room is the number one website on the Internet for news, advice, and insight into Alzheimer's disease. Bob has written more than 800 articles with more than 18,000 links on the Internet. Bob resides in Delray Beach, FL.
Popular articles on the Alzheimer's Reading Room

The 36-Hour Day: A Family Guide to Caring for People with Alzheimer Disease, Dementia, and Memory Loss

Original content Bob DeMarco, Alzheimer's Reading Room

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Alzheimer's Reading Room: Can Vitamin B3 Reduce Memory Problems (Nicotinamide)

The nicotinamide, in fact, slightly enhanced cognitive abilities in normal mice. 'This suggests that not only is it good for Alzheimer's disease, but if normal people take it, some aspects of their memory might improve,' Frank LaFerla, UC Irvine neurobiology and behavior professor.

Read More

Thursday, July 26, 2007

The early signs of Dementia (Alzheimer's)

Looking back, there is little doubt in my mind that if I had had the proper education or information I would have realized my mother was suffering from dementia sooner. Most people like me tend to ignore the symptoms at first believing they are simply signs of "old age". Anyone who ends up in my shoes knows and understands that a person in the early stages of dementia or Alzheimer’s can function with some normality--even drive a car. It is not until they deteriorate or until some "event" takes place that we wake up to reality.

The article on the next page is one of the best I have read. The basic underlying premise is that behavior changes slowly in the elderly and if they begin to suffer cognitive impairment it will be evidenced in behavioral changes. Sometimes these changes can be quite subtle but if detected could raise a “red flag”.

If my mother had been enrolled in any of these studies I feel certain she would have been diagnosed with dementia sooner. This would have allowed me to get her in an exercise program, get her proper nutrition, and insure that she was taking her medicines as prescribed. I leaned in the last three years how important these three factors are in the quality of her life.

My mother turned 91 years old in June and she suffers from Alzheimer’s disease. I am her CarGiver.

I am an Alzheimer's Caregiver: The early signs of Dementia (Alzheimer's)