• June 28, 2008 at 6:09 pm

    Well I guess it was Wednesday mid-day when I phoned the
    1-800 number for the “24 Hour Helpline” at the Alzheimer’s Association, Desert Southwest Chapter. I simply had a question about what I call “Alz-Speak”. The nice lady who answered informed me that it was “lunchtime” there and that she would have someone get back to me. It’s now Saturday afternoon…no word yet.

    Also I had gotten a multi-page form from a social worker where the Association would reimburse for respite care. All I have to do is fill it out and take it to my Doctor for his verification and signature. BIG HA!!! I get a kick out of this so-called “Health Care Industry”. Show me one tiny ounce of “caring” anywhere there. In all fairness I am talking HMO here (Health Maintenance Organization).

    So I fill out the form and take it to the receptionist. Tell her what I need and show her that I’ve attached a stamped, self-adressed envelope for return of the form to me. I also mentioned that I surely would not be so bold as to think that the Doctor would sign it while I wait. She says she’ll get it back to him today (he’s 50 feet away) but that it may take 2-3 weeks for him to look at it. (He’s swamped with paperwork) And so I leave shaking my head. Yippee! Ain’t this fun?

    Oh yes…my original question for the
    “Helpline”? Please define “Take me home.” I thought I knew what it meant but I’m still getting that request every day but can’t figure out where it is. My wife says it’s right “down the street” on this side about three thing heres and a red something or other…”. Help???

  • July 2, 2008 at 5:33 am

    Jim—Sorry that you had bad luck when you tried the 800 number. I won’t tell you that communication problems never exist…but…I will say that I’ve had good luck every time that I’ve called.

    The request about ‘wanting to go home’ is a usual one…but..One that I have not experienced. Judging from the number of times that it has come up, thet old saying: “Home is where the heart is” must have been written as verbal torture for Alzheimer caregivers.

    To someone with A/D, the location of home is probably a place in time where everything seems okay. Some of the things that I have heard work in this situation are:

    Distraction: We’ll go after we eat or tomorrow

    Busily going through the motions: Set them up with a suitcase, have them pack. Hope that they forget or fall back on…It’s too late (or too early) to leave right now.

    Pseudo compliance—Put them in the car…drive them around (maybe stop and do some shopping) and then drive home and hope for the best.

    You might consider making an appointment the next time that you have paperwork that requires a doctor’s signature. I hate the added cost…but…love the quick turn-around time.

    Good luck.