Local Caregiver Has Warning for Families of the Elderly - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Local Caregiver Has Warning for Families of the Elderly

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Richland -- There are concerns that local families may not be fully aware of what to watch for in elderly relatives when it comes to possible dementia or Alzheimers disease. 

With widely broadcast stories this month of two elderly men who have disappeared, only to be found later, many families have questions.  Although in neither of the cases did families indicate the men had been diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimers, their stories are attracting attention.

Charlotte King, who runs Quail Hollow Memory Care in Richland, said Friday that some elderly people will hind memory loss and other signs of dementia.  This, she said, is because of societal stigma still attached to these disorders.  In addition, the elderly often find ways to compensate for the changes they are experiencing, like making lists in order to recall simple things.

King says families can be part of the problem for the elderly, often enabling them to remain in denial that they may have a problem.  Some, she said, wait until there is a catastrophe before fully recognizing and dealing with the problem.

King said that the disorders often have a subtle onset and can be missed by family members.  She said loved ones ought to keep a close eye on the elderly, and if they live away from their older relative, they should arrange for someone to check in regularly to ensure their loved one is doing well. 

One resource for families is the Neurological Center in Richland.  It offers a wide variety of books, magazines, and videos that can educate families on dementia and Alzheimers disease.

To contact the center, call 943-8455.