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Recent Parkinson's Disease Advice

    My Dad has had Parkinsons for 20 yrs. He can still talk, think and ambulate. He has 24-7 care because my mom "doesn't want to deal with him". He is under nourished and verbally abused on a daily basis. I believe that my father is being verbally abused by my mother and being restricted to a Non-Nutritional Diet. My mom had "Power of Attorney" and used that phrase often when confronted. She has tried to place him in nursing homes twice before. In my caregiving situation, what can I do to help him? Does my mother's POA give her the rights to treat him this way? Would it be different if I had POA?
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    Stacey E. , answers:
    You have a lot going on here. Is your dad still decisional and able to say who he wants to make medical decisions for him? POA only takes effect when your dad is unable to make safe decisions for himself. Maybe he needs to have you do it instead of your mother. If you feel your mother is mistreating him, you need to contact the Area Agency on Aging or Dept of Human Services, they will become involved and see if your mother has your dad's best interests in mind. Ultimately you may need to pursue guardianship - then a judge decides your father's competency. Why hasn't she been able to place him in a nursing home- has he refused? Have you blocked it? Sounds as if you can be more objective to the situation.

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    Our father has great trouble trying to get out of and into bed or chairs. He has Parkinsons disease. Is there any medical equipment or aid available to assist us in moving him? What can you reccommend?
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    Lawrence D. , Elder Law Attorney answers:
    The answer is yes. I would suggest that a geriatric caregiver do a full assessment as to his full needs and to recommend the durable medical equipment that may be helpful and the amount of time needed from aides in the home. We also may be able to get Medicaid to pay for the aides. All my best.
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    Mary S. , Elder Law Attorney answers:
    I agree that all the other responses are great ideas (physical therapy, hoyer lift, lift chair, etc). Medicare will only pay for an aide for limited time. You could also consider applying for Community Medicaid for assistance in your home. Best of luck.
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    Arleen S. , Geriatric Care Manager answers:
    Request a physical therapy consultation through your father's primary physician. Then, work with the physical therapist, who will give you specific recommendations. Your father may well be assigned an aide through Medicare as well. I also recommend looking at the resources of a Parkinson's organization on the internet. They will have useful information also. Good luck
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    Roy H. , answers:
    A Hoyer Lift can be used to help people who are unable to transfer from bed to wheel chairs. A hospital bed that can be raised up and down and in which the back can be raised may help.
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    Debra D. , Geriatric Care Manager answers:
    Consider getting some in home physical therapy, and purchasing a 'lift chair'. The lift chair looks like a recliner, but has a built in mechanism that lifts the person up from underneath. Speak to your local home-care supply store.

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    I know that medicare pays for medical treatments needed for someone suffering from parkinson's, but if the person I am caring for is also in need of a social worker or a psychologist to deal with their depression, will medicaid pay for that as well?
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    Nancy W. , Geriatric Care Manager answers:
    Medicaid does pay for psychotherapy, but it can be difficult finding a therapist that accepts Medicaid...you can usually find one in a community or county mental health center. Medicare also pays for psychotherapy, either in the home or in an outside office, and does not require a physician referral. My agency, In-Home Counseling for Seniors, provides such services. Agencies such as Catholic Charities and Salvation Army also provide limited psychotherapy services, and can accept both Medicaid or Medicare. Psychotherapy can provide a very real benefit, as depression, anxiety, and issues related to chronic disabling illnesses can be very stressful and negatively impact a person's functioning.
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    Dawn W. , Elder Law Attorney answers:
    Although group psychotherapy for those in nursing homes was eliminated as a benefit July 1, I don't see that individual psychotherapy for those in the Community Program was effected. I believe your only challenge will be finding a provider who accepts Medicaid as a payor source.
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    James S. , Elder Law Attorney answers:
    Medicaid is not the same as Medicare. Medicaid provides medical coverage to those individuals in the community who meet the financial requirements. If the individual is receiving Medicare coverage, then Medicaid would only act to cover that portion of an approved Medicare service not paid for by Medicare. Medicaid would not pay for any medical services that Medicare did not approve. The level of services Medicaid will cover was recently reduced in Illinois including the number of monthly prescriptions it would pay for. In regard to your specific question Medicare should pay for the reasonable treatment of any mental illness. You just need to follow the normal procedures for obtaining services under the Medicare guidelines. If also receiving Medicaid the balance would be submitted to Medicaid and paid subject to any Medicaid limitations.
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    William W. , Elder Law Attorney answers:
    Medicaid should pay for the psychological piece also, however, the tough part may be finding a provider who will take Medicaid, since the reimbursement to them is very low.

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    Since getting Parkinson's my dad has been getting a lot meaner. Is a changing personality a normal part of PD or is it just a something else?
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    Susana L. , answers:
    I mis-read the text. Your Dad might not be eligible for Allyson Gormley's group, but she might be able to lead you in the right direction for some information and support.
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    Susana L. , answers:
    I am not a physician, but in my experience with clients who suffer from Parkinsons also may suffer from personality changes. A lovely woman named allyson gormley runs an early on-set parkinsons support group that might be helpful to your daughter. Contact allyson at allyson.gormley@bmc.org
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    Celeste R. , Geriatric Care Manager answers:
    Due to cognitive changes related to frontal cortical brain function, personality changes could occur. Memory loss, depression, lethargy and irritability could occur. As a result of meds to treat PD, hypersexuality, excessive gambling and general OCD may arise as well.
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    Karen W. , Geriatric Care Manager answers:
    Parkinson's disease, while known for its tremors as well as changes in posture and gait, presents even greater challenges for many families with its NON-motor symptoms. These often include changes in behavior, mood and cognition. Some of these changes can respond to medication and ALL of the non-motor symptoms should be discussed with a movement disorders specialist in Parkinson's disease. I am the director of a Parkinson's Family Support program at Jewish Family & Children's Service in Waltham, Massachusetts which emphasizes the involvement of all family members in supporting the person with Parkinson's. I frequently hear adult children and care partners speak about profound changes in personality with PD. Families need help when living with this complicated disease. Care partner and adult child support and support groups are a critical component of PD care.
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    Patricia B. , Elder Law Attorney answers:
    This is a questions you should ask her medical provider. I have been informed that Parkinson's is in the Alzheimer's disease family and in my personal experience this type of behavior is common in these types of patients.
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    James A. , Elder Law Attorney answers:
    Yes it is. Have him start taking vitamin d-3, 8000iu and tumuric 300mg 3 times per day.
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    Darcey A. , Geriatric Care Manager answers:
    I would need more information about what is happening to answer this question.

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    I am 68 years old and I have Parkinson's disease. I am wondering if I should be considering doing deep brain stimulation?
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    Angelika R. , Geriatric Care Manager answers:
    Please see your neurologist with this question. Good luck to you!

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    my father is 82 and recently diagnosed with parkinsons. i dont know what to expect from here and how much care will increase over time.
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    Lisa M. , Geriatric Care Manager answers:
    Parkinson's is a degenerative disorder, meaning it worsens over time. It genrally begins with motor / movment problems, and in 65% of people, can also cause cognitive impairment. He will require a great deal of personal care at the end of the disease progrssion. There is no cure. The course of the disease varies from person to person. It is inadvisable to provide heavy lifting for personal care in your home. Please let me kow if you need additional information.
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    Drew E. , Elder Law Attorney answers:
    Parkinson's is a debilitating disease that takes some time to manifest itself. Upon manifestation, its sysmptoms serve to frustrate the sufferer and caregivers need to appreciate the difficulties a Parkinson's sufferer goes through. Seek and maintain appropriate medical care. Note: if the sufferer served in Viet Nam, immediately seek VA benefits for this condition which the Gov't has linked to exposure to Agent Orange.
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    Barbara P. , Geriatric Care Manager answers:
    Parkinson's disease is a neurodegenerative brain disorder characterized by slowness of movement, shaking, stiffness, and in the later stages, loss of balance. Parkinson's itself is not fatal although there can be many complications from the disease however with medical attention many people 20 years of more after the diagnosis.

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