Alzheimer-Related Disabilities Report – A Case Study Of Ellen, 64-year-old Chinese American

Assignment Instructions – A Case Study Of Ellen, 64-year-old Chinese American

This assignment will help you understand the disabilities that are caused due to Alzheimer’s disease. Ellen is a 64-year-old Chinese American, who has recently been diagnosed with dementia of the Alzheimer’s type. She has been working steadily as a secretary but recently due to the disease has found it harder to perform her duties. She has worked for 34 years. She has recently become widowed and has two adult kids who live in the same area as her. But they rarely agree on how to provide care for her. Ellen has asked her children to help her navigate her decision to retire. Based on the above scenario, create a 5- to 6-page report in a Microsoft Word document that describe the issues that Ellen and her children need to address regarding:

  • Ellen’s retirement
  • Ellen’s future health care plans
  • Ellen’s housing
  • Ellen’s financial situation
  • Ellen’s ability to perform her job effectively

The disease progression and its effect on her activities of daily living (ADL) Advanced directives Funeral plans Social supports available to Ellen Role her culture may play on her family’s decision Support your answers with appropriate research and reasoning.

 

Sample Solution – Alzheimer-Related Disabilities Report

Background

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a protracted neurodegenerative disease that gradually worsens in those afflicted. According to Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI), close to 44 million individuals have been diagnosed with the illness and now grapple with a host of adverse effects(“Alzheimer’s Statistics,” n.d.). Usually, its onset is marked by distinct symptoms of memory loss, moods swings, disorientation and behavioral issues which usually worsen over time. Ellen, a 64-year-old Asian American of Chinese extraction, has been diagnosed with the disease which now affects her work as a secretary. As a widow with two adult children, she now acknowledges the need for care which is the main reason why she has decided to retire. The following are the primary matters that Ellen and her children need to explore for her to make a smooth transition into retirement.

Ellen’s Retirement

In most scenarios, Alzheimer’s reduces an individual’s workplace potential and forces them into early retirement. For the most part, family members are left with the emotional overload of having to help their loved ones make this enormous transition into retirement and cope with changes(Lock, 2013). Ellen and her children can kick start this process by proactively assessing the retirement income preparation process. Consulting a financial adviser is usually a good start since it would aid the family to understand the costs that will be incurred during care. The presence of Ellen’s two adult children is also beneficial to her overall retirement plans since they will be instrumental in aiding her in making prudent financial decisions. Additionally, it will be essential for Ellen to create a living will critical in estate planning concerning her finances and assets. Appointing sturdy powers of attorney (POA) will enable other capable individuals to make decisions on her behalf in case she is indisposed.

Ellen’s Future Health Care Plans

Advance care planning is critical for persons with Alzheimer’s disease. It enables them to schedule future health-care strategies critical for their well-being. At the crux of these plans is an honest discussion about the individual’s beliefs and the practicality of the options on offer.  Developing a clear blueprint, well in advance, will enable Ellen receive the care she deserves while avoiding any family distress.  Understanding the disease and its rapid decline will make sure that Ellen is aware of its progression and the type of care needed during each stage. Building a robust care team enables one to always have trusted individuals ready to help and support the patient during each phase, minimizing tension and general feelings of being overwhelmed. It is vital that Ellen, include her two adult children in her care team since they are better placed in helping her carry out basic tasks.

Ellen’s Housing

Housing is one of the most critical facets of support services for persons living with Alzheimer’s disease. Even so, it is always noteworthy to acknowledge that an individual’s needs change during illness and may require them to make some changes concerning housing. Ellen may be able to live at her current residence, albeit with a few modifications to aid her daily routine. Although she may start by being able to conduct her day to day activities at the house, rapid progression of the disease may soon require her to add other personal care assistants for her safety. Ellen’s adult children are ideal in providing informal support that will enable her to live safely in her current residence. They can, thus, help her pay her bills, cook, clean and ensure that she attends doctor’s appointments. Additionally, modifications in the living space will be of the utmost importance in helping reduce the risk of wandering or falls.

Ellen’s Financial Situation

Financial assessment and planning is a central issue for persons diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. These resources are integral in helping an individual to go through care devoid of any stress (Lu & Bludau, 2011, p. 67). Ellen and her family can begin by first making an inventory of her financial situation. All assets and debts that she is responsible for will be appraised in addition to identifying specific family members who will be included in these financial plans. The cost of care should also be designated to make sure that all those involved are cognizant of the costs that will be incurred in the present moment and soon after. Furthermore, Ellen can also review various government benefits that she may be eligible for to assist her shoulder the costs that will be incurred during treatment. In addition to this, Ellen also has a unique opportunity to review long-term care insurance policies that are on offer since they may aid her in covering care expenses.

Ellen’s Ability to Perform her Job Effectively

Alzheimer’s affects all areas of an individual’s life. In particular, workplace productivity is affected since cognitive abilities decline and may even change their decision-making process. It is also common for sufferers to make poor judgments since their capacity is diminished. As a secretary, Ellen is always expected to plan the day for senior executives. Her ability to perform effectively at her job before retirement first begins by revealing her status to her employee to help her meet company standards.  By so doing, she will receive necessary assistance that would prevent the possibility of botched tasks and her missing deadlines. Reasonable accommodations that are provided for in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) would be invoked to help her cope in the work environment with a cognitive disability. In such a case, an employee can provide verbal instructions that are voice recorded or a checklist with relevant information. Ellen will, therefore, be able to discharge her duties effectively without the fear of making monumental mistakes that may cost the firm financially.

Disease Progression and its Effect on Her Activities of Daily Living (ADL)

Usually, there are fundamental skills that all persons require for them to manage their physical needs. They often range from continence, eating to personal grooming. In essence, these skills are often mastered by individuals from an early stage and preserved as part of their cognitive functioning throughout life (Zarit& Talley, 2012). The onset of Alzheimer’s disease usually means that these functions interrupted and make life increasingly difficult. During disease progression there is a high likelihood that Ellen’s functional independence will be disrupted, reducing her quality of life. As a result, she may incur additional care costs, and many eventually institutionalized. Furthermore, Ellen’s executive functioning may be disrupted, resulting in difficulty when undertaking organizing and sequencing activities. Memory problems are also bound to arise and may interfere with activities as simple as combing her hair.  In later stages, poor judgment may become a frequent occurrence since the overall decision-making skill may be disordered. Also, visual-spatial changes may arise, reducing the quality of life and increasing anxieties.

Advanced Directives

Anticipatory medical directives are contingency measures that will make sure that any future ineptitude is managed effectively.  It is a fundamental part of the treatment process since including competent individuals reduces the chances of adverse effects that would potentially affect a patient with Alzheimer’s disease. Advance directives aid the patient in decision making if they are permanently unconscious or unable to reason(Turkington& Mitchell, 2010).  Ellen’s condition is expected to deteriorate with time, which is why advanced directives are imperative. In the future, she may be unable to communicate any of her treatment wishes and hence essential to write them down. Any healthcare decision made by the primary caregiver will have to correspond with her initial intentions. These wishes should always take precedence when it becomes clear that their safety is an issue to avoid the possibility of any unforeseen circumstances affecting their well-being. Ellen also has the right to reject any medical care if it is proved that she is competent. Her right to make relevant decisions is always protected and retained until the end of life.

Funeral Plans

Death is an inescapable part of life. Patients who have Alzheimer’s disease know this all too well since its progression often ends in death. It is therefore paramount to have an honest discussion about death and funeral plans to ensure that the patient’s last wishes are honored. Discussing funeral plans may be a complicated process, but necessary for the patient, their family, and caregivers involved in their life. Ellen should explicitly express her wishes and last requests which she would like to see honored. Advance directives will make sure that all preferences are recorded and known to caregivers. For instance, Ellen may opt to provide exact details of the type of environment in which she wishes to spend her final moments. Choosing this a suitable facility will make sure that they have the peace of mind required at this stage. Moreover, Ellen may decide to refuse life-sustaining treatment to her impending death. Funeral plans will reduce uncertainty; allowing the family to be fully aware of the funeral location, burial or cremation.

Social Supports Available to Ellen

Social support is vital when seeking to manage Alzheimer’s disease and all related conditions. Patients often suffer severe cognitive impairments, a reduction in logical reasoning and the ability to carry out everyday tasks. Social support has recently emerged as innovative outpatient services coordinated by trusted professionals. Persons with Alzheimer’s disease benefit a great deal from these services through social interactions that help stimulate their brains(Mooney, 2008, p. 45). A rapid progression of Alzheimer’s disease is often characterized by sudden isolation and a general lack of motivation. It is for this very reason that social support groups were established to aid patients to cope through awkward moments. Ellen can either become part of a personal assistance group, night care, therapy session or palliative care. Night care social support provides home-based care services right after dusk; therapy prepares them for the possibility of death while palliate care is offered to patients to relieve their symptoms

The Role of Ellen’s Culture on her Family’s Decision

Early diagnosis plays a significant role in helping families come to terms with the reality of having to care for one of their suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Chinese Americans are a high-risk group who delay seeking care and only do so when neuropsychiatric symptoms become too severe to bear(Lock, 2013). Ellen’s family is well aware of this fact, and the reason why they have acted swiftly to avoid any such eventuality. Even though there is an intense stigma associated with the disease within the Chinese American culture, Ellen and her two children seem brave enough to weather this storm by using biomedical data that would help them understand the condition.

Summary

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a debilitating condition that affects various facets of life in the individual concerned. Ellen, a 64-year-old Asian American of Chinese, seeks to understand the implications of this disease and the steps she should take to adjust to this life. The issues explored in this report will thus have to be appraised at a deep level in helping her navigate her decision to retire ultimately.

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