A welcome law for Alzheimer’s care
Re “Pioneering law boosts Alzheimer’s care” (Page A1, Aug. 13): I would like to commend the state Legislature for understanding the desperate state of palliative care offered to middle-aged and elderly patients with dementia in the United States. As a member of a family with a history of degenerative cognitive disorders, I have experienced firsthand the bewilderment of doctors and nurses in Massachusetts’ hospitals when dealing with dementia. By passing legislation requiring medical professionals to understand the basics of Alzheimer’s and other degenerative cognitive disorders, our state is taking a huge step forward in care for a fast-growing baby boomer population. While most initiatives in medicine focus on raising research dollars, ones directed toward the simple care of loved ones (a.k.a. palliative care) have received few donor dollars or attention by the medical community. With this legislation, I feel elated that our larger society is ready to help.
Don’t be afraid to intervene
While I applaud the new law requiring medical professionals to familiarize themselves with the symptoms of Alzheimer’s, those of us who are already dealing with loved ones in the early stages of the disease can do our part in making these professionals aware of what’s going on. My wife was slow to be diagnosed, even when I could tell something was wrong, and that was partly my fault, because I did not accompany her into doctors’ offices when she had appointments and inform them of my concerns. Understandably, when she was alone with the doctor and she would be asked if she had any issues, she’d say she didn’t. Not because she wanted to mislead anyone, but because she wasn’t aware of her problems or forgot what they were. So please, don’t feel obliged to protect your loved one’s privacy. You’ll be doing both them and their doctors a service by being present to answer questions about their health.