Health Information

Legal Planning for Living with a Chronic Medical Condition

In 1900, most people died younger from communicable diseases and after relatively short illnesses. Today, we are more likely to die older from one or more chronic conditions and after an extended period of illness. The decisions involved with planning for disability associated with chronic conditions can be difficult to make. Recognizing that developing a plan is the goal and that plans can (and should) be revised over time may help you assume a proactive role when it comes to legal matters.

Communication Symptoms with Dementia

“Communication breakdown” in Alzheimer’s disease and other causes of dementia are consistently listed among the stressors for caregivers. Click the button below to review some terminology used in describing the effects of the disease, some of which limits the person who has dementia.

POLST (Provider Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment) Form

A POLST form is intended for a person who is seriously ill or with a life-limiting illness. It is a signed medical order reflecting a person’s wishes that travels with the person across settings of care that must be honored by all healthcare providers.

Palliative Care

Living with a serious illness can create physical challenges like pain, symptoms or side effects from medication…and even emotional concerns like anxiety or depression…that can affect your quality of life.

Palliative care is specialized medical care for people with serious illnesses, offering expert pain and symptom management to treat the whole person, at any age, and at any stage of illness.

How Elder Law and Special Needs Planning Attorneys Can Help People Diagnosed with MS

A series of five videos developed to help those diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, and their families and caregivers to understand how elder law and special needs planning attorneys can assist with their particular legal needs.

Next Step in Care: Family Caregivers and Health Care Professionals Working Together

Next Step in Care, a campaign of United Hospital Fund, provides hospital admission and Emergency Room guides to provide basic information about “observation status” and what to ask. This information is important as it is a rising trend to be in an “observation” rather than “in-patient” in the hospital.

Healthcare Communication Board for Medical, Physical, and Emotional Information

For people who are unable to speak, this tool will assist with communication.

Resources for those affected by Stroke

Careliving, a program from the National Stroke Association

Careliving is an online social network that allows caregivers and family members of stroke survivors to connect, share and support one another.

Click here to download the publication.

Stroke Survivors Empowering Each Other (SSEEO)

Providing advocacy, support, education, and resources to stroke survivors and their families.

Click here to learn more.

Tips for Caregivers of People with Dementia

Caring for a person with Alzheimer’s disease at home is a difficult task and can become overwhelming at times. Each day brings new challenges as the caregiver copes with changing levels of ability and new patterns of behavior. Research has shown that caregivers themselves often are at increased risk for depression and illness, especially if they do not receive adequate support from family, friends, and the community.

“End of Life: Helping with Comfort and Care”

Helping With Comfort and Care provides an overview of issues commonly facing people caring for someone nearing the end of life. It can help you to work with health care providers to complement their medical and caregiving efforts. The booklet does not replace the personal and specific advice of the doctor, but it can help you make sense of what is happening and give you a framework for making care decisions.

Caring for a Person with Alzheimer’s Disease

Caring for a Person with Alzheimer’s Disease: Your Easy-to-Use-Guide from the National Institute on Aging.

A Guide for Families of People with Dementia Living in Care Facilities

The Alzheimer’s Association-Greater Illinois Chapter is pleased to offer a free online resource, Encouraging Comfort Care: A Guide for Families of People with Dementia Living in Care Facilities. This 21-page booklet provides useful information to families and staff of long-term care facilities about Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, particularly care issues related to the late and final stages.

For families, this guide will enable them to make informed choices about a variety of medical decisions they may face on behalf of loved ones with dementia living in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and other types of care facilities. It will also equip families to ask good questions aimed at obtaining the best care for their loved ones, including a handy checklist of comfort care measures to be discussed with staff members of care facilities.

Frontotemporal Disorders

Few people have heard of frontotemporal disorders, which lead to dementias that affect personality, behavior, language, and movement. These disorders are little known outside the circles of researchers, clinicians, patients, and caregivers who study and live with them. Although frontotemporal disorders remain puzzling in many ways, researchers are finding new clues that will help them solve this medical mystery and better understand other common dementias.
Frontotemporal disorders can be grouped into three types, defined by the earliest symptoms physicians identify when they examine patients.

Lewy Body Dementia

Lewy body dementia (LBD) is a complex and challenging brain disorder. It is complex because it affects many parts of the brain in ways that scientists are trying to understand more fully. It is challenging because its many possible symptoms make it hard to do everyday tasks that once came easily

Vascular Dementia and Vascular Cognitive Impairment

Vascular dementia, the second most common form of dementia in older adults after Alzheimer’s disease, and vascular cognitive impairment (VCI) result from injuries to vessels that supply blood to the brain, often after a stroke or series of strokes. The symptoms of vascular dementia can be similar to those of Alzheimer’s, and both conditions can occur at the same time (a condition called “mixed dementia”). Symptoms of vascular dementia and VCI can begin suddenly and worsen or improve over time.

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