NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - When a family member begins to show signs of dementia, or it’s apparent the loved one is not able to make rational decisions, it’s important not to ignore the red flags, says Nacogdoches Treatment Center Director Kathy Strong.
The facility serves those with dementia and related disorders by caring for them during certain hours of the day to give caregivers a break in their responsibilities.
Sharon Boiles’ 91-year old father is a client. He is watched lovingly and carefully by his children. Boiles says the experience comes with caring for their mother who is now deceased.
“My mom, she started forgetting things and then I started watching bills and stuff and she would forget to pay bills," recalled Boiles.
And what about excessive spending, another dementia trait.
“No, no. Well, yeah, yes it did, yes,” corrected Boiles. “With different things, she would buy.”
“Those things do happen,” said Strong. “People with dementia get very confused with what’s going on in life and making appropriate decisions.”
Strong teaches family members the importance of protecting their loved ones and themselves.
"You never know when the day comes that they're going to make a really bad decision and you need to be able to correct some of those things for them, says Strong.
Strong says the best way to correct an irrational decision is to have power of attorney.
"If you don't have anything in writing than you don't have anything because it's your word against their word. Well, who knows rather you are the person with dementia or they're the person with dementia. Who's telling the truth here?"
Boiles and her siblings have power of attorney over their dad, but she still stands corrected by the Korean War veteran.
“He got shell-shocked.” Her father interjects. “Hit with a hand grenade. Yes, hit with a hand grenade. I thank God for his service.”
Strong knows of individuals who have given belongings away, spent excessive money and donated to multiple fundraising programs.
Strong says it’s important to accept the behavior as a red flag and a sign that it’s time to take more control.
She advises the power of attorney can protect so many at so many different levels.
The Alzheimer’s Association reports 5.8 million people Americans of all ages are living with Alzheimer’s dementia this year.