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Where do I start?
Posted: Monday, April 9, 2012 4:00 PM
Joined: 4/9/2012
Posts: 3

My father, who is only 63, has not been formally diagnosed, but is on the prescription drug commonly known as the "alzheimer's drug".  He currently resides with his girlfriend (who I feel will eventually tire of caring for him) and has no home/property of his own.  I live 800+ miles away; I am his only child, and there is no other family to speak of.


I can not move him from his hometown...I believe that will further his disease.  I need to figure out what his options are...what benefits, if any, he as able to request as a veteran, what kind of assisting living is there that social security can help pay for, etc, etc.


On a side note...I've been through this before.  My grandmother (his mother) suffered with alzheimer's for 10+ years.  However, we lived with her and cared for her with very little outside assistance.  It was difficult to say the least.


I guess I just want to know where to start gathering information I suspect I will need.  I want to be sure that he can stay close to the area he has lived his entire life...


Sorry this is so long...just trying to gather all I need.

Thank you in advance.

Posted: Monday, April 9, 2012 4:31 PM
Joined: 11/29/2011
Posts: 799

Welcome to the boards.


Do you already have power of attorney papers for your father?  If not, get them ASAP.  I don't want to sound like I am distrustful, but do you think the girlfriend is a real stand up kind of person?  Will she try to take control of him?  She might actually stick with him, but I don't know the full situation.


He can get veteran benefits, but there are others on here who will know how to go about that, and they will chime in soon I am sure.


Speak to an elder care attorney and besides getting paperwork in order (i.e. POA papers, both medical and durable), also ask about Medicaid benefits in your fathers state of residence.

Posted: Monday, April 9, 2012 4:31 PM
Joined: 11/30/2011
Posts: 604

First get a DPOA right away.  Is he retired and on a pension or is he a DAV and already see a dr at the VA? There are alot of paperwork to fill out, but if you can go to the VA they have patience reps that help the veteran with this and can give you the info. .


If you know info about his military service you can go online to and look under geneal benefits information.You will need his DD214 military paperwork


Good luck My AH has been on VA disability since 2000.


God Bless



Posted: Monday, April 9, 2012 6:25 PM
Joined: 12/14/2011
Posts: 237

If your father served during a period of war and received an honorable discharge, he may qualify for the Aid & Attendance Pension. There are a lot of forms to fill out, and several pieces of documentation you must provide (discharge papers, doctor's evaluation of the applicant), but it's worth it. For more information about this pension and online application forms, visit: 


It took about 5 months for my mother's application to be approved. Because of her age (92 yrs), I asked that her application be expedited. If the applicant is over 70 years old (I think that's the age), the VA's regulations require the VA to expedite the processing of that application.

Chris Marie
Posted: Monday, April 9, 2012 7:04 PM
Joined: 4/9/2012
Posts: 8 as well as this website, has helped me through all of my mom's stages, tremendously!!!

The Coach Boyle book, and Creating Moments of Joy, also help me with delicate situations.  You can read the Coach Boyle's book online at

Good Luck

Mimi S.
Posted: Monday, April 9, 2012 7:12 PM
Joined: 11/29/2011
Posts: 7035

OK 4inchats.

My personal bias: Yopur dad needs as good a diagnosis as you can get.

From your library get a copy of the Alzheimer's Action Plan  by Doraiswamy and Gwyther of Duke Univ. 

There are some forms of dementia that Aricept should not be prescribed.

His Alzheimer's Chapter should be able to find list that would include local  university, medical school or a memory clinic.

The wait will usually take months.

Meanwhile, see if you can get him involved in the Best Practices.

1. Take meds when prescribed. I also take Omega 3 and antioxidants.

2. As strenuous as possible physical activitiy. Go slowly.

3. Strenuous mental activities

4. Social activities

5. Mediterranean diet. Limit alcohol and no smoking.

Keep us posted.

Mimi S.
Posted: Monday, April 9, 2012 7:13 PM
Joined: 11/29/2011
Posts: 7035

PS. Can your dad join us on the Early Onset boards? If he does, be sure he doesn't know your screen name and be sure you don't post anything that would try what you are writing to him and him alone.
Posted: Monday, April 9, 2012 7:35 PM
Joined: 2/9/2012
Posts: 390

I don't know where he lives, but if he is 63, more than likely he was in the service during the Vietnam conflict. As such, he is eligible to use a War Vets home.

Most states have these, but not every city. So he may need to move to live in one.


I can't find a single site that list them all, as each state runs them with federal money. So Google his state and war veterans home. In Louisiana these are nice places and you don't have to total disabled to get in. They mostly are not what you would call skilled nursing homes, like you can't be on a vent and stay there. They have waiting list, so the sooner the better.


Also there are a few national homes, you would have search his branch of service.


Well, you got your work cut out for you, just keep digging and asking, there things out there.


Let us know what state and city he wants to stay near , and we help you look some.

Posted: Tuesday, April 10, 2012 8:35 AM
Joined: 4/9/2012
Posts: 3

Thank you for all the responses...I'm overwhelmed by your kindness.


My dad is in NY...the Adirondack Park region (very small towns...not a lot of resources).  He was in Vietnam for 2 tours.


He does have access to a computer, but is not well versed, so I'm not too sure I could get him on the message boards.  In addition, I don't believe he is really "aware" of what the dr.'s are telling him.  I don't think he gets that he is heading down the same road as my grandmother.  If he did, I fear we'd be looking at suicide intervention rather than long term care. 


He is only receiving Social Security at this point (no pension, etc.).  He goes to the VA hospital when he needs something.  He is in better physical health now, than he was 20 years ago...he's very fit, plays golf, walks several miles a day.


I will definitely start looking into the Aid & Attendance Pension since I believe he would qualify.  He owns nothing but a car and has no substantial savings (i.e. less than $15k, I believe).  Looks like I need to really push for a clear diagnosis.  All I could get from him was that he had early on-set dementia.  He doesn't realize the medication he is taking is for Alzheimers.


Thank you again for all the responses...looks like I'll be battling this disease once again...

Posted: Tuesday, April 10, 2012 9:19 AM
Joined: 11/29/2011
Posts: 799

I love, love, love the Adirondack Park region, but it would scare me half to death if I had an AD parent living alone up there.  Where is the VA hospital he goes to?  Is he by Plattsburgh or closer to the Albany area?  Or maybe somewhere in between?  I do realize he is not alone yet, I am hoping the girlfriend doesn't tire of caring for him.  Drving around there in the Winter is scary enough as it is without having any form of Dementia.
Iris L.
Posted: Tuesday, April 10, 2012 12:36 PM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 16442

How long is he going to be living with the girlfriend?  Does she know what to expect?   


After a while friends disappear. 


You can take a look at the Spouse/Partner board and see what they are going through.   


It might be wise for you to begin to search now for where Dad can live safely in the future.   You don't have to make any moves right away.   


Planning is a key to dealing with dementia. 


Iris L. 

Posted: Wednesday, April 11, 2012 10:21 AM
Joined: 4/9/2012
Posts: 3

My Dad lives closer to Albany than Plattsburgh.  I really need to talk with his girlfriend and find out her intentions and plans.  She loves him very much, but this is a hard to thing to go through, and I don't want to be unprepared if she decides it's too much.  She's still young (in her 50's) and very successful in her career. 


I received a few phone calls from him this week that really scared me.  His girlfriend is travelling this week, and he doesn't remember that she told him she would be gone - I have to remind him that she didn't leave him.  He sounds frightened and disoriented during our morning phone calls, however, much better and more coherent on our afternoon and evening phone calls.


I don't want to scare her, but I think I'm going to have to have a long conversation with her...I need to know if she's in this for the long haul.  My grandmother lived well into her 90' Dad could very well live 30 more years with this disease.


Thank you all so much for the information and suggestions you provided.  This will help get me started.