Q: Some time ago you wrote a column about “senior moments” and what was normal versus abnormal. Could you print that again? A: A number of years ago I attended a seminar on this topic given by the Alzheimer’s Association. At the end of the session, all attendees received a list of normal versus abnormal situations. I will be glad to share it with my readers again. Forgetting where you left your keys is normal. Finding those keys and not knowing their purpose is abnormal. Repeating a story to a friend you have previously told is normal, but repeating the same question over and over in the same day to the same person is not normal. Forgetting what you ate for breakfast yesterday is normal, but forgetting you ate breakfast 15 minutes ago is not normal. Being disoriented for a moment upon waking up in a strange hotel room while traveling is normal. But getting lost in a home where you have lived for years is abnormal. Forgetting to turn off the boiling eggs and burning the pot on occasion is normal. Having no memory of putting the eggs in the pot or turning on the burner is abnormal. Sometimes forgetting where you parked your car at the mall is normal. Forgetting you drove to the mall or have a car is abnormal. Forgetting the details of a vacation you took ten years ago is normal, but forgetting you went on a vacation last week is not normal. Forgetting where you left your checkbook is normal. However, forgetting at which bank you have your checking account is not normal. Forgetting the name of a star in a movie you have just seen is normal. Not remembering the name of the movie or going to that movie is abnormal. Last but certainly not least: Worrying that you are having memory problems is very normal, but being unaware that you have a memory loss is not. Q: I have been told that Social Security has a program to help people who cannot manage their financial affairs. Can you provide some details? A: There is such a program for people who receive Social Security or Supplemental Security Income and cannot handle their financial affairs. After a thorough investigation of the beneficiary and the interested third party, Social Security will appoint an interested third party to handle the Social Security or SSI benefits. The appointee is called a “representative payee,” and the Social Security or SSI benefits due the beneficiary are made payable in the representative payee’s name on behalf of the beneficiary. The benefits received must be used only for the personal care and well-being of the beneficiary. Any excess must be saved for that beneficiary. Social Security must be kept informed of any events that might affect eligibility for benefits. An annual accounting report must be filed with Social Security showing how the money received was spent or saved. For more information on the representative payee program, visit http://www.socialsecurity.gov and click on “Representative payee.” Happenings Wednesday: David Solie, author of “How to Say it to Seniors: Closing the Communication Gap with our Elders,” will speak. 1 p.m.; Thousand Oaks Council on Aging, Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza, 2100 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd., third-level boardroom. Feb. 12: “The Emotional Ups & Downs of Caregiving” seminar. 4:30-6 p.m.; Senior Concerns Day Center, 401 Hodencamp Road in Thousand Oaks. Call 497-0189 for reservations. More …
Answer these questions to learn whether it is normal or Alzheimer’s
About the Author: Betty Berry
Betty Berry brings a deep understanding of senior issues to her position as Senior Advocate for Senior Concerns. She has advocated for seniors since 1993. Through the Health Insurance Counseling Advocacy Program, known as HICAP, she is registered with the State of California as an Insurance Counselor, a Long-Term Care Insurance Counselor and a Community Educator. She has served on the Area Agency on Aging’s Advisory Council as a member and Chair, has been a member of the Financial Abuse Strategic Team (FAST) and currently serves on the Conejo Senior Volunteer Program (CSVP) Advisory Board and authors the Senior Advocate column that appears in the Ventura County Star. Betty completed her undergraduate degree at California Lutheran University and earned her Juris Doctorate degree at Ventura College of Law.