Do you ever get telephone calls stating that you have a problem with the IRS, Social Security, and or medical offices that say they need your social security number, account number, or money to send a payment to clear things up?  Many of us don’t get as many these days since we’ve dropped our old home phone number in favor of a cell phone.   And cell phone owners have become a little suspicious, for two reasons.   We’re getting used to spotting e-mail scams, and the “do not call list” weeded out some of the calls.

But many older people still have the old home phone number and can be more trusting of those who call.  Further, many are lonely and just want to talk to somebody, and some are easily confused by the onset of dementia.  That’s where Mary Peterson, Dementia, and Elder Abuse Specialist with CareWell Services Southwest comes in.  Mary was a guest on “Miles for Memories Moment” on the 95.3 WBCK Morning Show with Tim Collins.

“We want you to be aware that the IRS, Social Security Office, Medical offices, or any such entities NEVER call or email you, let alone request personal or account information. There are hundreds of frauds and scams continually circulating.  If you haven’t been subjected to one yet, you probably will be soon”, says Peterson. “While these can be annoying and even worrisome to us all, consider how frightening it might be to the person with dementia.  Protecting our loved ones from this kind of fraud can be a real problem – one we need to take seriously.”

One recent problem has the Food and Drug Administration is cracking down on pharmaceutical companies.  The FDA doesn’t like the way they are advertising their products.  A recent article in the AARP Bulletin states that the FDA has warned 17 companies that sell dietary supplements to stop making false claims that their products can prevent or cure Alzheimer’s disease. The fact is that none of these products have ever been proven effective as a cure and could be harmful to anyone taking that miracle product.

“We need to be wary of commercials and online ads that tell about someone’s loved one who had memory problems but after taking or using ‘this miracle product’, they are back to their old self”, said Peterson.  “Trying these products claiming to make difference might just be keeping you or your loved one from getting a clear diagnosis and starting on something that may have the potential to bring a more stable, happier life.”

Mary points out that there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease at this time and there is no drug or treatment available that can or will prevent a person from getting this disease.  So, if you suspect you or a loved one has the onset of Alzheimer’s, by all means, talk with your doctor and get a proper diagnosis. There are some treatments available (by prescription) that have been known to slow the progress of the disease in some patients. The goal is to have your loved one have the best ability to thrive, which can allow a happy, engaged, and contented day, every day.

The great news is, help is out there. Please call 441-0930 for more information on programs to help assist, educate, and support caregivers caring for their loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. CareWell Services programs are at no cost and respite is available when needed.

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Miles for Memories is creating solutions for those impacted by dementia in Calhoun County through movement, programming, and research.  Visit them on Facebook or online at www.milesformemories.org

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