Joanne Koenig Coste is scheduled to speak at the Elkton Care and Rehabilitation Center on May 5that 6 P.M. She is the author of the best seller: LEARNING TO SPEAK ALZHEIMER’S. The book can be found on the shelves of Cecil County Public Libraries.
Ms. Koenig Coste holds an undergraduate degree in education and a master’s degree in counseling and psychology. She is currently a faculty member at Cambridge College.
Her book is written very logically and simply. It would prove useful for Alzheimer patients, their families, their financial planners, and all caretakers. She has staged the development of Alzheimer’s disease to assist families in knowing when to seek care and how to provide it safely.
In early Alzheimer’s she says that the patient may forget appointments and even fail to recognize a familiar face. In middle/early Alzheimer’s you would see symptoms such as misunderstanding what is being said and finding it difficult to concentrate. In late/early disease, she points out that patients may be unable to write and may speak in rambling sentences.
Ms. Cost divides middle staged Alzheimer’s disease into three stages. In early middle disease she says that patients will lose fine motor skills like those needed for buttoning a shirt and begin displaying more sexual interests. In middle/middle disease she sees patients showing frequent changes of emotions and needing assistance with activities of daily living. In the late/middle stage they might have a downward gaze and not have control of their bowel and bladder functions.
In the late or final stage Alzheimer’s patients lose their ability to express themselves in language, have swallowing difficulties, and need total care.
In her book Ms. Koenig Coste has posted a self rating form for drivers which she recommends for everyone over the age of 50.
She talks about all levels of care for Alzheimer’s patients beginning with home care visits, moving through assisted living, and then ending with care services in nursing homes. She lists a myriad of practical ideas for care givers and/or patients who wish to help themselves. She recommends playing trivia games focused on the era when the Alzheimer’s sufferer was young. Jig-saw puzzles are good too. If the family wishes to take their loved one out of the home or care situation for an outing, places like the zoo and library can stimulate good affect. The same goes for bringing in an infant for patients to enjoy and matching clean socks or folding laundry. Motor skill support activities might include playing cards or winding yarn.
The author thinks that spiritual support is very important habilitation care model. She recommends enabling the patient to attend religious services and possibly encouraging them to do something like bird watching.
Most importantly, she facilitates hope for people who our society is having a great deal of trouble caring for.