Alzheimer's:She Never Said Goodbye (cont.)

Ellison: Yes. That's what they send me. I've got that in my book verbatim. I put that statement in my book to show readers how it works and exactly how it's phrased. I try to provide a lot of information that people need to know that are going down this path we've been taking.

Moderator: What would you suggest for someone to prepare for long-term care?

Ellison: Everybody should look into long-term care insurance. In the book, I refer to a Consumer's Guide article. They put out an article on long-term care and it talked about who needed it and who doesn't. It's people like probably me. As example, when I put my wife in the nursing home, my brother and sister-in-law went with me. I showed them around and talked to them about the costs because I had to pay the first year up front. When they found out what it was going to cost me, the first thing they did was go home and take out long-term care insurance. A lot of people don't see a need for long-term care. When you get old, then it may be too late. You have to qualify for long-term care insurance. You can't qualify when you need it. It's like trying to buy fire insurance on your house after your house burned down. People have to look at possibility of long-term care, based upon type of work they perform, based upon their family history.

Moderator: What is required in order to "qualify" for long-term care insurance?

Ellison: To qualify for it, basically a person has to be relatively healthy. People can get long-term care insurance with some medical problems. I'm not sure what they are but I honestly can't answer that question with any authority. If you have a serious ailment, you're probably not going to qualify.

Moderator: Do you feel that genetic research may impede access to medical care for long-term needs?

Ellison: I've read about that and I've heard about the concern of this type of research that can have on the medical world and insurance industry, where insurance business might be able to screen people and refuse them medical insurance or any type of insurance products based upon genetic background check. To me, that sounds a little scary. I'm not that well-versed on it. It looks to me like it could be a major problem in the future.

Moderator: How has your experience with your wife changed you, and what has it taught you?

Ellison: It taught me you can't predict the future. There's no way of knowing what's going to happen tomorrow. She does not have long-term insurance. I look back now and think I should have considered that possibility. I just never visualized anything like this happening to her. Alzheimer's is something that never crossed my mind. I don't think people think much about Alzheimer's but it's out there and it's something that's got to be put into the mix when people start thinking about becoming elderly. Nearly 50% of people 85 and older have it.

Moderator: What sort of support system do you rely on?

Ellison: I might say I'm somewhat self-sufficient. I have friends that I talk with. I also play duplicate bridge. It's tournament type bridge. When my wife became ill, after she went in the nursing home, I had time on my hands. Many of the people I play bridge with -- it's amazing the number of people who have spouses who have Alzheimer's who have died already. I run into a lot of people on a daily basis that are also involved with Alzheimer's. I spend some time on the Internet. There's an Alzheimer's message board that I visit frequently and I talk to the various people who are, in many cases, just getting involved with Alzheimer's and looking for information. I try to help them or point them in the right direction. I try to be helpful in that area. It also gives me a certain amount of relief. The book has generated a lot of correspondence on the Internet. I have been talking to people who have read the book, people who have family members who have Alzheimer's. I think it's just involvement in the Alzheimer's community on a continuous basis.

Moderator: What's the most important piece of information you can offer someone who has just had a loved-one diagnosed with Alzheimer's?

Ellison: The first thing at any indication, I would contact my local Alzheimer's Association Chapter. These are located in every state except Wyoming. Some states have many chapters. They all have 800 numbers. You can call up and get the Alzheimer's Chapter nearest you. They can give you information and all aspects and things you can plan on, living will, powers of attorney, caregiver groups, support groups, et cetera.

Moderator: Is there a certain degree of denial surrounding Alzheimer's, among the family, that is?

Ellison: I was just corresponding with a woman who has just been diagnosed. Her family denies she has Alzheimer's even though she says the doctor says she has early stages. In many cases, every family has a different approach to it, not only the person who has Alzheimer's but family members themselves. They're all a bit different. Some handle it well and some don't. 

The book can be reviewed and purchased there on my web site at or call us at 1-800-258-8338

Moderator: Mr. Ellison, thank you for joining us. 

Ellison: Well, thank you. I've enjoyed it.

The opinions expressed by Mr. Ellison are his and his alone. If you have questions about your health, you should consult your personal physician. This event is meant for informational purposes only.

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