FAMILY FAQS

Q.   I THINK MY FAMILY MEMBER NEEDS YOUR HELP, WHAT DO I DO?

A.   If you believe your family member fits in to our criteria as either a military veteran or professional athlete, please have your family member call us at (855) 955-ATIF or you can call on their behalf.

Q.   DO I NEED PERMISSION TO SPEAK TO YOU ON BEHALF OF MY FAMILY MEMBER?

A.  No, you can begin the initial process and discuss what behaviors you see and hear.  However, to complete the process we will need to speak with the person of concern.

Q.  HOW DO I FIND SUPPORT GROUPS IN MY COMMUNITY OR NATIONALLY?  

A.  On our website there is a list of national organizations that you can contact via phone or through their website.  In your community, the best way is to do a Google search using the parameters of your city and concern (depression support groups in Chicago).  It should pull up a list of groups in that area.  If you need additional help you can contact us and we will provide support.  

Q.  I AM FEARFUL THAT MY HUSBAND/BOYFRIEND MAY HAVE DEMENTIA, WHAT DO I DO, WHERE DO I GO, AND WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT?

Let’s break it down in simple steps to follow:

Step 1.  Don’t panic and don’t listen to others because each person and story is different.

Step 2.  Start writing down behaviors that you do notice, when they occur and how often.  Also indicate day or night.  Also look at diet and drug/alcohol consumption.  This information will be important to have

Step 3.  Make an appointment with your PCP.  When you are with him/her just give them information you have written down on a piece of paper.  Don’t go in suggesting Dementia, Alzheimer’s, or CTE allow the professional to start the process of the diagnosis without biases.

     o    Your PCP will begin with general questions that will lead to more specific questions about symptoms.  A thorough history should be completed
     o    They should do blood work
     o    They should take a physical
     o    Review medications
     o    They will also refer you to a specialist such as a neurologist, neuropsychologist, or a psychiatrist.

Neurologists, who specialize in diseases of the brain and nervous system
Psychiatrists, who specialize in disorders that affect mood or the way the mind works
Neuro-Psychologists with special training in testing memory and other mental functions

Step 4.  Make an appointment with a neurologist.  During a neurological exam, the physician will closely evaluate the person for problems that may signal brain disorders other than Alzheimer's. The doctor will look for signs of small or large strokes, Parkinson's disease, brain tumors, fluid accumulation on the brain, and other illnesses that may impair memory or thinking.

The physician will test:
     •    Reflexes
     •    Coordination
     •    Muscle tone and strength
     •    Eye movement
     •    Speech
     •    Sensation
     •    Mini Mental State Exam
     •    They should do brain imagining such as a MRI or CT

Step Five:  Call the NFL and see if they have baseline information for your husband/boyfriend.  Try to get as much information as possible.

Step Six:  Don’t Panic

Q.  I am stressed, upset, and not sure what to do.  I am ready to give up!

A.  When a loved one experiences an illness, their care and support will consume your time and energy. The sacrifice you make is important, but your own needs are equally
important. Without your own emotional health it is harder to help someone else. 

Here are some tips to think about:
1. Accept your own feelings and know that you are not alone
2. Learn more about the illness.
3. Stay connected to others and the community.
4. Join a support group
5. Take time for yourself. Give yourself permission to be selfish each day.
6. Seek help for yourself.
7. Develop coping strategies for challenging behaviors.
8. Realize that some behaviors may be beyond your control.


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