Understanding and coping with the mental deterioration of an elderly family member. ""Mentally impaired"" is a term used by the author to describe the whole range of mental disorders that can afflict the aged, including Alzheimer's disease. Safford, a medical social worker specializing in geriatrics, imparts technical information about the various forms of mental illness in clear terms. As a necessary background for understanding these disorders, she discusses symptoms and causes and the importance of correct diagnosis in getting proper treatment and care. Some mental problems are reversible, caused by poor nutrition, medications or some situation that can be corrected. But the thrust here is to give family members real help in coping with someone who suffers from a mental illness. Beyond offering comfort and understanding, this book is a working guide, full of practical information that covers the physical and emotional aspects of both at- home and nursing-home care and weighs the pros and cons with common-sense and compassion. Included are check-lists of safety and health measures for at-home care; lists of commonly used drugs that can cause signs of mental impairment: a directory of support groups; a guide to getting financial help; a glossary of medical and technical terms; an outline of the structure of nursing-home staffs. Good to turn to for help and emotional support.