.. . When caregivers are faced with alzheimers patients they need to keep in mind that the brain changes and can cause communication problems that can result in irrational behavior. The patient is not doing this to be annoying or to irritate, but is probably not aware of his or her actions. There are many ways that a person can receive help for their illness.
One way is through seeing a health practioner and to be referred to a facility for an evaluation. If the there are symptoms that are pointing to the illness contact a health care provider to get their opinion and recommendation. You cannot just go on your own instincts and place the person in a care facility. Every year, thousands of families in the United States face the time when deciding that it is the time for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease to leave their home and enter a long-term care facility. Early in the disease many people will do well on their own or with a spouse. But when the disease worsens and there needs to be changes in their home, lifestyles, or schedules it is time to think about long-term care facilities or having the immediate family care for the individual.
Eventually, however, even the most loving and accommodating family may be unable to meet the needs of a person as the disease progresses. The personal safety, wishes and needs of the person with Alzheimer’s, the caregiver’s own limits, the ongoing costs of living in a private residence and of hiring homecare providers all enter into the decision of when to seek new living arrangements. Another factor affecting the timing of such a decision is that most facilities have waiting lists. It may be better to begin exploring options before a crisis arises, such as an injury, that allows for a more thorough evaluation without additional pressure. This decision may be further complicated by the caregiver’s feelings of love, loyalty and guilt, as well as by awareness that when a person leaves a home environment, he or she must give up more independence and privacy. Because there is a spectrum of impairment associated with Alzheimer’s disease, the choice of a facility may be more complicated than just choosing a regular long-term care facility.
Fortunately, in recent years the list of options between home and a nursing home has greatly expanded. Many facilities offer home-like environments and amenities, and opportunities for caregivers to stay involved as partners in their loved one’s life. Here is a list of the general types of living arrangements available for people with advanced Alzheimer’s. Nursing homes For years, nursing homes cared for most people with Alzheimer’s disease. However, as a result of declining reimbursement and increasing regulation over the past decade, it has become increasingly difficult to find nursing homes that will admit Alzheimer’s patients.
People with Alzheimer’s disease need custodial care, including meals, assistance with personal activities such as toileting, dressing and bathing, general supervision, and space in which to live and move safely. However, doctors point out that if the person with Alzheimer’s has other serious medical problems, a nursing home may be the only option. Special care units Today, many nursing homes feature special care Alzheimer’s units that provide a quiet, safe environment with activities that encourage mental and physical stimulation. However, be aware that special care units in some nursing homes are no different from the rest of the facility. When you visit, ask the staff what makes the unit special. This should include information about dementia training for all employees, specialized activities and a calm, home-like environment.
Assisted- or supervised-living facilities Assisted-living arrangements are best for people who have moderate functional impairment, don’t need full-time nursing care, but who can still engage in such tasks as feeding themselves and getting in and out of chairs. These facilities are typically large complexes with apartments or townhouse-like units that feature communal dining, assistance with personal care, housekeeping services, and social activities and programs. Residents also may be encouraged to participate in meal preparation, laundry and other tasks. Continuing-care retirement communities These facilities, sometimes called life care centers, offer many services a la carte so that, as people age and their needs change, they may receive different levels of care in the same complex. Services are designed to provide a continuum of support for those who can live independently to those who need nursing home care.
This kind of facility typically offers people with Alzheimer’s disease the chance to live in one place for the rest of their lives. Loved ones have the peace of mind that no matter what future care is needed, it’s available, if not in the same room, then at least within the same complex. When evaluating facilities, be sure to visit. It’s helpful to take along another family member or friend who also can ask questions and with whom you can share observations. Request to see the most recent facility inspection report. This document will highlight the kind of care provided. The level and quality of physical care provided is extremely important, but it’s only one aspect of the total care environment.
It’s also important that residents have their emotional, social and spiritual needs met. To determine the philosophy of care at a facility, ask for a description of its philosophy and mission statement. Then tour the facility, perhaps at different times of day, to see how residents are treated and how they spend their time. Do staff members take pride in their work? Activities should include both group and individual opportunities. Ask if the facility modifies its programs to meet individual needs.
Activities should include everyday tasks such as bedmaking, brushing teeth, setting the table, etc. Activities should also include reminiscing with residents about the past since long-term memory is better than short-term memory in people with Alzheimer’s. Deciding when a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease needs a more structured care setting is often difficult. But touring facilities, asking good questions and making careful observations can help make a better choice.