Alzheimer's Care Guide
Providing Your Loved One with the Proper Alzheimer's Care
Do you have a loved one that has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's? If so, you know how difficult and stressful it can be to provide your loved one with the care that he or she needs. After all, you want what is best for your loved one, but making the right decisions on that person's behalf can feel like a complicated process. In addition, taking on the role of caregiver is a full-time job that can be exhausting. Therefore, in order to make the process as positive for you and your loved one as possible, it is important to understand all of your options and to learn about the type of help that is available.
Options When Keeping Your Loved One At Home
If you have decided to keep your loved one at home, it is still best to get help with his or her care. If you attempt to take care of your loved one on your own, you will tire quickly and will have difficulty with consistently providing the proper care. Although you may feel as if you should take on the responsibility on your own, doing so may actually hurt you and your loved one. After all, if you are overly tired, you won't be able to provide your loved one with the proper level of care. Obviously, this means that your needs will suffer as well. There are many different types of programs available to help with providing Alzheimer's care at home. These include:
- Respite care
- Adult day services
- Home health services
Respite care is help that you receive on occasion that allows you to take a break from your care giving duties. You might be able to receive respite care from other family members or from friends, but there are also organizations available that provide this service. Another option is to work with a residential facility, as many provide respite care services for Alzheimer's patients that prefer to stay home.
Adult day services, which are also referred to as elder care programs, are sometimes designed specifically for Alzheimer's patients. As the name implies, adult day services are available during the day and are generally available on weekdays only. These programs generally provide a number of different activities to participants and often provide lunch as well as transportation.
Home health services can help alleviate much of the work that is involved in caring for a loved one with Alzheimer's. These programs generally provide assistance with tasks such as dressing, grooming, and bathing your loved one. The home health service provider may also help your loved one with tasks such as going to the bathroom and eating. Depending upon the agency, you may also be able to receive assistance with preparing meals and with completing household chores. Some might also provide physical therapy and most provide assistance with giving medication and taking care of wounds.
Considering Residential Care Options for Alzheimer's patients
If caring for your loved one is becoming too demanding, you might want to consider residential care options. There are several questions you should ask yourself when trying to determine if residential care is necessary. These include:
- Does your loved one require 24 hour care?
- Does your loved one need help with taking medication?
- Does your loved one suffer from any other medical problems, such as diabetes, or require any other specialized care?
- Is providing care for your loved one causing a negative impact on you and the rest of your family?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you may want to seriously consider your residential treatment care options. There are several different options for you to select from, with each having pros and cons to consider. These options include:
- Retirement housing
- Assisted living
- Specialized dementia care facilities
- Nursing homes
Retirement housing may be an option if your loved one does not require a great deal of care but would benefit from living in a smaller space. This is because retirement homes are typically much smaller than a regular home, which makes them easier to care for. If your loved one requires more assistance, however, retirement housing may not be enough to provide him or her with the proper care.
If your loved one needs help with personal care, an assisted living facility may be the better option. These programs, which are also referred to as group homes and as community-based residential facilities, provide guidance with personal care but are for those who do not need help with daily activities such as eating or getting in and out of chairs.
Specialized dementia care facilities are designed specifically to help people with Alzheimer’s and other related diseases. These programs provide more supervision and care. They also provide specialized activities and staff to help care for your loved one. Even the environment is transformed to help those with memory problems. For example, visual cues such as pictures or signs may be used throughout the facility in order to help residents get around more successfully.
Alzheimer’s patients requiring medical care are generally best served by nursing homes. These facilities provide 24 hour care from licensed nurses and often have special units designed specifically for Alzheimer’s patients. This way, the specialized needs of Alzheimer’s patients can be addressed properly.
Making the decision to put a loved one in a nursing home or other care facility is a difficult one to make. In fact, you may feel a bit guilty about making this decision or you may feel as if you are letting your loved one down. In reality, you are doing what is best for you and for your loved one. After all, if you are feeling frustrated and overwhelmed, you won’t be able to provide your loved one with the best care possible. Your loved one deserves to receive the best treatment you can offer, which may involve staying at home and getting help in that setting or may require enrolling your loved one in a nursing home facility.