The effect of Alzheimer’s will differ for each patient. However, you can expect that the condition can worsen over time and they will eventually require care around the clock. Family members who have this disease could turn aggressive, incontinent, and unable to perform daily tasks on their own. Your loved ones may also tend to wander a lot, putting their safety at risk.
It is best to be prepared from the time you get a diagnosis so you are able to provide the most ideal care option for someone who has Alzheimer’s. Evaluate how each one will benefit the well-being of the patient and how it addresses the current or changing needs of a relative.
Care Options for Keeping Your Loved Ones at Home
Keeping family members at home is usually the most common option when the disease is still in its early stages. By doing so, Alzheimer’s patients can still enjoy their independence, remain surrounded by family, and stay in a familiar environment.
However, there can be tremendous stress and huge challenges for caregivers. In order to get some relief from their responsibilities, they can turn to home care resources. These cover a variety of services provided in the home.
- Home health services
The assistance provided usually depends on the agency. But in general, somebody with Alzheimer’s can get help with bathing, grooming, dressing, eating, going to the toilet, preparing meals, and household chores. Making sure patients take medications, dressing and caring for wounds, operating medical equipment, and other basic nursing care services are also included. Sometimes, physical therapy sessions are also provided by the agency.
- Respite care
When caregivers need to be away for some time due to a trip or an emergency, or maybe to just get a much-needed break, respite care can be a life-saver. This service provides in-home care for family members who need companionship and supervision during the absence of the primary caregiver. It’s similar to home health services, yet it is more of a temporary solution. In some cases and with some agencies, you can also opt for temporary living arrangements at a residence.
For those living in Australia, check the solutions by Arcare, one of the most innovative aged care providers in the country. They have been specializing in senior living since 1969, and all their residences are fully accredited by the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency.
- Geriatric care management
This is also referred to as professional care management or elder care management. A geriatric care manager has a more comprehensive role in taking care of family members with Alzheimer’s. This specialist provides day-to-day care giving. But he or she also evaluates patients’ needs and coordinates with physicians and medical staff, acting as a family liaison to ensure loved ones get the best care. This professional usually has a medical background, usually in nursing, physical therapy, and social work or counseling.
- Adult day centers
If you are looking for ways that your relatives can safely socialize and spend some time away from home for a few hours each day or week, then this option could work for you. Adult day centers typically provide programs and activities in a safe and supervised environment. Participants can enjoy art therapy classes, music, mind and body exercises, and support groups. Sometimes, even transportation and meals are included in the services.
Residential Care Options
Taking care of family members with Alzheimer’s will become more difficult as the disease progresses. As hard as it may be, sometimes residential care is the best option for the patients and the caregivers. But in the end, you will have greater peace of mind knowing that loved ones are getting the right kind of care and are safe.
- Assisted living
This is ideal for those who don’t need any skilled medical care but require assistance for day-to-day activities. They can get help with preparing meals, dressing, and so on. These residences provide housing (such as apartments or suites), supportive services, and a round-the-clock support team. In some residences, they also include meals, health care, housekeeping, laundry, transportation, and recreational activities.
- Nursing homes
When you need room and board and skilled nursing care, this is a good option. You are assured of 24-hour medical supervision and care. Some residences also provide services to address care planning, nutrition, healthcare, and spirituality. It is best to find a place that has a team who are trained in dealing with the special needs of Alzheimer’s patients.
Some larger residences have these units, also known as SCUs or memory care units. They may or may not be secure or locked areas, and are usually cluster settings where those with Alzheimer’s and dementia are grouped together in their own wing or floor. Make sure the place you choose has programs specially designed for those with memory problems as well as safety measures that meet standards. Also, see to it that the team members are highly trained to deal with Alzheimer’s.
When family members are terminally ill, a hospice can be a good place to provide the special care required for someone to live out their remaining days as comfortably as possible. A hospice’s primary purpose is to manage pain and symptoms during the last few months of life. It has specially trained individuals, such as doctors, nurses, social workers, counselors, home health aides, clergy, and volunteers. This provider also offers support to the family of patients, helping them understand what to expect during the last stages of Alzheimer’s and preparing for the end-of-life process.
Choosing the Best Care Option
Deciding on which Alzheimer’s care option to go with depends on many factors. Primarily, you should consider how progressive the disease is. Then finances, other special health concerns of the patient, and location should also be included in the picture. In the early stages of the disease, it’s best to talk to your loved one, ask for input from other family members, and make plans on how to begin your search for the best care.
If you are considering home care services, talk to use here at Qualicare. Our team is effective and compassionate, and our services can be adapted to any living situation. Our mission is to ensure our clients stay in the environment where they can feel the safest, and we strive to provide the best care possible.
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