Choosing the Best Care for Dementia and Alzheimer’s Patients

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, more than 50 million people around the world are living with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia; this number includes more than six million Americans. Additionally, one in three seniors in the US dies with Alzheimer’s or some form of dementia. This number is higher than deaths related to prostate cancer and breast cancer combined.

All forms of dementia are complex and can be difficult to understand. So, what type of care is needed for dementia patients? Well, different types of care are needed at different times and different stages of the disease, depending on the patient. In order to help your loved one with dementia, it is important to understand what types of support are available and how to decide which is right for your situation.

What Type of Care is Needed for Dementia Patients?

Alzheimer’s and dementia look different for all patients. As patients progress in the disease, more care is required. For many patients, the changes are slow and spread out over time. For others, the disease can seem to progress very quickly. In order to find the best care for dementia patients, you must consider the person’s current and future needs, the availability of family to provide support and the overall safety and happiness of your loved one. Here are a few care options to consider:

Adult Day Care Centers
For full-time caregivers, it is important to have support systems in place that offer a safe break for the caregiver and the patient. Adult day centers have team members who specialize in dementia care and they can provide a safe, fun environment for your elderly loved one. These centers also offer an opportunity for your loved one to be social and involved in activities.

In-Home Care
Many caregivers find themselves caring for aging parents during the season of life when they are also raising young children and working full time. An in-home service can give your loved one the support needed to remain in their home, while lifting some of the responsibility for daily care from your shoulders. There are different levels of in-home care, including:

  • Companion services, which provide supervision and friendly company for recreational activities;
  • Personal care services, which include assistance with activities such as dressing, eating, bathing, using the restroom and exercising;
  • Homemaker services, which include housekeeping, meal prep and shopping;
  • Skilled care services, which provide assistance from a licensed professional with physical therapy, wound care, injections and other medical needs.

Residential Care
Residential care means your loved one would live at the care facility. There are different types of residential care communities and each offers varying levels of care. To find the best care for dementia patients and for your loved one specifically, you must know what types of communities are in your area and what each type of community offers. The types of communities include:

  • Retirement housing
  • Assisted living
  • Nursing homes/Skilled nursing facilities
  • Alzheimer’s special care units (SCUs)
  • Continuing care retirement communities (CCRC)

Finding the Best Care for Dementia Patients

Once your family decides that a loved one would be best served in residential care, it can be a relief. However, now it is time for the critical decision of selecting the right facility. Here are a few tips to help with finding the best care for dementia patients:

  • Make appointments to visit several facilities and have questions ready ahead of time. Do your research before the visit and be prepared to compare what the facilities have to offer.
  • Schedule your visits at various times during the day. Consider visiting at meal time to see how the process works. Make return visits if needed.
  • Ask the facilities about participation in Medicare or Medicaid. Many families wonder what does Medicare cover for Alzheimer’s care? It varies between facilities, so it is important to have a clear understanding of the specific facility you are interested in.
  • Consider placing your loved one on a waiting list, even if you are not yet ready to make a move.
  • Inquire as to what happens if a resident runs into financial trouble or is no longer able to pay. If you think finances may be an issue, consider meeting with an elder care attorney who can help put a financial plan in place.

Options Close to Home

At Stratford Commons Memory Care Community, we understand that each resident has unique needs. Under the supervision of our Medical Director, we work closely with you and your loved one to create a care plan that provides the very best support for all residents and the special type of care needed for dementia patients. Contact us today to request a tour.