In the United States, nearly 6.3 million people suffer from Alzheimer’s Disease, a type of dementia that slowly affects memory, social interaction, and cognitive functioning. There are other causes that lead to dementia, but Alzheimer’s is the most common, accounting for about three-fourths of the dementia cases in the U.S. Though it generally affects elderly people (65 and up), there has been a slight increase in cases of younger-onset Alzheimer’s, and in extremely rare cases individuals as young as 30 have been diagnosed.
However, the vast majority are those who are in the age group where elder care becomes a discussion most families must have with their relatives. This article will take a look at 4 things you should consider about nursing homes when deciding whether or not to admit your loved one who has to struggle with Alzheimer’s. Be sure to ask them about Medicare and Medicaid stipulations, too!
When dealing with Alzheimer’s, or really any condition that results in a family member needing to seek elder care, the staff is the most important part. These individuals, for the most part, are not scratching and clawing to live longer lives, they simply want to enjoy the time they have left here. With that, staff at an elder care facility becomes a team of individuals tasked with helping your loved ones ride off into the proverbial sunset, so of course you want them to be great people! Take the time to get to know them.
In addition, make sure to ask about these staff-related offerings:
- Are physicians and nurses frequently at the facility?
- Is there any full-time medical staff?
- How many team members are trained in dementia care?
- What is the staff to patient ratio?
- Any history of nursing home abuse? How were those responsible dealt with?
Dementia causes a lot of pain and sadness for families, and it’s just a hard truth. Keeping a balance is still very doable though, and homes that have planned activities for their members who have dementia is generally very indicative of a home being centered around fun and enjoyable experiences for everyone there. Music and cooking are often some of these activities, and they are not only fun, but they have actually been linked to slowing the effects, as well!
There are many different kinds of therapy that can help your loved ones cope with pain and stay positive during their nursing home experience. For the mental, one-on-one sessions with a licensed doctor can help both you and your loved one better understand what they are going through. Things like meditation, and even just listening to therapeutic music as mentioned above can work wonders.
Physical wellness often mirrors mental wellness, and types of elder physical therapy include yoga, swim classes, and massages, all of which are offered at some facilities and may be worth spending a little extra money on.
It isn’t until the very, very end stages of dementia that patients need help with virtually all activities. With this, those who still have plenty of cognitive function understand what a nursing home is and know why they are there. Allowing them to maintain a sense of pride starts with allowing them to maintain a certain level of independence. This self-pride helps boost confidence and has a direct effect on combating dementia.
Some other things that should be considered, even though not quite as important as the list above include locale/accessibility, cleanliness, and how welcoming it is to family members like yourself. Generally, most places will be clean and welcoming, but if they aren’t, it can be a good tell that you should continue your search!