Alzheimer's Care

Alzheimer’s disease or AD is a degenerative disease with no known cure. It is the most common form of dementia, marked with severe loss of cognitive abilities in an individual with normal capabilities. Widely known as old-timer’s disease, Alzheimer’s commonly occurs in people over 65 years of age but can sometimes transpire earlier. This progressive disease will only worsen in time and may ultimately lead to death.

It is important to be able to identify early symptoms that could be mistaken as a part of growing of old. Symptoms vary for every individual, although there are similarities in characteristics. Individuals with Alzheimer’s often show forgetfulness or have trouble recalling recent events. A diagnosis is confirmed by subjecting the person to tests that measure thinking abilities and an evaluation of behavioral patterns. A brain scan may be done if additional diagnostics are needed.

The disease will progress in time. Confusion is a common complaint. Long-term memory loss may occur without warning. Sudden mood swings are marked with aggression and irritability. Language troubles further isolate individuals suffering from Alzheimer’s. Even loved ones will no longer be able to reach out and communicate with the person once the disease has progressed.

Caring for a Person with Alzheimer’s

Care for a person with Alzheimer’s is very hands-on. During the disease’s early stages, independent functioning is still present. Sensible practices and patience can decrease frustration as daily activities become much harder for them to do. Agitation and even aggression will be displayed as simple tasks turn impossible. Great consideration should be given in providing comfort while maintaining dignity. Planning for care should be done to facilitate activities of daily living with smaller challenges and less dissatisfaction.

Involvement is the key to lessening frustration felt by an individual with AD. Letting your loved one perform the tasks with minimal assistance reinforces their self-worth. Limiting the choices can also allow them to make uncomplicated decisions by themselves. Expect that activities will take longer than normal so schedule appropriately, making sure that time constraints are flexible and feasible. Persons with Alzheimer’s will find it much easier to respond to simpler instructions. Doing activities one step at a time will yield better results. Diminishing distractions will also help in getting the job done.

Finding a Facility for People with Alzheimer’s

Most families are not equipped to take care of loved ones suffering from Alzheimer’s. Work, school and the demands of everyday living are all understandable reasons why families choose to find an assisted living facility.

That is why care for Alzheimer’s is one of the services being offered by assisted living facilities. Individuals suffering from Alzheimer’s should be able to continue their lives comfortably and with dignity in a place that is safe and secure. Support can be easily accessed in a residential care institution that can provide optimum care for residents with AD.

When planning to transfer a loved one to an assisted living facility, critical considerations must be addressed. Residents with Alzheimer’s have apparent needs that can only be properly attended to in a specialized facility. Most families plan for this ahead of the actual time of transfer. This is usually done to avoid being left with no choice because the need to place a loved one in a facility has become urgent.

Planning the Course of Care

Planning should be done once the diagnosis is made. Whatever legalities that should be discussed by the prospective resident with her family or legal representatives must be accomplished while cognitive faculties are still intact. This way, proper allocation of assets and funds can be processed for payment to a facility and for medical needs. Individual preferences over what kind of facility and the location can also be noted at this point.

Advanced planning gives families enough time to study their options in providing the best amount of care. Available care on residents with Alzheimer’s can be researched to determine which facility can meet the needs of a loved one. Options can be adequately scrutinized and investigated so that potential problems can be avoided.

Allocation of funds should also be discussed with long-term financial planning in mind. Residents with Alzheimer’s have extra needs that must be met which means increase in charges by the facility. If a loved one has lost the ability to execute decisions over assets, an eldercare attorney may be consulted. A power of attorney can also be used by adult children or closest kin. An application for guardianship or conservatorship can also be made.

Special Considerations

Once financial limitations have been set, the family can now narrow down initial choices on which facility to select. A personal visit to the facility is essential, and as well as observing the premises announced and unannounced to have a better idea of how things actually are.

An interview with the staff is also necessary to know if proper care and medical attention are available. Ask for pertinent information like certificates and licenses. Inquire about their experience in handling residents with Alzheimer’s. Take note also of how many residents with the disease are currently living in the facility. Observe how these patients are being cared for and if they are being adequately supervised. Ask how services provided for residents with AD differ from the other inhabitants without the illness.

Residents with Alzheimer’s have numerous behavioral problems. A common problem such as wandering can be very dangerous. Most of the time, pain cannot be verbalized or expressed freely by residents with Alzheimer’s. Pose questions on how assessment is done and how these behaviors are handled.

Have an idea about how the staff is rotated. Ask what kind of staff and how many personnel are available within any given time frame. These inquiries will give a good picture if help will be readily obtainable if a resident is in urgent need of assistance.

Try to be present during mealtimes to see how residents are aided with feeding. People suffering from Alzheimer’s may not remember to eat or drink. Inquire about how adequate nutrition and hydration are guaranteed.

Lastly, find out if the facility has a special care unit for residents afflicted with Alzheimer’s. A special care unit is a designated space specifically meant for enhanced care and active therapy. Behavioral management can also be done here to allow residents to be independent for extended periods of time. This unit provides a therapeutic environment where activities can be done safely and securely, especially for residents who wander.

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