According to Alzheimer’s Disease International, someone in the world develops Alzheimer’s every 3 seconds and by 2030, the number of Alzheimer’s cases in the world will have reached 75 million. I say this because caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s is not only a global issue, but it is one that is close to home for many people in the United States.
The first thing one needs to understand when considering a place other than you home for care is to aware of the choices that are available for caring for one with this disease.
ASSISTED LIVING FACILITY VS. MEMORY CARE
Assisted living facilities and memory care are not the same things by any stretch. Assisted living facilities are those that accommodate an elderly person when they are no longer able to help themselves with some of the basic everyday activities such as eating, bathing and dressing. In addition to helping with the basic activities listed above, assisted living will also provide additional important needs which will include assistance with transportation and medication management with a staff available on a 24/7 basis.
On the other hand, memory care is that facility which will address and provide assistance with issues that are prevalent in late stage dementia. Often an assisted living facility will have an area of their campus that is devoted to such a situation and are sometimes referred to as Special Care Units (SCU).
Also, the need for a memory care unit is often not evident when an elderly person begins to lose physical capacity such as the lack of ability to care for their basic needs. This is a major consideration for choosing a facility that has both assisted living and memory care availability. At such a facility, one can more easily transition a person from assisted living to memory care.
HOW TO MAKE THE MOVE
With this in mind, how to transition a dementia patient to either of these types of facilities is often not a simply task.
One of the first things to do when your loved one begins to lose capacity is to consult their physician. This is important since a person’s basic rights include the right to autonomy and self-determination. Often a physician will recommend a psychiatric evaluation to determine whether your loved one has actually lost cognitive ability in opposed to just being opinionated or stubborn which is a personality trait. There are certain tests that can help in determining whether a person’s decline is mild (known as Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI). They will also use neurological exams and blood work to assist in this. Often family testimony is an important criterion for judgment.
Once you have determined lose of cognitive ability, you will need to make a choice for a facility. After this choice has been made, you should accept that breaking the news to your love one will not be an easy task.
It is best to start this at the early stages of dementia, but not wise to open the subject to them by telling them that they need more help than you can offer. Also, it is best to not include them in the details of planning the transition. The best time of day to make the move is important to a successful move as is decorating their room with familiar items prior to the move.
Call Missy Donaghy with Interiors for Seniors for a FREE consultation 321-279-3301.
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