If your loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, there are so many questions and details that rush into your mind. Thinking about appropriate care is certainly at the top of the list. What are the options? What do I look for? How will I know what is most appropriate for my loved one? Finding an appropriate care plan really has two components to balance:
- Creating a plan that meets the needs of your loved one
- Finding resources and relief for you to take care of yourself
Different care options may be needed at different points in the disease to meet changing needs. We have included and defined a few care options, and what they include. If you have further questions about the Alzheimer’s Association has a great care options page with further information on understanding care choices, finding providers, coordinating services, and even an online calendar for coordinating family members who are helping:
In-home care agencies can provide flexible care tailored to changing needs. Caregivers who are Certified or Registered Nursing Assistants will come into the home and can provide a wide range of services such as:
- Companionship care
- Alzheimer’s support
- Hobby support & social activities
- Wellness activities, exercising
- Shopping & errands
- Meal preparation
- Medication reminders
In-Home Care allows individuals to stay within the comfort of their own homes with other loved ones. This can be important in maintaining a sense of continuity and independence. Care can range from a few hours a day to 24 hour live-in care. Be sure that the home care agency is licensed and bonded.
The onslaught of information and needs can be overwhelming to navigate on your own, but the good news is there are experts in eldercare that can oversee and guide the care of your loved one. A Certified Geriatric Care is a Registered Nurse or Masters of Social Work. This resource for families can be paired with in-home care or facility care. Their services include:
- Advocating at doctor’s appointments
- Medication refills and management
- Providing a neutral and professional assessment and creating a plan of care
- Overseeing caregivers and making changes to plan of care
- Monitoring and addressing changing needs
- Assisting with family dynamics
- Eldercare consulting to give resources, and advice for difficult decisions
- Acting as a liaison between different doctors/ professionals
- Assisting and referring to professionals for legal documents such as Advance Directives, Living Wills, Durable Power of Attorney, Financial Power of Attorney, Healthcare Power of Attorney, etc.
- Helping to navigate the healthcare maze from Medicare, to benefits and Long Term Care Insurance, to medical jargon, to changing medications.
Adult Day Care:
Adult Day Care Centers are designed to provide care and companionship for seniors or who need assistance or supervision during the day. The program offers relief to family members or caregivers and allows them the freedom to go to work, handle personal business or just relax while knowing their relative is well cared for and safe.
The goals of the programs are to delay or prevent institutionalization by providing alternative care, to enhance self-esteem and to encourage socialization. There are two types of adult day care: Adult social day care provides social activities, meals, recreation and some health-related services. Adult day health care offers more intensive health, therapeutic and social services for individuals with severe medical problems and those at risk of requiring nursing home care.
Seniors generally take part in the program on a scheduled basis and the services that are offered may include the following:
- Evening care
- Health screening
- Medical care
- Physical therapy
- Respite care
- Medication Management
Because not all states license and regulate adult day care centers, there may be a great deal of difference between individual centers. It is therefore important to learn more about each of the centers near you. You will probably want to visit the centers closest to you, and to talk with the staff and other families that use the centers to determine if the facilities and programs available meet your individual needs. You may want to find out if your state has an Adult Day Care Association.
Respite Care/ Emergency Care:
Even if you plan on being a full-time caregiver for your loved one, you will need rest and breaks for self-care and attending to your own life needs. It is a good idea to coordinate with other family, facilities, or in-home care providers in advance. Should you be sick, need a break, or have other emergencies, care for your loved one will be just a phone call away.
Alzheimer’s is a fatal disease that currently has no cure. While the disease may take and average of 8-12 years to fully progress to the final stages, it is important to plan for end of life care.
Courtesy of: The Washington State Hospice and Palliative Care Organization
What is hospice? | Hospice is a philosophy of care, not a specific place. Hospice services are provided to patients wherever they call “home,” whether it’s in a residence, skilled nursing facility or residential care facility.
How does hospice work? | Hospice care is provided to patients with life-limiting illnesses who no longer wish to pursue treatment to cure their disease. The typical hospice patient has a life expectancy of six months or less.
Hospice treats the person, not the disease. The emphasis is on palliative care, which means the hospice team members, under the direction of a physician, work to help the patient feel more comfortable. The goal is to enable the patient to live as fully and comfortably as possible.
What kind of support is provided the family? | Support of the whole family is an important part of the hospice care plan. Hospice considers the whole family in decision-making, with the patient’s choice as the primary concern for determining care.
Sound Options provides an elite team of In-Home Caregivers and Care Managers who can turn stressful situations into manageable ones. Whether you want to consult at the beginning of the process or need crisis management, we are here when you need us. 800.628.7649.
Published on November 23, 2012.