How To Get Alzheimer's Care

Caring for alzheimer's patient

If someone you love has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease and is no longer able to take care of him or herself, you may need some help in finding a skilled nursing home or extended care facility that will provide the level of care the patient will need. Here are some tips to help you with this difficult task:

  1. Recognize that caring for a patient with Alzheimer's Disease is a full-time responsibility and you may not be able to handle it alone.
  2. Understand that for early stage Alzheimer's, an assisted living facility may be enough care, but for patients in a more advanced stage, full-time, live-in care will likely be most appropriate.
  3. Find out what local services exist in your community that can help.
  4. Compile a list of nursing homes and extended care facilities in the area that are trained to take care of Alzheimer's patients, or find such a list that already exists.
  5. Ask your physician for a referral to a nursing home or other extended care facility.
  6. Call your local social services or elder care office for further recommendations of appropriate options.
  7. Understand that many states don't have a special licensing for Alzheimer's or dementia care, so you need to look carefully to be sure that any place you select is indeed qualified.
  8. Visit several facilities that are accepting new patients and find out what they have to offer.
  9. Notice if the residents appear well groomed and cared for, and ask if they have access to appropriate medical care.
  10. Ask how long the staff has been there and what type of training and supervision they have.
  11. Consider whether your loved one would feel comfortable in the surroundings.
  12. Find out how the facilities you like will care for your family member and meet his or her specific needs.
  13. Check to see if patients with dementia are cared for separately, as they have higher needs than more alert patients.
  14. Keep in mind that people with Alzheimer's generally do better in smaller locations, so if the facility is large, see if they have a special wing for this population.
  15. Learn what the costs and responsibilities will be and what options you have to pay for this care.
  16. Talk to a legal adviser about how best to handle the financial issues, since a person with Alzheimer's qualifies for long-term care under Medicaid only after most of the income and cash assets to care for him or her are gone.
  17. Always go with your instincts. After doing your homework and checking out the best options, let your gut feelings help you decide on how to proceed.


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