Last Updated: March 22, 2019
As Alzheimer’s disease progresses, the care needs of our parents and senior loved ones will change. Creating an Alzheimer’s care plan soon after diagnosis will help ensure that care requests from your loved one are still considered and incorporated into their life.
Eventually, Alzheimer’s will require round-the-clock care for your senior loved one, so it’s important to plan for their care and well-being soon after diagnosis. Learn more about Alzheimer’s care options and which one is the best fit for your loved one.
Alzheimer’s Care Options
Different factors will determine which Alzheimer’s care options your family pursues.
In the early stages of the disease, families often choose home care so that their loved one can remain in familiar surroundings and enjoy as much independence as possible. As the disease progresses, however, residential care may be necessary to provide your loved one with the total care he or she will need.
Here are six Alzheimer’s care options to consider:
1. Adult day centers.
A safe environment for your loved one, adult day centers offer structured activities and programs, such as art or music therapy and a means for your loved one to socialize. Many adult day centers also provide meals and transportation.
2. Assisted living.
For individuals who require assistance with tasks such as dressing or preparing meals but do not need skilled medical care yet, assisted living might deliver the right amount of support. In these communities, residents can have their own apartment or suite or share a residence to help reduce costs. Along with 24-hour staff, typical assisted living services include dining, housekeeping, laundry, recreational activities and transportation.
3. Home care.
At home, your loved one with Alzheimer’s will benefit from well-known sights and sounds but a few changes will be needed to make the home easy-to-navigate and safe. The Alzheimer’s Association recommends looking at the home “through the eyes of a person with dementia,” without creating too restrictive a setting. Here are just a few recommended home safety tips:
- Keep stairways well-lit
- Lock hazardous areas, such as stairwells, storage areas and workrooms
- Lock medications in a cabinet or drawer
- Make sure carbon monoxide detectors, fire extinguishers and smoke detectors work
- Remove objects that could cause injury
- Set the water temperature to 120 degrees or less to prevent scalding
4. Home care services.
Depending on the agency, in-home care services will provide companion services, home health aides and skilled nursing care or even help with household chores. In turn, caregivers have time to enjoy outings, run personal errands, participate in support groups or simply relax.
5. Memory care.
Special memory care units within senior living communities are designed for people with Alzheimer’s or dementia. Generally, these units group residents together on their own floor or wing of a larger care residence. Memory care staff have received specialized training in care needs for people with Alzheimer’s and programming caters to the needs of people with memory problems and includes safety measures like secured exits.
6. Nursing home.
When your loved one reaches a point of needing skilled nursing care, you might consider a nursing home. These facilities offer room and board, plus round-the-clock medical care and supervision. They will also work with you regarding care planning, special nutrition issues and other concerns.
Which Alzheimer’s Care Option Is Best for Your Loved One?
The disease stage and your loved one’s specific care needs will determine what type of Alzheimer’s care you choose.
Each setting is different but talking with your loved one in the early stages of the disease to get input from family members will allow you to draft a plan. Finances, location and other issues specific to your loved one’s health should all be part of the conversation.
If you need help searching for memory care for a loved one, browse through Alzheimers.net’s memory care communities and speak with an Advisor who can answer your questions about which communities best meet your family’s needs.
What Alzheimer’s care options did you choose for your loved one with the disease? We’d like to hear your story in the comments below.