Many family members wish to keep their loved ones at home. Unfortunately this choice can take an enormous toll on the caregiver. Often times, the quality of life for all individuals involved decreases. When a loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimers or another Dementia related diseases, our first thought is that we will keep them at home forever. The thought of “putting them somewhere” evokes guilt and fear. You wonder who could take care of your loved one better than you. The truth is, the appropriate Specialty Care Unit can provide the structure, compassion and care that is best for your loved one. Many people put their own personal needs and health aside to take care of someone who has a very real and sometimes hard-to-manage disease. Specialty Care Assisted Living facilities can provide 24-hour, medically managed care. The staff is specifically trained to care for individuals suffering from Dementia related diseases and are continuously trained throughout the year. Activities and daily tasks are specially designed to provide independence, dignity and mental stimulation. A good Specialty Care Assisted Living will respect the uniqueness of each resident and dedicate themselves to improving their quality of life. We love our residents the way we love our families. We believe in close relationships and good communication with the resident’s family, and each day we work to glorify God.
There are some misconceptions people have about Assisted Living and I would like to touch on just a few of those.
One misconception is that your loved one will have 24-hour, one-on-one care.
We do not provide 24-hour one-on-one care. There is not a caregiver for each resident. It is a home-like environment with 2-3 caregivers per 16 residents. What is important is that you find a facility with on-site nursing and active resident management.
Another common misconception- it is cheaper to bring a sitter into the home.
Sitters are generally not cheaper than a facility. If you have a sitter for only 12 hours a day at $15.00 per hour, you will be spending over $5400.00 per month. If you have around the clock sitters at $15.00 per hour, you will be spending $10800.00 per month. That does not include utilities, food, mortgage/rent etc. Specialty Care Assisted Living at Angels will cost on average between $4600.00 and 5100.00 per month.
And the last misconception is that Assisted Living homes are like nursing homes.
Assisted Living Facilities are not nursing homes. We do not provide skilled care such as feeding tubes and respirators, and our residents are not bed bound. They must be able to transfer with minimal assistance. We strive to keep our residents active as long as possible.
SO, WHEN IS IT TIME TO MAKE THE MOVE TO AN ASSISTED LIVING FACILITY? THERE ARE TWO DIFFERENT SCENARIOS.
The first scenario is when the Alzheimer patient lives alone. In this case, when the family or friends start noticing:
- A change in personality – the person who was once extremely outgoing might start to become more reclusive
- Persistently confusing family and friends
- Forgetting things and not accepting correction
- Money mismanagement – forgetting to pay bills or giving money away.
- Failure to remember what everyday items are used for – using items for incorrect purposes.
- Medication errors – failure to remember to take medications
- Failure to complete normal daily activities such as dressing and bathing themselves, cooking and nutrition, and household chores.
- Difficultly in learning and remembering new things – Often times, families tell me, “there is nothing wrong with mom; she can remember things that happened 40 years ago.” This is on-par with the disease. They, in all likelihood, will remember things from years ago, but the problem is their short term memories are almost non-existent.
The second scenario is the Alzheimer patient who lives with the caregiver. In this case, changes need to be made when:
- There is violent or threatening behavior. Often times, the loved one will stay in dangerous situations to avoid having to place their loved one somewhere. In all honesty, this is the most dangerous choice of all. So many loved ones become abused by the person suffering from Alzheimer’s. The toll this abuse and stress has on a caregiver can be enormous. It usually results in the caretaker themselves becoming sick and loosing quality of life.
- When the caretaker can not be at home with the patient all the time. It only takes a moment for a Dementia patient to get lost, hurt themselves, or inadvertently hurt someone else.