Growing old is inevitable. Eventually, your loved ones’ needs will change, becoming more and more demanding over time. Factors such as physical health or mental health decline contribute to the need of our loved ones to be transferred to a senior care facility. In choosing which facility to move, the design is an important factor. Most seniors tend to choose a place where they can feel at home than a hospital-looking one. Long-term care facilities can help your loved ones accomplish the daily activities through the help of our highly trained staff.
It’s no wonder why assisted living is the best senior care available today. There is, however, the matter of whether or not these facilities are able to handle senior residents who have cognitive diseases such as dementia or Alzheimer’s. It’s important to know that the answer depends on what care the facility is able to provide.
Dementia is a common condition among the residents that are living in an assisted living facility but the problem is, most of them are misdiagnosed and as a result, they’re not given the proper care and medication that they need. In fact, 42% of the seniors in assisted living care facilities have some cognitive dysfunction or dementia according to the 2016 Alzheimer’s Facts and Figures by the Alzheimer’s Association and these numbers continue to rise every day and of all the living facilities in the country, only 58% of these offers a memory care program for seniors.
If you’re thinking of moving your senior loved one to a long-term care facility, it is important to know the facts first. The most important thing to know is whether or not the facility of your choice would be able to cater all the needs of your loved ones. But before that, it is important to be able to distinguish the difference between an assisted living facility and other communities that offer senior care and the services they offer.
What is Assisted Living?
Assisted living differs from a nursing home in a way that an assisted living facility is not licensed similarly to a nursing home. Assisted living also does not offer medical assistance on-site and mainly focuses on the independence of seniors and primarily tends to their unscheduled needs.
Generally, assisted living assists seniors in the daily activities such as bathing, grooming, mobility, meal preparation, as well as medication management. It also includes housekeeping and laundry services. Most assisted living facilities usually accept senior residents who don’t need a comprehensive and constant medical care.
Assisted Living for Seniors with Dementia
It is a fact that the number of seniors diagnosed with dementia rises each day. Though there are a lot of facilities that provide memory care for their residents with cognitive problems, the programs they provide varies. For example, one facility may only be able to provide care for people who have mild dementia and the other assisted living facility may accept residents diagnosed with a later stage.
Assisted living facilities that are made to provide special care for residents with Alzheimer’s are also common though they vary from one facility to the other.
With this, it is really important to look up facilities beforehand. Researching could help you become well-informed of the services that are covered by each assisted living facility, therefore, could help you in choosing the best place for your loved one.
Special Care Units (SCUs) is the term used to refer to assisted living facilities that provide a comprehensive care for seniors diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Residents are assisted and tended to by highly trained professionals. These differ from an ordinary living facility in a way that these facilities provide programs that aim to repair or improve the cognitive function of the residents and their community are specifically intended and designed to suit the needs of residents with dementia.
Assisted Living For Seniors With Advanced Stages of Alzheimer’s
While most of the assisted living facilities only accept residents with an early stage of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, some facilities offer a more comprehensive care as the symptoms of this disease worsen. Moving the senior to a nursing facility or a nursing home ensures that the residents will be able to receive the care they need 24/7 from highly trained staff.
Although some facilities may just focus on providing assistance to residents with early or late stages of dementia or Alzheimer’s, there are also other facilities that offer long-term care for people regardless of what stage of Alzheimer’s they’re in.
Choosing The Right Assisted Living Facility
The best way of knowing which facility to move your loved one into is by visiting them. This way, you’ll be able to assure that all their needs will be managed and taken care of. If you have a list of facilities you’re considering, it’s better to visit all of them. This way, you’ll be able to compare the services and programs they offer. To help you in choosing the right one, here is a list of the things you need to consider in an assisted living facility to transfer your loved one into:
- The design of the facility – nonslip floors, good lighting, or proper locks.
- The level of security – monitoring system and motion detectors.
- Well-devised programs that are available to the residents.
- Warmhearted Staff.
- The time it takes for the personnel to take information that they can use in order to provide the care that would match the needs of the residents while ensuring the safety and well-being of each senior.
- The atmosphere of the facility.
- Highly trained professionals that are capable of handling patients with difficult behaviors
- Different varieties of activities that are designed to improve the cognitive functions of residents with dementia.
- Activities that would spark the interests of residents (i.e. recreational activities)
- The residents that are currently living in the facility – do look healthy? Are they happy?
- Does the facility have a place where residents may be able to enjoy their hobbies (i.e walking, gardening, etc.) or space where they will be allowed to relax?
- Activities that celebrate simple accomplished tasks such as making the bed or cleaning their room.
Asking The Right Questions
In addition to the list of considerations, here are also some questions to ask the assisted living personnel to know more about the workings of their facility:
- How many caregivers are on duty per shift? How about during weekends and holidays?
- How many rooms does the facility have?
- How many residents are living in the facility?
- How many residents with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are currently living in the facility?
- What if there’s an emergency? Is there a structured plan during emergencies?
- What is the level of care offered by the facility?
- What levels of care would the facility be able to offer residents with dementia or Alzheimer’s?
- Are transportations available for residents should they need it?
- Are the caregivers capable enough to handle dementia care for residents? How are they going to handle the wandering and difficult behaviors of their residents with dementia?
- What is the caregiver-patient ratio of the facility?
- Are there any arrangements regarding medical equipment such as wheelchairs, oxygen tanks, and others?
- Will seniors with incontinence problems allowed?
- Can a facility kick out a resident due to bad behavior?
- Would the seniors be allowed to carry personal items to the facility with them?
- Will medications be given in order to control the residents’ behavior?
- Is there a need to transfer the senior should the symptoms of their disease progress over time?
- What is the process of administering medications to residents?
- What are the safety precautions for residents with Alzheimer’s and dementia?
Moving your loved one at an assisted living would assure you that they will be given the best care no matter their condition. The services that long-term care facilities would be able to give their residents include but are not limited to:
- Activities that focus on improving their mental and physical health
- A feeling of independence
- Exercises such as walking to help them maintain a healthy lifestyle
- Empathetic staff that is able to understand the needs of each individual
Long-term care provided by assisted living facilities is important when your loved one isn’t capable of doing their daily activities without assistance. Knowing the facts beforehand is a crucial step in choosing which facility to choose. It’s the only way to ensure their safety while their needs are well-tended.