The diagnosis of Alzheimer’s in a loved one can be a disruptive event. You may have many concerns and questions about managing the condition at present and what will happen in the future. Fortunately, family members have several options to ensure their loved one receives appropriate care for their special needs.
Adult Day Care Centers
Adult day care center are a new concept that provides daytime caregiving for seniors and those with memory problems in a stimulating, social environment with trained personnel who supervise activities. Individuals can participate in a variety of group activities, which helps to provide mental stimulation and physical exercise.
Individuals who choose to provide full-time care for their loved one with Alzheimer’s may occasionally have other obligations that take them away from care. Respite care is a system that provides experienced, compassionate care for the loved one, while you are out of town or are taking a break from the demands of caregiving.
Assisted Living Care
Assisted living centers are facilities that offer separate living quarters for residents, but also a range of services to make every life more manageable for them. The facilities generally offer group dining rooms, housekeeping services, group activities and field trips to local events. Assisted living centers offer a measure of independence and privacy, but with ongoing supervision and medical support. They provide careful building security; which can be important for individuals who tend to wander.
At-Home Senior Care
Many seniors prefer to stay in their homes, and home health care agencies offer a variety of services to help these individuals receive necessary care in the comfort of their own homes. You can choose the level of senior care your loved needs and add more features, when needed. In-home caregivers can often be the best solution for working family members who still need to provide care for elders and are concerned about the disruption of changing the loved one’s living situation.
Nursing Home Care
Nursing home care provides comprehensive, 24-hour care for individuals who may be in the later stages of Alzheimer’s disease and need full time care. These facilities also have the ability to manage the medical problems that are involved in those who are dealing with Alzheimer’s disease.
Each family has their own needs, and the care needs of your loved one may change over time. Careful consideration of your loved one’s current situation, and consultation with the individual’s physician, can help you determine the best option to ensure their safety and health.
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Often, aging individuals can find it challenging to maintain their hobbies they once enjoyed. This can often leave an empty space in their lives that they aren’t exactly sure how to fill. Sometimes, it can even lead to social withdrawal or a sedentary lifestyle. Therefore, it is important to stay active and engaged in activities you love as you get older. While you may not be able to participate in rigorous physical activities that you enjoyed when you were younger, there are still many fun and leisurely hobbies you can take up. The following information provides some helpful tips about pastimes you can begin at almost any age:
Puzzles and Board Games Puzzles and games are a great way to keep your memory sharp. Many people believe that they can even help to improve your cognitive abilities and prevent memory loss. Therefore, these make great activities for the elderly. Planning a game night with your friends and family is also a great way to engage with others and become more social. Planning a game night can be relatively simple. To start off, you should research some of the most popular games that your guests are likely to enjoy and then purchase a few. You can also prepare snacks or a nice dinner to make your guests feel right at home.
Arts and Crafts Arts and crafts are also another great option that can be taken up at nearly any age. If you are a creative person and enjoy making things, this could be something you can explore. You can learn how to paint, draw, sculpt, or take up photography. You can also make your own DIY projects and crafts, such as wreaths, flower arrangements, jewelry, pressed flowers, scrapbooks, and birdhouses.
Sewing In addition, if you are interested in sewing, there are many options to pursue, such as knitting and crocheting. You can knit blankets, scarves, or socks and even take up quilting. If you are interested in making your own clothing, this can also be a great way to pass the time. There are so many options when it comes to sewing, and learning these new skills can help you to make things for yourself or even gifts for your friends and family that they can appreciate for many years to come!
Coin Collecting Coin collecting can be a very rewarding and engaging activity. It can allow you to potentially make money in the future if you are able to hold onto your coins while they increase in value. Not only this, but collecting coins helps you to gain a deeper appreciation for history and culture. If it is something that interests you, you may want to visit some of your local silver coin shops to learn more about the hobby.
Overall, you shouldn’t let aging hold you back from finding new activities that you enjoy. Hobbies can help to bring a lot of fulfillment into your life and they can make a great way to pass the time on slow and boring days. You just need to find what you enjoy and turn it into a hobby or skill that you can develop!
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As the rate of Alzheimer’s Disease increases and we seem to be on the brink of a cure or treatment. It still seems all too futuristic to those in the here and now fighting for loved ones with the disease.
As the idea that there may be a cure around the corner lingers, the disease is still growing in numbers and being aware of the signs at home in order to get treatment as early detection are keys to potentially living more independently longer, subsiding the symptoms.
Alzheimer’s is a brain disease that causes the slow decline of memory, thinking and reasoning skills. Let’s review basic warning signs. These signs may be experienced differently by each person to varying degrees.
Memory loss – One might forget recent information like dates or events. Asking the same questions over and over. Using things like post it notes, reminder notes, electronic devices, or even family to remember things they used to remember on their own.
Problem Solving – One might have problems developing and following a plan or working with numbers. They may start forgetting to pay monthly bills, work electronics like phones, stoves, and remotes, etc. that were everyday routine devices.
Losing Track of Times and Dates – One might start losing track of dates and time. They may start forgetting how they got somewhere or even where they are.
Visual Changes – Some Alzheimer’s patients have experiences changes in vision with judging distance, color, and depth perception. These are problematic to those who may still be driving.
Problems with Speech – One might have trouble following or joining a conversation, they may stop in the middle of a conversation or have no idea how to continue, repeating themselves. They struggle with their words and sometimes are unable to find the right words, calling things by the wrong names at times.
Misplacing Things – One might start putting things in odd places, losing things, and unable to recall steps to find them. Some may accuse others of stealing those things. This may start occurring more frequently as they may appear to be paranoid.
Poor Judgment – One may start having poor decision-making and changes in their judgment. They may not be able to deal with money, giving large amounts away or handling it improperly. This makes them more vulnerable to people who may want to take advantage. They may start bathing less and not taking care of their hygiene.
Withdraws from Family, Social, and Work – One might begin removing themselves from their social activities, hobbies, projects, and even their own family. They start avoiding these situations because of the changes that they are experiencing.
Mood Changes – The mood and the personality of someone with Alzheimer’s changes as they become confused and become experiencing depression, fear, and anxiety in their daily lives. They are no longer able to find a “comfort zone”.
Clearly, many of these signs can be normal in aging adults. Recognizing multiple and ongoing signs in someone you love should not be ignored, schedule a doctor’s appointment.
There is treatment available with early detection, relief of the symptoms and will help them maintain a level of independence longer.
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When your loved one with dementia or other age-related memory problems is at the point where it is no longer reasonable or safe for them to live alone, you may need to find a community that is right for them. A community or facility that specializes in memory care. Do you know where to start? Do you know what to look for and how much does it cost?
The needs of folks with Memory problems such as Alzheimer’s disease, dementia or other types of memory problems can vastly differ from those in need of long-term care. Choosing a memory care facility that is designed to meet your loved ones care not only includes their medical needs, but their comfort and safety.
Choosing the right memory care options may be confusing. To clear things up, assisted living communities offer special memory care units (SCU) in separate buildings, floors, etc. It’s important to make sure that the staff have training and can properly assist patients with dementia or impaired cognition. According to Mitzi McFatrich, executive director of Kansas Advocates for Better Care, “they can offer staff extensively trained in caring for people with dementia, individualized care that minimizes the use of dangerous psychotropic drugs, a home-like environment and activities that improve residents’ quality of life. But at their worst, they may offer little more than a locked door.” https://www.kiplinger.com/article/retirement/T027-C000-S004-how-to-choose-a-memory-care-unit.html. Be cognizant of this and do your research on the staff, training, and commitment to the overall well being of their residents.
Another option would be an independent memory care community which is distinct from assisted living, these memory care communities will have specialized skilled nursing in memory care.
Memory Care communities and care have higher costs involved due to the level of care that is required for their patients. Inquiring at the community or facility on the types of financial aid and availability to utilize Medicare or Medicaid may also provide additional financial support.
According to the National Investment Center for Senior Housing and Care, “every 66 seconds someone in the U.S. develops Alzheimer’s, long-term care providers are rushing to offer memory care services. As of mid-2016, memory care facilities had the capacity to care for more than 65,000 residents-a 44% increase over the past 5 years.” Therefore, more and more facilities are being built and more focus is being put on the need for this type of care.
Plan on visiting several care facilities. Look around and talk with the staff, as well as residents and families.
When you visit a care facility, ask to see the latest survey/inspection report and Special Care Unit Disclosure form. Facilities are required to provide these. The report and the disclosure form can give you a picture of the facility’s services.
Visit the facilities at different times of the day, including meal times.
Ask the care facility about room availability, cost and participation in Medicare or Medicaid. Consider placing your name on a waiting list even if you are not ready to decide about a move.
If you will be paying for the facility out of pocket, ask what happens if the person with dementia runs out of money. Some facilities will accept Medicaid; others may not. If you anticipate the need for Medicaid either now or in the future, plan to visit with a lawyer that specializes in elder care prior to moving into a facility to ensure a good financial plan is in place.
With the need growing and more facilities/communities being built and opened to accommodate memory care residents, there is more thought being put into the design and types of communities and facilities that folks in need of memory care will need to make them feel more at home. Country Living magazine featured a facility in Ohio that built a community that is designed to look like a small town from the 1940’s while each resident has a “little house”, https://www.countryliving.com/life/a39630/nursing-home-tiny-houses/. There are communities that are including nurseries and doll therapy as new techniques arise in how to address the anxiety and stress that many patients with memory loss feel, https://khn.org/news/when-pretend-play-is-real-for-alzheimers-patients/.
Finding the Memory Care community that is right for your loved one should always include, online reviews, multiple visits to the facility without making an appointment, talking to friends and family of residents of these communities and staff. Until there is a known cure for this disease that continues to increase in diagnosis year after year, the need for these communities and care will only increase.