Dementia that comes with Alzheimer’s is tremendously frightening to both those suffering through it and their loved ones. Keeping an Alzheimer’s patient home longer, surrounded by familiar
spaces and faces, has been shown to help reduce the risk of death.
The Science of Senior Care & Alzheimer’s Patients
One study organized by the UCSF Memory and Aging Center shows that institutionalized Alzheimer’s patients faced three times the risk of death once in a long-term care facility. Another study published in the Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences found that the longer a patient remains at home, the better they fare when transitioning into a care facility. While they have not yet identified the full cause, there is speculation that the disruption from the familiar may heighten issues associated with Alzheimer’s.
Making Home Care Work
Treating dementia patients requires specialized knowledge and a deep understanding of the disease. Care also needs to be available full time and be able to provide stimulation and emotional support to the patient. Agency caregivers receive continued training focused on their job duties. Even if family members intend to assist with care, it’s important to have a trained caregiver on hand to assist and share knowledge.
In-home care is considerably less expensive than facility-based elder care, but not without its cost. The AARP and the Alzheimer’s Association both offer excellent resources.
Caregivers must interact with and provide stimulation and emotional support. Active engagement is a vital part of helping to slow the advancement of the disease.
As dementia worsens, it’s important to ensure that the home environment is as safe as possible. Turn down the temperature on the water heater, lock up hazardous chemicals and medicines, set alarms on doors, and place bars or barriers on upstairs windows and patio access points.
When to Transition
Not every person is right for home care, and many will need to transition to higher care facilities as their condition declines. Knowing when to move a beloved family member from their home into an assisted care facility can be a challenging decision. Here are some things to consider.
- How safe is the home environment? If the home is incapable of being made safe, then a long-term care facility is the best choice.
- How aware is the patient of his or her surroundings? Advanced dementia comes with a reduced awareness of their surroundings. If the patient is no longer connecting with their environment, a transition can be accomplished with little disruption.
- Is there quality care available in a specialty unit? Long-term assisted living care for a dementia patient still requires specialty training. Make sure the facility you will be leaving your loved one in is equipped and staffed to handle the unique needs of an Alzheimer’s patient. It’s worth keeping a care team in the home until you can find a safe new home.
If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring home care services in Mesa, AZ, please contact the caring staff at About You Home Care (480) 427-4840. Servicing Phoenix and the surrounding communities.
Debbie experienced firsthand in her own family the challenges that caregiver’s endure when caring for an aging loved one and saw a need for providers who adhere to a higher standard with exceptional service and individualized care that she herself provided in her behavioral health career. Debbie combined her background in healthcare with her entrepreneurial experience and founded About You Home Care with a vision of serving others who were faced with the struggles that her family had experienced. She’s also a strong believer in community service and does volunteer work for Duet, a nonprofit organization that provides aid for older adults and their families that face the difficult challenges associated with aging. Debbie has been on the fundraising event Steering Committee since 2011 and served as the event chair for two of those years.
Debbie did her Undergraduate studies in Psychology and Behavioral Science with Honors and pursued additional education in Chemical Dependency Counseling.
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