An estimated 5 million Americans live with Alzheimer's disease and require daily Alzheimer’s care. By 2050, over 100 million people will require Alzheimer’s care. Finding Alzheimer’s care for a loved one that allows them to maintain some level of independence combined with a safe living environment requires some time and research.
There are typically three settings available for a family member who needs Alzheimer’s care. Assisted living centers and nursing homes often have dedicated Memory Care programs. They are secure units within the community that are specifically designed to meet the special needs and behaviors of persons living with various forms of dementia. Another newer option for Alzheimer’s care is a community completely dedicated to all forms of dementia. These are freestanding centers and tend to be licensed as assisted living.
In evaluating communities for Alzheimer’s care, there are typically two areas experts agree that you should focus on: resident safety/supervision and if there is a structured routine for residents.
Safety and supervision go hand-in-hand in providing quality Alzheimer’s care. Wandering is a part of the Alzheimer’s disease process, as are other behaviors (i.e. decreased judgment, disorientation to time and place) that go along with memory impairments. A secure environment and adequate staffing are two essentials things to look for in a memory care program.
Structured activity is also important for persons living with Alzheimer’s disease. Structured daily activities throughout the day (delete,) decrease agitation, as do things like consistent caregivers, consistent meal times and meal locations, and a physical environment that is structured to provide visual cues for residents. These cues can include photo cue cards, memory boxes with personal items outside a resident room, and more. Consistency and structure help to control the behaviors that sometimes come with memory loss.
HOW THEY ARE PAID
The cost of Alzheimer’s care depends upon the level of care you select.
For Alzheimer’s care in an assisted living, fees are typically paid for from private funds. There are a few exceptions. Some long-term care insurance policies cover licensed assisted living, and in a few states, Medicaid funds are available to help with assisted living costs.
Payment for Alzheimer’s care in a nursing home is either from private funds, long-term care insurance or Medicaid.
HOW THEY ARE REGULATED
Assisted living is regulated at the state level. Because of that, every state has their own policies that define and regulate what care and services are required for an assisted living community to meet the state standards.
Skilled nursing and rehab centers are regulated at both the state and the federal level. They are licensed and regulated by the Department of Public Health for the state, and are certified by both Medicaid and Medicare. In addition, there are licensing standards for the administrators and the clinical staff.
WHERE CAN I FIND ALZHEIMER CARE?
Call 1-866-678-0173 to speak with a local care counselor.