Alzheimer’s Care

Mention the word Alzheimer’s and what easily comes to mind would be “loss of mind.” True to its definition, Alzheimer’s disease (or simply Alzheimer’s) is a degenerative, incurable and terminal mind-related ailment that is generally diagnosed in people 65 years old and older. It is the most common form of dementia. When we talk about dementia, we refer to “a serious loss of cognitive ability in a previously unimpaired person.” And when there’s Alzheimer’s disease, there should be Alzheimer’s care.

Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease is quite a tough challenge – just as seismologists cannot foretell when an earthquake will strike a particular location, medical practitioners have no way of predicting how the disease will progress and how the behavior of the affected person will change. Managing routines and basic activities can be difficult for both the ill and the care provider as the condition worsens over time.

And then the question is: what’s an ideal caring setup for a person – and a senior, for that matter – with Alzheimer’s disease? With the unpredictability of Alzheimer’s come the various options of living communities to adjust to the disease’s track and, of course, to depend on the current need of the patient.

The best arrangement for Alzheimer’s care is home health care, wherein licensed skilled professionals such as nurses, physicians and therapists give full attention to the patient. Home, too, is where family members, friends or relatives feel comfortable in caring for the elder with Alzheimer’s, as things that are important in providing the needs of the patient are familiarly at hand.

But there will come a time when care providers won’t be able to take care anymore of a family’s loved one at home. At this instant, the person with Alzheimer’s will need to transfer to a place where healthcare services are available twenty-four hours, seven days a week. This non-domiciliary Alzheimer’s care setup comes in either assisted living or one with skilled nursing facilities.

In, assisted living, the senior with Alzheimer’s can live in a large apartment or a hotel-like building; for a small number of people, the home setup can be “board and care”. Assistance in taking a bath, dressing up and taking medication; and preparing meals, enjoying recreation and availing of security are included in the different levels of care.

Nursing homes (or those with skilled nursing facilities), on the other hand, render ‘round-the-clock services and supervision. The medical care and rehabilitation that they provide are an advantage for very frail residents or those patients who are already the later stages of the disease.

Occasionally, different levels of care are provided at one site, becoming continuing care communities, thus, allowing seniors to move from one type of care to another if the need arises.
The bottomline is that family members, friends and non-related care providers must exert concerted efforts in making a meaningful life for a memory-impaired senior possible – undying support for one another is key. Family members’ consistent participation in a care plan combined with the caregivers’ dedication in providing needed assistance is crucial in keeping the seniors’ well-being. This way, the self-esteem of the elders is maintained, thus still giving them a good lease on the remaining years of their lives.