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Long Distance Caregiving: Ensuring Your Loved One Is Cared For When You Can't Be There

Choosing the best method of care is important to ensuring the safety and well being of your loved one

Alzheimer’s disease is a degenerative brain and the most common form of dementia. Dementia is not a specific disease. It’s an overall term that describes a group of symptoms.  It is important that when you have a loved one who has this disease to be extremely patient with them.  You have to make a complete life change and with that comes making more time for that loved one especially if their significant other is no longer present. Most families opt to place their loved one into an Alzheimer’s facility to make sure that their loved one is taken care of in the absence of caregivers and family members.

Home Care and Assisted Living

If your loved one lives at home with you, and you have noticed signs that they have significant memory loss that may cause them to be a danger to themselves or others, an investment in either home care or assisted living may be a valuable option. Both of these options will provide your loved one with a caregiver for up to 24 hours per day, that is available to be present in your absence to make sure your loved one remains safe, and additionally can provide them with the social, and emotional needs of memory-impaired residents that may be lacking if one is consumed with their own lives.

Many assisted living homes will accommodate residents with mild to moderate memory impairment. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, approximately 50%  of all elderly assisted living residents have Alzheimer’s disease or a form of dementia. The majority of residents with these conditions have an informal diagnosis, and family members or assisted living staff members need to be attentive to the ever-changing needs of the individual. For instance, many people suffering from memory diseases struggle to perform basic personal care needs on a daily basis. Caregivers need to be aware of these issues so that they are able to provide the best care possible. [Source]

Specialized Alzheimer’s Facility

If your loved one is already in an assisted living facility and you’re concerned about their safety due to an extreme cognitive impairment, which is a noticeable decline in memory and thinking skills, your family should possibly consider more enhanced care options. An Alzheimer’s facility may be a better option for providing your loved one with specialized memory care services to ensure their safety and comfort in your absence. Memory care is a specialized type of elder care specifically for the needs of seniors with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. An Alzheimer’s facility offers an individualized approach to dementia care that caters to the needs of each resident within a safe, structured environment staffed by those who are specially trained to care for individuals with cognitive impairment. These sites offer residents help with bathing, grooming, and other daily tasks, as well as secured areas that allow safe movement without the risk of wandering off. They also offer targeted therapies and activities to keep the residents engaged and active. [Source]

Ultimately when you are choosing the best Alzheimer’s facility that best suits your loved one, you have to first and foremost go and physically see the facility for yourself.  It is most important to go and get a feel for the facility first hand. By doing this you can ask very important questions that are tailored to your specific needs. Some of the questions may include:

  • Does the staff appear to be knowledgeable and caring?
  • What kind and how many hours of training has the staff had?
  • How long have the caregivers been employed in the community?
  • What is the staff to resident ratio during the day and at night?
  • Is there an individual care plan for each resident?
  • Does the community’s philosophy of care and treatment programs resonate with you?

Furthermore, make sure that you look at their calendar of events to see how residents are being mentally stimulated throughout the year.  Music, art, and exercise should be offered at least once per week.  Another aspect to consider is how the building appears and making sure the environment is warm and welcoming. Ideally, the property would be protected and secure to prevent residents from wandering away, and it should be easy to navigate. Most importantly, pay close attention to how receptive your loved one is to the environment before you make a final decision.

Choosing an Alzheimer’s facility for a senior loved one can be a daunting task. Trusting that others will provide the proper care for your elderly family member in your absence can be stressful. In the end, take your time with a decision as it may not be easy, but keep in mind that the decision you want to make is one that you feel ensures that your loved one is care for well above a bare minimum standard.

For more information about memory care services provided by ComfortCare Homes, please call our office at (316) 444-0532.

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