One of the unfortunate truths when caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease is that at some point you will probably not be able to handle the responsibility on your own. They may need 24 hour care, and perhaps become aggressive or incontinent. In addition, they may have a tendency to leave the house and not know how to return. At this point, it is time to explore a facility that can better care for your loved one. It is a difficult decision, and you may feel you are failing your loved one, but you are really not equipped or skilled at handling someone with Alzheimer’s — especially as it advances and symptoms worsen. A well staffed and equipped nursing home knows how to care for patients with Alzheimer’s. Finding the right facility takes research and diligence on your part. Below are a few items to consider when helping to discover the right nursing home for your loved one.
- Visit the nursing home on several occasions at different times of the day to see:
- Do the residents look well cared for and clean?
- Is the facility clean or does it have any strange smells?
- Does it have a friendly staff?
- Is the staff readily available to answer questions and care for the residents?
- How are meals handled?
- Are they able to have meals in their rooms and is there a cafeteria?
- Is there any type of physical therapy available?
- Are there rooms your loved one can spend time in besides their own room (i.e, a common area outside, an activity room, a library)?
- Are the residents treated with respect?
- Talk to the staff – you want to know:
- What is the staff/resident ratio?
- Of all the residents in the facility, how many have Alzheimer’s disease?
- Are the Alzheimer’s patients housed in a separate area from the rest of the residents?
- Are their Alzheimer’s specific activities and if so, what kind of services are offered?
- How often does a doctor check on the residents?
- If my loved one needs to see a specialist, how are they transported to see the specialist?
- Typically, how does a patient with Alzheimer’s spend their day?
- Seek out other caregivers who may have a loved one at the nursing home to get their views of the facility.
Make sure you get all the particulars of all costs associated with the nursing home. Will any long-term insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid pay any or all of the costs. If you have any questions about Medicaid eligibility based on income or assets, an attorney that is well versed in elder care can discuss if you need to create a trust to protect part of your income from exceeding the Medicaid income threshold. They can also go over any contracts the nursing home wants you to sign. Reach out and contact nursing home lawyer Memphis TN if you need any assistance.
After you make the difficult decision to admit your loved one with Alzheimer’s disease in a nursing home, remember to check in and visit often. Look carefully for signs that our loved one is being cared for properly, that they are getting their meds in a timely manner. Get to know the staff and the caregivers that take care of your loved one on a regular basis. Building relationships with the staff will indicate to them you want to work as a team to take care of the resident. The more involved you are, the more apt you are to realize when something just isn’t right.
Thanks to Darrell Castle and Associates, PLLC for providing insight on Nursing Homes and Alzheimer’s.