When a close friend or family member is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, it is almost impossible to remain consistently pragmatic and logical. However, it is entirely in the best interests of your loved one to be as realistic and, frankly, hardheaded as possible, especially when deciding how to proceed in terms of care options.
Continue reading to discover the different types of care available in the United States for people who are suffering from memory disorders to help in making a decision.
Table of Contents
1. Independent Living
There is a plethora of professional and established independent living facilities that have experienced and medically trained staff on-site who can help if they are needed.
Independent living is best suited for those older adults who, having been diagnosed with a memory-based disease such as Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia recently and, as a result, are showing little to no side effects and symptoms from the disorder. Independent living is also the best choice if, for example, one of your parents needs more specialized care whereas the other is perfectly active and still wholly social as they can both move together and have their different needs and desires met.
Independent living in Chicago affords its residents the opportunity to retain the best possible quality of life for as long as they are able, with social pursuits actively arranged and encouraged. Fundamentally, the only real difference between independent living facilities and remaining in their own home is that your loved one can live a wholly independent life for as long as possible without the worry of household chores and home maintenance.
2. Adult Day Centers
Adult day centers specifically in place for people suffering from memory disorders are as much a benefit to your loved one as they are for the primary caregiver. While your loved one is safe, secure, and comfortable in an environment expressly designed to cater for dementia sufferers, you as the primary caregiver are able to spend a few hours of the day looking after your own needs, be that taking some well-deserved, self-caring alone time or simply running errands and completing chores that you are unable to do when your loved one is at home with you.
The majority of adult day centers are open every day, including weekends and bank holidays, and staff ensures that the same people are there on the same days of the week so your loved one will be able to build genuine friendships at the center. Various studies have shown that, once a person becomes adjusted to the new experiences of the adult day center, they start to look forward to going and are excited to get stuck in with all the activities with similarly minded people.
3. Senior Living Communities
Senior living communities are essentially independent living communities with a greater presence of on-site security and immediate assistance from trained medical professionals. If your loved one is starting to show outward signs and symptoms of dementia, senior living communities may well be the best course of action going forward.
The fundamental primary aim of senior living staff is to aspire to encourage the residents to maintain as high a standard of quality of life as long as possible and as much as possible. Residents are afforded their own individual apartment and, if capable, are left alone to carry out their daily chores, from washing and dressing to household chores such as dusting and hoovering. Most senior living communities have in-house laundry services and an extremely active social calendar.
4. Home Visitations
Again, more appropriate in the early stages of memory disorders, there are many advantages to choosing home visitations and in-home care for your loved one. If your loved one is starting to find it difficult to keep on top of household chores and home maintenance tasks, or they are unable to thoroughly wash or dress, personal care services are available. A trained professional comes to the home once a day or more to assist your loved ones with whatever they need.
Home visitations are welcome assistance for caregivers as they afford them the opportunity to take care of their own responsibilities and other family members as well as giving them a well-earned break from caregiving. Additionally, it can be arranged for medical professionals to regularly visit your loved one in their own home to assist with medication and even to consult and diagnose a new or reoccurring issue. Companion services can also be arranged to keep your loved one company when you are unable.
5. Hospice Care
Although this is one of the most tragic things you and your family will experience, it is important to be aware of the progression of memory disorders. Tragically, more often than not, there will come a time when you need to consider end-of-life care for your loved one.
One of the most popular and kindest choices when considering this sobering reality is to move your loved one into a hospice, where there are medical professionals who specialize in caring for dementia patients who have reached this stage.
The fundamental objective of a hospice is to manage the pain residents experience as a symptom of the disease and to make each resident as comfortable as possible. The treatment given by the highly trained medical staff is solely based on providing as much comfort and safety as possible, rather than working towards prolonging life or curing the disorder.
There are a plethora of services accessible in a hospice setting, both for your loved one and for you and other close family members. Notably, hospices usually provide on-site counseling for both you and your loved one to help you deal with the prospect and reality of end-of-life care. Other primary services provided by hospices include bereavement and grief support for close friends and family members, medical treatments and techniques to alleviate and subdue any pain suffered by your loved one, and regular respite care for the primary and secondary caregivers.