Caring for a loved one with dementia can be very exhausting on a family and it’s resources. About 15.7 million adult family caregivers care for someone who has Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia., according to a survey done by the[Alzheimer’s Association in 2015.
There are several different options for care for seniors with dementia. A few of them include:

Adult day Care Centers – Day centers offer people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias the opportunity to be social and to participate in activities in a safe environment. For the working caregiver, this option can be very valuable as you may be unable to leave your loved one alone at home during the day.

In-home care – A wide range of services can be provided in the home, rather than in a care facility, such as companion/homemaker services, personal care services, and skilled care. Utilizing these services can allow a person with Alzheimer’s or other dementia to stay in his or her own home.

Residential Care – For those individuals who need more care than can be provided at home, placement in a resident care facility may be the best option. Different types of facilities provide different levels of care, depending on the person’s needs. Some include Assisted Living, Memory Care Units, Continuing Care Retirement Communities, and Nursing Homes.

  • Some questions you might ask yourself to determine if it is a good time to look into these care options include:
  • Are the care needs of my loved one becoming more than I can handle on my own?
  • Am I struggling to keep up with my other commitments and responsibilities in order to care for my loved one?
  • Is it becoming unsafe for my loved one to be left alone at home?
  • Is the health (physical or mental) of my loved one or my health as a caregiver declining in our current care arrangement?

It is important to research all options before deciding which one is the best fit for you and your family, and to always get references from any potential provider of care that your interview.

If there is good family support, and the individual with cognitive impairment can generally be taken care of by informal care, it is still a good idea to look into respite care. Any of the three care options listed above can be available on a temporary or short term basis to provide a much needed break for family caregivers, so that they can take care of other commitments or take some time to relax and even vacation. The risks are high for caregiver burnout when caring for a loved one with cognitive impairments, and it is important to know your limits and care for yourself while caring for your loved one.

Following an illness or medical procedure, your loved one may need intermittent or temporary medical services to get back on their feet. Medicare will often cover a short term stay in a skilled nursing facility, but persons with Alzheimer’s or other dementias can sometimes react poorly to the change of setting and confusion of being in unknown surroundings. For those individuals, utilizing the Medicare benefit of skilled care in the home could be a good alternative solution. For more on this topic, see our previous blog, transitioning home from the hospital vs. going to a skilled nursing facility.

About the Author: Pam Reynolds, CMC is the President and co-owner of Allegiance Aging Care Services. Pam has spent almost fifteen years working in senior care including long term care facilities and home health care. Her higher education is in Social Work, and she has been credentialed as both a certified Geriatric Care Manager and Licensed Assisted Living Administrator. Read more about Pam and her team of Aging Care Professionals here



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