Alzheimers Care Facility Abuse
When a family member is caring for someone with Alzheimers, they soon realize how expensive and difficult of a job it can be. Individuals who are still in the early stages of Alzheimers do not require much extra care, but once the individual;has moderate or late stage Alzheimers, the caregiver may need to move them to an Alzheimers Care Facility.
Alzheimers Care Facilities, which are also called memory care units, are specially designed and staffed to provide high quality care to patients with Alzheimers or other forms of dementia. However, even in these facilities there is a risk for elder abuse.
Escalating Care Needs For Adls
Dementia patients are very prone to falling. Their cognitive impairment makes them unable to perform any ADLs . As the term implies, it refers to the six basic human skills:
Not only ADLS but doing IADLs can be a challenge for patients with dementia. While ADLs are basic self-care tasks, IADLs are more complex skills. These activities include the use of appliances, cooking, housekeeping, money management, shopping, leisure activities, and medication management.
Having minimal mobility at home can be risky for a dementia patient, even with a caregivers help. For example, a 70-year-old man can easily hurt himself trying to get his 180-pound sick wife to the toilet two or three times every day. Caregivers get stressed, too. Dealing with dementia patients might be their forte, but doing it alone can be very taxing.
Conversely, assisted living communities are equipped with facilities intended for dementia patients, which are far better than your own home. They are primarily designed to support dementia patients and prevent them from getting into any accident 24/7. If you are putting you and your caregivers overall well-being at risk, its time to give an assisted living residency a call.
Safety Concerns May Be Signs Its Time For Memory Care
Bringing up safety concerns is an important way to make family members aware of dementia behaviors, says Branshaw. He may ask relatives or caregivers if:
- Their elderly loved one is leaving burners or appliances on after cooking
- A pet;is being cared for properly
- There have been any emergency room visits
- Their aging parent has any bruises they cant explain or dont remember getting
- Wandering or getting lost has put their loved one in dangerous situations
Ask yourself if your senior;family members safety needs are being met, or if they could use extra help to avoid dangerous situations.
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Crowded Nursing Homes In The Bay Area
Theres another factor, as well, that correlates with cost. California and the Bay Area are on the verge of what could fairly be described as an Alzheimers epidemic.
- The population of the state with Alzheimers will double to nearly 1.1 million.
- 1 in 8 Californians over the age of 65 will be afflicted.
- There will be a 100% increase for African-Americans and a 200% increase for Asians and Latinos.
In San Francisco alone by 2050, there will be nearly 55,000 Alzheimers patients, 56,000 in Almeda County, 59,000 in Santa Clara, 42,000 in Contra Costa, 38,500 in San Mateo, and on and on. There will need to be massive investment in facilities in the Bay Area, but even with that, costs will increase and the laws of supply and demand take a hideous toll.
Alzheimers Resource Locator Tool
Our websites database contains information on over 300 programs that provide financial assistance or reduce the cost of caring for the elderly. Many of these programs are specifically applicable to those suffering from Alzheimers, dementia or other related memory disorders. One can search specifically for programs relevant to them by entering their demographic information into our Resource Locator Tool.
Eldercare Financial Assistance Locator
Rely On A Plan Not A Promise
The most important reason to have a plan way before it is time to even think about placement is because you probably made a promise years ago that you would handle a loved ones care yourself. It is common for people to promise to take care of their parents, spouse, siblings, whomever and pledge to never place a loved one in a nursing home for any reason.
Well, sometimes never arrives before we know it. I am telling you this as a man with dementia who knows his destiny. I am well aware of what is coming. In a year or two, I may not understand my situation, but right now I do. I do not want to put my wife or our daughter through the challenges of caring for me. I also dont want them to struggle with the difficult decision of whether to place me. They have the right to not be burdened by my disease.
Then theres the fact that, as a patient, I deserve and demand to be taken care of to the best of ones ability. A dementia patients daily care should not be substandard simply because of a promise their family member made some 20 or 30 years ago. We all have made promises we havent kept for one reason or another. This thing about, I promised my Mom I would never put her in a facility, is noble, but thats about it.
There is research involved, an assessment of your loved one must be conducted, and there needs to be a financial plan in place to cover the costs of professional care. When you take your time to prepare, there is less drama and fewer surprises.
Do All Nursing Homes Accept Dementia Patients
Medical and hygiene care in memory-care nursing homes or assisted living communities are not always available to every individual diagnosed with Alzheimers or other related dementia conditions. Typically, the state will require that an individual with dementia must need assistance in performing up to three necessities , including dressing, eating, or bathing.
Usually, people with dementia can perform most of their activities until the mid-end late stages of the disease when debilitating problems like confusion and disorientation set in. At the last stage, dementia patients require the highest level of care, including ongoing supervision, that assisted living residences and senior living memory care facilities can provide.
Not all senior living communities have specialized care units to provide the level of care the patient may need to ensure their quality of life is maintained while controlling their debilitated condition with nursing care, supervision, and medications.
Your Loved One Has Unexplained Physical Changes
Weight changes, changes in posture, and mobility problems can all indicate that your loved one needs more assistance. It may be that your loved one is forgetting to eat, or that he or she forgot they already ate and are eating again. Slow movements may be an indicator of confusion or disorientation. Memory care communities will closely monitor your loved ones nutrition and wellness making sure that he or she is eating well.
When It’s Actually Time
Outside of the above sudden changes, how do you know when you should make the move to an assisted care facility?
Here are 13 signs to consider:
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Why Do People Go To Alzheimers Care Facilities
Individuals in the early stages of Alzheimers still have the ability to mostly care for themselves. Caregivers only need to provide help and occasional supervision and reminders. However, once Alzheimers progresses to the middle stages, its important that the caregiver supervises them 24 hours a day. Those with moderate Alzheimers may hurt themselves if left unsupervised in the home, and there is a risk that they will leave the home and wander away.
Elderly patients with late stage Alzheimers require constant attention and assistance to do daily tasks. Though some people can afford to spend this time at home with their relatives, most working professionals do not have the time or the expertise. In addition, paying a specialist to live with your family member would be extremely expensive. Alzheimers Care Facilities are a reasonable way for people to make sure that their family members are being supervised and cared for by professionals.
For many caregivers, it can be difficult to send a relative away to a nursing facility. Every caregiver must evaluate their;own situation and determine if they;can provide the care and attention that their;family member needs and deserves. They;should also put their;loved ones safety first and decide where their loved one would be most free from harm.
What Can Hospice Do For A Patient With Dementia
Your hospice team evaluates the dementia or Alzheimer’s patient’s status and updates the plan of care as symptoms and condition change, even on a day-to-day basis. The goal of hospice is to relieve physical and emotional distress so patients can retain their dignity and remain comfortable.
Hospice offers comprehensive services for patients with dementia:
- Individualized care plan As dementia progresses, patients lose the ability to express their needs. VITAS will design a plan that addresses pain, hydration, nutrition, skin care, recurrent infection and agitationall common problems associated with dementia.
- Care for patients wherever they live in their homes, long-term care facilities or assisted living communities. If symptoms become too difficult to manage at home, inpatient hospice services can provide round-the-clock care until the patient is able to return home.
- Coordinated care at every level A plan of care is developed with the advice and consent of the patients neurologist or other physician. A team manager ensures that information flows between all physicians, nurses, social workers and, at the patients request, clergy. In addition, hospice coordinates and supplies all medications, medical supplies and medical equipment related to the diagnosis to ensure patients have everything they need.
- Emotional and spiritual assistance Hospice has the resources to help patients maintain their emotional and spiritual well-being.
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What Can Hospice Do For The Family Of A Patient With Dementia
Family members may have to make difficult healthcare and financial decisions, act as caregivers and provide emotional support to others. If the decision is made to stop medical support, families often experience strong emotions and feel overwhelmed.
Hospice offers comprehensive services for families of patients with dementia:
Caregiver education and training The family caregiver is vital in helping hospice professionals care for the patient. As the patient gets weaker, symptoms increase and communication becomes more difficult. We relieve families concerns by educating them on how best to care for their loved one.
Help with difficult decisions Hospice helps families make tough choices that impact the patients condition and quality of lifefor example, whether to give antibiotics for a recurring infection.
A VITAS nurse by phone 24/7 Even the most experienced caregivers will have questions and concerns. With Telecare®, they dont have to wonder, worry or wait for an answer. As the heartbeat of VITAS after hours, Telecare® provides trained hospice clinicians around the clock to answer questions or dispatch a member of the team to the bedside.
Emotional and spiritual assistance Hospice meets the needs of loved ones along with those of the patient.
Respite care Caring for a loved one with an end-stage illness can cause tremendous stress. Hospice offers up to five days of inpatient care for the patient in order to give the caregiver a break.;
Will Moving A Person Living With Dementia Make It Worse
Will moving a loved one who is experiencing precipitous cognitive declines likely accelerate their decline? My 79-year-old father has resided at an assisted living facility for four years, and I am considering moving him to a dedicated memory care facility. He was diagnosed with dementia two years ago and has seen intermittent cognitive declines. The past two months, he has experienced precipitous decline: he is unable to operate his cell phone or TV remote, confuses everyday household items, is unable to dress himself, and has become incontinent. Other family members worry that moving him might push him over the edge. Thank you for your kind consideration of my question.
If The Doctor Isnt Available Often
Doctors don’t generally spend a lot of time in nursing homes or assisted living facilities. This can be a surprise if youâre used to daily rounds in a hospital. How often the doctor will see your loved one in the nursing home will depend on their medical condition and needs.
In assisted living facilities, some medical practices assign nurse practitioners or physician assistants.
In either case, the best way to contact your loved oneâs doctor may be by phone.
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Alzheimerâs Association. . Living with Alzheimerâs for caregivers: Tips for middle-stage caregivers. Alzheimerâs Association.
Carroll, M. . Assisted living versus nursing home care. Caring.com.
Hawes, C., Phillips, C.D., Rose, M., Holan, S., & Sherman, M. . A National Survey of Assisted Living Facilities. The Gerontologist, 43, 875-882.
Hyde, J., Perez, R., & Forester, B. . Dementia and assisted living. The Gerontologist, 47, 51-67.
Jacobs, B.J. . When itâs time for a nursing home. AARP.
Silin, P.S. . Moving into a nursing home: A guide for families. ElderCare Online.
Skeels, J.C., Bruynis, C., & Cunningham, R.N. . Basic estate planning: The Nursing home dilemma. Ohio State University.
Tilly, J. & Reed, P. . Dementia care practice: Recommendations for assisted living residences and nursing homes. Alzheimerâs Association.
Abuse In Alzheimers Care Facilities
Though abuse in Alzheimers Care Facilities; is not common, it does happen. People with Alzheimers have a higher risk of being abused than other nursing home residents. Because of their condition, these patients are more vulnerable, and so they are more often targeted for abuse. Abusive medical staff believe Alzheimers patients;are more vulnerable because compared to other residents:
- They have more difficulty taking care of themselves and communicating
- They have serious short-term memory loss and may forget the abuse
- Others may not believe them if they report abuse
- They are more easily confused and may not understand that they are being abused
Like other types of elder abuse, family members and caregivers must be vigilant in order to detect signs of abuse that are;occurring. Physical injuries such as bruises, broken bones, and lacerations could be signs of abuse. Sudden changes in personality and behavior, depression, and agitation can also be symptoms of suffering from abuse. Unfortunately, detecting abuse is very difficult for those with Alzheimers because they may be unable to explain their injuries and emotional changes do not guarantee abuse.
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Differences Between Memory Care And Nursing Homes & Assisted Living
Memory care is not the same as assisted living or a nursing home. The difference between memory care and assisted living is that memory care is specifically for people with Alzheimers disease, or related dementia, because they require a higher level of skilled care and supervision. Also called Special Care Units or Alzheimers Care Units, memory care communities usually offer shared and private spaces. Sometimes memory care exists as a wing within assisted living communities or nursing homes.
When compared to memory care, nursing homes are more expensive, more restrictive to the individual and provide a higher level of care. Nursing home candidates are typically accessed and found to require a nursing home level of care, which is a formal designation. Not all, not even close to all, persons with Alzheimers disease require nursing home level of care at the early or middles stages of the disease.
Memory care has more frequent safety checks than assisted living , and staff is specially trained to meet the needs and demands of residents who have difficulty with basic tasks because of dementia symptoms, from early to mid and late stages. Memory care units, therefore, offer most of the same services as assisted living, but with increased supervision and more routine, including structured activities to stimulate memory and hopefully slow the diseases progression. These activities might involve music or pet therapy, games, arts and crafts, etc.
Easing Into The Change
Making the transition to full-time care can be just as difficult for you as it is for the patient perhaps even more challenging. Youll be juggling emotions, decisions, and an abrupt separation from your loved one while you arrange for ongoing treatment in their new home.
As you weigh the different variables, use the resources around you to help with the decision and transition. What seems like a massive, sudden shift at first could actually be accomplished with some intermediate steps that take pressure off of everyone involved.
Make the Decision Together
If possible, talk to your loved one about the move into full-time care. It can be a difficult conversation, but its helpful to have them involved in the decision-making process. It will bring their fears and worries to the surface, and youll have a better chance of finding the right facility to suit their expectations.
Making the decision together ahead of time should also help to ease resentment. Youll be able to reassure them in the months and weeks leading up to the move, and that should make the move itself easier.
Lean on Professionals
A smooth transition may require a bit of outside help. Call on your doctors and a social worker to assess your loved ones needs, as well as your own. A meeting with a psychologist or group therapist can help you adjust your expectations, and maybe open up new avenues for support and companionship as your lives begin to change.
Arrange for Frequent Visits
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