Alzheimer’s disease never affects just one person. When a loved one is diagnosed with it, the whole family and circle of friends are involved. Maybe your elderly parent or beloved spouse has received the dreaded news. You probably feel like the rug was pulled out from your whole life. If you are facing this dilemma, you do not have to do it alone.
Making a decision for long-term care is often heart-wrenching. There are a lot of questions and doubts in people’s minds when the time has come. However, there are some helpful ways of choosing the best Alzheimer’s care center for your loved one:
Do Your Homework
Not all Alzheimer’s care centers are the same. You want a place that provides safety and quality care for your loved one. Get on the Internet and research different facilities in your area. You can also get information from Medicare at cms.gov. The state inspects these centers and rates them on their compliance. You can also see if there have been any complaints or issues with any facility.
Chances are that you know someone who had to place their loved one in an Alzheimer’s care center. Whether they be family or friends, they can provide the candid information that you need to make an informed decision. These people would know the strengths and weaknesses of a certain place and offer an honest opinion.
Make House Calls
Company websites, advertisements, and television commercials give you all the glittery highlights of their facilities. Many times, the testimonials given are from paid actors who really know nothing about the place. Since seeing is believing, go see prospective Alzheimer’s care units for yourself.
If a facility balks at giving you a tour and honestly answering your questions, then go elsewhere. Do not be afraid to ask staff questions about the daily routines of residents and all the aspects of their care philosophy. They should be used to answering questions.
While you are visiting, let your senses be your guide. If you are greeted by nauseating bathroom smells as soon as you walk in the building, chances are that residents are not being cared for properly. Look around you and see how clean the residents are and their environment. Watch how the staff interacts with them and each other. Listen to the things that are going on around the halls. If you feel hesitant, then trust your instincts. You should see excellent quality of care.
Other Important Questions
Talk to the admissions director and find out exactly what the monthly cost is of the facility and what it covers. There are often charges for extra amenities that will not be covered by insurance or Medicare. Those charges will be passed on to you. Ask any questions about money so you are not surprised by a bill later.
You want your loved one to be in the care of a qualified medical professional. Make sure the facility has licensed and experienced medical staff around the clock. Since nursing assistants do the bulk of personal care, ask if the facility’s assistants are state-tested and trained in the special needs of Alzheimer’s residents.
Inquire about the schedules of daily personal care that is offered to residents. Find out the shower schedule for ambulatory residents. Those who are bedbound should have a daily bed bath with personal grooming. You should expect to see your loved one in clean clothes or gowns every day.
One of the basic needs we have as humans is social interaction. Even patients who are bedridden with end-stage Alzheimer’s need the benefit of a human voice and the gentle touch of kindness. Many reports show that residents with Alzheimer’s benefit with activities that are geared to their needs. The facility should have a qualified activity director who can answer all your questions about socialization and other activities.
Privacy and Visitors
Decide whether or not you want your loved one in a private room. While some facilities have single rooms for all their residents, most have two or sometimes three to a room. There may be some extra costs to get a private room. It all depends on how comfortable you and your loved one would feel with a roommate.
Find out the policies on visitors and taking your loved one out for a visit. A good facility should not have a problem with you visiting any time you want. They should also have sign-out sheets that let you take your loved one out to dinner or for an overnight stay.
It is a tough choice to place loved ones in Alzheimer’s care centers. By doing some investigating and asking the right questions, you can find the right place that will suit you. It should be a safe and caring environment. You can have the peace of mind knowing that your loved one is in the best center possible.