If you have a parent with Alzheimer’s disease, you are probably considering options for care. At Spring Arbor, we commonly get questions similar to the one below.
Q. After years of caring for my mother who has Alzheimer’s disease and watching her decline, we are thinking of moving her to an assisted-living facility. Are there some guidelines that will make this move smooth?
A. This is one of the most difficult decisions one has to make. It can be a challenge to know the right time for such a move and the type of housing that meets the needs of the individual. Let’s begin with different types of residences.
• Senior housing: This usually is appropriate for someone with early stages of Alzheimer’s disease and can live relatively independent. These individuals are able to care for themselves and are safe living alone. Social activities, transportation and other services are provided. Supervision is limited.
• Assisted living: This type of housing also is called board and care, adult living and supported care. Assisted living is between living independently and living in a nursing home. This residence provides a 24-hour staff, recreational activities, housekeeping, laundry and transportation. Depending on the requests from the resident, the facility also provides help with bathing, dressing, eating and reminders to take medication. The federal government does not regulate them; the state does and it varies by state. Since not all offer services specifically designed for those with dementia, it is important to ask.
• Nursing homes: Also known as a skilled-nursing facility, long-term care facility and custodial care facility. These facilities provide 24-hour care and medical treatment. Services related to nutrition, care planning, recreation, spirituality and medical care. Nursing homes are licensed by the state and regulated by the federal government.
• Alzheimer’s special care units: Also called memory care units, they are designed to meet the needs of those with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. They often are a unit within various types of residential care.
• Continuing care retirement communities: Such facilities offer different levels of care consisting of independent living, assisted living and nursing-home care. A resident can move from one level to another. Such facilities typically require an entrance fee with monthly payments or, in some cases, only monthly fees.