There are a number of options to consider when deciding on the most appropriate living arrangements for your loved one. Only you and your family can decide what is the best choice for you. The following lists the most common options, and the questions to consider for each.
- How often does a nurse check on your loved one?
- Is there a doctor on the premises 24/7?
- Will you be notified of medication changes?
Living at Home
In the early stages of Alzheimer’s, many people may be able to stay in their own home, with help. This can be in the form of a home health aide, family member, friends and neighbors. If you decide to allow your loved one to live alone, you must consider the following:
- Can they still cook for themselves safely?
- Can they still drive?
- Are they at risk for falling?
- Are they adequately caring for pets?
- Can they get Meals on Wheels?
- Will neighbors help out and check on your loved one?
- Should you get a personal medical alert system?
- Is the home safe (well-lit, no loose rugs, mats and rails in tub, etc.?
- Can they take their medications as ordered?
- Can they handle their own finances?
- Do they need a security or fire alarm system (are they safe)?
- Can they use the phone?
- Are they able to bathe, toilet and dress without assistance?
Living With Family
If your loved one cannot live alone, you may consider having them live with you in your home. This is a HUGE responsibility and basically makes you responsible for your loved one 24/7. If you are considering having your loved one move in to your home, you might consider the following?
- How will adding your loved one affect your family?
- Are your pets willing to accept a new family member?
- Do you have a safe room for your loved one?
- Will you be able to continue working?
- Can you afford in-home care or respite care?
- Will you be able to provide all meals?
- Are you prepared for the lack of privacy and freedom?
- Can you transport your loved one to all doctor’s appointments?
- Is your home “senior proofed”?
- Are you able to establish and maintain a schedule?
- Will other family members and friends help?
- Will your loved one adapt to your home and lifestyle?
This type of housing is for people that are basically independent, but need help with meals, housekeeping, administration of medications, and some transportation (shopping, adult daycare or doctor’s appointments). They are not for people with moderate to advanced Alzheimer’s, as the staff is usually not trained to help these patients. If you decide that Assisted living is appropriate for your loved one, you might consider the following:
- What is the cost per month?
- What is included in that cost?
- How are meals handled? Are they reminded of mealtime?
- Is there nursing supervision?
- What activities are offered?
- Is the staff trained to notice decline?
- Is there 24-hour security and is staff bonded?
- Do they promote healthy diet and exercise?
- Will they help with medication?
Skilled nursing facilities are generally better for people in the latter stages of Alzheimer’s. They offer round the clock medical care, and some have “dementia units” that have specially trained staff members who are trained to work with Alzheimer’s patients. If you are considering this type of facility, you might consider the following:
- How will I pay for the nursing home?
- Do they accept Medicaid when the money runs out?
- Is it close to your home or work so you can visit?
- What level of care can they offer your loved one?
- Will they have a private or shared room?
- Will they get help with bathing, eating, toileting?
- Do the nurses seem interested in the patients?
- Is the facility clean and odor free?
- Is there a high turnover in aides, nurses, or administrators?
- Do they offer activities your loved one can participate in?