Alzheimer’s care facilities are also called memory care units. An Alzheimer’s care facility may be needed if the amount and type of care available at home is not adequate to provide for the patient. Alzheimer’s care facilities may provide an environment that is safer and more conducive to slowing the progression of the disease, in some cases.
Alzheimer’s Care Facility Benefits
If a patient has Alzheimer’s disease and is living with a caregiver that is not able to provide round-the-clock care, the patient may cause dangerous situations. Wandering and forgetfulness are common symptoms of Alzheimer’s, and these behaviors may result in injury with a lack of supervision. At an Alzheimer’s care facility, nurses and staff are available to provide supervision and guidance.
Alzheimer’s care facilities typically provide medication reminders and transportation. Other services may vary depending on the type of facility and advancement of the disease, but these two services can be invaluable in preventing harm. Medication errors can cause behavioral changes and cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s patients and are a common complication. Alzheimer’s patients often become disoriented, especially while traveling, so assistance with transportation can also prevent dangerous situations.
Alzheimer’s Care Facility Types
There are different types of Alzheimer’s care facilities that may provide care based on the progression of the disease. Patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s may be able to maintain a residence, but may need help with certain tasks. Patients at more advanced stages of Alzheimer’s disease may need medical care to be readily available and may need help with most or all daily tasks.
Retirement Housing and CCRCs
Retirement housing and continuing care retirement communities, or CCRCs, are designed for patients with mild Alzheimer’s. These types of residences may provide different levels and types of care for patients that need varying levels of assistance, but are well enough to remain mostly independent. In some cases, patients may be able to remain within a CCRC and receive different levels of care as needs change.
Patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease may benefit from staying in an assisted living setting. Assisted living facilities provide health care, assistance with daily tasks, meals, and housing. In most cases, residents may choose which combination of services to receive. This can be very helpful for patients that wish to remain independent, but need some assistance. Daily activities are often available as well, which help to slow the decline of cognitive functions in Alzheimer’s patients.
Also called skilled care facilities, nursing homes provide support for Alzheimer’s patients at all stages. Most nursing homes provide a separate wing for dementia patients. This may prevent Alzheimer’s patients from becoming overwhelmed with complex surroundings, and it allows the nursing home to provide extra supervision for Alzheimer’s patients. Nursing homes may be beneficial to Alzheimer’s patients, as round-the-clock care and supervision is available. Activities may also be scheduled for Alzheimer’s patients.
Alzheimer’s Care Facility Dangers
Alzheimer’s care facilities are in place to provide a supportive system for patients that are in need of assistance. However, patients and family members should interview and tour the Alzheimer’s care facility in depth before making a decision to move care to the facility. Unfortunately, Alzheimer’s abuse is a problem in many Alzheimer’s care facilities.
Types of abuse that may occur in Alzheimer’s care facilities include:
- Physical abuse
- Psychological abuse
- Verbal abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Financial abuse
- Medication abuse
Signs of Alzheimer’s Abuse
If it is suspected that a loved one is being abused by caregivers in an Alzheimer’s care facility, family members or other concerned individuals should speak to the resident that may be the victim of abuse. In some cases, the patient will be ashamed, and may try to hide or cover up the abuse. If there are unexplained signs that may indicate abuse, it may be helpful to speak to administration at the facility about concerns.
Signs of Alzheimer’s care facility abuse may include:
- Bruising, especially in private areas
- Changes in personality
- Changes in sleep or eating habits
- Unexplained financial losses
- Missing medications
- Declining health
- Withdrawal from social activities
Handling Alzheimer’s Abuse
If it is discovered that a patient has been the victim of Alzheimer’s abuse at an Alzheimer’s care facility, the patient should be removed from the situation immediately. The patient should receive any necessary medical care. An attorney should also be contacted as soon as possible. An attorney may be able to help hold the individual or facility responsible for the abuse accountable, while recovering costs associated with the abuse.
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“Management of patients with Alzheimer’s disease in long-term care facilities..” PubMed.gov. 23(1).March (1988): 57-68. Web. 19 Feb. 2014. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3347584>.
“Residential Care.” Alzheimer’s Association. Alzheimer’s Association, n.d. Web. 19 Feb 2014. <https://www.alz.org/care/alzheimers-dementia-residential-facilities.asp