Alzheimer’s affects an estimated 5.1 million Americans, according to the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America. The disease represents the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S., with one in three seniors passing away from it or another form of dementia each year. While largely irreversible, there is still a great deal caregivers can do to improve the quality and longevity of the lives of loved one’s with Alzheimer’s.
Senior home care management for Alzheimer’s patients
The first step to insuring your loved one’s well being is finding the right form of Alzheimer?s care. One of the first steps healthcare professionals advise taking when caring for dementia patients is to develop a routine. Having a daily routine can be particularly helpful for individuals struggling with increased levels of confusion and disorientation. Change can be the enemy for Alzheimer’s patients. Even a small disruption can often lead to catastrophic results. Instead, caregivers are taught to foster stability through predictability and familiarity. This is why Alzheimer?s care in home is often a far more successful than live-in facilities.
In fact, senior in home care can be of even greater benefit to Alzheimer’s and dementia patients than it can for seniors not suffering from dementia. One study found that seniors who received care through a home care service needed to visit their doctor 25% less. For those with Alzheimer’s or other dementia diseases, their doctor visits were cut in half.
The second piece of advice often given to Alzheimer’s caregivers is to encourage independence. Researchers have found that a care practice called “graded assistance” can be beneficial for Alzheimer’s patients. Through graded assistance, help is provided only to the level required by moving up a sliding scale of assistance. What begins as a verbal prompt may increase to a physical demonstration or partial guidance and all the way to complete physical assistance.
While in the early stages of the disease, your loved one may need minimal help, such as brief check-ins and help remembering to pay the bills, over the course of his or her disease, the level of care required will likely increase. To meet this need, senior home care management services provide a variety of care giving services.
Types of senior home care management services
Senior home care management facilities offer a range of care levels. Some provide solely non-medical assistance while others may staff licensed nurses and physicians for full in home medical and hospice care. Your loved one’s needs will determine which type of service is a best match for him or her. There are four common types of in home care services:
- Companion care includes recreational activities and supervision as well as companionship. Visits can range from short ninety-minute check-ins to full day stays.
- Homemaker services include housekeeping, shopping assistance, and/or cooking.
- Personal care services are for individuals who require help with daily living activities such as bathing, dressing, eating, or using the bathroom.
- Skilled medical care is provided by licensed nurses or physicians. Services may include wound care, injection medications, physical or occupational therapy, or any other medical needs. Your senior home care management service will likely coordinate these services for you after a physician has ordered them.
Choosing a senior home care management service
Once you’ve determined home care is right for your loved one, the next step is choosing the right service provider. To help you find and select the right caregiver service, follow these steps:
First and foremost, ensure you are clear on the type and level of care your loved one will need.
- Call local home care service providers
Once you know the care needed, call local home care providers to determine if the services they offer meet your needs.
- Schedule an in-home interview
Some senior home care services will offer free in-home assessments. Have a series of questions prepared beforehand. It may be beneficial to have a third party present.
- Ask for references
Try to speak with other clients who have worked with the senior home care management service before committing.
- Share about your loved one
Once you’ve found a home care provider you think will be a good fit, tell them as much as you can about your loved one. The more they know, the better care they’ll be able to provide.