Any day now, Joni Poulos will help her father move into his new place at Autumn Leaves, easing a burden she has carried since she discovered he suffered from dementia.
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TIPS FOR FINDING A CARE FACILITY
Families should ask the following questions:
- What is the staff-to-resident ratio?
- Is there a secure unit for people with Alzheimer’s disease?
- How are residents who wander handled?
- Are schedules tailored to the individual resident’s needs/likes?
- Is the environment stimulating, safe, comforting and homelike?
- Under what conditions may a resident be discharged?
Source: Amy Waldowski, licensed social worker and project coordinator at the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
When is it time to consider moving a loved one to a specialized facility?*
If any or all of the following conditions are present, this can be a strong indication that alternative living would be in the best interest of all concerned.
The person with dementia:
Has become increasingly withdrawn and isolated.
Has been experiencing steadily deteriorating health.
Is experiencing weight loss due to swallowing problems related to the progression of the disease; is choking or aspirating.
Is unable to feed, bathe and/or dress self.
Is prone to falls.
Requires assistance with walking.
Has become bedridden.
Is wandering, confusing days and nights or unaware of surroundings. Have you called the police to find the person, or has there been an injury related to wandering?
Has experienced episodes of “acting out”; has a minor upset resulted in violent behavior?
Is having increasing problems with incontinence, such as refusing to wear adult protection or voiding in receptacles other than the toilet.
If the caregiver:
Is unable to socialize or take time for themselves.
Is physically unable to lift or transfer the person with dementia.
Has difficulty sleeping and getting enough rest.
Must neglect other familial roles and friendships.
Is feeling stressed and exhausted, hopeless or helpless.
Is using alcohol or medications to cope.
Has frequent bouts of crying.
Has become ill more than once in the past six months with a serious health problem such as pneumonia.
Has become verbally, physically or emotionally out of control in response to a person with dementia who doesn’t listen, asks the same question excessively, and wanders.