Care Options can range from living at home to getting full-time care in a Special Care Unit (SCU). Options for Dementia patients are most often determined by the individual’s stage of Dementia. Caregivers for individuals with mild Dementia have a number of options but as the disease progresses, options become more limited. Having options allow caregivers and loved ones to chart a course for future care and the place where that care is provided.
Some options available to individuals with Dementia are:
Home Care is care provided to the individual with Dementia, at his or her own home, or care provided while living with family members. This option is preferred by most because it allows the individual to remain in familiar surroundings. If properly planned and implemented, Home Care has the potential to provide the highest quality of care. Remaining at home can promote and maintain independence. The individual is allowed to continue providing for him or herself for as long as possible.
Depending on the home situation, and as the illness progresses, home care can be modified to continue to meet the needs of the individual. In situations where caregivers are still in the workforce and work outside of the home, or the elderly person lives alone, special arrangements may be made. Home Care Aides or Companions may be added to the list to maintain the continuity of care.
Home Care Aides or companions provide assistance, for the individual with Dementia, with some activities of daily living such as:
Home Health Care can be added to home care. This is clinical medical care provided, under the directions of a physician, by nurses, occupation therapist, physical therapist and any other medical professional necessary to achieve the set goals. This care can include:
Home Health Care may become necessary when there are medical complications that require a higher level of care. Situations that would trigger a need for Home Health Care:
These services may be necessary to help the individual with Dementia to recover from a medical setback, to manage a chronic health issue or simply to monitor recent medication changes.
Respite care, sometimes called replacement care, is designed to give caregivers a break from the regular routine of being a caregiver. Primary Caregivers for individuals with Dementia will sometimes need more help or simply need time to rest and regain strength. It helps to prevent caregiver burnout.
Respite care may be available in residential facilities or by increasing additional in-home services. This option can help if the caregiver is going out of town or simply wants to take a vacation. Respite care can be as simple as recruiting another family member or as formal as having the individual admitted to a residential facility.
Adult day care centers are designed to provide care and companionship for older adults who need assistance or supervision during the day. These are similar to child care programs in that you bring your loved one to a place where he or she is cared for, fed and provided with activities. The main difference is that the care is geared toward adults with Dementia and the caregivers are trained to handle the illness as it progresses. These programs offer much-needed relief to family members and caregivers, allowing them to go to work knowing their loved one is well cared for and is in a safe environment. Adult Day Care programs can help family members delay or prevent institutionalization.
There are two types of Adult Day Care:
Adult Social Day Care provides social activities, meals, recreation, and some health-related services. Adult Health Day Care offers more intense health services, therapy, and social services for individuals with medical conditions. Services may include:
Centers are usually open during normal business hours
An Assisted Living Facility is another viable option for individuals with Dementia but because these individuals are expected to get progressively worse, very careful consideration is needed. ALFs are residential care facilities that provide housing, meals, personal care, and supportive services to older persons and disabled adults who are unable to live independently. For individuals who require assistance with activities of daily living, such as dressing, or preparing meals, but do not need skilled medical care, Assisted Living may be the place. To reside in a standard ALF, individuals must meet the standard ALF “residency criteria”.
These facilities come with 24-hour staffing to assist.
Nursing Homes may offer the most extensive care a person can get outside a hospital. They offer help with custodial care such as bathing, dressing, eating as well as skilled care. Included in the skilled care provided are skilled nursing care, physical therapy, occupational therapy, respiratory therapy.
Nursing Home Services offered may vary from facility to facility. Services often include:
For some families, facilities that provide residential care may be their best option. This may be because their loved one requires a significant amount of care around the clock, or care may have become too physically or emotionally difficult, or challenging behaviors make it too difficult or too dangerous for one person
Alzheimer’s Special Care Units, also called Memory Care units, are designed to meet the specific needs of individuals with Alzheimer’s and other Dementias. SCUs can be found in various types of residential facilities but are more frequently located in Assisted Living Facilities and Nursing Homes. They may or may not be locked units. First and foremost, staff on SCUs should have specialized training in care needs for individuals with Dementia. These units cater largely to individuals who have the tendency to wander off
Heerema, MSW. (2018). 9 Care Options for People Living With Dementia. Retrieved from https://www.verywellhealth.com/resource-guide-9-care-options-for-people-living-with-dementia-4084379
Wegerer, J., & Wegerer, J. (2018). 6 Alzheimer’s Care Options. Retrieved from https://www.alzheimers.net/care-options-for-alzheimers/
Home Health vs Home Care – A Place for Mom. (2018). Retrieved from https://www.aplaceformom.com/planning-and-advice/articles/home-health-vs-home-care
Florida Department of Elder Affairs – Assisted Living Facilities (ALFs). (2018). Retrieved from http://elderaffairs.state.fl.us/doea/alf.php