Why Nursing Home Care May Not Be the Best Choice for your Loved One with Alzheimers

When a loved one who has been independent all her life begins to show signs that she is dealing with dementia family and friends may stress about how to handle the Alzheimer nursingproblem. Lately, the news is full of stories about people combatting Alzheimer’s  and the disease seems to be nearing epidemic proportions. If the disease affects your loved one, family members may volunteer to stay with the person (one out of five Americans is a caregiver) but people with dementia are taxing to care for. They tend to leave home and forget how to get back. They awaken during the night and wander. At some point many families look at nursing homes as their best options.

Nearly half of all nursing home residents are  there because of dementia. In response to that fact, many facilities have built dementia wings. The idea is to take people who are easily agitated and confused out of the mainstream nursing home environment and put them in a calmer, more secure place. The goal is that trained staff can care for and nurture them while offering memory care activities.

However, studies done in 2008 and 2009 found that while the special wings attempted to adapt to Alzheimer’s special needs ( they were less likely to use bed rails that can contribute to falls, and the staffs worked with residents in toileting and other self-care programs), resident moods were lower. In addition, residents in the special wings received more anti-psychotic drugs. In the long run, aside from security, residents of the special halls fared no better or worse than those mixed into the general nursing home population.

What does that mean to you and to your loved one who is beginning to show signs of dementia? Only that experienced in-home care may be more effective in dealing with the dementia than nursing home residence. People allowed to remain in familiar surroundings don’t deal with the “shock” of new housing and don’t have to adjust to the necessary routines of facility life such as early bed times or rising. Because he is the reason the care-giver is in the home, your loved one receives attention and is constantly engaged. He is also secure because his caregiver is aware of where he is and what he is doing at all times.

If your loved one has dementia and you are considering your options for his care, contact us and let us explain in-home Alzheimer’s care to both of you. Dementia does not have to mean your loved one must lose his home and his family life. There is another answer.

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