When to consider care outside the home
One of the most difficult experiences for family caregivers of a person with Alzheimer’s disease or a related disorder is deciding when to consider placement outside the home.
Caregivers should ask themselves the following questions to evaluate their situation:
- Is constant care required beyond my physical capability?
- Is the person with memory loss becoming unsafe in their home
- Am I becoming impatient or irritable toward the person for whom I am caring?
- Would structured activities and increased social interaction benefit the person I care for?
- Am I neglecting my family, my job or myself in order to provide care?
- Would placement outside the home result in more enjoyable visits and outings with the person I care for?
- Your answers to those questions can help you determine if placement outside the home is the best decision.
What to look for when visiting care facilities:
License: Ask to see the facility’s valid Ohio State License, issued by the State of Ohio, Dept. of Social Services Community Care Licensing Division.
Atmosphere: When you walk in do you “feel” the nurturing, loving, and supportive environment your loved one needs and deserves?
Living space: Is there indoor and outdoor space? Are their safe walking paths or secured access to fresh air and outdoor activities?
Visiting hours: Does the visitation policy meet your needs? Visit unannounced at different times to see the staff interact with residents.
Structure: Is the facility designed and constructed with the abilities, comfort, and freedom of the resident in mind?
Staff: Has the staff been screened and properly trained? Residents with memory loss present unique challenges to staff, requiring ongoing training.
Administrator: Does the Administrator seem knowledgeable about dementia and the special care required?
Physical contact: Is there positive physical contact between staff and residents – a warm touch, an arm around the shoulders?
Humor: Do staff and residents interact joyfully and set a tone of lightheartedness? Verbal cues: How do staff redirect a resident? Do they command or encourage?
Personal care: Is care (bathing, toileting, etc.) done with respect and dignity for the resident?
Resident behavior: Are some residents sitting quietly or sleeping? Are some residents moving around freely? These are normal behaviors and should be allowed in a safe environment.
Personal belongings: Are residents allowed to bring in furniture, bedding, and photos that are familiar to them? This helps them to feel “at home” and gives them a sense of belonging and not being lost.
Level of function: Ask what happens when the person needs a higher level of care. Can the facility accommodate residents with a wide range of abilities?
Home life: Can the residents participate in meaningful activities such as setting the table, washing dishes, folding the laundry, etc.?
Programming: What does the structured activity program look like? Are projects interesting and success-oriented? Are activities planned with the dementia resident in mind?
*Provided by the Alzheimer’s Assocation – www.alz.org