to consider when choosing Assisted Living Care
ROCKVILLE, Md., Sept. 8 /U.S.
Newswire/ -- As a growing number of Americans are diagnosed with
Alzheimer's disease, many families find themselves struggling with
the decisions associated with assisted living care. "How do I find
the right facility for my parent, spouse or loved one" and "When is
the right time to move into an assisted living environment," are
just a few of the difficult questions that hundreds of families face
In honor of National Assisted
Living WeekŪ, Arbor Place, an Alzheimer's and dementia-specific
assisted living home in Rockville, MD, has designed a series of
questions to help family members determine which course of care is
best for their loved ones, and how to trust that they've found a
safe, properly- staffed and caring home. Walter Fanburg, MD,
geriatric psychiatrist and founder of Arbor Place, offers sound
advice and tips in the following questions:
Do you struggle to fulfill the
day-to-day needs of your live- in parent or spouse?
One of the most difficult
decisions to consider for many families affected by Alzheimer's is
whether or not to move a loved one into an assisted living facility.
Unfortunately, there may come a time when caring for someone at home
is no longer in the best interest of the patient or their family.
your loved one is struggling with early to mid- stage dementia,
consider finding a home that offers quality medical and psychiatric
oversight, as well as the constant care and stimulation essential
for their well-being and happiness. These attributes will make a
remarkable difference in their day-to-day quality of life.
What type of direct care will your
loved one receive?
Many assisted living facilities,
especially those that care for Alzheimer's patients, offer dedicated
staffers but may not provide the number and quality of staff needed
to ensure your loved one's safety and security. Be sure to ask if
there is a Registered Nurse on duty and confirm how many hours per
day he/she is available as well as how many residents he/she must
monitor. Most assisted living facilities have RN's on call, rather
than on-site, which provides little safety for your family member
and little security for you in time of a medical emergency.
How closely will your loved one be
monitored, especially in the evening and overnight?
This is one of the most important
questions to ask, according to Dr. Fanburg. "All too often, we hear
reports of assisted living residents who were injured because proper
care was not provided." Be sure to inquire how the assisted living
facility monitors their residents on a 24-hour basis, and confirm
that there is a sufficient number of staff awake during the
overnight hours. Perhaps the facility uses closed circuit television
or another form of monitoring to ensure the safety of the residents,
especially those with more advanced stages of Alzheimer's or
dementia who are unable to ring a bell for assistance.
What type of stimulating
activities does the facility offer?
Residents with Alzheimer's or
other dementia should be constantly engaged during their waking
hours through music, art, dance and other related activities. Make
appointments, or drop by the facility at varying times of the day to
determine the range of activities offered. Activities within
assisted living homes should be purposefully organized to help your
loved one make the most of his or her existing cognitive abilities.
Look for a facility that offers rich, stimulating experiences
specific to your loved one's needs and interests.
Does the home feel like a place
where YOU would be happy and safe?
It is most important to find a
home that truly feels like a home. Your parent, loved one or
relative has probably resisted leaving home for so long because it
is an environment that they know and feel comfortable in. You too
may have resisted the idea, fearing it would be an undesirable
situation for your family member. Yet, when it is no longer safe for
them to stay in their own home, even under your direct care, seek
out a facility that seems to duplicate the comfortable home
experience, as there will be less of a transition for your loved one
and a greater sense of comfort among family members. If you find the
right setting, you will not feel guilty as you are providing a
better life for your loved one.
Have you done your homework?
"Many families are simply
unprepared for the amount of research needed when choosing an
assisted living facility," notes Fanburg. "There is much more behind
the initial impression of an assisted living home, and you must take
the time to research a variety of homes before deciding which is
best for your own family member." Be sure to look beyond the
physical amenities of the facility, as first impressions are meant
to impress. Ask to stay as many hours as possible to truly
understand the type of care offered and the services provided. You
should also plan to spend some time with a professional at the
facility, preferably the RN, to gain a complete understanding of how
adequately the residents' needs are addressed.
"Alzheimer's can be a heartrending
experience, especially for supportive family members who love and
care for the person who has been diagnosed," adds Fanburg. "But if
the person you love is in an environment that facilitates internal
and external contentment, you will feel more at ease and better able
to deal with other aspects of your own life, knowing that you have
provided the very best for the person you love."
Arbor Place, like many facilities
nationwide, will be observing National Assisted Living Week --
designed to bring awareness and education of this lifestyle option
to the general public.
National Assisted Living WeekŪ,
which runs from Sept. 11-17, 2005, was established in 1995 by the
National Center For Assisted Living (NCAL) to provide a unique
opportunity to bring together residents, families, staff, volunteers
and the community to celebrate our elders and the services provided
within assisted living and residential care communities. It is a
time to recognize the role that assisted living plays in enabling
elders and people with disabilities to live with choice, dignity and
as much independence as possible.