Professional dementia care is the first step for patients after home care cannot meet their daily needs. With memory loss and subsequent health risks, it’s imperative to have 24-hour care in a qualified center that can provide specific safety and comfort measures for dementia patients. Licensed nurses and doctors work to maintain a health care plan as well as a daily routine that is designed to give the patient a calm and familiar existence.
Choosing a Community
Some assisted living centers and nursing homes are commonly equipped to take care of Alzheimer’s patients, but not all of them. Dementia care requires a high level of monitoring and security. Specialized Alzheimer’s centers tend to have enclosed areas to protect the residents from wandering off the premises. Residents typically live in shared rooms and have a strict daily routine. Structured and monitored activities are designed by certified staff and may include various techniques to improve or maintain basic motor skills, speech and mobility. Most modern facilities should be equipped with secured outside gardens and walking paths, which have been found to be helpful in Alzheimer’s treatment.
Care Services and Activities
Also referred to as memory care, dementia care programs normally offer standard health/memory care services. However, individual health needs must be prioritized. Upon entering a care center, a personal assessment of the resident should be a first step, followed by establishing a care plan based on that person’s abilities and changing needs. An individualized care program should follow the Certified Care Practice as outlined by the National Alzheimer’s Organization, which states that “Recommended practices for care include a comprehensive assessment and care planning as well as understanding behavior and effective communication. Strategies for implementing person-centered care rely on having effective staff approaches and an environment conducive to carrying out recommended care practices.”
Although each individual care plan is distinct, there are certain basic care standards practiced by most communities:
- 24-hour monitoring
- Assistance with meals and fluid consumption
- Personal care as needed such as help with dressing, bathing, etc.
- Pain management
- Recreational, exercise and wellness programs
- Social engagement
- Housekeeping and laundry
- Transportation arrangements
- A system of collaboration between staff and family members to create a “care partnership”
How Much Does Senior Care Cost?
In comparison with assisted and independent living, dementia care is extremely expensive. While every city and state differ in specific care rates, a general Alzheimer’s care community can range between $2,500 and $7,000 per month. Most families tend to care for family members with very mild to mild cognitive status at home until they reach the moderate or severe stage. At the severe stage, most patients will require 24 hour professional assistance. Although Medicaid is the only public program that covers long-term care for patients, it does not always cover 100%.
- Medicare covers inpatient hospital services, some medical fees and other medical items for people with Alzheimer’s who are 65 or older. Medicare Part D also covers many prescription drugs.
- Medicare will pay for up to 100 days of skilled nursing home care under limited circumstances. However, permanent, long-term nursing home care is not covered.
- Medicare will pay for hospice care delivered in the home, a nursing facility or an inpatient hospice facility, but only if the patient is deemed to be near the end of life by a professional doctor.*Alzheimer’s Association