“Where’s Dad?” Panic sets in when you realize your loved one with Alzheimer’s disease has wandered off alone. Dealing with a loved one with this dreaded disease can be very challenging at times, if not downright terrifying.
An Alzheimer’s or dementia diagnosis can put a lot of stress on a family. While at first it may seem manageable, unsafe situations can arise, such as the loved one getting lost and not being able to recall where he lives or what his name is, or leaving the fire on the stove lit for hours after forgetting they were simply boiling an egg. These events are alarming for family members who feel helpless in the face of this disease. Furthermore, having to make decisions about that loved one’s ongoing care can catapult the family into uncharted territory. The decreased function and changed behavior of the Alzheimer’s patient is a huge adjustment that must be accounted for.
If the thought of a residential facility doesn’t sit well with you, a compassionate caregiver might be the solution. While many nursing homes are more than capable of caring for an Alzheimer’s patient, keeping your loved one at home has many advantages. A familiar setting often keeps their precious long-term memories close at hand, possibly slowing the rapid progression of the disease. Additionally, moving a patient out of their home can sometimes cause great anxiety which, in and of itself, can speed the progression of dementia.
If you’ve decided you want to keep your loved one home, but you can’t be there 24 hours a day, you will need to set up a situation where they can be both safe and happy. Elderproofing, much as you would for a baby, will be necessary. You will have to keep doors locked with elder-proof devices. You will need kitchen safety knobs on the stove and latches on the ovens. You will need to make sure the bathroom is safe from fall hazards and that the temperature on the hot water tank is set low enough not to burn. You may also want to put a GPS tracking device on your loved one, in case they get out unescorted. The National Institute of Aging has a comprehensive home safety booklet for Alzheimer’s patients that you might find extremely useful.
In terms of their day to day care, it might be prudent for you to turn to an in-home caregiver, such as a certified home health aide, to help with tasks you cannot manage. An experienced, compassionate person can come in to help your family member with meals, hygiene assistance, household tasks or simply to offer a little companionship. When your loved one lives far away, this becomes especially essential. However, even when they are close by, a professional caregiver can ensure that family members are not too taxed and that everyone can go on with their normal routine as much as possible.
If you think an in-home caregiver is financially unfeasible, it’s important to know your options. If your loved one had the foresight to purchase long-term care insurance, then many of our services are covered under those policies. Also, some of the elderly qualify for Medicaid after their assets have declined.
If you live in the New York City area, the David York Agency offers highly-personalized home health care services so that your family member can stay in the comfort and familiarity of their own home, while all of you deal with the stress of an Alzheimer’s diagnosis. Our health care professionals are highly-trained and capable of handling not only medical situations but also the day-to-day running of the home. Many of the families we serve come to see our providers as family members, as they become integrated into the everyday lives of the household.
For more information on David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers, contact us at 718.376.7755. A free consultation can help you decide what services might help you and your loved ones. To hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, Google+ or LinkedIn. For any of your questions concerning elder care, contact us.