How to Find the Right Care Setting for Someone with Dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease

By Consumer Dummies

Part of Alzheimer’s & Dementia For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Many people try to keep their loved one with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease at home, whether at the patient’s or the caregiver’s home, as long as possible. However, as the condition worsens, the person’s care may become more than the caregiver can handle. When that happens, you may be forced to move your loved one into a different care setting. Consider the following when choosing where to move your loved one to:

  • Decide on the care requirements: Care requirements should be made by family members/caregivers with input from physicians and specialists involved in the person’s care. The managers and staff of the different care settings are happy to do a needs assessment to make sure they can offer the person appropriate care. Together, this information will inform whether the person with dementia needs to be in a residential home, assisted living facility, or nursing home.

  • Pick the right location: Decide where to look for a suitable facility. For example, it may be best to find a local facility in the community so the person can be close to friends, church members, or key relatives. Or maybe the move needs to be to a different town in order to be near the person with power of attorney.

  • Draw up a shortlist: After the type of care and location have been decided, find facilities that may fill the bill. Try searching online or ask the advice of the person’s physician. Ask friends or colleagues about facilities caring for their loved ones.

  • See them for yourself: You wouldn’t buy a new house or car without viewing it at least once. Clearly, when choosing somewhere for a loved one to live and receive good care, a visit is even more vital. Check out those facilities at the top of your list. Envision your loved one there and see if you feel comfortable with this living setting for him.

    Try to get a feeling of what goes on there, the attitude of staff, and the demeanor of other residents. Checking out the decor and general state of repair can also give you an idea about the staff’s and owner’s attitude about the place. It may even be possible to have a quiet word with families of existing residents if they’re visiting when you’re touring.

  • Compare prices: Once you’re down to the final couple of choices, financial considerations may be the clincher (if they weren’t already considered earlier in the process). It may be that taking finances into account means making a compromise here or there, but sadly that’s the way of the world these days.

  • Arrange a temporary stay: Assisted living facilities and nursing homes may offer a temporary respite stay in a home before someone commits to moving in long term. A short stay allows the family and the person with dementia to get a better idea of whether the person will be happy there and whether it really is as good a fit as it appears. Ask when you visit whether a short stay or respite stay is possible.