Heather Johnson was kind enough to write a guest post for the blog. We thank her for her contribution, and appreciate her expert advice.
How to Pick a Nursing Home for an Alzheimer’s Patient
Any family that’s been afflicted by having a member stricken by Alzheimer’s disease knows how immensely difficult and trying it can be. Many times it’s so hard because the person with Alzheimer’s disease is in perfect physical health. This makes the family so much more hesitant to put the relative in a nursing home because it seems like nothing is wrong and we want to believe that. However, we also know that as the disease progresses they can’t perform the daily activities safely and responsibly. It puts such a strain on the family that eventually the only choice is to look for a nursing home. This brings up the major issue of finding a place that can provide the care we demand. It can be an arduous search and here a few tips to help you as you look for that special place:
1. Staff ratios are of the utmost importance. Alzheimer’s disease patients need more direct care than your standard nursing home. Given the unpredictability of the disease and the actions of the afflicted it’s dire that they receive as much dedicated care as possible. Make sure the facility can guarantee at least a ratio of five patients to one caregiver.
2. Pay attention to the building’s architecture. Many Alzheimer’s disease patients have trouble making sharp corners. They do better with rounded hallways that don’t require sharp turns. All hallways should have hand railings to further assist patients with walking.
3. Group activities are important. Check to see that the facility offers small group activities instead of large ones. Alzheimer’s disease patients react much more favorably to working in groups under four than they do in larger groups.
4. Talk to relatives with family members already in the facility. This is sometimes the best way you can determine if the facility is the right place for your loved one. They will shoot you straight and answer your questions directly and honestly instead of a coordinator who needs to toe the company line and always put a positive spin on the facility’s deficiencies.
5. Discover what kind of experiences the patients can expect. There are many new techniques that some nursing homes offer their patients that help alleviate some of the accompanying discomforts that go hand-in-hand with those who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease. Aromatherapy and experimenting with dimmer lighting are a couple examples of ways nursing home deal with the anxiety that many suffer from on a daily basis.