There is not a right, or wrong, answer to this question; however, there are times when it would be more appropriate to explore placement for your loved one who has Alzheimer’s disease. My grandmother and grandfather both suffered from Alzheimer’s disease. They lived in Florida, and my mother in Pennsylvania. Their other children were spread around the country, so none of them were immediately able to assist with either of my grandparent’s care. During the early stages, they lived together in an assisted living facility, my grandmother’s disease progressing more quickly. Honestly, I think we were all ignorant to the fact that my grandfather even had any memory issues, but now as we look back, all the signs were there. As my grandmother’s Alzheimer’s progressed, she started wandering out of the facility and through the streets of West Palm Beach. I remember my mom getting phone calls at all hours of the day and night, helpless, as she was hundreds of miles away. Eventually, my mom and her siblings had to make the difficult decision to place my grandmother in a skilled nursing facility because the assisted living facility could not manage her care. It was a hard decision, and even more difficult for my grandfather as he remained in the assisted living facility. I really think this is when the family noticed the decline in his memory. As a caregiver for my grandmother, he was able to hide the reality that he himself had Alzheimer’s disease.
If you fear that your loved one may have Alzheimer’s disease, you need to remember that detection, treatment, and stimulation are vital tools to prolonging your loved one’s memory. Isolation and depression are common effects of someone who has symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. Some of the easiest and most important things you can do involve stimulating your loved one’s memory. This could include participating in senior centers, residing in elderly apartment complexes that provide activities, engaging in puzzles and other mind teasers, and reading the newspaper.
The single most important asset for an individual who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease is his or her primary caregiver. This person will provide a broad array of support, based on the amount of care his or her loved one requires.
There are times that I see the personal struggle of the caregiver(s), and I feel it is time to discuss the possibility of placement. Now, do not get me wrong, my personal goal is for each and every individual to be able to remain in his or her home; however, I do believe there is a point when it would be beneficial for the individual suffering from Alzheimer’s disease to move into a facility. Thankfully, our area has an abundance of facilities that provide various levels of care. I remember how difficult it was for my mom to get the phone calls from Florida about my grandparents and to realize that it was time for a higher level of care to provide a safe environment. As the disease progresses, the caregiver’s health becomes a crucial concern. What would happen if the caregiver were no longer able to care for his or her loved one? Would someone else be able to step into the same role and provide the care? Is the loved one safe to remain in the home?
Steinbacher, Goodall & Yurchak’s attorneys and planners are prepared to help you consider these issues and make the right choices for your loved one who is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Call 1(800) 351-8334 today to schedule your FREE consultation.