Caring for a Loved One with Dementia

Does your elderly parent have dementia? Many California residents live with dementia, and their children and family members worry about what kind of care is best for a dementia patient. A recent article in U-T San Diego explained the different options for dementia care. According to Dr. Diane Darby Beach, the Director of Education and Outreach for the Vista Gardens Memory Care Community, there are basically three different kinds of providers who offer long-term care to patients suffering from Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia: home care, assisted living, and adult day care.

Are some of these options better than others? Depending on your unique situation, there are many factors to consider when deciding what kind of care is best for someone who suffers from dementia. If you have questions or concerns about the level of care your elderly loved one has received or is currently receiving, it’s a good idea to contact an experienced California nursing home abuse lawyer. At the Walton Law Firm, we have years of experience dealing with elder law issues and can answer your questions today.
Options for Dementia Care
Are you hoping to find a way to provide in-home health care to your loved one with dementia? According to Beach, many families like to begin dementia care at home. In her U-T San Diego article, she explained how “a home environment may be preferable if it provides the socialization, comfort and security to keep the individual with the disease content and engaged.” In addition, patients with dementia often find that their quality of life increases when they’re surrounded by friends and family. So what are the downsides to in-home health care? One of the biggest concerns is safety—for the patient with dementia and for his or her family members. Additionally, many patients with dementia can suffer psychologically when they don’t have sufficient mental stimulation, which a residential care facility might be able to provide.
Another option is adult day care. If a dementia patient lives at home, adult day care often can provide stimulation to the patient during the day while providing his or her family members with some stress-free time at home. What is adult day care, exactly? Different facilities that offer adult day care programs vary in length, but generally you can elect for a full-day program or half-day care. Some adult day care facilities even offer overnight care.
Finally, if you can’t keep your elderly loved one at home any longer, you might want to consider an assisted-living facility. According to beach, assisted-living facilities are appropriate for dementia patients at many different stages, including early and moderate stages. In some late stages of dementia, assisted-living facilities can continue to provide care for your elderly loved one. Generally, in cases of dementia in which your loved one’s decision making abilities lapse and you have real concerns about your loved one’s safety, it might be a good idea to consider an assisted-living facility.
Assisted Living Laws and Dementia in California
Under California law, an assisted-living facility that accepts patients who have been diagnosed with dementia “must meet Community Care Licensing’s regulatory requirements,” according to the California Assisted Living Association. For licensure, a facility must have a staff with specific training and documentation. Specifically, staff at these assisted-living facilities must have training in “sundowning,” a condition where patients with dementia “experience confusion, disorientation, and increasing levels of agitation coinciding with the onset of late afternoon and early evening.”
If you have concerns about care for your elderly loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia, contact an experienced California elder justice advocate today.

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