Elder care for Alzheimer's: Choosing a provider

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Elder care for Alzheimer's: Choosing a provider

Question

I am considering finding an elder care center for a loved one with Alzheimer's. What should I look for when considering a provider?

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Answer

Elder care, or adult care, can provide an opportunity for your loved one with Alzheimer's to receive assistance and therapeutic activities in a group setting while giving you a temporary break from caregiving. In the U.S. you can locate elder care services available in your area by using the Department of Health and Human Services' Eldercare Locator website. This website provides you contact information for your state or local Area Agency on Aging (AAA). The AAA will connect you with someone who will help guide you to specific elder care service providers.

Determine your needs
When considering elder care providers, evaluate what services your loved one needs:

  • Socialization
  • Supervision
  • Counseling
  • Exercise
  • Physical therapy
  • Medical care
  • Medication management
  • Meals

If you're choosing among more than one provider, some additional considerations are:

  • Location. How convenient is it?
  • Hours. What are drop-off and pick-up times?
  • Costs. Often, costs are out-of-pocket, but some long term care insurance plans may cover this type of care.

Ensuring quality care
Entrusting your loved one to someone else's care can be difficult. Some things you'll want to consider to help ensure he or she is getting the best care possible are:

  • Ask for references. Ask the center for references, and talk to two or three current residents and their families.
  • Do some research. Ask the AAA representative whether they have any specific information on the facility you're considering.
  • Ask lots of questions. On a first visit to a potential facility, walk through and ask a lot of questions, such as about services and staff training. What are the center's staffing ratios? On average, adult care providers have a ratio of one staff member for six care recipients. The National Adult Day Services Association has a site-visit question checklist you can print and take with you.
  • Try it out. When you think you have decided on a center, try it out. Be aware that it may take some time for your loved one to feel comfortable in the new surroundings.
Last Updated: 2010-10-30
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