Dr. Ethelle Lord
The time may come when long-term care placement becomes a necessity for the person with Alzheimer’s. It was true in our situation. My husband was home about 10 years after his bypass surgery (1999) and subsequent diagnosis of Alzheimer’s (2003). Then when he was unable to walk on his own and I was exhausted from 24/7 care for him, I found it necessary to seek placement in a nursing center. Observing a few key tips may make the difference between a successful nursing center placement for memory loss or not. Here are five tips:
• Familiarize yourself with nursing home etiquette: http://www.fullcirclecare.org/ltcontinuum/visit.html;
• Show gratefulness and kindness to the nursing staff by occasionally bringing in a box of candy;
• Ask for what you want for your loved one (brushing teeth, special activities, etc.);
• Decorate the room so it feels like home; and
• Identify one staff member to confide in and to share your concerns with.
If your loved one appears to be more restless and even aggressive towards others, offer to come in yourself or send in another relative during the day in order to help with his/her behavior problems. No one should live in fear nor have to endure threats from a resident who is out of control and aggressive. Although nursing staff provide much needed care and services with little to no thanks in return, such an offer for assistance may be welcome and even prevent total refusal of services at which time you will need to find another placement or may be asked to take your loved one back home.
It takes time for the new resident to adjust to a nursing center. It also takes time for the family member(s) to adjust to having their loved one in a nursing center. Everyone is different and it is important to respect those differences (http://www.alz.org/nyc/in_my_community_17491.asp). Some research shows evidence that people with Alzheimer’s can die quickly once placed in a memory loss unit while other research shows they can live as long, if not longer than staying at home. With continued nursing care, a balanced diet, regular visit from the family caregiver, and appreciation for who they are as an individual ~ the person with Alzheimer’s can benefit and even thrive once the individual is established in a memory loss unit. Ask the nursing center for a copy of their Caregiver’s Partnership Agreement and if they don’t have one, ask them to consider such a program in order to fully participate in the continued care and services for your loved one.
About the author: Ethelle G. Lord has her Doctorate of Management in Organizational Leadership from the University of Phoenix (2010). Dr. Lord is an adjunct Professor of Organizational Behavior and author. She has her own Alzheimer’s coaching and consulting business at Remembering for You (dot) Com and Teamwork Coaching (dot) Com. From 1992-1996 she had a private practice in mental health counseling; in the late 80s she was a paralegal for Legal Services for the Elderly; and from 1992-1996 she was a two-term President of the Maine Gerontological Society of Maine. Ethelle is married to Maj. Larry S. Potter, USAF Retired and lives in Maine. Visit us today at http://remembering4you.com and contact the author at Info@remembering4you.com