Is there a senior loved one in your family who has been able to live on his or her own successfully for years? Are you beginning to notice signs of fatigue, loss of weight or more days of not feeling good? It may be time for your senior loved one to move into a nursing home. It is a difficult decision to make, but have you and your family realized that your loved one needs a higher level of skilled care that only a nursing home may offer. Are you and your family concerned and want to protect your loved one from any abuse and general mistreatment in a facility? What should you and your family do now?
First, when you begin your search, make sure the nursing home is Medicare certified and accepts Medicaid. Medicare certification will assure you that there are standards that must be maintained and Medicaid approval may be able to help your loved one financially. We would like to share a few other ideas you can add to your checklist to help you and your family make the best decision for your loved one.
1. Find out if residents may have their personal belongings, including furniture, in their rooms. Is there storage space, such as an appropriately sized closet, in the room?
2. Find out what the various amenities are that are provided by the nursing home. Is there a computer and internet access in the bedroom? Is there a television? Is there a window to provide natural light? Having these types of comforts can help ease the transition into the nursing home.
3. Find out what type of activities the home offers and if the facility helps residents who may not be mobile. Are there outdoor areas for your loved one to use? Will your loved one be able to choose what time to get up, go to sleep, or bathe?
4. Find out about the support provided for residents with advanced health care needs. This is very important if your loved one is not in very good health and, in fact, this is the reason you and your family are looking for a nursing home. For example, a common disease that impacts many Older Americans is dementia. If your loved one has dementia, you will want to know if the nursing home has specific policies and procedures related to the care of residents with dementia. If the facility does have patients with dementia, what types of non-medication based procedures do they employ when trying the first attempt to respond to behavioral symptoms for residents living with dementia? Find out what percentage of residents have dementia and are currently being prescribed antipsychotic medication. This will help you to understand the type of residents that your loved one will be surrounded by as well as the home’s workload.
Our office is here to help you navigate the legal issues related to seeking and covering the cost of memory care. Our office is here to help. Please contact us today to schedule a meeting time.
Are you an adult child caring for your aging parent? Did you know that loss of memory may be a part of the aging process? As you care for your aging parent, how do you know when memory issues are serious enough to warrant intervention? What happens when your parent will not tell his or her physician that he or she is experiencing memory issues. Let us discuss some warning signs your aging parent may need memory care soon.
1. Appearance changes. With declining mental status there may be changes in appearance. For example, your parent may forget to bathe or stop putting an effort into his or her appearance, or even continuously wear the same outfit. This may be happening because he or she is forgetting to tend to hygiene or has confusion regarding the steps involved in hygiene. You know your parent best and are in a good position to see if there is a significant change in appearance.
2, Weight loss. Severe dementia may cause your parent to lose weight but there may be several other causes. Forgetting to eat may be the simplest cause, but if your parent does his or her own shopping he or she may be from getting lost on the way to the market, misplacing credit cards or having them turned off because your parent forgot to make the payment. Often, a combination of these factors may make the process of shopping for and eating food feel too overwhelming, and your parent may simply try to survive on what he or she has. If you do notice a sudden unexplained weight loss, you will need to engage your parent in a conversation about meals and grocery shopping. From a safety perspective, you should also determine whether your parent is at any risk of cooking related injuries, including burns or leaving the stove on, which may warrant immediate intervention.
3. Medication not taken. Are you noticing extra medicine around, or is your parent experiencing medical symptoms from not taking the proper medications, such as suddenly increased blood pressure or elevated blood sugar? These are sure signs that your parent is forgetting to take his or her medications.
4. Starting to get lost. If your parent is wandering or getting lost on routine routes this is a primary sign of dementia. When you try to talk to your parent, however, he or she may be unwilling to discuss it out of fear or shame, or his or her memory loss may cause him or her to be too confused to fully comprehend the situation. Try to visit your parent at a different time of day to see if they are wandering or getting lost or ask his or her neighbors to call you, if they see anything out of the ordinary.
5. Often agitated. Memory loss can be emotionally stressful. If your parent seems to be a little off, or gets easily angered, or begins lashing out, your parent may be experiencing memory loss. Often, memory decline will cause your parent to accuse family members and friends of stealing, as an explanation for misplacing things. If your parent accuses you of stealing, rather than take it personally, it may be time to call his or her doctor.
6. Depression. The aging process, medications, or a number of other reasons may cause depression. If you start to notice signs such as withdrawing from going outside, interacting with others, and increased isolation it may be time to not only talk to your parent but seek medical help.
If you observe any of these symptoms in your parent, first make sure he or she is in a safe environment and check on him or her more frequently. After this, speaking with his or her physician will provide you guidance in getting him or her appropriate memory care. Our office is here to help you navigate the legal issues related to seeking and covering the cost of memory care. We encourage you to contact us and schedule a meeting with our attorneys.
Did you know that National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month is in November? During the annual public education campaign, affected and at-risk seniors, their family members and caregivers are given up to date information and support. Also included in the campaign are advocates across health care, the legal field and nonprofit communities. One goal of the campaign is the dispelling of common misconceptions, as such it is important to understand that Alzheimer’s disease is a lot more than just old age and forgetfulness. In fact, according to the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s disease currently affects more than 5.8 million Americans and it is the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S.
Alzheimer’s, a brain disease, is the most common form of dementia. What is dementia? It is a general term for memory loss and the erosion of basic cognitive abilities. It is not a normal part of the aging process. Because the brain serves as the central computer for all of the body’s functions, affected individuals lose the ability to perform even simple daily tasks.
Forgetfulness and confusion, such as forgetting names, misplacing objects and mixing up times and places, may be the first symptoms to appear. Over time, the progressive nature of the disease will cause diminished thinking, judgment and behavior. Furthermore, jumbling words, difficulty expressing thoughts and emotions, struggling with routine tasks like getting dressed, and unpredictable behavior are all signs the disease is worsening.
In advanced stages, people living with Alzheimer’s can lose the ability to have conversations or respond to their surroundings. In addition, they may eventually become incapable of basic functions and cease to have the ability to cough, swallow or even breathe. People with Alzheimer’s disease live an average of just eight years after symptoms are first discovered.
Even though increasing age is the greatest risk factor for Alzheimer’s Disease, it is not strictly an elderly disease. About 200,000 Americans under age 65 have been diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s.
Do you know someone experiencing abnormal memory loss? You should consider encouraging them to see a doctor. Skilled physicians can diagnose Alzheimer's disease with more than 90 percent accuracy. Although there is currently no cure, medical treatments can help slow the progression of many symptoms.
If you are affected by Alzheimer’s disease in any way, you are not alone. There is a worldwide effort that is fighting for a cure and organizing to support people in need during Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, and throughout the year. For more information or guidance concerning related legal matters, contact our office today.