As people live longer, the cases of Alzheimer's disease is supposed to skyrocket, almost doubling every 20 years and reaching an estimated 115 million cases by 2050, according to the World Alzheimer Report. For people 65 and older, approximately 12% of the U.S. population is affected by Alzheimer's. For people 85 and older, nearly half are affected by the disease. Whether it falls to the individual or his or her family, tough decisions are necessary, and one of the most critical decisions is how long to leave the affected person in his or her own home. There is no standard answer, no set guidelines, but here are some of the things to consider when making your choice and creating long-term plans for Alzheimer's care.
In-Home Care for Alzheimer's Patients
Think Alzheimer's is a condition too severe for the prospect of in-home care? Take a look at those numbers again. If, in fact, dementia and Alzheimer's cases double every twenty years, the U.S. (and many other countries) may not have the necessary facilities. People with mild- or moderate-stage dementia may not yet need institutional care. Moreover, some people with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), but not clinically linked to dementia, may still want some help around the house. Here are some strategies to consider when designing an in-home care program for people with MCI or other beginning stages of Alzheimer's or dementia:
Strategies for Alzheimer's In-Home Care
Alzheimer's Care Facilities
You may be able to find private facilities that specialize and cater to Alzheimer's patients. If you can find one of these facilities and have the means to pay for it, this may very well be your answer. Still, there are a number of more generalized facilities that can still offer exceptional care. Many of the same strategies for in-home Alzheimer's care are still applicable, although modified, to help you feel confident that you're giving the best possible care for your loved one. The following types of Alzheimer's care facilities are available in most cities, but individual facilities must be assessed for their own merit:
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What's at Stake: Level of Care Directly Affects Health
While you probably won't know what the right decision is with any degree of certainty, creating the best care possible is likely to have a direct impact on your loved one's health, especially as the disease progresses. Studies have shown that Alzheimer's patients who receive superior care may retain their ability to walk for years longer than those who receive only passable or marginal care.