Mohave County
May 2024
Volume 24 Issue 3

Dec 2023 | December 2023

What to know about care homes for people with Dementia

December 2023

December 2023

NATION — Dementia, a progressive and debilitating condition, significantly affects the lives of not only those diagnosed but also their caregivers. Making the decision to transition a loved one with dementia into a care home can be challenging, but it’s often necessary when their safety and health care needs exceed what can be provided at home. Understanding the various aspects of care homes, from the types of facilities available to the costs involved, is crucial for families navigating this difficult journey.
Types of Care Homes and When They’re Needed
The decision to move someone with dementia into a care home often arises when their symptoms become severe, posing a risk to their health and safety, or when a caregiver is unable to cope with the increasing demands of care. Signs indicating the need for a care home may include hygiene issues, forgetting medications, and difficulty in performing daily tasks like eating or dressing.
Care homes for people with dementia vary in the level of care provided and cost. These include:
– Assisted Living Facilities: Suitable for those with early-stage dementia, providing housing, meals, healthcare, and support services.
– Nursing Homes: Offer 24/7 care and support, including medical care and recreational activities, for those with more advanced stages of dementia.
– Memory Care Units: Specialize in dementia care, often as part of larger residential care communities.
– Life Plan Communities: Provide a range of care levels, from assisted living to nursing home care, accommodating changing care needs over time.
Costs and Funding for Care Homes
The cost of care homes varies significantly based on the type of facility and the level of care required. The Alzheimer’s Association provides national averages for long-term care costs:
– Assisted living (basic services): $57,289 per year.
– Nursing home (semi-private room): $100,679 per year.
– Nursing home (private room): $115,007 per year.
Families often bear the cost of long-term care, but options like long-term care insurance, Veterans benefits, or Medicaid may be available. Medicare typically covers short-term care following a hospital stay but not long-term residential care costs.
Care Home vs. In-Home Care
For those in the early stages of dementia, in-home care might be a viable option. This includes help with daily living activities and can provide both medical care and companionship. In-home care allows individuals to stay in a familiar environment, which can be beneficial in the early stages of dementia. However, as the disease progresses, the need for 24-hour supervision and care often necessitates the transition to a care home.
Tips for a Smooth Transition into a Care Home
Transitioning to a care home can be stressful for both the individual with dementia and their family. Tips to ease this transition include discussing the move close to the day of relocation, decorating their new space with familiar items, and coordinating with care home staff for consistent messaging and support.
Caregiver Support
It’s essential for caregivers to also take care of their own mental and physical health. This can involve taking breaks from caregiving, engaging in relaxing activities, and seeking support from others in similar situations.
Choosing the right care option for a loved one with dementia is a complex decision, requiring consideration of the individual’s specific needs, the caregiver’s capacity, and financial implications. Understanding the different types of care homes and their associated costs, along with tips for transitioning and supporting caregivers, can help families make informed decisions during this challenging time.
— By Beth Sissons

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