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Alzheimer's Disease Care Options

Reviewed by: MySeniorCare Staff
Last Updated: 4/15/2011 1:26:51 PM

When you are caring for somebody with Alzheimer's, it is often difficult to navigate the treacherous waters of insurance policies, Medicare coverage and long-term care facilities available to you.

There are many different care options for Alzheimer's patients, and each offers a unique set of benefits. The goal is to find a care solution that will fit your loved one's budget, and provide them with the level of care they need.

Home Care

Home care allows the patient to continue to reside in their own home, or in the home of a family member or friend. Although this option is often preferable to a nursing or assisted care facility in terms of maintaining ties to your loved one, it is also the most difficult. If the patient requires 24-hour care and you work, for example, home care is probably not going to work. However, there are assistive at-home alternatives for Alzheimer's patients. For example, adult day care facilities are excellent care options for those with Alzheimer's. These provide a place where your loved one can make friends and receive assistive care while you are at work.

Assisted Living Centers

Assisted living facilities are not as institutional as nursing homes, but provide a safe and comfortable place for your loved one to live. Many of these facilities have full-time medical staff or doctors on call in case of emergency, and are designed like small apartments. Patients can maintain their autonomy, except when they need help.

Unfortunately, other care options might be more practical for Alzheimer's patients who require financial assistance from Medicare. Because Medicare does not cover these facilities, and some states do not have waivers for Medicaid assisted living, it is not always feasible.

Nursing Homes

Perhaps the most common care option for Alzheimer's patients is the nursing home, which offers a high level of care to patients who are unable to care for themselves. This might include administering medication and monitoring symptoms, as well as helping the patient to eat, drink, bathe, dress and undress.

There are two types of nursing homes for Alzheimer's patients. The first is skilled care, which offers short-term care for patients who have suffered an injury or acute problem. The second is long-term care, which is generally not covered by Medicare, and might require the patient to use their own financial resources.

There are many different types of facilities within these categories. It is important for caregivers to carefully research all care options before making a decision. This means visiting each facility, talking with representatives, and coordinating with insurance carriers as well as any subsidy assistance your loved one might be receiving.

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