Caring for an Elderly Dementia Patient Today

There are many health issues that may arise as a person grows older, and by age 65, many Americans will be dealing with one or more chronic conditions, and they will generally visit the doctor and the hospital more often. For some health issues such as dementia like Alzheimer’s disease, long term care will be needed, and a long term care facility may be needed for a more serious case, or skilled home care if the patient has a milder case. For more serious health issues such as Alzheimer’s, osteoporosis, and others, finding a skilled nursing facility will be critical for maintaining the elderly patient’s health. A younger family member may conduct an online search such as “skilled nursing facility near me” to find a long term care facility nearby, such as “skilled nursing facility near me Boston MA” or “skilled nursing facility near me Burlington VT.” Such a dedicated health facility can be central to keeping an elderly patient in good health and maintaining their dignity of life. How often to elderly Americans experience chronic conditions, and what can be done?

Age and Health

Around the world, the elderly may represent an ever-larger slice of the human population, and experts have predicted that between 2015 and 2050, the world’s population of those aged 60 and over may rise from 12% to 22% or so, and nearly 52% of those turning 65 years old will need long-term care of one kind or another during their lifetimes. In the United States, there are some tracked statistics about age and health. For example, nearly 70% of Americans who turn 65 or older may need healthcare sometime within the next few years, and often, an elderly citizen will be experiencing a chronic condition or even more than one. One such condition is dementia, such as the common Alzheimer’s disease. In fact, nearly 64% of those aged 65 and over living in nursing homes have dementia such as Alzeimer’s disease. This affliction causes neurological damage such as memory impairment and even physical clumsiness, which can interfere with everyday life. Depending on the severity, a patient may either have home care or be relocated to a skilled nursing care facility.

Dementia Patient Care

Alzheimer’s disease cannot be cured or prevented, but its effects can be slowed down and dignity and ease of life can be preserved with medical help. For patients with a milder case in its early stages, home care is possible, where the patient lives in his or her own private residence and has medical staff visit to help them, such as checkups, medication, and simple companionship and help with everyday work. Home care may mean making the home dementia-safe. Tripping hazards such as rugs, electrical cords, and small items should be cleared away to prevent harm, and sharp or flame-producing items like scissors or matches can be kept locked away. Visiting medical professionals can help with pet care, gardening, grocery shopping, home maintenance, laundry, or anything else that the patient needs help with, and general human contact and socializing has been demonstrated to have a positive effect on Alzheimer’s patients, helping slow down the affliction’s progress. If the patient goes outside, they should carry a name tag and photo ID in case they get lost or hurt, so anyone who finds the patient can return him or her to their residence or alert their caretakers.

Meanwhile, more serious and advanced cases of Alzheimer’s mandate that the patient be relocated to a skilled nursing facility where they can be taken care of at any time of day by trained staff. A skilled nursing facility should not be confused with an ordinary retirement home; these facilities have advanced medical equipment and trained staff on hand to care for even the most demanding cases, and a patient with a serious case of Alzheimer’s and/or other issues will need to start living in one. A relative can search “skilled nursing facility near me” to find such a place in their city or county, and such a nearby place can be visited when family members want to spend some time with their elderly relative. This can help cheer up the Alzheimer’s patient, and their social life there can help mitigate dementia’s effects somewhat.