Alzheimer's Unit

ginnierOctober 22, 2008

My dad has now been in an AU since early Aug. and I like its simplicity. It seems just right for Dad. The gals that help him and the other residents are fantastic! They are so caring...

I'd be interested to know what other units are like in other cities or states. What do you like about the one you have been to? Dislike?

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Mine was also in a good AU, but the type of care often depends on if the person accepts what the help wants to do for him. My husband didn't understand that the help was "helping" him instead of messing with him, sexually.

Everyone should know the difference between a care home and a behavioral home, the name can often be misleading. You will see young people in the behavioral centers. They are not good places to put a loved one, unless it is a last resort.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2008 at 11:17AM
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I am so grateful for this web site for all the info, everyone can give helping myself and others out with caring for our loved ones. I understand that one with dementia may have behavioral problems it's not because they choose to be this way. My dad is child like sometimes and other times he's like raging bull ready to break out of the AL home. He's only been there since Sept 25th.
I believe he's in a good AU, They have taken a lot off of dad. He's a real work of art. He complains of chest pains a lot wanting his nitro quik because he's not use to being without them in his pocket BUT he also over took them. He'd take up to three waiting the 15 minutes to take them but would not go to the ER to see what was going on. Then once he told them that his back was hurting bad and he put on a good act for them. They called me asking if he really had back problems and I said yes but not bad, they said he was insisting on them calling me to take him to the hospital and I seen he's was just trying anything to get out of there.
He did this with is chest pains too, he called me acting as if nothing was wrong, voice nice and calm but then it dawned on me that he was wanting out earlier that day. Sure enough as soon as I got into his room he was all but yelling get me out of here right now. With dad's behavior it makes it hard to know what is true and what is not true. If only it was simple where I could tell him by crying wolf to many times I can't know if he really needs help or not. He's not the same person that I knew before dementia.
It's been very hard to put my trust and his care into strangers but it was something that had to be done for his safety and for my health as well.
The people at the home have been very good from what I've seen, the place is very clean, they have a lot of activities, go on outing's field trips.
One thing that helped me feel better about the place is that there are quite a few of the wife's or husband that go nearly everyday to help take care of their loved one, they just want to be with them, with this I felt it makes the people running the place be on their best behavior cause they have eyes on them.
This is a family ran AL home meaning that the family of the resident own the home for as long as they are living there. We have a voice in what goes on, where most places you don't have a voice or choice in what changes they come up with.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2008 at 9:04AM
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My mom was just transferred to the memory care wing of her AL about two weeks ago. Most of the rooms are shared, but there are two distinct sides, separated by a wall. So it gives a lot more privacy than most shared nursing home rooms. The residents are given three full meals daily along with two large snacks.

There is a huge living room filled with sofas, chairs and recliners where everyone gathers for activities, TV, and chatting. The caregivers are very good about getting the residents out into the living room area; they're not left alone in their rooms all day. That used to be a big problem for my mom. Her mental condition had deteriorated to the point that she couldn't join in any of the AL activities, so she spent most of her time either napping or just sitting in her apartment chair. In the memory care unit, she spends most of her time interacting with the other residents and staff.

The unit has a small enclosed garden area, so residents can enjoy the fresh air & sunshine, walk around on the paths, or sit down and look at the plants. They can come & go from this small garden as they wish without a caregiver with them. There is also a much larger courtyard garden with a gazebo, but it's only accessible if the caregiver accompanies the resident(s).

The memory care residents take weekly scenic tours in their bus. Because of their confusion and tendency to wander, they really don't take field trips where they can get out and walk around.

The women have access to the in-house beauty parlor, and my mom gets her hair done weekly along with manicures & pedicures.

The hallways in the residents' living area are covered with special murals. Scenes that are pleasant and may jog memories -- a forest lake with a couple of fishing poles hanging nearby, a couple of race cars, a backyard scene complete with laundry hanging on a clothesline, etc. There are also stations set up in the hallways; a sewing machine (needle removed) with squares of cloth; a bassinet filled with baby dolls, a tool bench with children's plastic tools, etc. The murals & stations are there to help distract and re-direct agitated residents.

All in all, I think it's a pretty good facility. So far my mother's transition has gone well. Of course, that could change.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2008 at 1:04PM
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If you don't have a voice in the care homes treatment of your loved one, you need to report them to the state. I called a care meeting, they ended up with 4 pages of wrong doings and they fired one aide. I did not have to call the state and that is a sign that they care. It was a very fruitful meeting, things got better right away.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2008 at 8:20PM
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Shambo the AL home your mom is in sounds a lot like the one my dad is in. I did not mention that they have a court yard in the center of the home where they can be outside without being in harms way. I see many of the men sitting out there soaking up the sun on nice days. They let the residents garden in the court yard which I was very impressed with cause it's what I'd want to do if I was in a AL place.

OT, but having mentioned the gardening I got a bunch of bulbs from a swap and don't think I'll be able to plant them all so I'm going to ask if they would like them.

They have 2 TV rooms one for those that like watching sports and one on the other side of the home to watch movies. They also have a large private dinning room that you can reserve for family dinners.
They have a craft room, one of the residents was an aircraft mechanic and he enjoys putting model airplanes together.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2008 at 10:49PM
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My grandmother is in an Alzheimer's facility and is in the final stages of the disease. I love her facility so much, it's clean, organized, they have tons of memory sparking activities ALL day long, and they are not allowed to just lay in bed all day, they are gotten up and gotten dressed to come to the dinner table each day.
It is exceedingly expensive, we pay over $4000 out of pocket each month, they do not take any insurance or medicare....private pay only. She has been here for 5 years and I don't have one complaint, I come in and out at all hours of the day to "pop" in, I have never seen anything going on with any residents that I can complain about.
It's so hard, she and I are the only remaining members of our family (she, my dad, and I are only children) my dad died in his facility 3 months ago so it is very hard and lonely for me.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2008 at 9:50AM
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mrswhatacop, i understand hard & lonely. I have a sister & mom living in town and I never see them unless I visit them. it's been thay way for years. every one seemed sympathetic and offered to help when my husband was diagnosed with Alzheimer's, but in the end no one came to see my husband or me during 4 years & 9 months i cared for him. The same with his kids. last week i fell and broke my arm, badly. even though i have a sis who would help, i won't call and when i die they will not be notified. if they don't visit when i am well, i don't want to see them at all. my point is it doesn't matter if you have family or not it can still be lonely. it's not something i think a lot about, i have adjusted or at least i thought i had until i broke my arm last week and find myself only one usable hand. you can't imagine how many things you need two hands for, zippers, lids, etc.. and when i go shopping thank goodness for strangers who run over asking to help.

it hurts worse knowing you have family near by.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2008 at 12:21PM
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I so sorry stargazzer, I hate that so many people here on this site seem to be lonely or alone in having to care for their loved ones.
I guess that as an only child I never thought about the fact that people with siblings and many family members must feel such a deep pain that even they won't take time to help.
I seem to take care of many who are not even my family but whose own family doesn't do as they should...elderly people are my weakness...I'm not crazy about kids but could spend so much of my time just listening to our elders tell their's like being blessed with a multitude of grandparents.
Take care, my thoughts and prayers are with you all.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2008 at 11:57AM
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thanks for the kind words. when i married my second husband 35 yrs ago i started having headaches (ex & steps) and they went on for years until my grand kids brought over a video game and got me hooked. it stopped my headaches, takes your mind off of the bad thoughts. simple cure. my mom taught me years ago not to dwell on things that worry me, think of the good things in your life. that is exactly what i do. i am a fortunate woman to be able to get over it and get on with my life.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2008 at 10:16PM
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In looking for a memory care facility, do you know if it is better to have a private or shared bedroom & bath?

    Bookmark   December 28, 2010 at 5:02PM
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June, it's all a mater of cost and availability. Medicare/medicaid will only cover a shared room. If your money is unlimited, I'd talk to the administrators of the facility about whether some patient actually do better in a shared room with more attention, or some need more privacy. I'd guess that would depend on the patient's stage of disease and personality.

But I'd guess that only the most expensive private facilites would have private rooms.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2010 at 6:49PM
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