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Dementia And Assisted Living Facilities

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Dementia And Assisted Living Facilities

Dementia And Assisted Living Facilities
December 28
21:41 2018

The number of seniors with any of the various forms of dementia, especially Alzheimer’s, is skyrocketing here in the United States. Early on, it’s not a big problem for the families taking care of someone with dementia, but as the disease worsens, families find that they can no longer provide the 24/7 care needed.

What do they do?

Some turn to nursing homes that have around the clock staff to help dementia patients eat, get dressed, and do many of the things they normally do.

When I was in college many years ago, I worked as a night orderly on the intensive care ward in the best nursing home in the city. Most of the night, things were pretty quiet and I could get in a couple hours of homework, but as morning rolled around, I had to help many of them get up, cleaned up and get dressed and ready to eat. Fortunately, breakfast came right after shift change and when I was on my way to classes.

I worked with dementia patients and saw how it can render them partially to totally helpless and even unaware of the world around them or even who they are. They also need supervision throughout the day to make sure they don’t hurt themselves or wander away and this is what many families cannot do because they have to work during the day.

Some families are opting to put their dementia relatives in assisted living facilities instead of nursing homes. As a rule, assisted living places costs less than nursing homes. In America today, the need for senior care has resulted in a huge increase in the number of assisted living facilities. Sadly, like many things that grow and expand so rapidly, come problems that families soon regret as one family found out:

“They found Bonnie Walker’s body floating in a pond behind her assisted living facility in South Carolina. There were puncture wounds on her ear, her temple, her jaw and her cheeks.”

“Her right forearm and her pacemaker were inside one of the alligators that lived in the pond.”

“Like 4 in 10 residents in assisted living facilities, Walker, 90, had dementia. Shortly after midnight one day in July 2016, she slipped out of her facility, Brookdale Charleston, as she had done a few days before. This time, no one noticed her missing for seven hours.”

“‘No one should have to pass away that way,’ her granddaughter Stephanie Weaver said.”

The same report went on to say why this happened to Bonnie Walker:

“Dementia care is the fastest-growing segment of assisted living. As these residences market themselves to people with Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia, facilities across the country are straining to deliver on their promises of security and attentive care, according to a Kaiser Health News analysis of inspection records in the three most populous states.”

“In California, 45 percent of assisted living facilities have violated one or more state dementia regulations during the past five years. Three of the 12 most common California citations in 2017 were related to dementia care.”

“In Florida, 1 in 11 assisted living facilities have been cited since 2013 for not meeting state rules designed to prevent residents from wandering away.”

“And in Texas, nearly a quarter of the facilities that accept residents with Alzheimer’s have violated one or more state rules related to dementia care, such as tailoring a plan for each resident upon admission or ensuring that staff members have completed special training, according to nearly six years of records.”

Making the decision to place an elderly family member in a nursing home or assisted living facility is always a difficult and often emotionally stressful decision to make. Finances are always a huge concern as many families cannot afford most facilities and are forced to turn to less expensive ones. It’s also why so many are turning to assisted living facilities more because of the cost than the care.

As difficult as the decision is, you have to be careful not to have your loved one end up like Bonnie Walker or like of those we hear about on the news from time to time that just walk away from their facility, only to be found dead days later or never found again.

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