The search for an appropriate care facility for someone suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia can be confusing because of both the great number of adult care homes available and the different types or levels of care. According to the web site maintained by Friends of Adult Care, a state organization dedicated to reform (http://friendsofadultcare.com/ ), there are more than 1,400 adult care homes providing care and supervision for elderly and disabled people in North Carolina.
Different Levels of Care
The first step in deciding on the right type of care for your loved one should be to examine the different levels of care available for older residents in North Carolina so as to find a place that meets the specific needs of a family member with dementia. Let’s look at four profiles.
Home Care & Home Health Care
In this living situation people remain at home but receive assistance in such areas as housekeeping and meals and in managing their health. Services may include providing medication, different types of therapy such as physical, occupational, or speech therapy, or help with personal care such as bathing and dressing.
Adult Care Homes & Assisted Living Facilities
These residential facilities provide 24-hour care and supervision for elderly and disabled residents similar to that of home care. Residents in this situation do not need ongoing medical care but may receive medication. Accomodations may be a shared room, a private room, or a private apartment. Staff to resident ratio is 1 to 20 during first and second shifts and then 1 to 30 during third shifts.
Nursing Homes & Continuing Care Retirement Communities
These facilities provide round-the-clock skilled nursing services for those with serious health problems, but do not provide the same intense care that one would receive in a hospital.
A continuing care retirement community allows residents flexibility according to health needs. A resident may move from independent living to assisted living to skilled nursing care as needed.
There are at present 40,000 residents and over 1,400 facilities in each of the above two categories in North Carolina.
Special Care at Eastover Gardens Special Care Units (SCUs) for people with Alzheimer’s and dementia
These types of facilities can be free-standing or locked units within a facility. SCUs deal only with the care of those suffering from Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia. Staff in SCUs receive additional training specific to memory care.
Since a primary goal of SCUs is to keep residents independent for as long as possible, care planning in a SCU is focused on maintaining and enhancing the residents’ cognitive ablity to perform the activities of daily living.
Staff to resident ratio is 1 to 8 during first and second shifts and 1 to 10 during third shift.