Patients with Alzheimer’s often find that much of their independence falls away as the disease progresses. Family often must take them into their homes to provide them with the care and supervision they have come to need. This can increase the stress on a family as well as the patient and cause tension and pain in the home. It is incredibly difficult to be the primary caretaker of your parent, to watch their dementia progress and be unable to stop it, to lose the person you once knew and loved, and to find the resources to give the care they need and deserve. And this is not an uncommon situation – Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States and one of the only leading causes that can’t be slowed or stopped in any way. Among people over 65 in the United States, one in eight has Alzheimer’s, and the number of people projected to have Alzheimer’s in 2050 is over 15 million. It’s impossible to ask that every family be able to take care of their loved ones afflicted by dementia. It’s impossible that every family could have the resources, time, and ability to do so.
This is where assisted living homes come in. These assisted living facilities can provide the necessary care to dementia patients that the family might not be able to provide, for whatever reason. These nursing homes can provide a safe place for dementia patients and can offer specialized services that aren’t available in most residential homes. There are over 15,000 skilled nursing centers in the United States alone, all providing care for patients suffering from over the 100 types of dementia (of these, Alzheimer’s is by far the most common, making up at least 80% of dementia diagnoses). In these residential care facilities, patients are able to receive not only medical care but help with everyday tasks. They are able to have a quality of life that they would not have outside an assisted living home and certainly they wouldn’t have as much agency if not for the care and support of the staff.
Assisted living facilities can provide the care and companionship that individual families can sometimes not do for a number of valid reasons. Families can entrust dementia patients to assisted living homes and know that they are being given a chance to live comfortably and happily while having their medical needs and care needs met by qualified professionals.