Getting Help for Dementia in Your Community

Getting Help for Dementia in Your CommunityAt Emory’s Integrated Memory Care Clinic (IMCC), we know that caring for family members or loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementias can be challenging, especially on your own. Thankfully, options for care exist within the community. Different options will be right for different patients, as some patients in the early stages of dementia won’t need nearly as much assistance or supervision as people with advanced dementia. We’ve included several options for community-based care below, ranked from the options with the least restrictions that provide the lowest amount of hands-on care to those with increased security and restrictions that provide the highest level of hands-on care.

Senior Centers

The Older Americans Act (OAA), originally enacted in 1965, provides resources for Senior Centers. There are currently more than 10,000 centers in the U.S. serving more than a million adults each day. These centers offer services like meal and nutrition programs, health, fitness, and wellness programs, transportation programs, social activities, education and arts programs and public benefits counseling. These are a good option for people in the very early stages of Alzheimer’s or related dementias.

Adult Day Programs

These programs offer a place for your loved one with dementia to go, interact with others, socialize and engage. These programs typically exist in a secure environment so patients can’t wander off and leave the facility. This becomes important for patients with cognitive impairment who could become lost in unfamiliar settings. The programming at facilities like these is created specifically for people with limited attention spans and cognition, so your loved one won’t become frustrated, and will be able to enjoy the activities.

Adult Day Programs are focused either on a medical or social model. Most programs are the social version. Adult Day Programs designed with a medical model can provide a higher level of care. For example, patients experiencing urinary incontinence will typically need to be in a program with a medical model.

Hours and days of the week vary by program, some offer weekday care only and others offer care on weekends. These programs typically offer a more affordable option to in-home care, as you can expect to pay anywhere from $35-$80 a day vs. paying in-home help a higher hourly rate.

Adult Day programs help keep dementia patients in their homes longer by keeping them socially engaged and giving them a structured routine. This may help your loved one sleep better, improve their health and give caregivers like you a much-needed break.

Respite Care: Residential or in-home

Respite care is very time-limited and can happen either in-home or in a residential facility. It provides temporary care when family members or caregivers need a break, has an emergency or needs to travel. You can arrange for shifts with home care to ensure coverage while you’re gone, and some assisted living or personal care homes do offer respite care in their facility. In this scenario, the patient would move into the community for a set amount of time, sometimes into a fully furnished room. Expect to pay for this out of pocket.

Assisted Living/Personal Care Home

These facilities can vary in size and in the level of care they provide. They can be large 100-apartment senior living communities or small 4-bed home with one person providing care. The biggest difference between the two is the ability of assisted living facilities to provide more help for people needing a higher level of care. And while these facilities can provide care for a loved one who needs more socialization or is difficult to care for at home, they still feel like homes, not skilled nursing communities. Larger communities can have activity directors with daily programming. These homes can have secure memory care units that include extra staff and increased security.

Skilled Nursing

Long-Term Skilled Nursing facilities (SNF) provide nursing home level care and are staffed with nurses and a medical director. These are usually the last option for many families, but they can be the best option for medically complicated patients or patients who can’t walk, transfer and ambulate. For bed-bound patients living outside their home, this level of care is almost required.

When IMCC patients move to Long-Term skilled nursing facilities like these, we transfer their medical care to the facility. From that point on, the SNF medical director manages all of the patient’s care. Medicare does not cover custodial care, and it can be expensive. Medicaid can pay for care in a skilled nursing facility. This can become the only option available for many families.

The Integrated Memory Care Clinic

The Integrated Memory Care Clinic (IMCC) is a nationally recognized patient-centered medical home that provides primary care individualized for someone living with dementia and is designed to replace your current primary care provider. Our goal is to provide the best dementia-sensitive primary care. If you’d like to learn more about the IMCC, or think one of your patients or family members could benefit from our services, please contact our patient services coordinator at 404-712-6929.

To learn more, please visit the Integrated Memory Care Clinic.

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