What is Alzheimer’s disease?
Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive form of dementia which is a broader term used for conditions caused by brain injuries or diseases that typically affect those who are older. The disease negatively affects memory, thinking, and behavior. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s disease accounts for 60 to 80 percent of dementia cases. Most people with the disease get a diagnosis after age 65. If it’s diagnosed before then, it’s generally referred to as early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.
There’s no cure for Alzheimer’s at the moment, but there are treatments that can slow the progression of the disease.
Although many people have heard of Alzheimer’s disease, some aren’t sure exactly what it is. Here are some facts about this condition:
- Alzheimer’s disease is a chronic ongoing condition.
- Its symptoms come on gradually and the effects on the brain are degenerative, meaning they cause a slow decline.
- There’s no cure for Alzheimer’s but treatment can help slow the progression of the disease and may improve quality of life.
- Anyone can get Alzheimer’s disease but certain people are at higher risk for it. This includes people over age 65 and those with a family history of the condition.
- Alzheimer’s and dementia aren’t the same things. Alzheimer’s disease is a type of dementia.
- There’s no single expected outcome for people with Alzheimer’s. Some people live a long time with mild cognitive damage, while others experience a more rapid onset of symptoms and quicker disease progression.
Dementia vs. Alzheimer’s
The terms “dementia” and “Alzheimer’s” are sometimes used interchangeably. However, these two conditions are not the same. In fact, Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia just like Parkinson’s, Huntington’s Disease, or even a traumatic brain injury. Dementia is a broader term to describe an individual who is experiencing memory loss such as forgetfulness and confusion but there are several other symptoms associated with this disease.
How Do I Help My Loved One Who Has Alzheimer’s?
There is no one right way to help. Every person’s experience is different but with the right tools and knowledge, your loved one can still have a wonderful qualify of life throughout their journey. If you are caring for your loved one, there are several ways to help make the day easier. One thing we recommend is therapeutic fibbing. This means that you may need to “fib” from time to time. For example, if they think that a loved one who has passed away is still coming home like their own parents, you can go into their in their world and tell them what they want to hear, like yes, mom will be home soon she is only at the store.. Essentially, if you decide to them the real truth instead of what they believe is true, you will only agitate them more as they are not in the same place mentally. Your loved one may be reverting back to an older time in their mind so it doesn’t make it any easier if you try to tell them something that they do not believe.
There are several other methods to use throughout the day when it comes to eating meals, making sure they do not wander out of the house, or even leave the stove on. With this in mind, there may come a time that caring for your loved one with Alzheimer’s becomes too much by yourself as you may have small children of your own to care for. Or maybe you have to leave for work and you are not able to keep mom or dad at home alone.
Due to these circumstances, there are many communities that provide Alzheimer’s Care in Orlando, FL, and its surrounding areas. They are specialized assisted living communities that care for those living with Alzheimer’s or other forms of Dementia. Since people living with Dementia typically have difficulties with cognitive thinking abilities and or short-term memory loss, it becomes hard for those living with Alzheimer’s disease to manage their activities of daily living. You may be caring for your loved one or know of someone who has been affected by an Alzheimer’s or Dementia diagnosis. This is why Alzheimer’s care such as memory care facilities in Orlando, FL is vital.
When is the Right Time to Locate Memory Care?
So how do you know when it’s an appropriate time to begin searching for memory care in Orlando or the surrounding area? Most people find it emotionally difficult to place their loved one in a memory care facility. I am here to describe what a memory care facility is like in Orlando, FL. First and foremost, let’s disregard the word, facility. Nowadays people call memory care or assisted living, “communities” and this is because assisted living is no longer institutional. The feel is more like a home-like environment, thus a community of residents that reside in an apartment-style home away from home where they can continue to thrive with the care they need.
What Can You Expect in a Memory Care Community?
They all differ in terms of price, amenities, and of course, cognitive activities offered. Memory Care communities are secured assisted living facilities with trained staff to care for those residents living with Alzheimer’s or Dementia. When I tour these specialized communities, I typically see activities catered for those with memory impairment, a place for residents to roam freely and safely, and also special rooms that are centered around safety. I am not sure if you know but sometimes where you place a mirror can cause anxiety and or agitation for a resident. With that said, memory care communities are typically built and designed with that in mind.
As stated in the Orlando Sentinel, “Experts say that as Florida’s population continues to age such specialized facilities will be even more in demand. The Alzheimer’s Association predicts that 720,000 Floridians will be diagnosed with the disease by 2025, a 44-percent increase over 2015 estimates. As cases mushroom in the coming years, more assisted-living facilities in Central Florida may find a niche in memory care.” From what we’ve found, this is true. We help a lot of families locate memory care communities in Orlando, FL, and the surrounding area, locate memory care communities. We help so many people with this disease that we decided to become experts in the field. Our trained staff consists of Certified Dementia Practitioners.
What is the Cost of Memory Care?
With that said, it’s important for you to know that the cost of memory care is significantly higher than assisted living. If your loved one is showing signs of Dementia or Alzheimer’s you’ll want to start planning for their transition into a memory care community. The average cost of a memory care community in Orlando, FL is approx. $4500 for a shared room. Rates do vary depending on size and level of care. As you begin your search for Memory Care in Orlando, FL, you’ll want to know what questions to ask and what to expect on your tour to ensure the community is the best fit for your loved one.
Most families base their decision either on price or emotion. We all want what’s best for our loved one and typically we make decisions based on what we think they need versus what they actually need. With the many different types of dementia, you’ll want to decide based on what the community can accommodate. Here are some questions you’ll want to know and ask.
- What type of Dementia training does your staff receive and how often?
- How many caregivers to residents?
- How secured is the community?
- Where are the fire escapes?
- What is your elopement procedure?
- What activities programs does the community offer and how often?
- Are residents grouped by cognitive abilities?
- Does the community accommodate special care needs? Ex. Diabetic administration
- Do you charge for level of care?
- What is your discharge process if you cannot accommodate my loved one anymore?
- Do you have awake staff?
- How often is laundry and housekeeping?
- Can I take my loved one out of the community?
So Why is Memory Care More Expensive than Assisted Living?
Memory Care residents require more care due to their diagnosis. Although one person with Dementia may be high functioning, you have to remember that the disease progresses rather quickly from one day to the next. Oftentimes, Memory Care communities require more staff specifically at night for those residents who are up at night and of course those who require more help with their activities of daily living. The average cost for a shared room is approximately $4500 plus level of care. It’s good to locate those communities that are all-inclusive of care because as your loved one declines, you’ll know exactly the amount you need to pay regardless of the level of care. We’ve seen in the Orlando, FL area all-inclusive memory care around $5500-$6200. Of course, we can locate options for you that are less but options are limited.
What Other Alzheimer’s Resources are Available to Me?
The Alzheimer’s & Dementia Resource Center (ADRC) is a great resource and has been serving the Central Florida community for over 35 years. ADRC was founded by Pat Jimison because there were no resources available in the mid-80s when she needed them for her family. Since that time, ADRC has developed into a comprehensive agency that provides many services, all of which are provided at no cost to those who need them.
Support groups meet the needs of the general group of informal caregivers who are providing care to persons living with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) or some other form of dementia. ADRC offers specific groups for specific circumstances (Adult Daughters and Adult Granddaughters, The Men’s Breakfast Club) as well as those meant for any interested person.
ADRC also provides extensive educational training workshops throughout the year. The Embrace The Moment workshops provide information on a single topic, whereas the multi-week (ranging from 4-6 weeks) workshops provide comprehensive information on a broader scope.
Care coaching is a service that is offered by appointment only. This allows the caregiver to meet with a team member and discuss concerns, receive information appropriate to their individual circumstances, and leave with a plan of action.
ADRC has extensive resource lists that provide information for a multitude of services that caregivers and their families will need as they move through the course of these complex situations.
The State of Florida Brain Bank Research study is a program that was initiated by ADRC, where Pat Jimison then took the idea to the state where it is now a statewide program. ADRC covers 22 counties in Florida and is one of the two agencies that implement this study.
ADRC is expanding its scope of services as well. There are new programs being developed that will include a focus on wellness, prevention, and persons who are in the very early stages of AD or any other form of dementia.
Check out their website at www.adrccares.org for up to date information on upcoming workshops and other events.
If you or someone you know is experiencing the challenges caring for someone with Dementia or Alzheimer’s due to our current situation or in general, please contact the ADRC at 407-436-7750. They can guide you to beneficial resources, programs, and tips to help you get through this time.
We Are Here for You!
North Star Senior Advisors provide support and guidance through your transition into senior living, assisted living, and memory care. We’ll explain the process, provide an overview of senior living communities, and schedule tours to ensure that you find that perfect new home. Having an advocate during your search is important to help you locate appropriate options as well as guide you through your search and devise a perfect solution. We also recommend reading reviews and talking to other resident family members in memory care! Making a decision to place your loved one is hard but making the wrong decision is even worse. North Star Senior Advisors is here to help!
For more information about what we do, call a senior living advisor at 407-796-1582.