In order to plan ahead for the best possible Alzheimer’s care, caregivers must stay abreast of trends in short and long-term dementia care. As we continue to learn more about Alzheimer’s and dementia, there are hopes that a successful treatment is around the next bend. For many sufferers, their physicians and caregivers this translates to developing strategies that attempt to slow the symptoms in hopes that a solution will come to market before patients arrive at critical dispositions.
In the meantime, Alzheimer’s care is challenging. Unfortunately, poor decision-making is a symptom most sufferers experience. This particular symptom means caregivers must be on their toes around the clock. The demand for inpatient Alzheimer’s care and residences has grown exponentially since 2010.
Demand for Adult Day Services
In 2010, the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) reported that 17% of the nation’s residential care communities offered specialized dementia care units. In fact, 13% of all beds in residential care facilities were devoted to dementia sufferers.
In 2014, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) presented compelling statistics that underscore the alarming increase in dementia patients in the US. By that time, 39.6% of residential care residents suffered from some form of dementia. In 2013, the CDC identified 31.4% of the country’s home health agency patients suffered dementia.
By any standard, this qualifies as an alarming spread and gives testimony to the need for informed caregivers and safe residential communities that understand the disease and are prepared to provide counseling services and treatment.
Many caregivers do not understand the risks associated with Alzheimer’s or dementia. Of every 100,000 persons in the US, 26.8 persons will die because of dementia-related effects. Alzheimer’s Disease is listed as the sixth leading cause of death in the US, claiming about 85,000 fatalities per year.
By 2014, 50.4% of all nursing home residents in the US suffered dementia or Alzheimer’s. 44.7% of all hospice patients were afflicted with the disease.
The CDC and NCHS began to report distinct improvements in dementia care in residential facilities in 2010. 70% US residential care communities with dementia special care units offered specific dementia care features, including:
- Specially trained staff (88%)
- An enclosed courtyard (82%)
- Doors with keypads or electronic keys (79%)
- Locked exit doors (76%)
- Personal monitoring devices (35%)
- Closed circuit monitoring (19%)
Interestingly, nearly 60% of residential communities (58%) that provide special care units for dementia patients were chain affiliated. 79% were purposely constructed as residential care communities. However, in 2010, only 37% of residential communities were certified and/or registered to participate in Medicaid.
There was also significant geographical differences in the availability of specific dementia and Alzheimer’s care communities. The Northeast had the highest percentage of dementia special care units at 12%. At the same time, 86% of all dementia special care units were located in metropolitan statistical areas.
Specialized dementia care units were more likely to be found in extra-large healthcare communities, ones with more than 100 beds and in communities with 26-100 beds, than in smaller communities with between 4 and 25 beds.
Dynamic changes and specific dementia care programs now characterize inpatient and outpatient dementia and Alzheimer’s care. These diseases are painful for sufferers and caregivers alike but there is hope. Many of the country’s largest hospitals now offer outpatient support programs that patients and caregivers can explore with confidence.
If the goal is to slow the onset of Alzheimer’s Disease or other types of dementia, trained support staff can offer advice, counsel and guidance that could make the difference. Today’s dedicated dementia care communities can also make a difference but in the end, informed caregivers are key to better health and wellness initiatives.