If you have a loved one who suffers from Alzheimer’s or dementia, selecting the right long-term care facility can be difficult. And if you don’t know exactly what to look for, it can feel a lot like comparing apples to oranges.

Basic Alzheimer’s Care Options

It’s believed that there are roughly 44 million people worldwide living with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia. In the United States alone, roughly 5.5 million people have Alzheimer’s. Of these, 5.3 million people are 65 and older.

If you have a parent or loved one who suffers from Alzheimer’s, you’re probably wondering about your different care options. And while every situation is unique, you’ll find that there are four common choices:

  • In-home care. There are nurses and care specialists who can actually live with your loved one and provide around-the-clock care. This tends to be the most expensive option, but it’s appealing to individuals who want to remain in their own home.
  • Assisted living. These facilities have rooms or apartments that are attached to common areas where residents can eat, socialize, and get the care they need. Many facilities even have memory care units that provide specialized care for Alzheimer’s and dementia.
  • Nursing home. For individuals who are in the later stages of Alzheimer’s and need more thorough care, a nursing home setting is ideal. Again, there may even be a portion of the facility that’s dedicated to residents with Alzheimer’s.
  • Residential care. Group homes, also referred to as residential care facilities, are homes that accept a small number of individuals – usually just four or five – and provide personalized care in a more intimate setting. These facilities are typically cheaper than in-home care, yet more expensive than nursing homes or assisted living facilities.

Many elderly individuals with Alzheimer’s eventually end up in an assisted living, nursing home, or residential care facility. While expensive, it’s often the best and most convenient option for all parties involved.

How to Evaluate an Alzheimer’s Care Facility

As you help your loved one find an Alzheimer’s care facility, it’s important that you analyze and compare options through the right lens. Here are a few factors to take into account:

1. Reputation

The first thing to consider is the reputation of the facility. What do other people say about it? Are there positive or negative online reviews? Do people within the local healthcare community think highly of it? Reputations can be misleading, but there’s typically some degree of truth to them. Keep this in mind.

2. Ratings

There are dozens of websites and organizations that take the time to rate care facilities and provide grades on their performance. Read through these ratings to get a more objective idea of how different care options stack up against one another.

3. Rules and Procedures

Unfortunately, many nursing homes and care facilities don’t provide the quality of care that they should. Some even go as far as to abuse or neglect residents.

When vetting a facility, be on the lookout for telltale signs of nursing home abuse. This may include physical abuse, sexual abuse, verbal/emotional abuse, or financial abuse. It’s also smart to review a facility’s rules and inquire about the safeguards they have in place for preventing abuse and neglect. A lack of such policies shows a lack of proper care.

4. Location

Location shouldn’t be the only factor in your search, but it’s certainly relevant. It’s important that you’re able to visit your loved one on a semi-regular basis. If the facility is conveniently located nearby, you’ll be able to do drop in with greater frequency.

5. Pricing

Finally, think about pricing. The cost of a long-term care facility can range rather dramatically. The median cost of a private room in a nursing home totals $97,455 per year. Some are far cheaper, while others may be as much as double this price. Develop a budget and compare the options that fit your financial picture.

Make the Right Choice

After selecting a facility for your loved one, it’s important that you regularly check in and visit in order to ensure that they’re being treated appropriately and experiencing a positive quality of life. Keep your eye out for warning signs and symptoms of abuse and neglect. Ask your loved one about their experience and remain cognizant of what’s happening around them.

Author's Bio: 

My name is Jessica and I am an independent journalist, freelance blogger, and technology junkie with a passion for music, arts, and the outdoors. One of my greatest passions and joy is assisting communities and business owners. My utmost desire is to help people and business owners to succeed and prosper in their personal and business affairs. I share, comment, write and edit popular news stories.