Insuring The Best Care of An Alzheimer’s or Dementia Patient in a Care Facility

Insuring The Best Care of An Alzheimer’s or Dementia Patient in a Care Facility

Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer's or Dementia is a challenging set of tasks, especially when they are in a care facility. It involves not only managing the emotional toll on yourself of seeing a loved one's cognitive decline but also ensuring they receive the best possible care. To effectively check on Alzheimer's or Dementia patients in such settings, it's crucial to take a comprehensive approach, focusing on their physical health, emotional well-being, the quality of care provided, and the environment of the care facility.

Understanding Alzheimer's and Dementia

Alzheimer's disease and dementia affect millions of people worldwide, impairing cognitive functions and daily living abilities. These conditions progressively deteriorate memory, thinking, orientation, comprehension, calculation, learning capacity, language, and judgment. Despite this decline, emotional awareness and feelings can remain intact, making the quality of care and emotional support critically important.

Physical Health and Wellness

Monitoring the physical health of Alzheimer's or dementia patients is paramount. Regular visits can help you notice changes in their physical appearance and health status. Weight loss or gain, signs of dehydration, or unexplained injuries can indicate problems with their care or health. Ensuring they have access to regular medical check-ups, dental care, and physical therapy can significantly impact their quality of life.

Emotional Well-Being

The emotional health of individuals with Alzheimer's or dementia is so deeply tied to their overall well-being. Engaging them in conversations, even if responses may be limited, helps maintain their sense of self and connection to others. Look for signs of emotional distress, anxiety, or depression, which may manifest as agitation, withdrawal, or changes in sleep patterns. Positive interactions with staff and other residents can significantly enhance their emotional well-being.

Quality of Care

The quality of care is critical in ensuring that your loved one's needs are met. This includes personalized care plans that address the specific stages of Alzheimer's or dementia. Staff should be trained in dementia care, showing patience, understanding, and respect for residents. Observe how staff interact with residents, especially the ratio of staff to residents, and whether individual needs and preferences are considered in daily routines.

Safety and Cleanliness

The care facility's environment plays a vital role in the well-being of residents. It should be clean, well-maintained, and safe, with measures in place to prevent falls or other injuries. The layout should accommodate the needs of residents with cognitive impairments, with secure areas to prevent wandering and easy navigation.  In my experience, check for bad smells when entering the facility, and in the areas where patients are living.  It is a dead giveaway concerning cleanliness, but also it should not smell like straight disinfectant… ick.

Engaging in Activities

Activities tailored to the abilities and interests of Alzheimer's and dementia patients can provide joy and a sense of purpose. These can range from music and art therapy to simple physical exercises and gardening. Participation in such activities can enhance cognitive functions and emotional well-being.  Even just a card or dominoes game can hep.  Simple is good.

Nutrition and Hydration

Proper nutrition and hydration are crucial for maintaining the health of Alzheimer's or dementia patients. Monitoring meal times can provide insights into the quality of food, dietary restrictions, and whether assistance is needed during meals. Dehydration is a common concern and can lead to serious health issues.  My own Mother would forget to eat, or say that she had eaten, and no, soda is not a substitute for plain old water.

Family Involvement

Family involvement is essential in the care of Alzheimer's and dementia patients. Regular visits, participation in care planning, and open communication with the care team can ensure that your loved one's needs are being met. Sharing information about the patient's life history, preferences, and interests can help staff provide more personalized care.  Please for the love of God, visit regularly.  I know that I went to see my Mother almost every other day, sometimes daily.  Everytime I walked in, her face lit up like it was a pinball machine with a free game.  It is so important to be able to be with them.  Many of the residents that lived with Mom NEVER had visitors, so I tried to spend a bit of time here and there with them, I hated to think that the facility was just God’s waiting room, and that the families did not care about them.  I always tried very hard to be “up” and positive, funny, etc.  I did impressions of old actors and comics, told dumb old jokes, whatever I could to make the room lighten up a bit.  The director of the facility said I made a big difference in the quality of life there, but that was tough on me too.

Ensuring that legal and financial affairs are in order, including wills, trusts, powers of attorney, and care directives, can prevent complications and ensure that your loved one's wishes are respected. Understanding the costs associated with care and exploring financial assistance programs can help manage the financial burden of long-term care.  It can be a lot.  My Mother was in a facility for over 8 years.  (at her request)

Communication with Care Providers

Effective communication with care providers is key to monitoring and ensuring the quality of care. Regular meetings with the care team can provide updates on health status, changes in behavior or needs, and any concerns that may arise. Constructive feedback can help improve care, while expressions of appreciation can boost staff morale and encourage continued dedication.  A small gift for the staff at Christmas, or other holidays is very nice, remember, they care for a person you love. I used to bring homemade food, or other items just out of the blue and it made the staff’s time better.

Coping with Challenges

Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer's or Dementia is extremely emotionally taxing. Seeking support from community resources, support groups, or professional counseling can provide solace and guidance. Remember to care for your own well-being, as your health is crucial in providing support to your loved one.  If you don’t look out for yourself, who will?


Checking on Alzheimer's or dementia patients in a care facility requires a multifaceted approach, focusing on their physical health, emotional well-being, quality of care, and environment. By taking an active role in their care, advocating for their needs, and maintaining open communication with care providers, you can help ensure that your loved one receives the compassion, respect, and quality of care they deserve.

Dean Benson, “The Dean of Rock & Roll”, middays daily

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