What is Alzheimer’s
Alzheimer’s is a progressive, degenerative brain disease that results in impaired memory, thinking and behavior. It is the most common form of dementia in seniors, with causes and a cure that remain unknown. It touches everyone involved; many with Alzheimer’s require around-the-clock assistance with the most basic daily activities.
Today, assisted living and nursing communities are making Alzheimer’s care a core part of their services. Many facilities offer flexible programs based on residents’ needs and life skills. Americare strives to provide a secure and peaceful environment while preserving the dignity, respect, support and understanding are the keys to the most effective forms of outside help.
- Over 4 million Americans have Alzheimer’s today
- Over 14 million Americans will have the disease by 2050 unless a cure is found.
- Almost one in 10 people over age 65, and nearly half of those over 85 have Alzheimer’s disease.
- 7 out of 10 of those with the disease live at home and are cared for by their families and friends.
Source: Alzheimer’s Association, Statistics about Alzheimer’s Disease. 2003. 2/1/03. www.alz.org
What to Expect
Alzheimer’ services are structured around the assisted living or nursing communities in which they are based. Programs are run by professionally trained staff who provide assistance and supervision for basic daily activities such as eating, bathing, grooming, bathroom visits and walking.
Memory loss is hardly a reason for shame. A professionally run Alzheimer’s care community will provide ways to help build esteem, preserve dignity and remind residents of a happy time and place. Very often, repeated basic skills and familiar tasks or routines can stimulate the mind and keep residents from feeling isolated or confused. But nothing replaces the attention of family and friends. More and more, communities are providing private gathering or party places, extended visiting times and social activities. These little things can make a big difference.
The Assisted Living Federation of America (ALFA) defines an assisted living residence as a special combination of housing, personalized supportive services and health care designed to meet the needs — both scheduled and unscheduled — of those seniors who need help with activities of daily living (ADL), such as bathing, dressing, eating and monitoring medications.
Assisted living is generally for those seniors who can no longer manage on their own but who do not need the intensive, 24-hour complex medical services of traditional long-term care. The average assisted living resident is 83 years old and requires assistance with two ADLs.
In general, assisted living provides a balance of residential living, health and recreational services, and assistance in day-to-day living activities. In reality, it offers residents many of the same benefits as independent living, while providing basic help in areas that may have become personally challenging.
- Approximately 800,000 people live in assisted living communities nationwide.
- 68% female, 32% male (national average).
- The typical resident is an 80-year old woman, who can walk on her own but requires help in performing 2-3 activities of daily living.
Source: National Center for Assisted Living. Facts and Trends: The Assisted Living Sourcebook. 2001. 6/7/03 http://www.ncal.org/