It's helpful to gather information about services and options before the need actually arises. This gives you time to fully explore all the possibilities before you have to make a decision.
You’ll first need to determine what facilities are available. Doctors, friends and relatives, hospital social workers, and religious organizations may be able to help you identify specific facilities that can care for your loved one.
Make a list of questions you’d like to ask the staff. Think about what’s important to you, such as activity programs, transportation or special units for people with Alzheimer's disease. Then contact the places that interest you and make an appointment to visit. Talk to the administration, nursing staff and residents.
While you’re there, observe the way the facility runs and how residents are treated. You may want to drop by again unannounced to see if your impressions are the same. Find out what kinds of programs and services they offer for people with Alzheimer's and their families. Ask about staff training in dementia care, and check to see what the policy is about family participation in planning patient care.
Room availability, cost and method of payment, and participation in Medicare or Medicaid are other important details to check on. You may want to place your name on a waiting list even if you aren’t ready to make an immediate decision about long-term care. Once you’ve made a decision, be sure you understand the terms of the contract and financial agreement. You may want to have a lawyer review the documents with you before signing.
Don’t forget that moving is a big change for both the person with Alzheimer's disease and the caregiver. A social worker may be able to help you plan for and adjust to the move. It’s important to have support during this difficult transition.
Source: National Institute on Aging