How to Choose the Best Nursing Home for Your Loved One with Alzheimer’s

Choose the Best Nursing HomeIt’s easy to become overwhelmed by all the options available in Alzheimer’s care. Where can you turn for help to make the best choice for your loved one?

In “Alzheimer’s – Dementia: Find the Best Nursing Home with Sister Ann,” author Ann Marie Gallogly shares just what to look for.

The Importance of Person-Centered Care

Gallogly, a retired nurse with more than 30 years of experience in dementia and Alzheimer’s units in Northern Ireland, believes person-centered care is a critical component of dementia care.

In short, person-centered care involves looking at residents and seeing more than the disease. It’s about treating the whole person, taking their interests, strengths, and identity into account.

“The care needs of people with dementia are greatly enhanced by the implementation of a person-centered philosophy,” says Gallogly. “Person-centered care is not a matter of choice but a necessity in ensuring positive-valued social identities far beyond the possible restrictions of dementia.”

What does person-centered care look like in the lives of real residents who present challenging, baffling behaviors? Consider the following stories. (Names have been changed for privacy.)

“Jack”: Looking for Work

Challenging Behavior: Each morning, Jack would get up early, get dressed, and tell staff members, “I’m looking for a start.” Since no one had a clue what he meant, Jack would get angry and keep repeating himself all day. Gallogly and other staff members contacted his family and learned that Jack used to work in construction. He had to arrive early at a building site and ask for a “start,” which meant he was available to work.

Person-Centered Solution: Jack’s family recommended the nursing home staff ask Jack his name and his trade, write it down, and tell him work on-site would start tomorrow. That’s what the site foreman would have done. This satisfied Jack, and he was able to resume his normal activities.

“Michael”: Looking for Activity

Challenging Behavior: Michael was always taking off his shoes and pulling out the laces. Because of that, his shoes and laces would get lost, and he would end up walking around with only one shoe. This presented a falling hazard, so Gallogly and other staff members talked to Michael’s family to figure out what was going on. They learned something interesting: Michael used to work in a shoe factory.

Person-Centered Solution: The nursing home activities therapist helped Michael get involved in arts and crafts, giving him plenty of fabrics and textures to handle and use for collages. These tactile aids were very stimulating for Michael, and alleviated his challenging behavior.

“Jack”: Looking for Pay

Challenging Behavior: Jack would get distressed when he had no money in his wallet. Though his family gave him cash when they visited, he kept losing or hiding it. When staff members talked with Jack, he explained that he was not getting paid for his week’s work. He worked in the construction industry and was accustomed to receiving cash in an envelope every Friday. By not getting paid, he felt undervalued.

Person-Centered Solution: Jack’s family and nursing home staff decided to photocopy paper money from the currency that had been available during Jack’s working days. They even crinkled the paper to make it look used, and put it in an envelope with his name on it. Though the solution was unconventional, it worked wonders for Jack’s self-esteem. “As a direct result of intervention, Jack’s body language changed immediately and considerably,” says Gallogly. “He walked straighter, with a confident swagger and purpose. He smiled and talked to everyone who would listen. It was a delight to see.”

Sharing Life Stories

To find out if the nursing home you’re considering provides this level of care, make sure the staff is committed to getting a complete history of your loved one, including likes and dislikes in music, movies, and sports, and hobbies such as gardening, sewing, and painting. This should be an ongoing process, particularly when challenging behaviors arise.

This “life story work” helps staff members get to know each resident as an individual, which can lead to high-quality, person-centered care. After all, when families, residents, and staff are true partners in care, residents have the opportunity to experience the best possible quality of life.

“Choosing the right nursing home for your family should enrich your loved one’s life experience in the face of adversity and also give you peace of mind,” says Gallogly. “You will know whether you have made a good decision when you see the standard of care in the home, and your life can move on too, alongside that of your loved one.”

CHIME IN: How do you look for person-centered care in a nursing home?

If your loved one has reached the stage where a nursing home may be for the best, start your search for a nursing home near you today. You can also call (866) 531-0695 to speak with a senior living advisor who can help coordinate your local search for a nursing home for free.


Tagged with: , , , , ,
5 comments on “How to Choose the Best Nursing Home for Your Loved One with Alzheimer’s
  1. Choosing the best nursing home can be a bit challenging task as you have to check out all the pros and cons before selecting. The experiences shared here are the perfect examples to see how nursing homes are required for people suffering from Alzheimer’s or other disease. They will get all the help required for their treatment and make their life easier and less stressful.

  2. This is a great post for giving care to elderly people. I like most of your blogs for Senior Care.
    Appreciated the great knowledge sharing.
    Thank you, and Keep Posting.

  3. Kacy says:

    This blog is very educative, our elderly loved ones will always be with us and you are teaching us how well we should understand them and take good care of them. Thank you

  4. maryjane says:

    this is nice. thank you.

  5. Lauren Jones says:

    My great aunt recently had a stroke and is having a hard time getting along on her own. We think that a nursing home might be a good way to reduce her stress by decreasing her responsibilities. Thank you for informing me that one should look for a nursing home with a staff who is committed to getting a complete history of your loved one. It would be best if the staff could be aware of your loved one’s likes and dislikes in music, movies, sports, and hobbies. We will keep this in mind as we search, thanks.

1 Pings/Trackbacks for "How to Choose the Best Nursing Home for Your Loved One with Alzheimer’s"

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Speak To a Senior Living Advisor

Follow us on Twitter!