Anyone that has had to place a loved one somewhere other than their own home knows the process is stressful as well as frustrating. What type of care will the facility provide, are they responsible and safe, will I be able to sleep at night knowing my loved one is in an unknown place with strangers? This is an especially worrisome process if your loved one has a form of dementia, such as Alzheimer’s, which can complicate care immensely.
What is Alzheimer’s disease?
Alzheimer’s disease is an irreversible, progressive brain disorder that slowly destroys memory, thinking skills, and eventually the ability to carry out the simplest tasks. In most people with Alzheimer’s, symptoms first appear in their mid-60s. Estimates vary, but experts suggest that more than 5 million Americans may have Alzheimer’s. It is a slow, fatal disease of the brain that typically begins by destroying brain cells where memories are formed. The disease is caused by plaques and tangles, abnormal protein fragments that accumulate in the brain, though we don’t fully understand why.
Alzheimer’s disease is currently ranked as the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, but recent estimates indicate that the disorder may rank third, just behind heart disease and cancer, as a cause of death for older people.
Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of dementia among older adults. Dementia is the loss of cognitive functioning —thinking, remembering, and reasoning — and behavioral abilities to such an extent that it interferes with a person’s daily life and activities. Dementia ranges in severity from the mildest stage, when it is just beginning to affect a person’s functioning, to the most severe stage, when the person must depend completely on others for basic activities of daily living.
What should I expect as a caregiver?
For caregivers, understanding common behavior changes of someone living with Alzheimer’s is important. A person with Alzheimer’s may need help with planning their day and remembering appointments, or even simple tasks like dressing and bathing. Caring for a person with
Alzheimer’s disease can have high physical, emotional, and financial costs. The demands of day-to-day care, changes in family roles, and decisions about placement in a care facility can be difficult. As the disease progresses, a person with Alzheimer’s may become frustrated, anxious, or embarrassed by their cognitive decline. A caregiver may need to provide emotional and physical support, as well as encouragement. Individuals with Alzheimer’s may become restless, experience rapid mood swings, or wander. Knowing how to balance a person’s safety and independence becomes more difficult as the disease progresses. Research indicates early detection and prompt intervention can preserve remaining abilities and slow progression of the disease, but even mild cases of Alzheimer’s can be difficult to provide care for.
When should I consider moving my loved one to a memory care facility?
Planning to provide care for a loved one with dementia should start when an Alzheimer’s or related dementia diagnosis is made. We often want to care for our loved ones ourselves for as long as possible, but sometimes the choice to relocate that family member to a care facility becomes an obvious and necessary choice. Without the training and knowledge required to care for these special patients, caregivers can quickly find themselves overwhelmed or personally unable to give the sort of care a dementia patient needs and deserves.
Heartland Health Care Center in Moline offers skilled nursing for both short and long-term patients as well as the rehabilitation services.
They offer an array of specialized rehabilitation therapies designed to ensure patients recovering from an illness or injury can be as independent as possible. However, they have another very special area dedicated to Alzheimer’s and Dementia patients called the Arcadia Unit, and they can help you guarantee the safety and comfort of your loved one.
Why choose Heartland Health Care in Moline — Arcadia Unit?
At Heartland Health Care in Moline, the Arcadia Unit is a 31-bed secure unit set up as a home-like environment that is familiar, simple, and secure. Because disorientation is a common symptom of dementia, we work to minimize the confusion and anxiety for our residents. Within the unit, the layout is uncomplicated and residents are free to move about, maximizing their independence and allowing for easy visitation with family and friends. There, people with Alzheimer’s and related dementias can live, socialize, and receive individualized attention from our team of specially trained professionals including a manager, activity programmers, licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants, a dietitian, and a dedicated housekeeper.
The staff in the Arcadia Unit is exceptional, Denise Musgrove, LPN and the Arcadia Unit Director, has been there over 18 years. Kathy Regal, Activity Assistant has been there 12 years. Some of the nurses and nursing assistants have been at the location for over 20 years. Longevity of the staff is a rare find in this industry. Due to the personal demands and professional skills required, nurses that stay with a center long-term most assuredly care deeply for what they do and whom they serve. Many have a personal connection to the residents; Kathy Regal mentioned that her mom had Alzheimer’s, and that is why she loves working with the residents in The Arcadia Unit. Most of all, this means the staff at Heartland Health Care personally knows how to care for residents with this challenging disease.
Denise Musgrove explained, “A lot of our patients have lost their short term memory so they revert back to a different time in their life. They may think they are still at home raising kids, back on the farm, or any number of situations they remember from earlier in their life.” It helps to have an understanding of this devastating disease and how to best treat the patient. When she is educating others, she often says “We must enter their world. They are no longer in the here and now. Our job is to help them feel content. If they believe their children are young…that is their reality and trying to redirect with reality orientation will only cause anger and frustration.”
If you have a family member or friend struggling with Dementia or Alzheimer’s, you understand the challenges that caregivers face. The staff at Heartland Health Care is committed to providing a home-like environment with its own rhythm, routine, and activity in an effort to improve quality of life and self-esteem of residents and their families. Once they sit with the resident and find what it is that helps them relax and feel comfortable, they can create a personalized routine for care.
For those assisting a patient with Dementia at home, Heartland Health Care Center also offers respite care, vacation, and short-term stay programs for when other duties in life call. The short-term stay program at Heartland offers your loved one around-the-clock professional care and companionship in a homelike setting.
For more information on Heartland Health Care Center, call 309-764-6744. We are located at 833 Sixteenth Ave, Moline, IL 61265.
In June 2015, my brother and I chose Heartland for our mom. We toured other facilities and decided on the Arcadia Unit because we felt they’d provide the best overall physical and emotional care. We have not been disappointed.
The admission process was well-organized with handouts and someone to answer any questions we had. There were no hidden surprises. We’ve found the Arcadia staff to be very caring and helpful. They answer any questions we have and go out of their way to find the answer if they don’t know. We have also found the unit to be extremely clean.
The staff are always interacting with the residents and encouraging them to participate in various activities and musical presentations. Since mom loves crafts, music, and chatting, she enjoys herself with these activities and stays busy.
Obviously, living somewhere other than your own home is most often viewed as a negative. Mom sure feels that way, and so do we. She’s also not fond of the food because her cooking and my cooking are so much better than anyone else’s (Just ask us!). That hasn’t stopped her from eating everything on her plate.
Never once have we been sorry we selected Heartland. We feel it has been a great option for us and for our mom.
Susan Anderson — daughter
Jim Bolis — son Submitted by the family of Arlene Bolis.