A hospital stay is frightening and stressful at any age. When an adult has Alzheimer’s disease or a related form of dementia, the hospital can be especially difficult and disorienting.
When a Senior with Alzheimer’s is Hospitalized
Knowing what to expect and taking extra precautions to keep your loved one safe can make a hospital stay easier for everyone.
If your senior loved one will be admitted to a Dallas or Fort Worth area hospital for surgery or another procedure, request a private room. A calm, quiet is best for adults with Alzheimer’s disease.
Talk with your family member’s physician to be sure you understand what to expect from the procedure including the risks, length of time they will be in the hospital, and whether or not they will need to transition to a skilled nursing center for short-term rehab.
While no one likes to think the worst will happen, preparing ahead can make an emergency situation easier to manage. That includes creating an emergency file that contains:
- A complete medical history with dates
- Contact information for all of their physicians
- A list of current medications including dosages and times
- Allergies and health conditions
- Copies of advance directives
- Copies of insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid cards
- Notes that can be added to their hospital record or placed at bedside to describe any communication problems or wandering history
- A change of clothes and personal care items
Protecting a Loved One with Alzheimer’s Disease
There are additional steps you can take to help make a hospital stay less traumatic for a senior who has Alzheimer’s. They include:
- Have someone in their room 24/7. It can help keep them from becoming disoriented and agitated if they wake up alone in an unfamiliar environment. You might want to consider hiring a private home care aide to help during times family can’t be there.
- Bring a few familiar items to place in their hospital room. It might be family photos and a favorite quilt.
- Stash some “busy projects” in their room to keep them occupied. Cards to sort, family photo albums or even adult coloring books can help pass the time.
The National Institute on Aging’s Guide to Hospital Visits for Individuals with Memory Loss has other information you might find helpful.
Develop a Post-Hospital Plan
If it looks like your senior loved one will need to make a move to a Memory Care community after their hospital stay, we can help. Our care advisors have extensive knowledge of the options in and around north Texas. Please call us today at 214-929-5055 to get the search started.
Senior Living Specialists is a free service for seniors and their families. We are compensated by a referral fee when a senior moves into a community or care home.