Alzheimer’s disease, which is the most common form of dementia, is a neurocognitive disorder that causes irreversible brain damage. More specifically, as this disease progressively gets worse, an individual will begin to experience changes in his or her memory, behavior, and thinking. Over time, as this disease worsens, it will become increasingly difficult for someone with Alzheimer’s to function on his or her own on a daily basis. At Cross Creek Hospital, we recognize that living a life with Alzheimer’s disease is difficult for everyone involved, especially for caregivers as they try to figure out what is best for their loved one. We know that you want to provide your loved one with the best possible care, which is why we have developed specialized programming that is tailored to meet the unique needs of patients who are faced with the challenges that accompany this disease. You do not have to go through this alone; we can help you and your loved one develop the tools needed to live a satisfying life.
Helping a Loved One or Family Member Get Treatment
If you have a loved one who has recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, this can be extremely heartbreaking, especially since you may be unsure about what the future will hold. Additionally, the changes that come with having to care for a loved one with this disease can be extremely difficult. However, one of the most important aspects of the treatment process for someone with Alzheimer’s is to adjust the living situation to meet his or her specific needs. Establishing a daily routine and minimizing the amount of tasks that require a lot of thought or memory skills can make life much easier for someone with Alzheimer’s disease. Below are some steps you can take to help support your loved one’s wellbeing and allow him or her to function more independently for as long as possible:
- Help your loved one keep things such as keys, wallets, or cell phone in the same place at home in order to prevent them from becoming lost.
- Talk to your loved one’s doctor about minimizing the medication to a once-daily dosing so that all medications can be taken at once, which helps your loved one better remember to adhere to his or her medication regimen.
- Use a calendar at home to keep track of important dates and things that need to be done. Check things off the list as they are completed so that you know they have been done.
- Remove any excess clutter from the home so that your loved one is able to get around easier. Also make sure that all handrails are sturdy and install any extra ones that may be needed throughout the house.
- Ensure that your loved one gets adequate exercise through the week as this can help improve mood and maintain the health of his or her joints and heart.
Finally, it is important to mention that taking care of a loved one with Alzheimer’s can be exhausting and emotionally draining. Be sure that you identify other family members or some form of respite care that can step in to briefly take care of your loved one when you need a break. This well help to avoid burnout and to ensure that you are providing your loved one with the best possible care you can.
Why Consider Treatment at Cross Creek Hospital
In the early stages of this disease, an individual with Alzheimer’s will begin to experience occasional confusion and forgetfulness, but, as time goes on and the disease becomes more aggressive, the effects an individual will experience will become increasingly worse. As memory loss increases, individuals with Alzheimer’s disease will begin to misplace things, and they may also start to forget the names of family members or friends. Their sense of time and place will become disrupted and they may find themselves easily lost in places that were once familiar to them. Additionally, they may have difficulties expressing themselves or following a conversation. It is also not uncommon for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease to experience changes in their personality, suddenly showing signs of aggression, distrust, depression, and anxiety. Over time, in the later stages of this disease, an individual will be unable to take care of themselves, ultimately requiring help for things such as cooking, balancing a checkbook, or getting themselves dressed each day.
Types of Treatment Offered at Cross Creek Hospital
At Cross Creek Hospital, we are devoted to providing everyone who seeks our care for Alzheimer’s disease with the respect and dignity that they deserve. Our all-encompassing goal for treatment is to help men and women improve their overall functioning by helping them to stabilize and to continue their recovery with new tools that they will be taught in the treatment setting. We are proud to be able to achieve this goal by utilizing the structure and processes of a treatment model that combines cognitive-behavioral therapy, experiential therapies, and didactic therapies.
All of the treatment methods implemented in our inpatient programming utilize a multidisciplinary focus in order to ensure that an integrated approach to treatment that facilitates increased stabilization and growth is received by all patients. Furthermore, we place a high regard on the involvement of our patients’ families, knowing that their contribution to the therapeutic process is paramount to successful healing. The emphasis of our programming here at Cross Creek Hospital is not diagnosis-specific, but rather focuses on treating the symptoms that are plaguing each individual. We are devoted to implementing a truly holistic approach that aims to maximize patient care and help them achieve their highest level of functioning.
The following methods for care may be incorporated into the individualized treatment plans that are given to each adult and senior adult who are engaged in services at Cross Creek Hospital:
Medication management: Currently, medications used in the treatment of Alzheimer’s aim to improve one’s memory and cognitive symptoms as much as possible, as well as to slow the progression of the disease. However, a patient’s need for medication is always determined on a case-by-case basis. Patients meet with a psychiatrist at least once each day so that the therapeutic effectiveness of any medications that have been prescribed can be monitored and changes can be made when necessary. Additionally, there are nurses on staff who assist in monitoring medication needs.
Individual therapy: This individual case consultation will occur at a minimum of once each week, but additional sessions can be added whenever needed or deemed beneficial to the patient. Various members of our patients’ treatment teams, including their assigned individual therapists, provide such consultations and provide patients a time to meet one-to-one to discuss any concerns they have, process through various emotions they are experiencing, and to track treatment goals.
Family therapy: Family involvement is important in the overall success of treatment for our patients. Keeping this in mind, family therapy sessions are held on an as-needed basis for our adult patients. For the family members of those who are struggling with Alzheimer’s, this can be a time for them to learn about the illness itself, while also gaining valuable knowledge on ways in which they can be of best support to their loved one.
Group therapy: Group therapy is a significant component to the treatment options offered here at Cross Creek Hospital. The types of groups that our patients may engage in can include:
- Education groups teach patients about the origin and the nature of the disorder(s) that they are suffering from. In these groups, patients learn to identify problems, form a treatment plan, and work effectively on obtaining recovery and maintaining stability.
- Process groups provide a structured setting for the discussion of issues and concerns that are identified by patients. This group focuses on the processing of feelings, internal communication and cooperation, and participation in healthy group feedback.
- Addictions groups apply the 12-step addictions model for recovery to a wide range of self-destructive behaviors, including self-mutilation, disordered eating, and unhealthy personal relationships.
- Journaling groups provide a structured setting for developing therapeutic and recovery skills in the form of journaling, keeping a diary, completing homework assignments, and other writing tasks.
- Music therapy groups provide an emotionally evocative group setting that is designed to provide the participants with an opportunity to practice affect management skills.
- Healthy relationships groups focus on developing social skills and practicing health interactions. It provides a forum for structured, supportive risk-taking and practicing assertiveness, and the giving and taking of feedback.
- Discharge planning groups provide an opportunity for building skills that will improve the quality of life after discharge and reduce the likelihood of readmission.
Experiential therapy: In an attempt to provide a truly holistic approach to treatment, the staff at Cross Creek Hospital offers a number of experiential therapeutic options for our patients using things such as psychodrama and recreational techniques. These therapies are designed to teach patients skills for appropriate risk-taking, internal communication and cooperation, and expressing needs and fears. Examples of the experiential therapies that patients may engage in while in our care include:
- Physical wellness and exercise therapy program
- Animal assisted therapy
- Art therapy – This type of therapy is used to teach nonverbal strategies for expressing thoughts, feelings, and behavior in a healthy fashion. It is meant to be a technique for individuals to learn how to “tell without talking.” The art therapy groups also involve verbal processing of the artwork that is created.
- Relaxation integration – This type of experiential modality is designed to increase self-esteem, motivation, and energy levels by providing a forum for learning and practicing leisure and social skills, while also developing healthy support systems.
Continuing Care and Levels of Treatment
At Cross Creek Hospital, we want to ensure that each patient will have continued success in healing and maintaining recovery after completing inpatient care for Alzheimer’s disease at our hospital. In order to do this, we make it a priority to begin discharge planning from the moment a patient is admitted into our care. This plan coincides with a patient’s treatment plan and aims to address any concerns or needs for further, less intensive treatment after engaging in our programming.
Our caring and compassionate staff will work with patients and their families to determine the most appropriate and effective treatment recommendations that will allow our patients to refine and build upon the skills learned at Cross Creek. Recommendations will be provided based on each patient’s needs so that the treatment goals achieved while in our care can be upheld and exceeded, decreasing a patient’s need for a higher level of care going forward. Furthermore, a member of our staff will contact patients 48 to 72 hours after being discharged to ensure that a successful transition from Cross Creek to each patient’s respective community or continuing care center has been achieved.
At Cross Creek Hospital, we will do all that we can to help you or a loved one become well again so that your much deserved bright future is realized and within reach.