Is Your Loved One in Nursing Home or Long-Term Care for Alzheimer’s or Dementia? New Massachusetts Legislation Will Regulate Care

These days it can be difficult to meet someone whose life has not been touched by Alzheimer’s. Most people have seen a parent, grandparent, or perhaps an in-law suffer from this disease, and the havoc it can wreak on the family.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, nearly 120,000 have Alzheimer’s in Massachusetts and that number will grow as baby boomers age.  Nearly 50% of those aged 85 and older will develop Alzheimer’s, and of those aged 65, nearly 1 in 8 will develop the fatal disease.

Until very recently, there was even more for Massachusetts families to worry about. Before bill H 3947 was signed into law by Governor Patrick this week, nursing homes could advertise dementia or Alzheimer’s care without actually having any special accommodations for residents suffering from these conditions or any kind of special training for their staff.

Thanks to this legislation nursing home employees treating these vulnerable patients will receive training. Also, nursing home and special care units for dementia patients will be required to meet minimum care standards. These minimum safety and quality standards include programs designed to be therapeutic, requiring that facilities provide appropriate activities, without which patients can become agitated. The physical design will also make these facilities safer, for example, mitigating dangerous wandering activity.

If you have a loved one in a nursing home or long-term care facility of any kind you know how difficult it can be to place a family member. If you have any concerns about the care your loved one is receiving, there are options. USA Today has put together ratings for Nursing Homes all over the country. There ratings are based on ratings the Federal Government began in 2008. You can find the ratings here.

However, nothing compares to the felling you get when you check out the nursing home or visit your loved one. So, trust your gut and get an opinion of a seasoned attorney specializing in Elder Law and Long-Term Care Planning, like Attorney Kristina Vickstrom. Contact us today to find out more about your long-term care options.

Photo Credit: Tim & Selena Middleton

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