Where Is the Best Place for Someone With Dementia?
Deciding on the best care facility for a senior loved one with dementia or Alzheimer’s can be difficult, with a high level of emotion for seniors and family or caregivers to navigate. Understanding the different care facilities and programs available for seniors with dementia is a great way to understand options and decide which best fits the needs and personal preferences of your loved one and family:
Memory Care Facilities
Memory care facilities are specifically tailored to care for seniors living with dementia or Alzheimer’s. Memory care provides seniors with a safe environment and structured care plans and activities facilitated by trained staff. Memory care communities offer various levels of care, and every care plan is personalized to the needs and preferences of the people in their care.
Assisted Living Facilities
Assisted living communities are often selected for care in seniors with dementia who have a high level of independence in daily tasks. Assisted living provides care and assistance with daily life activities such as eating and bathing and can also provide services such as meal plans, medication management, cleaning, and social activities.
Residential care homes, also known as group homes or board and care homes, provide a smaller, more intimate setting for seniors compared to larger facilities. Care is provided in a home-like setting and the groups in care are typically smaller. Residential care is typically for people who need a lot of care or are bedridden. They are also called board and care homes.
In some cases, seniors with dementia may be eligible for in-home care services to help manage their condition and meet their daily care needs. In-home care services can assist with daily activities, provide companionship, and help with medication management. Home care agencies can arrange for professional caregivers to visit regularly and provide the necessary support as needed by the senior and family, however, it can be very costly and does not provide the socialization, activities, and nutritious food provided in a community.
When Should Dementia Patients Go Into a Memory Care Community?
The decision to move a loved one with dementia or Alzheimer’s into memory care should be a highly individualized and carefully planned process. There are many factors to consider to make the best care decisions and factors that must be weighed carefully by family members, caregivers, medical professionals, and specialists in Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.
One of the first decisions a family must make together is when it’s time for a loved one to go into memory care. Below are some of the signs that a loved one with dementia would benefit from the professional care provided in a memory care facility:
Safety & Well-Being Is Compromised
As dementia progresses, a senior will experience increased memory loss that can impact their safety and well-being. Seniors with dementia may become prone to getting lost, wandering around, or forgetting to turn off appliances in their home, such as the stove. Memory care provides a safe, secure environment with 24/7 monitoring and care by a staff that is expertly trained in dementia conditions, behaviors, and risks. Memory care is a great care option when seniors with dementia or Alzheimer’s can no longer live independently due to rising safety concerns.
Physical Health Is Deteriorating
Seniors with dementia often reach a point when physical health begins to deteriorate, making it difficult for them to complete daily care activities such as eating, bathing, and dressing without assistance. Memory care communities provide physical and cognitive care for seniors with Alzheimer’s and dementia to increase the quality of life and support overall well-being while in care.
Care Needs Are Increasing
The level of care needed increases as dementia progresses. Oftentimes, the increased level of care is too much for in-home care or family to manage alone. Memory care communities specialize in care for seniors with dementia and Alzheimer’s and have staff with the expertise needed to handle the care, medications, and daily assistance needed by seniors living with memory-impairing conditions.
Respite for Caregivers Is Needed
The emotional and physical demands of caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia can overwhelm family members and caregivers. Many caregivers begin to experience high levels of stress and exhaustion that lead to burnout or declines in their health. Memory care can be a respite for caregivers who are experiencing this burnout by relieving them from daily care activities and providing guided social activities to help families connect with loved ones in care.
Personalized Care, Cognitive Therapy, & Socialization Is Necessary
Memory care facilities provide personalized care plans for each senior in care. These care plans are thoughtfully designed to manage and maintain cognition levels, encourage socialization, and guide activities meant to enhance the quality of life and preserve the dignity and personality of seniors with dementia or Alzheimer’s.
The decision to transition a loved one with dementia or Alzheimer’s into memory care is a very personal one for families and loved ones. Enlisting the guidance of healthcare professionals and dementia specialists can help families understand when it’s time for memory care and how to safely and effectively make the transition.
Memory Care Services for Dementia & Alzheimer’s
Memory care facilities provide specialized care for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and other memory-related disorders. The memory care services typically offered in these facilities include:
- 24/7 Supervision
- Personalized Care Plans
- Medication Management
- Assistance with Daily Life Activities
- Secure Environment
- Memory-Enhancing Activities
- Specialized Dining and Meal Programs
- Social Engagement
- Exercise and Physical Therapy
- Family Support and Education
The services offered in memory care will vary among facilities, so if particular services are most important to your loved one, ensure you inquire about all the offerings in the facility as you’re making your choice.
How Do You Know When It’s Time for a Memory Care Facility?
Recognizing when it’s time for a loved one with dementia to transition into memory care can be a difficult and emotional decision. Here are some of the most common signs that indicate it’s time to consider this option:
- You have safety concerns for your family member or loved one concerning living independently without wandering or injuries.
- Family members providing care are experiencing stress, burnout, or health declines.
- Health and well-being are declining in general, making it difficult for your loved one with dementia or Alzheimer’s to perform daily life activities without assistance and 24/7 care.
- Your family member with dementia or Alzheimer’s is showing more signs of confusion and irritation or mood swings.
- The overall quality of life is diminishing or your loved one is becoming socially withdrawn.
Deciding on a memory care community for your loved one is a deeply personal decision requiring thoughtful consideration, consultation with healthcare professionals, and discussions with family members or support networks. You’ll also want to carefully research and consider the cognitive therapies available to maintain and preserve cognition with dignity, improve overall well-being, and care for the needs of your loved one with dementia or Alzheimer’s with compassion.
Some of the unique and highly specialized activities and therapies for cognitive care available in memory care programs can be highly effective and enjoyable for seniors with Alzheimer’s, so choosing a facility with the activities most vital to the health and well-being of your family member is imperative to making the best choice. Some of the popular activities in memory care include:
Memory care activities often involve reminiscing about past experiences and engaging in conversations that stimulate memory recall, such as looking at old photographs, sharing stories, or participating in group discussions about significant events from the past.
Music has a powerful effect on the human mind and can be used to trigger memory and emotions. Music therapy in memory care may include activities like listening to familiar songs, singing, or playing musical instruments. Music therapy is often effective for supporting memory, reducing anxiety and irritation, and encouraging well-being in seniors with memory loss due to dementia or Alzheimer’s.
Creating art is another activity that can support cognitive health and memory. Memory care communities typically offer art activities such as painting, drawing, sculpting, or other art forms to stimulate memory through creativity. Art gives many seniors with memory loss an outlet for expressing themselves and their creativity, even if they struggle with doing so verbally.
Cognitive Games and Puzzles
Memory care activities often offer cognitive stimulation games and puzzles, including word games, crossword puzzles, memory-matching games, Sudoku, or other brain-teasing activities. Games foster a sense of fun, help maintain cognitive abilities, enhance problem-solving skills, and provide mental stimulation.
Exercise and Physical Therapy
Regular exercise is important for overall health and well-being in memory care. Memory care facilities provide guided activities for seniors in care to stay active and fit, such as light stretching exercises, chair yoga, walking, or dancing. Exercise and physical therapies needed are personalized in memory care plans to make sure seniors have everything they need to support a healthy body and mind while in care.
Tips on How to Find a Memory Care Community for Your Loved One
Understanding how to find the best memory care facility may feel overwhelming. You can use the following tips as a guide to get you started in considering important factors that go into selecting a memory care plan for your family member:
Assess & Understand Your Loved One’s Physical & Cognitive Care Needs
The first step in finding a memory care facility is fully understanding your loved one’s needs regarding necessary physical and cognitive care. Think about memory loss progression, medical requirements, socialization skills and preferences, and daily assistance needed to ensure that the facilities you’re considering offer every service your family member needs for ultimate well-being.
Research Memory Care Programs & Plan Multiple Site Visits
Do your research when choosing a memory care facility. You can begin by reviewing websites, asking opinions from friends who have loved ones living in a community, consulting your loved one’s physician for a recommendation, reading reviews from families with members in care currently, and requesting materials offered by the various facilities you’re considering. Next, you should schedule tours with the facilities that you think will work best and take time to walk through each aspect of care needed during your tour.
Understand Staff Training & Expertise Levels
Any memory care facility you’re considering should have an expertly trained staff. Memory care staff members should have expertise in caring for seniors with dementia or Alzheimer’s and be equipped to handle care and behaviors compassionately.
Assess Facility Safety & Security
Safety and security are imperative in a memory care facility to ensure the well-being of your loved one while in care. Write down a list of questions to ask during your site tour and watch for safety features around the facility that will help your loved one safely navigate the facility.
Observe Memory Care Activities & Therapies
Memory care facilities should offer a robust selection of cognitive stimulation activities and therapies. During your tour, inquire about the various activities available and explore the possible variations and benefits to meet the needs of your loved one. Observe activities in progress to understand how they are structured and guided.
Consider Location & Proximity
The location of the memory care center is an important consideration for your family members who will want to visit and participate in care programs. Evaluate its proximity to your home or other family members, as regular visits can contribute to your loved one’s emotional well-being. Additionally, consider the accessibility of the facility, including transportation options and nearby amenities, to ensure a comfortable living environment for your loved one.
Review Financial Obligations & Payment Options
Memory care facilities provide highly specialized services, and the care costs will reflect that so you should be prepared to discuss the financial commitment required for care. Many facilities offer care payment plans each month, and it’s important to understand how costs are structured around supplemental care or activities your loved one will need.
Seek Out Recommendations & References
Gather recommendations and references from trusted sources such as healthcare professionals, support groups, or friends who have experience with memory care centers. Their firsthand insights can provide valuable information and help you narrow down your options. Additionally, ask the facility for references from current residents and their families. Hearing about their experiences and satisfaction levels will give you a better understanding of the facility’s quality of care and overall reputation.
Trust Your Instincts & Look for That Feeling for Home
Finally, trust yourself when choosing a memory care facility for your loved one. You’ll feel your instincts speak to you as you tour the facility, meet with staff members, and observe memory care activities and services in practice. Choose the memory care facility that brings you a sense of home that your loved one will feel as well.
If something feels off or aligns differently with your expectations, it may indicate that it’s not the right fit. Your intuition can be vital in selecting the best memory care center for your loved one.
The Shores at Vivante Memory Care and Assisted Living specializes in custom memory care plans that provide 24/7 care and support for cognitive health while maintaining the dignity and life stories of seniors in memory care. We offer the following services and benefits in our memory care plans:
- High caregiver-to-resident ratio.
- 24-hour licensed nurses.
- Dedicated activities director.
- Superior culinary program and dedicated food servers.
- Daily activities
- Weekly outings
- Individualized assessment and care planning.
- Brain fitness, Wii Games, and other technology-based programs.
- Strong family support programs.
- Concrete construction and fire safety system.
- Monthly support groups and workshops.
- Vivante Vitality Program, with memory care-specific programming
- Hoag partnership offers onsite doctors visits and our dedicated PT/OT room and aqua therapy allow for ongoing rehabilitation
- Montessori Method for Dementia connects with the resident’s retained memories, strengths, and abilities to engage in purposeful and meaningful activities.
Contact Us today to schedule a consultation and learn more about our award-winning memory programs for seniors with dementia and Alzheimer’s.