Memory Care Facility
If Your Loved One is Having Early Signs of Dementia
According to the World Health Organization, more than 55 million people (about twice the population of Texas) worldwide are living with dementia. If your loved one has started showing signs of dementia and you are looking for a memory care facility in Fairfax County to provide them with proper and safe care, we’d like to help you in your search. Choosing a memory care facility can affect your loved one’s quality of life and overall well-being. In this blog, we will discuss making informed decisions, and how to find the best memory care facility for your loved one through proper research.
What are the signs of early dementia? According to the Alzheimer’s Association, early dementia signs include problems with:
Conditions usually start slow and progress as time goes on. Contact a doctor if you or your loved one are having difficulties with any of these signs.
When choosing a location, your loved one being comfortable is most important. Is it a new area? Is it the same town they’ve lived in for years? It all depends on your loved ones or your preferences to find the best location to choose. According to The Ridge Senior Living, when choosing a location, the most important factors include how close the family is, the ability of the location to meet your loved ones needs, the surrounding area, and the facilities nearby. Begin your search with facilities near your loved one, it may be best for them to stay within an area they are familiar with and attach memories.
Ratings and Reviews
When researching memory care facilities for your loved one, it’s important to research ratings and reviews from family members of current residents. According to A Place for Mom, look for thoughtful reviews and how they compare to ratings, sometimes reviews can be biased or inaccurate, but it’s important to take the time to look and evaluate all the information in front of you. Certain specifics to look for when looking at reviews on websites are the amount, if it’s a family member, specific details, reoccurring topics, and verification of the review. If you find something negative, don’t be afraid to ask the facility more on that topic and evaluate their response when you go on a tour.
Book a Tour
Taking a tour of the potential memory care facility your loved one will be at is crucial. This is your time to assess the environment and cleanliness of the facility, if it gives off a positive ambiance. While on a tour, you will meet some staff who would be in charge of your loved one’s care and needs. You want to look for compassionate and kind employees who will put your loved one’s needs first. You have the opportunity to interact with staff and get a feel for their level of training and demeanor. During your tour, keep an eye out for safety precautions the facility takes, like secure entryways and staff to resident ratios. Many facilities offer levels of care or specialized care plans, you can learn more on your tour asking questions about their programs offered and how they evaluate residents with dementia.
Remember, it is not you in memory care, consider your loved one’s comfortability in this facility and ask yourself if this is the best environment for them.
When it comes to memory care, the staff is extremely important to your loved one’s experience. Working in memory care takes passion, patience, and grace. Something to look out for at a memory care facility is if the staff are Certified Dementia Practitioners. They have a special knowledge and training in dementia care, and the various stages and challenges. They are trained in giving personalized care to each resident based on your loved one’s specific and unique needs. When dementia progresses, Certified Dementia Practitioners have the knowledge on how to manage behavior and use redirection techniques to create a supportive environment. Remember to ask on your tour if any of the facility’s staff are Certified Dementia Practitioners.
Security and Safety
What’s more important than safety? Many memory care units are designed for people living with dementia to do it safely and for families to feel comfortable their loved ones are in a protected environment. You want your loved one to be able to move around freely and not be in a confined space, which is why doing the proper research and asking the important questions is necessary. When residents can move freely and safely, it can help to reduce anxiety and confusion. That feeling of independence is important for them to hold on to, as A Place for Mom stated, “sheltered freedom.” Things to look for in a facility that promotes safety:
Cost and Financials
As you begin your search for a memory care facility, you will notice the range in prices and how different needs could affect the overall cost of living. According to A Place for Mom, the national median of a memory care facility costs $5,800 a month in the United States. This can all be affected by location. It can be hard to grasp the amount of money memory care can be, let’s discuss what could be included in the price…24/7 care, bathing/dressing/grooming, housekeeping services, protocol systems, medication management, transportation, activities, amenities, and dining. Some memory care facilities offer all-inclusive pricing, paying only a monthly fee, regardless of which level of care is needed.
When it comes to affording memory care, there are options. Insurance, savings and assets, veterans’ benefits, Medicaid, family support, state and local programs, nonprofit organizations, reverse mortgage, and life insurance conversions.
Activities and Amenities
When doing your research, look out for activity calendars that offer stimulating programs for residents, especially in memory care. Most facilities offer fun and engaging activities for all residents and some specifically are tailored towards residents with dementia. Having amenities like patios, hair salons, a library, WI-FI and more helps your loved one feel at home and able to independently still make choices. Activities help your loved one stay active and build a sense of daily structure, which can improve their mood.
Trust Your Gut Feeling
When deciding or researching a memory care facility, trusting your intuition is an important factor to consider. Ask yourself if it feels right for your loved one and create a pros and cons list. When you tour a memory care facility, you may feel an emotional connection to that facility, or you may not. The atmosphere of the facility can either bring you comfort or warning signs, ask yourself:
Is it a warm environment?
Does it seem well-maintained?
Is the staff engaging and compassionate?
Are their safety measures being implemented?
Do they offer daily stimulating activities?
Your gut is a powerful tool, this is an important time to use it and trust it. Your loved one needs proper care with a patient care team ready to create a fulfilling life for them. If you are struggling with your loved one’s diagnosis and need to talk to someone, The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America offers Alzheimer’s and Dementia support groups. You can also research in your local town the support groups that are offered.
You and your loved one are not alone in this search, there are many resources and opportunities to create a beautiful life. Take the time to do the proper research and consider the right care your loved one needs.
Watching someone you love experience memory loss and confusion can be emotionally challenging. You’ve come to the decision memory care is the best form of support your loved one needs and will offer them the best quality of life. In this blog, we will dive into what steps are next, giving you the knowledge and resources to make the essential choices for your loved one. We all want our loved ones to receive compassionate care and the correct amount of attention, so let’s get started.
#1 Research Memory Care Communities
After deciding, an easy first step to research is typing in memory care facilities in you or your loved one’s area. Click around and spend some time on the websites that appear. When researching in the designated area, take the time to focus on pricing. Some facilities offer a monthly fee or “all-inclusive”, while others offer prices based on the level of care your loved one needs. Pricing can have a significant impact where you choose, but other factors like amenities, services, location and reviews also play a role.
When it comes to amenities, it’s important facilities offer assistance with daily activities. Daily activities include bathing, dressing, and medication management. Activities with cognitive stimulation and social engagement will be vital to your loved one’s overall well-being and cognitive function. Locate the top facilities within budget that you believe will promote the best sense of belonging and a reduced feeling of isolation.
#2 Take a Tour
It’s important to see the facilities in person rather than on their website. Observe your visit closely. Pay attention to whether the staff are friendly and helpful, if the residents look happy, and if it feels comfortable. Explore the kind of activities going on, art therapy, puzzles, music, are some of the stimulating activities memory care facilities should be offering. On this tour, it’s important to be able to ask questions and come prepared. Evaluate the safety and security measures being followed, handrails, well-lit rooms, and secure outdoor areas. The “fun stuff” on a tour is important, keep tabs if the amenities match what they advertise on their website, if they are up to standard as well as checking to see if their nurses are Certified Dementia Practitioners.
When touring a facility, ask questions regarding the staff to resident ratio to evaluate if proper personalized care will be provided. This is your time to express any concerns, ask questions, and see the physical environment for yourself.
#3 Evaluate Financial Planning and Support
To understand and be up to date, you’ll need to explore funding options. Consulting with a financial advisor to look at your loved one’s financial situation can help you determine the best payment options. Familiarize yourself with the different costs like meals, accommodations, and specialized programs. Create a budget if needed, and plan for any future needs for your loved one as the disease progresses.
Evaluate your loved one’s financial situation; their income, savings, and assets. You can explore funding options to help with the cost of memory care, like Medicaid. If you plan on creating a budget, take into account any ongoing costs for your loved one, medical and personal, to make sure you or your loved one does not have any financial strain in the future. Joining a support group can help you learn from other’s experiences and get advice from others in similar situations.
#4 Discuss a Care Plan in Advance
It’s important to develop a care plan which is individually based on your loved one’s specific needs. This disease will eventually take away their ability to make cognizant decisions when it comes to health. It’s important to lay out from the beginning what the necessary steps are to take as this disease continues to progress. Creating a will in advance will allow your loved one’s assets and belongings to be distributed how they specified before the turn of the diagnosis. Choosing a power of attorney, AKA “proxy”, should be someone close and able to make proper medical decisions. Check out more about financial planning when choosing memory care.
Include family members and healthcare professionals when creating and deciding on your loved one’s treatment. Discussing treatment options with doctors and geriatric specialists can help lead you to make the proper decisions about care options, for treatment, medication, and symptom management. Remember to consider your loved one’s preferences so you can make decisions tailored to them and their needs. One of the most important reminders with a loved one in memory care is regularly review and update the plan. If your loved one’s condition has changed, it may be time to reevaluate the care plan and treatment options.
#5 Plan and Prepare for the Transition
As your loved one moves into memory care, here are three main things to remember:
-Change the mailing address to your loved one’s new address.
-Cancel any cable and Wi-Fi subscriptions.
-Update addresses on cards and accounts.
Being prepared will make the transition much smoother and more efficient. Prepare for the emotional transition as well, openly communicate with your loved one on their needs and preferences. For example, validate their emotions, take part in activities with them, create a personalized living space to keep your loved one comfortable, seek support for yourself if you need, and stay positive! Click here for more information on packing for memory care.
When preparing for the transition of your loved one into a memory care facility, make sure to share all relevant information with the facility staff. Letting the staff know their medical history, needs, and daily routines will help to ensure a proper transition because it will be a big change for them. From then on, actively staying engaged with your loved one, staff, and the facility will help you to stay up to date on their well-being and any changes.
Deciding memory care is the best form of care for your loved one, is not easy. But, by taking the proactive steps needed, you can help ensure your loved one has the best possible care and life. This transition can bring many mixed emotions to you, your family and your loved one. Remind yourself you are making a decision to prioritize your loved one’s health, safety, comfort and well-being. Stay on top of your and the facilities communication and always openly address concerns. Embrace this new chapter. You are not alone in this ride, seek help and assistance where needed, spend time with your loved one, visit them for events, connect with their stories and remember to always celebrate small victories.
Book a tour here to see if we’re the right fit for your loved one.