If you have a loved one who has been diagnosed with a disease involving memory loss, you have most likely realized that you are facing a challenging but inevitable fact. Ultimately, individuals diagnosed with a form of memory impairment or dementia will at some point be unable to care for themselves.
Fortunately, there are a wide range of care alternatives to choose from, from care at home to residential nursing homes. If you have determined that it is best to make arrangements for your family member in a care facility away from their home, it is good to discover that appropriate care can be personalized for seniors who face any of the stages of the disease.
The fundamental thing to keep in mind when deciding on a senior care facility is that you must ask the appropriate questions. You should ask facility administrators what is special about their facility. Ask them to explain what makes them a good choice for your loved one. Keep in mind that your decision should be based on factors other than the physical appearance of the facility. Pleasant design and decor can be beneficial; however staff credentials and the philosophical approach to care-giving are much more valuable considerations.
When researching memory care facilities, be mindful of designations such as "dementia-specific" and "dementia-capable". Ask staff members what these designations mean as it relates to the quality of care they are actually offering. Are members of the care-giving staff required to complete specialized memory care training? Are refresher courses offered and required? Will the care givers be able to tailor their care to meet your family member's unique needs? Asking these types of questions is essential since they can aid you in making an informed decision about the most appropriate facility for a loved one who has impaired memory.
When searching for memory care providers, you may find it advantageous to consider some of the following types of care facilities:
Continuing-Care Retirement Communities
These communities are normally comprised of a cluster of individual buildings, or separate floors or wings in a larger building, that deliver varying stages of care, including housing for independent living, assisted living, and skilled nursing care, all located within the community. Continuing-care retirement communities are specifically created to enable seniors to "age in place," remaining relatively comfortable as their requirements change. As dementia progresses, seniors will receive appropriate care without having to face discomfort of moving to an entirely different facility.
This type of housing makes it possible for seniors to live together with a small community of their peers sharing a single residential facility. In most cases, around-the-clock assistance is offered. Specialized congregate housing is often customized especially for those who are faced with memory disorders. Social and recreational activities and group meals are often provided. Residents ordinarily are provided with their own individual living area or bedroom.
Board-and-care homes, as with congregate housing, provide a pleasant and secure living environment for seniors and their peers. This form of housing is commonly funded and licensed by each individual state. Facilities may be anything from a remodeled individual family home to a complete apartment complex. The number of residents can vary from just a few to hundreds. Living quarters and care facilities are usually shared. Board-and care home residents receive round-the-clock supervision.
Skilled Nursing Facilities (Nursing Homes)
Skilled nursing facilities provide services for individuals who require continual medical care. The facility can be a stand-alone structure or a part of a larger senior care community. Most offer physical therapy, rehabilitation, and pharmacy services. Nursing homes are usually the best choice for dementia patients who are no longer able to eat, bathe, dress, or use the toilet by themselves, as well as for individuals who may wander off if left unattended.
Some skilled nursing facilities cater specifically to men and women with Alzheimer's disease, while others include a specialized unit where individuals with all types of memory impairments live.