Richmond Resource Guide For Alzheimer’s Care And Support

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Suspecting a loved one has Alzheimer’s is anxiety-inducing, but the official confirmation from a GP or neurologist is life changing.

From that moment on, it’s important to have current, accurate and easy-to-access information about Alzheimer’s, what to expect and the best means of supporting the well-being of both the individual diagnosed, as well as his/her team of caregivers.

While an adjustment period is understandable, we recommend taking action as quickly as you can in order to create a long-term care plan that resonates with current research and findings pertaining to Alzheimer’s care best practices.

Upon getting an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, you have much to explore and consider, including:

  • Diet modifications
  • Lifestyle changes
  • Cognitive therapy
  • Memory care options
  • And more

The sooner you do this, the more involved the patient can be with making decisions that will impact the rest of his/her life.

Locate High-Quality Online Alzheimer’s Resources

There is a myriad of results when you search, “Alzheimer’s Care” or “Alzheimer’s Research,” but not all resources are created equal.

The most accurate and relevant information available online is typically provided via national organizations and well-known non-profits (usually website addresses ending with .org, .gov or .edu).

The more you learn about Alzheimer’s, the better your decision-making process. Also, you are your loved one’s greatest advocate. Well-meaning physicians, nurses, and caregivers do their best, but there’s a chance that something you’ve learned will be essential to improving your loved one’s care and overall outcomes.

Here are some of our favorite, online resources about Alzheimer’s, memory care and the latest research/findings.

The National Institute on Aging’s Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias

The National Institute of Health (NIH) has several sub-entities under its umbrella; one of these is the National Institute on Aging (NIA).

The NIA has an incredibly thorough webpage that covers all manner of age-related diseases and conditions, and their page dedicated to Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias is a great place to begin learning more about Alzheimer’s and the current treatments at your own pace.

Their website has easy-to-read (and share) pages on the basics of Alzheimer’s, as well as the various forms of Alzheimer’s and dementia. This is important because medications, treatments, and care can vary depending on the type of Alzheimer’s or dementia.

For example, while the symptoms of Lewy Body Dementia are similar to Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, the wrong medications can worsen the patient’s experience and symptoms if it is misdiagnosed and treated using more standard Alzheimer’s treatments.

The Alzheimer’s Association

The Alzheimer’s Association was founded specifically to eliminate Alzheimer’s via high-quality research.

It’s a voluntary organization and, in addition to information about Alzheimer’s as well as the latest research and upcoming trials, the AA also works to connect those affected by Alzheimer’s in the Richmond, VA area with< a href=”https://www.thememorycenter.com/alzheimers-support-group-at-the-memory-center-richmond/”> the support they need.

The AA is a joint venture, including the work of healthcare professionals, caregivers, and family members just like you. To date, the Alzheimer’s Associations has provided support for millions of people nationwide.

The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America

One of the most effective resources offered by the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America is their Alzheimer’s Support Hotline (866-232-8484).

This toll-free number is staffed 24/7, by licensed clinical social workers who specialize in Alzheimer’s and dementia-related conditions. Speaking with them can feel like a lifeline, especially for those who are newly navigating the vast array of information out there, or who have yet to confide in family members and friends.

AFA is also non-profit and is dedicated to spreading the word that a proactive approach to Alzheimer’s has a significant effect on slowing down its progression and relieving or diminishing symptoms.

They also provide FREE and confidential memory screenings in Richmond and nationwide.

Alzheimer’s Support From Family & Friends

Often, those who are newly diagnosed with Alzheimer’s – as well as their spouses – decide to hide what they know for the time being.

The problem with this is multi-fold; first, it’s confusing for family and friends who are noticing the same signs and symptoms as you did but without any explanation or further insight.

Secondly, your family and friends are an invaluable resource as you begin to learn more about the disease and when it comes to providing certain aspects of care – as well as respite care.

We recommend reading our Guide for Talking to a Loved One About Memory Care, as it covers important information about the communication and decision-making processes, as well as tips on how to include family and friends.

Research Memory Care Options

As mentioned above, research shows that those with Alzheimer’s and dementia do notably better when provided with dedicated memory care.

In most circumstances, those with Alzheimer’s have the best outlook and highest quality of life when they move to memory care communities sooner, rather than later. This enables individuals time to settle in, feel comfortable, and adjust to their new home while they still have the ability to make decisions for themselves.  

Assisted Living Options

If you’re considering an assisted living facility, make sure they offer a separate wing or sections specializing in memory care so your loved one doesn’t wind up becoming part of their general residential population – the large majority of which have a different set of needs.

Use, How to Compare Assisted Living Facilities, as a guide to better weigh each prospects’ offerings.

Respite Care

Inevitably, the first level of care provided for those with Alzheimer’s takes place in the home via the loving attention of a spouse, family members and/or friends.

However, caregiving is an all-consuming job, and the needs of the patient will quickly deplete the energy levels and well-being of the care providers if they don’t take care of themselves.

Respite care is a must-have resource for anyone who is an immediate caregiver for a spouse or loved one with Alzheimer’s. This service is available via home care aides, adult daycare centers or memory care centers offering drop-in or short-term residential options.

Make respite care a priority from the beginning so you can take care of yourself, observe routine appointments and enjoy well-deserved breaks and traditional family vacations.

Memory Care Centers

It used to be that assisted living or nursing home options were the only resources available when the level of care required moved beyond what was possible at home.

Over the course of the past decade, however, research has shown that dedicated memory care centers – assisted living options wholly tailored to improving outcomes for those with Alzheimer’s and dementia – provide greater quality of life and improved outcomes for both patients and their families.

Furthermore, we’ve learned that transitioning into memory care communities sooner, rather than later, is beneficial for all because it decreases the high-level of stress and the lack of autonomy for the patient that transpires when families wait until they are in crisis.

By moving during the later-beginning or mid-stages of Alzheimer’s, the patient can settle in, learn their way around and create their own sense of community before the disease progresses.

Most memory care centers offer in-house doctors and nurses, licensed staff, pharmacies and innovative resources that minimize the need for off-site appointments that become agitating for residents as their condition progresses.

High-quality memory care centers adhere to Dementia Care Practices and provide ample “normal life” routines via amenities like the town center concept, which markedly improve the residents’ quality of life.

Read, Questions to Ask When Visiting Memory Care Communities, to learn more about what you should be looking for when choosing the right memory care for your loved one.

Alzheimer’s Care And Support in Richmond

An Alzheimer’s diagnosis requires quick action to enable you the time to research and learn about the available care and support options for your loved one.

You’ll soon find that such a progressive disease can be faced head-on, with dignity, given the right resources and support.

Learn more about memory care in Richmond

 

Taking Care Of Yourself & Managing Time After Being A Caregiver

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As a caregiver, you invested countless hours meeting your loved one’s needs. Now that your season of caregiving has ended, you may feel uncertain about what to do next.

12 Tips For Adjusting To Life After Being A Caregiver

Consider these tips that help you care for yourself and manage your time.

tips for grieving caregivers1. Give yourself permission and time to grieve

After any loss, you will need time to grieve.

The commonly held stages of grief include:   

  • Denial, disbelief, confusion, shock, and/or isolation   
  • Anger   
  • Bargaining   
  • Despair and/or depression   
  • Acceptance   

Instead of hiding or feeling ashamed or guilty, give yourself permission to experience the grieving process. Realize that everyone grieves differently, and you may progress through the grief stages methodically or swing back and forth.

Likewise, you may experience intense emotions or a quiet sadness. No matter what you feel, understand that your grief is normal and that you have the right and need to experience grief in your way.

2. Use healthy and appropriate coping mechanisms

Grief can last months or even years, and you may wonder if you’ll ever return to normal. To cope, you may turn to drugs, alcohol, food, or other unhealthy coping mechanisms.

While you will never forget your loved one, we promise that the pain will eventually subside. Stuffing your emotions or drowning your feelings will only hurt you now and into the future. In fact, unhealthy and inappropriate coping can cause physical pain, emotional illnesses or long-term negative reactions.

Choose to exercise, talk, journal, or embrace other positive and healthy coping mechanisms as you grieve and protect yourself.

3. Ask for and accept help

In your caregiver role, you were the one who gave all the help. Caregiving depletes physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual resources, and now you’re the one in need of assistance.

Allow yourself to be vulnerable and ask for help as needed. Consider writing a list of tasks others can do for you or call friends who will listen and offer support.

By asking for and accepting help, you receive support and allow others to show you love.

4. Take care of your health

Visiting a doctor may be the last thing on your mind, especially if you spent a lot of time in a hospital with your loved one. You deserve to care for yourself, though, as you respect and energize your body during the grieving process.

Apply your caregiving duties to yourself and insist on a healthy daily regimen. Eat a balanced diet, get plenty of rest, exercise regularly, and visit your doctor for scheduled checkups.

Prioritizing your health equips and strengthens you for your grief journey.

5. Join a support group

Talking about your caregiving and grief experiences may scare you. It’s also hard to be vulnerable and continue to rehash the events surrounding your loved one’s passing.

Other caregivers and professional therapists or grief counselors understand what you’ve gone through. You can share your experiences and discuss your feelings and concerns in a support group. Here, you’ll gain practical advice and emotional support that sustains you as you adjust to life after caregiving.

Talking and sharing can also help others find healing, too.

6. Delay major decisions

The act of caregiving and managing grief takes a toll on your body, mind, and emotions. You need time to find a new normal.

Give yourself at least a year or as much time as you need before you make any major decisions, such as moving, growing your family, changing jobs, or entering a romantic relationship.

This cushion of time prevents you from making an emotional decision you later regret and helps you rediscover yourself.

7. Embrace new routines

Much of your daily routine used to revolve around caring for your loved one. Now, you may miss your caregiving responsibilities and struggle with the significant changes in your daily routine.

Rest assured that in time you can and will develop a new routine that becomes familiar, comfortable, and fulfilling. Start by deciding what will fulfill you each day. Remember to eat, exercise, and spend time doing things that fulfill you, too.

These steps lead you to embrace a new and positive routine.

8. Reevaluate your relationships

Loss affects everyone differently. Some people in your life may step up and offer additional support while others step away and distance themselves.

This relationship ebb and flow after a loss is normal, and you will eventually rediscover a strong and healthy support system.

For now, try to accept inevitable relationship changes. You can reduce stress when you bless and release people who withdraw and show gratitude for people who choose to stay.

9. Carefully choose new responsibilities

Without your caregiving duties, you may have fewer or even no responsibilities. You may find yourself bored, frustrated, or angry and be tempted to over-function and jump right into another caregiving relationship.

Consider giving yourself an extended time off from helping others. Work instead on the hard job of grieving.

You will also benefit from rediscovering the activities, interests, and duties that are important and fulfilling for you. Then carefully choose the new responsibilities you want to embrace as you fill your time.

10. Find fulfilling activities and interests

Caregiving takes time and energy. Instead of enjoying activities and investing in interests that used to be important, you may have put yourself on the back burner.

Now’s a great time to return to the activities and interests that mattered before you took on your caregiving role. You may even develop new hobbies.

Whichever experiences you choose to embrace, know that it’s healthy to fill some of your time with activities and interests that fulfill you and make you happy and content.

11. Discover new priorities and goals

Your role as a caregiver revolved around meeting your loved one’s needs and putting their priorities and goals above your own. Through that process, you may have given up your dreams.

Take time now to think about your future and what you want your life to look like. Then decide your priorities and set goals that propel you to make your dreams come true.

12. Help others

As an experienced caregiver, you have developed dozens of skills. You also understand the hard work caregiving takes, and you know about the grieving process firsthand.

Consider using your experience to help others. You could offer encouraging and beneficial support to other caregivers and make a difference in their lives.

By giving back, you gain an outlet for your energy and may even ease some of your grief symptoms.

Rebuilding Life When Caregiving Ends

Your role as a caregiver for your loved one may be over, but you can now embrace a new season of life.

Consider implementing these tips. With them, you find fulfillment and meaning as you care for yourself and manage your time.

You may also find caregiving support in these related articles:

 

 

 

[Checklist] – Questions to Ask When Visiting Memory Care Communities

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Evaluating Memory Care FacilitiesSometimes you have to turn the tables, shift your perspective and look at things from a different angle in order to find the right answer. This is certainly the case when it’s time to search for the right type of memory care for yourself – or a loved one.

Life takes on a rather drastic shift indeed when it’s time to plan for memory care, and the key is to remember that while this move may feel like a sacrifice of autonomy, freedom and “life as you know it,” choosing the right memory care community means reclaiming all of those things in a slightly different way.

Asking the Right Questions Leads to the Right Memory Care Community

Taking a gently assertive role as you interview (yes, interview!) prospective memory care communities via their director(s) and staff, you will know when you find “the one” for you.

You are the one who controls the final decision regarding where – and by whom – loved ones will be cared for as their Alzheimer’s or dementia progresses, and that requires consistent “interviewing skills” as you learn which memory care communities or centers meet the attentive criteria you require of them.

The following questions are in alignment with The Joint Commission’s Memory Care Requirements, and are organized by:

  • Staffing
  • Policies & Fees
  • Amenities

They serve as a comprehensive guideline for the types of information you should have on-hand as you move forward in the decision-making process – and you are encouraged to add your own questions to the mix.

With the director’s/staff permission, it is a good idea to record these “interview/introductory” meetings so you can be present in the moment, knowing you can play the recording back to jot down the answers later on.

Ultimately, after visiting the centers on your list, you’ll be able to compare “apples-to-apples” via their answers – eliminating some and bumping others to the top of the list – as you narrow in on your final choice.

Questions Regarding Memory Care Staffing

Do you have a Medical Director on staff?

Memory Care StaffWho’s at the helm, so to speak, when it comes to steering the physical and emotional well-being of the residents in the right direction?

Having a Medical Director on staff indicates the community is dedicated to serving both the physical, as well as the mental/emotional, health of their residents – and has the leadership in place to do so.

Are there RNs or LPNs on staff? If so, how many? Are they on-site 24/7?

Most high-quality memory care centers have RNs and/or LPNs on staff to oversee any physical and/or medical needs that may arise in the course of a day. Nursing staff report directly to the community’s lead physicians as needed.

Consistent staff assignments (the same caregivers caring for the same patients) builds meaningful connections that foster personalized care. Ideally, trained medical staff are available 24/7.

What is the staffing ratio for each shift?

Those with dementia and dementia-related conditions are not as inherently regulated by the circadian rhythm. Thus, unlike other assisted living communities, memory care centers should maintain a consistent staff:patient ratio, around the clock.

What medical services are available?

The bulk of the residents’ medical needs can be diagnosed/treated with some basic, on-site medical services, including:

  • Labs
  • X-Rays
  • PT/OT/SP Therapy
  • Home Health
  • Hospice
  • Podiatry
  • Pharmacy

Not only does this expedite care, it eliminates confusion associated with resident location changes and non-routine appointments.

What types of training does the staff have? What are staffing ratios for each shift?

All members of of the caregiving staff should maintain ongoing, annual training in alignment with current best-practices for memory care. Participation in professional education/training should be documented.

The higher the ratio of staff:resident, the better a memory care facility typically comes to promoting resident safety and well-being. Optimally, you’re looking for a 1:6 resident/staff ratio or better.

However, according to payingforseniorcare.com, “…time and time again, relevant research has shown that assisted living communities with full-time RNs and direct care with in-house nursing staff have a direct impact on resident outcomes.”

Questions Regarding Memory Care Policies & Fees

For this section, we’ll simply list the set of questions because your interest in the answers may vary depending on your situation, and the questions’ intent is relatively straight-forward:

  • Can my loved one stay here through the end of life or do they have to move if their care becomes too extensive?
  • What types of care can your community NOT provide?
  • What is the policy for a medical emergency/ER visit?
  • Does a staff member go with the resident on ER visits?
  • What is the policy for notifying family members?
  • What is the discharge policy?
  • Is the community all-inclusive or are there additional costs?
  • What are the additional costs i.e., cable TV, phone, medication fees, care level fees, activities/outings, transportation?
  • Can my loved one come back if they have to go to rehab?
  • What happens if my loved one is no longer ambulatory?

Questions Regarding Amenities and Outings

One of the defining features of great memory care communities is they are not out-of-the way places where residents go to deflate or wither on the vine. Rather, they are vibrant communities where those with dementia and related forms of cognitive decline go to receive top-notch care while being able to create a new, colorful and creative version of their life.

Outings for Memory Care Patients This requires beautiful grounds, community gardens, recreational and creative opportunities as well as safely organized outside trips into the community.

Questions worth asking include:

  • What are the daily activities like? How many days per week?
  • Do you charge for outside activities? i.e. Lunch Outings, Museums, etc.
  • Do you have Semi-Private and Private rooms? If cost is of concern, semi-private rooms can save residents thousands of dollars per year.

Ultimately, memory care communities should provide a rich spectrum of daily activities – offered in the morning, afternoon and evening. This ensures your loved one has access to fun, interesting and stimulating activities regardless of when his/her “best hours of the day” may be.

Potential activities should cross the spectrum of the residents’ potential interests, hobbies and preferred modalities, including art, poetry, music (both played and performed), dancing, games, hobby activities, supervised cooking, sports and physical activities as well as social engagements.

All of these types of activities have been proven to slow the progression of dementia and Alzheimer’s and enhance the mood of those who suffer from cognitive decline.

But don’t forget the most important question of all…

Which memory care community makes you feel the most safe, comfortable and secure?

Your gut instincts matter. While answers to these questions are important, the feelings and intuition you receive as you tour prospective communities are every bit as valuable as the black-and-white answers you review.

Tour One of Our Memory Centers Today

Do People With Dementia Know Something Is Wrong With Them?

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Seeing a loved one develop Alzheimer’s or dementia can be scary and confusing.  Their behaviors can be misunderstood or not make sense to you.

Maybe during a recent visit to your aunt’s house she insisted you help her find her winter gloves and boots – in the middle of July.  Or maybe she didn’t remember your name at all or thought you were someone else from the family.

These types of scenarios aren’t uncommon, and many people wonder if their loved one knows something is wrong with them.  And what if they don’t understand – should you try and convince them?

Do They Know They Have Alzheimer’s?

Alzheimer’s disease progressively destroys brain cells over time, so during the early stages, many do recognize something is wrong.  They may know they are supposed to recognize you, but they can’t.  Imagine how frustrating and scary that would be.  Red Johnson, an 86 year-old living with Alzheimer’s, explained to his daughter, Nancy, how it feels to live with the disease.

I am Red.

I love my family. My daughter-in-law and son-in-law; my grandchildren and great-grandchildren; my in-laws; and my nieces and nephews. I might not remember their names. I might be tongue tied when I try to talk with them. But, I still love them. Do you know how dumb it feels when you “know” the person talking with you is an old friend and you can’t remember their name? I know something is wrong with me, and I hate it. Don’t look “through me” just because I can’t remember your name or am mixed up about what day it is. Don’t ignore my needs because you think it doesn’t matter.

Red’s story is a great insight into how it feels to know you are suffering from memory loss and how painful it can be.  Read the full story on alz.com.

dementia care virginia
Some people may not understand they have Alzheimer’s or dementia.

When Someone Doesn’t Understand Something Is Wrong

There are cases where people don’t recognize anything is wrong.  You may hear this referred to as anosognosia which is thought to be the result of a cell damage in the right pre-frontal lobes and the parietal lobes.  This can happen during a stroke or as cells decline due to Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Caregivers and family members may notice obvious changes in someone’s behavior, physical or mental limitations while their loved one remains adamant everything is fine. Anosognosia isn’t denial, it is a medical condition.

Caring for anyone living in cognitive decline is challenging. Caring for someone who doesn’t recognize they are ill can add to that challenge.  They may refuse to take medications because they don’t think they need them, or become angry when told they can’t stay home alone or drive to the store anymore.

Convincing someone there is a problem won’t make them believe you, so try to avoid arguing.  It doesn’t help them understand the situation, and can also lead to agitation, distrust and fear – all common side effects of Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Read tips from The Memory Center on how to communicate with someone living with cognitive decline and how to keep them safe.

Day-To-Day Living With Someone Who Has Alzheimer’s

Keeping a schedule is important when caring for someone with Alzheimer’s and dementia.  While every day is different, a routine that is based around activities that help promote movement and inspire purpose are important.

See what a typical day At The Memory Centers in Richmond and Virginia Beach looks like and what activities we suggest you include or contact us for more information about our programs.

Contact The Memory Center

Recent Alzheimer’s Statistics

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Alzheimer’s and dementia will affect everyone at some point.  Whether it is a friend, neighbor, parent, loved one or you work with as a caregiver – someone you know, love or care for will be impacted.

These Are the Facts and Figures About Alzheimer’s

Even though the statistics are scary it is important to stay informed.  The more you know about Alzheimer’s and dementia the more you can recognize early warning signs, separate Alzheimer’s facts from myths, or learn how to handle the emotional diagnosis of a loved one.

Here’s a Great Infographic from the Alzheimer’s Association

Alzheimer s Facts and Figures

How Many Americans Have Alzheimer’s Disease?

The Alzheimer’s Association reports more than 5 million Americans are living with the disease and someone in the U.S. develops the disease every 66 seconds.   This is why The Memory Center communities are dedicated to providing care specifically to those living with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.

People with dementia struggle to separate memory from the physical state of present-day living and research shows meaningful, structured activities focus and engage the aging mind, which eases common symptoms of boredom and agitation.  All Memory Center programs are designed to inspire purpose, validate actions and invigorate while providing the highest quality of life for residents.

Schedule a Tour of an Alzheimer’s Facility

Contact us to get more information on our programs in Virgina Beach, Richmond, VA or Atlanta, GA.  Or read more about our structured daily activities designed to help people with Alzheimer’s and dementia to live well.

Contact The Memory Center

How Much Does Alzheimer’s Care Cost?

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Millions of Americans are living with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. As more of the population reaches age 65 and above, instances of the disease continue to rise.

Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease that causes memory loss and behavioral changes that eventually leaves the person unable to safely care for themselves.  In the early stages of the disease many spouses and family members prefer to care for their loved one at home, but as the demands of the disease increase often residential care will become necessary.

While family members want the best for their loved one, the cost of care is a very real consideration, and memory care can be expensive.

How Much Does Memory Care Cost?

The cost of living in a memory care facility depends on several factors including private vs. semi-private room, cost of living in the geographic area, level of care needed, medical supplies and more.

While there is not one specific price for memory care, SeniorHomes.com compiled the average cost of memory care by state.

The states with the most expensive median monthly memory care costs are:

  • Maine – $5,800
  • Massachusetts – $5,642
  • Vermont – $5,575
  • Connecticut – $5,344
  • Rhode Island – $5,270

The states with the least expensive median monthly memory care costs are:

  • Idaho – $3,165
  • Mississippi – $3,233
  • New Mexico – $3,440
  • South Carolina – $3,703
  • Arkansas – $3,792

Memory Care Costs in Virginia

The reported median cost of memory care in Virginia was $4,100 per month.  Keep in mind this means some facilities will cost less and some will cost more.

Comparing Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care Costsmemory care cost virginia

When gathering information or touring residential facilities find out exactly what is included in the monthly cost.  These costs vary from one facility to the other so knowing what is, or isn’t, included will help you accurately compare and avoid surprises later.

The Memory Center in Virginia Beach and Midlothian/Richmond offers an all-inclusive rate so families know what to expect.

Our memory care pricing includes:

  • Private & semi-private rooms including private bathrooms
  • Three daily meals, snacks, and daily ice cream socials
  • Emergency pull cord in every room
  • Memory boxes to help stimulate meaningful memories of their life
  • Utilities to include: Cable, Telephone & Wi-Fi
  • Housekeeping and laundry services
  • Maintenance of building and grounds
  • Outings with the Activities Program
  • Items from visits to the General Store

Personal Assistance:

  • Highly trained staff to assist with activities of daily living including bathing, dressing, eating, and toileting
  • Medication management by our certified medication technician
  • Health monitoring by an RN nurse
  • Medical oversight by physician trained in geriatric care
  • Full activities and Memories and Motion program designed by our Activities Director
  • Physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy with a physician prescription as needed
  • Hospice/End of Life Care available

The only additional costs are incontinence supplies, salon services, long-distance telephone or transportation to an individual appointment.

Find Out More About the Cost of Memory Care In Virginia

There are several options for memory or dementia care in Virginia.  The Memory Center communities provide care solely for those living with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.  Founded as the first assisted living facility devoted specifically to memory care, our program is designed to meet the challenging conditions of an aging brain with a caring, interactive community.

Utilizing the latest in science, nutrition, and interactive therapies, our daily structured activities provide meaningful purpose to those with memory loss. All Memory Center communities are built around our original Town Center and Neighborhood layout and feature focused programming and daily activities.  We get to know each resident for who they are today – not who they used to be.

Contact us to learn more about the cost of memory care, or find out more about our programs and what to a typical day looks like in our assisted living facilities.

Contact The Memory Center

Taking Care of Kids and Elderly Parents at the Same Time

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Taking care of your kids at home while caring for an elderly parent?  You’re a member of The Sandwich Generation, although the name sounds more appetizing than the scenario.

Adults in The Sandwich generation have children at home – or older kids maybe fresh out of the nest but still requiring support – and they also have an elderly parent who with increasing care needs. It’s a daunting and exhausting place to be – and we haven’t even mentioned the full-time workload you’re probably carrying.

We’re here to provide support.

7 Tips to Ease the Burden of Raising Kids While Caring for Elderly Parents

There is good news for The Sandwich Generation is twofold. First, you are not alone. In fact, according to the Pew Research Center nearly 50% of adults between the ages of 40 and 59 have a minor at home and/or an adult child they support AND have a parent 65+ who will require increasing levels of care. Just knowing you have a tribe out there can help.

Secondly, you are seen. Those of us who work in the world of senior and memory care witness first hand the burden placed upon you. We have many tips to help you take care of everyone in your family, without sacrificing the last vestiges of yourself, your energy levels and overall well-being.

Putting these 7 tips you can put into place can help ease the hardships placed on you and your family during this compressed period of time.

memory care richmond
Dining at The Memory Center, Richmond

1 – Start visiting local assisted living communities

. In the midst of crisis is one of the worst times to make big decisions. Instead, take advantage of free consultations with assisted living and memory care communities in your area. These consultations are rich with information and ideas you can put to work now while considering and developing your long-term plan. 

Visiting long term care facilities is the only way to know which one feels like the best fit for you/your parents when the time comes.  And if your parent is in the beginning stages of dementia or Alzheimer’s, these consultations give him/her some agency regarding their future – very important during a time when seniors often feel like they’re losing autonomy.

2 – Make the home safe and accessible

There are plenty of articles out there on how to remodel a home and make it accessible, but it doesn’t have to be that complicated.  With even simple changes and adjustments to your parent’s house and yard, you’ll notably decrease their risk of falling – and that decreases their risk of hospitalization or surgical interventions known to contribute to senior cognitive decline.

Some of the most easiest changes to making a senior’s home safer include installing motion-sensitive lighting, minimizing trip hazards (like exposed cords, edges of area rugs, uneven thresholds, etc.), installing handrails in toilet and bath/shower areas, building a ramp if needed, rearranging cupboards so everyday items are accessible without bending over or standing on a step stool, and providing an easier way to reach you when needed.

3 – Include your children in the process

. We often forget children are alert and aware of what’s happening in the household and to the ones they love. Even if you think you’re keeping the majority of the “heavy stuff” out of their world, they know and sense you are being stretched beyond your means.

However, even adult children don’t always know what to say or how to help. Similarly, children are just as worried and concerned about their grandparent(s) in their own way and may feel very helpless, which can cause younger children and teens to act out.

If nothing else, foster open communication in age-appropriate ways about what’s happening to grandma and/or grandpa, how you are feeling and about how difficult this situation is at times. The more open and communicative your family is, the more supportive and connected it can remain – even during the toughest moments. If they’re old enough, engage children in helping to provide care and companionship, if they’re young – find little things they can do to be useful. We recommend reading, alz.org’s, Helping Your Children or Grandchildren. The tips are universal for any family coping with dementia or Alzheimer’s – whether you’re sandwiched or not.

4 – Make taking care of yourself a priority

You know the airplane safety spiel about fastening your oxygen mask first, and then ensuring everyone around you has fastened theirs? Use it as a metaphor for your current life. If you think things are emotionally and financially challenging now, imagine what it would be like if you wound up succumbing to serious medical issues as a result of over stressed caregiver depletion. It happens all the time to primary caregivers and it leaves their loved ones in a major lurch.

Primary caregivers must make their well-being a priority so they remain healthy, balanced and as centered as possible through this phase of the journey. That means eating a well-balanced diet, finding ways to get a little exercise in (some days, that might  mean parking in the furthest spot to walk a little longer or taking the stairs instead of the elevator) and finding a way to clear 5- or 10-minutes of quiet-time amidst the busy-ness. Joining an Alzheimer’s support group can also provide a wealth of emotional support and bolstering.

5 – Take advantage of respite care options.

If your parent hasn’t relocated yet, contact local home care agencies to ask about their respite care services. Respite care providers give primary spouse and/or family caregivers the opportunity to focus on their regularly scheduled lives. In your case, this means more time to have dinner with the family, attend academic and extracurricular activities, go to bible study or religious events and to gain more quality time with the kids.

It can also serve as a baby step of sorts, a means of getting you and your parent accustomed to letting someone else help out with everything from companionship, driving and medication reminders, to meal preparation, bathing, dressing and toileting – all the things that may need to be taken over as your parent’s condition progresses.

tips for caregivers

6 – Imagine you’re meeting your parent for the first time

Whether a parent is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or dementia, suffering from the crippling grief from the loss of a spouse and/or peers, or is simply frustrated s/he can no longer do the things s/he loved – The ability to take big steps back is an amazing skill-set for children caregivers to develop.

Imagine you’re meeting your parent for the very first time. See your parent as s/he is now – while keeping your memories sacred. This will help you to find new ways to connect, explore creative ways to communicate, and establish deeper means of cultivating compassion with who they are – and what they’re capable of – in each moment.

7 – Be gentle with yourself

You’re under a tremendous pressure – not to mention emotional duress. Also, you are human. Be gentle and compassionate with yourself – and always forgive yourself in the moments you aren’t at your best.

Please visit our News Feed for more resources on Alzheimer’s and dementia care. You can also contact us to schedule a tour of The Memory Center communities in Atlanta, Richmond or Virginia Beach

 

Free Alzheimer’s Training & Planning Courses

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Caring for someone living with Alzheimer’s or dementia is challenging.  Every day is different and presents new situations that can leave caregivers wondering how to handle a social situation, the best way to bathe someone with dementia or what to do when they refuse to take their medication.  As the disease progresses so does the level of care needed can lead to more questions.

dementia care virginiaTo help caregivers and family members, the Alzheimer’s Association offers a number of resources including message boards where you can connect with others or ask questions, and many educational courses that are available 24 hours a day.

Courses include everything from Understanding and Responding to Dementia-Related Behavior which covers some common triggers for behavior, how to assess the person’s needs and respond more effectively to Legal and Financial Planning for Alzheimer’s Disease to review important legal and financial issues to consider, how to put plans in place and identify local resources that may help cover the cost of some care.

Other topics include resources for caregivers broken out by stages of the disease, how to handle difficult conversations such as driving or staying home alone and many more.

If you are caring for, or have a loved one, with Alzheimer’s or dementia take the time to learn more about these important topics.

As a caregiver it can help you become a more confident, better understand the person’s needs, or stay connected with others who are facing the same challenges.  For those whose loved one is cared for in a residential facility, like The Memory Center, there are still questions as it relates to their care.  We encourage all our families to stay involved, ask questions and educate themselves on the disease and how it progresses.

Read more about our approach to caring for those living with Alzheimer’s and dementia in our specially designed memory care communities in Midlothian and Virginia Beach, VA.

 

 

When Should You Start Looking For Alzheimer’s Care?

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If you are caring for a spouse or family member with Alzheimer’s or dementia, you know first-hand how much time and effort it takes to keep them safe, fed, bathed and engaged in daily activities.

Alzheimer’s disease affects not only memory, but behavior, bodily functions and other systems. It is a progressive disease that eventually leaves the person unable to safely care for themselves. For many caregivers there comes a time when they realize they need outside help or to find a residential care facility.

alzheimer's care planning
Plan for care as early as possible.

Plan Ahead For Alzheimer’s Care

Even though it is an emotional and scary time, ideally you and your loved one should begin discussing care options when the disease is first diagnosed.  Get legal and financial documents in place and determine what services are covered by your health insurance so you can develop a plan to pay for future Alzheimer’s-related care.

During early to mid-stages of the disease some caregivers hire nurses or health-care aids to help out at home.  This helps loved ones remain at home longer, gives caregivers the breaks they need to rest, get some exercise or catch up with friends.

There will probably come a point when part-time help at home isn’t enough and care in a residential facility becomes necessary.  Even though most caregivers find it a hard subject to discuss, it is important to research residential care options early, even if you think you might not need them.

Crisis Situations

assisted living richmond
Don’t wait until a crisis to find Alzheimer’s care.

Many caregivers wait to research residential options until there is a crisis.  Maybe mom fell and injured herself.  She’s in the hospital, but when she gets out she will need 24-hour supervision, help getting out of bed or in the shower and her adult children can’t be with her at all times.

Another common scenario are spouses who serve as primary caregivers but aren’t physically able to lift their loved one to provide the care needed.  The possibility of injuring themselves, and the safety of their spouse, becomes a real concern.

When panic sets in, trying to find a community where someone can move in right away is not always a good idea.  It limits your choices as many residential care facilities have waiting lists.  In a crisis situation you may be forced to take what you can get.

Choosing a facility for your loved one is an important decision.  Being forced to make a choice too quickly can mean you settle on a community that isn’t what you had in mind, and doesn’t provide the peace of mind you need.  It could be outside your budget, too far from home, or just not a community you feel comfortable with.

Tour Residential Care Facilities Early

Tour several residential care facilities early, even before you need them.  When you find one that is right for you get on the wait list if possible.  Even if they don’t have a wait list when you tour, it doesn’t guarantee a space will be available when you need it.

Most assisted living and memory care communities require a deposit to secure a spot on the waiting list. Deposit amounts vary so make sure you fully understand the deposit amount and the refund policy.  In most cases, deposit amounts are refundable if you end up not needing residential care.

What If A Space Is Ready But We’re Not?

This is a common question.  Again, make sure you fully understand the policies your chosen community has in place.  In almost all cases if a room becomes available and you aren’t ready to move in, you can remain on the waiting list and the community will contact you when the next room becomes available.

As a caregiver it can be very hard to finally make the decision to accept the space and move your loved one, but there are benefits to moving before their health deteriorates further and becomes a crisis, as outlined above.

Residential Memory Care In Virginia

The Memory Center communities in Richmond and Virginia Beach provide exceptional care for those living with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.  Founded as the first assisted living facility devoted specifically to memory care, our program is designed to meet the challenging conditions of an aging brain with a caring, interactive community.

Our custom programs and activities are designed to inspire purpose, validate actions and invigorate while providing the highest quality of life for residents.  Functional and fun are key components of our activities – and we encourage family members and spouses to take an active role in their loved one’s care or join us for daily activities.

Read more about Alzheimer’s and dementia care or ask us a question or schedule a tour.

What To Look For When Touring Assisted Living Facilities

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Considering assisted living or memory care for a loved one is often a very difficult decision, and finding the right facility is important.  Not only for your loved one’s health and well being, but for your own peace of mind.

When you tour facilities of course you will notice details like how clean it is, if it is well lit and in good condition.  But to get the most out of your tour The Memory Center has some tips on other items to look for and questions to ask.

Staff to Resident Ratios

This is an important question to ask, not only for daytime, but during the evening and overnight hours as well.  The higher the ratio, the more residents each staff member is taking care of during their shift.

The Memory Center’s ratio is 4 residents to 1 staff, which gives all our staff members more time to spend with residents, providing individualized attention and responding to resident needs.

What Activities Are Provided?  Is There A Schedule?

No one wants their loved one sitting alone in a room all day bored, or in front of a TV.  Activities are important in all types of assisted living and memory care facilities.   Ask to see the activities schedule and, if possible, tour when activities are taking place so you can see them first hand.  A sign of a good activities program is when the residents and the staff are engaged and having fun together.

If you are visiting a facility specializing in care for Alzheimer’s or dementia ask if the activities are designed to encourage motion, stimulate memories and keep boredom away.   Read about a typical day at The Memory Center Richmond and Virginia Beach.

How Is The Food?

memory care richmond
Resident Dining – The Memory Center, Richmond

Mealtimes are important, as is the quality of food.  Bland and boring food can get old very quickly.  Ask to see a menu and note the entree options.  Is there a good balance of choices and is the menu nutritionally sound?  Visit the dining room and, if possible, join them for a meal and taste the food for yourself.

What Is Included In The Cost Of Assisted Living?

Assisted living can be expensive and what is included in a daily or monthly rate will vary from one facility to the other.  Ask for a detailed list of what is, or isn’t, included so you can accurately compare and avoid surprises later.

The Memory Center offers an all-inclusive rate so families know what to expect.  Our memory care pricing includes:

  • Private & semi private rooms including private bathrooms
  • Three daily meals, snacks and daily ice cream socials
  • Emergency pull cord in every room
  • Memory boxes to help stimulate meaningful memories of their life
  • Utilities to include: Cable, Telephone & Wi-Fi
  • Housekeeping and laundry services
  • Maintenance of building and grounds
  • Outings with the Activities Program
  • Items from visits to the General Store

Personal Assistance

  • Highly trained staff to assist with activities of daily living including bathing, dressing, eating, and toileting
  • Medication management by our certified medication technician
  • Health monitoring by a RN nurse
  • Medical oversight by physician trained in geriatric care
  • Full activities and Memories and Motion program designed by our Activities Director
  • Physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy with a physician prescription as needed
  • Hospice/End of Life Care available

The only additional costs are incontinence supplies, salon services, long-distance telephone or transportation to an individual appointment.

How Is Bathing & Personal Care Handled?

How often do they bathe residents, wash their hair, help them shave if necessary?  If you have bathing preferences for your loved one find out if they can honor them.  Don’t forget to observe the current residents.  Do they look clean and well-groomed?  Are they dressed in clothing or still in pajamas well into the afternoon?

What Are Their Security Measures – Indoors and Out

What security protocols does the facility have in place to keep residents safe indoors and out – including every day safety like trip hazards.  Do the walking paths have uneven footing or tree roots sticking out that could cause a fall?  Are cords to lamps keep close to the wall to avoid a trip hazard?  Is the space wide enough and open so residents can safely move throughout the facility?

If you are visiting a memory, or Alzheimer’s care facility ask how they manage wandering and what steps they have in place to prevent it.

First Impression

While it is important to ask questions and gather information, based on your first impression and instinct you will probably know when you’ve found the best facility for you.  If your first impression of an assisted living facility is that it is too dark and smells bad, it probably isn’t going to be your top pick, even if the food was good.

Tour The Memory Center

Currently the Memory Center operates two facilities, Midlothian (near Richmond, VA), Virginia Beach and Atlanta. Our  communities provide exceptional care for those living with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.  We founded the first assisted living facility devoted specifically to memory care with a program designed to meet the challenging conditions of an aging brain with a caring, interactive community.

Contact us for more information or to set up a tour.

 

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