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.
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.
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.