Is a Memory Care Community Right for Your Loved One?
Watching a beloved family member grow older can be difficult, specifically as the move from cared-for to caregiver happens. As the dynamic of your relationship shifts and end-of-life reality evolves, it can be stressful to wonder if you’re making the right decisions for their care.
You’re not alone.
In fact, when faced with the burden of caregiving and no formal training in doing so, studies show that stress levels increase significantly and there is a higher likelihood of psychosomatic health issues.
So how do you balance your own health and responsibilities with the commitment you’ve made to your aging family member’s well-being? For many, the answer is in the transition to a long-term care community.
For those who are naturally compassionate, transferring care can be an emotional decision. But with thorough research and an understanding of the benefits to your loved one’s end-of-life comfort, a memory care community is often the best decision for both of you.
What is a memory care community?
A memory care community provides a home-like environment for people with cognitive decline or issues with memory who can no longer take care of themselves independently. Often these cognitive states are symptoms of dementia, Alzheimer’s, or Parkinson’s disease.
Depending on your loved one’s capabilities, memory care staff may assist with bathing, grooming, dressing, medications, therapies, and meals. Memory care communities also provide residents with fun, structured activities appropriate to what they can manage, and scaled levels of medical care.
What is the difference between memory care and other types of care communities?
There are many different long-term care options available for older adults. Nursing homes, assisted living, independent living… how do you choose?
The first thing to know is that memory care communities are created specifically for individuals experiencing memory difficulties. These communities have specially trained staff who understand how to provide compassionate and patient care for these types of residents.
Other care options include:
Independent living for older adults who are still relatively healthy, mobile, and can regulate their day-to-day routines. They provide housing, home maintenance, optional food services, and may offer community spaces and activities. Independent living facilities can vary in size and provide a variety of layout and size options.
Assisted living for older adults who may need more assistance with activities such as bathing, dressing, and cleaning. They often provide more services than independent living and offer social and creative activities. Many assisted living facilities offer independent living spaces with shared spaces for recreation and other amenities.
Long-Term care is for those requiring intensive healthcare and is more reminiscent of a clinical setting. These communities are appropriate for people who need full-time medical care for the short or long term, who aren’t best suited to live at home. They are more focused on medical needs than daily social living and provide less privacy.
Memory care communities differ from the above care options because of their focus on memory impairment issues. Because of this focused care, the employees that care for the residents in those communities are specially trained to care for those with memory-related cognitive and physical decline.
The memory care communities are carefully engineered for residents that live in them. There is plenty of room to wander, but also prevents residents from leaving and getting lost or confused. They typically contain substantial natural light and encourage socialization and community.
How do you choose a memory care community?
What do you look for when selecting a memory care community and how do you know if it is right for your loved one?
Scheduling a visit is the first step. Additionally, you can talk to employees and administrators, observe how happy the residents and their families appear to be, and ask about community engagement.
Some questions to consider:
- Is your community licensed/inspected by state and/or healthcare agencies?
- What is the ratio of staff to residents?
- What medical care is available? What is the experience of the medical professionals on staff?
- What is your visitor policy?
- What activities and outings are offered to residents?
- What types of care assistance are included in the standard cost?
Other things to consider are safety, location, comfort, and privacy.
How much does a memory care community cost?
Practical considerations should be taken into account when exploring a care community for your loved one. Depending on your location and personal financial situation, Medicaid may cover a portion of the cost, or your loved one may look into purchasing long-term care insurance.
Memory care at Walker Methodist
We’ve re-named our memory care communities Kaleidoscope, a fitting name suggesting metamorphosis, vibrancy, and life.
At Walker Methodist, we don’t just take care of people with memory loss or dementia. We see their value and recognize their worth in this stage of their lives. We not only meet their physical needs, but we care for the needs of the person as a whole being.
If you have a loved one who is experiencing this transformation, reach out to our team today and learn how we can help enhance their lives, even during this time of change.
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