Dementia Care: When is the right time to place?

Dementia Care: When is the right time to place?
The specialized memory care communities of today, such as ActivCare at Bressi Ranch, are worlds apart from the “old folks’ home” of yesteryear. Courtesy photo

Deciding that the everyday care of a loved one is better off in the hands of full-time professionals in a specialty care community rather than at home with family members is a difficult and complex conclusion to reach. Many factors feed into evaluating the best environment and location for safe, compassionate and successful care for those with memory loss and physical care needs.

First and foremost is the need to establish a realistic and factual picture of the current and future needs of the loved one suffering from Alzheimer’s or related dementias. In addition, it is important to have all of the decision makers and stakeholders included in the discussion and willing to participate in a candid dialog. Everyone participating in the care plan discussion needs to agree that well-being, quality care and best possible outcomes for the loved one affected by memory loss are the ultimate goals.

Staying at home with care is usually the first step when attempting to structure care and support for a family member with dementia. In many cases, those arrangements and plan can be successful or at least efficient for a period of time, but may not endure with the progression of the disease.

Ask yourself these questions when evaluating care support at home initially and over time:

Is it safe? Is the physical environment safe for the current and future needs of the person with dementia? Wandering should be one of the biggest concerns and issues to protect against.

Are the caregivers capable and competent? Whether the caregivers are family members, spouses, friends or paid staff, the question needs to be honestly addressed. Caring for larger men or wheelchair-bound women who may need physical assistance with walking, toileting or transferring is physically demanding work for an elderly spouse who may have her own health concerns.

What is the back-up plan? When the wife is sick, when the paid caregiver doesn’t show up, when the daughter goes on vacation, who is prepared to take over the daily care? Caregiving for someone with dementia is a 7-day-a-week-24-hour-a-day commitment. There always needs to be a Plan B, C and D.

Is it the best scenario for all involved? Not everyone was born to be an empathetic, nurturing caregiver. Benevolent, compassionate and enduring caregiving is not universal. Just because there are family members available does not mean that they are the optimum caregiver.

Are you planning for the future? As the disease progresses, are you prepared to meet the increased needs of your loved one? While looking ahead, think about the best time to transition to more care.

What does it cost? If you are bringing in paid private duty caregivers to your home from a professional and bonded company the cost for eight hours a day of primary caregiver duties is at least $160 to $200 a day for those services.

Hiring someone from the newspaper or Craigslist is not recommended for many reasons including risks of fiduciary abuse, injury claims by the caregiver or worse. Keep in mind, when paying more for less than 24-hour unskilled care exceeds the cost of the monthly care in a specialized memory care community, it is time to look at alternatives.

ActivCare at Bressi Ranch is a residential memory care community where specially trained professional caregivers and licensed nurses provide round-the-clock care.

A daily schedule of activities involves all residents providing a sense of purpose and self-esteem. The community is purposely built to provide a safe and comfortable environment for those with memory loss.

Making the decision to place in a specialized memory care community like ActivCare at Bressi Ranch is an individual choice driven by a multitude of factors including family support, finances, geography, caregiver health and capabilities. Sometimes the preconceived notions of senior care homes delay decisions.

The specialized memory care communities of today are worlds apart from the “old folks’ home” of yesteryear.

Take a tour of ActivCare at Bressi Ranch and see for yourself. Call (800) 693-6696 to schedule a visit.

Take a look inward, make the time to talk with family members, consider all the factors and the desired outcomes and find the “right” people, place and environment for those you                                love that need care.

1 Comment
  1. Tobias Armstrong 4 months ago

    I like how you noted that not everyone is cut out to be the best caretaker. Especially when it comes to problems like dementia, there are things that I simply wouldn’t know how to deal with and I’d want someone close to me to be taken care of someone who would know what to do. I really think you brought up a lot of really good points here, especially for someone like me trying to make decisions right now. Thanks for the insight.

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