Tips for Moving Someone with Dementia.
It can be a challenge to care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia at home. And it can be equally as challenging to make the decision to move mom or dad into a memory care community. You could experience feelings of sadness, worry and guilt wondering when a dementia patient should be moved. Even thinking about taking dementia patients out of their environment can leave you stressed and confused about what your next step should be.
Planning and preparation is key to a successful move. There can be multiple circumstances which could cause older individuals to be uprooted from familiar surroundings. For those suffering memory loss, the experience can be especially confusing and even traumatic. Social Work Today recommends you look for those senior living communities that have transition expertise to guide your move and prevent transfer stress.
When you’re researching memory care communities for a loved one, your research may take you online, on a search through your local neighborhood or following up on leads from trusted sources. But the best way to investigate a community is firsthand. We welcome you to schedule a private consultation at Mission Chateau, where our professionals can answer your questions personally and streamline your decision-making.
Some memory care communities are freestanding, but at Mission Chateau, our memory care is on one campus along with independent living and assisted living. The wing was designed from the ground up to be solely focused on memory care residents, so it includes all the most advanced features.
Even before you walk through the door, you’re beginning to form an opinion of a memory care community. The curb appeal of the building, the grounds and the landscaping will all make an impression on you. See how that impression carries through as you tour. Are you greeted promptly by a staff member? Take a minute to check if the area looks and smells clean. Keep checking throughout your visit.
If you’ve scheduled a tour, your guide should be prepared and equipped with brochures and information. This person will be asking you questions, but it’s very important to come with your own list of questions and expect answers.
Be open and honest. If your loved one has behavioral symptoms associated with cognitive impairment, ask how staff is directed to deal with it.
Safety Is Important.
Technology has changed the way we ensure memory care seniors stay safe. From alarmed doors to secured courtyards, personal monitoring devices and emergency call systems, security is taken seriously and there are numerous Alzheimer’s safety products available. Request a copy of the community’s documented emergency procedures and policies. Will someone accompany your loved one to the hospital if 911 is called?
While you want the environment to feel home-like, rather than clinical, make sure you take note of the safety and security features. Our memory care features handrails, slip-resistant flooring, additional lighting, signage and wider doorways to accommodate wheelchairs make for a more accessible, easier-to-navigate building.
Are Residents Actively Engaged?
Ask to review the community’s calendar of events. A well-designed activity schedule should include programs based on a variety of interests and abilities. Take home the calendar to review, then make sure there’s something planned for every day of the week. When you come back for a second visit, make sure that the activity scheduled is actually taking place.
While you’re visiting, make a point to observe an activity for at least 10 minutes. Can you imagine your loved one enjoying it? As residents adjust to their surroundings and staff, you might be surprised that they’re willing to try something totally new. If most of the residents appear relaxed and involved, that’s a good sign. For those residents who choose not to participate, does the staff encourage them?
You may find residents are grouped by their cognitive level. The goal is to improve their quality of life by maintaining or slowing down the progression of decline. For residents who are in the early or middle stages of Alzheimer’s, participation in life skill activities may inspire connection.
Inquire About Nutritious Meals.
It’s a good idea to schedule one of your visits at a mealtime so you can observe the residents and staff interacting. You’ll also be able to observe how therapeutic diets are handled and how residents are helped when they’re unable to feed themselves. Feel free to ask for a complimentary meal at our community. It’s also important to ensure healthy snacks and beverages are available at all times in the memory care community, and you’ll want to know how nutrition is monitored.
Staff Should Be Friendly.
Are you getting smiles and greetings from the staff passing by in the hall? Never underestimate the power of being friendly, as well-trained employees make the difference in the quality of care. The professionals should be skilled at moving and handling dementia patients.
Ordinarily, a memory care community will have a medical director, clinical licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants, physical therapists, occupational therapists and speech therapists on staff. These professionals will monitor your loved one’s health, manage medications and keep accurate records. When you decide to move your loved one into the community, they’ll partner with a primary care physician to create a personalized plan for health and well-being. We have an on-site health and wellness director, clinical licensed nurses and certified nursing and medication assistants, and a life enrichment director.
Watch how staff and residents interact and decide if that is how you want your loved one treated. Notice if the resident is being referred to by name; if they’re being talked to with kind, simple, easy-to-understand statements; and if assistance with mobility is gentle.
The Mayo Clinic advises you to feel free to ask the staff about your loved one’s personal background, hobbies and interests to see if they have proactive ways to inspire them.
As you tour the common areas, are there comfortable couches and sitting areas for family visits? Stop by the activity rooms, fitness areas, pools and other areas to check if they’re well used and well maintained. Many communities have a barber and beauty shop on-site.
Your loved one may be accustomed to a generous-sized home, but when dealing with dementia, a smaller studio equipped with safety features and modifications is better suited to their needs. Our memory care is specially designed for those suffering memory loss so you can be confident our floor plan is exceptional. Ask whether you need to bring furniture or if you can have the apartment furnished for you. Will there be housekeeping services? If so, how often?
Ask About Costs.
Inquire about all of the services covered. Find out about community, pet and other pay-as-you-go fees.
Although Medicare does not pay for a memory care residence, ask about Medicaid, Veterans Aid & Assistance, long-term care and other insurance coverages. How does the community handle instances if the patient is no longer able to pay?
Read the State Surveys.
Ask to read the community’s latest state survey. The health department makes regular, no-notice inspections of memory care communities, rating them on care, services and their environment. The surveys evaluate policies and procedures, resident care, quality of care and quality of life, medication administration, medical records, kitchen sanitation, staff competencies, dietary needs, equipment, safety and overall wellness of the community.
Keep Checking Back.
Until you feel completely informed and comfortable, keep checking back on the community with your questions. A trusted, experienced memory care community can improve the quality of your loved one’s life, and it can free you to enjoy the moments and memories you share even more.
Our memory care community offers your loved one a full, rich life where they can spend days surrounded by a kind, compassionate team and interesting neighbors. We can help you with your decision about when a loved one needs care and how to convince someone with dementia to move.
Contact us to learn more about our memory care program and how it can help your loved one.