We would do nearly anything for our loved ones. However, some decisions don’t come as easily as others. For many families, deciding whether it’s time to admit a loved one to a memory care facility can be complex, confusing, and even heart-wrenching. The caring staff at NewAldaya Lifescapes has helped many Cedar Falls families through this difficult transition, and we’d like to share some of what we’ve learned through fifty years of service.
Knowing When It’s Time
There are a few signs — some more subtle than others — that alert us when it’s time for our loved one to receive expert care. Ask yourself each of the following questions:
Have They Changed?
Cognitive decline presents in myriad ways, some of them unusual. We associate dementia and Alzheimer’s with forgetfulness, but other signs may be subtler. It’s noticing water damage because the tub was left to overflow or a pattern of unusual investments. Maybe your formerly fastidious family member doesn’t bathe as often or dress as well as they once did. Perhaps you’re seeing collections notices when someone was once prudent and punctual with their bills. Each of these things could have an innocent explanation, but when they begin to add up, it’s time to consider outside help.
Are They Safe?
Sometimes a person with dementia or Alzheimer’s poses a safety risk in their present living situation, whether by forgetting the kettle on the stove, falling asleep while smoking, or even wandering off and getting lost at all hours. They may also pose certain risks to their caregivers through aggressive behavior.
Are They Engaged?
You may have any number of reasons to spend more time at home when you’re caring with someone with dementia or Alzheimer’s. However, the lack of engagement and constructive activity — coupled to the depression that often presents with both diseases — can mean a further decline and more difficulty providing care. A memory care facility provides appropriate activities and mental stimulation.
Are My Skills Adequate?
It’s one thing to help with laundry, cleaning, shopping, and other day-to-day needs. Not everyone has the knowledge or the training to address their loved one’s more complicated needs.
Am I Suffering?
We know this is a difficult question, especially when you’re in the position of caregiver. We also know it can feel almost selfish to consider your own needs and well-being at a time like this, but it’s absolutely vital that you do so. We ask that you be as gentle with yourself during this time as you would with a friend who came to you for help. After all, you’re dealing with a situation that is demanding on every level imaginable — physically, emotionally, and spiritually — and that often adds an element of stress or neglect to other areas of life, including family relationships, friendships, and your job.
Choosing the Right Memory Care Facility
Choosing a memory care facility is not an admission of defeat. You’ve done your best, but odds are that you don’t have the kind of training, support system, or knowledge of a professional caregiver. How do you find the right environment for your loved one? Ask yourself these questions:
- Ask about the staff. What is their rate of turnover? How are they trained? What is their ratio to the residents at various times of day?
- Ask about resources. What kind of skilled care does the community offer? Is a nurse on staff 24 hours a day? Is a doctor on call?
- See how other, non-medical, needs are addressed. Are the meals varied and wholesome? Are there activities that engage mind, body, and spirit? Is socialization fostered and encouraged?
- Find out how families are involved in the process. What will be your role in designing a care plan? How, and how often, will the facility communicate concerns about your loved one’s well-being?
- Inquire about the monthly rate for housing and care, and what that rate includes (including private and semi-private rooms).
- It’s especially important to ask how the facility handles medical emergencies and other issues like wandering and aggressive behavior. In the latter case, the use of restraints or antipsychotic medications should raise red flags.
If you need help with finding the right memory care facility for someone you love, reach out to NewAldaya Lifescapes today. We’re located at 7511 University Ave in Cedar Falls, IA and we’d love to welcome you for a tour and conversation.