If you are the primary care provider for a spouse or a parent with dementia, there typically comes a time when you will need help. When and how this realization occurs varies greatly depending on the diagnosis and your unique family situation. In many cases, however, there comes a time when in-home care provided by a family member or friend becomes not only too difficult for the caregiver but potentially unsafe for your senior loved one.
What Is Dementia?
Dementia comes in many different forms. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type that people are the most familiar with. Knowing and understanding the type of dementia your family member or loved one has may help you determine how the disease will progress. Regardless of the type of dementia, changes occurring in the brain impact vital functioning skills such as language, memory, judgment, decision-making, and orientation.
If your elderly loved one has Alzheimer’s disease, they may often have trouble speaking and walking. As the disease progresses, they may also develop difficulties with swallowing. Dementia is an irreversible disease process, and therefore it will get worse with time. Depending on the individual, this decline may be gradual, or it may occur suddenly, but an important thing to remember is that help is available outside of in-home care provided by loved ones.
What Is Memory Care?
Memory care refers to the type of care provided at a specialized senior living community like Baxter Senior Living in Anchorage. These communities cater their services to individuals with dementia. Staff in a memory care facility assist your loved one with medications and provide meals. Also, services such as housekeeping, transportation, and activities are provided. All of these services are considered part of your loved one’s care while at a memory care community and, therefore, are included in the cost of their stay.
How Do Memory Care Communities Work?
Alaskan memory care communities specialize in taking care of people with dementia. Most memory care communities are attached to assisted living communities, which can sometimes make the transition from one type of care to a more advanced level of care more manageable. Although there may be people with memory difficulties living in the assisted living community, their current cognitive state does not affect their day-to-day functioning.
Memory care communities typically have a higher staff to resident ratio than assisted living, and they should also have staff trained specially in how to care for residents with dementia. Also, to help manage wandering and some of the other common symptoms of dementia and related illnesses, many memory care units are locked and are accessible with a code.
How Does 24-Hour Care Work?
If you provide in-home care to a loved one with dementia, you have likely realized this is a full-time job. As their disease progresses, they are more likely to wander, struggle with memory and orientation, and in some cases, become aggressive. Many families who choose to care for their loved ones at home find initial care requirements are only a few hours a day. But before long, they progress to 24-hour care. 24-hour care means that there is a caregiver at home every hour of the day, including the overnight hours.
At a memory care facility, 24-hour care is provided by caring, compassionate, and highly trained staff who understand the needs of your senior loved one. While the decision to place your loved one in a memory care unit may be difficult, the knowledge that your loved one receives such high-level care can often help lessen the stress of knowing you are obligated to provide day-to-day care. Additionally, as cognitive abilities change, and memories begin to fade, it may become more emotionally challenging to provide one on one in-home care to your loved one. When you have reached this point, it may be time to consider memory care.
When to Consider Memory Care in Anchorage
It is not uncommon for families to wait too long to seek help. Understandably, we want to care for those we love on our own for as long as possible. But inevitably, there comes a time for everyone when the stress of being a solo in-home care provider is too much to bear. The time to consider help will be different for everyone, but the best place to start is when you realize that there are safety or daily care concerns. There may be limits to what you, as a caregiver, can continue to do, and you may want to consider outside care if any of the following occur.
Safety Becomes an Issue
If your loved one begins to wander or is unable to get in and out of bed safely without assistance, you may want to consider additional care to help them meet their daily needs. Difficulty navigating the stairs or requiring assistance with bathing, dressing, housekeeping, and other activities of daily living may also indicate that in-home care provided by a loved one may no longer be appropriate.
Medications and medical appointments are a very common aspect of aging, and your senior loved one with dementia will need to be able to make it to these appointments. If they fail to take their medications correctly (or at all), this could have a severe impact on their overall health. Also, if they are unable to drive or get to their medical appointments, their health could be compromised.
At a memory care facility like Baxter Senior Living, our highly trained staff will assist your loved one with all of their daily living activities and ensure that medical appointments are kept and that your loved one can keep on an accurate medication schedule. We understand that each patient with dementia is different, and therefore, has different care needs, and therefore, individual care plans are developed for our residents.
The decision between memory care and 24-hour in-home care is very personal. It is difficult to accept that your family members’ current situation will inevitably change. In conjunction with these changes, your needs and capabilities as a caregiver will also change. If you have reached the stage where you need help to care for your loved one, contact Baxter Senior Living today.