There are many things to consider when you are diagnosed with memory loss, whether through disease, age, or injury. One of those concerns is probably: Who will take care of you as your condition changes? If you are a caregiver, you may ask “How will I care for my loved one through this time?” While there is no one set path forward, there are some helpful things to know about care facilities, and when you may want to look into them.
For starters, there are different types of care facilities for different levels of care, depending on a patient’s age, capabilities, and stage of Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, or injury related memory loss. When you have a memory loss diagnosis, the best time to look into the next levels of care is the current moment, so you can make your own choices on your own terms. Some of the types of facilities are:
Senior Living Communities
These are communities which are comprised almost entirely of older adults, some are 55+, some have higher limits than that. These communities help support the transition between owning a home and living in a facility. There are sometimes choices of individual house style quarters, which can be good for couples, or more “apartment” style for those who need less space. These places can be great for the beginning stages of memory loss, as they simplify the living situation.
These communities offer a supportive space to age in, with helpful things like landscaping and home repair taken care of for you. The downside of these communities is that they do not always offer you a choice of continuing care, but they do allow you to age in place for several years.
Communities that have a “continuum of care” allow a person to move through the various stages, with Independent Living, Assisted Living, Memory Care and sometimes Skilled Nursing all in one community. They will often have sections dedicated to helping their residents transition to more intensive care, which is a selling point of these communities. In Independent Living they do not tend to have 24-hour availability of nursing staff, but should have staff on hand to respond to emergencies at any hour. With increased levels of care, there are increasing levels of staffing to meet a persons’ needs.
“Assisted Living” encompasses a facility which has both short and long term residents who have a need for assistance in some, but not all, daily living activities, and with access to medical care during normal business hours. Assisted living facilities tend to cater to many levels of care. Starting with the senior living community model, assisted living can offer a transitory stage between home-owning and full facility living.
Memory Care Facilities
Memory care facilities are specialized Assisted Living facilities which cater to patients with a need for daily care who have memory issues: Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, age related memory loss, or injury related memory loss are all examples of reasons to consider a memory care facility.
At Landmark Memory Care, there are staff available to help orient residents, keep them moving throughout their day with reminders and guidance through bathing, eating, dressing, toileting, daily hygiene and any other areas they may need help with. These residents often need this kind of care for several months to years. Someone may enter a facility with little need for help, and progress throughout the remainder of their life until Hospice Care becomes a need.
With 24 hour care, residents have staff available at all times, for everything from feeding and personal care, to the act of moving from room to room. Many people may choose to care for a parent or relative through the beginning stages of memory loss, but will need to consider a full time care facility as increased care and safety issues progress and compound.
Skilled Nursing Facilities
A Skilled Nursing Facility is necessary for patients with limited capability of caring for themselves, who also need 24 hour medical attention – such as post-surgery, or after a stroke, heart attack, or other life altering injury, or for rehabilitation. Skilled nursing facilities can sometimes be located within senior living communities, or as a next-level of care within an assisted living or nursing home facility. Often they are a transition between a stay in the hospital and moving into a full time care facility. Sometimes referred to as a Nursing Home, a Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) is a facility where a person may live full time, or short term with others they’re not related to, and in which they receive 24 hour medical care.
Hospice can be a terrifying idea to many people, but in reality hospice allows a patient to make a peaceful transition through the end of life under their terms and full time care. Hospice is reserved for patients who have a limited amount of time left, as decreed by a doctor. These facilities offer nursing staff and care for end-of-life, services which may or may not be included in the type of facility you choose to begin with. Always talk to a facility about their changing levels of care, to help you or your loved one transition gracefully through them. At Landmark Memory Care, hospice providers come within the facility to attend residents who are progressing towards the end of life, often allowing these residents to remain “at home” at Landmark until death occurs.
When To Transition To Care
No one can tell you when the time is right to move to the appropriate level of care. That being said, there are certainly signs that a facility may be beneficial. If your loved one is becoming increasingly belligerent, angry, or withdrawn, day trips to a care facility could be beneficial. If the behaviors continue to increase or become unmanageable, it may be time to consider a facility with people who can help deal with that type of behavior on a consistent basis. It isn’t just the patient’s quality of life to consider – as a caregiver, you must also consider your own welfare.
For those with early memory issues, consider what you want for both yourself and your family moving forward. Have conversations about your decisions with those who you trust to carry out those decisions in the manner you intend. If you want to compare the costs and benefits of moving to a place like Landmark Memory Care, you can check out our Cost Guide. To see if your loved one may be ready to move to care, check out our handy Activities of Daily Living (ADL) checklist.
Remember to visit any facility before you make a move- and visit during different times of day to get an idea of how life in that facility will feel. When considering a move to a facility, always look into whether the facility includes housekeeping, food, and personal services, and if there are any extra charges for services.
If you have questions about Memory Care and whether a facility like Landmark Memory Care could be for you or your loved one, contact us today!