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I selected Bickford of Springfield because they have everything I needed. There are nurses and aides around the clock. The staff is very caring and when I push the button they respond quickly. However, their prices are unreasonable. They gave me a price for rent and in six months it goes up substantially, and I don't like that. Then they gave me a price for care. They added that into the rent and came up with the price per day. That kind of took me off- balance, because they prices were higher than I expected. I didn't know they were having problems and they changed directors and a couple of days after they talked to me the prices also changed. I was not happy with the initial interview, but a month later they came back with another interview with a different nurse and changed the care level to what I think I should have. That wasn't explained to me in the beginning. Now I'm paying the price for the misunderstanding. It's good that they're willing to work with me so my insurance covers most of the cost.
If your parent is just looking for a senior living place, this is a good facility, huge and lots of things to do. However, if you are looking for memory care or a place with anyone with disruptive issues associated with dementia do not move your loved one here. It should not be listed as a memory care facility as the staff does not have enough training. I had a great experience at first. When my mother started showing symptoms of her dementia, there was a large change in staff. Sadly, she was misdiagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease and when she was rediagnosed with bvFTD, she had to go through medication changes. Because she was loud (often singing songs very loudly or clapping) one of the residents started bullying my mother. When she would get upset or react to this woman's prodding, it was hard to calm her down. I know she was obnoxious with her behavior but that is a symptom of her dementia. (CURRENT: She is reasonably fine now that her medications are in order) With the medication changes, it was more difficult to get her to be calm as she had anxiety associated with being on the wrong medications. Some of the staff was great, but often the lead staff was not and sent her to the emergency room. At least three times in four weeks they "sent her out". I now know this is because if she would have been admitted to Phsych floor they wouldn't have to legally take her back and could evict her. After 8 hours in the ER on average, sometimes until 1 or 2 in the morning, the hospital would send her back saying she wasn't a candidate for Psych and "it was a staffing issue at Bickford". Each time, Bickford said they would work with her on her medication. The second time this happened, I offered to move her away, had her evaluated by a memory care facility, and made time to move her. They called right after the eval and acted shocked I would want to move her. They went as far as even insisting that it would be bad for her to move! I ended up hiring a retired nurse to come in and get her even bathed as she hadn't been bathing for probably at least a month or two and had a UTI which caused her to be agitated on top of it. The hired nurse was able to do what they couldn't get her to do in one day, even got her hair cleaned as she ended up getting a bad dandruff situation because she wasn't washing properly. I had requested for this service, but it seemed shadowed with all the other problems. Two weeks later it happened again. On the fourth time, I was just basically asking them what the point is to keep doing this? They always just said she was acting out of control. When she got to the hospital, she was calm as a cucumber and the hospital again said it was the staff who was aggravating her. With the final stint, they blocked her in her room (which is illegal)until the ER came. They also told us she couldn't come back even if the hospital didn't take her. This is also illegal. We wouldn't go back after that anyway! We had to move her that day which was very stressful as I live in Chicago. Then to continue to make things worse, when she moved to her current facility, they ended up sending the medication list to the new facility from BEFORE - six months- she was correctly diagnosed. Nobody knew what was wrong until her neurologist saw the issues. This of course caused a whole new list of issues because of her fast medication changes which is horrible. It almost felt intentional as I don't know how anyone could send a medication list six months old to a new facility. The head nurse has since been fired, but I still don't feel this place is anything more than a retirement home for independent and some assisted living. Most of the people that lived there were healthy of mind so they didn't like anyone who didn't fit in as proper behavior. With ALZ or bvFTD, this isn't always an option. My mother who taught learning disabilities for 30 years and diagnosed at 68 with a horrible disorder didn't mean to sing songs loudly or clap for no reason...unfortunately it wasn't tolerated here. The director here is very kind and nice, some of the staff was wonderful as well, but the problem was that not everyone was trained properly on how to redirect, soothe or manage people with behavior issues associated with dementia. It is more like a country club. This may be perfect for your loved one as if they have a healthy brain, this is a great place to be. I picked it because I would have chosen it for myself, it just was a bad fit for my mom.
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