Dementia is a symptom of an underlying problem which usually manifests with memory loss and at least one additional problem of language, problem solving, judgment or some other cognitive function. This impairs a person’s ability to function on a day-to-day basis. Dementia is primarily found in people over 65 years of age, with half of all people over 85 suffering from some form of dementia.
Dementia may first appear as simple forgetfulness. It often is not recognized until the person begins to forget the names of those closest to them or often forgets what they are doing. As the dementia progresses further, the person may be found wandering around confused and scared, as they don’t even know where they are. Dementia is hard not only on the person suffering but on their loved ones as they watch the decline and attempt to care for them.
Dementia Care Communities
There are a few housing options for seniors when they begin to experience dementia. Dementia homes or memory care communities are one popular option. Dementia care homes are similar are senior living communities but specifically geared for seniors experiencing memory loss. These provides a safe environment for seniors via twenty-four hour supervision and care services. The community typically provides structured daily routines and activities along with assistance with day to day activities like bathing and medication management.
One of the most challenging issues with dementia patients is wandering. Those with dementia may find themselves wandering around unable to remember their own name or where they live. Wandering can be both scary and unsafe for someone suffering from dementia. It is a difficult issue for the family caregiver and it is this challenge that often motivates them to seek help from dementia care specialists.
Dementia Care Communities: What to Consider
Assess the need – Even though your loved one may be currently living independently, it is important to plan ahead for when their health begins to change. Seek a location that suits their immediate and long-term needs. Familiarity becomes important for dementia patients as their short-term memory deteriorates. In seeking a memory care community for your loved one, sooner rather than later, is usually the best course of action. Including your loved one in the selection process can help ease the transition from their current place of residence to their new home.
Economics of the care - Since dementia care involves primarily dealing with issues related to the mind and not the body, it is considered non-medical care. This means it normally needs to be paid for either privately or with long-term care insurance, provided that the insurance is set up prior to your loved one moving into the dementia care facility. Medicaid and Veteran’s Aid & Attendance may be able to assist with payments, under the right circumstances.
Since keeping consistency is so vital for dementia patients it is important to ask all the questions you may have to make sure the community is the right fit. You do not want to find that the location isn’t a good match for your loved one’s needs after they have already been residing there for some time. Tour not only the actual living area but also the common spaces as well. When possible, speak to other residence and observe them. See if they seem well taken care of and happy to be living there. These are good indicators as to the type care your loved one would receive.
Written by senior housing staff writer