Dementia is the gradual deterioration of mental functioning, such as decision-making, judgment, memory and concentration, which affects a person's ability to do normal daily activities. Dementia primarily occurs in people over the age of 65, with the incidence of the disease increasing with age. By age 85, almost half of all people are affected by dementia. Over four million Americans have dementia, and more women than men are affected because women tend to live longer.
Oftentimes, symptoms of dementia begin with forgetfulness or the inability to remember a familiar person's name. However, as the disease progresses, a person with dementia may display signs of confusion and anxiety, as well as wander aimlessly or forget what they were doing. Dementia is extremely frustrating for the patient, and caring for someone with this condition can be stressful. Very often, it is necessary for families to turn to the caregivers at dementia homes to keep their loved one safe.
What Are Dementia Homes?
Dementia homes are senior living communities designed to care for patients challenged by memory loss. Residents are able to live in a safe and secure environment with constant supervision, structured activities within their daily routine and receive professional assistance with activities of daily living, such as bathing, meals and managing medication.
One of the most difficult behaviors for caregivers to control is wandering. It is important to remember that people suffering from dementia might not remember their own name or where they live. Most dementia homes provide 24-hour staffing and security so that care is always available to residents when they need it.
Choosing The Right Dementia Home
While there are many dementia homes across the country to choose from, it is important to find one that is the right fit for your loved one. There are several steps to take when deciding to move a loved one into a dementia home:
Assess your loved one's needs – It is important to plan ahead. Your loved one may be relatively independent now, but over time, their situation may change. Choose an environment that meets both immediate and long-term needs. Try to include your loved one in the process of selecting a home if he or she is still capable of participating. This will help ease the transition of moving into a new home.
Determine what you can afford – Dementia care (more commonly called memory care or Alzheimer’s care) is considered non-medical in nature and is usually paid for privately or with long-term care insurance if the policy was in place before the senior was diagnosed. Medicare does not cover the costs of assisted living or memory care, although under certain conditions Medicaid and the Veterans’ Aid & Attendance benefit may be applied toward dementia home care.
Visit several facilities to discuss services and fees - Ask questions; learn how caregivers handle various situations to make sure that they offer the care and support you want. Tour the living quarters and public areas. Look and talk to the residents. Do they appear well-groomed? Do they look happy?
Find Dementia Homes
Dementia homes help keep seniors with Alzheimer’s and other types of memory loss safe, healthy and happy. Browse our comprehensive online directory to Find Memory Carecommunities near you.
Written by senior housing staff writer.