Caring for a loved one with memory loss can be challenging. No matter how much you love your senior relative, caregiving translates into lost work time, which impacts your finances and adds to emotional stress.
According to a RAND Corporation study, the price tag for informal caregiving by family members is a staggering $522 billion. The researchers state,
“Three out of five caregivers also are in the labor force. Working-age people under age 65 provide 22 billion of those 30 billion caregiving hours, and they often lose income due to reduced work hours.”
They also lose sleep, quality of life and relationships, and often their own health. As someone’s memory loss worsens, the mental and emotional cost can become overwhelming. An elder might become verbally or emotionally abusive to a caregiver, adult child, or another person with whom they feel safe. The person with Alzheimer’s disease may not even realize they’re being offensive; they’re simply venting their pain or grief to someone they trust.
In situations like these, it might be time to consider community care, either in a residential memory care setting with people skilled in caring for those with cognitive impairment or in an adult day center that allows home care providers some respite.
Adult Day Centers
For people with Alzheimer’s and dementia, adult day centers provide an opportunity for social engagement such as music and exercise programs, with life enrichment specialists who are trained in working with dementia patients.
Generally, these services operate during normal business hours and may provide meals, snacks and personal care. Some programs are even able to offer nursing care and rehabilitation while the senior is in their care.
Adult day services may be independently owned, or part of a skilled nursing facility. Some services are funded through Medicare and Medicaid, while others are strictly private pay.
When caregivers need a longer break than just the daytime hours, respite care might be a good option. As the name implies, respite care provides short-term relief for primary caregivers. Memory care for your loved one can take place in your (or the senior’s) home, or in a healthcare facility, with a duration of anywhere from one day to several weeks.
Memory Care Communities
Special Care Units (SCUs) are communities designed to meet the specific needs of people with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. Also known as memory care communities (such as Kensington Place), MC communities may be part of an assisted living complex or another type of residential care community, such as a continuing care retirement community (CCRC) that provides different levels of care (independent, assisted living and memory care), enabling someone to age in place.
Selecting the Right Care Setting
When you’re ready to consider community care for your loved one, plan on visiting several community settings to determine an appropriate fit. As a general guideline, look for a memory care community that:
- Supports each resident to live independently as long as possible
- Encourages family participation
- Advocates dignity and self-respect
- Creates peace of mind
- Provides expert medical support
- Helps residents remain engaged and aware as much as possible.
The living environment should offer:
- A simple floor plan with visual cues to help residents remain oriented
- Non-skid floors in all rooms, especially bathrooms
- Easily accessible, ADA-compliant common bathrooms
- Secure, cheerful, and calm individual units
- Dedicated dining, activity and private areas
- Ideally, an enclosed courtyard or another outdoor walking area
- Good lighting in hallways and common areas
- Hallway cues to help residents identify their rooms.
At Kensington Place Redwood City, we offer a wide variety of suite styles and floor plans designed to accommodate both private and companion living. Our two distinct memory care neighborhoods are customized to meet memory care residents where they are on their life journey. This approach allows each resident to receive a spectrum of relevant and appropriate care.
- Connections serve seniors in the early to mid-stage of Alzheimer’s and dementia care, who show increasing signs of memory loss. Our goal in Connections is providing a secure environment to maximize safety while helping residents remain independently engaged in activities that give meaning and purpose to their days.
- Haven is a soothing, peaceful neighborhood for middle to late-stage Alzheimer’s and dementia residents who require a higher level of assistance and care. With adaptive design features (painted walls and doors, motion sensors, specially designed carpet, memory boxes) to help with recognition and minimize confusion, we’re able to provide maximum safety while enabling memory care residents to engage in ways that are comfortable, meaningful, and pleasing for them.
Choose A Care Community In An Area That Supports Seniors
Finally, if possible, select a residential care community in a location that is senior friendly. The Bay Area is known for being on the cutting edge of change in supporting all segments of the population, and senior care is no exception.
For example, Kensington Place Redwood City community offers a grocery shopping and delivery service for homebound seniors (a boon for caregivers when a senior with memory loss is still living at home), a benefits check-up service to ensure seniors receive all the benefits to which they’re entitled, and a county-wide care network for seniors and persons with disabilities, which is also a great asset to in-home care providers and respite care providers.
We also list additional caregiver resources to help you get and stay connected in caring for yourself as well as your loved one.
When you’re ready to consider residential memory care for your loved one, we look forward to talking with you, and to welcoming you both to our Kensington Place family, where we treat every resident with the same love and appreciation as we do our own family members.