Caregiver SOS: How to Start the Search For the Right Memory Care
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed as the caregiver of a senior loved one, especially when your loved one is experiencing memory loss.
Providing care for someone with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia will take everything you’ve got at times, leading you toward feeling burnt-out.
As the caregiver, you shouldn’t feel guilty if you are considering options to help with the care of your loved one. Finding the right level of care that provides the best quality of life can be a hard decision, but ultimately a very important one.
The search for memory care will often start after a caregiver finds themselves in need of more help. We’ll guide you from there, through finding the safest and best memory care community.
Understanding How Alzheimer’s and Dementia Progresses
Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive disease that affects the brain tissue, gradually damaging brain cells and neurons that are involved with memory, language, reasoning, and social behavior.
Alzheimer’s is thought to develop by protein buildups in the brain, forming what are known as plaques and tangles.
Eventually, a person’s brain with Alzheimer’s or dementia will become increasingly smaller and atrophied, leading to dependence upon caregivers to help them complete daily activities.
Dementia, sometimes used interchangeably with Alzheimer’s, is an umbrella term that encompasses many types of mental diseases, including Alzheimer’s.
There are three distinct phases of Alzheimer’s disease, with some sources outlining up to 7 different stages of dementia.
In its mild form, a person can still live mostly independently, including driving themselves and engaging in social activities.
However, they will become increasingly more forgetful, experience Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI), and have difficulties choosing the right words to say, remembering new names, frequently losing objects, and have trouble planning or organizing.
In the moderate stage, peoples’ memory loss will become more pronounced, and they will begin to rely on more help from their caregivers to complete their daily activities. They should no longer be driving themselves and will have a harder time communicating, such as forgetting events from their personal history, being confused on what day it is, and may need help dressing themselves or using the restroom. They may also begin to wander off and become lost if unsupervised.
The mid-stage of Alzheimer’s is the longest stage, and it’s during this phase when many family caregivers seek professional help to continue caring for their loved one.
In this more severe stage, people will become less responsive to their environment, will require around-the-clock care, have more difficulty communicating, and may become more vulnerable to infections.
Unfortunately at this stage, many people will begin to require hospice care.
How to Search for the Right Memory Care
It’s common for many family caregivers to begin to search for memory care when their loved one is in the mid-stage of Alzheimer’s.
It’s during this stage when families become concerned that their loved one might wander off or become lost. A person in the moderate stage might not be aware they can no longer drive themselves, which can be worrying for their family. They will also likely begin to need more assistance with their routine daily activities.
Finding a supportive memory care community is important for the health of your loved one and for securing peace of mind among your family members, knowing your loved one is safe and secure.
Levels of Care
Certain memory care communities offer multiple tiers of care, depending on what stage of Alzheimer’s or dementia a resident has.
At Kensington Place Redwood City, we have two memory care neighborhoods available to offer a full spectrum of memory care support for those with Alzheimer’s and dementia: Connections and Haven.
Connections is a community for residents with mild-to-moderate Alzheimer’s or dementia.
This cozy, intimate neighborhood is specially designed to care for residents who are experiencing memory loss.
Connections is a fully secured environment with a higher level of supervision to prevent any residents from wandering, while also offering a friendly, home-like setting to foster calm and comfort.
Haven is a community for residents experiencing late-moderate and advanced Alzheimer’s or dementia.
Residents living in Haven receive a higher level of care and around-the-clock supervision. Residents living here also require more help completing all of their daily activities, such as dressing, bathing, eating, and receiving medications.
Haven has a kitchen that is filled with happy sounds and familiar smells of the home such as bread baking, music, and laughter to soothe and please the senses.
This neighborhood features carefully designed painted walls, motion sensors, and a special carpet to help with recognition and reduce fall risk.
Like Connections, this neighborhood is also a fully-secure environment with wander technology.
Adapting Quickly to Care Needs as the Disease Progresses
A memory care community is the best place for your loved one to reside to quickly adapt to their changing condition.
Many memory care communities offer on-site therapies, medical attention, and activities available to nurture emotional and social health but in a specially designed setting that best suits their individual needs.
Questions to Ask a Memory Care Community: Before, During, and After Touring
There are more memory care communities available now than ever before. However, this means you’ll need to search for memory care to pick the right option for your loved one, based on their current and future needs.
These questions can be helpful to ask when touring a memory care community to assess whether it’s the best option:
- Do they have an on-site physician or medical director?
- What medical services can they and can’t they offer?
- How many nurses are on staff at any given time?
- What is the ratio of nurses and staff to residents?
- Do they provide hospice care?
- What amenities do they offer?
- What is the discharge policy?
- Do they allow pets?
- What on-site services do they offer?
- What happens if my loved one can no longer walk? Can they continue getting assistance?
Learn More About Kensington Place Redwood City and Our Enhanced Memory Care Communities
We provide loving and supportive care to your senior experiencing memory loss and offer on-site rehabilitation services, licensed nurses on site 24 hours a day, psychological and psychiatric services, life enrichment classes, dining services, and more.
We extend Our Promise to you: to love and care for your loved one as we would our own.
If you’ve been a caregiver for someone with memory loss, Alzheimer’s, or dementia, please contact us to learn about the benefits of transitioning your loved one into a memory care community setting.