If you’re a caregiver for a loved one with memory loss, dementia or Alzheimer’s disease you know the challenges and the rewards. One of the greatest challenges can be knowing when you need to move your loved one to residential care. It’s a difficult decision to make, and old promises and vows or a sense of duty can often keep people from even considering a residential facility. Rather than seeing it as a last resort, it should be viewed as a means to enrich and improve the life of your loved one while providing around-the-clock security and care. You will still be an integral part of the health care team, but now you will be free to be a spouse or adult child or friend again, giving moral support and loving care. And isn’t that what you promised to do?
The decision, of course, depends on how you both are doing physically and emotionally at home. Sometimes the medical care required is more than can be managed at home. Plus every trip to and from medical appointments can be difficult to coordinate and manage, especially as dementia progresses. Often there is a cost for transportation as well. But perhaps the main aspect is the social and emotional needs of your loved one that can’t be fulfilled by sitting at home and watching TV. At a memory care facility there are activities and an environment specially designed to enrich each person’s life as well as take care of their medical needs.
A full-time team provides twenty-four-hour care and are able to respond to unusual symptoms or behavior. Residential care communities offer:
- Medication management
- Special diets
- Personal care such as bathing, toilet needs, grooming, dressing
- Socialization focused on your loved one’s unique interests and needs
- Calming, safe environment
Caregivers also need to consider their own health and well-being when considering residential facilities. The strain of caring for someone twenty-four hours a day, even with help, is extremely taxing, both physically and mentally. It’s impossible for anyone to maintain that schedule without destroying their own health and needing care of their own. The residential care facility’s staff understands that you want to do it all, but one individual can’t provide the level of care received from a team of specially-trained professionals in a secure environment.
So consider all these things when making your decision about memory care. Choosing a residential care facility can be one of the best decisions you ever make for you and your loved one.