The type of care your elderly loved one requires can change over time. You may soon need to choose between memory care assisted living facilities. Finalizing that decision is not so simple, however.
For starters, there is no guarantee that your older relative will agree to the move. They are more likely to decline if they have grown attached to their current living arrangements.
Sometimes though, you still need to make those difficult decisions. Please feel free to continue with this article to learn more about making the transition from assisted living to memory care facilities.
How Do Assisted Living and Memory Care Facilities Differ from One Another?
To determine what kind of care your loved one needs, you must first learn about the capabilities of the available options. They are not all the same, and you may find that a particular facility is better suited to take care of your family member.
Assisted Living Facilities
Starting with assisted living facilities, these establishments focus on helping residents keep up their regular routines. As we get older, some of the chores we’ve been doing seemingly forever become harder to complete. Cleaning may start to take a huge toll on your body, and bathing may become more troublesome, given how slippery everything is.
The staff members at assisted living facilities can help residents with those daily tasks. They can also assist residents who need help eating or moving around.
Assisted living facilities also give their residents opportunities to join several activities. Those activities help the residents enjoy their time at the facility more and to create a more tightly-knit community.
When it comes to the living quarters themselves, residents usually have their own rooms. Open areas are also available, and residents can spend time in one of them if they so desire.
Notably, the staff members at assisted living facilities allow the residents to be independent, according to MedlinePlus. Residents are usually free to go about their day in whichever way they choose, although they will receive reminders about meals and medication.
Speaking of medication, assisted living facilities don’t focus on providing medical care to residents. They will monitor a resident’s intake of medication and offer reminders to take them on time, but that’s about it.
You will need to seek out a different type of establishment if you wish to secure more comprehensive medical care for your loved one.
Also, assisted living facilities provide round-the-clock supervision over their residents to ensure that they are always safe. However, the residents still receive the chance to manage their schedules on how they see fit.
Memory Care Facilities
Memory care and assisted living facilities are remarkably similar. The two offer assistance for daily tasks, handle meals, and provide 24-hour monitoring.
Where memory care facilities differ is in the way they approach monitoring. It’s an aspect of care they take more seriously because doing so is a necessity.
Among the more troubling symptoms of dementia are confusion and disorientation. People diagnosed with that condition are more likely to get lost and/or forget where they were going. They also tend to wander away from their place of residence, only realizing they have strayed too far.
Understanding how susceptible people with dementia are to getting lost, memory care facilities put more safeguards in place to keep them safe. Staff members at memory care facilities pay closer attention to residents and keep closer tabs on them. They may also ask residents to participate in more structured activities so that they are engaged better.
Residents of memory care facilities don’t experience the same level of independence as those in assisted living facilities do. Unfortunately, that’s a necessary change to ensure their safety.
According to AARP, memory care facilities also have more security measures in place compared to assisted living facilities. They often feature doors monitored by alarms, and their outdoor spaces are enclosed. Residents are also often required to wear monitoring bracelets.
With those additional security measures in place, you can feel more at ease knowing that your relatives are always safe.
When Should You Move Your Loved One from an Assisted Living to a Memory Care Facility?
The decision to transition from an assisted living facility to a memory care facility is not an easy one to make. As much as possible, we want to give our older relatives the chance to live as independently as they can.
Still, there comes a time when your loved one needs the type of supervision and security only a memory care facility can provide. To better determine when that time has arrived, it helps to ask yourself the questions listed below.
Is Your Loved One Being Monitored Adequately?
You need to prioritize your loved one’s safety. That always must be the first thing on your mind whenever you’re deciding which facility to choose.
If you’ve heard from the staff at the assisted living facility that your loved one has tended to wander off more recently, alarm bells should start ringing in your head. Look around the facility and see if they have the security measures in place to monitor your loved one diligently.
Since they need to strike a balance between giving their residents some measure of independence while simultaneously monitoring them, it may not register right away that your relative could be wandering off accidentally. If you want them monitored better, looking for a memory care facility is the right move.
Has Your Loved One’s Condition Worsened?
Dementia is not a stagnant condition. Over time, it can worsen, and its effects on your family member may become more pronounced.
Activities they could handle on their own not too long ago may prove too complex due to their deteriorating condition. Even something as important as eating may slip their mind due to their dementia.
A person affected that significantly by dementia requires more diligent and attentive care. Assisted living facilities can offer more than adequate care for people dealing with the early symptoms of dementia. However, they may not be accommodating residents displaying more advanced symptoms.
Continuing to let them stay at a facility that may not be well-equipped to deal with their condition is risky. It’s best to move them to a memory care facility to manage their condition the best way possible.
Are the Staff Members Adequately Trained?
One of the more unfortunate symptoms of dementia is erratic behavior. Someone affected by that condition may lash out at times or suddenly become aggressive. Dealing with residents who exhibit those symptoms is not easy.
Staff members must be experienced in handling those situations to prevent any unfortunate incidents from taking place. You’re more likely to find staff members with extensive training at memory care facilities.
It’s easier to entrust your loved one to a memory care facility since you know their workers are fully capable of handling situations that may arise.
Are the Activities Offered Helpful to Your Loved One?
There is still no known cure for dementia, but there are ways to manage the symptoms. One such approach involves keeping the minds of those with dementia consistently engaged.
Assisted living facilities present their residents with various activities, but not all of them focus on mental stimulation. The greater emphasis placed on those mentally beneficial activities offered by memory care facilities is a real plus for people with dementia.
Considering the long-term benefits of mental stimulation in the fight against dementia, it’s not a bad idea to move your loved one to a memory care facility sooner rather than later.
How Should You Handle the Move from an Assisted Living Facility to a Memory Care Facility?
It’s difficult to predict how your loved one will react after telling them your plan to move them to a new facility. Some may agree with the move with no complaints while others may strongly dislike the idea and decide that they want to stay put.
Obviously, you’d prefer it if your loved one was open to the move. They may reject the idea at first but following the tips below should better communicate to them why the transition is necessary and why it will ultimately be good for them.
Include Your Loved One in the Decision-Making Process
Probably the most important thing you can do as you plan the move to a new memory care facility is to first consult your relative. Don’t spring your plan on them like a surprise. Inform them ahead of time of what you have in mind and ask for their feedback.
They may disapprove of the move initially, but that’s why communicating ahead of time is so important. By taking this step, you can tell them why you think the move will ultimately be more helpful and ask why they disapprove.
You can also take this opportunity to talk about the new facility. Discuss its features, services, and how they can help. Once you’re able to tell your loved one the benefits, they may become more amenable to it.
It’s also worth taking their suggestions regarding which facility they want to stay in. They may have a reason for wanting to stay in a facility and accommodating them will make the transition smoother.
Be Honest About How Their Living Situation Will Change
The more intensive monitoring conducted by memory care facilities could rub your loved one the wrong way. They may start to think that the staff members at the new facility dislike or distrust them, hence the increased monitoring.
Misunderstandings like that can happen easily if you don’t talk to your relative beforehand.
Prior to the move, make sure that you give your loved one a clear idea of how their living situation will change. Talk to them about the new security features that will be in place and how the staff members will approach them.
Your loved one won’t grow frustrated over changes they didn’t anticipate. Instead, they can adjust better because they already have a good grasp of what’s going to happen thanks to you.
Try to Make Their New Home as Familiar as Possible
Moving to a new home is intimidating. Interacting with all the unfamiliar faces and places can be overwhelming for your elderly relative.
To help them get settled faster, try to make their new home feel like their old one. Take their possessions from their room at the assisted living facility and move them to the memory care facility.
You can even transfer an old couch or chair they’ve been using. Doing so may help them relax better at the new place.
It’s also worth checking if someone from your loved one’s old facility is currently working at the memory care facility. Having a familiar face on the premises can help your loved one get used to their new home faster.
Maintain Contact with Your Loved One and Visit Whenever Possible
Nothing can replace family.
The best way to make the move to a memory care facility easier on your relative is to assure him/her that you’ll still be around no matter what. During the first few days after the move, make a point of spending time with your loved one. Join them in walking around the facility so they can interact with the other residents and staff members.
In the days, weeks, months, and years ahead, remember to check in regularly with your relative. Regular phone calls can work wonders at lifting the spirits of our elderly loved ones.
The most important thing here is to let your loved one know that they are not alone even if they’re in a new facility. You can do that by staying in touch.
Moving to a memory care facility is a big change. It can be tough for your loved one to adjust to right away. Regardless, that kind of move becomes necessary if their safety starts becoming a bigger issue.
Hopefully, the information included in this article will help as you prepare for your loved one’s move to a new facility.
Still Unsure What to Do?
We at Lakeside Manor are ready to serve anyone in need of diligent everyday care. Contact us today to learn more about our facilities and services. Together, we can help ensure that your loved one’s golden years will be full of joyful experiences.