• Julie Katz

How to know when its time for a memory care facility

Four instances when is a facility a better option than home

Depending on the type of dementia someone has, the disease can be progressive and eventually family members will have to decide that living independently is no longer an option. When is that exactly? Here are some indications that a memory care facility is better than being at home:

1. If the person is wandering. This is a dangerous occurrence that should not be brushed off. One wandering episode is one too many. No one wants to find a dementia patient missing, especially in winter.

2. If supervision is needed constantly or every few hours and someone cannot be there. If the person lives with a spouse or children, can they watch the dementia patient all of the time?

3. If the person lives alone and is not eating properly or taking care of personal hygiene. You can have someone come in for a few hours a day but this can be costly in the long-run. Once someone begins not taking care of themselves, bigger issues will emerge soon enough.

4. If the caregiver is ill or burned out. If the caregiver is a spouse, they are likely older themselves and may have health problems. Mental health stress is just as important as physical problems.

When someone with dementia moves from a place they are familiar with there will be a transition period. People may seem more disoriented in their new home than ever before. This will subside but the transition period may be rough. If you wait to move a dementia patient to a memory care facility until things are really bad, the transition will be worse.

I want to give a shout out to Brookdale at Montrose for having two memory care units, one for people who are in earlier stages of dementia and another for those whose disease is more advanced. By having an early stage memory care unit, the transition is easier for both the dementia sufferer and their family and the patient's dignity and sense of independence is maintained.

If you know your family member has a progressive form of dementia, do not wait to move to a memory care unit until there is a crisis. If you do, your options will be limited and you may not find the best facility for your relative's needs. As painful as it can be to move someone to a facility, not doing so can be dangerous.

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