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How Do I Know When the Time Is Right for Memory Care?

May 14, 2024
The decision to transition to Memory Care is rarely straightforward. Rather, it’s a process that families need to navigate and evaluate for themselves, considering a multitude of factors. What IS clear about the process is the need to approach it with empathy, understanding that each person's journey with dementia or Alzheimer's is unique.

When exploring a move to a memory care program (typically within an Assisted Living Community), there are three questions that tend to bubble up:

#1: How do you know when it’s the right time to transition to Memory Care?

Determining the right time to move a loved one often involves a combination of medical advice, daily caregiving challenges and the individual's safety and well-being. Here are a few indicators that it might be time to consider a memory care center:

  • Decline in Cognitive Function: Is there a noticeable decline in cognitive abilities, resulting in difficulties with daily activities, medication management or personal hygiene?
  • Safety Concerns: Is the individual's safety compromised at home due to wandering, forgetfulness about basic tasks like turning off the stove, or other potential hazards?
  • Caregiver Burnout: Are family caregivers experiencing physical, emotional or financial strain from providing round-the-clock care?
  • Social Isolation: Is the individual increasingly isolated from social interactions or overwhelmed by their current living environment, leading to feelings of loneliness and depression?

#2: How do you know you're making the right decision?

Making the decision to move a loved one into a memory care living arrangement is rarely easy, but certain signs can indicate that it's the right choice:

  • Quality of Life: Will the individual's quality of life improve in a memory care setting, with access to specialized care, engaging activities and social interactions?
  • Expertise and Support: Will the level of expertise and support provided by the memory care center's staff, including their experience in managing dementia-related behaviors and offering personalized care, be an improvement over the current situation?
  • Peace of Mind: Will the decision bring a sense of relief and peace of mind to both the individual and their family caregivers, knowing that they'll receive professional care and support?

#3: What are the next steps?

Once the decision to move into a memory care living arrangement is made, the next steps involve careful planning and preparation:

  • Research and Visit: Research memory care facilities in your area, considering factors such as location, amenities, staffing ratios and specialized programming. Schedule visits to tour the facilities and meet with staff to ask questions and address concerns.
  • Financial Planning: Understand the cost of memory care and explore financial options, including long-term care insurance, veterans' benefits and Medicaid waivers.
  • Transition Plan: Develop a transition plan in collaboration with the memory care community’s staff, including arrangements for moving belongings, transferring medical records and communicating care preferences. Involve the individual in decision-making to the extent possible, respecting their autonomy and dignity.
  • Emotional Support: Acknowledge and validate the range of emotions involved in this transition, both for the individual moving into memory care and their family members. Seek support from healthcare professionals, therapists and support groups to navigate this emotional journey with compassion and resilience.

In Conclusion

Moving into a memory care living arrangement is a significant life transition, but with careful planning, support and a commitment to person-centered care, it can also be a positive step towards enhancing quality of life and promoting dignity and well-being for individuals living with dementia or Alzheimer's.

To learn more about Springwell’s Memory Care, visit www.springwellseniorliving.com/at-a-glance/memory-care or call us at 410-664-4006. We have helped hundreds of residents and their families through this transition, and would welcome the opportunity to share that experience with you.

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