There is a moment when you first wonder if a parent, or yourself for that matter, is suffering from some type of memory loss. Let me tell you it’s terrifying. You sit around and worry that it could be Alzheimer’s. In the medical field they call it cognitive impairment, but I’m not sure that does it justice. Dementia is a brutal condition for family members of the afflicted to witness. It is progressive and insidious. A loved ones faculties are slowly ripped away until he or she can no longer function safely without medical care and finally hospitalization.
The good news is that with proper treatment and guidance the progression of the disease can be slowed. It’s very possible for the afflicted to have many quality years ahead of them with friends and family after being diagnosed. This is when memory care enters the picture.
While finding the right memory care facility can be challenging, it can make all the difference for someone suffering with a cognitive disorder. The good ones offer 24/7 care from professional staff members with specialized training. Here’s the rub. Every memory care facility is different with it’s own unique set of pros and cons. How do you navigate and pick the best one?
WHAT IS MEMORY CARE?
As I said, memory care facilities are specifically designed to provide care for aging adults with conditions including, but not limited to, a severe form of Dementia called Alzheimer’s. So what is memory care really? I mean, what the heck do they do?
Typically a facility will handle basic services like meal prep, laundry, and housekeeping as well as specialized medical care and a very high level of assistance with daily activities. There are also activities and therapies that can be used to promote a connection between the individual and his or her interests and hobbies. This link can be tremendously helpful with the slowing of symptoms. After all, we can’t underestimate the healing power of fun, can we?
Memory care facilities will also use design structure to aid with treatment by reducing stress levels. Circular layouts, boosted natural lighting, and memory boxes are commonly used in this way. Also, because Alzheimer’s patients have a tendency to wander, memory care facilities include heavy supervision by the staff, security alarms on exterior doors, and frequent safety checks.
Advanced programs that provide personalized therapy for each unique individual are especially successful in improving memory impairment issues, wandering frequency, and other common behavioral issues.
WORKING WITH THE FAMILY
One of the greatest things about a memory care facility is the family outreach component. As you can imagine, it’s quite traumatic to admit a family member into any medical facility. There are guilt issues, cost concerns, medical decisions and the knowledge that your loved one will, more than likely, never return home. Having a system in place with professionals ready to address your concerns goes a long way toward peace of mind.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
WHEN SHOULD I START LOOKING INTO MEMORY CARE COMMUNITIES?
Although not every aging adult that has memory loss symptoms really need memory care, it’s a good idea to start looking for options early on. Talk to your loved one and make sure that you consider his or her point of view. If an individual is happy with the memory care facility chosen, it’s likely that the treatment will have a much higher level of success.
WHAT ARE THE SIGNS THAT A LOVED ONE NEEDS MEMORY CARE?
Unfortunately, the decision typically comes down to two factors for most families, time and money. First the time you may personally need to spend looking after your loved ones because they can no longer look after themselves. Second, In-home care is much cheaper than 24/7 memory care. In some cases, finances may make the decision for you.
Also, if a aging adult who has been living by themselves, receives a diagnosis of dementia or Alzheimer’s, it’s probably time to transition to a memory care community. Many safety issues arise as a result of cognitive changes, such as managing medications, handling finances or cooking on a hot stove.
Now, if you are a Real Estate professional in this space or you’d just like to work with the above 50 market in any capacity, I’ve got great news. I will be teaching a Senior Real Estate Specialist designation course coming in January 2018 so save the date and reach out to me at [email protected] for updates.