Although there is not a one-size-fits-all solution to helping a dementia patient adjust to life in a memory care setting, such as those available at Wesley Place on Honeysuckle in Dothan, many years of experience has armed us with the knowledge to help make the transition as smooth as possible. In Alabama, there are two distinct licensed care levels in this category:
1) People with mild to moderate dementia who would benefit from assisted living care (licensed as Specialty Care Assisted Living or SCALF), and
2) People with advanced dementia who would benefit from comprehensive nursing care (under a nursing facility license).
Here are 5 steps to help your family and your loved one prepare, and then adjust to memory care or dementia care in an assisted living or in a nursing facility setting:
Step #1 – Recognize That You Are NOT Alone
Generations of families have successfully navigated the transition of their loved one from a home setting to the fulfilling life that dementia care can provide. You are not alone. There’s no need to be embarrassed about your loved one’s condition or your family’s desire to seek help. Many adult children are still in the workforce and simply cannot commit to full time caregiving. Other families reach a point where their own health is suffering. Some people just want the benefit of structured activities to keep their loved one engaged in life. Dementia care can be just the right solution.
Step #2 – Choose A Trusted Community
Make a list of the communities that offer dementia care in your area and find out how long each has been caring for persons with dementia. Talk with friends, fellow church members, social workers and others about whom they trust. As you visit your top choice or choices, ask about the length of service and experience of key staff members. The size of a dementia care unit can make a difference as well. In a small, 16-unit memory care neighborhood like Wesley Place on Honeysuckle, staff members can devote more time and personal attention to each resident in a family-like atmosphere that fosters positive relationships.
Step #3 – Schedule An Assessment
Each dementia patient is on a journey, from the early stages of mild dementia to more advanced, debilitating dementia. The community will need to make a professional assessment of your loved one to find out exactly where they are on the journey to ensure a proper fit for the desired care. The assessment can be done at the community, or the community may schedule an in-home assessment. Expect an assessment for a cooperative dementia patient to take less than an hour.
Step #4 – Move In With Familiar Items
When it is time to move in to the dementia care area, do not purchase anything new. A dementia patient should move in surrounded by things that are familiar, including his/her own bed, dresser, recliner, clothes, hair brush and the like. The dementia resident needs items that he/she is accustomed to seeing and using all the time.
Step #5 – Evaluate and Adjust, As Needed
You have made the right decision for your family and your loved one with dementia. As you spend time with your loved on in his/her new environment, you may think of other things that will help complete a successful adjustment. As staff members get to know more about your loved one, they may have valuable advice to offer as well. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and voice your fears. It may be YOUR first dementia experience, but the staff members you’re talking to have likely worked with hundreds of dementia patients and families. It is in the best interest of all the parties involved to have an open line of communication, and to be flexible and willing to make adjustments, as needed.
If you live anywhere in the Dothan, Alabama or Wiregrass area and would like to explore the memory care and dementia care assisted living options or the more advanced nursing care options at Wesley Place on Honeysuckle, give us a call or complete a contact form. We’re ready to walk this journey with you.