When is the Right Time for Memory Care?
CarePatrol recently interviewed two experts in senior care, Paul Vranesic of Arden Courts, and Joanna Mansfield of Atria Senior Living. We covered questions adult children ask when pursuing senior living options for a loved one with dementia, and how to field them. Anything from “Is this the right time to make a transition?” to “Will I see their disease get worse with a move to memory care?”
Below are excerpts from our fireside chat...
Joanna Mansfield of Atria Senior Living reports: The number one question that adult children struggle with when they're trying to come up with approaches to taking care of a loved one who has a dementia diagnosis -- either a recent diagnosis or a family member who’s been working through having a loved one with dementia for quite some time -- is this the right time to make a transition into either an assisted living setting or more specifically into a secured dementia neighborhood? Folks really struggle with the decision for mom or dad to leave their home that they've been in for a considerable amount of time, and is a move going to be disruptive? Am I going to see their disease get worse with this transition?
I also think that there are stigmas associated with institutionalization and folks still continue to struggle with it, despite the fact that data supports that, for individuals who are suffering from dementia and other cognitive impairments, socialization is a huge component of being able to maintain their level of functioning.
The biggest conversation we typically have initially with family members is, “What does mom or dad's day-to-day look like? Are they out there and still engaged? Are they able to perform more normal daily functions and activities of daily living safely? Are they able to still appropriately manage their medications?”
All of those things come into play when folks are trying to make the right decision about whether or not it's time to make a move.
Paul Vranesic of Arden Courts:
Our memory care advisors coach our teams to educate them on the disease itself and what that progression will look like. We know that dementia is a progressive disease; it doesn't get better, it does get worse, and so being honest, open and upfront with families right out of the gate really sets the tone for a more thoughtful conversation about what the right next step is.
Everybody's progression is a little bit different; there's so many different forms of dementia out there. We empower our sales folks and our clinical staff to understand that everybody's journey is going to be a little bit different and they have to look at the individual holistically as opposed to just singling out that one particular diagnosis.