For all families that have a loved one facing dementia, the decision to move this individual to full-time care or assisted living is often heartbreaking. Due to the degenerative nature of the disease, there is a point where all seniors with dementia will be unable to stay in their own homes. Having around-the-clock access to professional medical assistance eventually becomes the safest choice for individuals with worsening symptoms.
If you are working with your loved one to decide whether full-time care or assisted living is the right choice, the experts with New Alamo Residence Home recommend four important factors to consider.
What level of care can your loved one afford?
The current average cost of assisted living in the United States is around $4,000 per month. At just over three times the cost of an average monthly mortgage payment, paying for assisted living arrangements can be challenging for many seniors. Due to the added level of care involved, full-time facilities usually cost even more. However, when your loved one needs some (or all) of their meals prepared, daily medical assistance from a caring and expert team of professionals, and other health-related monitoring, these services are a necessity.
If your loved one has funds saved for their care, sit down with them to see what they can afford. Does it make sense to start in assisted living and then transition to full-time care later on? Or is it best to start in full-time care right away? If this individual does not have much saved to cover the cost of assisted living, explore the idea of helping them sell their home to pay for their care. Those who choose this option can go online to calculate how much they’ll make from the sale after realtor fees and after paying off any remaining mortgage balance. Additionally, Medicaid can also help pay for your family member’s care.
In what stage of dementia is your loved one?
Dementia affects people in different ways. Some individuals decline rapidly, while others experience a more gradual decline. The Alzheimer’s Association outlines three stages of dementia — early-stage, mid-stage, and late-stage. The stage in which someone is in will have a big influence on what level of care they require.
For example, in the early-stage, individuals often notice that they’ve become more forgetful, but often have a high degree of independence (and might be stubborn to relinquish it). Once someone has entered mid-stage dementia, the care they require can vary significantly, as this is the longest period of the disease. If your loved one is in either of these two stages, assisted living may be the most appropriate choice. Those who are nearing the end of mid-stage, or who have entered late-stage, will almost always need to live in a full-time care facility.
Do they need memory care?
Memory care is a specialized kind of care that is provided by many facilities. It isn’t uncommon to find full-time care facilities that have a designated area that is dedicated to patients needing memory care. The design of these wings is intended to keep dementia sufferers as safe as possible. This is achieved by having elevators and doors that require codes, and ongoing monitoring to prevent patients from wandering away from the facility.
How much independence does your loved one desire?
It is understandable that you would want to make all care decisions for your loved one. Since you want them to be as cared for and protected as they can be, you may have signed up for tours, information, and applications without consulting with your family member. Although some individuals will not be able to make their own care decisions, do your best to listen to their wants and preferences. Do everything you can to practice compassion and understanding, and to give them the level of independence that they desire.
Helping your loved one with dementia move into either assisted living or full-time care is no easy task. Using the considerations above can make it clearer as to which option is right for your family member.