Questions to Ask when Considering Memory Care

September 24, 2015

Placing a loved one in a memory care home is a hard decision.  Strong emotions intertwine in deciding how and where to place a loved one. You may be second-guessing the decision, worried that somehow you are breaking a promise to your loved one.  You may be feeling guilty that you can no longer care for them on your own.  In addition, every dementia care provider is different so they can be hard to compare.  Differences in the levels of care provided, the costs associated with the memory care and how your loved one will spend their time each day, require examination.

At The Vicarage, we work every day with families just like yours. Our commitment to helping you decide what is best for your family is our number one goal. Below, we have outlined important questions that we encourage you to ask yourself, your family and any elder care facility you are considering.

Are there Long Term Care Insurance Benefits Available?

Check to see if your loved one is eligible for Long-Term Care Benefits. Long-term care insurance covers care not covered by health insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid. Long-Term Care helps your loved one receive quality memory care in an industry that has stark differences in the types of facilities available.

Does your loved one qualify for Veteran’s Benefits?

Members of the Armed Services may qualify for veteran’s benefits.  The benefits can cover a wide range of care, including dementia caregiving services.  According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website, the “VA helps Veterans and their families cope with financial challenges by providing supplemental income through the Veterans Pension and Survivors Pension benefit Programs.”  You can learn more by visiting their website. (http://www.benefits.va.gov/pension/#7)

What are the costs of medication?

Dementing illnesses, like Alzheimer’s Disease, may require medication.  The type and levels of medication are subject to many different variables and should be determined by your loved one’s physician.  At the Vicarage, our philosophy of care often reduces the stress your loved one is under, which naturally results in a decrease in the daily medication needed.  Medical oversight is provided by our team of care providers, including the house physician and senior administration. It is important to speak with the caregiving facility for detailed costs of the medication your loved one may need.

What activities are available during a typical day?

It is important to ask what a typical day looks like for residents. Is there daily time spent outdoors connecting with nature, or spending time with pets and children? Are there opportunities for multigenerational, interpersonal interactions. These elements have been proven to enhance the quality of life for those living with dementing  illnesses.  It is equally  important to ask about nutrition and meal preparation.  Is food  locally sourced, how is it prepared and how is it served?   Food is one of the finest pleasures in life, especially during times of illness.

What types of transitions will your loved one have to make as their disease progresses?

As the disease progresses, it is important to know what types of transitions your loved one may face. At the Vicarage, we are an aging-in-place home. This means your loved one will never have to move to another facility as their needs increase.  Our staff are equipped to support  residents living with dementia  through  the end of life.  However, some larger institutions will require that your loved one move to another facility better able to address more advanced stages of dementia.  Transitions like this are difficult for those living with dementia, causing stress and confusion.  Many times, these changes will also increase the care costs.

While the challenges are great, you and your loved one deserve the best care!

Navigating dementia  care options is not an easy task.   It is rare that you will be able to compare “apples to apples” when considering memory care. However, by asking questions and exploring these areas of care, we hope that it may clarify your search.   You are welcome to contact us via the web, by phone or for a home visit.

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Johanna Wigg, PhD

Johanna provides professional counseling to families in transition. She meets with families and their loved ones regularly. She lives at The Vicarage and works hands on with each resident, giving her a thorough understanding of each resident’s needs. She does regular assessments on each resident to ensure that they continue to receive the personalized care they deserve and need.

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