Residential and Specialty Care
Residential and healthcare decisions can be some of the most complex decisions a person can make later in life.
Aging in Place
Many adults idealize their golden years living at home. This option of aging in place, particularly for those diagnosed with dementia, is possible but only with advance financial, legal, and healthcare planning, and with the help from people in the community. Age- and dementia-friendly house modifications can introduce changes to the home that support life through changing physical and cognitive conditions. As cognitive decline occurs and greater help is required to address daily tasks, in-home care can be introduced to support routine care. As people with dementia struggle to maintain their existing relationships because cognitive change, they may begin to isolate themselves, making participation in community and social events vital to that person’s wellbeing. Geriatric Care Managers can identify a person’s changing needs and recommend services or activities to enhance their quality of life.
Staying Active in the Community
To age in place, maintaining relationships with friends, families, and the community contributes to a person’s social and emotional health. Access to dementia-friendly transportation, businesses, and public areas allow people with cognitive change to continue to navigate in their community independently. People with mild cognitive impairment can continue to work or volunteer, promoting a sense of purpose. Adult Health Day Care programs and Memory Cafes are opportunities for adults to live at home but interact with peers in the community. Learn more about programs and services that support people with dementia in the community.
Care Partner Services
Being a care partner for a person with dementia is a complex role. Each person reacts differently when faced with the care responsibility with emotions ranging from guilt, satisfaction, fear, burden, and more. There is no “right way” to identify as a care partner. Like professionals in many care industries, burnout is a real outcome for someone in a supportive role, especially over a long period of time. Attending caregiver support groups can provide opportunities to bond with other care partners and create a community of people with similar responsibilities. Respite care or adult day health programs are beneficial for people with dementia as they can engage with peers in a stimulating social environment but also provide care partners a period of time to be independent of their loved one. The Savvy Caregiver training is a free service that teaches care partners practical skills in caregiving. Help is available to care partners but sometimes other care or residential options may be considered for the wellbeing of all parties involved.
When to Consider Placement
Determining if or when to move a person with dementia to a care facility is a difficult and emotional decision. Some people may have access to services that provide the necessary level of care in the home. However, symptoms of dementia may progress to the point where care partners may be overwhelmed by their caregiving responsibilities or may face the reality that the individual is no longer safe in the home setting. Falls, unsafe wandering behaviors, and isolation may also be factors in choosing to relocate to a residential care facility. There are several residential placement options to consider but ultimately, the decision is shared amongst the person with dementia and those in their support network.
Residential Placement Options
Care facilities are designed to meet the individual needs of older adults. When a person with dementia is considering residential options, they should identify facilities that offer specialized memory care. Memory care facilities employ staff that are specially trained to identify and support the needs of people with dementia. These care facilities have different staffing requirements than standard care facilities so more individualized attention is offered.
While some people with mild cognitive impairment would live successfully in independent living centers, they may not have access to the care they need in the future. Continuous retirement care communities may place an individual in an independent care unit and transition the resident to a more appropriate part of the community when the person requires a greater level of care. Assisted living facilities with memory care allows people with dementia to live as independently as possible, providing assistance in Activities in Daily Living (including hygiene routines). Nuursing home settings are suitable for adults who require greater care such as requiring multi-person lifts or assistance with administering medication.
Dementia Friendly Home Modification
Care Partner Services