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If you are looking for peace of mind in knowing that you or your loved one with dementia will be cared for properly, we can help. We have put together a guide to help you choose a suitable dementia care home staffed with trained professionals in your area.

There are close to 6 million people in the United States living with at least one form of dementia. Every minute that passes, a new case is diagnosed. Contrary to popular belief, being diagnosed with dementia is not the end, but rather a new beginning. When you or a person you love starts exhibiting signs of dementia, there are steps that can be taken to ensure their well-being. From treatment to slow the progression of the disease to dedicated care once it has progressed, comprehensive treatment options and care facilities are available.

There are still emotional, physical, and financial needs to be addressed even when battling dementia. You or the person you love who suffers from dementia deserve to live life with dignity and quality care. A quick search of dementia care near me will likely bring up hundreds of care facilities in your area. However, choosing the right dementia care home takes more than a quick internet search.

When is a Dementia Care Home Right For You?

Seniors are traditionally evaluated during regular doctor visits. A doctor will keep an eye out for typical red flags that may signal the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, memory or cognitive disorders, or dementia. The onset of dementia is not typically the right time for long-term care, but it is a good time to start thinking about the future. Dementia has several stages, the mid to late being the most difficult. When a senior with dementia starts to become aggressive or is a danger to themselves or others, it may be time to consider residential memory care. Forgetting to eat or the inability to eat properly is a common issue with dementia patients. Long-term care is essential when the disease has progressed to this point.

The safety of the senior is the most important factor when choosing when to transition into a dementia treatment facility. If the senior who suffers from dementia has become hostile with their caregivers or seeks to harm themselves, professional care is the best option. Agitation and aggression are the most common reasons dementia patients are transitioned into long-term care. Once dementia behaviors are no longer safe to manage at home, it is time to consider a dementia facility alternative.

Caring For Your Loved One at Home vs a Dementia Care Facility

Many seniors envision aging in place, but with dementia, the journey will have unique challenges. Once a dementia diagnosis has been made, it may take time for you and your loved ones to come to terms with what that means. Regardless, there are a couple of options, one being care at home and the other moving to a long-term care facility for dementia patients. The outset of the disease can easily be managed at home, however, as dementia progresses, it may be harder to accommodate. The good thing about providing care at home is that the seniors will be able to maintain their confidence levels. Familiar surroundings can also help slow the progression of the disease and support mental stability.

Dementia is progressive and while the early stages can be managed at home, later stages can become difficult or even dangerous for the caregivers at home. Home care aides are an option, but 24/7 supervision will eventually be required. Long-term care in a residential memory care community for seniors with dementia will provide them with the specialized therapies and medical support they need in the later stages. The staff at dementia care facilities is specially trained to care for seniors with dementia, and the environment is safe, secure, and fully supportive.

Moving to a Dementia Care Facility

Helping a loved one move into a dementia treatment and care community is not always easy. Starting out the process with patience and realistic expectations will yield the most encouraging results. It is critical to keep in mind that dementia patients can easily become confused when there are changes to their routine. Seniors with dementia are often unaware of their disease or the severity of their condition. Instead of insisting that their move is because they need help, ease into the conversation and place the blame for change on someone other than the senior. Visiting the dementia care home in advance will also help facilitate the transition. Working with a dementia care moving manager from the center is a great way to streamline the process.

How To Find Dementia Care Near Me?

Dementia care homes near you will offer care, therapy, and housing for seniors suffering from dementia. The environment is created specifically to prevent wandering and reduce the trademark aggression that comes with advanced stages of dementia. You are not alone, there are specialists standing by to help. Browse below to find memory care facilities, Alzheimer's care homes & Dementia units near you:

The Cost of Dementia Care

Long-term residential dementia cost is something that must be considered when choosing a memory care home. There is nothing worse than finding a care facility only to find out later they are not covered by your insurance provider. It is also critical that you compare the services offered by the dementia care center with the rates charged. It is easy to assume that the higher the price is the better care will be, but this is not always true. It is important to look for the right fit as opposed to the most expensive or cheapest care facility.

The cost of a facility that cares for dementia patients will vary depending on location, facility amenities, level of care needed, and the type of facility chosen. Locations that offer higher levels of medical support will have a higher cost than low-maintenance homes. If a memory care center is centrally placed or offers alternative treatments, it will also have a different rate scale. While most residential facilities do not accept insurance, it is critical to ensure that your or your loved ones' policy is accepted. On average, rates for dementia care will range from $3,500 to $8,500 monthly. Dementia care homes are more affordable in Utah but tend to be the costliest in the tri-state area, particularly in New Jersey.

Food and Dietary Accommodations in Dementia Care

Getting nutritious meals is essential for seniors with memory conditions such as dementia, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and other cognitive disorders. Once these conditions reach the middle and late stages, it is easy for seniors to become overwhelmed and miss out on meals as a result. In order to help prevent such issues, limiting food choices to one option is available in a specialized care setting. Most dedicated Alzheimer’s and dementia care centers will provide a simplified menu that residents can choose from each day or even each week. All of the options will be optimized to care for their physical needs while also supporting brain health.

Every memory care center will work to encourage its residents to remain independent as long as possible. However, feeding help will be provided as required. Mealtimes will be offered either in a private single-room setting or in a group setting according to the resident’s preferences. This will help make mealtimes comfortable, and calm, and therefore limit nutritional problems. For seniors who require special diets, such as those with diabetes or those who require kosher or vegetarian options, a separate menu will be provided. It is always a good idea to ask the dementia care center about menu customization prior to making a facility selection.

Security and Safety in a Dementia Care Home

In dementia care residential facilities, there is a delicate balance of privacy and security that must be maintained. Most locations have security systems that prevent unauthorized access to the building while also preventing unauthorized exiting by residents. This may include key entry, video monitoring, or even human monitoring in the form of security or staff placed in key areas. The layout of the facility will usually be color coded to help residents navigate to their rooms and the common areas.

The majority of outdoor areas in care homes for seniors with dementia are gated and locked. This prevents egress by residents and ingress by unauthorized visitors. Most doors will also have bells or alerts that chime when opened, especially in off-limits areas like the staff or management quarters. Automated fire prevention, smoke alarms, and other emergency features may also be in place. Most dementia homes will have an emergency call button placed in various areas to call either the staff or an ambulance depending on the situation. 

Visiting Your Loved One at a Dementia Care Facility

Every dementia care facility will have its own guidelines for visitation, however, there are some things to keep in mind. When you or your loved one first transitions to the care facility, frequent, even daily visits will be encouraged. This will help the seniors to acclimate to their new environment and reduce the stress that comes from such a dramatic change. Any dementia facility that discourages visits from friends and family during the transition period may not be a good fit for your family.

Always introduce yourself when you go to visit your loved one, even if it has only been a day or two. Instead of asking “do you know who I am?” just say things like, “It’s me, Jack, I brought your favorite chocolate.” This will help them in the event that they are having a periodic lapse, or if they are not, it brings their attention to your presence. Also, regardless of when you visit your loved one, always pay attention to their state of mind and their behavior. Seniors suffering from memory conditions may not always be able to communicate discomfort or other issues. If you feel there is something wrong, speak up.

Make a point of bringing some of your loved ones' favorite foods when you visit. Creating a list of new things to share during your visit is also another way to keep them connected with their lives outside of the facility. If walks are allowed, consider touring the facility with your loved one during your visit. Make sure to always schedule your visits during times that don’t have planned activities for the residents so that they don’t miss out on important social events.

Entertainment Available in Dementia Care Facilities

Leaving your own home is never easy, and this process is even more complex for seniors suffering from dementia. Due to the nature of this progressive condition, it is critical that a variety of therapies and activities are available. Typically, long-term dementia care homes will offer a mix of interactive activities, physical activities, and one-on-one options. Dementia patients frequently require varying levels of interaction depending on their disease stage. Care homes will offer social activities for those in the early stages and quiet, independent activities for those in the later stages. Some other entertainment options found in dementia care homes are:

  • Physical therapy
  • Low-impact exercise classes
  • Pet visits
  • Game rooms or game night
  • Swimming facilities
  • Puzzles and board games
  • Sensory and tactile stimulation
  • Cooking classes
  • Going on outings to parks or community events
  • Libraries
  • Painting rooms
  • Garden access
  • Music programs and sing-alongs

Every location will have different activities. Always check to see how the dementia care center you are considering tailors their programs to its resident’s interests. This will increase the amount of enjoyment the senior experiences as well as give them purpose during their stay. Aesthetics also play a big role in the comfort of dementia patients. Activities should be tailored, however, the aesthetics of the center will also support their desire to interact with those around them.

Dementia Care Treatment Methodologies

Dementia care methods will vary from one long-term care home to the next, but there are some primary methodologies all care facilities should follow. Every resident diagnosed with dementia will have their own doctor’s recommendations and treatment plan that should be kept in mind. When choosing a dementia-focused long-term care facility, it is important to confirm that the center will follow the existing orders from the senior’s current doctor aside from any of their own methodologies.

There should be a serious focus on proper nutrition at the long-term care home. Many seniors who suffer from dementia tend to have nutritional deficiencies due to insufficient fluid and food intake. As a side effect of the condition, many are unable to eat or remember to eat and drink on a regular basis. Mealtimes in the home should be full of patience, positive interaction, and wholesome meals. Pain management is another common concern among dementia patients. In general, seniors suffering from dementia are less likely to communicate their needs or pain levels. The care facility should have staff that is trained to spot the signs of distress and help residents to manage pain as needed.

Social engagement is another important aspect of dementia care. A quality long-term care facility for seniors with dementia will have social activities for every progression level. In some cases, residents may prefer solitude and solitary activities, which the home should accommodate. It is critical that loved ones take their senior's preferences into account when choosing a home. Physical activity and medical support are also important when it comes to dementia care. Some care homes may offer alternative therapies while others may follow a more traditional route.

Questions to Ask During a Tour of a Dementia Care Home

After narrowing down your dementia care facility options, it is time to schedule an in-person visit. Visiting each location on your list will allow you to see how things run and get a feel for the overall atmosphere. This is also a good time to speak with the dementia care staff about various questions or concerns you may have. Some questions you should ask during your tour of the dementia care facility are:

  • What considerations are given for security?
  • Are pets allowed to visit or stay with residents?
  • What is their approach to caregiving for seniors with dementia?  
  • Are there any regulations that could result in a dementia resident being expelled?
  • How often is the premises cleaned and rooms scrubbed?
  • Is there a medical director on staff?
  • Ask about the staff-to-resident ratio.
  • What are the options for physically aggressive dementia residents?
  • Do they have ongoing care assessments for each dementia patient?
  • What dementia therapies are offered?
  • Are residents grouped according to dementia progression levels?
  • What are their policies regarding visitors?
  • What access do residents have to nurses and other medical care professionals?
  • Are the staff licensed or are certificated dementia care providers?
  • Ask for a detailed explanation of the discharge and notification policies.
  • What specialized dementia training has the staff received?
  • Is around-the-clock non-medical or medical supervision provided?
  • Can meal plans be customized?
  • What socializing options are available at the dementia care center?
  • Ask about the warning systems and medical emergency policies in place.
  • How are wandering dementia residents managed?
  • What are the acceptable payment methods?
  • Is there an appeal process in cases of disagreement or dissatisfaction?
  • What insurance policies are accepted and what financial plans are available?

What to Look For in a Dementia Care Facility

Once you have decided to move your loved one into a long-term dementia care home, there are some things you should look for. The most important thing to search for is a facility that specializes in care for seniors who suffer from dementia. Assisted living homes and dementia care homes share similar features, but they are quite different. Another thing to consider when looking at homes is a comfortable but safe layout. The facility should be welcoming to residents but safe for those who will gradually lose their mental capacity.

The staff at the dementia care home should be well-trained and certified. Depending on your loved one's medical needs, you may also want to find a facility that has medical staff on-site at all times. The activity calendar should be robust and engaging. This will ensure that your loved one has plenty of activities to keep them engaged and filled with purpose. Lastly, look for a location that is convenient for frequent visits. Seniors still need to stay connected with their family and friends and staying close by will ensure that is possible.

Paying for Dementia Care

Once you have chosen which dementia care home is right for you or your loved one, the next step is figuring out how to pay for it. Some people use their savings to pay for long-term care, but there are other options available. Here are some helpful options that will help you decide how to fund long-term Dementia residential care.

  • Medicaid. Check to see if you or your loved one qualifies for Medicaid. This is an excellent resource as Medicaid will cover many of the expenses generated by Dementia care.
  • Long-term care insurance. If you or your loved one purchased long-term care insurance, you can use the policy to cover some or all of the cost generated by dementia care.
  • Veterans’ benefits. Veterans benefits for the senior directly or their widowed spouse will cover some of the Dementia care cost. Specifically, the Aid and Attendance program, if they are eligible, will provide a supplemental income that can be used to pay for long-term care.
  • Health insurance. Most health insurance plans will offer partial coverage for services provided in a memory care home. While they may not cover the cost of stay directly, they can be used to pay for other costs associated with long-term care.
  • Payment plans. Many dementia long-term care facilities offer payment plans which allow families to pay monthly or weekly to help bear the cost of care. Some locations offer to finance or will connect potential residents with local charities to help cover dementia care costs.
  • Home equity. If you or your loved one owns their own home but need to move into a dementia care community, using home equity is an option. Depending on the value of the home, refinancing to taking out money or securing a reverse mortgage may be an option. Renting out the home is another option if selling it is not desired.
  • Charity. Many religious groups offer charity programs to community members that can help cover the cost of Dementia care in a long-term residential facility. Check your local institutions for available programs for more information.
  • Life insurance. If there is no other option, consider selling the senior's life insurance policy for a lump sum to help cover the cost of Dementia care in a residential facility.
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