Becoming a primary caregiver for a senior family member can be challenging, once you consider all of their physical, emotional and medical needs. There are many situations where the care requirements simply become too overwhelming for one person, and you may be realizing that you have to consider the next level of care. When the time comes to move an aging parent into a new environment for their own well being, you’ll need to make the choice between assisted living, memory care, or a skilled nursing facility.
At first glance, you may not be able to discern the differences between these alternate options for care. Here are some of the basics you should understand as you make these important decisions.
Memory Care: Some signs of aging are more evident than others. We can feel our hips aching a bit more, or notice our eyesight fading . But memory loss creeps up on many, evolving from occasional bouts of forgetfulness to confusion and disorientation. Memory loss may be a normal part of aging, but it can cause anxiety. Of course, more serious cases of memory loss may be dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, making caring for them in your home all the more difficult. A memory-care facility is typically the best choice in these situations. The facilities are meant to simulate a home environment, while addressing needs specific to memory loss. Residents will often eat together as a family, and have a caring and professional staff who helps them with all activities of daily life. (ADLs). Staff also encourages participation in activities thoughtfully designed to help seniors remember their family, friends and personal life up until that point. Activities often include photos, favorite music, and objects which are meaningful to them. The goal is to slow memory loss while providing comfort through early stages of memory loss.
If your loved one has a clear diagnosis of dementia, it may be time for memory care. If there is no diagnosis though, there are a few signs to look for – such as bruises or injuries you cannot explain, frequent wandering episodes, or extreme weight loss or incontinence. They may also forget to take medications and miss appointments. Memory care facilities are specifically designed to assist with these kinds of issues.
Skilled Nursing: Skilled nursing care is typically more intensive than memory care. The term “skilled nursing facility” (SNF), “nursing home” and “convalescent home” are interchangeable names used to describe an adult residential facility that offers 24-hour medical care. Unlike other senior living residences such as independent living and assisted living, skilled nursing homes offer comprehensive medical care around the clock. Individuals in a skilled nursing home often have several complex medical conditions. Seniors can stay temporarily if they are healing from an injury or accident, but those with chronic medical issues may be full time residents. Most often, a physician will recommends this heightened level of care, perhaps because the individual is bedridden or needs a full-time nurse.
Assisted Living: Assisted living facilities offer the freedom of independent living with the security of having supervision and medical care close at hand. Assisted living facilities typically offer apartment-style living, with meals prepared and served in a dining hall to encourage social interaction. They provide activities and opportunities for enrichment and education, as well as fitness, outings and a driver service for doctor appointments and shopping. Assisted living is the perfect solution for those who are nervous about living at home alone, but still want to be independent, develop friendships, and enjoy their quality of life.
If you have a loved one who needs to move from their home to an adult living residence, you may have questions as to which situation is best for you. Call the experts at A Banyan Residence today. Our Venice memory care and assisted living facilities are available for tours and our staff is happy to help give you the information you need to make the best decision for your family.