If you have found yourself staring at a diagnosis of dementia for a loved one, you are likely feeling a mix of emotions from anxiety to sadness. If you are like most loving family members, you may also be feeling a strong sense of determination to give your aging loved one the best quality of life possible. For some families, the answer for continued quality of life lies in the home - keeping Mom at home for as long as possible. But when it comes to effective memory care, is staying at home a realistic option?
Staying at Home
Seniors living with dementia are indeed living within their own homes, or homes of loved ones. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, unpaid caregivers such as family members and friends provided over 18.1 billion hours of care to seniors living with dementia in 2015 alone.
If you are planning to provide memory care at home for your loved one, it is important to establish a routine, engage in daily activities, and focus on a safety. First, establishing a routine can bring a sense of stability to you and to your loved one. Routine can especially come in handy if your loved one suffers from anxious moments due to the disease process, or is having problems with sleeping or eating patterns. While scheduling a healthy and consistent routine, plan time for you and your loved one to engage in daily activities. Those living with dementia benefit greatly from structured activities that can range from snapping green beans in the kitchen to taking a walk around the neighborhood. These activities keep your loved one engaged in life around the home as well as working on fine motor skills and verbal interactions. Finally, assure that your home is safe for your loved one, and their ever changing needs. This can include locking mechanisms on the front door or cabinets.
Concerns to Contend With
Providing memory care to a loved one at home is certainly possible, but it can cost family members in both time and money. The Alzheimer’s Association estimates that loved ones spend an average of $5,000 per year to care for someone with dementia at home. Hiring in-home caregivers or respite care services can only increase this average.
Choosing to keep a loved one at home to provide memory care services often works well in the beginning stages of the disease. During this time, your loved one will benefit greatly from familiar surroundings and routine, and you will only need to provide prompting or cueing for daily tasks. However, as the disease progresses, providing care to your loved one can become overwhelming or even impossible to safely do at home. In these cases, your loved one may benefit from memory care services that are led by professionals who specialize in dementia care.
If you find yourself searching for solutions for memory care services for your loved one, don’t rule out specialized assisted living communities. Led by seasoned professionals who are up to speed on the latest information and techniques in the senior care industry, memory care communities offer days steeped in routine and socialization, along with dining services aimed at preserving independence, all while keeping safety as a priority. In these communities, you are able to become a family member once again, focusing on quality time spent with your loved one instead of providing all aspects of daily care.
Memory care at home is a viable option for some families, however the decision to stay at home should be well thought out and flexible.