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Sixty-eight percent of New Jersey residents know someone with dementia. In 2014, 447,000 unpaid New Jersey caregivers provided $6,189,000,000 worth of care. As the state’s population grows, so too will these numbers.Most people are eventually affected by dementia, whether their own or that of a loved one. So although the disease can feel isolating, there are resources available to help you feel less alone. People living with dementia in Essex County have options. Here are the best ways to get help.

Resources for Life With Dementia

There’s no way to predict the progression of dementia. Some people remain independent for many years, and others need help almost immediately. No matter where your loved one falls on this continuum, the following resources may be able to help.

  • Contact the County of Essex Department of Senior Services for access to transportation, food stamp benefits, caregiver assistance, home-delivered meals, emergency utility help, help funding home repairs, and myriad other support options.
  • Visit Bloomfield Senior Citizens, a local senior center that offers activities and resources, classes, and a sense of community.
  • Alzheimer Support is a free service that assists families who have loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Through their free search tool and nationwide database of Alzheimer’s care facilities, families who are in need of care for their loved ones are able to locate licensed care homes and communities that are best equipped to provide care for their loved ones.
  • Plan for the future by drafting a will, a medical power of attorney, and other important legal documents. Contact the Essex County Bar Association for a referral to a lawyer in your area.
  • Review the resources on the New Jersey Division of Aging Services website. You can find help accessing senior care, information about Medicare and Medicaid, access to low-cost services such as transportation, details about the state’s dementia plan, and much more.

When to Consider Memory Care

Memory care offers specialized support to seniors living with dementia. Many seniors are reluctant to consider this option because they worry that moving to a senior community will undermine their independence or make them feel old. The truth is that memory care is actually a great way to preserve your independence.

Memory care communities specialize in meeting you where you are. They custom-tailor activities to your needs and capabilities. The goal is to keep you physically, intellectually, and socially active—three things that have been proven to improve health and quality of life in people with dementia.

So what can you expect from memory care? The best memory care communities offer food, assistance, regular activities, special celebrations, support and information for family caregivers, and a safe environment where your loved one is less likely to be injured, struggle with anxiety, or feel alone.

Memory care might be right for your loved one if:

  • They struggle with activities of daily living.
  • Symptoms such as anxiety are becoming overwhelming.
  • They seem bored, lost, or alone.
  • They no longer recognize loved ones or have other severe cognitive impairments.
  • You feel overwhelmed by your loved one’s daily needs or can no longer meet all of those needs.
  • Your loved one is not able to safely live in their own home.
  • Caregiving has begun affecting your quality of life or your relationships with your child or spouse.

How to Choose the Right Memory Care Community

Family caregivers sometimes worry that putting their loved one in memory care means shirking their own familial duties. The truth is that no one can do it all. No single person can provide 24/7 supervision and support, let alone activities and entertainment. Yet many family caregivers try to do exactly that, sacrificing their own well-being in the process.

Most seniors thrive in memory care. They get access to more and better resources, a wide range of activities, knowledgeable staff, a safe and supportive environment, a chance to make new friends, and so much more. The transition to memory care marks an improvement in quality of life that can also improve your relationship with your loved one.

Try asking friends, family, or a trusted physician for memory care recommendations. Then visit each community. Do residents seem happy and well-cared-for? Are they engaging in activities and in conversations with staff? Can you imagine your loved one feeling safe and comfortable in this environment? What about references? Can you talk to another family member whose loved one lives here?

Visit during an active time of day and ask lots of questions. This gives you an open window into life in the community so you can make the most informed decision.

Arbor Terrace of Roseland offers compassionate memory care that meets you where you are and maximizes quality of life. Our dementia-friendly activities are specially tailored to the needs of seniors with dementia. We believe that memory care can help seniors lead enjoyable and purposeful lives, even with dementia.

We also understand that healthy living, including plenty of socialization, exercise, and quality meals, can improve health in people with dementia. We know that dementia can be scary. We ease the challenges both of living with dementia and of caring for someone with this frustrating disease. Give us a call today to learn more about how we can help.

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Rob Fiorese

About the Author: Rob Fiorese

Robert was born and raised in Bayonne, New Jersey, and now lives in Easton Pennsylvania with his wife, Mary, and son Aidan. Robert graduated from Bayonne High School and went on to college to study Culinary Arts and graduated with his Associate Degree. In addition, Fiorese studied abroad in Holland for six months cooking in a 5-star hotel. Robert continued his education and graduated from Strayer University with a Bachelor Degree in Business Management. Robert served our country proudly in the Army as a Quarter Master. Robert joined after the events of 9/11/01 because it was his patriotic duty to serve his country. Robert has 15+ years of management experience in Assisted Living and is best known for his positive and motivational management style. Robert's favorite part of working in Assisted Living is taking the time to build relationships with residents, families and employees.

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