With or without a formal dementia or Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis, the hard decision to move your loved one into a nursing home is a common one: An estimated 6.7 million Americans are living with dementia.
If you are considering moving a loved one into a nursing home or senior care facility, you’ve likely already observed changes in their behavior. Issues that were thought to be part of normal aging have escalated, such as:
- Significant memory loss and confusion, such as getting lost in their once-familiar neighborhood
- Acting impulsively or becoming increasingly angry
- Trouble carrying out basic everyday tasks
- Difficulty with language skills, such as mixing up or forgetting commonly used words
- Withdrawing from activities they once loved
- Ability to focus and pay attention
This decision is deeply personal, so when thinking about what is best for your loved one, it is normal to feel stress and anxiety over making the right decision; overwhelmed by the amount of information on what to do; guilty over not being able to care for your loved one yourself; and even grief and a sense of loss.
Here we will dive further into Lizzy Care’s unique approach to memory care, which is an umbrella term used to describe care for those living with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia. Our approach is rooted in making it easier for families to provide their loved one with the care they need at home, and supporting families through this journey.
Is it possible to delay or avoid admission into a nursing home?
Many families see placement in a nursing home as the only solution to address their loved one’s cognitive decline, and for these families, that might be the best decision depending on their circumstances. Nursing homes have become ubiquitous with memory care because they can potentially provide the physical safety that is needed for someone with significant memory loss, confusion, and reduced cognitive capacity.
However, there is a growing movement towards at-home dementia care, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic. Families are prioritizing the importance of both physical safety and quality of life for their loved ones with dementia, which may not necessarily be possible in a nursing home. Care at home may provide a more familiar surrounding for the loved one and provide easier access to family and visitors.
Cognitive decline is a journey with many curves in the road; no one’s experience with dementia will look or feel the same. It is possible to age a loved one at home longer than is commonly felt, and sometimes avoid admission into a nursing home altogether. Lizzy Care partners families with an experienced memory care coach who provides personalized support and guidance on making the best decision for how and where to support your loved one’s care.
Why might it be important to age a loved one at home?
At home could mean in their home, or it could mean moving into a family member’s home. There are many reasons why this can be the right decision for your family, including:
- It’s what your loved one wants
- They get to remain in a place they are familiar with
- They remain surrounded by the people and things they love
- You have more control over their care
- It may be the less expensive option
- Their home can provide both safety and quality of life
The thought of being able to keep your loved one home may bring relief though more questions arise:
How do we get adequate care at home?
What kinds of providers make home visits?
How do we make sure home is safe and comfortable?
How do I balance my own and my family’s needs?
This is where Lizzy Care comes in: Lizzy Care combines compassion with data and technology to help you and your family build an understanding of how best to manage your loved one’s changing condition, work through key decisions, design a personalized care plan, and find the joy that can exist when caregiving is done well.
The first steps on your loved one’s memory care journey
The status of your loved one’s condition will inform every step of their memory care plan. With your experienced memory care coach, you will make decisions that are tailored to your loved one’s needs, work through logistics of creating a specialized care team, as well as get mental and emotional support as you navigate this journey together.
Consider these important first steps to take with your coach:
- Discuss your loved one’s wishes: Speak with your loved one (if they are capable of doing so) and especially your family about their expectations for care.
- Create a plan, together: One of the most stressful aspects of caregiving can be when a family member feels left out of decision-making. Respect one another by allowing everyone to give input, and then agree upon a plan that takes the family into consideration while keeping your loved one’s immediate needs the focus.
- Be as proactive as possible: Research and gather resources on potential needs and outcomes, such as bringing in specialized caregivers and companions. Lizzy Care has a growing list of recommended providers that can support your loved ones care. Your coach will work with you to ensure you find the care your loved one needs.
- Build the care team: Decide which providers need to be brought into the home right now. Common providers that Lizzy Care clients bring in include: companions, home health aides, doctors, housekeepers, therapists and even hairdressers.
- Look into funding: Paying for memory care services might be one of the more stressful items for families to manage, which is why it’s critical to plan ahead. Depending on your loved one’s financial situation, there are options to consider such as Medicaid and veteran benefits. Long term health insurance may also cover a portion of care at home or senior living.
- Visit and evaluate care facilities: If your loved one’s condition rapidly changes, you will want to be prepared and feel comfortable with a decision that isn’t made in crisis mode. Be sure to enlist input from your loved one and family members.
- Check in regularly with your family members: Whether it’s a weekly Zoom call or an in-person discussion, create consistent touchpoints that will allow you to make decisions quickly as well as check in on your own well-being.
- Continue to get outside, objective support from your coach: Tensions can rise especially amongst people who care deeply about your loved one and keeping them well. If communication isn’t going as well as you would hope, ask your coach to support you in this area.
Lizzy Care is making memory care decision-making easier. We are committed to providing the resources and guidance that you and your family are looking for. Nursing homes are not the only option, we support the choice that’s right for your family whether you keep your loved one at home or in a senior living facility.