Memory Care Centers Superior to Assisted Living
Dear Annie: I want to share a story with you and your readers about a resource that has helped our family tremendously. They are called memory care centers, which is an alternative to assisted living.
in 1998, my sister and I were informed that the agency handling the 24/7 home care for my dad, who had Alzheimer's, could no longer work with him because he was having too many falls in his house. They requested that we find other arrangements for him.
My sister's son located a brand-new facility in suburban St. Paul, Minnesota. He was their first patient, and they treated him like a prince. The facility was within walking distance of my nephew's house.
My dad had a private corner room with two large windows and a very comfortable hospital-style bed. The room had a television and private bathroom, and my sister bought an electric lift reclining chair for him when he wanted to watch TV, take a nap or just relax. He put up pictures of family as well as some of the buildings his company had built over the years.
I got my first look at it about a month later when we were cleaning out my dad's Minnesota condo. I was absolutely amazed at how wonderful this place was. There was a dining room where everyone could eat their meals together if they wanted. They even prepared special meals for him whenever they were serving something that was on his allergy list. They had an ice cream shop, barber, beauty shop, library and social room with a large-screen TV. They had a courtyard completely surrounded by the building where people could go out and sit in the sun with no fear of them wandering off alone.
The front door had a buzzer system that could only be activated by the receptionist to let visitors in and out. My sister and any of her adult children could pick him up and take him out for dinner or to family events any time they wanted.
In earlier years, I saw my grandparents, and later my mother-in-law, in a nursing home situation, and it just turned my stomach.
These facilities are a far cry from most nursing homes. I remember that on the first day I visited, my father was with a group of people who were trying to carve pumpkins. I had never, EVER seen my dad try to carve a pumpkin, and it was hysterical -- and he was having a good time. The next day, they had a music therapist visiting and were singing all the songs that were popular when they were young.
And for the record, my two sons both know that if I am unfortunate enough to develop any form of dementia and can't stay in my own home safely, they should find a facility for me exactly like the one my dad was in. -- Memory Care
Dear Memory Care: Thank you for your letter. I hope it helps others in similar situations. Going to a home that specializes in the type of care that your dad needed sounds like a great idea, and you found just the right place. You have a right to feel relieved and grateful, and we appreciate your sharing your story.
Finding the right memory care facility or nursing home or assisted living facility for our elderly relatives is one of the most important decisions any of us can make. Kudos to you for helping your dad and, possibly, yourself, if you were to develop dementia later in life.
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