The United States is seeing a decline in the overall proportion of the population diagnosed with dementia, but Americans are living longer and the population segment of older Americans is increasing, and this means that more people are experiencing conditions that frequent the elderly, including dementia. As our aging population increases, so does the number of people that are looking for long-term dementia care for their loved ones, and many individuals do not know where to start and are looking for help.
Do You Need the Help of a Geriatric Care Manager With Finding Long-term Dementia Care?
Caregivers frequently ask if they need a geriatric care manager to help them find long-term dementia care. Our short answer is no, a geriatric care manager is not required, however, much of that answer rests upon other factors, such as, how much knowledge you have about memory care living.
A geriatric care manager is typically a licensed nurse or social worker who assists individuals with dementia and their family with various needs including making home visits, suggesting services, coordinating medical services, and evaluating and making short and long-term plans. Geriatric care managers generally charge by the hour, and per the National Institute on Aging, most insurance plans don’t cover this cost, and neither does Medicare. Most of these services are paid out-of-pocket.
What Should You Look for When Choosing a Memory Care Provider?
It can be hard to understand the differences between communities and senior care living. Our focus is on memory care, so we will start with that description for long-term dementia care.
Memory Care Communities
Memory Care is Assisted Living with an additional license for Memory Care. This additional license requires specialized training for all staff as it relates to the care of individuals with memory impairment. Regular Assisted Living focuses on the needs of residents that are more cognitively intact, may need some help with some ADLs, and it can provide a dynamic activities program and more socialization for the residents. If you or your loved one has a diagnosis of dementia, Memory Care is your best option when the time comes.
To learn more about each care option, and to understand the differences between independent senior living communities, assisted living communities, memory care communities, in-home care, respite care, and nursing homes, visit our blogs Understanding the Options and Long-Term Care Options for Dementia.
LongTermCare.gov expresses their approval of memory care assisted living in Planning for Dementia:
“Offer(s) supports and protections that go beyond traditional assisted living communities. For example, having specialized staff training, secured exits, and enhanced visual cues to help residents feel more at ease in unfamiliar surroundings.”
What to Look For
We understand that you want the best care for your loved one, so at the base of your search for a memory care provider, we recommend that you start with these three questions:
1. What Licensing and Certification Does the Facility Have?
Is the facility licensed by the state? Are there any survey results from the state that can be reviewed? Become familiar with the levels of care and services that are provided with different types of licenses. Does that meet the needs of your loved one, not only today but in the future?
2. Do they Invest in Their Staff?
Facilities that invest in their staff, also invest in your loved one’s care. A well-trained staff, as well as leadership, are crucial for the best memory care.
3. Is Pricing Straightforward or Confusing?
Pricing can be confusing and higher pricing does not guarantee quality of care. Packages, add-ons and fancy features often lead to fees that are misleading and suggest that the higher cost equates to better care provided to the residents. Learn more about what to look for with these questions, and how we focus on the most important aspect – quality memory care that meets your loved one’s needs, What to Look for When Choosing a Memory Care Provider.
Who Can Assist You With Finding Long-term Dementia Care?
The Alzheimer’s Association provides a selection map to help you find your local chapter. Chapters provide support, care consultation, and community resources. You may also consider joining a local Alzheimer’s Association virtual support group for individuals with early-stage dementia, their adult caregivers, and others with specific needs. These are professionally led groups that are facilitated by trained individuals.
Eldercare Locator, provided by the U.S. Administration on Aging, can help you find and connect with services in your area.
If you are a caregiver in the Round Rock or North Austin, Texas area, we have identified several helpful resources in your area: Round Rock/North Austin Support Groups for Caregivers.
In the state of Texas, you may contact the Aging & Disability Resource Center for older adults and people with disabilities to access long-term services and supports.
An Elder Law Attorney can help you with disability and special needs planning, as well as long-term care planning.
Online searches are a great way to specifically find local elder law attorneys, for example, NAELA (The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys) offers a free nationwide online search service (by distance). Elder Options of Texas offers a free search option (by city) in the state of Texas.
We Are Here to Help
We understand how important it is to you to plan for the well-being of your loved one with dementia. Here at Sundara, caring is what matters. Families matter, and we believe in a family approach! We want to help you with your questions and ease your mind about memory care for your loved one. If you are in the Round Rock, Texas area, and would like to take a tour of our facility, you may do so online, or by calling us at 512-399-5080.