With Real Life Stories from Sunshine Care
Jack was once a park ranger who knew his outdoor community like the back of his hand. After he was diagnosed with dementia, however, the outdoors was no longer a safe and friendly place for him. The former park ranger often lost his orientation, even in his own neighborhood, and wandered off, terrifying his family in the process. After one wandering episode resulted in a helicopter search for Jack, his family came to the conclusion that it was no longer safe for him to live at home.
Jack now lives comfortably here at Sunshine Care where he enjoys walking along our safe paths on our secure campus. He has also taken it upon himself to regularly sweep our patio area to keep it clean!
A Difficult Decision
Jack’s family had to make a difficult decision, a decision that many families must confront when a loved one has dementia. Most of the families we meet during an initial introduction would prefer to keep their loved one at home or living with a family member, but something has changed. Maybe the loved one is no longer safe living on their own or is becoming isolated, or perhaps family members aren’t able to provide the care that their loved one needs.
Families shouldn’t feel guilty about considering a transition into a memory care home. Oftentimes, a move to a place that specializes in supporting individuals with dementia and Alzheimer’s can actually improve that loved one’s quality of life. Here are the five most common reasons why families make the decision to move their loved one into memory care.
To Improve Safety
As dementia progresses, safety becomes a growing concern. As we saw in Jack’s case, he got lost several times just walking around his own neighborhood. Individuals with dementia may also leave the stove on, leave doors unlocked, or forget to take medication. One of the biggest safety concerns is falls, especially if a loved one has a bedroom on an upper floor and must navigate stairs on a regular basis.
At Sunshine Care, we have a wide array of policies in place to protect the safety of our residents. All of our beautiful homes are built in a single-floor ranch layout, eliminating the risk of stairs. Additionally, our trained staff is always watchful and available full time to assist residents with their needs.
To Create a Reliable Schedule
Caregivers usually find that a loved one with dementia does responds well to a structured routine, such as scheduling meals at the same time each day and building in daily rituals the loved one can rely on. This is helpful for a person with dementia, but can be challenging for family members who have a broader scope of things to accomplish each day. A memory care facility like Sunshine Care can give residents the serene, reliable schedule they crave, and staff members know how to engage our residents in a positive way so that they feel secure, at ease and ready to enjoy fun activities within a supportive and familiar environment.
To Address Isolation
Another symptom of dementia is paranoia, which leads many individuals to isolate themselves within their own home. This was the case for Pat, who became so fearful that she wouldn’t open her front door even for her own family members. Pat is now a resident at Sunshine Care. It took some time, but she eventually made a strong connection with one of the children who participate in our bi-monthly garden club. Now, with care and patience, we can often encourage Pat to take part in other activities we offer.
At Sunshine Care, our residents live together in small groups within a fully functional home where they receive constant support and care from our staff. We offer a wide range of regular activities so that our residents have plenty of opportunities to make new friends, share their wit and wisdom, and stay active.
To Offer Specialized Care
As much as family members care about their loved one, they often struggle with how to give them the right kind of support. What do you do when a loved one displays sudden outbursts of anger or sadness, can’t remember your name, or tells you the same story for the hundredth time? A loved one’s physical needs can also be challenging, especially if their caregiver is an elderly spouse. No one learns how to be a family caregiver in school!
At a memory care facility, the staff members have been trained to deal with all of the common needs of residents in varying stages of dementia. For instance, our staff understand that it is important to listen to stories, no matter how many times we’ve heard them. These types of stories actually allow us to better understand the background and personal history of our residents!
To Prevent Family Caregiver Burnout
The needs of a person with dementia can quickly become overwhelming. Many family caregivers have jobs, mortgages to pay, and even children still living in the home. Adding a parent with dementia can feel like taking on another full time job!
As the dementia progresses, the loved one will need more intensive care and oversight, and it can just be too much for the family member designated as the caregiver. We see a lot of guilt surrounding caregiver burnout, but it is not something anyone should ever feel guilty about. Be gentle on yourself. Each of us only has so much time and energy, and family caregivers often push themselves to the point of exhaustion or breakdown before realizing that there is another solution.
Memory care facilities like Sunshine Care are positive and supportive places where residents, like Jack and Pat, enjoy truly comprehensive care.
We encourage families in the San Diego area to give us a call to schedule a tour of our facility, to take a look at our activities calendar, and to consider attending our support group for Caregivers & Families.
Categories: Memory Care