Is Memory Care the Right Choice During COVID-19?
The coronavirus pandemic has been, in a word, life-changing. Everyone’s life has been touched in some way to different extents, but perhaps the hardest-hit demographic are those with senior Loved ones. This is especially true for family caregivers who care for a senior loved one with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia. In a smaller sense, individuals whose loved ones reside in a memory care community like Avalon Memory Care also share a similar sense of worry and stress. Your family’s main priority is to keep your loved one safe and healthy. How is that possible in an enclosed community that’s filled with high-risk individuals?
We want you to know, we understand. The idea of moving your loved one into a memory care community right now can seem scary and impossible. Even if your loved one is already in a memory care community, you may wish to pull them out so you can care for them at home in a safe, responsible manner. We at Avalon Memory Care will never stand in the way of family members doing what they think is best for their senior loved ones.
However, we wanted to take this article to talk to you about how safe a memory care community can be, particularly at this time in our society. Although it may seem counterintuitive, individuals with memory issues can actually live more safely and with less risk at a community that’s been designed specifically for them.
Enhanced sanitization and health practices.
As a commercial business – one that is dedicated to the care and safety of seniors with memory care – we are required to follow strict guidelines laid out by the CDC that keep our residents, staff and family members safe. But we’d be following these rules even if we weren’t required to do so! In fact, we go above and beyond to ensure our health standards meet our expectations (which, so you know, are a lot higher than the government’s).
We say that we care for our residents like family, and that means we love them like family, too. We don’t want our family to get sick. We don’t want to do anything that would put them in danger. So, we have enhanced sanitization and health practices to make sure we remain COVID-19 free. All visitors are thoroughly screened before they come through our doors. Our staff members have their temperatures taken throughout the day. Anyone who is sick remains home. We wear masks, social distance as needed and avoid large gatherings for both ourselves and our residents. Yes, it’s a lot of work, but the continued health and safety of our residents is worth it.
Dementias like Alzheimer’s are progressive diseases, but even for individuals in the early to mid-stages, they can require more care at certain times due to a variety of factors. Your loved one may be prone to sundowning, for example, but still be able to handle many of the tasks of daily life like bathing and grooming.
At Avalon Memory Care, we are designed specifically for the unique needs of seniors with cognitive issues, no matter what stage of their journey they are in. A big part of that is having around-the-clock care available in the event that a resident needs assistance, or if an emergency requires immediate attention. When you’re caring for a loved one at home, you can’t be alert 24/7 – it’s simply not possible. A memory care community can provide swift, caring and professional assistance at any time of the day or night, and because all our staff is highly trained in dementia care, you can rest easy, knowing that your loved one is receiving the best possible attention and care.
Everything is taken care of.
While you may be able to keep your senior loved one with dementia socially distanced in your home, you may not be able to do the same. You still have to run errands, clean your home, go grocery shopping, fill up the car with gas, go to work … the list goes on and on. Even if you outsource these tasks, you still have to deal with people coming in and out of your house who may or may not be following safety measures. Plus, it can get pricey.
One of the reasons that seniors choose to move into a community is to have “everything taken care of” – that is, no more home maintenance, no more cooking, no more cleaning and the like. While that isn’t top priority for your loved one with memory issues, it is something we take handle at Avalon. We make sure that all our residents receive healthy, tasty and varied meals three times a day, and we handle everything from laundry to cleaning to any repair needed at the community or in private living spaces. We also handle things like prescriptions and other needs so that you aren’t running yourself ragged taking care of tasks. Of course, we do everything in the safest possible way (see our first point in this article about sanitization) to reduce risk for ourselves and our residents.
There’s plenty of social interaction.
As you know, social interaction and mental stimulation is incredibly important for seniors with dementia. Because of COVID-19, many places are shut down or limiting the amount of individuals who may be able to go into a building. Locations like senior centers or adult day cares may be shut down in your area. Activities that your loved one enjoyed may no longer be an option. That doesn’t just lead to boredom. It can lead to sadness, depression and unwanted behavior manifesting.
Socialization and engaging activities are a part of everyday life at Avalon. We work with families and the residents themselves to put together a personal care plan that includes activities and opportunities that are fulfilling, enjoyable and meaningful to the individual. Sometimes these activities take place one-on-one, but oftentimes they take place with others – which is always a good thing.
We do our best to make sure our residents get to see one another regularly, even if they are wearing masks or need to stay 6 feet apart. We understand the importance of friendship and connection, and we never want to take that away from them. Every day, we find opportunities to talk with our residents, participate in activities together and show them how much we care. We also find ways for them to connect with the people they care most about, whether that’s their friends here in the community or their family members outside the community.
If you’re worried about not being able to see your loved one if he or she moves to a memory care community, don’t be. Although we do have enhanced safety measures in place, we still provide opportunities for family members to come visit their loved ones in person. We also use technology that allows families to video chat together. We know there’s no substitute for the love and compassion of family members.
We hope this article gives you a little more clarity about what life at a memory care community is like during COVID-19, and we also hope it has cleared up any misconceptions or concerns you might have about moving your loved one to a memory care community during this time.
If you would like to know more information about how we are handling the coronavirus pandemic, our enhanced safety measures or would like to speak with someone about your loved one with memory loss, please contact us. We are here to share our knowledge, provide assistance and advice and help you make the right decisions for your loved one and the rest of your family.