Q: How do I know when placement is needed?
Many factors contribute to whether or not placement is needed. First and foremost is the need to keep your loved one safe. Examine what potential hazards exist (e.g. usage of stove, risk of fire, interaction with strangers, capacity to phone for help) and whether the risk can be minimized. If your loved one wanders and gets lost, they are at risk and need a secure supportive environment. If your loved one’s safety is compromised, placement is needed.
If you are considering placement, then the need is apparent. Your challenge is to view placement as the next step of a journey, not the end. Ask yourself why you are hesitant. Placement is a difficult decision often riddled with fear and guilt. At all times focus on what is best for your loved one. Generally the loved one adapts quickly to placement, it is the family members that are more challenged.
Next, ask how well are your currently meeting the loved one’s needs. Are you able to shower/bathe them, assist with toileting, grooming and basic needs? Can you manage their incontinence? Will your loved one take their medications, eat and drink? Can you redirect behaviors? Is care becoming too difficult or overwhelming? When care giving becomes burdensome, placement is needed. When the act of providing care becomes compromised or unsafe, placement is needed.
Also ask what quality of life does your loved one have in their current living situation? Do they have positive social interactions and something to look forward to everyday? Often persons with dementia become isolated, withdrawn and depressed. Appropriate, stimulating and structured activities are important for their well-being; isolation can accelerate symptoms.
Often families wait too long for placement. They are afraid of placing too soon and wait for a crisis to occur and/or until they are exhausted. When placement is delayed and dementia progresses the loved one does not benefit as much from the life enrichment programming, socialization and amenities a community can provide.
Q: My mom is currently living in a large apartment, how will she adapt to only having a room?
Mom will still have a spacious living environment. She will have her own bedroom and bath for private time, but will also have the entire 3,200+ sq ft. of shared living space to enjoy. Our goal is to engage residents in life-enriching activities, rather than have them spend time alone in their room.
Q: Dad doesn’t think he needs any assistance and is not happy with the idea of moving. What can we do to convince him he needs to move?
Rather than try to convince Dad, we encourage families to familiarize their loved one with Huron Woods before moving. Come for lunch, chapel service, entertainment or an art class. Positive visiting experiences can ease a transition. We find that most residents are resistant to placement but adapt quickly because they have so much to do and friendly stimulation.
Q: I’ve looked at several facilities, how do I know which one is the best for my Mom?
When it comes right down to it most facilities deliver the same type of care, the question is how they provide it--the quality of care. Is the staff friendly and welcoming? Do the residents appear happy and content? What do family members of current residents say about the community? What is the staffing to resident ratio? How many hours a day are nurses on duty? Is administration on site and accessible? Are family members encouraged to visit and participate? Is the facility licensed? Are fees all-inclusive or a la carte? Will care be provided to end of life or will your loved one have to move again? What happens if you run out of money? Ask the facility if you can bring your loved one to visit, share a meal and participate in an activity without giving them a deposit or signing a contract. The more welcoming and open a community is, the better the care they are likely to provide. Talk to staff, residents and family members. Ask lots of questions and look beyond the amenities, you’ll know which one is best for your Mom.