How do I know if assisted living or memory care is the right choice?

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Is that something her doctor will access or does the facility do that?


My mom was diagnosed with dementia and is living independently now but probably will need more care in the near future. How will I know if she can handle assisted living or if memory care is the right place for her?

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Staff from care facilities will usually come to the home and assess the person to see what level of care is needed. I think it's also just a common sense issue. How is she doing? Can she be left alone? Leaves the stove on? Gets lost?
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Correction to above should say "Assisted Living."
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Sandylaw, I think it depends on the state your mom is located. In some states, the state offers payment to some residents who need Special Assistance or Memory Care, IF they qualify according to a doctor and income/assets. In my state of NC, a doctor would need to assess her needs and based on that, complete and sign an official form that says what she needs assistance with. (Such as there are boxes to check, need assistance daily with bathing, meals, dressing, medication, etc.)

You can use that form to apply for any benefits she may be entitled to. What I don't know is if she needs that form completed by the doctor if she is private pay. You can ask the facility admissions about that.

It's difficult to know how fast the dementia will progress. What type does she have? My loved one has Vascular mixed with AD.

When I placed my cousin in regular Assisted Living, that is what she needed at the moment and the doctor's form said so, however, only a couple of months later, she began to wander and also resist care so much that I had to place her in a Secure Memory Care facility. The change was immediate and she has done wonderfully there. She needed that extra time and attention due to her progressing dementia.

One issue they had in regular AL was when she would refuse to get out of bed. They would call me to come and get her up. It was ridiculous. Or if she misplaced her hair brush...they called me. I'd make sure the place can handle someone who has some dementia.

I would encourage you to tour and talk about how the facility can meet her needs. If the fit is not right, you will get many phone calls and things just don't ever seem to settle down. Once the fit is right, there is great relief for the loved one. I would try to find a place that has regular AL in one part and Secure Memory Care in the same campus. That way, it will be an easier transition if you need to move her.
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I've seen those suffering from dementia in traditional assisted living (AL). Generally (in my opinion) it is a better environment UNTIL the resident starts to wander! Then, Memory care bcomes a must. My MIL is in regular AL, though she does have moderate dementia. Her table mate was in the same situation. When the table mate was brought back to the facility by an 'outsider' after she was found walking the streets, she was relegated to the memory care floor. This is a lock down unit. Personally, I'd keep her in AL unless she is wandering. Finances come into play as well. If there is money for private pay, I'd try in home help (live-in) first and then make a move. Find a place near you or one of your sibs as your involvement will increase over time.

Assess her finances. Start to make visits to ALs and memory care places and soon the decision will become obvious.
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