How To Choose A Senior Living Facility For A Loved One With Dementia

Start With A Needs Assessment To Determine Senior Living Options

Finding residential long-term care is relatively straightforward for most seniors, but choosing a senior living facility for an aging loved one with dementia can be far more complicated.

Start with a needs assessment to determine the right senior living option

A needs assessment conducted by a knowledgeable professional is usually the first step in determining the right senior living option for a loved one with dementia. Assessments focus on developing a deeper understanding of a senior’s cognitive condition as it relates to their ability to complete activities of daily living (ADLs) with or without partial or total assistance.

Assisted Living Locators’ certified dementia care advisors provide an in-depth assessment of all the client’s needs, along with thoughtful analysis and recommendations for best-fit care options. Families can begin their assessment process with an easy-to-use online tool on Assisted Living Locators website. This is followed up with a virtual in-take interview by phone or video call.

Senior living options for dementia patients

If you're caring for a family member with Alzheimer's disease or a related dementia, it's important to understand long-term care options and carefully evaluate them. The type of care needed will likely change over time as the disease progresses. Understanding the general care levels for senior living options will help you match your loved one’s needs with the right level of care.

Independent Living Communities

This level of senior living is only intended for residents who are still capable of what the name implies: living independently. No assistance with ADLs is provided, but meals, housekeeping, social and recreational opportunities, and private, low-maintenance living arrangements are included. Only self-sufficient seniors in the earliest stages of dementia can reside in independent living, and, because of this, a dementia patient’s stay in this setting is not likely to last.

This arrangement usually lasts longer when a couple moves into independent living together and the healthy spouse is present to help support and supervise their partner. When they require a higher level of care, the next step is usually moving to an assisted living facility.

Assisted Living

Assisted living facilities offer an intermediate level of care that provides residents with hands-on assistance with activities of daily living. Many facilities also offer a wide array of add-on care services at additional cost. Skilled nursing care, however, is NOT provided. Dementia patients in the mild to moderate stages often spend the most time in this setting. The daily personal care allows them to maintain their health and safety and retain some of their independence.

Assisted living facility rooms are still private and the care the staff provides is not intended to be one on one. However, if a resident has an emergency, staff members are available to help 24/7. If the resident constantly requires assistance, it usually indicates that it’s time to move to the next level of senior living. Persistent falls and troublesome dementia behaviors like wandering and outbursts are the most common instigating factors for the move to a higher level of care.

Memory Care

A dementia patient’s next move may be to a memory care unit. Memory care is designed to meet the needs of individuals that have Alzheimer's disease or dementia and is provided in a secured environment by specially trained staff in a private room and shared communal area. Depending on the community, memory care includes: 24-hour supervised care; medical monitoring and medication management; an environment that is easy for residents to navigate; skilled staff trained to assist those with dementia or impaired cognitive abilities; assistance with bathing, dressing, toileting, and grooming; activities geared toward their cognitive abilities; and three meals a day and frequent snacks.

Planning ahead for senior living is best

Seeking help can ease the physical and emotional burdens of caregiving and the earlier you consider the options, the better. It allows you to make plans, take time to study the resources in your community and learn about costs.

Assisted Living Locators is a FREE placement and referral service with a nationwide network of local senior care advisors that are dementia care certified. We are your partner in finding the right senior living option.

For those who are ready to take the next step, Click here to find a senior care advisor in your area today.