Taking Away the Car Keys

Taking away the car keys is no simple task.  It is much more than operating a machine, there are many emotions tied to driving a vehicle.  Think back to when you got your driver’s license, and the feelings of independence and freedom that came with it.  Getting your driver’s license was one of the steps towards adulthood.  Now, imagine what it would feel like to have your license or the car keys taken away.  It could be utter devastation, even when necessary. 

Driving a vehicle is a complex task, your hands and feet need to operate quickly to push the appropriate pedal, turn the correct direction, use the correct lever, push the correct button, etc.  In addition, you need to know where to go and respond to what is happening around you.  As cognition declines, these tasks (which have become automatic) become increasingly difficult and can become dangerous for the driver and others on the road.  The driver may or may not recognize that he or she is not driving safely.  Some people voluntarily will give up the keys, others will not.  Family members and caregivers need to be diligent in their observation of their loved one’s driving ability.  And when the time comes, approach their loved one with compassion, kindness, and creativity.

Parks’ Place Memory Care is a privately owned assisted living home, specialized and specifically designed for those with Alzheimer’s and other dementias.  Our home is for people of any stage of dementia so they are able to age-in-place in their home.  For tours, general information, or admission inquiry, please contact Kaitlin Kelly at 763-710-8484.

Eating for Brain Health

Just as certain foods can be good for heart health, lowering cholesterol, or managing diabetes, certain foods have shown to be beneficial for brain health.  You’ll see that many of the foods that are good for your brain are also good for your heart.   While this information does not replace recommendations from your doctor, it may give you a few ideas of foods to incorporate into your daily diet to help improve or maintain your brain health. 

Fruit – Berries contain pigments that give them their color, these pigments are called flavonoids.  Research has shown that flavonoids help to improve memory.

Vegetables – Green, leafy vegetables are rich in vitamin K, lutein, folate, and beta carotene.  Try incorporating kale, spinach, collards, and broccoli in your diet to get these nutrients.  According to the research, these foods may help to slow cognitive decline.

Fish – Fatty fish are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids; these healthy, unsaturated fats have been linked to lower blood levels of beta-amyloid (the protein that accumulates in the brain with Alzheimer’s disease).  Low mercury options include salmon, cod, canned light tuna, and pollack.  Other good sources of omega-3 are flaxseeds, avocados, and walnuts.

Nuts – As mentioned above, walnuts are a great source of healthy fats, particularly a fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).  ALA helps to lower blood pressure and protects arteries, beneficial for both the heart and brain.

These suggestions are just the tip of the iceberg for brain health.  Other non-food factors to pay attention to are your exercise and sleep habits.  Both play an important role in your brain health.  If you’re interested in learning more about foods to eat for brain health, consult with your doctor or a registered dietician, as they can give specific recommendations for you.  And, if you suffer from poor sleep habits or don’t have an exercise routine, be sure to ask your doctor about those, too!

The sources used for this blog post can be found here and here.

Parks’ Place Memory Care is a privately owned assisted living home, specialized and specifically designed for those with Alzheimer’s and other dementias.  Our home is for people of any stage of dementia so they are able to age-in-place in their home.  For tours, general information, or admission inquiry, please contact Kaitlin Kelly at 763-710-8484.

Important Documents

Along the same track as our blog post earlier this month about financial decision making, when caring for a loved one with dementia it is vital to keep track of their important documents.  Creating a safe location to keep these documents or lists readily available will be beneficial down the road if and when they are needed.

Here are suggestions of lists to create or documents to track down:

  • Create a list of the name and phone number of attorneys, executors of the estate, financial advisors and/or stockbrokers.  Locate any wills, trusts, and a list of beneficiaries with current phone numbers.
  • Copy of the medical directive with the name and phone number of the agent.
  • Copy of the power of attorney document with the name and phone number of the agent.
  • Funeral requests and location of burial plot.  If appropriate, name and phone number of clergy.
  • Locate important papers such as the birth certificate, social security card, marriage and divorce papers, and military records.
  • Create a list of bank accounts and bank addresses.  Also, list any investments, stocks, bonds, and insurance policies with the name and phone number of the insurance agent.
  • Location of safe deposit box and keys, and a list of contents.  Also, list credit cards, appraisal records, and receipts for valuables.
  • List financial information about personal loans still outstanding, and tax information and returns for the past five years.

We hope this helps as a starting point to help you prepare as you care for your loved one with dementia. 

Parks’ Place Memory Care is a privately owned assisted living home, specialized and specifically designed for those with Alzheimer’s and other dementias.  Our home is for people of any stage of dementia so they are able to age-in-place in their home.  For tours, general information, or admission inquiry, please contact Kaitlin Kelly at 763-710-8484.

The Lemon Bar Queen

The city of Plymouth is home not only to Parks’ Place but also to Jodi Melsness, registered nurse who works with people with dementia and live in memory care.  On top of that, her own mother was diagnosed with dementia and Jodi became her caregiver.  Jodi started a blog to share her journey as a caregiver of someone with dementia, and ultimately turned her blog into a memoir, The Lemon Bar Queen.

Her memoir describes the journey as a caregiver, capturing fun moments, happy moments, difficult moments, and low moments.  Caregivers at any stage of their caregiving journey will be able to relate to Jodi and her journey. 

It was because of Jodi’s relatability and local connection that we reached out to her to see if she would be willing to speak about her book with family caregivers.  At Parks’ Place, we understand that the diagnosis of dementia affects the whole family in addition to the person with dementia.  Caregivers now find themselves in a role they never expected with new challenges every day.  Caregivers being able to connect and relate to each other helps to lessen the sense of isolation, which can happen as the dementia in their loved one progresses.  We saw Jodi’s experience and expertise as a great opportunity to host an event geared towards caregivers connecting and relating to one another.  Jodi was immediately interested and jumped at the chance to meet with us! 

We had a group of about 12 family caregivers on zoom with Jodi as she described her journey and the perspective she brought as a registered nurse.  The time flew by in what felt like just a few minutes, and before we knew it, 90 minutes had passed!   The 90 minutes was full of sharing stories, perspective, questions, and a little behind the scenes of what it’s like to write a book.

We enjoyed our conversation with Jodi so much, we invited her to be the keynote speaker for the Inaugural Parks’ Place Family Symposium taking place later this month.  The Family Symposium is an event for our current residents’ family members and will have various speakers from our leadership team and the Parks family.  Jodi will be our keynote at the end of the event.  We are so excited to be working with her again.

If you’d like to learn more about Jodi and The Lemon Bar Queen, you can find her here at her website.

Parks’ Place Memory Care is a privately owned assisted living home, specialized and specifically designed for those with Alzheimer’s and other dementias.  Our home is for people of any stage of dementia so they are able to age-in-place in their home.  For tours, general information, or admission inquiry, please contact Kaitlin Kelly at 763-710-8484.

Financial Decision Making

Disclaimer:  The following information is neither legal advice nor making specific recommendations for your loved one’s financial situation.  It is purely informative.  Please consult an elder law attorney to aid you in managing your loved one’s finances.

Planning Ahead

Navigating the path of financial and legal decision making is hard.  Not only is it difficult to learn the legal terms, documents, and what they do, but emotionally it is difficult to think about you or your loved one’s possible incapacity, declining health, and ultimate death.  Planning ahead can lessen the burden and emotional strain on loved ones if you are able to take the time and energy needed to plan ahead.  But where to start?

You can start informally with a discussion.  If you are going to start to assist or take over finances, you will need to learn about their assets, income, property, bills, debts, liabilities, bank information, etc.  You will also want to discuss the types of insurance they have, what is covered, and the benefits.  You will want to make a list or spreadsheet of contacts and phone numbers of banks, insurance companies, physicians, and any financial manager/consultant.

Formally, you may want to hire an elder law attorney.  Your elder law attorney can help you with executing a power of attorney, preparing a will, and creating a health care directive.  If you are also planning ahead for an assistance program such as Medical Assistance and Elderly Waiver, your elder law attorney can help you with the application process.

Here are some factors you may want to consider while planning ahead for the future.

Financial Status

Overall, what is their financial status?  You will want to inquire if they have a home, car, CDs, stocks, annuities, or an IRA.  Are the accounts titled in their name alone or is it a joint tenancy or “authorized signature” account?  Do they have a monthly income?  Look into a pension, social security, veteran’s benefits, or annuity payments.  Make sure all beneficiary designations are up to date.

Insurance

Does your loved one have insurance?  If so, what type?  Compile the names, phone numbers, and policy numbers of the insurance carriers.  Find out the types of services that are covered under their insurance policies.  Most health insurance does not cover long-term or skilled nursing care so finding out if they have long-term care insurance will be very important; also what the benefits are and for how long.

Health Care Directive

In the state of Minnesota, the Minnesota Health Care Directive allows for someone to appoint a “health care agent” to make their health care decisions if they are no longer able.  Multiple people can be appointed as a health care agent in the Health Care Directive, not just one.  In the Health Care Directive, the person can state their wishes for the types of medical treatment they do or do not want.  This is their opportunity to voice their concerns with the health care agents.  An attorney is not required to complete the Health Care Directive; most hospitals and physician offices can provide one to be filled in.  It will require the signature of two witnesses or a notary public.

Estate Planning

Estate Planning is best to be discussed with an attorney as there are many topics involved.  We will go over a few of them now.

Power of Attorney

The Power of Attorney allows someone to appoint another person to act on their financial behalf.  There are two common documents in Minnesota, the Minnesota Statuary Short Form Power of Attorney and the Common Law Power of Attorney.    The Minnesota Statutory Short Form Power of Attorney provides multiple options and someone can select to shift power to someone else.  The Common Law Power of Attorney will cover specified powers or provisions that are not included in the short form.  This is drafted by an attorney.

Last Will and Testament

A will is a legal document that assures the person’s assets are distributed to the wishes of the individual after their death.  This is a legal document to help ease the transition of the ownership of an estate after death.  This will not go into effect until after death and does not guarantee avoiding probate.

Trusts

This is a legal arrangement where an individual (the beneficiary) allows for a person or financial institution (the trustee) to hold legal title to and manage the assets for the benefit of the beneficiary.    The person who creates and funds the trust is the grantor.  A “living trust” or “inter vivos trust” is used as a tool to plan for incapacity as it is created by a trust agreement during the grantor’s lifetime.  This individual transfers ownership and control of their assets to the trust while still living and the property transferred is used for the grantor’s benefit during his or her life.  When the grantor can no longer serve as trustee due to incapacity, the successor trustee named in the trust agreement will take over as the trustee.

Guardianship and Conservatorship

These are forms of substitute decision making established through a legal action or proceeding. In the legal proceeding, the court will order the appointment of a person as guardian or conservator to act as the substitute decision maker for another person, the ward or protected person.  Most often, the guardian is appointed to make decisions regarding the person’s personal care such as deciding on appropriate residence, medical provider, or medications.  The conservator will make decisions involving the financial care, this included property management, investment of assets, and bill paying.

Parks’ Place Memory Care is a privately owned assisted living home, specialized and specifically designed for those with Alzheimer’s and other dementias.  Our home is for people of any stage of dementia so they are able to age-in-place in their home.  For tours, general information, or admission inquiry, please contact Kaitlin Kelly at 763-710-8484.

Practicing Self-Care

Being a caregiver for a person with dementia is a more than a full time job, its 7 days a week, 365 days a year, and often 24 hours a day.  Your duties as a caregiver are constant throughout the day from daily hygiene, meal and medication preparation, transportation, and managing the medical appointments of the person with dementia.  Often, you have no time or energy left for yourself.

So who is taking care of you?  To be able to pour from your cup, you must first fill your cup.  Neglecting your own needs can affect your health and wellbeing, and therefore affect your ability to care for your loved one with dementia.

The Minnesota Senior Linkage Line offers the following Caregiver’s Bill of Rights

  • Take care of myself. This is not an act of selfishness. It will give me the capability of taking better care of another.
  • Seek help from others, even if the person I care for objects. I recognize the limits of my own endurance and strength.
  • Maintain facets of my own life that do not include the person I care for, just as I would if they were healthy. I try to do everything that I reasonably can for this person, and I have the right to do some things just for myself.
  • Get angry, be depressed, and express other difficult feelings occasionally.
  • Reject any attempts by the person I care for (either conscious or unconscious) to manipulate me through guilt and/or depression.
  • Receive consideration, affection, forgiveness, and acceptance for what I do from my family, for as long as I offer these qualities in return.
  • Take pride in what I am accomplishing and to applaud the courage it has sometimes taken to meet the needs of the person I care for.
  • Protect my individuality and my right to make a life for myself that will sustain me in the time when the person I care for no longer needs my full-time help.
  • Expect and demand that as new strides are made in finding resources to aid physically and mentally impaired persons in our country, similar strides will be made towards aiding and supporting family caregivers.

Source: Minnesota Senior Linkage Line

Your Network of Support

Caring for someone with dementia can often feel lonely and draining.  You may have feelings of anger, fear, sadness, fatigue, and love all at the same time.  Building a support network for yourself is a safe place to share your feelings, lean on others, and walk alongside others who are on the same journey as your.  Most communities have a variety of support groups.  You can check out the Alzheimer’s Association, the Minnesota-North Dakota Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, local churches, or the social service department of a local hospital.  Also, word-of-mouth is a great way to find a support group as well.

Asking for Help

Asking for help is difficult, but important.  Being human means that we all have limits on what we can do.  Asking for help when you are reaching your limits is the best way to continue caring for your loved one.  The Family Caregiver Alliance has an excellent Self-Care guide for Family Caregivers. Additional resources are listed below:

https://www.caregiver.org/

https://www.alz.org/mnnd

https://www.alz.org/

Parks’ Place Memory Care is a privately owned assisted living home, specialized and specifically designed for those with Alzheimer’s and other dementias.  Our home is for people of any stage of dementia so they are able to age-in-place in their home.  For tours, general information, or admission inquiry, please contact Kaitlin Kelly at 763-710-8484.

Renewed Hope

Monday, the 18th, there was an electric feeling in the air at Parks’ Place – we hosted a vaccine clinic for our residents, staff, and essential caregivers to receive the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine! 

We turned our clinic into a party to celebrate this first step in protecting our residents and the first step towards normalcy.  Our party was complete with balloons, cookies, streamers, and a photo station!  As the essential caregivers began to arrive, we could feel the sense of community and comradery among the residents’ families.  We started to feel like our “old selves” before COVID, and the family-filled home we always intended to be.

We aren’t through with COVID quite yet, but the vaccine clinic brought the first ray of hope of a post-COVID world.

Parks’ Place Memory Care is a privately owned assisted living home, specialized and specifically designed for those with Alzheimer’s and other dementias.  Our home is for people of any stage of dementia so residents are able to age-in-place in their home.  For tours, general information, or admission inquiry, please contact Kaitlin Kelly at 763-710-8484.

Assisted Living vs. Memory Care: Understanding Person-Environment Fit Model and Transitions Theory

As it becomes apparent that your loved one needs extra support in his or her daily life, it can be difficult to know the necessary type of support.  There is a large continuum of care available to elders with many more options than 50 years ago.  So, how do you know what type of care fits your loved ones needs?  How can the care adapt as your loved one’s needs change?

First, let’s take a look at two models used to inform care and when a move or transition is needed: the Person-Environment Fit Model (P-E Fit) and Transitions Theory.  These are models used in the gerontological field to help determine care settings.

Person-Environment Fit Model (P-E Fit)

The P-E Fit Model provides insight into the person and environmental factors that influence health outcomes, in other words, it is focused on the relationship between the person and the environment he or she is living in.  Below is a graphic description of this model.  The y-axis is personal competence; this is the health, cognition, motor skills, and sensory perception of the individual; in other words, their physical and cognitive abilities.  The x-axis is the environmental press, meaning the demands the environment places upon the person living there.  Think of the demands of the environment as the tasks that need to be completed to live in that environment, such as household chores, home maintenance, shopping, cleaning, etc. and the personal tasks like managing medications, eating, toileting, grooming, bathing, dressing, etc.  Basically, the higher the environmental press, the higher the personal competence needed to live in that environment.

The area where personal competence and environmental press meet is depicted as a band.  If the elder falls within this band, he or she would be “in fit”, meaning his or her abilities align with the demands of the environment.  If the elder does not fall within the band, he or she would be “out of fit”, meaning their personal abilities do not align with the demands of their environment.  If someone is out of fit, they cannot safely live in that environment and two things can happen:  the environment can be adapted or there can be changes to the personal competence through another person supporting him or her.

How does the environment adapt?  It can adapt in multiple ways.  The place of living can be simplified physically by eliminating trip hazards, putting everything needed on one level, eliminating clutter or too many items, etc.  Or, the environment can be changed by moving to an assisted living, memory care, skilled nursing facility, etc. based on the needs of that individual.  By changing the environment to a level that matches the personal competence, the person can thrive in fit. 

How can personal competence adapt?  To expect that a person with dementia will adapt to meet the demands of environmental press is unrealistic.  But, that does not mean that someone else cannot bridge that gap.  If the person with dementia is living at home or in independent living, a family member or hired in-home care could provide the competence needed.  If the person with dementia is in assisted living, the care staff may bridge the gap.  But, there will come a time when the needs of the person with dementia will outgrow what the assisted living can provide. 

Transitions Theory

In Transitions Theory, a transition occurs when the individual’s established behavior patterns are no longer adequate for the demands of the situation and the assumptions about oneself or the world are challenged.  The transition is subjective to each individual to the recognition of change, meaning a transition happens when the person can perceive there is a change happening.  Commonly occurring transitions later in life include relocation, changes in health or function, loss of relationships, and role changes.  A transition can trigger another transition, for example, loss of function can trigger a need for relocation, which can cause disorientation.

Memory Care or Assisted Living?

Now let us circle back to making a decision between a memory care or an assisted living.  Using what we know about P-E Fit and Transitions Theory can help us make a decision.  No one is a fortuneteller who can predict the future, but you are able to make educated choices to help reduce rocky changes. 

It is important to understand the services available in each setting, how the services can grow with the resident, and any limitations in services.  Let’s take a look at the average assisted living and the average memory care home in the chart below, please note this is not an exhaustive list.

Assisted LivingMemory care
Available ServicesEnvironmental support (i.e. Housekeeping and laundry).
Assistance with ADLs.
Simple physical environment.
Signage for cuing.
Visible staff.
Structured social activities.
Health monitoring.
Environmental support (i.e. Housekeeping and laundry).
Assistance with ADLs.
Simple physical environment.
Signage for cuing.
Visible staff.
Structured social activities.
Health monitoring.
Managing symptoms of dementia.
Specialized activities for people with dementia.
Dementia specific staff training.
Secured entry.
LimitationsManaging symptoms of dementia past early stage.
Specialized activities for people with dementia.
Health condition that requires 24 hour monitoring by a nurse.
Managing behavioral symptoms.
Health condition that requires 24 hour monitoring by a nurse.
Unsafe behavioral symptoms by residents.

How do you know what is right for you?  We are not able to answer that for you, but you can apply this information to the unique situation of your loved one and his or her needs.  You can assess the needs, personal competence, environmental press, and transitions and make an informed decision for or with your loved one.

What Can Parks’ Place Memory Care Provide?

Park’s Place provides all the items listed under the average memory care and much, much more.  So what sets us apart?  Using both P-E Fit Model and Transitions Theory, three major ways to assist residents are to improve personal competence, bolster the environment, support transitions, or a combination of all three.  Which is exactly what we do. 

Improve Personal Competence.  As stated earlier in this blog, it is an unrealistic expectation that someone living with dementia will be able to improve his or her personal competence.  If you are searching for a memory care for your loved one, he or she passed the point of being able to adapt their personal competence.  But, our staff is able to bridge the gap so their personal competence meets the environmental press.  For example, we provide assistance for any and all cares from a simple verbal cue to full hands-on assist.  We are able to meet the needs of the resident wherever he or she is in their dementia journey and expand cares as time goes on. 

Additionally, our specialized activity program is designed to be a form of treatment for dementia, not just something for the residents to pass the time.  The activity program helps to orient the residents to the time of day and works within their abilities so that they feel a sense of purpose and productivity.  Because the activity program works within the ability of the residents, it matches their personal competence.  We will also look at activities while discussing transitions. 

Bolster the Environment.  Our home was designed for the person living with dementia.  It is single level with a simple, flowing footprint to allow for residents to safely walk or wander without getting lost.  We are barrier free so residents do not feel a sense of confinement.  Our main area has all the elements of a regular home, including a kitchen, living room, TV room, and a sunroom.  It is designed to make you feel at home and not in an institution.  This helps to reduce the feeling of living in a facility to just moving to a new home, therefore reducing the sense of change for the resident.  Additionally, the overall design and services we provide reduce environmental press for the resident and allows residents to live in fit.

Support Transitions.  As we learned, transitions are not only environmental transitions like moving to a new home, but also cognitive, physical, and emotional.  The environmental transition of moving to a new home will vary from person to person, for some it may be a big change, for others not so much.  Our home is for people of all stages of dementia so they will only need to move once, and experience that transition once, during their dementia journey.  Cognitively, as people transition from one stage to the next, we are able to meet them where they are and adjust the cares, communication, and activities as necessary.  Physically, people with dementia will need more assistance as they progress.  They may go from walking and transferring unassisted to needing a one-person assist, to a two-person assist, to needing a mechanical lift.  Changes in physical ability will also affect other areas such as lifting their arms to wash their body in the shower to lifting eating utensils.  We are able to support our residents during each one of these transitions by increasing the hands-on level of care.  Emotionally, as people age they will begin to lose relationships and friends as the resident is no longer able to recognize friends and family members or those close to them pass away.  Our staff provides emotional support in a variety of ways, by gently reminding residents who their visitors are, providing friendship, and by being a kind, trusted person to provide cares.  We also can design activities or have activities available for residents that are reminiscent or purposeful for them.  These types of activities help to smooth transitions by reducing the perception of a change for the person with dementia.

To learn more about Parks’ Place and how we can support your loved one, call Kaitlin at 612-358-3725 or email her at Kaitlin.kelly@parksplacememorycare.com.

The source used for this blog post can be found here.

Parks’ Place Memory Care is a privately owned assisted living home, specialized and specifically designed for those with Alzheimer’s and other dementias.  Our home is for people of any stage of dementia so they are able to age-in-place in their home.  For tours, general information, or admission inquiry, please contact Kaitlin Kelly at 612-358-3725.

When is Placement Needed?

The timing of finding a home is unique for each individual with dementia.  Just as no two people will have the same journey with dementia, no two people will have the same timeline and circumstances that will contribute to finding a home.  This makes it very difficult for families to know when the time is right to make the move to an assisted living or memory care home.

We All Have Limits

It is important for caregivers to understand and acknowledge his or her own limits.  As human beings, we all have limits:  physically, emotionally, stress tolerance, spiritually, etc.  It is important caregivers recognize what his or her individual limits are.  In recognizing their own limits, caregivers will know when the care needs of their loved one has reached or surpassed what the caregiver is able to provide.  There is absolutely no shame in recognizing your limits and no reward for pushing yourself past those limits.  Pushing past those limits can lead to caregiver exhaustion and inadequate care for the person with dementia.

Caregivers who are spouses to someone with dementia often feel like they are not living up to their marriage vows of sticking with their spouse “in sickness and in health.”  But, in fact, they ARE living up to that vow.  They are finding the help they need to keep their vow of loving and caring for their spouse through their sickness.

Financial Analysis

It is equally as important to evaluate your loved one’s finances.  Knowing the finances your loved one has available will help you determine the care setting (in-home or at a memory care) and the duration of time your loved one can pay privately.  If your loved one will be using Medical Assistance (MA), it is important to know the duration of private pay he or she has prior to going on the program.  Or, if their only funding is MA, that will limit their options as not all homes will accept MA without an initial private pay period.

Gradual Changes vs. an Event

There are two fairly common patterns for people moving into a memory care, either a gradual change over time with increasing needs above what the caregiver can handle or an event happens that illustrates the safety risk of that person living in his or her current setting.

If family members are noticing changes and they start to search for a home, it generally is less stressful.  It is less stressful because there isn’t an emergency that is prompting this seach.  They can take their time to tour and compare the different homes in their area.  They also have more control over the timeline of the move.

If there has been an event, generally families must find a home under emergent circumstances.  They tend to need placement in a week or less, which adds to the stress of the move.  The types of events which may prompt an emergency move scenario can arise from a wide range of situations.  Sometimes, the person with dementia is very good at hiding their deficits so family members are unaware that the person with dementia is in an unsafe living situation until the event happens.  The other common event is a hospitalization due to the person’s deficits (example:  mismanaging their medications) and the doctor recommends this person discharges to a memory care.  Caregivers often find themselves needing to find placement on a week’s notice or are subject to the hospital’s discharge date as a deadline to place their loved one.

Our Advice

Our advice is to do your research early.  Even if you do not think your loved one will need placement for a year or more, start researching what is available in your area.  Find 3 or 4 homes that you are comfortable with your loved one possibly living and ask to be on their waitlist.  They will check in with you every 3-6 months (or so) to see if there have been any changes and if you’re thinking a move is coming.  This will also prepare you in case your loved one has an event that prompts a quick move.  If this happens, you already know what your options are and where you’d like your loved one to live.

If you are interested in learning more about Parks’ Place, call Kaitlin at 612-358-3725 or visit our website at www.parksplacememorycare.com.

Parks’ Place Memory Care is a privately owned assisted living home, specialized and specifically designed for those with Alzheimer’s and other dementias.  Our home is for people of any stage of dementia so they are able to age-in-place in their home.  For tours, general information, or admission inquiry, please contact Kaitlin Kelly at 612-358-3725.

When is it time to intervene?

Early diagnosis of dementia is crucial to preventing a crisis and for planning treatment and care. It is difficult to tell if cognition changes are simply age related changes (normal aging) or dementia (not normal aging).

Therefore, knowing when to seek in-home care or place a loved one in a senior living home is very difficult to judge. This is especially true for individuals without a serious medical condition outside of their cognitive changes.

What is the difference between simple forgetfulness and a serious memory loss?

Here are some warning signs of memory loss that may signal the need for assistance care. They were gathered from a variety of sources:

Does he/she repeat questions more frequently?YesNo
Does he/she exhibit poor grooming and personal hygieneYesNo
Does he/she forget to take medications or take them incorrectly?YesNo
Has there been a change in eating habits or loss of appetite?YesNo
Is outdated food in the refrigerator or little nutritious food?YesNo
 Has driving been impaired? Frequent accidents?YesNo
Is he/she increasingly forgetful?YesNo
 Is he/she moody or depressed?YesNo
Has there been a loss of interest in socializing?YesNo
 Is he/she less interested in former activities?YesNo
 Is he/she unsteady on her feet or does she fall frequently?YesNo
Does he/she have difficulty concentrating?YesNo
Does he/she exhibit poor judgment?YesNo
 Is he/she incontinent?YesNo
Is there trouble handling finances? Are there unpaid bills?YesNo
Does he/she spend long periods of time doing nothing?YesNo
Have others noticed personality changes?YesNo
 Is there unopened mail lying around?YesNo
Is there poor housekeeping or unsafe conditions?YesNo
Does he/she have trouble making decisions?YesNo
 Does he/she get lost?YesNo
 Does he/she have trouble finding the right words?YesNo
Does he/she wear the same clothes over and over again?YesNo

This is also available here has a printable worksheet to fill out and bring to your next appointment with your physician.

See your physician for further evaluation if you have answered “yes” to a majority of these questions. Then call us to learn more about our home and how we can serve your loved one on his or her dementia journey.

Parks’ Place Memory Care is a privately owned assisted living home, specialized and specifically designed for those with Alzheimer’s and other dementias.  Our home is for people of any stage of dementia so they are able to age-in-place in their home.  For tours, general information, or admission inquiry, please contact Kaitlin Kelly at 612-358-3725.