What Caregivers Should Know Before Choosing Memory Care

At some point during your loved one’s journey with dementia, he or she will require around-the-clock care in order to live safely. Generally, this occurs in a Memory Care community – a facility that’s been designed specifically to meet the needs of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of cognitive issues. Even if your loved one is only in the very early stages of dementia, it’s never too early to begin thinking about these types of services.

“Many people with dementia will be cared for, at least at the beginning, by an informal caregiver,” says Andrea Campisi, Marketing and Admissions Director of The Reutlinger Community, a Continuing Care Retirement Community in Danville, CA. “This could be a spouse, an adult child, a dear friend or even a hired home aide. However, as the disease becomes more advanced, a caregiver can quickly become overwhelmed and stressed, which results in a poorer quality of life for both the caregiver and potentially the individual they’re caring for. ”

One of the hardest parts about caregiving, says Andrea, is that the role becomes all-encompassing to the point of pushing aside the roles of ‘spouse’ or ‘child.’ “We talk a lot about the benefits of Memory Care in terms of how it improves safety and reduces stress, but one of the biggest benefits of Memory Care is that it gives people the ability to rekindle their relationship with their loved one,” Andrea says. “At The Reutlinger Community, we’ve seen how caregiving spouses are able to go back to being simply a husband or wife – which helps both parties tremendously in so many ways.”

Being proactive about choosing memory care for your loved one will help caregivers avoid burnout and provide the best possible assistance for the individual with dementia. “Before you choose a Memory Care option, you’ll want to put together a list of questions and get some information about the services being offered,” says Andrea. “Being informed will give you the tools you need to find the right home for both you and your loved one with dementia.”

Where should care take place?

 Memory Care services and communities come in all shapes and sizes, and also provide a range of different services. While some Memory Care communities are standalone communities that only provide care for those with dementia and memory issues, others are separate wings attached to a larger Assisted Living community.

Depending on your loved one’s current situation, says Andrea, one of these choices may be better for him or her than another. “For example, if you’re a caregiving spouse, you may want to move you and your partner into a more comprehensive community that offers Independent Living or Assisted Living in conjunction with Memory Care,” she says. This is particularly helpful if you have your own health problems and need assistance yourself, or if your loved one is in the earlier stages of dementia.

“However, if your loved one is in the later stages of dementia, and you are capable of living on your own, you may wish to move your loved one into a standalone memory care community,” she says. “It all depends on your individual needs, financial situation and also what options are available in your area.”

Will my loved one receive proper care?

 Oftentimes, caregivers feel guilty moving a loved one into memory care because they worry about him or her not getting the care they need. Andrea wishes to put caregivers’ minds at ease on this particular point.

“Memory Care communities are staffed with professional, empathetic individuals who have received knowledge and training specific to caring for individuals with cognitive issues,” she says. “Residents will be cared for by a dedicated team of staff members, who help form relationships and become familiar faces.”

Best of all, she says, there is assistance available 24/7, no matter what. “Having multiple caregivers means that help is never far away,” she says. “Plus, since the community is designed to meet the needs of those with dementia, it is incredibly safe, easy to navigate and free of hazards that might be in a family home.”

What questions should I ask?

Andrea says it’s important to search for Memory Care communities and create a list of a few top choices. Once you’ve narrowed down your choices, she suggests touring each one and taking a comprehensive list of questions with you. “By visiting the communities, you can get a feel that’s impossible to get over the phone or through pictures, and having a standard list of questions will allow you to compare one community to the other more easily,” she says.

Here are some suggested questions for your list. You will want to add or subtract questions, depending on your individual situation and what is important to you:

  • What level and types of care does the community provide?
  • What sort of training has the staff received? Is ongoing training part of their objectives?
  • What is the monthly rate for the community? What services are included in that rate? What services and options would be an additional cost?
  • What sort of floor plans are available, and how are they priced?
  • How are care plans developed, and how often are they reviewed to ensure my loved one is receiving optimal care?
  • What are your policies regarding visitors?
  • How are medical emergencies handled?
  • What sort of meals are provided, and are special dietary requirements or preferences able to be accommodated?
  • Is laundry service and housekeeping provided? How often?
  • What sort of programs are available to residents? Is there a full range of physical, mental and social activities to help them live a full, engaged life?
  • How does the community handle undesirable behaviors like aggressiveness, wandering or other dementia-related symptoms?
  • How does the community communicate with family members?
  • What is the ratio of staff to residents during the day? During the night?

The most important thing for caregivers to know, says Andrea, that moving a loved one to Memory Care is one of the most selfless and kind things you can do as a caregiver.

“I’ve spoken to many caregivers who feel like they’re ‘giving up’ or are guilty about moving a senior adult into Memory Care,” she says. “I try to make sure they know that they are actually doing the best thing possible for their loved one. Moving to a Memory Care community like The Reutlinger Community provides the best possible care in the safest environment with highly trained, caring staff members. It allows your loved one to get the care he or she needs…and gives you peace of mind and the ability to nurture your relationship with them throughout this journey.”

For more information about choosing Memory Care for your loved one, or to learn more about our community, mission and values, please contact us at 925-272-0261.

Premier Senior Living, Dedicated Care

The Reutlinger Community’s mission is to provide high quality health care and social support services in a life-enhancing and stimulating environment with a commitment to Jewish values.

Offering Assisted Living, Enhanced Assisted Living, Memory Care, Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation, The Reutlinger Community provides a continuum of care that allows seniors to live a life-enhancing and stimulating environment. Located in Danville, California, The Reutlinger Community’s renovated 110,000 square foot community combines the comfort and familiarity of home with seasoned senior care and skilled nursing specialists to suit any seniors needs, allowing them to live the life they choose with freedom and security.

Because we specialize in a continuum of care, our residents never need to worry about leaving the community they call home or wonder what will happen when they need some more care. Residents and families alike can have peace of mind knowing that there are full-time licensed nurses available, along with activity coordinators, social workers, caregivers, a concierge and Rabbi who focus solely on helping each resident thrive. Even better, our services and amenities are equal to those of a state-of-the-art resort. This is the lifestyle and care that your loved one deserves.

At The Reutlinger Community, seniors have numerous opportunities to engage in award-winning programs that are designed to engage the mind, renew the spirit and provide opportunities to meet new people and learn something new. Whether residents are enjoying our art program and museum, listening to a lecture or educational program or attending spiritual programming and our wide range of activities, there’s something for each resident to love. Participate as much or as little as you like, the choice is all yours.

For more information or to schedule a personal tour, contact us today.

Why Assisted Living Is the Key to Health and Longevity for Seniors

Everyone wants to live a long, healthy life – emphasis on the healthy. As Americans naturally are becoming more and more long-lived thanks to a focus on wellness and medical advancements, the goal of remaining active and healthy in your senior years has become more and more important to today’s older adults. This thinking is also causing a seismic shift in how seniors and their loved ones consider where to live their golden years.

“The focus for so long has been keeping older adults in their homes, because yesterday’s ‘nursing homes’ were less than optimal,” says Andrea Campisi, Marketing and Admissions Director of The Reutlinger Community, a Continuing Care Retirement Community in Danville, CA. “Today, however, there are so many opportunities and advantages being offered at senior living communities. People are beginning to see that Assisted Living can provide better health and longer lives for seniors who choose to call those communities home.”

And there’s actually evidence to back that up. According to research, seniors who have moved into a senior living community live healthier, on average, for seven to 10 years longer than counterparts who live in their own private homes. Andrea suggests that this is due to many factors, like reduced stress overall, opportunities to socialize, easier fitness opportunities and general peace of mind.

“Seniors who live in their own homes may have the comfort of familiar settings, but also face hazards and dangers like stairs, slippery floors and bathrooms that aren’t set up to accommodate those with mobility issues,” she says. “Senior living communities like The Reutlinger Community, on the other hand, are designed specifically to give seniors and their family members confidence and knowledge that caring assistance is never far away.”

The Advantages of Assisted Living

Designed and adaptable for changing health needs. As the old saying goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Assisted Living provides that ounce of prevention in many ways by taking a holistic, proactive approach to care. In fact, many seniors who move into Assisted Living may be perfectly healthy and active – they’re just planning for the future. Because Assisted Living is staffed with caregivers who are equipped to flex care services as needed, seniors can comfortably age in place in their home – without having to move.

Safety and security. Not only are Assisted Living communities set up to keep residents safe in the sense of “living in an environment that doesn’t have hazards that could cause accidents,” they also often have secured entrances and security guards available 24/7. There are also caregivers available 24/7 and call systems in rooms, so that if a resident is experiencing an emergency, summoning help is as easy as pressing a button.

Nutritious meals. As we get older, it can be harder to cook healthy, delicious meals for ourselves. Getting to the grocery store, not to mention going to the effort of cooking and cleaning up, can just seem like too much work. Also, because tastebuds and appetites diminish as we get older, eating just isn’t much fun – especially if you live by yourself. This can lead to poor meal choices and malnutrition, which in turn can lead to health issues like hypertension, a lower immune system and stress.

In Assisted Living, by contrast, meals are chef-prepared and served tableside. Not only is the food delicious and nutritious (and the senior doesn’t have to cook or clean up!), but there’s also an added social element that can be difficult to get in a private home. Residents at Assisted Living communities sit at tables with friends, which provides a lively, emotionally connected atmosphere. Even if Assisted Living residents have their own kitchen or kitchenette in their apartments, many still choose to eat meals in the dining room with their friends – because the best meals are the ones we share with others.

Transportation. Driving can become more dangerous as we age. Many seniors end up not going out or bowing out of social engagements because they don’t want to drive in the dark, don’t trust themselves behind the wheel or perhaps aren’t cognitively capable of driving safely. Fortunately, if seniors decided they no longer want to drive, an Assisted Living community is happy to take that chore over. Most Assisted Living communities will offer transportation for community events, like shopping or outings. They also can arrange transportation if a resident has a doctor’s appointment or needs to go somewhere. Even if the community has garages for the residents’ personal cars, many seniors will opt for the community transportation – greatly reducing their risk of getting in an accident on the road while still getting everywhere they need to go.

Less work and worry. Even if you’ve paid off your mortgage, there are still many expenses that go with owning a home. Utilities, insurance, property tax and maintenance can all quickly add up, depending on how old your house is. Fixes can become expensive if you hire it out – and can be dangerous if you try to do it yourself as an older adult. Assisted Living communities like The Reutlinger Community provide maintenance-free living, meaning that seniors never have to climb on a ladder to clean gutters ever again. This means less stress – and a lot more free time for you.

Socialization and opportunities for friendship. Loneliness is incredibly common among older adults, and is one of the biggest health issues facing those who live alone. Yes, health issues – because loneliness can lead to anxiety, stress, depression, hypertension, a lowered immune system and poor physical health. By contrast, socializing with people, being engaged and involved in activities we care about boost endorphins, keep our minds sharp, improve our physical health and keep us young … both in heart, in mind and body.

“Today’s seniors are demanding more out of their retirement and golden years, and today’s senior living communities are actively providing the lifestyle that enables them to achieve everything they want and desire,” says Andrea. “It also gives them choices … choices to live their life how they wish while receiving the care they need. It truly is the best of both worlds.”

For more information about the benefits of Assisted Living, or to learn more about our community, mission and values, please contact us at 925-272-0261.

Premier Senior Living, Dedicated Care

The Reutlinger Community’s mission is to provide high quality health care and social support services in a life-enhancing and stimulating environment with a commitment to Jewish values.

Offering Assisted Living, Enhanced Assisted Living, Memory Care, Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation, The Reutlinger Community provides a continuum of care that allows seniors to live a life-enhancing and stimulating environment. Located in Danville, California, The Reutlinger Community’s renovated 110,000 square foot community combines the comfort and familiarity of home with seasoned senior care and skilled nursing specialists to suit any seniors needs, allowing them to live the life they choose with freedom and security.

Because we specialize in a continuum of care, our residents never need to worry about leaving the community they call home or wonder what will happen when they need some more care. Residents and families alike can have peace of mind knowing that there are full-time licensed nurses available, along with activity coordinators, social workers, caregivers, a concierge and Rabbi who focus solely on helping each resident thrive. Even better, our services and amenities are equal to those of a state-of-the-art resort. This is the lifestyle and care that your loved one deserves.

At The Reutlinger Community, seniors have numerous opportunities to engage in award-winning programs that are designed to engage the mind, renew the spirit and provide opportunities to meet new people and learn something new. Whether residents are enjoying our art program and museum, listening to a lecture or educational program or attending spiritual programming and our wide range of activities, there’s something for each resident to love. Participate as much or as little as you like, the choice is all yours.

For more information or to schedule a personal tour, contact us today.

5 Tips for Finding the Best Memory Care for a Senior Loved One

If you have a loved one with dementia, there will come a time when they need more assistance than you yourself can provide. Although this can be a hard realization to come to, it truly is the kindest thing you can do for yourself and for your loved one, says Andrea Campisi, Marketing and Admissions Director of The Reutlinger Community, a Continuing Care Retirement Community in Danville, CA.

“Dementias such as Alzheimer’s disease are progressive, which means that eventually your loved one will require around-the-clock care – something that’s difficult for a family caregiver to provide,” she says. “That’s why it’s important to become educated on the types of care available and understand how to assess your loved one’s needs so you can meet their care needs and safety requirements long-term.”

Memory Care is not a one-size-fits-all solution, which is why we’ve put together this guide on the various types and levels of dementia care available. That way, you and your family will understand and know how to choose the right Memory Care option for your loved one when the time arrives.

Types of Dementia and Memory Care Available

Adult Day Care
This type of specialized Memory Care provides your loved one with dementia a structured and safe environment during the day, which allows you (as the primary caregiver) to go about your daily life such as going to work, taking a break to run errands or simply give yourself some self-care. Adult day cares are often in or near Memory Care communities (specialized senior living communities that provide assistance for individuals with memory loss), and individuals are cared for by professionally trained caregivers who understand the unique needs of those with memory issues.

Adult day care centers offer supervision, socialization opportunities, activities and more. They also offer healthy lunch and snacks (at some centers). This type of Memory Care service is perfect for caregivers who have full-time or part-time jobs and need a little extra assistance during the working day. Most centers are open during regular working hours, and some offer pick-up and drop-off services. Some centers also offer care on weekends or in the evenings.

In-home Care
In-home care providers do exactly what their name says: they provide structured care for individuals with dementia in their own homes (instead of in a specialized facility). Services can include everything from companionship and personal care to caregiving around-the-clock, housekeeping, nursing care and respite care.

In-home care often allows caregivers and those with dementia to maintain their comfort and dignity in the privacy of their own home.

  • Common kinds of care services may include: Companion services, which include socialization and supervision
  • Homemaker services, which induces meal preparation, housekeeping or shopping
  • Personal care, which includes help with the tasks of daily living (ADLs)
  • Nursing care, which includes nursing and medical care such as medication administrations, therapies and other skilled medical care

Residential Care
This type of Memory Care takes place in a communal environment so that residents may receive emergency care, medical supervision and personal care whenever it’s needed. This type of care is usually reserved for individuals who require a higher level of care than those who currently live in an in-home environment. The different types of residential care can include:

  • Assisted Living, which are communities for seniors who need a higher level of care but only on a part-time basis.
  • Continuum of Care, which is a type of senior living that’s designed to meet a senior’s needs as their health changes over the years. A resident may begin in Independent Living, and then progress through the continuum of care all the way to Skilled Nursing or Memory Care.
  • Independent Living, which are communities for individuals with a high level of functioning. People with dementia usually do not qualify for this type of residential care.
  • Nursing Home Care, which is 24-hour Skilled Medical Care provided in a specialized environment. It’s more intense than Assisted Living but not as specialized as Memory Care.
  • Memory Care, which is usually held in a standalone community or a special wing of a senior living community that has been designed to meet the specific needs of an individual with dementia.

Finding the Right Memory Care for Your Loved One

The dementia journey is personal and unique to all of us, which means that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for your loved one with Memory Care. Here are some tips for finding the right place for him or her.

  1. Ask for references. Other family members and friends may have gone through the process of helping a loved one with dementia get the assistance they need. These individuals can provide priceless information about the various Memory Care options in your area.
  2. Research. Start with a Google search, but don’t hesitate to ask your local Area Agency on Aging to find out what resources might be available to you.
  3. List your loved one’s needs. Depending on the level of your loved one’s dementia and health needs, one type of community may be better than another.
  4. Tour your options. Once you’ve narrowed down your search to different Memory Care communities and facilities, schedule tours so that you can see firsthand what life is like at different communities.
  5. Ask questions. Prepare a list of questions to ask during every Memory Care community call or visit. It’s best to come up with a standard list of questions, which will allow you to compare apples-to-apples when it’s time to make a decision.

Perhaps the best tip, says Andrea, is to ask your loved one’s physician and nearby Memory Care communities what type of services might be best for your loved one.

“Choosing the right type and level of Memory Care for your loved one is a big decision, but there are people out there who can help,” she says. “Not only are you helping to provide for your loved one’s needs, but you’re also caring for yourself and other family members. By helping your loved one receive the Memory Care they need, they’ll have the highest quality of life possible and give you back the time and space you need to nurture your relationship.”

For more information about finding the right type of Memory Care for your loved one, or to learn more about our community, mission and values, please contact us at 925-272-0261.

Premier Senior Living, Dedicated Care

The Reutlinger Community’s mission is to provide high-quality health care and social support services in a life-enhancing and stimulating environment with a commitment to Jewish values.

Offering Assisted Living, Enhanced Assisted Living, Memory Care, Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation, The Reutlinger Community provides a continuum of care that allows seniors to live a life-enhancing and stimulating environment. Located in Danville, California, The Reutlinger Community’s renovated 110,000 square foot community combines the comfort and familiarity of home with seasoned senior care and skilled nursing specialists to suit any seniors needs, allowing them to live the life they choose with freedom and security.

Because we specialize in a continuum of care, our residents never need to worry about leaving the community they call home or wonder what will happen when they need some more care. Residents and families alike can have peace of mind knowing that there are full-time licensed nurses available, along with activity coordinators, social workers, caregivers, a concierge and Rabbi who focus solely on helping each resident thrive. Even better, our services and amenities are equal to those of a state-of-the-art resort. This is the lifestyle and care that your loved one deserves.

At The Reutlinger Community, seniors have numerous opportunities to engage in award-winning programs that are designed to engage the mind, renew the spirit and provide opportunities to meet new people and learn something new. Whether residents are enjoying our art program and museum, listening to a lecture or educational program or attending spiritual programming and our wide range of activities, there’s something for each resident to love. Participate as much or as little as you like, the choice is all yours.

For more information or to schedule a personal tour, contact us today.