Planning Ahead for Alzheimer’s Care
Pre-planning Care Needs
Mr. and Mrs. C live in their own home in a large neighborhood in Beaverton, Oregon. They love their home and don’t wish to move. They were referred to us by an in-home care agency who has been helping care for Mrs. C in their home. Mrs. C is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s Disease. Mr. C recently had a heart attack scare, and after his recovery, got his family together for a meeting to talk about the future. Mr. C called me to find out what Memory Care communities were out there; in the event that something happens to him, his wife will need to be looked after.
The Search Process
Mr. and Mrs. C and I sat down in their home and talked frankly about their situation, their finances, their timeline, and their goals for Mrs. C’s care. In this interesting situation, their timeline could range anytime from now to 10+ years from now. It all depends on Mr. C’s health and ability to care for his wife at home. We discussed the types of communities that they would like to see, locations near their children, and the costs of the different options. We arranged two dates to go and tour some communities together.
I set up tours at four Assisted Living and Memory Care communities. We scheduled time to visit two on each day, so that we could spend enough time at each one and not make the tour day too long. Each community has Assisted Living plus Memory Care on the same campus. We also talked about the possibility of them both moving to Assisted Living for now with the option for Mrs. C to move to memory care if and when it’s needed. But they decided that for now, they wish to remain in their home, although they’ll keep that open as an option. At each community, we talked with the marketing staff about Mrs. C’s needs and their goals as a couple. We looked at activities available in each of the Memory Care units, how many residents they have, their philosophy and approach to working with residents, and what makes them different than other communities.
Both Mr. and Mrs. C liked one community in particular. It’s near their son, near walking trails, has a nice courtyard and a nice view, and meets their budget. They also made a second choice as a backup plan in case the first community has no availability. They had another family meeting and told their sons about their decision. When the time comes, the sons know this is their choice, and will contact us to move forward with Mrs. C either moving to Assisted Living or Memory Care, depending on the nurse’s assessment.
I applaud this family for talking about the issue of Alzheimer’s care and dealing with it in a frank and decisive manner. Of course, things may change, but at least they have a plan in place and won’t be caught in crisis mode if something happens where Mr. C can no longer care for his wife.