Home health or a memory care community?
If your Mom, Dad, or loved one is struggling with dementia, you might feel torn between the two choices.
On one hand, keeping your loved one at home may be appealing. On the other hand, it’s hard to ignore that voice in your head that says Mom or Dad needs more care.
If you’re unsure whether a memory care community or home health services are best for your loved one, here’s what you need to realize.
Periodic home health visits might have been helpful back when Mom or Dad was only a bit forgetful.
But if you suspect your loved one has progressive dementia symptoms, there’s a good chance your loved one can benefit from the comprehensive services of a memory care community.
Here are 5 reasons why…
1. Built-In Services and Easier Access to Resources
As a general rule, if you’re paying for hourly home health services, don’t count on the worker to see that Mom is lonely…and decide to spend an extra 15 minutes.
You’re paying the home health agency for a block of time—nothing more and nothing less.
If your loved one needs round-the-clock supervision and constant prompts for tasks, a few home health visits a week won’t provide the needed support for ever-changing needs.
In contrast, a memory care community has built-in caregiving services from morning until evening. For instance, at The Grove, our personal care assistants support our residents 24/7 every day of the year. It doesn’t matter if your loved one wants to have a snack at 11 p.m. or a conversation at 5:00 a.m. A caregiver is there to provide the needed support.
What’s more, your loved one has easy access to nursing staff as well.
At a memory care community, there will always be trained caregivers nearby to help, other residents to talk to, and medical assistance if needed.
2. Opportunities for Social Engagement
Socialization is important for loved ones dealing with memory loss.
But the reality is if you opt for periodic home health appointments…your loved one will receive only periodic socialization.
Compare that to a memory care community where there’s constant social interaction and engagement.
Don’t simply take our word on the benefits of socialization. Check out this research—Study on Social Isolation as a Risk Factor in Development of Alzheimer’s Disease in Rats.
In this experiment, researchers studied four groups of rats. Significantly, they designated one group of rats as a socially isolated Alzheimer’s disease (AD) group. For another group of rats, researchers designated these rodents as a socialized Alzheimer’s disease (AD) group.
Here’s just a small sample of what researchers found…
The Alzheimer’s disease rats (which were isolated for a lengthy amount of time) experienced statistically significant signs of cognitive trouble with their IL-1β and TNF-α.
Specifically, IL-1β and TNF-α are associated with brain inflammation, something the researchers linked to Alzheimer’s disease development.
The study found the socially isolated rats “showed significant elevation in brain IL-1β and TNF-α to 105.9% and 109.04% respectively” in contrast to the socialized Alzheimer’s disease (AD) group.
While the socialized group had IL-1β and TNF-α over 100% as well, they didn’t equal the levels of the socially isolated rats.
These findings and others led researchers to conclude…
“[Social isolation] can be identified as a risk factor in AD development. Consequently, socialization is advised especially with AD to avoid severe progression of the disease.”
Bottom line: socialization is something you can’t ignore when it comes to comparing a memory care community against periodic home health services.
3. Less Caregiver Stress—More Quality Family Time
When your loved one has dementia, you’ll find that constant care is increasingly needed.
And—unless you plan on increasing the number of home health visits or requesting expensive live-in care, you’ll probably find yourself more and more involved in caregiving.
However, in one meta-review of scholarly literature, researchers found…
“being a caregiver for people with dementia is associated with psychological stress and physical ill-health.”
This comes as no surprise. Watching your loved one suffer dementia is difficult.
It’s even more difficult to realize you’re spending less quality time as a daughter or son…and more time with the tasks of caregiving.
A memory care community lightens the burden of physically and emotionally demanding tasks. You’ll have more time to eat a meal with Mom, play a game with Dad, or attend to the needs of your other family members.
4. Specially Trained Team Members
When you hire home health to help your parent, you may…or may not…receive a worker who is specifically trained in dementia care.
While you’ll find home health agencies offering dementia support, do your research. According to a New York Times article only written last year, the typical home health worker has “little if any training.”
However, when you choose the right memory care community, such as The Grove, you can gain team members trained in helping seniors with age-related dementias. For example, at The Grove, caregivers must complete 40 hours of onboarding in their first week, including the CARES® online dementia training and the essentiALZ® online certification exam.
5. An Improved Balance of Freedom and Safety
Let’s face it—you need to weigh the benefits of keeping Mom or Dad in a familiar environment against the risks of his or her safety.
Helping your parent stay at home—without 24/7 supervision—is detrimental if Mom has easy access to the stove or Dad can still grab the ladder.
For safety, you may find yourself restricting your parent’s freedom—for instance, locking rooms containing safety hazards.
However, at a memory care community, your loved one can enjoy an environment that’s uniquely suited for Alzheimer’s and related dementias. It’s the right balance of both freedom and safety.
For instance, at The Grove, our neighborhood has eliminated many safety hazards…but still gives your loved one freedom with an open layout environment. We even provide a natural wayfinding system so your loved one can safely wander in a natural pattern…instead of pacing up and down a hall.
Don’t simply assume that home health is your only option…or your best option.
Carefully weigh the benefits of a memory care community, and then make the best decision for your mom, dad, or spouse.
If you’re searching for a community that redefines memory care, check out The Grove’s communities. At The Grove, your loved one will enjoy a freestanding community comprised of neighborhoods that replicate the feeling of home and contain less than 15 residents.