I have applauded “The New Old Age” blog many times in previous posts. I will again, I the future. However, sorry, but an article entitled “Dementia Units May Improve Care, Studies Suggest” feels and reads like an attempt to find a topic.
The issue is not in talking about dementia. We are committed to supporting the fight for sufferers and against the condition, in its many forms. You can see our team from an earlier Alzheimer’s Walk, below.
No, my issues are specific. Paula Span, for whom I have tremendous respect, talks about the origins of memory care units:
The laudable idea was to move patients with dementia out of the typically overstimulating and understaffed nursing home into a separate wing, a calm and secure environment where well-trained staffers would offer tailored activities, handle problematic behaviors and provide greater support.
The gap in Ms. Span’s “laudable idea” is that many folks who suffer from dementia actually stay at home, with family and professional care, for their entire lives.
Now, I will state my biases right up front. My company (Support For Home Health Care) delivers primarily home care services, but we also provide staffing services to assisted living and memory care / dementia care facilities. In terms of the facilities that we support, we only work with the best – such as Hank Fisher Properties, here in the Sacramento region.
Do we believe the Hank Fisher Property memory care units provide great benefit for their residents, folks who for one reason or another cannot stay at home or chose not to do so at some point? Absolutely. After all, they choose to use our terrific caregivers to cover staffing gaps, right? 🙂
However, the most telling comment in Ms. Span’s article is the last paragraph:
You can’t assume that a special dementia unit means better care. Depending on the facility, it may not make much difference.
So, if you cannot keep your loved one with dementia at home, do look for an excellent memory care unit, but the key is you have to look for excellence. There is no guarantee, just because a facility calls itself a dementia unit. Look for passion, commitment and knowledge when you search for a dementia unit. If you cannot find it in your community, find a great home care agency who can provide the support you need to keep your loved one at home.
Best wishes. Bert