We may be sheltering in place but Alzheimer’s disease is not holding still. It’s doing what it always does. It progresses. There is no cure for this disease. Symptoms may be somewhat controlled with medication and behavioral modification, but loved ones’ health conditions continue to decline.
Should the symptoms become unmanageable from the loved one’s or primary caregiver’s home, a relocation to a memory care facility may be necessary. Until recently, the optimum way to determine the best memory care choice was to visit it. Walking through a facility allows families to asses the atmosphere, floor plan, staff, cleanliness, scent of a home, and conditions of other residents.
However, this is not allowed in most locations at this time due to COVID-19. The risk of the public entering the home and transmitting the disease is too great to cherished residents. The alternative is to view photos and virtual tours online. Talk to friends and neighbors who have been in the facility. Ask the home for references. Speak with the staff. Note how the staff responds to you. And trust your gut.
Unfortunately, once you’ve chosen a home, you aren’t likely to be able to bring your loved one inside or set up their room. There won’t be any hugs or ability to observe your loved one relating to the staff and other residents for any length of time. Visits will be via video chats, from outside a window, and over the phone. Little gifts such as cards, photos, stuffed animals, and puzzles may be sent or dropped off.
In any group setting, the risk of contracting the Corona virus rises. But there are situations when it is still the best decision to admit a loved one into a facility. If a loved one can no longer be cared for by one family member, a team is needed. For numerous reasons, the safety and health of a loved one may be at greater risk in their own home.