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Memory care location and family choices
Posted: Tuesday, May 10, 2022 2:39 PM
Joined: 9/2/2020
Posts: 3

How important is family contact for a memory care ward resident?

Mom is Stage 5 and I'm seeing increasing dementia. I suspect within a year she will need to be in a memory care unit.

Mom is a lifelong Florida girl, and my sister still lives in Florida. I'm in North Carolina.

My sister has physical handicaps and may not be able to visit frequently is mom is moved over to that area. The place here in N.C. is five minutes from my house and I drive by it several times a week running errands, so frequent visits.

{ Side note: I am mom's court-appointed guardian and thus have duties regarding any health issue she may develop }

My question is about the tradeoffs. How important is the frequency of contact with a family member in the last stages of AZ? Does dementia reduce the value of such visits to the point that (all other things being equal) she might be happier in a Florida setting? Os should I opt for her being in N.C. so she sees me a couple of few times a week?

Posted: Tuesday, May 10, 2022 2:49 PM
Joined: 3/6/2017
Posts: 3539

Hi Guy-

IMO, it is critical for a PWD to be in a facility that is near the person who will be her advocate around medical decision making. Critical enough that I moved my parents back to PA from  their homes in MD and FL. My aunt did the same with her sister when she assumed guardianship.

With placement, you want to be able to visit to be an effective advocate and to make sure care is as promised. You'll also want to be nearby when you get a phone call that mom needs to be transported to the ER because of a fall or other emergent issue. MCFs don't send a caregiver when this happens-- you will need to meet the ambulance when it arrives.

It's sad that this impacts your sister's ability to visit, but as guardian you are compelled to put your mom's well-being first. 

Posted: Tuesday, May 10, 2022 2:50 PM
Joined: 9/10/2021
Posts: 271

Hi GuyS - just my opinion - There may not be a difference in her mind that she is even in NC as opposed to FL, (especially after a while or even further decline).  It seems that it should be easier for you to have her closer to you in NC.  You'd be able to visit more often, and keep a better eye on things, as well.
Posted: Tuesday, May 10, 2022 6:11 PM
Joined: 6/14/2021
Posts: 505

Totally agree with HB.
As her health care guardian, you need to be as concerned...if not more...that your LO is receiving the care needed.  Visiting is not just for the LO but to insure all that needs doing is being done.

My father was in MC just short of 4 weeks before passing.  Because we were able to place him close to where I live, I was able to be there for varying amounts of time every day.  Some days were better than others as far as his interaction with me was concerned, BUT, the staff knew me, knew I would ask questions about how he was doing, and called me when there were issues.

It was sad to see, that most of the residents in MC had no visitors.  This was verified with the staff.  We were fortunate to have a great staff of caregivers at this MC, so I know that each person there was well taken care of, but I don't doubt that my dad got a bit more attention because I was very visible and invested in how he was cared for.

Posted: Tuesday, May 10, 2022 7:36 PM
Joined: 4/7/2019
Posts: 353

I also think it's very important to be close by if you're the power of attorney, for all the reasons stated above.

What's been driven home to me though is that other family members may say they're going to visit, and maybe they even mean it in the moment, but in my experience, they don't. 

When I moved my sister to a memory care facility, I moved her closer to other family members and a little farther from me. I was thinking that I wanted as many people to visit her as possible, and I wanted it to be easy for them. It didn't work out the way I'd hoped, but what did work out is that her friends come and visit. One of her friends comes by every other day, so I'm pretty grateful for that.


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