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Frequently Asked Questions
Independent Senior Living
Licensed Assisted Living
Specialized Dementia Care
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Adult Day Care
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Frequently Asked Questions
About Specialized Dementia Care
 
Q. How do I know if my mom needs dementia care?
A. When someone with dementia begins to have difficulty navigating through their day, is at risk of wandering away from their home or the living center, or begins to feel left out or ostracized by their neighbors it is likely time to consider dementia specialty care. Our communities are designed to reduce confusing environmental stimuli.

For more information to this topic, visit the "Helpful Resources" section of this website.

Our staff is able to help you evaluate your specific situation and aid you in making the right choice for her. For more details, feel free to contact the Administrator of the assisted living home of your choice.

Q. Do I have to sign a lease?
A. We have a written residency agreement, but you rent your assisted living apartment on a month-to-month basis. We do require a 30-day move-out notice if you choose to leave.

Q. Do you allow pets?
A. Pets are welcome if the resident is able to care for it without assistance. There are certain restrictions on size and type. There is an extra security deposit and a copy of your pet’s current vaccination certificate is required. For more details, feel free to contact the Administrator of the assisted living home of your choice.

Q. My dad has high blood pressure and needs to be checked often. Can you monitor it for him?
A. The staff at each of our assisted living communities is trained and available to monitor your father’s blood pressure as ordered by his health care provider at any time.

Q. How can I be sure Mom gets all the help she needs?
A. We will do a Personal Needs Assessment before your mother moves in, to determine exactly what support services she requires. This assessment will be reviewed with you, your mom and other family members as well as her physician. From this assessment we develop a service plan that is unique to your mother’s needs. This plan serves as a guide so our staff knows exactly what support your mom needs — and how we can best meet those needs.

This assessment will be updated 30 days after your mother moves in, to allow us to confirm the accuracy of the initial assessment and to give her time to adjust to her new home. From that point on, this assessment is updated quarterly or upon any significant change in her physical or mental status.

Q. How many staff members are on duty and how do you screen them?
A. We adjust the number of staff on duty based on the needs of the residents. We also schedule our staff to the “peaks and valleys” of the day – more staff when resident needs are greater, fewer staff when needs are lighter.

Trained staff members have interviewed personnel—staff as well as regular volunteers— and personal as well as professional references have been thoroughly checked. We also verify licenses and certifications of persons who carry those credentials, such as RN, LPN or CNA, etc. Finally, each staff member is required to pass a criminal history background check, which includes a fingerprint screening and national criminal registry check.

Q. My mother has always been the hostess – she loves entertaining family and friends, but since she has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s she just gets frustrated. Can you help?
A. Residents are encouraged to invite family and friends to join them for a meal or a snack at any time for a nominal fee. We also have a private dining room, which may be reserved for special occasions. Our staff can handle all the preparation and service details, which will allow your mother to enjoy the event with her guests, without the work or the worry!

Q. Dad never did any of the housekeeping and now he gets pretty ornery when his stuff is moved. What services do you provide?
A. Our housekeepers are trained to communicate with residents who have dementia – they understand that the resident may become anxious when their room is cleaned or things are moved. We try to put things back exactly as they were. For some residents, it works best if their apartment is cleaned while they are at lunch, taking a bath or involved in an activity outside their room. Because we recognize each resident as an individual, we know that sometimes we have to take several passes to get a room clean – taking care to clean the most needy areas first – and getting to the less critical areas at a later time.

Q. When I was a little girl my grandma was so wonderful – now she thinks I’m my mom or my aunt. I just get so frustrated and sad. Would it be better if I didn’t come see her at all?
A. We know how frustrating it is to watch dementia take our loved ones from us. It is a horrendous condition. The dementia has erased a lot of the most recent memories of your grandmother. Every person with dementia is first of all a person – they are still the person they always were, on the inside. It is still important for you to spend time with her, even if she doesn’t know the grown-up you! She may not be able to remember what happened this morning or yesterday or even the past few years because a person with dementia is often more present in their older memories. If you can accept these changes you will be able to find more joy and less frustration in your visits with grandma.

Try to talk with her and share with her things that she may recall more easily – events of your youth or even her youth, smells and tastes that she knew well, even pictures of her younger years may make for lively conversations.

You might want to look at a great book titled Creating Moments of Joy, by Jolene Brackey ©2007, Purdue University Press, West Lafayette, IN, which offers many practical yet simple suggestions for our interactions with persons with dementia.

Q. What happens if my aunt needs assistance in the middle of the night?
A. Emergency call systems are installed in the main living area and in the bathroom of each apartment to allow residents to summon assistance if and when it is needed. We know that many of our residents who have dementia don’t remember to use the emergency call system so our staff is constantly moving throughout the hallways at night to respond to nighttime needs.

Q. What happens if mom pulls the emergency cord – she doesn’t know what it is?
A. Our staff responds to all emergency cord signals. We know that residents with dementia are often not able to relate pulling the cord to calling a staff person. In your mother’s case, when we respond, we just shut off the signal and check on her and her surrounding area to be sure everything is OK.

Q. What happens in the case of an emergency in the building?
A. We conduct monthly emergency drills so that staff and residents can become acquainted with the emergency procedures. We do not expect our residents with dementia to retain this information, so staff is extra vigilant in assuring they know where residents are and know what degree of assistance will be needed if we do have a building emergency.

Q. My dad has become very inactive. What do you have that will get him up and going again?
A. We have a wide variety of activities. He may be interested in our Men’s Group or our daily exercise program. We will encourage him to attend activities that interest him and who knows—he may just take up a new hobby or two. Each assisted living home maintains their own activities calendar based on the interests of the residents; to view it online select the assisted living home of your choice and select the “Social Activities” link.

Q. I’m concerned my parents are not getting enough nutrition. Mom is easily distracted and doesn’t finish a meal and dad has become so picky I don’t know what he will eat from day to day. How can you ensure they eat enough to stay healthy?
A. You just described two of the most common meal time challenges that people with dementia face! Many times they are just not able to stay focused to eat a whole meal, or the plate of food is too confusing and so they just walk away. For others, they become very sensitive to textures and temperatures of food. Our staff is very practiced in the “try, try, try again” approach to helping our residents eat. We limit distractions during meals, provide additional staff support for those residents who lose their focus, offer “finger-friendly” food for those who may need to wander and truly just keep trying. It can be very challenging to satisfy the nutritional needs of persons with dementia, but our culinary and resident support staff makes meals and snacks a priority.

Q. My dad prides his independence, but needs to be monitored. Will you be respectful of his privacy?
A. Absolutely – even though a person has lost memory function, they still deserve as much respect and privacy as ever! To assure his well being, it may be important for your dad to be checked several times throughout the day – and the night. Staff will exercise great care to assure your dad feels his privacy is respected and he may not even realize how often we are “checking in!”

When someone has dementia they often feel out of control. They can’t “make sense” of the day and are often frustrated. We are very careful to help residents be in control of the aspects of their day that they are able to manage – and try to be as non-intrusive as possible when we have to check in and assist.

Q. Isn’t dementia care expensive?
A. The cost of residing in a dementia care home may seem like a lot of money at first glance. But a person with dementia needs safeguards in addition to assistance with the basic chores of daily living. For example they may need a secured environment with controlled or limited entry and exit so they do not wander outside alone and become lost; they may need a system to alert a care-giver that they are getting up from bed or sitting – especially if the person has balance issues; modifications to the dining program may be needed – to accommodate the persons increased caloric need, inability to feed themselves, decreased attention span which compromises the ability to focus on eating an entire meal, etc. 

When you consider the services provided for the fee and compare that to the cost of other living options, the true value of dementia care is easy to see. Our Terrace is staffed by individuals who truly enjoy assisting persons with dementia.  They have had additional training to help them understand the special needs of a resident with dementia, and be better able to meet the varied needs of each resident.

Our Living Expenses Cost Comparison Worksheet may be helpful for you to use to evaluate your personal situation.

Q. Does Medicare cover the cost of the monthly fee?
A. Medicare does not cover the cost of dementia care.

Q. What about health care insurance? Is there any help available to pay for it?
A. Health care insurance does not cover assisted living but many long-term care insurance policies do and some plans can be purchased into your 80s.

If you are a veteran, or the spouse or dependent of a veteran, you may qualify for certain financial supports through the Veteran’s Administration at 800-827-1000.

Life Settlements offer a unique opportunity to supplement your resources through the sale of a life insurance policy that may no longer be needed.

In some cases, the MI Choice Waiver Program may be available if a person meets certain level of care, income and asset eligibility requirements.

Q. Is assisted living tax deductible?
A. Under IRS guidelines, the entire cost of assisted living may be deductible. Refer to IRS Form 502 for more information and be sure to check with your accountant, financial planner or attorney.

Q. I seem to have so many questions. Do you have additional information I can review?
A. This is a big decision and your concerns are completely normal. We are happy to answer any questions that you may have about our home and the services that are available here. Feel free to contact your Administrator at the assisted living home of your choice who would be happy to answer your questions and talk to you about your concerns.

We also encourage you to check out our Helpful Resources section for additional help.

Q. If my mother needs Hospice services, will she have to move out of her apartment?
A. No. If a resident’s care and service needs change due to a terminal illness, Hospice services may be brought into the assisted living home to assist with the care needs. These services do not take the place of the care and services provided by the living center’s staff, but offer a supplement to help meet the end-of-life needs.

In addition to personal care, pain and comfort medications, counseling and chaplain services are available through a variety of hospice care agencies. It is our pleasure to work with a number of these agencies to assure the best end-of-life care possible to our resident and their family members.

Medicare, Medicaid and most private insurance plans pay for hospice care. As with any third-party payment source there are rules and conditions that must be met to qualify for payment.