Making the decision to move a family member with Alzheimer's disease or dementia, to a memory care residence is never easy.
If you are at that crossroad, it's because you are no longer able to keep your loved one healthy and safe at home. That can be hard to accept, but caring for a loved one with Alzheimer's or some other form of dementia can become extraordinarily difficult as the disease progresses.
Episodes of wandering, agitation, aggression and the risk of falls and other accidents may be escalating. Your loved one's health needs may be beyond the scope of your ability to manage. Your own health may be at risk from the stressors of being a full-time caregiver. If it's time to look into assisted-living communities another part of your caregiving journey begins.
Choosing an assisted-living residence that you’re comfortable with can be a daunting and emotional experience. Will your loved ones be safe? Will they be looked after carefully and lovingly - as you’ve looked after them? How can you be sure?
How will you determine what resources are in place to ensure that residents receive the care they require?
alz.org provides a checklist for families seeking excellence in memory care residences. The list includes questions to ask of residence administrators and identifies quality indicators that include the following:
- Staff training and training updates.
- Ratios of care staff to resident population night and day.
- The design of residence should include both safety features and free space for strolling freely indoors and out.
- A nutritious variety of good tasting food.
- A schedule of stimulating activities and social events.
- Fitness program overseen by a physical therapist.
- Slip-proof flooring in all areas.
- Separate, secure residential environment.
- 24-hour emergency call systems (health and safety monitoring system) to alert staff to residents wandering, falls, rising throughout the night and personal care needs.
- Caring assistance with daily needs, including dressing, grooming, bathing, and personal assistance.
- On-site Physicians Centre with visiting physicians.
- Medication management administered by registered nurses.
- Housekeeping and laundry services.
Families seeking memory care residences are concerned most about the comfort, health, and safety of loved ones. Patients with Alzheimer's or dementia are prone to wandering and falls, and can be aggressive or affected by the temperament and behaviors of other residents. How do staff stay alert to what is happening with their patients?
How will staff know when a patient is experiencing agitation, wandering, incontinence, or has fallen?
Technology is the answer.
Monitoring and call systems have progressed significantly beyond the patient "call button" attached to each bed in a room. Today's technology allows staff to monitor every aspect of a patient's care. An excellent memory care residence will utilize the best technology available to help monitor each resident's movements 24 hours a day. The most innovative technology is the Vigil System.
The Vigil Integrated Care Management System,™ includes emergency call, nurse call, wireless call, fall management, wander management, perimeter monitoring, and a non-invasive monitoring system for residents with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.
Residents with memory impairment or dementia are typically unable to use traditional call systems, meaning they are not able to request help when they need it or may use the system inappropriately leading to unnecessary calls. These residents may also be at higher risk for wandering, falls or other behaviors that require more sophisticated monitoring.
The Vigil Memory Care System uses passive sensors and advanced software to ensure resident safety while respecting the privacy and dignity of the resident. The Vigil Memory Care System differs from other motion sensor based systems due to the smart software that only calls staff when a resident is outside his or her safe behavior pattern and not every time they move. Communities using the Vigil Memory Care system experience improved quality of care, operational efficiencies, and better risk management.
Individuals with dementia or Alzheimer’s enjoy the security of knowing that someone will respond to their needs promptly and efficiently.
Each Vigil System also includes Vigil® Reports, that helps staff identify patient trends and requirements, efficiently allocate staff, and improve fall and incontinence management.
With the Vigil System in place, families and residents can feel secure in the knowledge that caregiving staff is alert to resident activities 24 hours a day ensuring each patient's health, safety, and comfort.