Your Estate Plan Should Include A Memory Care Option
The decision that an elderly person can no longer live alone safely usually stems from issues of dementia and memory impairment, rather than from limitations of physical health. It is possible to find workaround solutions that enable seniors to live independently in the face of one or more physical limitations. You can modify the physical space of your house by adding handrails, wheelchair ramps, shower benches, and chair lifts for the stairs; you can even build an additional bedroom and bathroom suite on the main floor. Home health aides can visit you several times per week, or even every day, to help with bathing, dressing, and meal preparation. It is harder, however, to make your home safe in the face of lapses in memory. People suffering from dementia sometimes leave home for an errand or a walk and get lost. Just as dangerously, they might leave the gas stove on overnight because they forgot to turn it off. Living with family members is the best protection in this case, but if there are no family members in town, or if they are overwhelmed with the responsibilities of caregiving for an elderly relative, a memory care facility could be the best option. To find out more about memory care facilities, contact a Washington DC estate planning lawyer.
What Is a Memory Care Facility?
Some memory care facilities are free-standing buildings, while others are designated sections of larger assisted living facilities. All senior living institutions, whether they are nursing homes or assisted living facilities, aim to enable residents to maintain the maximum level of independence that their health allows; the standard of care, as outlined in the legal regulations for these facilities, require this. (For example, if a resident can walk with assistance but not without assistance, staff members must help him or her walk, even though it would be faster to transport the resident by wheelchair; wheelchairs are only for residents who cannot walk with or without assistance.)
Memory care facilities are more like assisted living facilities than they are like nursing homes; residents have their own apartments, and staff members check on them but do not help with tasks such as dressing or laundry unless the residents request it. The difference is that memory care facilities provide residents with a predictable routine, with organized activities such as outdoor recreation and communal meals. The facilities are designed to prevent wandering; outdoor areas are enclosed, and the doors to the outside of the facility have alarms that will ring unless an employee opens them with an access card. You can pay for a room in a memory care facility out of your own assets or through long-term care insurance.
Contact Tobin O’Connor Ewing About Memory Care and Other Senior Housing Options
A Washington, D.C. estate planning lawyer can help you find a way to pay for memory care in the event that you need it and choose the most appropriate memory care facility. Contact Tobin, O’Connor & Ewing for help.