That Is a Loaded Question.
And keeping mom home with dementia while possible may not be the best solution. Let’s take a look at a few things you need to know.
In the beginning stages of dementia staying in her own home may be a viable option. It is important however to make sure someone is keeping a close eye on her. Every dementia patient is different.
And The Disease Does Not Progress The Same In All People.
Your mom could be doing fine and then take a sudden turn for the worst practically overnight. Daily monitoring is a must. That means you, another family member or a hired caregiver must check in every day. Preferably several checks throughout the day would be advised.
Okay That Doesn’t Sound Too Hard
But what you need to take in mind is that this disease may go on for years. Are you prepared to be on call for years? This is not something one person can do. So unless you have a sibling willing to step up and help you will need to hire someone.
“I had no idea bringing in someone to help care for mom would cost so much money”, Jennifer cried.
“We really wanted to keep her at home, but Mom needs a lot of care right now. The dementia has progressed, and she is needing more assistance. We could easily spend $8000 to $14000 per month on caregivers alone!”
And That's Not All
And Mom would still need to pay for her medical insurance, medications, food and daily living essentials. Her home bills including utilities would still come due every month. Getting old was costly Jennifer surmised.
Medicare paid for her mother to go to a skilled nursing facility for 20 days to have some speech and occupational therapy after her stroke. Jennifer assumed they would pay for caregivers at home also. But she was surprised to discover that Medicare would not cover the cost of someone to help mom at home. Jennifer had to work and mom needed someone there around the clock.
Home Health Care
The social worker told her that Medicare would approve Home Health Care for her. But they are not going to stay with Mom around the clock. Home Health Care will come in a few times a week to provide services like therapy and a nurse to monitor her progress. Once their task is accomplished they are on their way to visit another patient.
Mom needed a caregiver to help her get dressed, go to the bathroom, cook meals and even help to feed her. She needed someone who could go to the grocery store and the pharmacy and take mom to the doctor. This kind of care is called private pay home care. That means the money comes out of your pocket. The going rate in Houston right now is $18 to $25 per hour. The more hours you contract for the lower the rate will go.
How Long Would Mom Need Care
Like most families in this kind of situation Jennifer did the math and realized mom would be broke soon at this rate. And the truth was nobody knew how long mom would live. Furthermore, she may need more care in the future.
Then a friend told Jennifer about small memory care homes in a residential neighborhood. The cost was much more affordable, and everything was covered. Not only did she get great care 24/7 but all of her meals were covered also. Jennifer was also able to rent mom’s home out to pay for part of her care. And Jennifer got to become the daughter again instead of the caregiver.
Smaller Is Better During a Pandemic
And during the COVID-19 Pandemic, these smaller homes were a good choice. In the large facilities, there are a lot of staff members coming and going. You have the kitchen staff, the business office, the maintenance department, and large care staff on top of that.
In a care home, you will usually have only a handful of caregivers (2 or 3 in the daytime and 1 or two in the evening. There may be a cook or the caregivers may also cook for the residents.) the owner and maybe a manager will also visit the home.
There is not a full kitchen staff or maintenance staff. Usually, the owners take care of the maintenance. Fewer people coming and going means less risk of someone bringing the illness into the community. While no facility can guarantee that you will not be exposed to this infection fewer staff members will lower your risk.
And at Light Heart Memory Care we take COVID-19 and any other infectious disease seriously. We follow all protocols that all assisted living facilities (no matter what size) must follow.
In honor of our founder Pat Mack, we are carrying on the tradition of caring for our residents in "The Light Heart Way"
to schedule a tour of Light Heart Memory Care.
And remember to have a light heart. Everything is going to be okay.