Is Now the Time to Move a Loved One to Memory Care?

At The Moments, we understand the intensely protective feelings that families have for their vulnerable seniors. The decision to place a loved one in a memory care community is difficult at the best of times. Now with news of COVID-19 outbreaks in nursing homes, weighing the pros and cons of moving a spouse or parent with dementia can feel overwhelming. 

You want the very best for your loved one, and so do the team members at our memory care community in Lakeville. In light of coronavirus concerns, the medical team at The Moments, under nursing director Tracey Fearon, offers this guidance for families who are trying to make the decision right now about moving a family member. 

Everyone's Safety

Safety is the primary reason families choose long-term care. Consider whether a home setting or a stringently managed long-term care setting can provide a heightened level of safety. Consider also the timeframe for doing so. Minnesotans will shelter in place until at least early May before they begin returning to daily life. But without a vaccine, vulnerable people will remain vulnerable for months, perhaps even a year or more. Heightened protection for your loved one will need to continue.  


Physical Distancing

People are contagious before they show symptoms, which is why physical distancing has been ordered by Minnesota Governor Walz

  • Are there family members in your home who are leaving for work or shopping? 
  • Are family members who leave home wearing masks? If not, will they wear masks when they are at home? Is everyone washing their hands frequently?
  • Are you able to physically distance them from your spouse or parent? How will that affect the quality of life of your loved one? 
  • Can you set up more home delivery so you can avoid leaving the house? 
  • How long can your household manage physical distancing?
Disinfection Measures
  • Do you have the time and ability in your home setting to diligently disinfect items that enter your house?
  • If there are people leaving home, will you be able to disinfect all high-touch surfaces several times a day, and wash their clothing more often? Do you have the time to do more extensive daily cleaning?
Separate Facilities in Case of Illness

If someone else in your household became ill, do you have the ability to completely separate them from your elder?

  • Can you disinfect the things they used and the rooms they were in – or close those spaces off for 7 days? 
  • Do you have a separate bathroom facility for your elder?
Contingent Care Plan

Any caregiver needs a backup plan.

  • Are there others in your home who could provide care if the primary caregiver becomes ill?
  • Is there another location where you could send your elder if your home was no longer safe? Perhaps the home of a sibling or adult child? Does that location have the kind of aging-in-place tools your elder needs? Will that person provide short-term care? 
two nurses wearing masks
Managing Family Stress

Families choose long-term care communities like The Moments because they believe a team approach will better meet their loved one’s needs. That situation probably has not changed but perhaps you feel you and your family can make more sacrifices now because of the COVID crisis.  

Think realistically about how your family is handling the stress of living through a pandemic. 

  • Will you be able to balance the additional work of children who are out of school, as well as the needs of a parent?
  • What would be a sign to you that you can no longer manage? What can you change when you reach that point? 
  • Is the emotional stress your family is experiencing now affecting your elder’s behavior – making him or her more needy or confused?
  • Do you have a strong support system to help you manage these new challenges? What can you do to create one?
Meeting Your Loved One's Needs

If you were considering moving your family member to long-term care, it was probably because you felt you could no longer meet their personal care and medical needs the way that you would like. You believed that specially trained staff, working around the clock, could do a better job. 

That situation likely hasn’t changed. So factor your answers to these questions into your decision-making process:

  • Can you safely assist your loved one with all of his/her daily personal care needs, such as hand washing, toileting, eating, taking medications, getting in and out of bed?
  • Are you able to prevent your loved one from wandering away or engaging in some other dangerous behavior? 
  • Can you manage your loved one’s medications? Is there someone else who can help you?

After reviewing these questions, you may decide you aren’t yet ready to make a change and that with support and commitment you can delay that decision awhile longer. 

Or you may decide that a healthcare team whose health is screened daily, with a COVID-trained housekeeping staff, a locked down facility, and the ability to quarantine in  private suites offers a higher level of protection for your loved one. 

We support you in seeking the best for your family member. We want you to know that The Moments will be here when you need us.

If you would like to talk, to learn more about how The Moments is keeping current and new residents safe, call to discuss if The Moments could be the right solution for your loved one, or to schedule a virtual tour please contact us.

April 30, 2020

Author: The Moments Memory Care Team

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Letter from founder, Elizabeth Wright regarding The Moments Campus will remain closed until at least May 4th

Building Hand-Washing Habits for Those Living with Dementia

Something as simple as hand-washing can make a big difference when it comes to good health. It can be harder for people living with a form of dementia to remember to wash their hands, and to do so thoroughly. At The Moments, our staff use a variety of sensory and other techniques to reinforce this important health habit. Whether you are caretaking or visiting a loved one, you can encourage good hand hygiene.

Create Opportunities to Practice Hand Washing

Most of us don’t get our hands very dirty during the day so the need to wash our hands isn’t as obvious. Look for ways to create a need to wash hands, for example:

  • Food preparation like kneading bread, rolling cookie dough or meatballs, or shucking corn
  • Craft projects with paint or glue almost always need clean-up
  • Getting hands in the dirt planting seeds or flowers

Role Modeling and Doing It Together

You may have been helping your loved one with hand washing already. Now is the time to work on improving their technique. Invite them to do it with you.

  • Verbalize turning on the water first. Let the water get warm or cool so it’s comfortable and even enjoyable. Then wet your hands up to the wrist.
  • Lather up! It should be a visible lather. Any liquid or bar soap will do but why not use a favorite scented soap?
  • You need friction. Demonstrate rubbing your hands all over, including between the fingers, over the wrists, the nails and fingertips. You could even describe it as a hand massage.
  • Encourage at least 20 seconds of washing by singing the chorus of a favorite song. Everyone can sing “Happy Birthday” two times through, but how about the chorus of some old familiar songs:
    – “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” by Judy Garland
    – “Hey Good Lookin’,” by Hank Williams
    – “Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree,” by the Andrew Sisters
    – “Stop! In the Name of Love,” by the Supremes
    – “Jolene,” by Dolly Parton
  • Now rinse and dry thoroughly.

Hand Sanitizer How-To’s

If hands are actually dirty, you will need soap and water. But an alcohol-based hand sanitizer is perfectly fine to use throughout the day, especially for blowing the nose, coughing or sneezing. For some people living with dementia, hand sanitizer can pose a danger because it is toxic if ingested. At The Moments, we keep hand sanitizer at the reception desk and at the nursing stations. Staff can put it on their own hands and on the hands of a resident.

Provide Visual Cues for Hand Washing

Many people grew up with hygiene routines. Even as their cognitive abilities fade, they may well remember mother’s admonition to “Wash your hands and face before you get in bed.” Visible, eye-catching signage on the bathroom mirror, on the fridge or by the kitchen sink, can provide a reminder that reinforces hand-washing routines:

  • Before making or handling food
  • Before eating
  • After using the bathroom

Calm repetition is key to creating the positive associations that make hand-washing a habit.

The Moments is conducting informational video calls and virtual tours for new residents. Please complete a request using our virtual visit form.