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  • Writer's picturePam

What Happens If You Have A Change In Mental Status While Living In An Assisted Living Facility?

When deciding on what type of care a loved one needs, it is crucial to consider future needs. It is tough to move older adults from one facility to another. It can cause mental challenges and a great deal of stress adjusting to new surroundings at that age. The best situation for most people is choosing a place with assisted living, skilled nursing, and memory care. This way, you can move within based on your changing needs.

One of the things that can be difficult is when a person lives in an assisted living that does not offer memory care, but a loved one has had some memory decline considered normal with age. Many facilities will continue care as long as they can because they do not want to lose the income of that resident. They will accept it longer if they pay regularly and have a steady income to spend. They will accept it for a shorter period if the person causes issues and does not have as much income or pay on time, etc.

The training in some facilities to handle memory issues is not good enough. It needs to be much more extensive so that the nurses and caregivers can work with the memory decline instead of against it, which causes more difficult situations for everyone. I know someone in a senior facility with a floor for higher assisted level care. She is 99 years old and was mentally sharp until maybe the past few months. The decline in hearing and cognitive ability has been much more significant. At this stage, does the facility ask her to move? Should the family have to move someone at this age?

The nursing staff is frustrated and doesn't always treat her well, and some of that is the lack of help they have and their training in handling memory decline. When people tell you they do not want to do something, it is often best to try to listent to them unless it endangers their health or safety. Giving seniors more control helps keep them calm. My Aunt swore that a jacket in her apartment was not hers, and she wanted someone to take it. Some of us thought it was hers. There was some back and forth about it with her. What would be best in this situation is to agree with her and take the jacket away. This way, she feels like she got that issue handled. To argue with her only increases her anger and stress and makes her more defensive. I see that many of the nurses do too much of this. They do not know how to work with the mental decline and instead make it worse by bossing them around to do things or telling them they are wrong about something. They also will lie about things that happen to blame the person with the memory issue to avoid getting in trouble for their own poor care of the person.

When choosing a facility, ask many questions about the care levels and what happens with decline or changes in mental status. Ask what type of training the nurses and caregivers are given to handle working with the elderly and those in decline. Whatever you decide is best for your loved one is up to you, but be informed to understand what is ahead if and when things change.

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