If you’re caring for a loved one living with dementia, there may come a time when you think to yourself, “I’m not sure I can do this anymore.”
Family caregivers often feel guilty about even considering exploring senior living options for a loved one. Maybe you think you have failed in your duty to care for them (you haven’t). Or perhaps you think your parents will be miserable (they won’t be).
Even if you’re able to cope with the guilt, you might also feel hesitant due to things you’ve heard or misconceptions you have about memory care. Maybe you’re worried that most memory care communities are filled with sedated residents and uncaring staff or that residents surrender their decision-making rights and independence.
In reality, memory care communities are wonderful environments where seniors can lead meaningful and enjoyable lives — and you can experience peace of mind.
But don’t take our word for it.
In this blog, you’ll hear from four family caregivers whose loved ones live in a Highgate memory care community. And the reasons they love our person-centered approach to memory care are as varied and individual as their loved ones. Here are their stories.
“It was like one big family.”
Bernadine started noticing changes in her husband, Eric, shortly after his Alzheimer’s diagnosis. “He couldn’t sign anything. He couldn't seem to connect that it was important for his signature to be there,” Bernadine says. “We continued with the caregiving. But I worried what would happen if he left the house and got lost.”
When Bernadine started to experience some health complications of her own, she knew she needed help. She took some dementia caregiving classes at Highgate at Temecula and knew she’d found Eric’s next home.
“The attitude of the staff — of all of the people we met. They were like friends already,” she says. “I watched how they interacted with each other. It was like one big family. Watching how the staff interacted with the residents — sometimes I wasn’t sure who was a staff member and who was a resident. I watched how they treated people and how they talked to the residents. It was different from every other community we toured. They practiced what I saw in the education; it wasn’t just for show.”
How is Eric doing now? “Not long ago he pointed to the apartment and said: ‘That’s our house. We own two houses now,’” recalls Bernadine. “That means to me he’s here. This is home. When I get ready to leave, I’ll kiss him goodbye. I don’t have to be careful anymore about saying I’m leaving. Now I can say I’m leaving and he’ll say, ‘Drive carefully.’”
Read more about Bernadine’s personal experience with finding the right memory care community for her husband on our blog, “Eric’s Story.”
“They make him feel really good.”
Sofia, whose son-in-law John lives with Alzheimer’s, also took a memory care caregiving seminar offered by Highgate at Temecula. The seminar offered dementia education for family caregivers and provided information about Highgate’s Positive Approach to Care, a program built around training by Teepa Snow, a leading Alzheimer’s and dementia expert in the senior living industry. Sofia liked what she learned, so she came back with her daughter, Linda, and John moved in shortly thereafter.
Since John moved into Highgate, Sofia has seen a positive change in both John and Linda. Linda isn’t burned out anymore, constantly worrying about her and John’s safety, and John likes it, too. “They make him feel really good,” Sofia says.
Read more about how Sofia and her daughter chose Highgate Senior Living on our blog, “Sofia’s Story: Finding the Right Memory Care for Her Son-in-Law.”
“Now I can just be the daughter again, not the caregiver.”
As her parents’ primary caregiver, Lisa struggled with the decision to move her dad into a memory care community, feeling like she was the only one who could take care of her dad properly. But when she met with the team at Highgate at Great Falls, she felt confident in their care and compassion.
“I kept throwing little zingers out there. I’d say, ‘But Jessica, he has sundowners.’ She’d reply, ‘Oh, we can take care of that.’ Then I’d go, ‘Well, he has a catheter.’ And she said, ‘We can handle that,’” Lisa recalls. “Anything I could come up with, she had an answer for.”
So her dad moved into a companion suite in the memory care community. “We have no regrets about moving Dad to Highgate Senior Living,” she says. “I can say I have no guilt about that decision, either. Now, I can just be the daughter again, not the caregiver.”
Read more about how Lisa, her siblings, and her dad navigated the search for the right memory care community in our blog, “Finding the Right Memory Care Community for Dad.”
“Highgate was the only place that cared about couples.”
When Fred’s wife, Penny, was diagnosed with dementia, he began looking for a senior living community that would accommodate them both. With both assisted living and memory care available, Highgate allows couples to either live together in the same suite or be just a short walk away from each other regardless of care needs thanks to its Couples Care program.
“When we were searching for senior living communities, Highgate at Temecula was the only place that cared about couples care,” says their daughter Cindy.
Moving to Highgate at Temecula allowed Fred to share the caregiver responsibilities with team members while also making new friends and enjoying activities he didn’t previously have the time for. “Highgate has truly provided excellent support and resources for us and our dad,” Cindy says. “They’ve done such a great job caring for Mom and providing extra support for our dad, as needed. We feel a personal connection with the team members at Highgate. We’re just so grateful for them.”
Read more about how Couples Care at Highgate helped keep Fred and Penny together in our blog, “Couples Care at Highgate at Temecula Keeps Couples Together, Even When the Diagnosis is Dementia.”
A Positive Approach to Memory Care
Highgate’s person-centered approach to memory care has given many families peace of mind and many seniors a second chance at life. To read more stories from families about how memory care at Highgate helped their loved one live a positive life, download our eBook How Highgate Senior Living’s Person-centered Care Approach Helped My Parents Live a Positive Life.