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Concerns & Advice: Memory Care and the Circle of Life

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Welcome to our new Concerns & Advice series. While in this series we will feature some of the New LifeStyles family, personal stories in senior living and give advice and suggestions on the topic. Join us next week for advice on loved ones and memory care.


As someone who has almost 20 years of experience in the senior housing and care industry, I can tell you first hand how life really does come full circle. As parents, we do everything we can to nurture and prepare our children for life in the real world. 

As children grow into adulthood and have families of their own, it is not until that point that they come to realize all of the sacrifices that their parents made for them all along the way.

As a child with two aging parents and a parent of a college freshman and a high school junior, I can relate to both sides. I never fully appreciated everything my Mom and Dad did for me until I had kids of my own. At this point, I don’t know if my children truly appreciate everything that has been done for them or not, but I know that time will come.

It is very ironic that as a young person, you never envision taking care of your parents one day. Then life comes full circle and we attempt to repay them for everything they have done for us by doing everything we can do now to take care of them.

My mom and dad are into their mid – 70’s and still live at home and have a fairly active lifestyle. Unfortunately, my Dad has been diagnosed with early onset memory care issues. He takes a pill every day that helps delay this terrible disease, but it will only be a matter of time (hopefully a long time) before he and my mom will begin suffering with more difficult dementia related issues.

Being involved in this industry, I have seen just how devastating Alzheimer’s can be to a family and in particular to the primary caregiver or in our situation my mom. My hope is that she maintains her health and stays active because I know that she could be in for a very difficult journey.

It is comforting to know that she won’t be taking that journey alone and that she can count on her children just like we counted on our parents every day for so many years.

Board and Care or Traditional Assisted Living?

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In the search for Assisted Living, many people do not know that there are several options available to them. In addition to the standard Assisted Living Communities, there is also an increasing amount of Board and Care Homes that provide many of the same services. There are several differences between the two.  Board and Care Homes ( also known as residential care facilities), are licensed for anywhere between 3 and 6 beds and are located in residential neighborhoods. Many people enjoy the warmth and smaller feeling these homes afford. One of the real benefits for this particular setup is the client to caregiver ratio. It tends to be higher than that of your typical Assisted Living Community.

One thing that the Board and Care Homes don’t provide are some of the nicer amenities that come with the standard Assisted Living Communities. Entertainment, transportation and hair salons are just some of the perks that can be found at these communities. In terms of affordability, Board and Care Homes are usually a little less expensive than their bigger counterparts.
 
Both of these alternatives provide the same basic Assisted Living services – assistance with bathing, dressing and medication. They just provide them on different levels. Board and Care Homes provide these services in a smaller, cozier environment while your traditional Assisted Living Communities tend to do things on a grander scale. Different strokes for different folks.