When Memory Care Is the Right Move

Douglas Tucker of Vista Del Monte Explains Dementia-Related Services

Vista del Monte’s Carolina Dorado leads a memory care class using drums. | Credit: Paul Wellman

A veteran of the health-care industry for more than 28 years, Douglas Tucker is the executive director of Vista del Monte, which opened a new memory care facility June 3. He answered some questions about the services.

Why should people consider choosing a memory care facility?  A good memory care community is designed to provide peace of mind for families and caregivers, but more importantly to enhance the quality of life for those with dementia. All too often, families wait until there is a true need to find a qualified memory care community.

If a loved one has dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, the best practice is to look for a memory care community early on and get on a waiting list. This way, when the family and resident are ready for move-in, they do not have to scramble.

The number-one reason for choosing to place a loved one in a memory care community is for the safety of the resident. A good memory care community is designed with safety features and staff training to help residents achieve an engaging and life-enriching safe environment for those they care for.

What your facility’s strategy?  Our philosophy is simple: to develop trust, collaboration, and focus on details to create a plan of care that centers on the resident. We look for ways to engage with resident challenges without the use of medication as a primary means of care.

What are common challenges for your team?  Helping resident families adjust to the changes in their loved one’s cognitive status. We look at our loved ones as we have throughout our lives, but residents with dementia tend to change in how they recognize and engage with loved ones and their environment. Asking what may have been considered a simple question can create frustration and confusion. Our program focuses on helping families understand the process and helping them to interact with their loved ones in a meaningful way.

How should we know when it’s time for memory care?  There are safety considerations, such as finding the oven on with no one around, getting lost in familiar places, and not using objects properly, such as knives or electrical devices. Then there is frequently forgetting appointments, names of friends and loved ones, forgetting to pay bills or overpaying bills. We see that this leads to social isolation as persons with dementia know what is happening and try to compensate. Finally, an increase in agitation, frustration, and mood swings. People with dementia tend to become frustrated as simple tasks become more challenging and habits break, leading to mood swings and emotional outbursts.

See vistadelmonte.org.

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