Committed to Caring for Those Dealing with Dementia
By Noel Smith
When you first enter the Westwind Community you are impressed by the openness and the calming colors that surround you. This is a place that is designed to take away the darkness, clutter and confusion from the minds of its residents as its staff provides the helpful assurance to provide a safe and comfortable lifestyle.
The many forms of dementia that are found in our society today take away the ability of the affected individual to deal with everyday life without help and assistance even when their bodies are still fully functional.
Dementia is a general term for loss of memory and other mental abilities severe enough to interfere with daily life. When that happens, it falls on those responsible, usually the family, to take care of the physical, medical and emotional needs of that person. As many of these caregivers and families have found out, as dementia progresses what was once an occasional reminder or helpful task becomes a fulltime commitment of care.
There are many forms and causes of dementia. It may be a sudden onset of dementia because of an accident, stroke or surgery. Alzheimer’s and Lewy bodies are the most commonly known dementia. Many with Parkinson’s Disease also have dementia as a side effect. It could be the result of drug and/or alcohol misuse or vascular dementia that deprives brain cells of vital oxygen and nutrients. No matter the cause, the results are similar, the inability of the mind to remember, to communicate and to make rational decisions in daily life.
For those caregivers who need a short or long term stay for a well-deserved rest, to take a vacation, to go away on business, or a few days to recover from an illness or injury, Westwind Memory Care offers respite care. This can also be a perfect time for those wishing to have a trial stay to experience Westwind’s staff and neighbors before making a final decision to join their community.
Westwind offers both private and companion suites all with private bathrooms. The community offers services and activities of daily living designed to support older adults dealing with dementia. Activities are designed to meet the needs of each resident’s interests and abilities. Daily routines are designed to promote cognitive, sensory, creative – with activities such as art programs or music – and physical skills along with social interactions with other residents and staff. Westwind endeavors to find their residents a way to feel useful and vital, to enjoy and get the most out of their lives.
The program is designed to support life skills to enhance each resident’s ability for self-care encouraging individual activities such as setting the table, folding laundry, and arranging flowers. Meals are also an important experience at Westwind both socially and nutritionally offering seasonal, nutritionally balanced menu’s that include fresh green salads, vegetables, desserts, and more.
The financial resources needed for this level of care are for most a concern. When the caregiver considers the cost of providing a home, the individual care, the time involved and maintaining the quality of life for both themselves and the one they are caring for, it’s a huge personal and financial responsibility. However, there are resources that do make Westwind a reasonable choice.
- Veterans Affairs offers financial aid for veterans and spouses, which may include memory, care communities. The support can be significant for those who qualify. To learn more about how the program might benefit you or your family member, visit www.veteranaid.org.
- Long Term Care Insurance can cover a portion of a resident’s stay in a memory care community. The Westwind staff can help identify coverage under your existing insurance policy and will help fill out the necessary forms and will work with your insurance provider, to assist you in receiving your benefits.
- Reverse Mortgages is a loan that is available to persons aged 62 or more to put home equity to work. Repayment for couples is deferred as long as one person still occupies the home, the home is sold, or the owner/occupant moves out. For more information contact the AARP
There are other financial resources that the Westwind staff can help you identify to make it possible for those in need to become part of the memory care community.
Be sure to visit Westwind Memory Care, “a community of caring built on our commitment to respect and dignity,” 160 Jewell Street, Santa Cruz, California 95060. Tel# 831-421-9100. Website: http://www.westwindmemorycare.com