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week-in-reviewHaving spent the last two days in bed slathered with Vicks and sleeping in a Nyquil-induced haze, I’m starting to feel human again. What a miserable couple of days it’s been.

I guess I feel like I’ve been a little out of sorts since the Frontline piece on Emeritus aired; it brought back memories I’d rather forget. And yes, years later, I’m still so angry at myself for trusting the staff at Outlook Manor the way I did. How I hope Mom knows I did the best I could at the time with the knowledge I had. There are no second chances in matters like this, but the opportunity remains to educate people so they won’t make the same mistakes… at least that’s something.

What in the World is Dementiaville?

This week on Alzheimer.net, I did a piece about Hogewey Village (aka Dementiaville) in the Netherlands. How wonderful it would be to imagine that someday, care like this could be available all over the world. Right now, the biggest barrier to adoption is one we’re all too familiar with – cost. It took a cool $25 million-plus to build Hogewey, not to mention the astronomical cost of running it.

Still, it’s not something we should immediately dismiss as impossible. Perhaps there are aspects of this model that can be repeated on a less grand, but still effective, scale. The current model in the U.S. is in large part not working, and it’s our responsibility to figure out how best to take care of those who took care of us for so many years.

Dementia Dogs

Monday’s Caregivers post introduced readers to Kaspa and Oscar. These two dogs from Scotland have been specially trained to provide assistance to dementia patients, and the results have been overwhelmingly positive. In addition to helping with prompts,  reminders, companionship, and exercise, they also have a knack for sensing when a period of agitation is coming on, and they can often redirect their owner before things escalate.

Is It Time to Consider Assisted Living?

Also this week, I did a post on Caregivers calling out 8 signs that may indicate it’s time to start thinking about assisted living. Making that decision is one of the most gut wrenching things we’ll ever face, and when the time comes, it’s much easier to stick your head in the sand than face reality. Ask me how I know…

I hope that perhaps this list will allow you to step back and evaluate things a bit more objectively. The decision is extremely personal, and no two families or situations are the same.

Until You’ve Walked in Their Shoes….

Last but not least, this week I’ve seen several extremely harsh comments concerning placement in assisted living. I want to stress that, for a variety of reasons, not everyone is able to take care of loved ones at home. I find it terribly unfair to suggest that placing a spouse or parent in a care facility means they are loved any less. That is simply ludicrous. We must all do what’s best in our own situations.

Bottom line, never judge another until you’ve walked in their shoes. Although I do believe the system very much broken, there are without question some wonderful facilities that provide loving, compassionate care. Planning ahead is the best way to ensure adequate time for the due diligence necessary to find the right option for your family.