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Most caregivers don’t realize that there are more living options available than throwing your loved one in a nursing home.

There are several different living options — all catered to the specific needs of each individual battling dementia. Not only does this increase their overall quality of life, but it can make caregiving more manageable for you.

In this episode, I’m joined by Patty Williams, co-owner of Ruby Care, to discuss all the various living options and how each one is tailored to specific needs your loved one needs.

Here Are The Show Highlights:

  • What caregivers don’t realize about putting their loved ones in a senior community that can help them prosper despite their disease (3:57)
  • How to pinpoint when you should consider putting a loved one in a senior community (4:30)
  • The trick for telling the difference between fake dementia and real dementia (6:14)
  • Why sending your loved ones into a nursing home isn’t your only option despite what most doctors tell you (8:29)
  • How you’re unintentionally limiting the care options for your loved ones with Alzheimer’s (10:48)
  • The magic “R-word” that instantly enhances the quality of life in your loved ones with dementia (12:39)
  • The easy way to help your loved ones transition to a new living situation (14:24)

For more resources on all of the living options available for those with dementia, visit https://www.rubycaresenior.com/. To speak with Patty directly about the best economical choice for you, give her a call at 817-995-1001.

You can also find additional support and resources by calling Home Care Assistance at 817-349-7599 or visit our websites https://www.homecareassistancefortworth.com/ and https://itsmyturntocare.com/.

Read Full Transcript

Welcome to It’s my turn to care, we know the challenges you face caring for someone with dementia. That's why each week we bring you tips, strategies, and most of all, support as you navigate your role as caregiver. Let's get started [00:15.6]

Dave: Thank you for turning into, It’s my turn to care: Secrets for the Dementia Caregiver. This is Dave Parks certified senior advisor and owner of Home Care Assistance and your host. It's my privilege to have one of my favorite people in the industry, Patty Williams on our show today, Patty is co-owner of Ruby Care, which is a free service for folks looking for senior living options. Patty's been in the healthcare industry serving hospitals and large medical practices for the last 20 years. She's also cared for her own family members who have suffered from dementia. So welcome Patty. [01:01.5]

Patty: Thank you. Thank you for having me.

Dave: It’s great to have you.

Patty: Yeah, thanks for having me and wow, what a relevant topic. I'm so glad that you are doing this podcasts. This is really.

Dave: Yeah, I'm excited. So tell us a little bit about Ruby Care and how you guys got started.

Patty: Well, my business partner, Joyce Logan and I started the company about four years ago because Ruby, Joyce's mother-in-law was actually suffering from dementia and the things that go along with that, she was living alone and needed more care. And so Joyce was placing her and found out how difficult it is to do that on your own and without a lot of resources. So she called me and said, what if we do this as a company and really try to help people more you know a concierge type style one-on-one. So that's what we do. [01:50.2]

Dave: So as our listeners know, home care systems, we take care of people in the home and then you help them find if they want to move into a senior living property or community. So we actually refer business a lot to each other because some of my clients end up moving into senior living and then you may talk to a client that wants to stay at home. So one of the things I have found is that the only thing that's common about our industry is that every situation is unique. And so that's why we can work together real well in that regards, so.
Patty: That is so true.

Dave: So tell me why would someone consider working with someone like yourself and Ruby Care? [02:34.0]

Patty: Well first of all, we are a free service. We sort of act like apartment locators for seniors is what I say. But we help folks, we act as their advocate and we really help them narrow down the over 900 communities that are in the metroplex. So we look at people's health, need, their budget, their geographic location, and then also the amenities that they're looking for. And so we really help narrow down those communities are and, and if they are a good fit. We're really looking for that perfect fit for our client, based on all those things I just mentioned. And I wanted to mention what you just said about people wanting to stay in their homes or people wanting to go to a community; sometimes we even have folks that are in communities, but we'll bring in folks like yourself.

Dave: Hmm…hmm.

Patty: To act as caregivers for our loved ones that are in the communities, to be a guide for them as they're adjusting to the community. Maybe they have a caregiver that they've been using for a long time and that's a trusted familiar face. So we'll have them come and keep that service while they're adjusting while they're getting acclimated. And we have found that to be a huge success for our residents that are moving into senior communities. So I do recommend that as well. [03:51.1]

Dave: Yeah. So one of the things we try to do on this show is give people kind of secrets of the industry and a lot of people don't realize that you can be in a senior community and also have home care. So I'm glad you brought that up. So talk a little bit about how does a family know, kind of when it's time to consider a senior living community? Cause we hear that all the time. Like, when do I know or my family member was just diagnosed with something or, so we really need to try to help folks think through what the next step should be. [04:30.0]

Patty: Hmm…hmm. Well, like you said, every situation is different and pretty much the earlier the better. In every situation we constantly are hearing from folks, Oh I wish I would have done this a year ago or I wish I would have started this process six months ago. We saw this in my mom, you know, two years ago, but we were ignoring it or you know, not addressing it. And so I think that's really the best thing to do is to be just as early as you can start for a year now what your contingency plan is going to be. But there are definitely some signs that you can spot folks that are still driving. You might notice that your loved one is not able to find that same path any longer. I just had a client who the other day their father picked up someone at the airport and he wasn't able to get home and he called her and was in a panic. And she talked him through how to get back. [05:29.2]

Also, if you notice that medications aren't being taken properly or maybe there's some things going on in the home where you know your grandmother who used to make her bed every day has now stopped doing that. Or maybe you're noticing your grandfather has stopped shaving things that you know, personal grooming, kind of those types of things that you're noticing. A lot of times these things are when you haven't seen your loved one for a while, maybe you live out of town and then you come home for a holiday and you're noticing things that have changed. Those are good times to go with your loved one to the doctor if you can and talk to them about what is happening with your loved one. It could just be that there's something going on with their medication or maybe they're not hydrated or they have a UTI. There could be lots of things that sort of mimic dementia, but it could be an underlying health condition that we really need to get addressed and maybe there is further development of their dementia. [06:33.2]

Dave: And I think a lot of what we kind of bring to the table, folks that have been like yourself in the industry for a while and myself is sitting down with a client and their family and then we can kind of give them an idea what makes sense as far as it's time to move into a community. Is it time to get care in the home or in some cases if you recall, you and I met with a client not too long ago and really we told him that, that we were impressed that they were planning ahead, but what we saw was they really that need help right now.

Patty: Hmm…hmm.

Dave: And so that gives families kind of a sense of comfort that they're at least they're asking the right questions and doing the right things. So, so someone, let's say they're doing the exploring and they do have they have been, let's say officially diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease and that can be devastating news. And a lot of the questions, you know, a lot of the comments we hear is, okay, so what do I do now? Right? I got this diagnosis and maybe that's coming from the client, a lot of times it's coming from the loved one. So what are some of the things they should consider? Do I need to live home? Do I need independent living? Do I need assisted living? Do I need memory care? Maybe you can give a kind of a brief kind of distinction between those things. [07:58.2]

Patty: Well, it's interesting because sometimes your family members will go to the doctor and you'll hear that the dementia diagnosis and then they'll say, well you should start looking for nursing homes. And so to the doctor, nursing home means anything senior living in some cases. And so what we find a lot of times is that doctors aren't necessarily educated on really what's out there. They talk about that the assisted livings are really the nursing homes of the 70s like the cruise ships on land, they call them. But there are so many different nuances to senior living and that's why I think that's what Joyce and I are really good at is just listening to the client and hearing what they're, what's important to them. Somebody could live in independent living with some sevices, services like yours, if the community doesn't offer that or maybe the community does offer. [08:52.5]

I have a client I'm working with right now, she lives at home in an apartment, but it's not a senior apartments. She's going to move into independent living and she's going to use some of their services showering three days a week and she's going to be able to get along like that for a while. Now she does have early stages of dementia that it hasn't been diagnosed as Alzheimer's, but she certainly does have some signs of dementia and her family's aware of that. She's not going to drive anymore when she moves to this new community. Maybe somebody just needs, you know, some assisted living. So they need meals and they need some care, but not just the full care that maybe a memory care would provide. So it really depends. And it, some of it does depend on budget because you know, if you're looking at full 24 hour care in a skilled nursing facility versus independent living, those costs are going to be drastically different. [09:48.7]

So we really try to identify what do they need care for right now and you know, what does that look like they're going to grow into? And then also what budget constraints do they have and we try to match that. A residential care home is sometimes a perfect fit for someone with Alzheimer's dementia because it's a lower caregiver to resident ratio.

David: Hmm…hmm.

Patty: And they have activities there, they have meals, they have things that the resident can do, but yet they're getting more one-on-one care so that can keep them out of a nursing home situation and can be more individualized care. [10:27.8]

Dave: So certainly what I hear you saying is really kind of think about what you're gonna do before you really need it. Right.

Patty: Absolutely.

Dave: And we hear that all the time. Like going back to that client that really didn't need care, but they were planning ahead, and you probably get this too. It's not that you can't find care at the last minute, it's your options are limited.

Patty: Hmm…hmm.

Dave: So we get calls Friday evening and they got to have care starting that night. Well we can do that, but it limits, it just limits your options.

Patty: Hmm…hmm.

Dave: So most of my caregivers by that time, had been assigned for the weekend. So we can usually scramble and find somebody, but you're taking a little bit of a risk mean I would think it's the same in placement where the people that you need to get in touch with may not be available late Friday night.

Patty: Right.

Dave: For example, so. [11:31.1]

Patty: Well also the communities might be full. So why we like to look ahead is because there might be a place that is a perfect fit for your mom and she really would like to move there, but they're full. They're 100% full right now. So we can get them on a waiting list and they could be at the top of that list. And so then that gives them that time to be able to move in when that place opens up. But let's say that we've looked at it and we didn't put our name on the waiting list and now it is time.

Dave: Hmm…hmm.

Patty: Well, chances are we're not going to get in there, so we'll have to go to the next one on the list. So you know, that's part of it too is just really looking ahead so that you're getting what you want and what your loved one needs. [12:17.1]

Dave: So if someone is diagnosed with Alzheimer's, they don't necessarily have to move into a memory care.

Patty: No, absolutely not.

Dave: Ok.

Patty: In fact, a lot of times, like I said, assisted living will be just fine or a residential care home.

Dave: Hmm..hmm.

Patty: If a person isn't exit seeking.

Dave: Hmm…hmm.

Patty: And they are fine living in an apartment with a routine, you know, that's a lot of times with dementia, what we find is just that routine. If they can get in the routine of waking up, taking their meds, going to breakfast, doing some activities, you know, having a rest coming back for lunch.

Dave: Hmm…hmm.

Patty: That gets them in a routine and they're perfectly fine to live in that, especially if it's a smaller or maybe environment.

Dave: Hmm….hmmm. Hmmm….hmmm.

Patty: And so yeah, they don't necessarily need to go into memory care. [13:03.4]

Dave: Sure, sure. So what are some of the unique things about memory care as it compares to assisted living? What are some of the characteristics of memory care?

Patty: Well, so typically memory care is an all inclusive price.

Dave: Right.

Patty: So everything is going to be bundled. All the care's going to be bundled into one price and it's going to include everything, all of the activities of daily living, you know, bathing, dressing, grooming, medication management, all that. Then also the units are secured so they're locked and typically they do have, their designated or license as memory care communities and they have trained folks on boards to care for those.

Dave: Hmm…hmm.

Patty: Now that's not to say that the assisted living side doesn't have that as well, but these folks will be specifically dementia care certified in those communities.

Dave: Hmm…hmm.

Patty: They're typically smaller and what I'm seeing now is that because people are waiting longer to move into communities, they'll do assisted living maybe first or even independent living with some services.

Dave: Hmm…hmm.

Patty: So by the time they get into memory care, they are very far along on their journey. So they are not as communicative. They might need help eating. They might need help with things that you don't need on the assisted living side necessarily. [14:23.7]

Dave: I've seen that too, where it seems to be an easier transition if they're already in a community somewhere before they go into memory care.

Patty: Yes.

Dave: One of the things we do, people ask us to help with, what they call transitional care, so whether they're going from assisted living to memory care or sometimes they're coming from their home to memory care, we'll provide service just to help through the transition.

Patty: Hmmm…I think that's a great idea.

Dave: And they can meet some people, we can help introduce them to some of their new friends.

Patty: Hmm...hmm.

Dave: And the staff and kind of show them where certain things are and it kind of takes the load off of the client’s family and the community.

Patty: Hmm…hmm.

Dave: Because it's, I'm sure, I don't know this for a fact, but I'm pretty sure there's a lot more to do with a client when they first start.

Patty: Hmm…hmm.

Dave: Right? So. [15:14.8]

Patty: Yes, getting them in that routine. I think also what I'm seeing is a lot of the memory care communities are using things like essential oils or they're using music for soothing. So they're really implementing some tactics or some methods of having that calming environment and helping those folks with dementia on, and they're learning more and more about that as they go along.

Dave: So maybe give us an example of a client that you've helped in the past. [15:44.0]

Patty: Well, I have, I have lots of examples because we're seeing more and more folks with dementia, but I think one that really rises to the top is a gal that I had, she was not living at home safely and her family was having all kinds of issues with getting her to comply to things that she needed to comply with. And so ended up that adult protective services got called in.

Dave: Hmm…hmm.

Patty: And because of that, she didn't really have a lot of options. The judge basically said that she had to be, she had to stay in the County where she resided, which made it a little difficult because none of the family lived in that County. So we ended up finding her a community that was a great fit. I mean, it did have, it was a secured environment so it actually was a memory care community. And once she got settled in and really started to get on a routine and getting healthy meals, that was part of it. If she just wasn't eating very healthy. So they got her to eat healthy meals three times a day. She really started to do a lot better. [16:52.3]

And so her case worker from adult protective services worked with me and we actually were able to move her out of there and move her into a residential care home that was near her daughter. And that was a huge win because then she got to the daughter got to see her a lot more and bring the grandchildren and she's was thriving there. So I think that's, if you can identify what needed to be met prior to going into that crisis situation, then we could have moved her into that residential care home a lot sooner.

Dave: Hmm…hmm.

Patty: Had we been able to get ahold of that, you know. [17:29.6]

Dave: Yeah. So that's so important cause that's one of the themes that we talk about on this show is that we really want people, I came up with a new word Patty, it's called Serthrive.

Patty: I like that.

Dave: Because we really want people to Serthrive the experience.

Patty: Yes.

Dave: Because there's definitely going to be some valleys and there's going to be some challenges, but we really want them to know that there can be some great times.

Patty: Hmm…hmm.

Dave: And having being close to the daughter for example, is so important.

Patty: Hmm…hmm.

Dave: Because it's all about quality of life.

Patty: Absolutely.

Dave: So maybe you can maybe give three secrets to our listeners.

Patty: Okay.

Dave: About what you do and then we'll talk a bit a little bit about how people can get in touch with you. [18:13.4]

Patty: Okay. Well I did want to say I think that starting early, really I cannot overemphasize that starting really before you need it is always the best way to go, because then you've already identified places that you would want your loved one to be in or you wouldn't want your loved one to be in. And I think that's very, very important. And I think using professional resources such as Ruby Care, Home Care Assistance, folks that you trust, folks that are in and out of the communities every day, folks that are willing to meet with you face to face and take you around. I can't tell you how many times I'm meeting with people and they're telling me these horror stories of they found somebody on next door and they hired them to come and take care of their loved one and either that person got hurt or the person you know cleared out their bank account. I mean there's so many stories like that. So you want to use professional resources that are insured and bonded and all that. [19:09.9]

And then I think just the whole thing about looking ahead and looking at that, maybe biting off the smaller chunks, getting your family members on board early is important. Joyce is really good at that. My business partner is great at helping folks just come together. If this brother isn't onboard yet.

Dave: Hmm…hmm.

Patty: And really selling those services, Ruby care can help with that as well. We can sit down with loved ones and we can be the bad guy that says, you know, really your dad. It is time for your dad to move into community. So using us as those resources as well I think is a good idea. [19:49.4]

Dave: You just gave me a great topic for another episode.

Patty: Thanks.

Dave: The family dynamics. Thanks so much. So how can people get in touch with you?

Patty: Well our website is www.rubycaresenior.com www.rubycaresenior.com and you can always call me on my cell phone. It's (817) 995-1001 (817) 995-1001 we do have resources on our website to help you get more educated. So we have a chart that kind of talks about the expense of this all. We didn't talk about that on this, but mostly senior living is privately funded or through a long-term care insurance or through the VA aid and attendance benefit. But it is private pay. So we would say to, that's another reason to use Ruby Care so we can help you find the most economical decision or choice for you. [20:50.4]

Dave: Patty, you're just full of great topics.

Patty: You’ve got another one.

Dave: I'm going to put that down as another topic.

Patty: Okay good.

Dave: Yeah, you're doing great. So well, thanks again for coming. I do want to mention that I've actually used that chart before.

Patty: Hmm…hmm.

Dave: To show families how different costs and different services are available at different places, including home care. So thanks again and we'll see you next time. [21:14.6]

Home care assistance knows the effort you already put into caring for a loved one and we would be honored to help you on your journey. Please visit our website@ HomeCare AssistanceFortworth.com and to sign up for our free caregiver survival guide today. [21:27.9]

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