Assisted living advisor walking with senior in Long Island NY

Why the 18-24 month Care Plan is Crucial for Your Loved One

When families search for a senior living community for an older loved one, they usually search for facilities that will help the person thrive based on their current condition.

This might seem like the logical approach. However, in my experience, it’s more prudent to evaluate senior communities based not only on how they can serve your loved one’s health needs today but also 18-24 months from now. Planning ahead will help keep them in one space longer without moving when additional levels of care are needed.

The question many families have is how they will know what the older adult’s condition will be that far into the future. While no one can predict the future, the comprehensive intake process at Assisted Living Locators of Long Island (Mike McClernon, 516-254-9481) can help create just a bit more insight into what the future may hold for your loved one.

A thorough senior living intake process

We’ve designed a unique intake process that ensures we understand your loved one’s individual personal needs. We accomplish this by asking detailed questions about the specifics of the diagnosis and about what the person’s physician anticipates in terms of disease timelines and course. Our team also takes the extra step to ask when the memory issues first began and if there are physical difficulties related to dementia and any other symptoms.

The end goal is to place the senior in a community that can manage both current and likely future physical difficulties. In all conversations, we aim to choose Assisted and Memory Communities that have sufficient resources – I call it Reserve Capacity – to care for the senior now and at their likely state in up to two years. It’s far from a perfect science, but we almost always opt for a Community that is prepared for additional care needs.

Planning ahead for Memory Care

The 18-24 month plan is beneficial in choosing the Memory Care facility for your loved one. Memory Care communities are specially created for people who have been diagnosed with or showing signs of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. These facilities include memory-supportive residences, brain-stimulating activities, and brain-healthy meals. The goal of Memory Care is to help the older adult thrive while slowing down the progression of the disease.

During the intake process, we compare the underlying disease state in the brain to the spot on the typical timeline for each disease state to determine where the person will be in 18 – 24 months. We can then determine which level of Memory Care services would be best for your older loved one.

Alzheimer’s disease, a type of dementia, usually sees the patient on a long, slow decline, typically 12 to 15 years for most people. Physical manifestations of the disease, such as aphasia (speech problems), continence issues, ambulation problems, and cognitive processing problems, eventually show up later in the disease’s progression. This decline, also known as a “ramp”, which can help us predict what kind of Memory Care services the older adult will need now and in the future.

On the other hand, people with frontotemporal dementia, mixed dementia, and Lewy Body dementia show an unpredictable, typically shorter course. Their condition can advance quite rapidly, and their cognitive decline can best be described as a set of steps with unpredictable treads and risers. Their placement should be in a Memory care community that can manage a steeper decline pathway by increasing services, but without the need for transfer to another facility for at least 18 – 24  months.

Our intake process takes careful note of where the person is in their journey, their current timelines, and the type of dementia that the person has been diagnosed with to make reasonable and conservative judgments about where they will be in the short term.

Using the plan for people with mobility issues

Similar to the process to predict the needs for potential Memory Care placements, we use predictive timelines to assess the future care requirements for someone with mobility limitations.

For example, let’s consider an older person using a walker who is considering a move to a Senior Living Community. The person is losing mobility due to neuromuscular or orthopedic conditions that are likely to worsen. In this case, we need to carefully evaluate each community to ensure that they can not only care for that person today but also have the reserve capacity to ramp up physical assistance and help the person thrive in the community with a wheelchair 18 – 24 months in the future.

Predictions based on training and experience

It’s important to note that our predictions aren’t based on medical training (even doctors can’t predict dementia accurately). Instead, we use our deep understanding of the typical progressions of different types of dementia to develop certain general assumptions about where the senior might be in 1.5 to 2 years. Then, we help them select from communities with enough reserve capacity to meet accelerating care needs.

What positions my ability to make predictions with some accuracy is my advanced certification in dementia, my study of the different types of dementia, and my decades of experience helping to place older people in appropriate care communities. I’ve been able to successfully apply my 18 – 24 month plan for folks needing Memory Care and other types of care within Senior Living Communities.

Help with choosing Senior Living Communities on Long Island

The intake process at Assisted Living Locators of Long Island is much more in-depth than any you’ll find from online senior living consultants. Many online service providers send out a dozen referral alerts based on how the older adult is today but don’t do a deep enough intake to help think through the longer-term fit of any placement suggestion they make.

The result could be a move or change in services in a short period of time, something that families can avoid with our 18 – 24 month planning model, which makes the whole process easier and less stressful for you and your family.

Assisted Living Locators of Long Island is your trusted advisor in making the most informed choice on where your older loved ones will thrive during their senior years. Contact Mike McClernon of Assisted Living Locators of Long Island at 516-254-9481 or when you’re ready to explore senior living community options for the older person in your life. We’ll make sure they’re in a community where they’ll be well-taken care of today and always.