Mountain Views News, Sierra Madre Edition [Pasadena] Saturday, March 24, 2018

MVNews this week:  Page A:10

Mountain Views-News Saturday, March 24, 2018 10 THE GOOD LIFE 

Dear Savvy Senior,
My mom has Alzheimer’s disease and has gotten to the point
that she can’t live at home any longer. I need to find a good
memory care residential unit for her but could use some help.
Any suggestions?
Exhausted Daughter 

Dear Exhausted, 
Choosing a good memory care residential unit for a loved one
with Alzheimer’s disease is a very important decision that
requires careful evaluation and some homework.

Most memory care units, sometimes called special careunits, are housed within assisted living or nursing homefacilities. At their best, they offer staff extensively trainedin caring for people with dementia, individualized carethat minimizes the use of dangerous psychotropic drugs,
a home-like environment and activities that improveresidents quality of life. But at their worst, they can offer littlemore than a locked door. Here are some steps that can helpyou find a good facility and avoid a bad one.

Make a list: To identify some good memory careresidential units in your area ask your mom’s doctor for areferral, and use the Alzheimer’s Association online tool at Make sure the facilities onyour list are close to family members and friends who canvisit often, because residents with frequent visitors usuallyget better care.

Research your options: Once you’ve made a list,
contact your local long-term care ombudsman ( This is a government official whoinvestigates assisted living and nursing home complaintsand can tell you which facilities have had problems in the 

If you’re looking at a memory care unit within a nursinghome facility, use Medicare’s nursing home compare tool(, which provides a 
5-star rating system.

Call the facilities: Once you’ve identified a few facilities,
call them to find out if they have any vacancies, if theyprovide the types of services your mother needs, what theycharge and if they accept Medicaid.

Tour your top choices: During your tour, notice thecleanness and smell of the facility. Is it homey and inviting?

resident’s family members, if available.

Also, find out about staff screening and trainingprocedures, their turnover rate, and the staff-to-residentratio. They should have at least one staff member for everyfive residents. 

Make sure the facility offers quality activities that cankeep your mom engaged, even at night when she may beawake. Ask how they respond to residents who may wanderor become aggressive. If the answer is locked doors andantipsychotic drugs, that’s a red flag.

Because transitions can be unsettling for dementiasuffers, make sure that your mom will be able to remain atthe facility for the foreseeable future. And find out what, ifany, health conditions might require your mom to leave thefacility or move to a higher and more expansive level of care.

It’s also a good idea to make multiple visits to the facilityincluding an unscheduled visit at night or on weekendswhen the staff is more likely to be stretched thin.

To help you evaluate your visit, the Alzheimer’sAssociation offers a checklist that you can access at ALZ.

Paying for care: The national average costs for memorycare within an assisted living facility is over $5,000 permonth, and over $7,500/month for nursing home care, butcosts can vary widely depending on your location. SinceMedicare does not cover long-term care, most residentspay for care from either personal savings, a long-term careinsurance policy, or through Medicaid (if available) oncetheir savings are depleted.

To help you research your financial options, visit theNational Clearinghouse for Long-Term Care Informationwebsite at

Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443,
Norman, OK 73070, or visit Jim Miller is acontributor to the NBC Today show and author of “The Savvy

HAPPY BIRTHDAY! …March Birthdays* 

Clare Marquardt, Karen Blachly, Carla Duplex, Ella Guttman, Viky Tchatlian, Mary 
Cooper, Sun Liu, Helen Wallis, Joan Crow, Nancy Fox, Martha Cassara, Rita Johnson, 
Mercedes Campos, Dorothy Webster,Terri Elder, Carol Cerrina, Amy Putnam, Sally 

* To add your name to this distinguished list, please call the paper at 626.355.2737. 
YEAR of birth not required 
ACTIVITIES: Unless listed differently, all activities are at the Hart 
Park House (Senior Center) 222 W. Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre 

Hawaiian & Polynesian Dance Class: Every Tuesday morning from 10a.m. to 
11a.m. Join instructor Barbara Dempsey as she leads you in the art of Hula. 

Bingo Time: Every Tuesday beginning at 1:00p.m. Cards are only $0.25 each! 
Everyone is welcome to join. Activity may be canceled if less than five people. 

Free Blood Pressure Testing: 2nd Tuesdays of the month from 11a.m. to 12p.m. No appt. is necessary. 

Brain Games - *New Activity*: Join us on Thursday November 16th, at 10:30a.m. to 11:30a.m for 

Scattergories. A creative thinking game by naming objects within a set of categories. Everyone is 
welcome, and no experience is needed. What a great way to strengthen your brain and make new friends.
Activities are facilitated by Senior Volunteers. 

Free Legal Consultation: Wednesday, November 15th from 10:30a.m. to Noon. Attorney Lem Makupson isavailable for legal consultation. Specializing in Family Law, Wills, Trusts, Estates, and Injury. Appointmentsare required by calling 626-355-7394. 

Senior Club: Meets every Saturday at the Hart Park House Senior Center. Brown Bag Lunch at 11:30a.m. 

Chair Yoga: Mondays & Wednesdays from 11:00a.m. to 11:45a.m. with Paul Hagen. Classes 

include yoga and balance exercises. All ability levels are encouraged and welcomed!* A voluntarydonation of $5.00 per week is suggested but not required. 

Birthday Celebrations: Every 2nd Thursday monthly at the Hart Park House, share some free birthday cakeprovided by the Sierra Madre Civic Club. 

Game Day: Every Thursday starting at 12:00p.m. Come join this group of Seniors in their poker game.
Other games are offered to all. 

Free Strength Training Class: Fridays from 12:45p.m. to 1:30p.m. with Lisa Brandley. This energetic class 
utilizes light weights, low impact resistance and training conditioning. Class equipment is provided. 

Does the staff seem responsive and kind to its residents?
Also be sure to taste the food, and talk to the current Senior” book. 
Daily Health Reminders, Meal Planning & Preparation 
Ambulation, Dressing & Bathing Assistance 
Alzheimer's, Stroke Recovery & Hospice Support 
insured to meet your quality standards. 
Faith filled business serving 
the San Gabriel Valley 
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy - Matthew 5:7 
Safety Supervision & Transportation 
All caregivers are highly screened, trained and 
Mountain Views News 80 W Sierra Madre Blvd. No. 327 Sierra Madre, Ca. 91024 Office: 626.355.2737 Fax: 626.609.3285 Email: Website: